New Patterns of Thought

Secularism, Humanism, Individualism, Skepticism


The cultural revolution that was the Renaissance was all about the mind. Sure, pretty things came out of this process, but the main point was the way the average person's thought process changed. New ideas exploded all throughout the world, giving rise to new schools of thought. The most important of these were secularism, humanism, individualism, and skepticism.


Never heard of it

To put it bluntly, secularism is the belief that religion should be separated from all other matters. This includes state law, education, medicine, and family. An example can be derived from many governments of the world today. For education, secularism would require there to be no religious classes in schools, to help promote equality. For law, it would mean that people cannot be convicted for being of a certain religion, or not abiding by certain religious laws. It helps enforce the right of not having a religion forced unto you.
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Humble Origins

Secularism's origins begin as a part of humanism, as it places more emphasis on humanity rather than deities and the afterlife. Prior to the Renaissance, rulers tended to justify their reigns with divine right to rule. This right would state that those who would follow said rulers faithfully would be granted eternal happiness upon death. However, with the onset of humanism, people began to value their lives over the afterlife. The human condition began to take priority over all else. As the people began to move away from religion, secularism appeared.
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Secularism and Christianity

Prior to the Protestant Revolution, Christianity was still the dominant religion in Europe. When secularism first emerged, it was mainly directed towards independence from the Pope and the church. At the time, the people had their lives more or less dictated by those of high religious authority. When Martin Luther proposed removing the middleman between the people and their God, the foundations of religious defiance were made. Eventually, people started to be more open with their ideas. The world was no longer just about getting to heaven, but also about living a life of pleasure, not obedience. Religion was no longer the basis for every decision that people made. Science became a rather hot topic over the years, and the removal of religious restrictions gave way to brand new fields that had not be considered earlier.

Humanism: Definition

Humanism was a movement that was based on the value and worth of each individual and increased interest on secular thoughts and living life to the fullest.

Humanism: Origins

Humanism had began with the idea of "living life to the fullest" and to "carpe diem" ("seize the day.") other than looking toward the afterlife of either going and heaven or hell. These Ideas were expressed through Literature, Philosophy and Art were inspirations as to looking upon the world in a different way other than the Christian world view that was projected by medieval power at the time.

Humanism: Early Humanists


After the humanist discovered Greek text of Sextus Empiricus, people began to pick up on the idea of skepticism. This in turn, made the everyday church goer, question why they went to church and what did they personally believe in. The only issue with this was that the church, and majority of the people did not believe that being a skeptic or an atheist was right. So those who were openly skeptical or an atheist, were executed.
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Individualism in the Renaissance allowed people more freedom to choose what they wanted in their life. Many artist were thought to have been genius, they are unable to express any own thoughts to uniqueness being encouraged, the Renaissance allowed many opportunities for individualism.
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Art and Literature

Art shows the uniqueness of the person and gave people a way to express who they were no matter their social levels. The people who contribute to Renaissance painting and drawing used religion to express their beliefs. The bigger the picture the more importance the meaning to them.

When religion playing a role in literature, they would spend time searching for religious manuscripts. And men start to involved in literature and use example of arts to be inspired and as a study guide for their own work. The famous writer would be Shakespeare, his commitment to individual liberty is one of the key reasons for still reading his literature today.


Religion during the Renaissance was still a major part in the people lives. Same with art and literature, religion shaped the individuals mind in society by allowing people to believe what they want and to choose the religion they want to follow.

Modern Day

Individualism was seen as selfish in nowadays, because personal value and individual interest is above public and others. To achieve a personal goal, it can even harm the interests of public and others.