Winter Will Be Here Soon -- Study hard as finals approach...


 
  __________________ ____________________  

Modern European History: the Reformation

 

I believe the statement "The reformation was a rejection of
the secular spirit of the Italian Renaissance" is false
because in the long term of European history, the
reformation was able to create a more humanistic view of
the world than that of the Renaissance humanism. There are
three major changes and philosophies that the Protestants
of the reformation incorporated which led to the long term
advancement of Humanism. These are the beginnings of "free
thought" away church dogma, the development of Capitalism,
and the questioning of religious and Governmental
authorities.
 
Before Martin Luther's reformation the church dictated how
Christians teachings should be interpreted, even the
reading of the bible was discouraged. There also was the
"indulgences" issued by the clergy, which was in essence a
"passport to heaven". This out-raged some people like
Martin Luther who stressed an individual interpretation of
the bible, in books like Freedom of a Christian, stressing
salvation by faith alone. This first division of the church
in to Protestant caused many more religious groups to form
on each interpretation of the bible.
 
The next important long-term change, Capitalism stemmed
from Calvinism. Calvinism was a religious movement which
believed in the individuals responsibility to reorganize
society according to "God's plan". Max Weber, the famous
German sociologist, in his study The Protestant Ethic and
the Spirit of Capitalism, argued that these ideas led to
the development of Capitalism. Secular life was able to
develop in this environment.
 
The last important change came from thee many people who
were not satisfied with the existing forms of Government
and religious authority. Clergy and royalty were believed
to be intermediaries between God and the common person.
This meant the a king could say God told him anything and
it must be accepted. Martin Luther and many other of the
early Protestants became objects of protest for the groups
not satisfied. In 1525 many of Martin Luther's followers
revolted against the German nobility. These protestants
wrote "We...take it for granted that you will release us
from serfdom as true Christians". This was the ultimate
refutation that led to the reformation.
 
All of this change, from the reformation the entire way of
religious thought changed. At first, the Protestant
Reformation did reject the secular spirit, but in the long
term, the revolting caused individual thought leading the
great changes I described in this essay. The Protestant
Reformation was a major building block of history, and some
would say our country. 
 



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