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May 30th - Lecture #8.doc

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Adam Lehto

May 30 th RLG203 Lecture #8 Giving Birth in the Modern West - how the Catholic church responded to groups of people who challenged the authority of the church o no tolerance for deviation o but the position of the church was already being undermined by broader changes in society  we can’t really understand religion in isolation – need to look at the culture and politics – intellectual context - cathedral as a presence of authority o but at the same time – there were also other changes that in the long run would loosen the church’s grip on power - one Western church – but there are heretics – deviance (repressed) right up to the th 16 century o when changes happen, they happen quickly – pressure for reform o some of the issues that get raised in the 16 century are old issues – issues reformers had been thinking about for some time - Woodhead – never the case that you can isolate ‘the new religious thing’ – will always be influenced by other factors - not a simple cause and effect - the religious changes that were released fundamentally in the early 15 century: o the most important issue was salvation itself – can be translated into a correlation of death o the issue at the core of Luther’s protest was – how does salvation work? how do we get there o the catholic church held a monopoly on the means of salvation  all the rituals that would get you through life and get you through to the afterlife  all these means of salvation could only be found by one supplier – cornered the market on faith - cannot pick and choose what you want to believe in – cannot customize your religion - but Luther said – the alternative is grounded in the scriptures themselves o he’s not the first one to make this kind of argument – building on an old tradition o managed to convince some supporters that there is an alternative to the catholic monopoly o sounds like Luther wants to help people to get out of the burden made by the demands of a corrupt system aka the church  but, in some ways, the religious orientation of the reformers meant even greater demands – even more demanding version of the Christian life • because reformers saw the human condition a different way than the Medieval catholic church - in the opinions of the reformers – the problem of sin was not just a matter of doing a sin and getting penance, and being forgiven for the sin – can’t cancel out yours sin by penance o sin was much more confusing – you couldn’t just uproot it one at a time – humans were by nature were in a fallen state – condition of sin – sin would colour everything they did - the term for this among Protestant theologians – total depravity o not an optimistic view of the human nature o they meant that – we are all born in a state of sin - indulgences – people would pay the church for earning God’s favour – the church made a lot of money this way o Luther questioned this … which meant this would harm the church’s monetary flow - the reformers believed that to break God’s rule was to sin – but like sin, the rule was all embraced o not just external actions (good deeds), but had to be internal faith o this is why in some way, the protestant way of life was more demanding than the catholic way - Aquinas (13 century) – historically, THE catholic theologian o made a distinction between the commands of God – basic rules for all Christians - and the councils of God – the extra things you could do to become a dedicated follower – ex. the monks, nuns, etc.  the councils required you to be in a pure state internally - another standard distinction between mortal sins and venial sins o mortal – much more serious – can lead to your eternal damnation – actively resisting God’s will  required more penance/repentance o venial – ascetic sin, passion - in the reformation, Luther said these distinctions don’t mean anything o one sin is just as bad as another – no classification o result of this – no one can keep God’s law – no one can perform so well that they earn their salvation – not even the Holiest o the reason this is released in scriptures is because people need to trust in law – not so that you will try to be good and earn that place in heaven or pay the church for indulgence/penance  it’s there so we trust in God to save us - a question rises – what exactly is this trust/faith? – the heart of the reform movement that Luther was pushing o implicit faith – for most people, trusted what the priest said to them  trusted the system – hence implicit - reformation teaching - have to cross-align where you realize that the knowledge you got from the priest actually has some relevance to my life – I have to make a response to this o evangelical Christianity o reformation importance of individual taking responsibility - reformation: supposed to lead to a situation where you have full assurance – don’t have any significant doubts about your afterlife – psychological transition o irony in this emphasis – one the one hand the
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