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Turning Point Essay

Turning Point Essay

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Published by: Eatgreencrayons on Mar 25, 2009
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Global 9HPeter StraubingePeriod 2Throughout written history, vast changes in social, political, and economicestablishments have been sparked by extraordinary people or conditions. Often, thesechanges mark a turning point in the progress of civilization as new ideas are formed, newgovernments raised, or new discoveries put to use in the interest of progress. Whether these pivotal moments in history may be due to a single nonconforming person or a vast,radical multitude, each turning point has certain specific influences and outcomes whichshaped the world for innumerable years.On of history’s most major changes occurred in the 1500s, through the work of aman named Martin Luther. A devout German monk, Martin Luther eventually sparkedone of the most major religious reformations in history. However, while Martin Luthersactions were the flame to the proverbial powder-keg, there were numerous influencesleading up to his actions. Since long before Luther’s time, many Catholic popes hadgrown increasingly concerned with financial and or political issues, as opposed tospiritual ones. Understandable, this undermined the faith of many in the Catholic church’sleadership. In addition to the declining religious conduct of the various popes, clergy of lower rank began to abuse their privileges, or outright ignore many of the church’steachings and requirements. Nationalism, too, was on the rise throughout Europe; as people became more and more concerned with the affairs of their countries rather thanthose of the church. The Popes began to lose their sway on Europe’s people. Lastly, theinvention of Gutenberg’s printing press allowed the spread of revolutionary andnonconformist ideals which would previously have been quashed by the Catholic church.
One of the most widely protested acts of the Catholic church was the sale of indulgences.This practice allowed sinners to repent by simply paying their way out of their wrongdoing, rather than performing a pious act. Many people viewed this as greedy,dishonest, and even blasphemous, and among these people was the cleric Martin Luther.Luther was finally pushed to take action against the church by the acts of a mannamed John Tetzel. Affiliated with the church, Tetzel was an indulgence salesman, andrepresented much of what Martin Luther saw as corrupt and wrong in the church. In a blatant act of rebellion, Luther posted his famous “95 Theses” on the doors of a church inWittenberg. These theses contained criticisms and condemnations of all that Luther sawas sacrilegious and wrong within the church. While Luther was excommunicated anddeclared as a heretic by the Catholic church, this did not stop the spread of his ideas.Across Germany, more and more people began to follow Martin Luthers teachings anddistance themselves from Roman Catholicism, eventually coming to be known asLutherans. As divides grew further and further, more reformations were sparked; HenryVIII worked to form the Anglican church within England, while John Calvin began theorder of Calvinism within Switzerland. The Roman Catholic Church, in turn, began their own catholic-counter reformation in order to attempt to reinstate Roman Catholicism asthe primary European religion. Looking back, it is apparent that Martin Luther prompteda series of religious upheavals whose impacts sent shockwaves throughout the entireworld, and are felt even today in the barriers between various sects of Catholicism.Going back many millennia, the Neolithic Revolution was another importantturning point in the development of humanity. Characterized by an increase in the use of tools, agricultural methods, and government, the Neolithic Revolution is arguably what

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