16-18th Century Christianity (Ch. 6)

I think it is interesting that with Roman Catholicism in the seventeenth-century how you had to be “all-in”, or leave, or be kicked out. You couldn’t be “kind of Catholic” it was more of a lifestyle than a religion , or at least that’s how it appears to me.  I think it’s funny how following the reformation, the Catholic Church seemed like it was in a battle or competition with Protestants. In chapter six, it says that “if protestants were seeking a simplified Christianity, stripped of splendor and mystery, Catholics responded by emphasizing those very things.” I get some sort of picture in my mind of two little middle school girls arguing with one (the Catholic church) saying “Oh you don’t like my style? Watch me make it even better”. It’s as if they were trying to go to the extreme opposite end of the scale so that they could be largely separated from the “new” branch of Christianity.

I was kind of upset that the reading barely mentioned the Amish population. I was able to go to Amish country in middle school on our East Coast Trip and it was such a neat experience. The brief description of the Amish in the book states that they separated from the Mennonites because they wished to go to the extreme to shun the excommunicated members. Have any of you ever seen the show “Breaking Amish?” I haven’t, but from what my roommates tell me, the TLC show follow several Amish or Mennonite folk around during a time of their life entitled Rumspringa, in which they leave their community and go to the “English  world” to decide whether they want to remain Amish/Mennonite or not.  If they do not return, then THEY become excommunicated to the extreme, just as the early members of this group wished to see. I’m not a big television person, but I think this sounds worth-while to watch because these people are making a HUGE decision that determines their entire life, and they’re doing so on television. No pressure or anything.

Anyway, back to Chapter 6. The whole Edward, Mary I, and Elizabeth I changes to the religion of England sounds like it must have been a rough patch of time.   I can’t imagine the confusion that an English person must have felt when a religion that was accepted a few years ago was not accepted anymore and its followers were being persecuted.  The Pope seemed to be entirely anti-Elizabeth I calling her a “bastard” and saying she wasn’t fit to rule, yet she allowed Roman Catholics to continue to practice. Elizabeth I seemed to have much more religious tolerance than the Pope. I understand he didn’t believe in divorce and remarriage, but Henry VIII obviously went out of his way to create his “own religion” so that he could do as he wished. Henry VIII wasn’t Catholic so I think the Pope should have stopped judging Henry VIII’s “illegitimate” wives from a Catholic perspective because Henry strayed away from Catholicism in order to make them legitimate.

Then, jumping to the Scientific Revolution, the Church makes the brilliant Galileo withdraw his scientific findings. I think this just displays once again how the Church continually condemned those who sought change to the approved and accepted views and assumptions.

I did some research on the internet and looked further into Deism and discovered that many well-known names in history were deist such as Voltaire, Rousseau, Franklin, and Paine. I enjoy how deism focuses on the balance of reason and faith.  It allows one to accept science and religion together; one can have the freedom to recognize that there is a God but also recognize these “laws of nature”.

I would continue but I don’t wish to bore ya’ll. If you have made it this far on the page and have taken the time to read my big blob of thoughts, thank you! See you guys in class tomorrow!               


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