Religio of Religious Freedom

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Religio of Religious Freedom

In class, we examined the crisis of Europe’s “religio”, which played a crucial role in the disintegration of the Church as an institution and eventually brought an end to the Middle Ages. In reaction to the Church’s corrupt cases, extensive political involvement, wealth and power overshadowing spirituality, and complicated doctrines incomprehensible by laypeople, many reform movements sprouted across Europe that escalated a new way of thinking about religion. The Mendicant movement, which stressed spirituality of simplicity in response to church wealth, power, and corruption, and Mysticism, which stressed individual spiritual experience instead of dogmatic doctrines, were monumental steps in the direction towards religious freedom. These movements, along with the Renaissance’s emphasis on human experience and capability and the recovery of classical and early Christian sources produced a serious challenge to the Roman Catholic concept of Christendom and introduced a spirit of fresh inquiry and independent thought. These movements created a snowball effect for intellectual emancipation, eventually leading to the 30 years war, religious splits, and territorial splits. What is most interesting is that institutionalized Christianity, the crux of society for more than three centuries, was no longer the same glue or “religio” in the Early Modern Era; ironically, the development of religious freedom was this “religio” for society. It is important to look deeper into the time of the Renaissance because it was in those pivotal years that people’s perspective on religion was visibly changing drastically. Beginning in 14th century Italy and spreading throughout Europe into the 17th century, Europeans rediscovered literature of Homer, Plato, Aristotle, Sophocles, Ovid and hundreds of other Greek and Roman authors, and in so doing rediscovered…...

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