The Protestant Reformation: The Age Of Reason

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The Age of reason The Protestant Reformation may be described as a time of “reclamation.” Reformers set out to bring doctrine and practice into closer alignment with the New Testament. Following the Reformation, a period of rationalism set in. Human reason became the final court of appeal. What started as a response to a cry for reclamation of revealed scripture now heard voices that denied the existence of revelation. Although this Age of Reason is bracketed from 1648 to 1789, its effect has continued to the present day. Naturally, as we move from one “age” to another, the boundaries are not as well defined as the terminology suggests. Reliance on human reason was not new. Neither did everyone adopt a rationalistic approach to religion.…show more content…
An emerging interest in human reason posed a threat to the church, which by now favored order, conservatism, and stability. As one author puts it, "Movements suspected of enthusiasm, such as Puritanism, Quietism, and Janesism, fell into disrepute, and the authority exercised by the state in religious affairs became more pronounced. It was an age dominated by Reason, which, until it provoked a reaction in such movements as Pietism and Evangelism, posed a formidable challenge to Christianity. Out of the Age of Reason came renewed interests in art, architecture, and music. The church used these as tools for enhancing worship, affirming faith, teaching, and advancing aesthetics. Ironically, what shakes the foundation of belief on one hand liberates it on the…show more content…
Science and reason are placed side by side as viable alternatives to the dictates of religion. Thus, the Roman Church represented an outmoded way of looking at the world. It was easy indeed to cite its abuses as evidence that faith represents bondage. Enlightenment represents freedom of thought and freedom of action. The emphasis shifted from God to man or more accurately, from the Church to man. The emerging perspective was bound to have great effect upon politics, society, and religion. This was assisted by the discovered of the printing machine, diminishing control of the Roman Church, and fascination with openness to free thinking. Once the strangle hold of the Catholic Church was broken, non-church based ideologies were able to take root. Balance is a difficult position to achieve; it is equally challenging to maintain. The rule establishes either by a majority or by the more powerful. The object, therefore, is not balanced or equity; it is about keeping the edge in terms of power. When the Roman Church ascended to power, it could not resist exercising authority over any who opposed it. When secular forces dominate, their tolerance for the opposition diminishes in like manner. With Enlightenment ideas on the ascendency, it was only a matter of time until Christian ideals were pushed back. The Enlightenment brought secularization of political rights.
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