The Protestant Reformation

The emergence of a new mentality in the west, a mentality that is expressed in economic terms with capitalism.
The development of private commerce, and related activities, had only created many traders and various entrepreneurs; In other words, so many people are dedicated to accumulating wealth through private activities.
A capitalistic system had never been created. Greed by itself does not create capitalism creates so many people that, when the external conditions are suitable, accumulate purchasing power, ceding this activity when the external conditions are no longer favorable. A capitalist system is instead when such favourable conditions are systematically sought, and the functioning of society is based on them. Greed is a necessary but not sufficient condition for the life of a capitalist system. That is why greed must be justified.
This justification was offered by the Protestant Reformation.
It is a question of whether in the Europe of time there would be a Protestant Reformation if Gutenberg had not introduced his own mobile printing characters, which allowed them to print books at a speed hitherto unthinkable.
Gutenberg began printing the first book in 1450 and for the year 1500 it was estimated that in Europe they were already in circulation from 15 to 20 million of books. They were almost all bibles, including the first, the famous Gutenberg edition ended in 1455.
The Old Testament, that skeleton in the closet that the Catholic Church had silently carried behind for so many centuries, had been discovered; The stray mine had bumped into Europe. So the Protestant Reformation began.
The Protestant Reformation was born in fact from the observation that all the hierarchical organization and most of the dogmas, sacraments, beliefs and customs that the Church of Rome had found in the New Testament, in the Old Testament are not reflected Some, indeed generally are clearly contradicted.
With the advent of the press all those criticisms of the Church of Rome had great resonance and even multiplied. The schism that led to the birth of the Protestant religion began with the objections of the German Martin Luther (1483-1546), for the Italians Martin Luther, who in 1517 posted his 95 theses on the door of the cathedral of Wittemberg, followed quickly by many other theorists, Particularly important are the French lawyer Jean Chauvin (1509-1564), Giovanni Calvino for the Italians.
The Protestant religion quickly and evenly imposed itself throughout northern Europe with the exception of Ireland, and a leopard stain in central Europe; It did not have any success in southern Europe, particularly in Portugal, Spain and Italy. In Britain things went a little differently.
Nominally he entered the Protestant scene in 1534, when King Henry VIII, stealing from the pope, claimed for himself the supreme authority over the English Catholic Church, which has since been called the Anglican Church.
The Protestant Reformation was therefore a schism within the Catholic religion due to the fact that a large part of the faithful, let us say so, of the latter perceived that his teaching did not correspond exactly with the Bible.
While the New Testament is a doctrinaire body that implies a collectivist view of life and human relations, the Old Testament implies an individualistic one.
How does the Old Testament God want men to behave to be approved? He does not say “love your neighbor as yourself”, but gives a series of detailed prescriptions-the commandments, which in total are 613, of which the first in order of time are the Ten Commandments-observed which there is certainly approval. In These commandments there is no reference to the Brotherhood of all men, to their equality, to the respect which everyone is entitled to.
There is no condemnation of material selfishness and greed; No condemnation of the individual accumulation of wealth or private property; Of the exploitation of men by other men, to the extent that slavery is taken as a matter of fact.
You can be wicked of soul, but if you can respect the form of the precepts, perhaps with cunning and quibbles, the approval will not fail (specialists in this were those Pharisees with whom he had to clash with Jesus).
The “state” does not exist; The “common good” does not exist.
Contrary to what Jesus taught and did, material wealth is not condemned in the Old Testament, indeed, it is even regarded as the tangible sign of divine favor.
Everything said above was condensed by Giovanni Calvino in a few concepts: one does not have the obligation to do well to others; Everyone has to think of himself; The only obligation is to follow to the letter the commandments; Salvation is due to divine predestination, and material wealth is the earthly sign of the same.
In a nutshell, the purpose of life is to try to get rich!
Only the formal observance of the commandments is asked. Made the law found the deception, and in the formal respect of the commandments you can accomplish any substantive injustice in regard to the neighbor.
Finally in the Old Testament there is the concept of the chosen people, which by definition is marked by material prosperity.
It was this new interpretation of the life sought by the new wealthy of Europe of the four to five hundred. The greed of material possessions had found justification, the Protestant ideology.
The contemporaneousness, in practice, of the emergence in Europe of the first five hundred of capitalism and Protestantism, and the fact that these two practices have the same ideological justification has certainly not escaped historians and sociologists, the only doubt being at Which of the two phenomena attribute the part of the cause and to which that of the effect.
In the sixteenth-century Europe, the Protestants, where they arrived, always pushed for the elimination of the monarchy and in the alternative, if this was not possible, to support at least one parliament, that through the minimum capital requirements always required to the voters It was always an expression of the very wealthy bourgeoisie.
The old and New Testament reflect two absolutely antithetical ways of seeing life. In fact, they are two different religions.
Martin Luther and his followers, mainly derived from the Lutheran Church, the Baptist and the Methodist, sought to reconcile the two wills as much as possible. Giovanni Calvino and his followers, from whom there originated a myriad of different denominations in form but not in substance, among which the most important are the Presbyterian Church and the Reformed Church, neglected in fact even if not in words every Concept expressed by Jesus.
Old and New Testament are not logically conciliable and therefore Lutheranism is a somewhat confused, uncertain doctrinaire body, which from the cultural point of view still leaves existential discomforts; Calvinism instead is a highly coherent, logical doctrine. This difference explains the kind of diffusion that Protestantism had in the sixteenth century. Lutheranism, in its various denominations, spread like wildfire on vast areas where sometimes there were commercially developed areas or cities: it was good for traders and the wealthy in general but did not overdo the mass of being penniless ex Medieval. It took hold in northern Germany, the Scandinavian peninsula and the Baltic coasts.
Calvinism instead spread in a very selective way, in rather restricted areas (at least initially) where the trades were very developed. It was established in some centres in northern Germany, France, Poland and Sweden. The most successful areas were Switzerland, Holland and Great Britain, especially in Wales and Scotland. In England the Calvinists were divided into various denominations: there were Presbyterians, reformed, separatists and Puritani. The latter, initially called the precise (Precisians), were distinguished by the implacable literal interpretation of the Old Testament and the surprising total omission of the new. They, all traders and enriched various, were the right wing of European Calvinism.
With the arrival of the Protestants began in Europe a period of riots and civil wars that lasted almost to the eighteenth century.
The Protestants wanted to either abolish the monarchies or at least flank them of the parliaments elected by the rich. The diatribes on the dogmas, on the Trinity, on the freedom of worship, on the authority of the pope and so forth were only an excuse to provoke, to pull the rope, and to prepare for confrontation, also armed. The struggles of the period always saw on one side the Protestants and on the other a monarchy, the Catholic Church.
During this period of civil wars some of the most extreme fringes of the European Protestantism, which were all Calvinists, abandoned at various times Europe, a little because threatened by the winners of the moment and a little because they are entwined by the fame of opulence Of the new lands discovered by Colombo onwards. Some English Puritans first moved to Holland, among the Dutch Presbyterian, and then, having found even beyond the insurmountable obstacles, from 1620 emigrated to North America, where they were followed by much higher numbers of Puritan departed directly from England.


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