The periods during the Reformation, Industrial Revolution, and the World at War all experienced religious and church conflicts. During the Renaissance and Reformation (1330 – 1650), the fundamental practices of the church came under fire. The church at this time was the largest and most political body. The pope, himself, was the most recognizable political figure. It was due to this authority that the church and its pope were more interested in political issues and less with the spiritual needs of the people (McGraw-Hill, p. 76). Many of the Roman Catholic Church’s high priests had bought their way into position and had very little religious experience. Often the only members of the community that were literate were the clergy thus adding to their control of the common people.
The practice of selling indulgences became under attack from a monk named Martin Luther in the early 1500’s. Indulgences were used as a means by many church officials to add to their wealth and prestige. By buying an indulgence, one was released for all sin and acceptance into Heaven guaranteed. Luther argued that no one needed to buy admission into Heaven. He believed that people could obtain salvation thru their faith and actions alone. The authority of the Pope was also challenged by Luther believing that religious matters needed to be resolved through the words of the Bible and not an individual’s decision. All of this was set down in Luther’s 95 Thesis that he posted on the Church door in Wittenberg, Germany ("The Reformation Video").
Martin Luther inspired another thinker of the time that questioned the Church’s beliefs. That man was John Calvin. The Catholic belief during the Renaissance and Reformation was that one’s good deeds helped determine salvation. Calvinism suggested a far different idea. He believed in predestination where God chose a few people called ‘the elect’ who would be saved and all others damned forever. No amount of good deeds done during a person’s life would change God’s decision. The question that arose from this belief was how was one to know if they were God’s chosen few that would be saved ("The Origins of Calvinism")? People became to believe that good acts may not determine salvation but it could show that they were one of the chosen few. So Calvin believers began to work harder became more prosperous showing everyone that they were more likely to have been the chosen.
Another ideology that jeopardized the Catholic Church came from Desiderious Erasmus. Erasmus became the best know Christian humanist and called his philosophy - ‘the philosophy of Christ’. Humanism basic belief was that all human beings had the ability to reason. Erasmus went against Calvinism and the belief of predestination. Erasmus taught people that by leading good and righteous lives on a daily basis would grant them salvation. External showings of rules and religious rituals were not as important to Erasmus and the humanists as was...