Protestant Reformation

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Discuss the political and social consequences of the Protestant Reformation in the first half of the sixteenth century...

In the early sixteenth century, Western Europe's religious face was dominated by the Roman Catholic faith. The Catholic Church was the sole athority power of day to day values, and before long, conflicting social and political issues began to shake the foundation of the corrupt Catholic Church. Moreover, Western Catholics began to realize the corrupt nature of the Church; as the selling of indulgences was challenged by Martin Luther's 95 Theses, the hierarchal nature of the Church was displayed via blatant acts of simony, and the concept was purgatory was outwardly questioned. Ultimately, as westerners caught wind of the aforementioned doings, an attempt to reform the Catholic Church began brewing: the Protestant Reformation. This Reformation ultimately led to several significant social and political consequences.

On one note, the Reformation led to the once-all Catholic western Europeans being separated into several demographics: Catholic Christianty, Protestant Christianty, and Orthodox. As a result, the belief of the founder Jesus Christ was magnified, as well as the belief of the Bible as a doctrine of salvation (in the Protestant faith). Consequently, the popularity of the Bible led to it being printed in vernacular rather than Latin, and thus the Bible began to appeal to a larger audience rather than solely the wealthy and educated. This accessiblity to the lower class revealed the teachings of faith to a previously uninformed demographic. Also, Protestantism had created a new, highly individual spirituality. Survival and salvation depended upon inner faith and self-disclipline, thus a larger emphasis was made on personal commitments and values. As the teachings of the Bible were made more widely availible, the aforementioned notions became more widely available. With this newfound knowledge, and with the economic power of the...
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