Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Simple Letters Lead to Big Impacts

 Martin Luther was a Catholic Monk who challenged the Roman Catholic Church based on a concept called indulgences.  Indulgences allowed people to "buy their way into Heaven". Given the right amount of money, the Church would forgive a person's sins.  Citizens would pay for these indulgences even if they were almost broke and couldn't afford food-forgiveness of their sins were more important.  Martin Luther did not believe that God would accept you into Heaven simply because you pay the church for His forgiveness of your sins.  Luther then challenged the Roman Catholic Church about his belief and wrote a  simple letter to the Archbishop of Mainz to explain his position.  As Luther gained more popularity, he began to write more.  This quote was written by him around 1535, about his believes towards the church, God and the Pope.  "The main reason I fell out with the pope was this: the pope boasted that he was the head of the Church, and condemned all that would not be under his power and authority.  He said, although Christ is the head of the Chrurch, there must be a physical head of the Church upon Earth...Further, he took power, rule, and authority over the Christian Church, and over the Holy Scriptures, the Word of God."  This quote expresses how Luther didn't believe in how the Pope ran his Church and his religion.  Martin Luther challenged the church because the people in power cared more about allowing indulgences than they cared about their own people. 
     Martin Luther's intention from the beginning was to express his beliefs towards the Church, and how he thought they weren't doing what's right-what the Bible says.  Luther's movement started with posting letters in the church, but his actions escalated quickly.  His inspirations sparked a change in the peasants' attitudes toward their economic sufferings, and soon the peasants revolted.  At first, Luther was sympathetic towards the peasants and issued a document, "An Admonition of Peace".  But once many riots broke out, he was shocked and made a point that his writings were misinterpreted, and that he meant everything in religious terms.  Luther then published a document,  "Against the Murderous, Thieving Hordes of Peasants", and he sided with the German Rulers, who took Luther's approval of them too far by slaughtering and driving out hundreds of thousands of peasant rebels.  Martin Luther had positive and negative impacts on the Roman Catholic Church and the citizens in Germany during the 1500's.

Video of the social impact of Martin Luther and the Peasants' Revolt:

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