Building the Modern Mind - Religion

  1. Religious Change in the Early Modern era - Christendom

    1. Catholic Church moves toward greater centralization

      1. Council of Trent (1545-63) promotes stronger authority for the Pope, culminating a long process

      2. Church attacks popular religious activates unsanctioned by the Church

        1. folk healers

        2. magic charms

        3. spellcraft

      3. Church purses active control of people's moral lives, esp. sexual morality

    2. Many people resist

      1. Popular religious behavior in Europe begins to emphasize personal approach, piety

      2. Increasingly immoral and power-grasping behavior of popes undermines support for the papacy

      3. In general, less support for the institutions of the Catholic Church

    3. Martin Luther (1483-1546) and the Protestant Reformation

      1. Alarmed by the increased use of indulgences, Luther posts the 95 Theses question papal authority and various Catholic practices

      2. His message quickly finds a receptive audience

        1. many people already interested in religious reform, institutional reform of the Church

        2. the recently developed printing press helps spread Luther's writings quickly

        3. many nobles eager to challenge papal authority, and seize Church property

        4. Protestant Reformation spreads rapidly, primarily in northern Europe

      3. Key ideas

        1. Centrality of the Bible
          1. read by each person
          2. translated into vernacular languages
          3. translated by Luther (1522), becomes standard German
        2. Universal Priesthood of Believers - each believer their own priest
          1. minimizes need for administrative Church
          2. no need for priests, hierarch "between God & Man"
        3. Justification (Salvation) by faith alone
          1. also minimizes importance of "visible Church" - outer trappings
          2. makes the "saved" or "invisible" Church more important - individual faith
    4. Competition between Catholics and Protestants, and between different kinds of Protestants, will promote missionization around the world
  2. Religious Change Around the World
    1. Buddhism
      1. In China and Japan, expanding religious movements emphasize a personal, less priest-driven version of Buddhism
      2. In contrast, Tibetan Buddhism spreads to Mongolia and Manchuria, displacing older indigenous religions with a priest-dominated form of Buddhism
    2. Islam
      1. Complex expansion involving personal and institutional missionization sees great expansion in Africa and Southeast Asia
      2. Spreads deeper into the Sahel and East Africa, spread mostly by religious scholars and merchants
      3. Sufi missionaries play key role in missionizing Java and Sumatra (in modern Indonesia)
  3. Religious Change - Syncretism
    1. Much religious expansionism in the Early Modern era targeted folk and indigenous traditions
    2. Efforts to enforce orthodoxy or import new religions often not completely successful
    3. Syncretism emerges in many places as religions and empires expand
      1. In the Americas, places with large Amerindian and African populations produce syncretic religions like Santeria and Candomble
      2. official Christian churches often absorb local customs as well in these areas, notably in the Catholic Church
      3. In Japan, Buddhism and Shinto develop along side each other, borrowing from each other while still in competition
      4. Sikhism emerges in India, a monotheistic religion not truly syncretic, but borrow from Hindi and Islamic traditions (early 1500s)