What role did religion play in the medieval worldview?

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For most people in the Middle Ages, religion was central to their view of the world.  It would have been hard to separate their worldview from their religion.

So far as we know, almost everyone in the Middle Ages was religious.  This was a time when science could not explain very much about the natural world.  It was also a time at which life was typically very perilous.  People could be killed by any number of accidents or diseases or other factors.  This meant that the Middle Ages were a time when it seemed as if everyone’s life hung more or less by a thread and that there seemed to be no explanation for why things like illnesses happened.

Perhaps because of these factors, people tended to believe in the Catholic religion (as this was the only Christian sect at that point).  They accepted the idea that their lives were controlled by God and that the Church was their way to a good afterlife.  The church also had a great deal of influence on daily life.  People knew the time by the bells from the monasteries and churches.  They reckoned dates by church festivals.  Religion was pervasive in their lives.

In these ways, religion did a great deal to determine the worldview of people in the Middle Ages.

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