One of the causes of the Renaissance was the declining credibility of the Catholic Church and the subsequent emergence of secular curiosity. The Black Death which resulted in the deaths of innocent children was something the Church failed to explain or provide support for in a time of emotional turbulence. This led people to lose faith in the Church and feel confused and frustrated. Compounded by the immense wealth the Church had accumulated through commoners' donations and its lavishness, people saw through the corruption of the Church causing it to lose credibility and the subsequent failure of Gnosticism. The cumulative effect of the Black Death proved that the Church was not powerful enough to help the people overcome crisis or improve lives, and highlighted the limitations of medieval knowledge in handling problems. This catalyzed the emergence of secular curiosity as people looked to books and to themselves for answers. This brought about the realization of human potential to provide oneself with answers, take care of and be accountable to oneself through one's own merit and ability. These changes constituted two of the characteristics that would eventually shape the Renaissance – humanism, the celebration of mankind's achievement and ability; and the spirit of inquiry and discovery and critical thinking. .
Another of the causes of the Renaissance was the advent of new technology. One example was the invention of the printing press by John Gutenberg of Mainz. Known as the letterpress printing, this form of printing was not only efficient but made books available to the public at an affordable price. Soon after there were more printers in Italy and this abundance of books greatly contributed to their popularity. These books not only could be mass-produced and used to spread humanities such as literature and philosophy, enabling more people to adopt these ideas, but also bypassed Ecclesiastical control and it was made possible to disseminate ideologies, opinions and knowledge which were secular, further catalyzing the people's spirit of inquiry.