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Why do we Study Religion
when we study History?
• Historically there is a gray area between the
power of kings (Politics) and the power of the
Church (Religion)
• Many of the great and powerful men from the
past were both members of the King’s
government and members of the church
• So when you study history you must study
religion because both politics and religion are
inexplicably linked
The Power of the Church
• During the Middle Ages
the power of the Church
was immense
• In fact, the most
powerful person in all of
Europe was not a king,
queen, emperor, or
empress – It was the
• So where did that power
come from?
Power and Wealth
• Much of the Catholic’s
church’s power was based
upon the wealth that it
• Wealth = Power
• With everyone in Europe
paying 1/10 of their income to
the Church (the Tithe) it is not
surprising that they were so
• In addition, the Church was
the largest landholder in all of
• Land = Money = Power
The Power of Education
• When kings were
looking for educated
people to fill important
posts in their
government they often
looked to clergy
• Hence, a lot of the
most powerful men in
the king’s government
were also powerful
men in the Church
The Importance of Religion
amongst the People
• The power of the
church was also
based on its
• Most Europeans
were devout and
attended Church
• It was expected of
The Church and Fear
• Those people who did
not attend Church were
viewed with suspicion
• It was not in your best
interests to be labeled a
heretic or infidel
• Frequently such people
were persecuted terribly
The decline of the Catholic Church
• In the late Middle Ages, however, the power of the Catholic Church
and the Pope declined
• The Protestant Reformation led to the creation of new churches that
were separate and apart from the Catholic Church
• The Reformation created many Protestant alternatives to the Roman
Catholic Church
• Suddenly the Roman Catholic church was no longer the “One and
only church”
• Not everyone paid the tithe to the Church
• Not everyone was obedient to the pope anymore
• The Pope was no longer the most powerful man in the land
The Protestants: New Kids on the
• So who were these New
Kids on the Block
• They were still Christians
• Still believed in God, they
still believed in Jesus and
they still believed in the
bible, but did not see the
Pope as their religious
• Believed churches and
church services should be
plain and simple
• Believed that the bible was
the word of God and did
not believe the Pope or the
clergy were worthy
Christian authorities
A Whole lot of Christians
• Catholics
• Anglicans
• Lutherans
• Presbyterians,
• Anabaptists,
• Methodists,
• Puritans
Strength in Numbers?
• Not really
• Protestants were not united except in their
opposition and hatred toward the Catholic
• They hated the Catholics the most, but
often they didn’t like one another either
England: A Different Kind of
• In England the Protestant
Movement developed
• In Europe, the protestant
movement evolved because
of dissatisfaction with the
Roman Catholic Church
• So reformers like Martin
Luther protested against the
Catholic Church and
demanded that it change
• When they wouldn’t, new and
different Protestant Churches
were created
That Crazy Man of History
• The Protestant Church came
into being in England because
of the amorous desires of one
crazy man: King Henry VIII
• During his life time Henry
acquired six wives, two of
whom he had beheaded
• Henry VIII is one of the most
intriguing figures in history
• He changed the world forever
• But how he changed the
world had a lot to do with the
wives he married and then
disposed of
Catherine of Aragon
• Henry’s first wife was a
Spanish princess:
Catherine of Aragon
• Catherine was the prized
daughter of the most
powerful monarch in the
world the time, Spanish
King Ferdinand II
• Catherine produced a
daughter, Mary, but was
not able to produce what
Henry wanted the most:
a son
The Bewitchment
• Henry became very
much enamored of a
beautiful young
woman: Anne Boleyn
• Henry, very much
wanting a son,
requested that the
Church give him a
divorce from
The Church says no!
• Getting a divorce in the
16th century was not
• Catherine was the
daughter of the Spanish
King, the most powerful
monarch in Europe
• Pope Clement VII,
fearing the wrath of the
Spanish, refused Henry’s
Fine, I will create my own
• The pope’s refusal to grant Henry a divorce made
him resort to extreme measures
• Since the Church would not grant him a divorce,
Henry decided to create his own Protestant
• He created the Church of England or the
Anglican Church
• Instead of the pope being the head of this
church, Henry would be
A Footnote
• Henry’s infatuation with Anne
would eventually end
• Anne produced a daughter
(Elizabeth) but no son
• Anne was executed for
witchcraft on May 19, 1536
• Shortly afterwards, Henry
would marry Jane Seymour,
the only woman to produce a
son for him (Edward)
Different Church, Same
• Although Henry had created a Protestant
Church, in practice it remained much the same
as the Catholic Church
• The only difference really was who was the head
of it: instead of the Pope it was now the king of
• Unlike the new plain and simple Protestant
Churches, the Church of England still had richly
decorated churches and complicated services
• Even today, Catholic and Anglican Churches are
very similar
The True Protestant Movement
in England
• While Henry created a
Catholic-like Protestant
Church, there was a more
traditional Protestant
movement in England
• This protestant faith was
very similar to the one
created by Luther in
• There were many different
Protestant denominations
of this type, but the most
powerful were the …..
The Puritans
• Hated the Catholic
Church with a
• Since Anglican
Church was very
“catholic” they hated
them as well
• Plain and simple
Puritan Beliefs and Lifestyle
Their lifestyle was quite somber
Wore dark clothing
Led dull, sober lives
Disapproved of drinking,
gambling, dancing, theater and
even Christmas (Saturnalia)
• Believed that people needed to
devote every waking moment of
their life to prayer
• Believed that stern laws were
needed to prevent people from
straying into sin
• Believe it or not, Puritanism was
very popular among the Middle
Class during this period
Stuart Kings versus Puritans
• The Stuart Kings hated the
Puritans and vice-versa
• King James vowed to “harry
them out of the land”
• Many became pilgrims and
immigrated to the Americas
i.e. the Mayflower, Plymouth
• These Pilgrim/Puritans would
get back at the English in a big
way by sparking the American
The Puritans: A Force to be
Reckoned with
• In spite of the
however, many
Puritans would
choose to stay
• They were heavily
represented in the
middle class
dominated House of
Commons of
Puritans: A force to be reckoned
• Puritans would become
the key opponents of the
king during the English
Civil War
• The Puritan led
Parliament would win
the English Civil War
• The Puritans would have
King Charles I’s head