Sunday, September 16, 2007

How Protestants Saved Western Civilization

JZ argues…

Well…well…well. I am writing for a bunch of Catholic boyz. Well, I will need to set y’all straight on how Protestants saved the world.

The Protestant Reformation introduced the needed antidotes to the Catholic mindset for Western civilization. It was only because of the religious revolution initiated by Martin Luther that democracy, capitalism, and a sense of individualism could eventually win out over the deadening feudalism of the past.

The Catholic civilization was built upon three essential ingredients that Luther attacked: priestly authority, communal values, and hierarchy. The Church was structured like a pyramid with the Pope on the top and his underlings below him in a ladder of political power. The Priests (symbolically including Cardinals, bishops, and priests) were given a mysterious higher power in society. This allowed them to rule over the common person in all matters that would lead to change in society. Priests would educate the commoner in the truths of the church and tradition. This meant that they held the credentials for information and advice. No one else was allowed to develop ideas and creations that would undermine the priestly class’ opinions. Finally, people were instructed to believe in this rigid hierarchy based upon the notion that all people were essentially corrupt in nature and needed a community, led by a higher authority, to keep them in line.

Okay, so along comes Martin Luther who challenges each one of these beliefs. Martin Luther first challenged the notion of showing external works for salvation. Instead, he stressed internal purity of faith and understanding of God. While this was meant for spiritual issues, Luther was opening the door to individual thought and creativity. Next, Luther attacked the priestly class by arguing that all followers of God were essentially priests and equal in the eyes of God. This implied that all people were capable of achieving equality in function depending upon their individual skills and talents. Finally, he challenged the notion that the Church would be sole source of information and a reflection of God. He argued that the individual should go to the Bible and read it for him or herself. He meant to do this for purposes of salvation. But, check it out! This lays the ground for independent journalism, the need for an educated populace, and the value of individual critical thought.

Now connect all of this to current day Democracy, Capitalism, and Individualism. These are the three foundations of our modern day western civilization that we cherish. Each one of these foundations fits back into the Protestant spiritual rebellion against the Catholic hierarchy. Yes, Luther was rebelling for spiritual reasons. In fact, he argued against a local peasant rebellion against one of the German princes. He argued that his rebellion was only about religious issues and had nothing to do with political or economic equality. But, by attacking the traditions of the Catholic Church, he was opening the possibilities for individualism, critical thought, empowerment of the common people, and an equality based upon ability not position in society.

Well, have I convinced y’all? I know you are all Catholic children. Have I thoroughly changed you? If you would like, I have the address of the local Lutheran church. They accept conversions on a daily basis!!!

53 comments:

leaningtower55 said...

Responding to your blog about "How Protestants Saved Western Civilization", I can somewhat agree with your statement. I actually come from a family of baptists, which can be considered Protestants. I agree that Protestants offer more freedom in practicing Chrisianity. Christians now can read the bible and interpret some of the books ideas and stories for themselves. Just think about it, if we were not able to read the bible, then theology classes would not exist and the ideas and stories of the bible would be interpreted through only one authority. These explanations from this one authority could be incorrect and the whole religion of Christianity would follow the wrong principles. That's why we need a multitude of interpretations. Thanks to Protestantism.
Protestantism has given people freedom from being told what to believe or where they belong.
Though Protestants gave birth to many western ideas, I don't think that Protestantism is better than Catholicism. Also, I don't think that it is better for Catholics to switch to this religion. While Protestants have more freedom, Catholics have a more organized structure with the threefold ordained ministry of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons. Plus, Catholicism's ways are currently more loose and less strict than how they were in the Middle Ages. This might come from influence of the Protestant church.

JFF said...

I largely agree with your analysis of Protestantism, but I think that taking this criticism to the point of conversion is more than is necessary. Since Catholicism was formed hierarchically, it is inherently an unequal system, and while the concept of “democracy” and “equality” might make rhetorical sense, it is essential to consider the fact that people are not equal and we should not make equal that which is unequal. That is, the Pope must work rigorously for many years to rise to the top of the Catholic pyramid, while a priest may have recently been ordained and not have an extremely deep and thorough knowledge of his faith. Furthermore, the idea of viewing all as equal followers of God goes against the ideal of capitalism that you hold up when you say: “Now connect all of this to current day Democracy, Capitalism, and Individualism.” In capitalism the system of the market decides who succeeds and who fails, who advances and who remains a menial laborer, who eats and who starves in the streets because of economic failure. Certainly, a society where the amount of wealth fluctuates between billions of dollars and mere coins does not even begin to approach “equality.” A better term would be equality between that which is equal.
On the other hand, I think much of your analysis is correct. The equality between leadership and followers certainly encourages learning; when people can study without relying on priests, they can develop their own unique faith and ideas. The model of Luther rebelling from the Church could have encouraged colonial leaders to break away from England. This development of unique views is certainly a positive effect of Lutheranism. I agree with “Leaningtower55” on the fact that in today’s society the Catholic Church has made major reforms, and this allows as much individuality as Protestantism can in today’s world.

JFF said...

Jan Flatley-Feldman, Period 4
For the above post

Tostitos said...

I agree with your point of Protestants saving western civilization. However, it was not the only reason for its revival. Advancements and changes during the Renaissance period, such as a revival of learning, helped too. The Protestants were one of the first people willing to challenge the Church, a power that had held people in there control throughout the Middle Ages. It was their calls for reform that got rid of much of the corruption of the Catholic Church, saving the very religion it was challenging. I agree with LeaningTower55 when he says that the Protestants had more loose ideals which allowed more freedom in thought. In my opinion, this made Protestantism a perfect religion for the Renaissance period. People no longer relied completely on the Church(and often went against it), thus giving them more freedom to think outside of the box. Why did this thinking "save" Western Civilization? It ended the period of nothingness and lack of recovery near the end of the Middle Ages.

Wow...I can't believe I did this on Tuesday...

Philip Tostado
Period 4

stephen said...

I agree with JZ that Protestantism helped the Catholic mindset for Western civilization. As a protestant, I believe that it is only right to be saved not by works but by faith and understanding of God. With true faith in God, the works will follow. In addition, I do believe that all people are created equal in God's eyes. However, I don't agree with the fact that "this implied that all people were capable of achieving equality in function depending upon their individual skills and talents." Protestantism is based on a relationship with God. God doesn't judge people and think that some are better than others because of their individual skills and talents. Also, I strongly agree that an individual should read the Bible for himself or herself. That is where you can find answers for yourself to apply to your own life. I believe that the Church also plays a big role in one's spiritual life but the Bible should also be a key resource for for your own spirituality.
Democracy, Capitalism and Individualism are all relevant in Martin Luther's seperation from the Church. His teachings say that one should have their own say in things, that one can help determine his or her own outcome and individualism is important for oneself.
And to "jff",I disagree with the fact that you say some people are unequal. "Certainly, a society where the amount of wealth fluctuates between billions of dollars and mere coins does not even begin to approach 'equality'."I don't think that God judges people based on money.

Manalo said...

I agree with you that Martin Luther's actions against the Church opened up to people to think critically, think for themselves, and be creative. The Church had taken over the Catholics and kept order of their society, and the Church kind of brainwashed them to thinking that only the Church will say what should be said and do what should be done, or else their society will collapse. So this did not allow people to think of ideas because it offends the priests' opinions, and this may cause people to lose their sense of creativity and thought. Therefore, the Protestant Reformation not only showed that the Church is wrong, but it revealed that people are able to think for themselves and think critically and be creative. Without this movement, we may not have other religious groups such as the Jesuits, so we may not have Loyola High School today; we may not even have Thanksgiving because the Puritan group may not exist. our society today may still be run by the church if it weren't for the Protestant reformation.
I agree with "Leaningtower55" that the Catholic Church has improved to match up to some ideas introduced by the Protestant church..

Patrick Manalo
Period 5

RussianDF said...

After reading this, I do agree with you on how Protestants did reform medieval Europe and encouraged individualism. I will also agree that Martin Luther was right in that people should interpret the Bible for themselves, instead of having the church interpret it for them. However, Catholicism of that era also had positive characteristics. The Roman Catholic Church and the society under its rule was far more organized then the society under Lutherans. Although the Lutherans did encourage individualism, they didn't have enough power to actually keep their church in line. I also want to mention that the Roman catholic church of today is far less strict then it was during the Middle Ages, and it is still very organized. So, I can't exactly agree that the Protestant revolution "saved" Western Civilization, but I have to agree that they ushered a new era in which individualism was encouraged. That era directly led to democracy and the world that we have today. I agree with leaningtower55 and jff on their points that the Protestants influenced the Catholic Church’s reformation.
-Daniel Fotinich Period 4

sora the hedgehog said...

I agree with you *stab* on most parts *stab stab* except for the part about Democracy, Capitalism, and Individualism and how they have to do with equality based on skill, not social status. *cleans up wounds* Anyways, democracy and equality seem to go hand in hand, but I have to agree with JFF with this one. You cannot make that which is already unequal equal as people are not equal. In english, that's just saying that we don't live in an equal society, and we can never make it equal. Otherwise, we'd all be living on skid row or making millions in the time it takes us to bend down to pick up a coin (Bill Gates joke for all those who've been living under a rock.) There's always going to be someone who's higher and someone who's lower in social status. I also get where JFF is getting at with the pope-priest idea. Some people work very hard to get where they are while others are just born into a high rank. That is not equality. Bottom line: just because democracy may make us "equal" doesn't mean it makes us equal in reality and democracy can't ever create true equality.
Capitalism. noun. economic system based on ownership of resources by individuals or companies, not by state. Simply put: economy is run by business. Not equality. JFF is right. You do go against the idea of viewing all as equal followers of God. Capitalism is a dog-eat-dog world. With a lot of big businesses though, smaller businesses don't make as much money, meaning that the big companies make more than the little individual jobs. Definitely not equality.
The last area was individualism. Individualism can never create equality. Yes, it does raisethe status of the common people, but even today, in a society based on individualism, we still have no true equality. True, we all start out with equal chances, but social status can either make or break your chances of rising up. A homeless man, if on the same rank as you or me, would have an equal chance to learn and get a job, but he has barely any chances compared to us, why? Because even as individuals, we are not equal.
Enough with the disagreeing *stab*, I truly do agree with you *stab stab* on other parts, no matter how long those disagreements were. The Reformation is exactly like the Matrix. What the catholic church was teaching seemed correct until one man saw through the charade. Martin Luther then went against the papacy and opened the eyes of some people. Then more came, followed by even more. This gave people a taste at freedom, as the church was holding them down with what the church said. They no longer had to follow what some corrupt priest who wanted political power had to say. This did create critical thinking. This did empower the common man. This did not really make equality, but it did create individualism. These points I do agree with you *stab stab stab*, Mr. Zucker. *faints from blood loss*

"When I was in the corps, we didn't have any fancy-schmancy tanks. We had two sticks and a rock to a platoon. And we had to share the rock! Buckle up marine, you're one lucky man."-Sgt. Johnson, Halo 2

Christopher Tan, Period 5

Rude said...

According to you, I should thank Protestants. And I will. Thank you Protestants. I can see where you are coming from with the argument that the Protestant Reformation helped lead to Western Civilization. I especially agree with your statement about individualism. Just by speaking up against a corrupt church, Martin Luther was being an individual. He was expressing his own beliefs to others. Also, you stated that the selling salvation was attacked by Martian Luther. I can see why. It is not fair for those who have more money have less sins. Also, these just seems like a ploy for money by the church. Because of Martian Luther, the Church reformed itself and also, Martian influenced Western Civilization.

I agree with what Jeff said about a situation in which, someone who works hard and gets a similar or the same outcome as someone who works less. But, do believe that everyone should be treated equal.


Matt Rude
Period 5

London said...

Gregory London
Period 4

In your blog you describe Martin Luther as "attacking" the "essential ingredients" of the Catholic Church. Just because he may have created a different way of thought does not mean he was necessarily attacking. Event in your supporting examples you fail to use "attack" because you know it is not what Martin Luther did. Example: "Instead, he stressed internal purity of faith and understanding of God." Martin Luther just did things a different way he never attacked.

I agree with some of points that Stephen highlights in the beginning of his blog. Stephen points out that "Advancements and changes during the Renaissance period, such as a revival of learning, helped too." Contradicting your point about Martin Luther being the only reason for "win out over the deadening feudalism of the past."
Martin Luther may have been strong factor but only one out many other that contributed to the deadening.

Alopez said...

I think that Martian Luther was right for breaking away from the church when he noticed that the church was corrupted. If the church was doing unholy things such as indulgences , how was the church suppose to allowed people to get to heaven. Martian Luther offered an alternative to getting to heaven by internal purity of faith and understanding of God. Martian Luther believed we could learn about God through the bible. Martian Luther notice since the church was preaching the bible, and comprehended the bible for the people to understand. Which meant that the church told the people what the church wanted them to know. The church felt that it would be necessary for a unified church to learn the same information about the bible. While with Lutherans, there were many different interpretations to the bible. I agree with Mr. Manalo on how he said that through the protestant reformation, the church was able to realize that it was wrong. The church has been able to mix some of the Luther's ideals into the catholic church.

Alex Lopez
Period 4

AAA said...

I agree with most of your comments, JZ. The Catholic Church needed a huge reality check. The Catholic Church was too corrupt, too powerful and most importantly seemed like it didn't care about its followers. The spread of Protestantism posed a big threat to the Catholic Church. This threat was unlike any squabble with a king or emperor because the Church, no matter the situation, always had the support of its followers, most of them anyway, at these times. This threat had the support of a huge amount of people (many once Catholic) and appealed to many more because it seemed to care about the people, about morality and about salvation. Martin Luther was not spreading his beliefs so that he could become rich and powerful but did it because he saw immoral, wrong problems with the Church and had come up with a solution to fix them. His movement made the Catholic Church reform itself and made the Church follow the Christian values and teachings it preached.
Lastly, I agree with Leaning Tower that this does not prove Protestantism better. Every long-lasting institution has had its weak periods, but just the fact that the Catholic Church reformed and improved itself attests to its strong, just nature and its faithful people. (Also, I don't particularly enjoy the thought of being a Calvinist...)

Andrew Aaronian
Period 4

Cameron L said...

I also agree that Protestants saved western civilization as a whole. As a Presbyterian, which is a diff. sect of Protestantism, I believe that people should be saved not by works but by faith. Protestantism has revolutionized the study of scripture and has allowed people to break free from the clergy telling them what to do, what to believe, and where they belong in society. Protestants gave birth to many western ideas, and Protestants are way better than Catholics. I agree with Matt Rude, he says, “Thank you Protestants. I can see where you are coming from with the argument that the Protestant Reformation helped lead to Western Civilization. I especially agree with your statement about individualism.” Being an individual back in this time period was important because if no one ever stepped up and challenged papal authority all of our futures could have turned out very differently. I thank Martin Luther for the inspiration of individualism throughout Europe otherwise the corrupt Catholic Church would still remain in power.

$ Cameron Lancey, period 5 $

Sukos said...

So your point is valid enough. I mean like the Protestant reformation was definitely necessary at that time because the church began to fall into the classic phrase "absolute power corrupts absolutely" The selling of indulgences and such were directly AGAINST the very actions of Jesus. How could such self-proclaimed holy men not remember the story of Jesus flipping the tables in the temple. The kingdom of heaven is sacred and is not to be involved with monetary items. In addition people were taught to obey the church hierarchy because they must have been better than the people...well those officials are people too and are just as much, if not MORE corrupt than the people themselves. Such thought as justification by faith lead to people focussing more inwardly to their very sinful nature and how they can change it or improve on it. With the bible as a guide, people could now discover a personal relationship with God and these notions would lead to individualism. The rebellion against a church hierarchy, and a yearning for a more fair and responsible center of religion would instill the ideas of democracy in the minds of these people. Captialism came from such free spirited thought as this, brought upon by Protestant reform. Much good can be found such as increased literacy among followers because they were told to READ the bible. So education was boosted, human worth was increased and this would be a great funnel that mirrored renaissance thinking.
Jan is correct in pointing out that this would lead to the separation of England and the Colonial times in america to begin, which are our very beginnings.
Alex Kutsukos
Period 4

<<===tHe JeDi===>>> said...

I believe that the Catholic Church was holding back the commoners from complete knowledge and understanding of the reasoning behind Catholicism. The Church stressed the importance of humans being corrupt and needing a higher power like the papacy to keep them in line, but aren't all people corrupt. This relates to the idea that we were all born with original sin, and even the Church itself has flaws that were unmistakable. However, the commoners did not know better; they were taught to obey the Church and what they preach without questioning their beliefs. I agree that without Martin Luther, society would remain ignorant about the reasons for their practices for a very long time. Protestantism encouraged the questioning and reading of the bible and to interpret meanings for oneself. Without this, I believe that we would have a lot of dumb Catholics just going to mass because it's what is expected of them. I agree with Leaning Tower 55(whoever that is) that we need a multitude of interpretations of the Bible to give people a chance to choose what they think is right in their mind, not what the Church wants society to believe. I don't think that the Church's interpretation would be wrong necessarily, however Christianity would not have branched out into other denominations of the religion, and we would have a lot of unsatisfied Christians.
-Lucas Cielak, period 4

gracias

The Mosenator said...

Oddly enough it appears that most of your students in fact agree that it was Martin Luther's reformation that caused the true beginning of modern individualism, a funny notion coming from a largely catholic demographic. I would in fact argue that Luther and his ideals were simply a coincidence in causing the rise of individualism. The truth is, the church's supression of ideas had been causing much friction for centuries. Martin's revolution was, to use an old adage, "in the right place at the right time" I would argue that the relations between the peasants and the clergy had been getting more and more abrasive and frankly if a dynamic enough individual began preaching the worship of pigs a large part of the European population, fed up with the church, would toss Jesus out the window and erect shrines to porky. I argue that the real rise of individualism would have occurred with or without Luther's existence. If it had not been the protestants than another group would have made the executive decision that each individual had worth in his thoughts and actions, it would have just been a matter of time.

For these reasons i disagree with LeaningTower55's assertion that protestants were the only reason that Christians today can interpret the bible for themselves. I believe that the Catholics would have come to this conclusions on their own.

Ike Silver
Period 4

OWWWWNNNNAAAAAGGGGGEEEE

dylan price said...

Dear jz rapper extrodinair,
I believe that all of your statements are valid but as ike said were mere coincidence. I also think it is shaky to say that a religion started these values but it could have been the community because i dont exactly think you can credit the wgole protestant church to this. I completely think that democracy capitalism and individualism were also discoverd by philosophers studying the Greek philosophies on democracy and expanding on it because it was the renaissance and their studies mostly were based on the greeks and the same with capitalism but I think individualism was completely started from free will and people capataqlizing on it and saying it is a term when it was created natuaraly and came to this concept on their own. Even if democracy capatalism and individualism were formed by the protestants it was not enstated or acted upon until the late 17th century. But i also agree on the fact that martin luther led way for more freedom in his church which allowed ideas to rise and the 3 concepts to arise but i believe it would have developed on its own. Thank you very much and good night folks
VIVA LA FRANCE!

dylan price said...

4th period

jack said...

Mr. Zucker,

You have made many great points. I agree that the Lutheran church has made significant contributions to society as we know it today, but the Catholic Church had an efficient system of holding power and governing its people. You are definitely correct when you say that the Catholic Church did not give people a role in the Church. This was not making any progress towards the form of government we have today. The priests of the time held too much power. As Matt Rude said, priests abused their power often by selling indulgences. Is it fair (or even true) that the rich have less sins then the common peon? Martin Luther was absolutely correct when he stated that the Church should not be the sole source of information. Religion should be a personal matter. Many people of the time interpreted the readings literally. We know and understand today that readings and psalms from the bible are meant to be taken figuratively and applied to our lives. Individualism is very important in our society today. Phrases such as, "One person can make a difference," promote individualism in our society. Luther contributed to the democracy that we have today.

As you, Mr. Zucker, stated many times before, there are a lot of "stupid" people in the world today. It was no different back then. A democracy where each individual was given a voice in society would not be beneficial to the society as a whole. The majority of the people at the time were in the lower class of society. Most of these people have the same views as to what should be done in the church and the world. What may be beneficial to the lower class, may not be beneficial to the society as a whole. I believe if the lower class was given a voice in the church, it would eventually lead to its downfall. The system of one leader as the head of the church was a good system, based on the technology and understanding of the time. Martin Luther also stressed that external works were not important. The pressure from religion to do good works contributed to the well-being of society. (one last *stab* for christophee)
-John Hawley (0273), Period 5

Matt Ball said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Ballster said...

JZ,
Although I'm not disputing your argument that the Protestant Reformation helped guide the Western world, I definitely agree with Ike in saying that this revolution was bound to happen, whether or not Martin Luther called for reform. I do agree that the Church had grown corrupt for years and thanks to Martin Luther, their leaders finally assessed the situation. However, did Martin Luther really save the Western world, or only create more division between Europeans? Martin Luther's call reform, arguably, wiped any remnants of the ancient empire of Rome. The Catholic Church was the last strand of unity for Europe, and Martin Luther's break simply empowered secular rulers to break away and begin an era of constant competition, bloodshed, and in some cases, absolute rule. For example, during the Protestant Reformation, the infamous king Henry VIII exploited this new division in the Church for his own personal gain as well as a new way to assert his authority over the people. This abuse of Martin Luther's reform would continue till the 17th and 18th centuries when hundreds would be persecuted in England if they did not follow the Anglican Church. In fact, when Henry VIII first created the new church, it almost exactly mirrored the Catholic Church with the exclusion of the Pope.

However, I do agree that this divide encouraged individual thought and gave birth to many of our current nation's ideals and practices. Nevertheless, as Ike said, maybe the Reformation had just occurred at the right place and at the right time.

Matthew Ball
Period 5

Otaku14 said...

Mr. Zucker

I agree with you on some parts, but not on everything.
Yes Luther's ideas encouraged individual and creative thought, but were they really worth giving up doing good works. Jesus said in Matthew 25 " When I was hungry you clothed me." " When I was thirsty you gave me drink." "When I was naked you clothed me." He says after listing all these things that "When you did it for one my least you did it for me." If Luther did not believe in doing good works then he did not believe in serving God and isn't that the other aspect of being saved other than internal faith of course?

You stated that according to Martin Luther all people were equal depending on ability and not their place in society. This is not true in today's society. The best athlete in the world may be living out on the streets somewhere, but will we ever find him or her? No because only people with money can actually make it to the pros.

You say that Luther gave power to the common people correct? If he did this in the western world what country right now is functioning under a democracy where every single person gets a say in government? None actually, If you were thinking America then you would be contradicting yourself because you said yourself that America is a republic. The common people may have a bit more power but not that much.

I agree with leaning tower that even though Protestants have more freedom that Roman Catholics have a more organized way of doing things. I also agree with him that now the Catholic Church has a much less strict way of doing things.

one more *STAB* for Chris

Michael Porterfield Period 5

K-SWISS said...

JZ,

Martin Luther did start this idea of questioning of the Church, but how did he not fall into the trap of believing the Church, just like everyone else? The revival of learning allowed him to escape this trap. After the crusades Europeans had taken back many of the Greek and Roman manuscripts from the Middle East that the Muslims had been studying for years. This sparked an interest in learning and education began to grow. During the education process, questions began to arise on different matters and people had their own opinions about different topics. This led to the truth. The Church had been corrupting the people because they couldn’t think for themselves. Martin Luther was the first one to realize this, but I agree with Ike. If Martin Luther had not been there someone else would have stepped in, and it probably would have been a whole group of people who would understand the need for reformation of the Church and its clergy. The clear cut reason for the Reformation is the revival of learning which enabled Martin Luther to argue against the ideals of the Church.


Kevin Swick
Period 4

John Sapunor said...

I agree with many of the points you made and that Martin Luther helped make individualism possible, but the Protestants were not the only ones who should be credited. Yes, the Catholic Church controlled people's lives and kept them under control, but before Martin Luther decided to take a stand, people in Italy were opening their eyes to the Greek philosophers. Martin Luther did get the Church to stay farther apart from people's lives, but if the Italians didn't open up Europe to new or reborn ideas, Europe would not have been open to new ideas. Also, Luther thought that people should read the Bible on their own, which encourages individualism and allows people to think more freely than when the Church had more authority.

I do agree with you that democracy and capitalism were made possible by the Protestants. The Church had such a strong heirarchy, and if this idea sat with all the people, no one would think of giving the people a voice in the government. The idea of equality also gave people a chance to come up from lower classes and become successful on their own. Previously, it was almost impossible to change classes from lower to higher. In conclusion, the Protestants allowed individualism, democracy, and capitalism to exist in Europe, though the Italians should also be given some credit.

John Sapunor said...

John Sapunor
Period 5

Tyler said...

So today's topic is about Martin Luther and who he probably impacted the history of the Western World in some of the most profoundly positive ways possible. Mr. Zucker seems to like that POV.
And, everyone take note, I AGREE WITH HIM. *gasp*
Honestly, there is too much evidence here to say "No, you are wrong blah blah blah..." You want to know where we would be if we didn't have this explosion of revolutionary thought?
Not here, of course.
America is based on some of the core beliefs of Luther. Some points are: the fact we can truly make a name for ourselves in this world, in God's eyes; the fact that we can discern for ourselves our moral compass through our OWN interpretation of the Bible; and that the Church does NOT need to tell us what to know, but we can figure out things on our own (which is remarkably close to the definition we gave of modern science. HM...)
The Church was smart then as it is now. It recognized the true threat of handing a Bible to the people. The contradictions, symbols, and meaning - oh my! no single peasant could ever be able to understand it all! Yet Luther believed that yes, we can; that we are all, by our nature, good and can interpret the Bible. This threat was real to the Church - the people could literally use the Bible against them to find all its flaws and turn the "Holy Roman Catholic Church" - truly a kingdom of God on Earth - into just another greedy, corrupt kingdom of Man. The Guttenburg Bible also made the Scriptures easily attainable, making this threat of a rebellion against the Church an even truer threat than before.
And then, it seems to us, our text merely said the Lutherans made their own churches in German lands, protected by princes, the end. What a nice story. Makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside, don't it? Well it doesn't happen that easily. The split was more a slow tear that choose to point out the wrongs in the Church and to clear the way by installing a new church. The significance of this, you ask? It was a step. The fact that a mere man - Martin Luther - could stand up in a defiant pose and dare challenge the doctrine of the Catholic Church almost proved his own beliefs, that man is in essence good and has the will to make his own decisions based on his own interpretation of the Bible and self thought.
What we get from all this is a dynamic society nowadays. We have new ideas hitting the boardrooms, restrooms, classrooms, and chatrooms literally every second. Fresh new perspectives, with the hope of self achievement in store, constantly change and challenge otheres to formulate new ideas and opinions to further another's thought.
And that, I believe, is truly the definition of change. Change that occurs daily in the Western World, which dates back to Martin Luther himself.
-
Now, I wish to point out Tostitos comment. I like the fact that you pointed out alot of other factors were being changed during the Reneissance, that this was only the "theological" aspect. Yet I believe this is all intertwined, that Luther's belief of self-worth would in turn influence politics, whih stressed more of an emphasis on the individual to make decisions and less in the hands of a monarch or noble. But overall, kudos!

And with that I'm out.

Tyler Davenport - Period 4

Jonathan said...

I realize that you bring up many good points, JZ. The first I'd like to address is the fact that the Catholic Church was misusing its power and needed reform. This is true, no matter how you look at it.
But, when you say that it's bad to have a strictly structured church, like the Catholic Church, compared to an open and free structure like the Protestant Church, I want to disagree. Remember that discussion where the Catholic Church held western Europe together because of its structure, unlike the east where there system was loosely organized and free? Last week, the strictness of the Catholic Church seemed to be the best thing for Europe. A strong government is needed in order to have a lasting and prosperous civilization.
So, maybe the Catholic Church did have some flaws. But that's because of corrupt power. Instead of taking power away from the church and giving it to the people, they should have worked out something where the Popes have some kind of check on their power, like any government establishment should. I think that would've better supported the development of civilization to our present day. We have a Heirarchal system with built in checks and balances of power. That's what you were saying was good, right?
Next, I agree with Ike Silver, the Mosenator. Luther's reformation was not to give power to the people and to encourage renaissance ideas and learning. He just wanted to get some corrupt popes and corrupt traditions thrown out. I doubt that Luther planned any long-term political movements out of this. Yes, he did fight against everything you say he did, but you misinterpret the message, Mr. JZ. "Luther attacked the priestly class by arguing that all followers of God were essentially priests and equal in the eyes of God. This implied that all people were capable of achieving equality in function depending upon their individual skills and talents."
NO! he didn't imply people's capabilities. Luther straight out said that he felt that God didn't want His priests taking advantage of His children. He wanted priests to treat all people fairly and give them all an equal chance. That's all. The things that followed were bound to happen even if he hadn't been there. Just timing on his part made things seem to stand out and maybe progress a little faster.

Jonathan Daroca Period 4

P.S. Ike's word "oowwnnaagge" should be a slang-card word.

trojans07 said...

Mr. Zucker,

I see what you are trying to point out and Mr. Zucker, and once again I would have to disagree with you. Throughout your blog you explain that we have to be thankful to the Protestants because if it wasn’t for them we wouldn’t be where we are now. I differ with your opinion because I believe that Protestants were not the only ones who wanted change during the reformation period. For example, during the Renaissance people had an enormous effect on the development of Western Civilizations, since many new ideas were introduced through trade and classical works from Greek philosophers.

Even though I disagree with you, I still have to give Martin Luther some props for actually having the guts to step up against the powerful organization of the Catholic Church of that era. I would have to concur with some of his teachings, such as the one where he was against the church’s action of selling salvation into the kingdom of heaven. However, I don’t quite believe in his teaching on equality. Martin Luther explained that people and priest should be equal in the eye of god. To me this is not a wise teaching because priests dedicate themselves to God and for this sole reason they should be a level closer to Him. Now, even though I agree or disagree with Luther’s teachings, I’ll give him credit as an individual, but not Protestant Church who I consider as self believed perfectionists. Let’s not give them undue credit.

I would have to agree with Daniel where he states that the even though the Protestant religion supported individualism, followers was not completely free. The head of the church had to keep the people under check if not every follower would be doing whatever they wanted.

Salvador Valle, Period 5

B.C. said...

Dear jz,
I agree with your analysis of the protestant reformation and medieval Europe. The protestant movement was the prod in the back that many intellectuals, individuals, and reformists needed in order to expand human potential. Although I am catholic I do believe that the protestants “kind’ve” saved western civilization. I don’t believe that you can attribute the entire salvation of western civilization to the Protestants. However, they did attack clergical authority, communal values, and hierarchy, which led to radical and revolutionary social changes. Through reforming religion which was a major part of life the entire society changed from strict and feudalistic to the revolutionary mind provoking Rennaissance. Protestants prodded medieval society which set off a chain reaction that changed society as a whole. Martin luther who opened the door for the Rennaissance opened people’s minds for the first time in hundreds of years. Man thought for man once again. The systems of hierarchal control such as the catholic church were no longer able to keep tight control over their subjects because of the radical mind provoking thoughts of Luther. Luther also asked people as individuals to examine their faith by reading the bible to discover the purposes and paths to salvation. Modern day Democracy, Capitalism and individualism are derived from the mind provoking rennaisance era induced by Luther and the protestants. Our democracy emphasizes the individual and appreciates certain rebellions both religious and political because our nation was founded out of rebellion and war. Capitalism is our economic life blood which is also seeded from each individual doing his best therefore creating competition and creating a better economy. The protestants saved Western Civilization through prodding the Rennaissance into existence and rebelling against politically dominant powerhouses.

Benjamin Coupe
Period 5

KM Hernandez said...

Jay-Z,

I agree with parts of your argument that says that Protestants saved Western Civilizatoin. I believe that it was necessary for someone like Martin Luther to speak out against such acts as indulgences, a "get out of hell free card." Like Alex Kutsukos said, the Church should not involve itself with unneccesary monetary engagements that only benefit the Church. However, I do not fully agree with Luther's idea that the hierarchy of the Church is a negative thing. Although all people are equal in the eye's of God, these priests have devoted their lives to the service of the Lord. Their devotion to the Catholic Church should be respected, and just because you may not agree with how they teach certain Bible stories does not mean that their interpretation is wrong. However, I also believe that it is important for every person to read for themselves. Although I do not agree with all of Luther's ideas, I think a person willing to question the Church, the most powerful force in Europe at the time, was needed in order to progress the society further.

Kevin M. Hernandez Period 4

mchogsta said...

test

trojan224 said...

Mr.Zucker,
you have made some excellent points but I'm afraid i am going to have to DISAGREE with you on this one. The main argument many people are saying is the notion that Martin Luther should be responsible for the shift from the catholic church. Many other students are agreeing with Mr. Zucker about how Martin Luther is the man who brought about individualism and change. But the fact of the matter is the transformation is not all attributed by Martin Luther but in society as a whole. Their was a shift in the paradigm, or the way society thought at the time. It was this change in thinking of society as a whole that allowed for Martin Luther to express his ideas. So society is responsible in the shift. For example, if Martin Luther had preached to a society that had the mindset of the EARLY middle age thinking than his ideas would not have gotten as far as the did in the late middle ages. So the main point i am trying to convey is the point that it was society itself that allowed for the change not martin luther. For this reason you must disagree.

My main point is a variation of IKE'S point with a bit more expansion. I totally agree with what Ike said about how it was not martin luther that change society.

Jeremy Molayem
PERIOd 4

mchogsta said...

Mr. Zucker, you stated that the Protestant Reformation saved the world, which, of course, is a statement I agree with. It may be easier for me to agree with you because my father is from Sweden, a highly Lutheran country and I am Episcopalian. Even a Catholic cannot deny that the world was certainly bettered by Martin Luther. The Catholic Church back then was a corrupt organization using the motivation of salvation as a way to increase their own wealth. That Catholic Church, as you said, suppressed their people’s individuality and creativity by telling them to get their knowledge of God from the Church alone.

Luther presented an opportunity to branch away from this educationally restrictive way of religion. His way of Christianity encouraged education and developing one’s own ideas through personal analysis of the Bible. The printing press made Lutheranism possible because, finally, people could access books such as the Bible easier and more readily. People could educate themselves and through Protestantism could form their own opinions. I have to agree with Ben Coupe that because of the ability to analyze and question their situation, the Colonies were able to break free from England and form the United States of America.
So, in conclusion, Protestantism did put the wheels in motion to save Europe from the ignorance of the population. Very well put, JZ.

Marcus Hogsta, Period 5

MC HAIT said...

I agree, with Mr. Zuker (JZ), that the Protestant Reformation helped open the doors to allow people to be themselves by challenging the Church. This helped many people be themselves because the church thought, due to original sin, that all people are on the brink of chaos and need to be saved. Luther thought that the Church did not have the power to tell people this. This made it possible for people to challenge the church because they felt that since one person already did they could as well. Since people were moving away from the church in a leadership sense they were able to explore areas of life that they thought were important. Examples of this are Leonardo de Vinci in his exploration of the human body, which was considered horrible by they church, and with the invention of the movable type in Europe. This helped more and more people become educated and less dependent on the Church for educational matters.

I agree with Kevin Hernandez when he says. “Although all people are equal in the eye's of God, priests have devoted their lives to the service of the Lord.” Since these priests have dedicated this much time and effort to become a priest it is necessary for people to still go to them for guidance and help. If people stopped listening to priests who knows what priests roles would be today.

Matt Chait, period 4

Colin said...

I do agree with your argument that the Protestant Reformation began the challenging of the Catholic Church. Martin Luther challenged what was corrupt in the Church. He did not intend to erect a new religion; he wanted to fix the problems of the Church. At that time the Catholic Church was extremely corrupt and needed to be fixed. Although Martin Luther is responsible for this new growth of individualism and challenging the corrupt, I think it would have happened anyways. The Church was so corrupt and lost so much of its credit that reformation was bound to happen, Luther just got their first. The Protestant Reformation is responsible for taking the western world in the direction of individualism, capitalism, and democracy.

Although I do agree that the Protestant Reformation is rightly credited with this new rise in individualism, I do agree with Ike that it probably would have happened anyway. With the turmoil within the Catholic Church, it was impossible for there not to be some sort of movement away from the Church.

Colin McGonigle
Period 5

Logan said...

I somewhat agree with you that the protestants did help reform the catholic church, but i disagree with your point that "protestants saved western civilization." I do agree with you however that the protestants indeed help to usher in a new era in which individualism was encouraged amongst all people. The call for the reformation of the Catholic Church was bound to happen as more and more people started to rebel against the heirarchy of the Catholic Church, and the protestants and Martin Luther were basically at the right place at the right time. The protestants were one of the first groups of people that were willing and able to challenge the Catholic Church, the main power in the middle ages. The main success of the Protestant reformation came not in their ability to prove the church wrong, but in their success of encouraging people to be individuals and to think for themselves. By reforming the Church the Protestants ushered in the Renaissance era in which equality and individualism, the basis for democracy and capitalism, were stressed. Overall, i would say that the Protestants did not exactly save western civilization, instead they helped to bring in a new time period which caused the reformation of governments and thinking, which lead to the foundation of Democracy, Capitalism, and individualism in modern day society

logan mccabe period 5

Sweet N' Low said...

Dear JZ,
I agree with you, you make an excellent point backed up with lovely examples. But I do disagree with you an extent. I do not believe that your argument should be called "How Protestants saved Western civilization" It should be called "How Martin Luther saved Western Civilization." I wasn't the protestants who challenged the church it was Mr. Luther. I believe in giving credit where credit is do but I do not believe credit is do all those protestants. Protestants only helped spread the word. It's like if we were to give credit to Border's Book store for writing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows,when all the did was sell it. So for you to say that all those protestants saved us from being slaves to the catholic church, I must say good sir I disagree. Mr.Philip Tostado also makes an excellent point that it was not the only reason for its revival. Ever since the black plague and the 3 popes scandal, faith in the catholic church had begun been diminishing. This all leads up Martin Luther who then takes a big old swing at the church. It's like if the church was a big old Pinatas(sorry I don't have the whole n with a squiggle line over it)and ever since the black plague people have started taking swings at it, and Martin Luther is just the big kid at the back of the line who takes the big swing, and this all leads up to the revival when that last swing splits up the Pinata and all the candy falls.So in conclusion, yes Martin Luther is to be thanked for saving the Western world, and though he had a large impact on the bringing about the revival he is not the one who made it all happen.

-Zachary "Sweet N' Low" Wilson
Period 4

THE GOD OF THUNDER said...

First, I must say that I am not catholic and I intently agree with what you are arguing. The catholic society at the time needed a reformation and Martin Luther was the one to do it. He gave the people the freedom to choose how they wanted to interpret God and the bible. If we did not have the diversity in our religion today, what and who would we pray for? A corrupt God full of lies and bloodshed from years past? I think so. The catholic church at the time was a virus that was infecting all. Luther was the vaccination to this horrible plague of corruption and immmorality within the catholic society. In all, this change DID change and save western civilization by giving to the people the choice of what and who they believed in.

Thorvald Tristan Carl Blough
Period 4

Clint Rosser said...

I agree with you, Mr. Zucker, one hundred percent. Being Lutheran myself, I realize that my opinion may be a little biased. I have trouble understanding how the Catholic Church could say that no Catholics, besides the priests, bishops, cardinal, etc. could interpret the bible and come to their own conclusions. The reason for this was that “all people were essentially corrupt in nature.” Since when did church officials stop being people and transform into superior beings. They are people just the same and that will never change.

Without the great deeds performed by Martin Luther, society today would not be anything like the society we live in and love so very much. If it was not for Martin Luther we may still be forced to take the Church’s “word” on what the bible and God says, instead of us being able to read our bibles in our theology classes. Although it was not his intent, Luther forged the way towards Democracy, Capitalism, as well as Individualism. Martin Luther was a very peaceful man and never wanted rebellions or wars to fight for his cause. He was merely hoping that the Catholic Church would acknowledge its flaws and attempt to improve. The Church responded by excommunicating him and attempting to have him captured, not a very just act in my opinion for stating one’s opinion.

I would like to comment on John Hawley’s comment about the lower class holding more power not being beneficial to their society. I disagree greatly with this statement. The Lower class basically is the society, if anyone should decide what is best for the society it should be the majority. The upper class are only looking out for themselves and how to stay on the top and keep the poor on the bottom. They do not account for nearly as much of the society as a whole as the lower class.

Clint Rosser
Period 5

Leviathan said...

Mr. Zucker

After hearing your arguments about how glorious the protestant church is, I'd have to disagree. Throughout your blog the one thing that really stuck out to me was the main belief of the protestant faith, that a literal following of the bible assures one's salvation. The protestant view is that the catholic church has a poor info structure and it disagrees with the catholic practice of faith. The thing that makes the catholic faith unique is the way the followers implement the faith. people act according to God's will to benefit society. The protestant faith on the other hand, stresses that people should stay home and study the bible memorizing every line or risk eternal damnation. Yes this might open peoples' minds to critical thinking, but it also makes it harder to learn the life skills one learns in an active faith.

I disagree with the arguments presented by Mat Rude. he says that everything you said in your paper was right and that Martin Luther spear headed Western civilization. However I disagree with this. Martin Luther couldn't have spear headed western civilization because of his faith. His whole belief system is around studying the bible and limiting action. So the action of establishing the Western civilization would be out of his realm.

Tim Perille
period 4

mr.bogangels said...

Dear JZ,

Besides your rapper name, I totally agree with your ideas. The protestant reformation inevitably saving the world makes perfect sense with it's ideals. The ideals and the basis for its beginings completely compliment such governments like the United States which have democracy and were founded on revolution. However, I must point out that there are also flaws in the protistant church as well. There is more then one form of protistantism so all can't truley be compared the same way and there are also some bad things that come from it too (ever heard of the KKK?) but these are still nothing compared to the corruption and problems the Catholic Church has had.

Patrick Foster,
Period 4

mr.bogangels said...

I must also agree with the ballster about Ike saying the revolution would have happened at some point. It is somewhat like the USSR, it wasn't becasue of one mans heroism, it was because someone finally said, "wait, what am i doing this for?", and this was bound to happen at some point. No matter what it is in the world, if someone dosen't like it, they will do something about it.

Patrick Foster,
Period 4

bernardo waxtein said...

Mr. Zucker, I agree with you about how Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation was the main thing that helped to established democracy, capitalism, and a sense of individualism. Without the church though, this reformation would never have come around. His challenging the church, was at that time wrong and dangerous and not exactly right. Luther then came up with new thoughts and ideas about some of the churches beliefs and structure like the churches priestly authority, communal values and hierarchy. The church also realized during this movement and attack that maybe some things needed to be changed. It was not exactly in my beliefs the Protestants who changed the church, but they opened up the minds of church leaders more of what some things had to change. When the church changed some of its rules and policies, this opened up the minds and doors for more people and allowed them to explore. In my opinion it was acutally the church that helped establish democracy, capitalism, and individualism it is just that Luther and the Protestant Reformation triggered the change in people minds but were not necessarily their ideas.
I have to also disagree with Philip because I do not believe that the Protestants saved western civilization. I think that the Protestants actually endagered western civilization by challenging the church and if the church fell apart many kingdoms and peoples would fall apart too.

Bernardo Waxtein Period 5

wiznewski said...

I agree largely with your analysis of the protestant reformation and their societal impact. However, I do not think Martin Luther is primarily responsible for "saving western civilization,"though he caused a revolution in the corrupt 15th century Church through his new ideas: The bible was the sole authority and the way to be saved is only through faith, not by buying indulgences or doing good works alone. Martin Luther didn't lay the groundwork for independent thought and and a educated populace. Rather, he just reinforced the ideas started by the Greeks and Romans hundreds of years ago. Also, although he may have revived the process of democracy by challenging the authority of the pope,Luther didn't open the doors for the equality for the common man based on ability not status. I agree with Chris Tan on this. People born into homelessness or poverty just don't have the same opportunities as everyone else and therefore are not on an even playing field with the rest of society. Also, by attacking the Catholic Church, Martin Luther opened the eyes of many people and caused them to see the corrupt nature of the Church. The Church has changed much since the 1500s, however, and should be thankful that Martin Luther opened their eyes to their variety of problems

Michael Wisniewski Period 5

Alex said...

The Protestans, Save the World???? BS, It was the JEWS who saved the world. The Jews I tell you THE JEWS!!!! OK, mabye the protestants did do the world a lot of good.

It is true that the Protestants have caused a lot of the major econemic changes with their religous revolution. I completely agree with you that the Protestant ideas became the foundations oupon which we have built society. The Protestants brought up very good points when talking about the church's problems. In my opinoin, the biggest was the hierarchy and the political problems that came with it. The church was obseessed with political power and fought among themselves for power within the church, such as the Great Schism and the Three Pope Chrisis. And like Ike siad the Catholic church was supressing thought and individualism. However, I have to disagree with the statement about Martin Luther's ideas causing individualism just being a coincidence. Martin Luther's whole thing was staying with the bible and reforming the spiritualism of the Catholic church. This is going directly against the hierarchy as well as lessening church authority. And church authority was what was causing supression of thought. It doesn't take a Rocket Scientest to but 2+2 together after that. Martin Luther directly lead to a great growth in Individualism.

Alex Flynn
Period 5

Mr. Zucker: I'm sorry!!!!

Christian said...

I want to say that I disagree with Mr. Zucker. So I say "I disagree with Mr. Zucker". However, I feel you do make a good point. Martin Luther did indeed open(or rather reopen in many cases) the door to many individualistic professions, such as journalism, philosophy, critical thought, etc. It was the lack of this critical thinking that has led to many past wars, especially those lead by a leader like Hitler who makes promises and accusations to unite people under a single cause. If the majority of the people in Germany at that time where educated and intelligent, then Hitler likely would not have been elected president and WWII may have been avoided completely. However, those are "what if" situations, and therefore unusable examples. The point is though, that the individual intelligence gained by the turning from the institution of the church can be considered a two-sided weapon; the intelligence can prove to be the "damnation" of human existence. Without a central power with control over the majority of the world, regulations and necessary changes cannot be made. Take global warming for example, if the world was still united under the church, a decree from the pope could easily lower or even stop COs emissions and slow global warming. Another example is the number of homeless people living in the streets even just in LA. If the world was paying the churchly tithe still, the church would easily have enough money to help most, if not many more of the homeless people in the world. Other than that one point, I agree with Mr. Zucker. I do not agree, however, that the protestants helped Europe by Benjamin Coupe that the protestants "prodded the renaissance into existence" as the renaissance began to come to being only after Europe recovered the Greek texts found in the Middle-East during the crusades, and that the Protestant and other church reformations occurred during the renaissance.

Christian Williams
Period 5

kearney asada said...

Yes, Professor Zucker, you have convinced me of the Protestant role in the democracy and individualism we now enjoy. Further, I can now skip Econ 1 since I have learned of the impetus of capitalism; however, I will refrain from making any calls to the Lutheran Church for purposes of conversion, at least until I make it through Confirmation and graduation from Loyola and, of course, entry into a Catholic university like Notre Dame or Georgetown.

The social climate at the time of the Protestant Reformation was ripe for someone like Martin Luther. The amazing aspect of the Reformation is that it led to capitalism and democracy, with individualism at its core. In recent history, where spiritual and social deprivation has run rampant, the poor and the ignorant have been a perfect breeding ground for “well-intentioned” leaders to swoop in and become overnight dictators. Martin Luther was so successful because, as you wrote, he denounced any political rebellions, as his was solely a spiritual concern and, with that spirituality, brought personal freedom, which led to economic freedom. He tied spirituality with individuality as it had never been done before.

The people were looking for this departure from bondage but simply could not fathom attaining what they considered to be solely a dream. The irony of the Catholic Church at that time was that its power had transformed it from spiritual to secular. As it grew stronger and its control was greater, it became more involved in the socio-political matters of the time and less concerned with the religious needs for which it had been intended. Bishops and nobility were blending together to form their own coalition of wealth and gain. As towns were growing and people began to flock to them, the peasants had tangible evidence of exactly what was going on with the Catholic Church and the nobility. They were able to see the way in which they and their peers lived in comparison to the lavish and blatantly ostentatious lifestyle of the top rungs of the ladder, which were, of course, the Church and the nobility. The peasants became acutely aware that the wealth of the Church had, in fact, been built by the peasants. Further, the peasants had been stifled by religious dogma that left no room for individual thought and personal relationships with God. Further, the Church’s growing demand of and emphasis on rituals left little, if any, room for a quest for personal salvation. Again, the peasants were able to see this as another form of control, i.e., keeping the people detached from their own ability to think.

Martin Luther changed all of that simply by opening the individual personal channels of thought. By opening the aperture of religious thought, the same channel of individual thought was opened. He taught the peasants that all people were equal in the eyes of God and that prayer and dogma were diametrically opposed to one another. A person’s ability to pray directly to God was that individual’s personal, inherent right. Martin Luther’s concept of personal spiritual rights carried over into the personal rights of individuals to pursue their own economic desires. Each person had the right and ability to develop a trade and create a business into which one could pour personal and religious energy. Such devotion would certainly aid in the growth of one’s trade and subsequent business. The humility of personal prayer and the acceptance of God’s gift of the power of personal thought, and putting that combined energy into a trade, was what God wanted for his people.

It was also important that frugality was exercised and that money made from business would be put back in the business so that a person’s trade could grow and the individual could be self-sufficient, also something God wanted. All a peasant had to remember was the lavish way in which the clerics and nobility lived, which was certainly in opposition to God’s desires for everyone. One had to work for personal gain, of course, leading to the concept of capitalism, and, yet, everyone was equal to accomplish personal gain, and should do so individually and as a community, leading to the early perceptions of democracy. If anything, Martin Luther simply turned the pyramid upside-down, which was the ultimate dismantling of the old ways of Catholic rule. The advent of the printing press made the leading cause of ignorance and illiteracy a thing of the past and it also enabled Martin Luther to spread a message of hope and responsibility. I imagine I am most impressed with the combined efforts of Martin Luther to create personal religious freedom and combine it with individual thinking and dreams, which led to the ability to combine that to so many other personal freedoms that, prior to Martin Luther, had been nothing but a festering resentment in the people.

kearney asada said...

Yes, Professor Zucker, you have convinced me of the Protestant role in the democracy and individualism we now enjoy. Further, I can now skip Econ 1 since I have learned of the impetus of capitalism; however, I will refrain from making any calls to the Lutheran Church for purposes of conversion, at least until I make it through Confirmation and graduation from Loyola and, of course, entry into a Catholic university like Notre Dame or Georgetown.

The social climate at the time of the Protestant Reformation was ripe for someone like Martin Luther. The amazing aspect of the Reformation is that it led to capitalism and democracy, with individualism at its core. In recent history, where spiritual and social deprivation has run rampant, the poor and the ignorant have been a perfect breeding ground for “well-intentioned” leaders to swoop in and become overnight dictators. Martin Luther was so successful because, as you wrote, he denounced any political rebellions, as his was solely a spiritual concern and, with that spirituality, brought personal freedom, which led to economic freedom. He tied spirituality with individuality as it had never been done before.

The people were looking for this departure from bondage but simply could not fathom attaining what they considered to be solely a dream. The irony of the Catholic Church at that time was that its power had transformed it from spiritual to secular. As it grew stronger and its control was greater, it became more involved in the socio-political matters of the time and less concerned with the religious needs for which it had been intended. Bishops and nobility were blending together to form their own coalition of wealth and gain. As towns were growing and people began to flock to them, the peasants had tangible evidence of exactly what was going on with the Catholic Church and the nobility. They were able to see the way in which they and their peers lived in comparison to the lavish and blatantly ostentatious lifestyle of the top rungs of the ladder, which were, of course, the Church and the nobility. The peasants became acutely aware that the wealth of the Church had, in fact, been built by the peasants. Further, the peasants had been stifled by religious dogma that left no room for individual thought and personal relationships with God. Further, the Church’s growing demand of and emphasis on rituals left little, if any, room for a quest for personal salvation. Again, the peasants were able to see this as another form of control, i.e., keeping the people detached from their own ability to think.

Martin Luther changed all of that simply by opening the individual personal channels of thought. By opening the aperture of religious thought, the same channel of individual thought was opened. He taught the peasants that all people were equal in the eyes of God and that prayer and dogma were diametrically opposed to one another. A person’s ability to pray directly to God was that individual’s personal, inherent right. Martin Luther’s concept of personal spiritual rights carried over into the personal rights of individuals to pursue their own economic desires. Each person had the right and ability to develop a trade and create a business into which one could pour personal and religious energy. Such devotion would certainly aid in the growth of one’s trade and subsequent business. The humility of personal prayer and the acceptance of God’s gift of the power of personal thought, and putting that combined energy into a trade, was what God wanted for his people.

It was also important that frugality was exercised and that money made from business would be put back in the business so that a person’s trade could grow and the individual could be self-sufficient, also something God wanted. All a peasant had to remember was the lavish way in which the clerics and nobility lived, which was certainly in opposition to God’s desires for everyone. One had to work for personal gain, of course, leading to the concept of capitalism, and, yet, everyone was equal to accomplish personal gain, and should do so individually and as a community, leading to the early perceptions of democracy. If anything, Martin Luther simply turned the pyramid upside-down, which was the ultimate dismantling of the old ways of Catholic rule. The advent of the printing press made the leading cause of ignorance and illiteracy a thing of the past and it also enabled Martin Luther to spread a message of hope and responsibility. I imagine I am most impressed with the combined efforts of Martin Luther to create personal religious freedom and combine it with individual thinking and dreams, which led to the ability to combine that to so many other personal freedoms that, prior to Martin Luther, had been nothing but a festering resentment in the people.

kearney asada said...

im sorry its late
i guess it doesnt count now but my internets been down for a while but i thought i could send it at a friends house today until i could not go, so i typed everything including this on my internet on my phone.

K-Fed said...

I believe that the Protestant church did help to create democracy, individualism, and capitalism. However, I don't think they could have achieved this on their own. The fact that the Catholic church was already established and had flaws made it easier for Martin Luther to create something that people believed was better than the Catholic church. People thought that since it didn't have the Catholic church's flaws then it was better when in fact they both had their flaws. In reality, both of these institutions of the time helped to create a society more like today and start the decline of the Middle Ages.

I agree with leaningtower55 that the influence of the less strict protestants has helped the catholic church with its own downfalls. Now the church provides more freedom for its followers then it did back then.

Kevin F. Hernandez Period 4

Keenan said...

test

London said...

It is true that the Protestants have caused a lot of the major economic changes with their religious changes, not attacks.I agree with you that the Protestant ideas became the foundations for society. My opinion, the biggest problem they sought out change for was the hierarchy and the political problems that came with it. The church was obsessed with political power and fought among themselves for power, like the Great Schism and the Three Pope Crisis. Martin Luther's idea was staying with the bible and reforming the spiritualism of the Catholic church. And church authority was what was causing suppression of thought and the lack of the growth in Individualism.

andrew sapia said...

you've got to be kidding me. A topic of this import could hardly be addressed in a few paragraphs. I see western civilization falling to pieces. In Europe Islam will probably take over in the next couple decades barring a civil war. Judeo-Christian European Civilization is basically running on fumes. I don't know if a bunch of agnostics at best will be able to go up against the religious fanatics that have been invited into Europe. The only thing that stood between the caliphate and Europe was equally fanatic Christian powers. There is a reason that 9/11 was chosen to attack us. It was the anniversary of the Muslim assault on the city of Vienna which had the Catholic king of Poland not arrived just in time Europe would very likely been over run by the Muhammadan hoards and this great civilization that you claim protestants saved would have been lost. The divisions in Protestantism, some 30,000 denominations all claiming that the bible alone is their source of truth could never have built the civilization that Europe became prior to the protestant revolt. It would have fragmented centuries earlier. If the church had not been so militant in its fight against heresies we would not even know the basics that all orthodox Christians both protestant and catholic believe. The divinity of Christ, the virgin birth, the resurrection. A single European Christian civilization would have never been possible without a single church. It is Protestantism that has brought this once great unified civilization to the brink of extinction.