None of the Above: Early Modernity

Sources: Alister McGrath, Historical Theology: An Introduction to the History of Christian Thought (Blackwell, 1998); Diarmaid MacCulloch, "The Reformation 1500-1650" and Jane Shaw, "The Late Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries," in Richard Harries and Henry Mayr-Harting, Christianity: Two Thousand Years (Oxford, 2001).

Reading: Ps. 19.

Nature over Nurture
Reformation theology divides rather than unites Europe:

Catholic-Huguenot violence cools France to Protestantism
Henry III's 1598 Edict of Nantes tolerates Huguenots (but Louis XIV revokes it 1685)
Dutch Calvinists defeat Spanish Catholic rule 1566-1648
Elizabethan England defeats Spain 1588, successfully suppresses Catholic rebellions
English Puritans, Scottish Presbyterians, Congregationalists, etc. revolutionize Britain from 1641
Puritans and Independents run Britain with Oliver Cromwell as Lord Protector 1653-1658
Wars of Religion 1618-1648 decimate central Europe, killing millions
Peace of Westphalia 1648 accepts cuius regio eius religio: rulers choose the local faith

So religion remains Constantinian but is relativized politically
Renaissance humanism has introduced renewed respect for natural sciences
Some thinkers turn to science and "unaided reason" for universal, certain truth
This philosophical turn inaugurates "modernity"

Science against Holy Tradition
In 1543 Copernicus affirms heliocentrism; in 1615 Galileo confirms and promotes it
This offends Catholic authorities who maintain the Church's teaching cannot change
Protestant notions of biblical accommodation and fidecentrism lead to more toleration
Francis Bacon develops the inductive scientific method of hypothesis/observation 1626
Scientists like Robert Boyle appeal to natural theology and general revelation
Isaac Newton describes a mechanistic world ruled by "natural laws" of cause and effect
Soon empiricism will prefer demonstrable "fact" to settled precedent

Reason against Faith
Rene Descartes strives for absolute epistemological certainty through doubt and logic
Cartesian dualism opposes mind/spirit to body/matter (Gilbert Ryle: "ghost in the machine")
Descartes in translation is a hit in England, fueling Enlightenment thought there later
In reaction, Catholic Blaise Pascal prefers "faith" to "reason"

Modernity is a departure from centering life and knowledge on the story of Jesus