According to Lewis Lolfin:
Many believed (and still do) that revelation must overrule reason. But by rejecting all humanism and reason, they rejected not only all learning, science, and freedom, but Jesus’ message of love, as well as his humanity. The end result was the Dark Ages.
Lolfin’s interpretation was further supported by J.D. Bernal:
The Marxist historian and scientist J. D. Bernal asserted that “the Renaissance enabled a scientific revolution which let scholars look at the world in a different light. Religion, superstition, and fear were replaced by reason and knowledge”.
But James Hannam knows better than both Lolfin and Bernal:
James Hannam says that, while most historians do think something revolutionary happened at this time, that “the term ‘scientific revolution‘ is another one of those prejudicial historical labels that explain nothing. You could call any century from the twelfth to the twentieth a revolution in science” and that the concept “does nothing more than reinforce the error that before Copernicus nothing of any significance to science took place”.
Despite some challenges to religious views, however, many notable figures of the scientific revolution—including Nicolaus Copernicus, Tycho Brahe, Johannes Kepler, Galileo Galilei, René Descartes, Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz—remained devout in their faith.
My two cents
For all the times that Christians get accused of historical revisionism, is it any more than anti-Christians? I wonder how easy it would be to compile a book of historical beliefs that anti-Christians have about Christians and Christianity, and how many times the anti-Christians get it wrong. The flat-earth one is another common line, which James Hannam has looked at, showing that medieval Christians scientists believed the earth to be round. But I hear the flat earth line recycled many times by anti-Christians.
I noticed how Answers in Genesis keeps a list of arguments that Christians shouldn’t use in defending the Genesis account of creation. This to me shows evidence of philosophical and teleological maturity. It’s probably time that anti-Christians made their own self-conscious list as well—unless they want to believe in their own mythology at all costs.
- Loflin, L. (n.d.). Humanism, the Early Church, and Rational Religion. Available: http://americanunitarian.org/loflinhumanism.htm. Last accessed 20th Aug 2012.
- Wikimedia Foundation. (2012). Scientific revolution. Available: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_revolution. Last accessed 16th Sep 2012.