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Word Count: 901
In todays world religious issues are not centrally associated with everyday life This phenomenon can be attributed partly to the secularization of government and the infiltration of the general populace or the common people into those very mechanisms that control their daily lives This certainly was not the case in sixteenth century Europe In that very tumultuous era Europe witnessed the birth of Protestantism Calvinism and Anglicanism The impetus behind these new religious ideologies could be found in the popular works of eminent theologians Notable among them was the radical Protestant Martin Luther and the humanist Desiderius Erasmus Although fundamental differences existed in the ideas put forth by these theologians the message of soul exploration and scripture study above all other works was common This message perforce was in contradiction to the very basic duties the Catholic church assigned to itself At the outset of the sixteenth century the Catholic Church was a very powerful but at the same time extremely corrupt institution Beginning early in the twelfth century onwards there were calls for reform Hence between 1215 and 1245 nine church councils with the primary goal of church reform were held unfortunately significant progress was not achieved While in most European countries the common people suffered the hardships of a subsistence livelihood the church in Germany alone allegedly possessed nearly half the nations wealth The church gathered its wealth through the sale of indulgences collection of tithes and the acquisition of land That particular ecclesiastical duty which so aroused the sentiments of Luther and the Protestants was the sale of indulgences It was a response to the notion of selling salvation that prompted Martin Luther to write The Freedom of a Christian a treatise that if believed to be true would free the common Christian from all ecclesiastical burdens and responsibilities Born in the town of Thuringian Saxony Martin Luther at first a devout and loyal catholic eventually became
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