The Impact of Reformation

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Reformation significantly influenced the development of western culture and civilization. Christianity and Europe were transformed into subtle and obvious methods. Way before Reformation, there was a permanent division in the western church, whereby there were Protestants and Catholics. The Catholics had their faith in the power of the Pope and the interest for a mediatory priesthood while the Protestants placed their faith in the power of the Bible and believed in individual’s ability to get salvation without priests’ mediation. More religious groups resulted from the split and claimed to be associated with the Christian church. Religious persecution was an impact of reformation because Protestants such as Elizabeth I and Edward VI harshly tortured Catholics as Catholics like Queen Mary burnt many Protestants using instruments if Inquisition. Indeed, reformation made there to be the strengthening of religious intolerance. Every faith focused on attracting more people to its folding and paid attention to offering training or education to youths. The Catholics offered education with the aim of winning the Protestants while the Protestants emphasized offering training for there to be many people who would read the Bible. Therefore, the governance of the church was changed.

Reformation led to a riot instead of theological compromise or synthesis in Christianity. The church councils were engaged in solving the theological disputes. However, the moment Protestantism established sectarianism; theological conflicts generated different denominations. It was expected that religion would change theologically at a great deal, but the manner of its organization was radically transformed.

Martin Luther wanted the state to establish schools and at the same time required the civil authorities to oblige the people to allow their children to go to school. Luther being among the reformers was not happy with certain things that were happening between the church and politics. However, he never raised concerns about the main theological doctrines such as Trinity or the things that were sources from the Council of Nicea in A.D. 325.

Through transformation, there was the emergence of political struggle between the European Kings and the Catholic Church because the kings were not comfortable with the issue of sharing authority.

There was the development of individualism because of Reformation. In the beginning, Reformation focused on freeing individuals from the supremacy of the church and motivated them to raise concerns towards Pope's authority. However, as time went on, people started questioning the power of the Bible and the existence of God and Lord Jesus. People began practicing individualism in the economic sphere, therefore the collapse of the guild method and the upcoming of the individual entrepreneur. Individual business was encouraged by Calvin, as he pleaded that a man's job was a calling from God and effectiveness in the calling indicated the advancement of salvation.

The monarchical and nationalist forces were strengthened by Reformation. The European rulers once they finished challenging the power of Papacy focused on establishing national churches. This led to the Protestant rulers identifying themselves as political and spiritual leaders of their followers. The church assumed national feature in the nations where Catholic Church still existed; therefore, people paid attention to the King instead of the Pope in the activities meant to enforce the religious principles. To make their position stronger, rulers formed a uniform system of law and justice in their realm and developed a common faith; whereby the followed were obedient.

The modern national stated came up because of Reformation. After questioning the Pope's authority, several rulers established national churches, therefore leading to the progress of national states. The long-lasting religious wars resulted in the spirit of intolerance because of the division in Christianity, which cases civil wars in different nations of Europe. Protestantism in England was suppressed by a fleet sent by King Philip II from Spain. Besides, there was a long period of war between Protestants and Catholics, which existed from 1618 to 1648. The particular war assumed a global character, but it ended through the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, and this was when Calvinism was identified as a system of Protestantism. 

Different local languages developed in various regions of Europe because of the founding of many churches and religions. The local languages were preferred for Latin. This led to the focus on the literary activities and to broaden the moral and intellectual and horizons of people; scholars focused on natural sciences, history, economics, politics, and classical studies.

Personal opinions:

            I think that the conflict between Catholics and Protestants indicated that there was no honor to the church because leaders focused on gaining authority. Although the Reformation transformed the Western culture, much of it was focused on changes in the religions and churches. The establishment of the modern Protestantism is explained by the end of the post-reformation denominations. I understand that reformation destroyed the success that was achieved by people by behaving in pluralism, as it led to individualism, which made some to suffer in the hands of others. Indeed, I think that Reformation focused more on religions than how it transformed people’s cultural practices.

November 13, 2023

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