Religious Affiliations of Significant Scientists I
Religion Articles 3/25/12
By: Yona Williams
From scientists that studied genetics to those that furthered the Scientific Revolution, religion played a role in the way they saw the world. While science may have been a large part of the following historic figure's lives, religion was also just as important. In this article, you will learn more about Sir Isaac Newton, Gregor Mendel, and Johannes Kepler.
Sir Isaac Newton
Isaac Newton is influential in the world of science because he brought to light the theory of universal gravitation and laws of motion. The physicist is considered by many as one of the best and most influential scientists in history. Born in 1642, Newton would dabble in many different fields during his lifetime, including mathematics, astronomy, natural philosophy, alchemy, and Christian theology.
Most scholars feel that Newton was a monotheist that believed in biblical prophecies. He has been tied to the Anglican faith, where he rejected Trinitarianism and believed in the Arianism of the Primitive Church. To Newton, worshipping Christ as God was idolatry, and he saw that as a fundamental sin. It has been written about the scientist that he was a heretic, but he never publicly announced his private faith, which would have been seen as quite radical. He hid his true feelings on religion so well that to this day, scholars are still debating on his personal believes. Contrary to popular thought, Newton actually wrote more on religion than he did on natural science.
The Augustinian friar, Gregor Mendel, who is responsible for cultivating Mendelian genetics, was a Catholic. Born in 1822, Mendel was a scientist from Austria who after his death, became celebrated as the founder of the new science of genetics. Through his studies, Mendel showed that certain traits were inherited, as shown with his experiments on pea plants. The importance of his work was not acknowledged until around the 20th century. It was the rediscovery of his work that helped develop the foundation of the modern science of genetics.
Playing an important role in the Scientific Revolution during the 17th century, Johannes Kepler was not only an accomplished astronomer, but also a mathematician and astrologer. Born in 1571, he would grow up to establish laws of planetary motion, which influenced astronomers in the future. His writings were helpful in shaping some of the views of space that we hold today. His works also furthered the studies and theories of Isaac Newton when he cultivated his theory of universal gravitation. Johannes Kepler was a Lutheran. He was given special treatment when it came to his religion Ã¢â‚¬â€œ the only religious doctrines that were officially accepted in Prague were Catholic and Utraquist, but because Kepler held a position in the imperial court, he was permitted to practice his Lutheran faith without any interference.