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Religion in the history of the medieval Christian west was a rival of the

government yet an instigator of major political movements, while religion's role in
India was the foundation for the government. Religion's role in Medieval Western
Europe may be due the power struggle between popes and kings and Islam's
threats, whereas religion's role in India may have been due to the lack of any major
competition and the priest's desire for political power.

Religion in Medieval western Religion in Vedic and Hindu India

Political Power ♠ Canon law gave the pope power ♠ Priests were at the top of the
over the clergy and church rigid hierarchical “caste system”.
property. However, bishops held They had benefits of political and
land as vassals and owed military cultural power, as they officiated
support or were loyal to Kings. rituals and had knowledge that
Kings and popes fought over other classes did not.
which could justly govern the
♠ The basis of the Vedic System
was “You are where you deserve
♠ In 1122, a compromise was to be, and the only way to
reached in Worms, Germany. King improve your lot in the future is
Henry V resigned his ability to to accept your current station
choose bishops and abbots and and it’s attendant duties.”
bestow spiritual symbols on
them, and Pope Calixtus II
♠ Since the roles of religion gave
allowed the king to invest papally priests a startling amount of
appointed bishops and abbots political and social power (along
before their spiritual with economic benefits),
consecration. naturally priests held fast to the
doctrines of Religion to use to
♠ Though it may seem like a their own advantage, whether
religious struggle between the they believed in it or not.
Secular rule and the Church, the
real motives of both sides were
♠ Furthermore, priests scarcely had
for more political power and to enforce their control or to
influence, there were no noble coerce discipline into the lower
intentions. This they had in classes; the religion, whether
common with the priests in India. Vedic or Hinduism, did it for them
Power was a major priority, and with the ideal of moksha.
religion was used as a tool.
Opposing ♠ The Crusades was a series of ♠ In 700 C.E., some individuals who
Religions Christian military campaigns greatly opposed the Brahmins’
against Muslims from 1095-1204. (the priest class, or the highest
These acts were committed in class) privilege and power
the name of God and dominated abandoned society and their
European politics. showy Vedic chants and
sacrifices, sought a different
♠ Though for economic desires and
route to salvation with mental
political reasons, the Orthodox and physical discipline, dietary
and Roman churches united as practices, and distancing
“Christians” to fight in the name themselves from desires of the
of god, the Muslims. This was world.
largely due to the fact that the
Seljuk Turks had decreased the ♠ The two religions, Jainism and
security of pilgrimage routes, Buddhism, originated during this
which were originally overseen time. However, Hinduism proved
by the Muslims. victorious, in its maintenance of
the power of the Brahmin priests.
♠ Crusades had a large cultural and
The religion also appealed to the
economical impact on Europe, as people as it provided a plethora
it showed them what they were of deities for worship and a
missing. However, the Crusades diversity of worshipping methods,
and the Inquisition were just yet maintained unity because of
another attempt at political its “single cosmic principle.” Also,
expansion fronted with the what made Buddhism more
pretense of religion. Once again, accessible to people also made it
religion was used as a tool for easier to absorb into Hinduism.
other intents and purposes.
♠ Hinduism allowed for a sense of
cultural unity.