Martin Luther vs. Henry VIII: How Two Men of Different Backgrounds Revolutionized Religions of the Reformation
Europe, 1600’s: The Catholic Church has begun to sell indulgences, a way to pay off sins to reduce time in purgatory, to raise money. A monk who is outraged by the pope tricking innocent worshipers into falling for his trap writes down a list of 95 reasons why the church has become corrupt by the light of a scroll and furiously hammers them to the door of a German church. Meanwhile in England, a king is denied an annulment to his marriage. In a fit of anger, he removes the church’s authority and writes up his own religion for his land and people, with himself as to rule. A monk and a king; Martin Luther and King Henry VIII; two souls of polar opposites who broadened Europe’s worldviews of religion with their gifts of Protestantism and the Anglican Church.
Martin Luther, born in Germany in 1483, was a man of logic: he studied law, as guided by his father, but longed to learn about religion. One night in 1505, he was caught in a horrid lightning storm. He prayed to God, promising to become a monk if he left this storm alive and unharmed. He followed his word and taught peacefully. However, in 1516, one of the catholic pope’s commissioners was sent to Germany to sell and collect indulgences. This angered Luther because many of his people stopped attending church services, believing that since they had paid off indulgences, they had no need to ask forgiveness within the pews. He thought that since they would do this that they instead would spend more of an eternity in purgatory. On October 31, 1517, he began to write the 95 Theses, a list of reasons why the Catholic Church was corrupt in their intentions. He posted these onto the door of his church with the intended audience to just be the priest and a few others. However, because of the invention of the Printing Press, copies of Luther’s works were printed and spread across...
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