Sometimes we should stop for a minute to think that things were not always as they are now. For example, the Church was not always separate from the state, because back in middle ages, there were no states and Church was the supreme authority on all things mundane and profane. The Church and the State were separated in a long process called secularization which is tied to emerging of ideology of humanism and man’s feeling of self-worth.
Humanism and the Seperation of Church and State
Humanism and the Birth of the Renaissance
Almost simultaneously, the movement of Renaissance, which stood up for the revival of antic tradition and art, took place. The Renaissance seemed more human-oriented then the existing Christianity which was all focused on God, neglecting the man. The beginning of scientific experiments, especially by Galileo Galilei, male 16th and 17th century so important for science and humanism. The experiments were the obvious proof that the Universe does not function in an Aristotelian way, as church was telling us, but in a different way, worthy of exploring.
But, Christianity could not be crushed simple as that. After all, it is a two millennia old tradition with some spiritual and moral significance. And priests hold to the secret of the afterlife as to their last straw, and they still could manipulate people’s fears by that. And although our fear of death did not cease to be even to this day, people back then were ready to turn away from the church and start believing in humanity.
Humanism and Living Without Fear
Humanism Was Wery Clumsy at First
Humanism excluded the need for church but it had nothing to give in return, so the question arose – where do we get our morals from? If it is not from the Bible, and no other solutions are in sight, then we might just get immoral and do as we please. This is the main argument Christians like to pose against atheists: that they are immoral because only by following God’s word you can know what is right and what is wrong. But they missed out one thing: historical development of the idea of humanism. Yes, it is true that at first humanists were puzzled by the concept of morality – but they did not start killing each other because there is no God. They concluded that people are left for themselves so everything depends on them – so why make this world miserable if it doesn’t have to be so? Deism was a transitional idea between theism and full scale atheism. It was active for more than a century, even among the most prominent intellectuals and humanists, even philosophers of Enlightenment.
Humanism and the Enlightenment Movement
The Enlightenment movement was the next phase of the evolution of humanism. It believed that by educating more people, by letting them be aware of their surroundings, we could make world a better place. During the French revolution in 1789-99, people finally seized power from the repressive king Louis XVI and his regime. It shaped most of the modern world.
Today, people’s opinion on humanism and profanity are diverse. Enlightenment philosophers were mocking the monks because they have no role in the world, they are useless, they do nothing of social value - they just sit in their monasteries and try not to be heard or seen.