Francis Bacon was the founder of the modern scient

ific method. Thefocus on the new scientific method is on orderly experimentation. For Bacon,
experiments that produce results are important. Bacon pointed out the need
for clear and accurate thinking, showing that any mastery of the world in
which man lives was dependent upon careful understanding. This understanding
is based solely yyon the facts of this world and not as the ancients held it
in ancient philosophy. This new modern science provides the foundation for
modern political science. Bacon’s political science completely separated
religion and philosophy. For Bacon, nothing exists in the universe except
individual bodies. Although he did not offer a complete theory of the nature
of the universe, he pointed the way that science, as a new civil religion,
might take in developing such a theory.

Bacon divided theology into the natural and the revealed. Natural
theology is the knowledge of God which we can get from the study of nature and
the creatures of God. Convincing proof is given of the existance of God but
nothing more. Anything else must come from revealed theology. SCience and
philosophy have felt the need to justify themselves to laymen. The belieft
that nature is something to be vexed and tortured to the compliance of man
will not satisfy man nor laymen. Natural science finds its proper method when
the ‘scientist’ puts Nature to the question, tortures her by experiment and
wrings from her answers to his questions. The House of Solomon is directly
related to these thoughts. “It is dedicated to the study of Works and the
Creatures of God” (Bacon, 436). Wonder at religious questions was natural,
but, permitted free reign, would destroy science by absorbing the minds and
concerns of men. The singular advantage of Christianity is its irrationality.

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The divine soul was a matter for religion to handle. The irrational soul was
open to study and understanding by man using the methods of science.

The society of the NEW ATLANTIS is a scientific society. It is
dominated by scientists and guided by science. Science conquers chance and
determines change thus creating a regime permanently pleasant. Bensalem,
meaning “perfect son” in Hebrew, has shunned the misfortunes of time, vice and
decay. Bensalem seems to combine the blessedness of jerusalem and the
pleasures and conveniences of Babylon. In Bacon’s NEW ATLANTIS, the need for
man to be driven does not exist. Scarcity is eliminated thereby eliminating
the need for money. “But thus, you see, we maintain a trade, not for gold,
silver or jewels… nor for any other commodity of matter, but only for God’s
first creature which was light” (Bacon, 437). This shows a devotion to truth
rather than victory and it emphasizes the Christian piety to which the
scientist is disposed by virtue of his science. As man observes and brings
the fruits of his observations together, he discover likenesseees anbd
differences among events and objects in the universe. In this way he will
establish laws among happenings upon which he can base all subsequent action.

Bacon realized that sometimes religious ideas and the discoveries of nature
and careful observations were contradictory but he argued that society must
believe both.

The NEW ATLANTIS begins with the description of a ship lost at sea.

The crew “lift up their hearts and voices to God above, who showeth his
wonders in the deep, beseeching him of his mercy” (Bacon, 419). Upon spotting
land and discerning natives the sailors praise God. When a boarding party
comes to their ship to deliver messages, none of the natives speak. Rather,
the messages are delivered written on scrolls of parchment. The parchment is
“signed with a stamp of cherubins’ wings… and by them a cross” (Bacon, 420).

To the sailors, the cross was “a great rejoicing, and as it were a certain
presage of good” (Bacon, 420). After the natives leave and return to the
ship, they stop and ask “Are ye Christians?” (Bacon, 421). When the sailors
confirm that they are, they are taken to the island of Bensalem. On Bensalem,
the sailors are ‘confined’ to their resting place and are attended to
according to their needs. The sailors reply, “God surely is manifested in
this land” (Bacon, 424). Upon talking to the governor the next day, he
exclaims “Ye knit my heart to you by yyasking this question, the hope that
they might meet heaven, in the first place, for it showeth that you first
seek the kingdom of heaven” (Bacon, 427). This is not true. The sailors have
already sought food, shelter and care of the sick. In other words, they had
sought self preservation. As Bacon put it, “they had already prepared for
death” (Bacon, 419).

After the Feast of the Family, the father of Salomon’s House has a
conference with the travelers. The fater says, “I will give the greatest
jewel that I have. For I will impart to thee… a relation of the true state
of Salomon’s House” (Bacon, 447). The greatest ‘jewel’ is not one of monetary
value but of knowledge. The father continues, “The End of our Foundation is
the Knowledge of Causes and secret motion of things, and the enlarging of the
bounds of Human Empire, to the affecting of all things possible” (bacon, 447).

This is the turning point from religion to science and science becoming the
new civil religion. From this comes the ability of human rule over Nature.

It was stated before that they were interested in “God’s first creature which
was light” (Bacon, 437). This contradicts an earlier statment that “It is
dedicated to the study of Works and Creatures of God” (Bacon, 436). The
former obviously an indication to science as the latter is to religion.

Bacon stresses the importance of ‘light’ as the precursor of ‘fruit’
to suggest that they are following the divine instrument. There are two
images used by Bacon to refer to knowledge, torture and light. The torture
refers to the violent twisting of nature’s secrets. Nature must be conquered
but is not adverse to the conquest. The forces of Nature are against us, but
in a rather passive manner. Light, on the other hand, is the meaning for
natural philosophy. From Salomon’s housem there go forth ‘merchants of light’
and ‘lamps’. Light is identified with truth. Supposing that light is
symbolic of natural philosophy, then it dismisses the case of light being
divine philosophy. The light in Bacon is primarily the light of Nature. The
obvious contrast here is one between “gold and silver and light” (Bacon, 437).

Light, here is noble where gold and silver are base. The ‘noble light’ is for
the benificence of all man. Bcaon took the modern spirit and weaved them
together so as to suggest a method by which man could master the universe. He
did this to the end that he might exhibit therein a model or description of a
college instituted for the interpreting of nature and the producing of great
works for the benefit of man.

The island community of Bensalem also has “two longand fair
galleries” (Bacon, 456). In one gallery the native place all manner of
patterns and samples of rare and excellent inventions. In the other gallery
are placed statues of inventors. It is interesting to note here that while
the island and its natives act in “so civil a fashion” (Bacon, 423) in
professing to be Christian and religious that they place science so high on
their list. Science is placed so high that instead of havingstatues of God
and his works, they erect statues of inventors of the western world thereby
showing their commonness and baseness to human preservation. They do,
however, have “certain hymns and services, which (we) say daily, of laud and
praise to God for his marvellous works” (Bacon, 457). But, even this is done
“for the illumination of (their) labors and the turning of them into good and
holy uses” (Bacon, 457). The statues are erected to the memory of what the
natives consider most important for in Bacon, the scientists are a consecrated

In Bacon’s NEW ATLANTIS, religion plays an important role. However,
it is a role of coverup. It covers up the true idea that Bacon is trying to
get across – science as the new civil religion. Although he relegated
religion into a realm of its own outside of and different from philosophy, he
held that there were religious laws that man must obey whether or not they
appeared reasonable. By freeing theology and philosophy, Bacon was able to
shape philosophy so that it might undertake an unbiased study of the universe.

This left man subject to the will of God and thereby shorn of his freedom. It
is obvious that this creation could not long satisfy the thinking mind as it
was far too contradictory. The laymen have a genuine thirst for knowledge yet
they cannot know what is uncovered either by religion or by science.


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