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Religion: Church And State Essay

1270 words - 6 pages

Throughout history there has been and always will be a shift in the way in which people think that the government should interact with the church. Early modern civilizations can be recognized as a time of great change in many aspects of life. This is especially true for the way in which people identified the relationship between church and state. In the early modern way of connecting the two the church was the state. Over time this ideology gradually shifts to a postmodern notion of a government that is not as involved with the church, although still connected. Many first hand writings have been examined over the years to fully understand and comprehend this radial transition of ...view middle of the document...

163). In this he is affirming the idea that if a prince is seen as religiously upright by his people, then they will agree with his decisions and his reputation will be upheld as morally truthful in his decision making process for both the church and the state.
After the Renaissance came the reformation, a time of change and progress within the realm of religion. During this time period, many began to question the ideas of the Roman Catholic Church and create opinions of their own regarding religion. It is during the Renaissance that Martin Luther is brought before the state to defend his position of religion. This confirms that the state is still very much in control of the church. When Luther released his 95 Theses (a religious discussion, displaying his truths about religion), it was not greatly accepted within the community of the highest leaders of the church, whom were simultaneously, also directing the state. In his 95 Theses, Luther describes the pope as a good man and saying that if he knew that indulgences were being sold for all the wrong reasons, he would halt the negative actions. When called before the Emperor to explain his writings at the Diet of Worms, Luther defends his religious views before the state (Luther, “Here I Stand”: Address at the Diet of Worms. p. 20). In his address to the Emperor, also the Pope, Luther, clarifies that he is not against church and state, but that the church as the state should not be committing wrongful acts, such as selling indulgences to build a new cathedral. He believes that the papacy is corrupt, with the Pope to blame for. At the end of his testimony Luther is to be arrested by the state. Just as Luther believed in the reformation of the Roman Catholic Church, John Calvin too thought that the church needed change. Neither Luther nor John Calvin thought that church and state should be separated but that the church simply required alteration. Calvin pleads to the emperor “...the matter on which you are to deliberate is, whether you are to leave to your posterity some empire or none” (Calvin, “On the Necessity of Reforming the Church”, p. 25) He is simply stating that if there is not reform within the church that the state of the empire will no longer be. John Calvin defended the notion that church and state are not separate and should not be separate (Calvin, On the Necessity of Reforming the Church”, p. 24). He expressed that it was the Emperors duty to reform the church and fix the corruptness within religion. Both Calvin and Luther along with Machiavelli are very pre modern in the idea that they all confer that church and state should not be separated; that it is the duty of...

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