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The movie Agora happens in Alexandria throughout a time of political dispute in between Christians and pagans in fourth century Rome and centers around Hypatia a woman researchers and thinker. Hypatia has dedicated her life to science and at the beginning of the motion picture she teaches at the Platonic school. She studies primarily approach, astronomy, and mathematics, and makes discoveries about the method the earth and planets move the sun. Her hypotheses about the earth moving around the sun in an elliptic orbit were far beyond her time.
She is respected in “pagan” society by her male peers and trainees, while Christians discover her work heretical. Even her father appreciates her work as an instructor and researcher by refusing to set her up for marriage since he knows that it would break her heart if she needed to stop teaching and be a partner. In the motion picture, we see how science is more crucial to Hypatia than love, as she declines romantic advances from both Orestes and Davus.
She has actually picked to commit her life to science and her studies, and eventually quits her life for science, which is exceptional to say the least.
This motion picture illustrates the conflicts in between faith and science that existed in fourth century Rome and still exist today to a much lower degree. In the movie, the Christians, led by Cyril, were attempting to get political power and ruined anybody who stood in their method consisting of Jews and pagans. The pagans are open and accepting of the truth that Hypatia was a lady and a scientist and were open to her scientific contributions however the Christians contradicted her mentors and the reality that she would not transform to Christianity.
They declined her, saying asking concerns about the method the world works was questioning God and they even labeled her as a witch, killing her at the end of the motion picture. As a Christian, this was difficult to view and the disputes in between faith and science that still exist today are discouraging.
As Orestes states, “there is more that unites us than divides us,” which is true and Christians of all people, should be the most understanding of this statement and be the most accepting of all kinds of people, according to Jesus’ teaching. There will always be conflicting ideas between scientists and theologists, but we are united as one people and need to have an open mind about these issues and be willing to listen to all sides of an argument. Science and faith should be able to coexist peacefully and even build off of each other. The Christian’s treatment of Hypatia as a woman was also very different than the pagan’s treatment of her.
The pagans respected her regardless of her sex but the Christian’s showed no respect for her and labeled her as a pagan whore and witch. In many conservative Christian sects today, women are still not allowed to hold administrative positions in churches and are expected to sit quietly behind their husbands, while in the field of science, women can make important contributions that are respected by both their male and female peers. The bridge between faith and science has come a long way since Hypatia’s time, but there is still a long way to go, hopefully more bridges will continue to be built and the fact that both science and faith can and should unite us, not divide us, will be realized.
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