The Reformation is the religious movement that established Protestantism as a major division of Christianity. The Reformation arose in protest against many Roman Catholic doctrines and practices. In the beginning, the leaders tried to reform from within, but later they broke away from the church, and most of the countries of northern Europe became Protestant. The Reformation began with Martin Luther’s challenge in 1517 and continued for most of the 16th century.
Although the Reformation seemed primarily a religious upheaval, it was also a complex social and political movement. A revolt against the religion and way of life of the Middle Ages, it was part of the transition from medieval to modern times. The revolt accompanied a change in the political, economic, intellectual, and ecclesiastical traditions of the medieval age of faith. The results touched every aspect of human life. The Reformation was a historical event of great significance.
With the Renaissance, which preceded it, and the French Revolution, which followed several hundred years later, the Protestant revolt was one of the three great revolutionary waves in the advancing tides of modern civilization. The individualism that was born in the Renaissance was fortified by the reformers’ assertion of the right of private judgment in matters of faith and conduct. Slowly gaining supporters, this principle of individualism led in time to the challenge of every kind of traditional authority.
Politically, then, the Reformation was part of a larger movement that led to the development of independent nations and modern democracy. In what ways did the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment challenge the intellectual and political status quo in early modern Europe? The Scientific Revolution of early modern Europe and the Age of Enlightenment are both multi-faceted developments that are successful in challenging the conventional practices of previous times in all aspects of life – social, religious, political, and economic.
Such movement catalyzed the desire of the people for exploration, conquest, control, and influence the rest of the world. Consequently, there are numerous political unrest and revolution that inevitably transpired in various places. Such unrest was further escalated by the economic shifts of countries to capitalism. Due to the European dominance in international trade, commerce, and technological advances, countries that the Western nations expressed interest were basically entirely dependent on the European caprice, which prevents autonomous development for that state.
The period of Enlightenment has a crucial role in instilling the overturning of established norms, traditions, and other cultural conventions that proved to have impacted the European society in making them more liberal, politically and intellectually. This period is the source of critical ideas such as the importance of freedom, democracy and reason as the top considerations that people should have.
This view argues that the establishment of a contractual basis of rights would lead to the market mechanism and capitalism, the scientific method, religious tolerance, and the organization of states into self-governing republics through democratic means. People are then called to pursue for the truth in any kind of form without the fear for being sanctioned for the violation of conventional ideas. Both periods of Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment gave rise to significant bodies of knowledge that are very important in understanding the development of the modern world.
The different philosophies during the Enlightenment aimed for the conversion of the scientific advances into social and governmental advances. This includes the introduction of the notion that there is no social stasis, as it is ever changing. Both the Scientific Revolution and the Age of Enlightenment brought the Europeans to their conclusion that they have the international role of becoming intellectual catalysts of ideas of reason, change and improvement. Europeans saw Western Europe as the primary center of modern thinking.