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In what ways did the Reformation influence the formation of national identity in Europe and North America - Essay Example

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Ways in which the Reformation influenced the formation of national identity in Europe and North America Perhaps the most significant context of the recent study of nations and reformation has been the increasing interest in national identities across the historical profession…
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In what ways did the Reformation influence the formation of national identity in Europe and North America
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Download file to see previous pages With this view, Wolfe (2003, p. 24) notes that the vital moment in the formation of identity came when individuals came to view amorphous mass of people as sharing a common history, destiny, culture and interest. In the past few decades, the examination of the history of religion has shifted from the ghetto of clerical history to which it had been long impounded (Veer & Lehmann, 1999, p. 21). Having looked at the general state of identity in the European countries, it is imperative to focus attention on the relationship between reformation and national identity in the European and North American nations. In reference to Arnold (1999), Reformation is the religious insurgency that occurred in the Western church in 16th century. Martin Luther and John Calvin were its greatest leaders. It had far reaching political, social and economic effects and was the primary cause of Protestantism, one of the three primary divisions of Christianity. Meyer (2009) denotes that this revolution aspired to reform the practices and beliefs of the Roman Catholic Church. However, the revolution’s religious elements were complemented by political leaders who aimed at extending their supremacy and control to the detriment of the church. This upsurge brought an end to the unity inflicted by medieval Christianity and, according to many historians, marked the start of a new era (Meyer, 2009). A deterioration of the old order was by now in progress in North Europe, as verified by the materialization of flourishing new cities and a resolute middle class. The efforts and determination of the leaders of reformation resulted to the creation of new protestant churches (Clark, 2000, p. 251). The world of the medieval Roman Catholic Church from which the reformers aggressed was an intricate. Over the centuries, the church, especially the papacy, had been involved in the political life of Europe. This had resulted to manipulations which prompted the reformers to revolt. The Catholic Church controlled the economy of majority of Europena countries and imposed heavy taxes on the people (Meyer, 2009). Luther saw that Catholic was a way of manipulating the people and driving them away from God. In 1517, Martin Luther, posted a document referred to as the 95 theses. This document outlined reasons by why he believed that Catholicism was completely defective (Clark, 2000, p. 253). Martin Luther’s stand transformed some parts of the Roman Catholic set of guidelines and numerous other practices. He insisted on the point that the Bible and not the pope, was the main way to recognize God’s Word. The pope was an extremely worldly figure and held supremacy in the Catholic Church. For this reason, Arnold (1999) asserts that this point raised eyebrows across the continent. Martin Luther felt that the bible was the most significant aspect in spirituality which the Christians should abide to other than the orders of the pope. He felt that this was an unfair to the true significance of salvation. When Luther criticized the Catholic Church, not everyone accepted him as a savior of religion. At first, he only appealed to the barbarians and other lower class people. No one in the religion had acknowledged the importance of the document written by Luther, though it would be one of the most significant documents to ever be written in history (Meyer, 2009). Many public figures wanted to excommunicate him. The church did not want to involve him ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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