Faith and Science in the Film Agora
The movie Agora takes place in Alexandria during a time of political conflict between Christians and pagans in 4th century Rome and centers around Hypatia a woman scientists and philosopher. Hypatia has dedicated her life to science and at the beginning of the movie she teaches at the Platonic school. She studies mainly philosophy, astronomy, and mathematics, and makes discoveries about the way the earth and planets move around 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 students, while Christians find her work heretical. Even her father respects her work as a teacher and scientist by refusing to set her up for marriage because he knows that it would break her heart if she had to quit teaching and be a wife. In the movie, we see how science is more important to Hypatia than love, as she refuses romantic advances from both Orestes and Davus. She has chosen to dedicate her life to science and her studies, and eventually gives up her life for science, which is admirable to say the least.
This movie illustrates the conflicts between faith and science that existed in 4th century Rome and still exist today to a much lesser degree. In the movie, the Christians, led by Cyril, were trying to gain political power and destroyed anyone who stood in their way including Jews and pagans. The pagans are open and accepting of the fact that Hypatia was a woman and a scientist and were open to her scientific contributions but the Christians refused to accept her teachings and the fact that she would not convert to Christianity. They rejected her, saying asking questions about the way the world works was questioning God and they even labeled her as a witch, murdering her at the end of the movie. As a Christian, this was hard to watch and the conflicts between faith and science that still exist today are disheartening....
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