Roman Catholicism shackled Europe with Christianity in an era when the Popes together with temporal Kings and Emperors held sway. This apparent stifling of human reasoning was characterized by degradation of religious thoughts and scientific enquiry. To escape this ignominy, the renaissance or Re-birth movement took root. Martin Luther (1483-1546) and Calvin (1509-1564) were the leaders of the Reformist Church that would later crystallize into the Protestant Church, while David Hume (1711-1776) led the Rejectionists, a group that later became Secular Humanists, better put atheists.
The reform movement rejected the rites, rituals and hierarchy present in the Catholic Church in a quest to return to a pure Christianity. What would obviously follow was a large excommunication of many reformers. This snowballed into a breaking off of a number of communities all over Europe who rejected the worship of Mary as the mother of God, intercession through the saints, infallibility of the Pope, and the rigid monastic life of priests.
While this was on, the other consequential group started questioning or denying the existence of God. A whole new line of religious and metaphysical thoughts was forming. For the very first time in the history of man, pure atheism wasn’t just forming in enlightened circles; it was spreading among the common masses. This period witnessed the French Revolution and the landmark Copernicus theory.
The advent of modern science came with the Copernicus revolution. This was the wrangling over what later became known as the Copernicus theory i.e. the view of the Italian mathematician Galileo that the sun is the center of the universe and that all other bodies orbit it, rotating on an axis. This was just a mere vindication of the views of the hitherto condemned Copernicus that Galileo confirmed with the aid of his new telescope. Though latest scientific findings seem to dispute this, the church’s stand against this was due to flagrant dogmatism and not any reasonable scientific observation. The church would later force him to abandon this view, labeling him a heretic and thus shot itself in the foot in the minds of thinking people. To them, it is totally wrong for the church to assume a monopoly of the truth.