We wish a Merry Isaac Newtonmas to everyone, everywhere.
We know to 100% accuracy that the great British scientist and mathematician was born on the day that the British knew as 25 December, whereas there is only a 1 in 365 chance that Jesus was.
Let's spread the good news . . .
Strictly I don't think we shall ever really know what Isaac Newton thought. Anyway, the Wikipedia entry was clearly written by a theist and would be different (although not biased) if written by someone like me.
I have read elsewhere several times that outwardly it appears he was a deist. He was certainly not a christian, and this is why such a great man was never invited to be master or principal of any university college. At Cambridge and Oxford christianity was essential for this---and still is, I think, because of having to be in tune with the endless round of christian events. To look like a deist in the eighteenth century was already a brave attitude to take because of its dangerous denial of core christian beliefs. He was a top pioneering scientist of his times while not having the deeper knowledge of science that we all inherit today because of the centuries of research of our predecessors in between. If only he had been born post-Darwin, his attitudes would surely have been quite different.
We shall never no the truth about the theological leanings of Copernicus, Bruno, Galileo, Keppler, or Newton. My guess is were looking at it from too far a distance, if we regard them as thinking individuals and equate that to what we know of such people today, then they were atheists, they just didn't know it at the time.
A lot of people just conformed to the religious rites to cover up the things they really thought...
... then they were atheists, they just didn't know it at the time.
I could buy this with deists of the period. I'm sure most of them would have rapidly moved on to atheism, if they had lived in the modern day. I think Newton would have ended up something like Francis Collins or Kenneth R. Miller.
I'm with Tyson on this one, though.
I couldn't embed a timestamp. It's at 8:42.
A lot of us who went to school where there was some or much religion continue to do this now. That is, pretend.
Even I when form-filling for the Oxford University Entrance Exam in 1953 wrote "C of E" in answer to the question about religion.
But no-one asked me what it meant because the meaning "Church of England" was presupposed.
Instead, it meant "Critic of the Establishment".
I dunno, guys. With people like Galileo and Copernicus, I could accept the display-of-conformity argument a bit more easily, as a possible consideration, although probably never resolvable, barring a book comparable to the one that Mark Twain had published, 100 years after his death. Newton actually wrote extensively about theology, though, even if his religious thought would have been considered heretical.
Being actively, aggressively Christian to avoid persecution by the church ... fine. Writing notebooks that would have been considered heretical, in order to avoid persecution, though? That just doesn't scan. Even with the schism between Catholicism and Anglicism, I would expect a false believer to adopt a more orthodox position.
Under any circumstances let's be careful not to worship Newton. We don't want to go from worshiping a supposed god to worshiping a human being.
Saying Happy Newtonmas is not worshipping a man; it is a friendly gesture between some atheists.
And some snide, well-deserved mockery of the Christian thing that they do around this time of year.
Why not worship Newton, he never claimed to have created the world but his ideas gave rise to the modern world, and he was definitely born on the day in question, so happy Newtonmas and don't forget it.
Appreciate, respect, admire ... revere maybe, if you want to go to extremes. Worship, though?
You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.