College papers help


The conflict between the views of aristotle and the beliefs of christians

  • Penal substitutionary theories, for example, maintain that it is morally impossible for God simply to forgive our sins without exacting reparation or punishment;
  • What is needed is some characterization of the common core underlying the diverse views that are generally regarded as versions of social trinitarianism;
  • These theories go on to note that human beings are absolutely incapable on their own of compensating God for the wrong they have done to him, and that the only way for them to satisfy the demands of justice is to suffer death and eternal separation from God;
  • What is needed is some characterization of the common core underlying the diverse views that are generally regarded as versions of social trinitarianism;
  • Thus, on his view, God sent Christ to earth so that Christ might willingly offer his own sinless life and death as restitution and penance for the sin of the world.

Bergman 1996 and Birkett 2000 pointed out that many Catholic clergymen were neutral to Galileo's theory and several Jesuit astronomers even endorsed Galileo's telescopic discoveries when he traveled to Rome in 1611. However, secular scientists who disagreed with Galileo and failed to defeat him took the dispute to the church. It is unfortunate that the Catholic Church was "used" by Galileo's enemies and since then the Christian religion has been misperceived as "an enemy of science.

On one hand it is unfair to merely view the tension between Galileo and the Catholic Church as a struggle between science and religion. On the other hand, it may be naive to blame secular scientists for the mistrial of Galileo and to de-emphasize the religious elements in this academic debate. Whitehead 1926 noted that "whatever suggests a cosmology, suggests a religion. Thus, the inquiry of cosmology inevitably steps into the realms of philosophy and religion.

Besides the heliocentric worldview, which appears to contradict the literal interpretation of the Bible, Galileo's science contains certain elements that threaten the established theology of the Catholic Church.

Therefore, the trial of Galileo could be viewed as a battle of old theology and new theology, as well as old science and new science.

Aristotelian theology

Three major aspects of Catholic theology were challenged by Galileo's cosmology. First, the notions that Heaven and God are unalterable and that the universe is governed by static order were shaken by Galileo's unification between celestial and terrestrial mechanics.

Second, mathematical reasoning, which plays a central role in Galileo's methodology, was in sharp contrast to divine revelation as the source of truth and the Church as the authority of judgment. Third, the importance of humans, which was affirmed by the geocentric worldview, was diminished by the heliocentric cosmology.

  • But we are more reluctant to say that distinct material objects occupy the same place at the same time;
  • By allowing us to get away with dishonoring him, then, God would be tolerating what is maximally intolerable;
  • Consequently, it is no surprise that many thinkers appropriate imagery from more than one of the theories described below or others besides to explain their understanding of the nature and efficacy of Jesus' work.

The objectives of this article are to explain the first two of Galileo's notions and to discuss their implications to other disciplines. Heaven and God are unchangeable Aristotle asserted that the outermost sphere of the universe, which contains the divine element Etheris immutable. Aristotle's universe is composed of two worlds, namely, the supralunary and the sublunary spheres. These two regions are governed by two different sets of mechanics, which are known as celestial mechanics and terrestrial mechanics.

In this cosmology, the world is hierarchically ordered; everything belongs to a natural position. When something is attracted to a place where it belongs, the movement is considered a "natural motion. This philosophy had been tightly integrated into the Catholic theology for over a thousand years. In a Catholic's view, not only is heaven perfect and inalterable, but also the Creator of heaven is infallible and unchangeable. The Catholic Church has its own version of "two-sphere universe": On earth everything is changeable and perishable, but in the transcendental world where God, angels, and the saved souls reside, everything is everlasting.

Philosophy and Christian Theology

God as "being" instead of "becoming" has firmly established the foundation of truth. While "change" denotes decay, depreciation, decomposition, and many other negative concepts, the unchangeable God, revealed by the inalterable heaven and the hierarchically ordered world structure, gave people a sense of certainty and security, and a hope for the perfect world after death. However, Galileo's discovery of sun spots, along with Brahe's observations of a nova, made the notion of an inalterable heaven questionable.

In addition, Galileo abandoned the notion of a perfect cosmic order.

  1. The first is the kenotic view. But it is not at all unfitting for God to pay the Devil a ransom in exchange for our freedom.
  2. By living a sinless life and then dying like a sinner, Christ pays a price that, in the eyes of all parties to the competition, earns back for God the right to our souls, and thus effects a great triumph over the Devil, sin, and death. But we are more reluctant to say that distinct material objects occupy the same place at the same time.
  3. On the other hand, it may be naive to blame secular scientists for the mistrial of Galileo and to de-emphasize the religious elements in this academic debate. If this is right, then this is not a case in which one thing simply appears in two different ways, or is referred to by two different labels.
  4. Applying chaos theory to investment and economics.

To Galileo the heaven appeared as if God had scattered stars without any rule or pattern Shapere, 1974. The strong opposition to Galileo could be partly explained by his threat to intellectual certainty and religious comfort. Further, since Galileo tore down the distinction between celestial mechanics and terrestrial mechanics by saying that heavenly bodies are as alterable as earthly objects, he stripped away the hope for a perfect world.

To be specific, when the laws of heaven and the laws of earth are united, this implies that all considerations based on value, perfection, harmony, meaning, and purpose vanish Koyre, 1943. Although the preceding radical worldview pierces through the heart of traditional Catholic theology, modern science and theology benefit from this new perspective of "change. Instead, "fluid," "dynamic," "growth," "progress," and other positive concepts are attributed to "change" in various disciplines, such as biology, economics and even theology.

For example, based on observations during the voyage of Beagle, Charles Darwin boldly claimed that species do not always appear in the same way. Rather, they evolve through the process of natural selection.

Science, Religion and Aristotelian Theology

Interestingly enough, the classical school of economics embracing the view of market equilibrium highly resembles the Aristotelian philosophy. In classical economics, price, demand, and supply tend to seek the "natural position" and converge at equilibrium eventually. However, modern economics departs from the equilibrium doctrine and focuses on dynamic interactions among various economic factors. In Teilhard de Chardin's view, truth is situational and revealed by God through the sign of generations.

According to the Process Theology, God is no longer unchangeable, passionless, and absolute. Rather, God is passionate and thus He interacts with the world. It is not my intention to suggest that Galileo single-handedly changed the attitude towards "change" in Western civilization. Nevertheless, when Galileo rejected the Aristotelian view of static heaven and indirectly challenged the Catholic view of an unchangeable God, he introduced a new world order or disorder and opened many possible routes for scholars in later generations.

Mathematization of universe Modern sciences are characterized by experimental methods. In this regard Galileo's and modern sciences bear little resemblance. Galileo was interested in "thought experiments," but not actual experiments. He regarded experiments as devices by which to convince his rivals instead of research tools Westfall, 1977.

There is a widespread myth that Galileo conducted an experiment at the Tower of Pisa to disprove that heavy objects fall faster than light objects. Indeed, Galileo argued against the preceding faulty belief by logical reasoning instead of performing the alleged experiment Kuhn, 1957. It is a well-known fact that Galileo presented his astronomical theory with the substantiation of empirical telescopic observations.

Keep Exploring Britannica

However, it is important to note that uncontrolled observations are not the same as controlled experiments. On the contrary, naive observations and common sense are obstacles to scientific discoveries. Actually, mathematical thinking plays a more important role in the construction of Galileo's astronomical model.

  1. Like the heavenly bodies in their unadorned pursuit, so the wise look, with affection, toward the star; and hence as a role model, they inspire those who look up to them, and by whom others still, will yet find themselves enthralled, and so on, creating the enduring natural order of aeon, season, animal and plant. As a result, it is often difficult in reading recent work to distinguish what the philosophers are doing from what the theologians and philosophers of past centuries regarded as strictly within the theological domain.
  2. In doing this, he gave God more than he owed God; and so, on Anselm's view, put God in the position of owing him something.
  3. I am thinking, for instance, to the resurrection of Jesus Christ, or to the virginity of Mary associated to her motherhood of Christ, which seem to contradict the laws of biology, and also to many other miracles. The appearance of man.
  4. There has long ceased to be a generally accepted philosophical framework, comparable with Neoplatonism, in terms of which Christianity can appropriately be expressed and defended.
  5. In the last forty years, however, philosophers of religion have returned to the business of theorizing about many of the traditional doctrines of Christianity and have begun to apply the tools of contemporary philosophy in ways that are somewhat more eclectic than what was envisioned under the Augustinian or Thomistic models.

It is true that Galileo's methodology led to modern science. But that is quantiative methodology rather than experimental methodology Carnap, 1995. Galileo emphasized that mathematics is inseparable from philosophy, just like medicine is tightly integrated with science Reston, 1994. In Galileo's view, mathematics is the language that we must use to speak to nature and receive her answers Koyre, 1943. Mathematization of the universe is supported by his belief that God reveals himself not only in the wonder of nature, but also in our human mind.

In terms of scope, human knowledge can never be compared with the extensive divine wisdom. However, in regard to intensity, the human mind, which is equipped with mathematical knowledge, coincides with the divine wisdom. The only difference between the two minds is a matter of time, because the knowledge gradually attained by the contemplating human mind is always omnipresent in the mind of God.

Galileo used astronomy as a metaphor in epistemology. In his framework, the human mind is a subset of the divine mind, just as the solar system is a part of the universe. In short, Galileo was convinced of the divine character of human intelligence Olschki, 1943. No doubt the preceding notion was unwelcome to both Catholics and Protestants. For Catholics the source of knowledge is the divine revelation rather than human endeavor.

Although the "five ways" of proving the existence of God proposed by St. Thomas Aquinas are rational approaches, all five arguments are based on divine manifestation. Under Anselm's premise that faith precedes reason, knowledge is a supernatural gift of grace and truth is all that God has revealed because he has revealed it.

The role of our rational human mind is simply to accept the revelation rather than to explore the uncharted water. More importantly, the Catholic Church regards herself as the authority and guidance of truth. In the Catholic tradition, it is inconceivable for individuals to approach the divine mind on their own. In a similar vein, Lutherans who regard the Bible as the sole foundation of truth Sola Scriptura could hardly accept Galileo's notion.

Not surprisingly, Galileo's assertion is also considered heretic by Calvinists, because in the Calvinist theology, every aspect of the world, including our human intellect, was corrupted after the spiritual fall of Adam and Eve. Galileo's the conflict between the views of aristotle and the beliefs of christians help to shape the quantitative character and the exploratory spirit of modern disciplines.

How Aristotle Messed Up the Church

Empirical-based methodologies might lead to technological advancement, but empirical observations alone could not result in the rise of modern science. As Carnap 1952 said, empirical observations might lead to the generalization of empirical laws, but not theoretical laws.

For instance, even if an inquirer observes thousands of stones, trees and flowers, the inquirer could never discover physical, chemical and biological laws in the atomic level or the molecular level. Through the mathematization of universe, researchers are able to analyze the observed data in an abstract and insightful manner. As mentioned before, Galileo observed that the universe appears to happen by chance, and hence he developed advanced mathematics in an attempt to explain the phenomenon.

Similarly, statisticians such as Fisher 1934, 1956Neyman and Pearson 1933 take randomness into account to build the methodologies of significance testing and hypothesis testing. By the same token, psychologists, physicists, petroleum engineers, and market researchers apply the chaos theory to extract patterns out of random and even chaotic phenomena Gleick, 1987; Peters, 1994; Robertson, 1995.

The assertion that the human mind is comparable to the divine mind turns the human intellect from a passive and receptive role to an active and exploratory one. Galileo is not alone. Like Galileo, Peirce boldly asserted that in abduction the inquirer employs creative thinking, which resembles the mind of God. Based on the Peircean abductive logic, Yu 1994 introduced the logic of exploratory data analysis to provide a framework for quantitative research.

This exploratory character can also be found in many other modern schools of thought. Without physical and intellectual explorations in the last four hundred years, human sciences and technologies might not have reached such a high level. Conclusion The conflict between Galileo and the Catholic Church is indeed religious and theological in essence. Since Galileo destabilized the beliefs of the immutable heaven, the unchangeable God, and the hierarchically structured universe, the positive concept of "change" has been quietly revolutionizing various disciplines.

Moreover, it was the mathematization of the universe, instead of empirical observations or experiments, that brought a new meaning to science. The divine and exploratory character of the human intellect, which is derived from the mathematization of the universe, liberated the human intellect from confinement by restrictive doctrines, such as the spiritual distortion of the human mind Calviniststhe Bible as the sole source of truth Lutheransand the divine authority of the Church Catholics.

In spite of the aforementioned ideological conflicts, one should not jump to the conclusion that Christian religion is anti-science or anti-intellectual. Even while facing oppression by the Catholic Church, The conflict between the views of aristotle and the beliefs of christians never gave up his Christian faith Sobel, 1999.

Indeed, Galileo found no incompatibility between his faith and his cosmology. As mentioned in the beginning, the case of Galileo could be viewed as a struggle between old theology and new theology.

  • Thus, the persons of the trinity might be thought of as one in just the way that the members of a family are one;
  • As mentioned before, Galileo observed that the universe appears to happen by chance, and hence he developed advanced mathematics in an attempt to explain the phenomenon.

Although Galileo is a scientist rather than a theologian, his cosmology and methodology carry theological attributes and make him the Teilhard de Chardin and Hans Kung of the seventeenth century. The Galileo affairs continue: The cognition of inductive methods.