18 Answers

  1. To correctly answer this question, you need to ask two other questions that are often ignored, namely: what science and what Christianity?

    Without any doubt, we can say that Christianity influenced the development of modern science. At least because by the end of the Middle Ages, the Roman Catholic Church was a unique institution with a huge financial resource, people and a lot of free time for those who spent their lives in monasteries. In the monasteries, books were kept and copied. In other words, in these social conditions, the Church certainly influenced the development of science.

    However, as for the content side, it is important to understand that by the beginning of Modern times, in relation to which we are talking about the birth of modern science, it was no longer medieval Christian dogmatism, but Renaissance Christianity, that is, pluralistic Christianity and flavored with a large portion of antiquity. Science of the modern type is born precisely when this fruitful mixture of Christianity and ancient pagan culture, which became the defining feature of the Renaissance, appears.

    Take Copernicus, for example. Yes, Copernicus was a figure associated with the church. Note that it is not abstractly “Christian”, but specifically Catholic – the Orthodox churches did not contribute to any flourishing of science at the same time (why is a separate question).�

    But at the same time Copernicus refers in his works to the ancient Pythagoreans and Hermetic texts. In both Copernicus and Bruno, for example, the recognition of the heliocentric system was not based on new observations, but primarily on purely esoteric reasons related to Hermetic philosophy. This was written about in detail by F. Yates (“Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition”), and subsequent authors refined and developed her ideas.

    In order not to be unfounded, I will quote a fragment on this topic from the original source, Copernicus 'book” On the Rotation of the Celestial Spheres”, in Chapter 10:

    The Sun is at the center of everything. For in the most beautiful temple [of nature], who could have placed this lamp in a better place than this, to illuminate all creation at the same time? Therefore, it is not without reason that the Sun is called the lamp of the world by some, the mind by others, and the ruler by others. Hermes the Greatest called him the visible deity three times…

    If you want to call it Christianity, if you want to call it Hermeticism, I would call it Renaissance Christian esotericism.

    In the light of such examples, it is quite obvious that the thesis that the development of science in the early Modern era was the result of the “demiphilogization of nature” associated with Christianity is erroneous. Where is the idea of “not gods, but stones” and that's all? Exactly opposite! Renaissance science is all based on the pantheistic idea, on the idea of considering nature as a manifestation of God. The influence of pantheistic ideas on the same Copernicus can be read, for example, in P. P. Gaidenko (“The evolution of the concept of science. Formation and development of the first scientific programs”).�

    In fact, nature should be studied from the point of view of Renaissance scientists, because it is a manifestation of God and through it one can comprehend the divine. And this attitude will be characteristic not only of the Renaissance – in the XIX century Goethe wrote his famous “we study the world as pantheists, write poetry as polytheists, and base our morals on monotheism.” So, it was this shift of emphasis from nature as a mere creation, secondary to God and not particularly significant, to nature as a manifestation of God that became the defining driver of science during the Renaissance and later continued to be one of the key motives in its development for several centuries.

    The Disillusioned Universe will appear later, in Enlightenment. This is not even Newton, who, according to Keynes, was “not the first scientist, but the last magician”, but already a later, frankly mechanistic physics of the Enlightenment, for example, in Laplace. But the enlightenment model of science, although it will develop in the situation prepared by Christianity, will be built in an explicit conflict with Christianity, in opposition to it.

    On the other hand, we must also ask the second question: what kind of science? So far, we have been talking about modern science and, in particular, empirical natural science. But, in general, the concept of science can also be expanded by adding, for example, geometry, which was formed quite a bit in Antiquity.

    And here the decisive role in the formation of mathematics was played precisely by ancient philosophical and esoteric ideas, in particular, by the Pythagoreans, who were the first to justify the possibility and necessity of theoretical mathematics (again, I refer to Gaidenko's work “The Evolution of the Concept of Science”). The same Pythagoreans greatly influenced both Copernicus and Galileo. If we can say that someone has the primacy in formulating the idea that “nature speaks the language of mathematics”, it was the Pythagoreans.

    Renaissance science was built on this ancient foundation, and modern science, in turn, grew out of Renaissance science.

    Thus, Christianity, of course, influenced the formation of modern science. It could not have been otherwise, if we keep in mind that it originated in a Christian cultural context. Only this Christianity was Renaissance Christianity, and therefore incorporated the ideas of Hermeticism, pantheistic perception of nature, humanism, etc. In general, everything that modern orthodox speakers like to criticize as heresy. And even in those days, the relationship of this Christianity of philosophers with the Catholic Church was more than difficult: yes, Galileo and Bruno are vivid examples of this.

    Therefore, those who, like Andrey Kuraev, say that Christianity influenced the creation of science, as opposed to paganism, which was not fruitful for the development of science, are mistaken. Forgive me, but a thousand years of the Middle Ages, with all the total dominance of Christianity, did not become more fruitful for the development of science than a thousand years of pagan Antiquity. And the real flourishing of science was due to the fact that Christianity was learning to find ways to reconcile with the pagan heritage.�

    Note that Augustine, who criticizes many aspects of ancient culture (rhetoric, theater, etc.), is not particularly noticed in the history of science. Scholastics who actively turn to Aristotle and generally sympathize with the ancient heritage are already entering the history of science with their own ideas. The Renaissance, when the appeal to the ancient heritage becomes commonplace, simultaneously leads to the flourishing of scientific knowledge. A coincidence? I don't think.

    Those who try to identify Copernicus ' or Bruno's Christianity with Orthodox variations of modern ecclesiastical Christianity in order to draw an impressive line of succession, of course, are engaged in the usual substitution of concepts.

  2. Not so much for science as a whole, I suppose, but for individual discoveries. Yes, the text of Copernicus was about counting down the celebration of Easter, but few people remember this, they remember that it says that the Earth revolves around the Sun, and not vice versa. The context is sometimes unexpected if you pay attention to it. Ancient, medieval “scientists” and Renaissance figures did not have the same worldview as it was fashionable to imagine in the XX century.

    But returning to the essence of the question, this is how you can say about different religions. Islam also created the conditions for the development of Arabic science in the XI century, and so on. Science is a relative concept in time, because ideas about the scientific nature of knowledge have always changed.

  3. As another version / argument.

    I'm just reading the philosopher of science/sociologist Steve Fuller, who connects the emergence of science with the idea of human cognitive exclusivity. And he believes that it appeared at the moment when Abraham heard the voice of God.

  4. Christianity in Eurasia is part of history. We have no choice, we cannot now assess whether science could have developed in any other conditions and how much better than in the conditions of Christianity. We can assume that if there was no Christianity and something else, then science would move 5 times faster. But we have what we have. The story has no subjunctive mood. And the fact that the first scientists were from religious Christian families ( as some scientists were from Islam, Hinduism) and that they traditionally went to church institutions, like their fathers and grandfathers-but could it be otherwise? Could they have chosen something else?�

    The benefits were undoubtedly there. For example, during the time of feudalism, monasteries spread living off the taxes of feudal lords. And the main fact was that the monks had free time for philosophizing, learning and scientific activities. Free time! Well, the conditions of the monasteries allowed us to engage in knowledge. One of the advantages of Christianity is the postulation that God is known in two ways, through revelation and through nature.

  5. Christianity has helped science at least three times.

    For the first time, Christianity spread the idea that the world is knowable. For pagans, even Greeks and Romans, the world around them was filled with various spirits, gods, nymphs, fairies and other intelligent entities whose actions are responsible for certain processes. Christianity also brought them the idea that the world with all its processes was once created by God, the heavenly bodies are “not gods, but stones”, and so on. That is, in the Christian worldview paradigm, a person has much more opportunities for learning and studying the world than in the pagan one.

    For the second time, Christianity helped by spreading a more or less unified written language around the world, creating opportunities for processing and preserving the ancient heritage. In principle, we can repeat Kuraev's idea and say that Christianity arose from the fusion of Jewish mysticism and Greek ratio, namely the works of Plato and Aristotle, with the bonus of Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar, who in medieval Europe were put on a par with David and Moses.

    For the third time, Christianity helped science when medieval scholastics identified criteria for knowledge, truth, and other tools known as criteria for scientific knowledge. In addition to Monk Occam, whose razor we cut off the superfluous, those times also marked the difference between the subjective and the objective, the very concept of science and many other interesting things.

    Subscribers of the public “Atheist” once again remind you that Giordano Bruno was burned not for dubious scientific achievements, but for promoting esoteric ideas, Copernicus was a canon, Galileo was a close friend of the Pope, and in 2000 years of Christianity, only one person was killed for doing science, while in 70 years of the Soviet Department, atheists shot, rotted in camps and starved hundreds, if not thousands of scientists.

  6. Yes, in many ways the modern university tradition in Europe is based on monastic traditions that originated in the Middle Ages (although, of course, it is far from it).

    However, it would be wrong to assume that Christianity is unique in this sense. So, for example, today it is believed that the Islamic tradition of praying exactly in the direction of Mecca greatly advanced the Earth sciences-cartography, geography, geodesy, mathematics – in the 900s AD. Any research in this area was generously sponsored by the governments of Islamic countries, which eventually led to the development of related natural sciences and led to the greatest scientific flourishing in Islamic countries since antiquity. By the 12th century, this heyday was over, mainly for economic reasons, but knowledge was not lost and European Renaissance science is largely based on surviving Arabic texts that were translated into Latin in the Middle Ages, but for a long time were not in demand.

  7. I haven't read Andrey Kuraev, but in general he is right. It is difficult to imagine how science could have been born and developed without the help of Christianity, because:

    • It was the bulls of the Popes that created 11 of the 13 European medieval universities, such as Oxford, the University of Paris and others. Another university was created by some sort of king's decree, and the last one was created with private money. I think no one will argue with the fact that universities are the cradle of science.

    • It was in churches that children of the poor and peasants could receive free primary education, which in those days cost a lot of money. In churches, priests taught children to read and write for free, while only nobles could afford to hire teachers or pay for education in schools and universities. Many children then found their skills used in scientific life, I think there are many scientists who came from the poor and who moved science with their church education, the same Mendel, for example.

    • Churches were part-time libraries, and the Vatican Library is now the largest library with more than one and a half million manuscripts and books. It contains many scientific works in the original.�

    • Well, as one person already answered here, Christianity has changed the paradigm and principle of looking at the world. God created the world, and this world can be known, and it is by no means ruled by a galaxy of countless gods, just encroach on their territory and universal wrath awaits you.

    Yes, even if you compare the harm to science caused by atheism and religion, the primacy of atheism will be indisputable: the Communists during the civil war and repression killed millions of engineers, technologists and other great people, and in China only during the Cultural Revolution tens of millions of people were killed, while the confirmed victims of religion among scientists is one Giordano Bruno, whom atheists like to put in place and

    Read more in the book “How the Catholic church built Western Civilization” by Thomas Woods (it is true in English).

  8. Yes, Father Andrey writes everything correctly.

    Science as we now know it is actually the logical development of Renaissance natural science – which was precisely the response of religion to the massive development of mysticism and magism in late Medieval Europe.

    All the first scientists – were just that religious figures, armed with the method of scientific skepticism-created in the endless theological disputes of the Middle Ages-having received such a great tool as scholasticism-a combination of rationalism and logical systems – they began to investigate the laws of the world around them precisely to oppose the facts-inventions of mystics.

    All the most prominent universities – within the walls of which the greatest discoveries were made – are former monasteries or seminaries. After the defeat of the Arab states and the fall of Byzantium, it was the religious centers that collected preserved samples of ancient books. And not only theological ones, but also those dedicated to medicine, engineering, astronomy, mathematics, physics, and chemistry. By researching these treatises – by doing our own research – this is how what we now call science was born.

    Science is the prodigal daughter of religion. Survived the period of rebellion and rejection of the parent, and now slowly beginning to understand that “mom was right”.. )))

  9. Science in Europe began to develop, rather with the weakening of Christianity. The Reformation and Protestantism were, in fact, a weakening of Christianity. Translating it from the metaphysical plane to the applied one.
    It was under the Protestants and with the weakening of the role of the Church that science and the secular arts began to develop.

    The same applies to Russia: in pre-Petrine Russia, there was no science as such at all. And only by the nineteenth century did something competitive appear. And when the Russian Empire fell and the USSR came to replace it, science made a rapid breakthrough. And in this sense, atheistic societies are much more successful than Christian ones.

    In general, it seems to be more about the degree of theocracy of society: Tibet, Muslim fundamentalist countries, medieval Christian Europe under the supervision of the Inquisition – all of them made little contribution to the scientific treasury.

    What was in the Middle Ages, after all, was based on the ancient heritage. On the legacy of a society where religion was a private matter for citizens.

  10. Christianity for its time ” literally combined the psychology of the Romans and the Jews. Before that, it was two warring civilizations. With the legalization of Christianity, philosophy, like Roman and Greek, began to be reinterpreted as harbingers of the Gospel, as well as the Old Testament, but this did not happen immediately and a lot of blood was shed. Christianity slightly defended the rights of women, otherwise Christ would not have been born at all, and also practically legalized winemaking in the Jewish environment, which was only among the Greeks. Then everything developed by trial and error. According to the principle of discovery, heresy, and again it was recognized or not recognized as the truth. Science was mainly done by monks in the literal sense of the word. There are dictionaries where the word doctor can be translated not only as a doctor, a learned man, but also as a holy father or a castrate, in a historical context, of course. Yes , in the Middle Ages, as in early Christian times, not only Origen castrated himself. At the same time, the head was already occupied with prayer and philosophy and other sciences. They were mostly teachers.Later, education went beyond the boundaries of monastic orders, but for this purpose they burned more than one heretic or just a monk. So about. Andrey is right.

  11. It is possible, but not limited to it. Christianity, new ways of production, climatic conditions.. The “emergence of science” does not have a specific date and there is no such concept in principle. We have been studying the science of sociology since antiquity, the science of medicine since Egypt, and so on.
    For Western Europe, even the rejection of the postulates of faith is more likely to have served the development of science, if that's what you're talking about. The question is formulated incorrectly: you either need to choose a specific event/discovery/phenomenon and look for those that could affect it, making connections. Or take into account the full range of cultural and historical changes and areas of activity.

  12. My God, how absurd.

    The Western scientific tradition originates in Ancient Greece. Its founder, the first scientist and philosopher is Thales of Miletus, who lived in the VII – VI centuries BC.e. In the following centuries, science flourished tremendously, and in almost all major disciplines: mathematics and physics (Pythagoras, Eratosthenes, Euclid, Archimedes, Heron), astronomy (Aristarchus of Samos, Hipparchus, Claudius Ptolemy), philosophy (Democritus, Heraclitus, Empedocles, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle and many others), medicine (Hippocrates), history, geography, ethnology (Herodotus, Thucydides, Plutarch, Strabo). I have listed only the most famous names. It is always necessary to make a correction when we talk about ancient culture, that 90-95% of its content is lost to us forever precisely because of the subsequent millennia of the rule of the Abrahamic religions in this territory.

    Without ancient Greek scholars, neither medieval Arabic science nor Modern European science could have existed. It was they who developed the patterns of the scientific and philosophical method. Aristotle, Euclid, and Hippocrates remained unquestioned authorities in their respective fields until the 19th century.

  13. In fact, the entire modern model of universities in Europe, together with the Ballon system, came out of Catholic monasteries. All the ancient heritage was also preserved only by Christian monks, because there was no one else.

    Copernicus, by the way, was a Catholic, Newton was a Protestant. The author of the big Bang theory is the Belgian priest Georges Lemaitre.

  14. Many commentators overlook another aspect. Science is not only a system of knowledge, but also a social institution. Christianity also helped here. In paganism, Judaism, and Islam, there is no division between scientific activity and religious activity. And for the first time, the question of what is the domain of reason and what is the domain of faith was raised precisely by Christian scholastics. This is precisely what can be considered the beginning of the isolation of science as a separate field of activity.

  15. A question of the time span once created. Islam, by the way, also once created the conditions for the emergence of science, though not for a long time. But as for Christianity, I would mention another interesting view: it did not create these conditions, but took over the functions of the scientific institutions it destroyed and turned the development of science in the direction it was interested in.

  16. Eats this stuff.
    The Christian roots of European civilization are obvious, although they are now in doubt. A daughter may disown her mother, but a simple study will easily reveal the connection.
    Freedom, human rights, democracy, the greatest culture, education, and of course science-all these are the fruits of the Christian worldview. Moreover, many great philosophers and natural scientists who developed trends separate from Christianity and had a huge impact on the modern world were born into families of ministers, priests, fervently believing parents and were voluntarily unwittingly exposed to Christian ideas, which they even developed to some extent, but without reference to Christianity – these are Marx, Nietzsche, Darwin, Feuerbach, etc..D.�

    Christian scientists, founders of key scientific disciplines:

    , Field of science � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � Scientist

    ** Galaxy Astronomy� � � � � � � � � �William Herschel (1738-1822)

    Bacteriology � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � Louis Pasteur (1822-1896)

    Computer science, Charles Babbage (1792-1871)

    Genetics � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � �Gregor Mendel (1822-1884)

    Hydraulics � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � �Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519)

    Hydrography � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � �Matthew Maury (1806-1873)

    Hydrostatics � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � Blaise Pascal (1623-1662)

    Gynecology � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � �James Simpson (1811-1870) �

    Glaciology � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � �Jean Louis Agassiz (1807-1873)

    Dynamics � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � Isaac Newton (1642-1727)

    Gas dynamics � � � � � � � � � � � � � � �Robert Boyle (1627-1691)

    Natural History: John Ray (1705-1627)

    Calculus � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � �Isaac Newton (1642-1727)

    Ichthyology � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � Jean Louis Agassiz (1807-1873)

    Fluid Mechanics – George Stoke (1819-1903)

    Sky Mechanics � � � � � � � � � � �Johannes Kepler (1571-1630)

    Non-Euclidean geometry � � � � � � � Nikolay Lobachevsky (1792-1856),
    � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � �Bernhard Riemann (1826-1866)

    Nomogenetic theory
    of evolution � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � �Lev Berg (1876-1950)

    Reversible Thermodynamics-James Joule (1818-1889)

    Descriptive Set Theory Дмитрий Dmitry Yegorov (1869-1931), Nikolai Luzin (1883-1950)

    Oceanography � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � �Matthew Maury (1806-1873)

    Optical Mineralogy – David Brewster (1781-1868)

    Paleontology � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � John Woodward (1665-1728)

    Vertebrate Paleontology – Georges Cuvier (1769-1832)

    Pathology � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � Rudolf Virchow (1821-1902)

    Spatial Analysis – Lord Rayleigh (1842-1919)

    Radiobiology � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � Nikolai Timofeev-Resovsky (1900-1981)

    Synthetic theory
    of evolution Фе Theodosius � � � � � � � � � � � �Grigoryevich Dobrzhansky (1900-1975)

    Systematic biology � � � � � � Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778)

    Comparative Anatomy by Georges Cuvier (1769-1832)

    Statistical Thermodynamics-James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879)

    Stratigraphy � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � �Nicolaus Steno (1638-1686)

    Field theory� � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � Michael Faraday (1791-1867)

    Model theory� � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � Lord Rayleigh (1842-1919)

    Thermodynamics � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � Lord Kelvin (1824-1907)

    Thermokinetics � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � Humphrey Davy (1778-1829)

    The doctrine of the Noosphere � � � � � � � � � � � � � �Pierre Teilhard da Chardin (1881-1955)

    Physical astronomy � � � � � � � � � Johannes Kepler (1571-1630)

    Chemistry Department � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � �Robert Boyle (1627-1691)

    Isotope chemistry � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � �William Ramsay (1852-1916)

    Surgical antiseptics by Joseph Lister (1827-1912)

    Electrodynamics � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � �James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879) �

    Electromagnetism � � � � � � � � � � � � � � Michael Faraday (1971-1867)

    Electronics � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � �Ambrose Fleming (1849-1945)

    Energy � � � * * Lord Kelvin (1824-1907)

    Outstanding inventions or discoveries belonging to religious scientists

    Barometer: Blaise Pascal (1623-1862)

    Safe Mine Lamp: Humphrey Davy (1778-1829)

    Vaccination and immunity: Louis Pasteur (1822-1895)

    Computing Machine: Charles Babbage (1792-1871)

    Computational Tables: Charles Babbage (1792-1871)

    Galvanometer: Joseph Henry (1797-1878)

    Double Stars: William Herschel (1788-1822)

    The Law of Universal Gravitation: Isaac Newton (1642-1727)

    The Law of Biogenesis: Louis Pasteur (1822-1896)

    Mirror Telescope: Isaac Newton (1842-1727)

    Inert Gases: William Ramsay (1862-1910)

    Kaleidoscope: David Brewster (1781-1868)

    Catalog of Nebulae and Star Clusters: John Herschel (1792-1871)

    Fermentation control: Louis Pasteur (1822-1895)

    The Scientific Method: Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

    Pasteurization: Louis Pasteur (1822-1896)

    The use of chloroform: James Simpson (1811-1870)

    Self-induction: Joseph Henry (1797-1878)

    Classification system: Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778)

    Telegraph: Samuel F. B. Morse (1791-1872)

    Thermodynamic температур temperature scale: Lord Kelvin (1824-1907)

    Thermionic lamp: Ambrose Fleming (1849-1946)

    The Transatlantic Cable: Lord Kelvin (1824-1907)

    Electric Generator: Michael Faraday (1791-1867)

    Electric Motor: Joseph Henry (1797-1878)

    Ephemeris: Johannes Kepler (1571-1630)


  17. Priests have such a job to push their Christianity into any hole. In principle, they do not understand anything else and should not understand. All the statements of the priests on a topic unrelated to the adventures of Jesus in Africa can rightly be considered outright nonsense.

  18. Not only Kuraev writes about this. The historian of science and philosophy Piama Pavlovna Gaidenko has a whole monograph devoted to this issue: “Christianity and the genesis of Modern European natural science”.

    To what extent can I agree?

    The reasons given by the authors are quite convincing. Christianity demythologizes nature, provides a philosophical justification for the possibility of scientific knowledge of the world, formulates those axioms on which the bulk of the natural sciences still rest…

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