The idea of rational thinking has been debated ever since the beginning of human existence. As humans we base what we think on what we know, during the 1600’s if a person was black than they must have been inferior. This thinking seemed “rational” to the people of this period because they didn’t know any better. The concept of rationality throughout time has always been a matter of perspective. If you are taught from birth that black people are inferior and grow-up with this idea in your head than you have no other basis for how you perceive someone with a skin color other than yourself.
If we think about it, before 1650 belief was all that was needed when there was an argument about religion. People listened to what the Pope had to say because he was thought to be an extenuation of God, and whatever he preached was obviously true. Today we look at that behavior and laugh, if even half of the rationalism that was applied 350 years ago was applied today in some religions, no one would enter into them.
It is good to know that through research by men like Aristotle, who determined that the earth is round, someone like Copernicus can learn that the earth is not only orbiting like the stars but it is orbiting the biggest planet the sun. But this knowledge came with a price; the Pope who was believed infallible did not approve of any of these radical nee findings, everything that these men were saying went right against the beliefs of the Catholic Church. A couple of hundred years earlier this new thinking would have had a lot harder time getting off the ground because there was no fast, economical way to spread the information. That was until the invention of the printing press, now the Pope had to deal with the problem that these ideas could be printed and distributed in a fast manner.
With society now having the ability to gain access to new information, people began to question the rationalism of the Roman Catholic Church. Not to mention at this same time the Pope and the Church now had to deal with the outrage from Martin Luther who was causing all sort of problems up at Wittenberg. He was focused on taking a majority of the Church’s ideas and thinking about them in a rational way not mystical. To him the Church had an uncanny way of always being able to manipulate the meaning of the word to suit it?s best interest. Luther decided that a lot of the Church’s “ideas” were hogwash, so he decided to post a critique of ninety-five changes to the Roman Catholic Church’s teachings. In the end he also paid the ultimate price, his life.
In the years approaching 1700 society began to look at the fact that there were other ways of thinking, this set off a rash ideologies from scientists, philosophers and even people within religions to approach thinking with a more defined, rational point of view. Even when it came to wealth did the event of rational thinking take place. For centuries there have been many various ideas for what the meaning of wealth is. From it being bullion, commodities, the market and finally today the concept of capitalism. It is funny to think that capitalism may not even be the true idea about wealth, but behind it all is the progression of rational thinking and ideas. It must have been interesting to be alive for the early years to experience ideas that seemed far away but seemed rational. In addition these intelligent people finally had findings to back up what they were saying.