Galileo and His Relationship with the Church

November 15, 2021 by Essay Writer


We are constantly surrounded by math and science. We use it without even knowing their true beauty. They impact our lives so much we take them for granted. But this hasn’t always been the case, it had to start somewhere. Over time science has evolved and been shaped into what we learn today. Tons of discoveries and theories have brought us to what we believe today. If we take Galileo for example, from the moment he was born it was believed that he had stars in his eyes (Sis 7). As he grew up, he was more curious than most children, and stars were always on his mind (Sis 9). He studied mathematics and physics and was a very brilliant young man (Sis 9). From there he surprised everyone with his experiments and theories (Sis 11). But science in his life wasn’t always a dream, it was the cause of great conflict. Therefore, due to Galileo’s findings there was tension created between himself and the church, however that’s not how Galileo viewed himself.

The Scientific Revolution

Previous to the Scientific Revolution, science was all based on Roman and Greek theories and ideas (Wilson and Reill). The scientific revolution was a time where there were new ideas, methods, and institutions that were created. People took a new approach to science. They left the ancient Greek and Roman ideas to the ideas of Aristotle and medieval scholastics (Wilson and Reill). During the scientific revolution, the language of science was born. Math was now being used as a way to express new ideas. It was also a way in which things were being proved, therefore everyone was able to understand (Wilson and Reill). Not only was this a time of change, but it acted as a base for many years to come. Galileo, as well as other scientists at the time, were very impactful, because what they created and developed acted as a basis for the following scientist such as; Isaac Newton and Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (Wilson and Reill).

Galileo’s Discoveries

During his time as a scientist and astronomer, Galileo was very successful leading to many discoveries. Galileo followed his father footsteps, who was a musician. Although Galileo did not become a musician, he ventured off from the standard thing to do, which was going into the religious field (“Galileo Galilei”). He was instructed by his father to follow his dream, which he did. This decision, not only was beneficial for the world and how it advanced, but Galileo received praise for his amazing work and discoveries (“Galileo Galilei”). Galileo was an astronomer who studied the stars and the universe we lived in. In the 17th century, Galileo used a recently invented piece of technology, a telescope. He used the telescope to explore what lies above them(“physical Science”). He used the telescope to further develop his understanding of the universe (Flinn). This was a major discovery during the Scientific Revolution because this meant Galileo had a new perspective when learning about the universe. From there, in 1610 he announced what he had found, which was opposite of traditional cosmological assumptions. He had found that the moon was not a smooth surface as Aristotle had previously claimed (“physical Science”). He observed that like other planets, Earth shinned due to the reflection of light. He also came to the conclusion that like Earth, Jupiter had satellites as well. Lastly, he found out that because of Venus’s phases, the planet does not orbit the earth, but rather orbits the sun (“Physical Science”). To add to the theory that the Earth was not the center of the universe, he learned that Jupiter had four planets. He also noticed that they moved around and therefore thought that their center of rotation was the sun rather than earth. All such findings were published in The Starry Messenger (Flinn). Although he was able to prove his new theory, he wasn’t believed nor accepted by everyone.

The Conflict With Church

After Galileo’s new discovery about what truly was happening up in the stars, Galileo was praised by the public. He was being recognized for everything he shared with the public (Sis page number). This wasn’t received by everyone in the same way. The Catholic church had a lot to say when Galileo came out with these new findings. They were bothered because Galileo’s findings were not inlined with their beliefs. Since he now believed that the earth was no longer the center of the universe, he had gone against the Bible and the church. Since he no longer believed in what ancient philosophers had discovered, he was ordered to stop believing what he had found (Sis page number). Galileo published Dialogue on the Two Chief World Systems, Ptolemaic and Copernican (1632). In this book, he was said to have hypothetically argued for Copernican system, which claimed that earth was stationary. He mostly stated that he believed that the earth did truly move. Since that wasn’t believed by the Catholic church, the Pope called Galileo into questioning (Flinn). The reason for being called in by the Pope is followed by a long list. Thinking the sun is immovable and remains in the center of the universe, having instructed or taught people concepts that were conflicting with the church, and addressing the objections from the holy scripture; is just a few reasons listed during Galileo’s case (“Document in the case”). When called by the Pope, they made their statement against Galileo. The following states the reason behind Galileo being sentenced; first off, the theory that the sun is the center of the universe and immobile is unreasonable, philosophically false, and unorthodox because it differs from the Holy Scripture (“Documents in the Case”). Second of all, The theory that the earth is not the center of the world and that it moves daily is absurd because it is philosophically false and incorrect when it comes to religion (“Documents in the Case”). After his session in court, he was sentenced to house arrest for the rest of his life (Flinn). Galileo’s Discoveries lead to conflict in his life, limiting further exploration during the scientific revolution.

The Relationship Between Science and Religion

When being addressed by the church and religious leaders, he didn’t have the ability to convince them of his ideas and findings. At that time the bible was often the only thing that shared the truth. During the scientific revolution, science wasn’t always the answer. People often referred to the bible as well, in order to find the truth. The bible usually referred to thing more figuratively, whereas the scientific theories weren’t. Therefore, they often ended up being in disagreement about what was true. Now, this wasn’t the case when it came to Galileo’s views (Flinn). In 1615, Galileo wrote a letter to the Grand Duchess Christina. Was an essay written by Galileo was to understand the connection between Copernicanism with the teachings of the Catholic church. In his letter, he explained many different ideas on the relationship between science and religion. First off, he wrote that one must decode science by understanding the logic behind god, and why he created the world (“Just What”). This adds to what was stated before, Galileo believed that religion influences the understanding of the world of science. This proves that unlike what the Church claimed, Galileo wasn’t completely against religion and their beliefs. On the same note, Galileo believed that he did not need to believe that the God who gave him all his sense was the one to decide how to use them. He concluded that God doesn’t have the ability to deny what we have proved in front of our eyes (Galileo Galilei). By saying this it shows how religion and science are truly connected but have different purposes. To add to that he believed religion teaches us how to live life, and how one can go to heaven, but they don’t teach what’s happening in heaven (Galileo Galilei). From his many beliefs, he truly is following the church more than going against it. In his letter he wrote, to get rid of our ideas because of a Biblical passage would be contrary to the ideas of the Bible and purpose of the Holy Fathers. Therefore ideas must be interpreted differently (Galileo Galilei). From numerous example of Galileo’s beliefs it’s visible that although claimed by the church, he truly isn’t against the belief that comes from religion. Therefore, we can conclude that Galileo much rather refer to both the Bible and science to find the truth, than make a decision off of one.


In conclusion, we can learn that there are always many sides to an issue. From the beginning, Galileo was always learning and exploring new parts of our universe. But his intelligence wasn’t excepted be the church, therefore this conflict resulted in hardships in his life. Consequently, we can see how the church viewed Galileo. But not only is the churches opinion informative, but Galileo’s views are just as important. Galileo passion towards both Science and Religion further develop his beliefs on both sides of the issue. Thus, highlighting the differences between how the church sees him verse himself. Although religion impacted his life in an extensive way, Galileo remained true to himself. His passion for science was present from the moment he was born, to even the moment he left the trial, when he whispered, ‘nonetheless, the earth still moves ‘(Flinn).

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