18 October 2011
The Outcome of a Religious Society:
Religion has been among the most controversial of topics for ages. It is an extremely sensitive subject and the majority of people take it very seriously. Religion has the power to cause unification to a society. On the other hand, it can also bring about struggles and misfortune, ripping a society apart. There are many cases in history where Religion was the source of conflict. In 16th century Europe, a groundbreaking religious movement took place and caused a series of wars and reformations. This instance and others like it shows that Religion may be more trouble than it is actually worth in terms of a nation.
Europe experienced its first major run-in with religion around the mid 1500s. A scholar named Martin Luther triggered an uprising within the religious preference of Europe. Throughout a series of essays and thesis, he exposed the Roman Catholic Church for what it was, thus leading into the movement known as the Protestant Reformation. (Bentley) Religious leaders who followed in Luther’s footsteps across the nation also joined in the movement. John Calvin of France, who converted to Protestant Christianity because of Luther’s examples, (Bentley) fought against the French monarchy to get his points across. The Catholic Church did try to regain their position of power by launching the Counter-Reformation. However it wasn’t as successful as they had wanted it to be. Because of the growing intensity in the 16th and 17th centuries, the European religious world was now subject to turmoil and chaos due to the fights between the Roman Catholics and the Protestants. (Bentley)
Despite the chaotic state of the world in the 16th and 17th centuries, many people will still argue in favor of religion. To them, religion meant freedom. It meant “abandoning the life of sin to embrace the teachings of Christ.”(Foner14). However, they seem to have overlooked the problems that religious conflict was causing in society. Witch hunting-an act in which people in the town hunt and kill those who are suspected in making alliances with the devil, became very popular around this time. The thirty years war, deriving from a series of religious wars, lasted from 1618-1648 was considered “the most destructive European conflict before the twentieth century.”(Bentley) Religion, the source of all these terrible encounters, was ripping society apart from all angles. One can’t help but wonder at, the state of 16th and 17th century Europe if Martin Luther hadn’t triggered the conflict. Going even farther back, how do you think things would have happened if there had not been a Roman Catholic Church in the first place? After all, one doesn’t need to belong to a religion in order to have a good spiritual background.
Religion in India was enforced differently from that of Europe. In the 16th and 17th centuries, India was still run by empires, more specifically the Mughal Empire. As a result, everything was dictated through them. Even though the Mughals were Muslims, they ruled over a large Hindu nation. The Mughals even allowed people of Hindu religion to reach senior government or military positions. (BBC Religions) But, Hindus were not the only religion present at this time. The Mughal Empire was extremely diverse in terms of religion. There were Jains, Zoroastrians, Christians, and devotees of syncretic faiths such as Sikhism, all living very closely to one