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What happened during the Reformation?

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During the Reformation, several key leaders including John Calvin, Henry VIII and Martin Luther challenged the authority of the Catholic Church and created what became known as Protestantism. The Reformation came about as these leaders felt that there was not a fair distribution of power among the people in the church and that some of the teachings of the church could not be justified using the Bible. A key point of the Reformation occurred when King Henry VIII broke from the Catholic Church and established the Church of England.

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The Protestant Reformation is typically considered to have started in 1517 when Martin Luther published his "95 Theses" questioning the church. It is commonly considered to have ended in 1555 at the Peace of Augsburg. This summit allowed the Catholic Church and the new Lutheran Church to exist peacefully in Germany. The Protestant Reformation aimed to purify the church and to create new churches that focused on the Bible rather than tradition.

Luther was especially significant in the Reformation because he was the first person to use the printing press in a way that allowed common people access to his thoughts. The power of the press spread Luther's ideas in a significant way. He published more religious works from 1518 to 1525 than the other 17 prolific reformers combined.

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  • Q:

    Who started the Protestant reformation?

    A:

    The Protestant Reformation dates to Martin Luther's publication of his "95 Theses" in 1517. Luther, an Augustinian monk, continued publishing tracts and pamphlets calling for a purification of the Catholic Church and Christian adherence to the Bible.

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  • Q:

    Why was Henry VIII so important?

    A:

    Henry VIII was important because of the role he played in the Reformation when he separated the Church of England from the Roman Catholic Church that refused his petition for divorce. The move to separate the English church from Rome resulted in the king's excommunication from the church, but Henry still held to core Catholic beliefs and theology despite the separation. Henry was named the Supreme Head of the Church of England, giving him the final say in anything related to the church.

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  • Q:

    What was the difference between the Reformation and the Renaissance?

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    The primary difference between the Reformation and the Renaissance was that the Reformation focused on a religious revolution, while the Renaissance focused on an intellectual revolution. The Reformation came about in order to correct what many felt were the "faults" of the Catholic Church, leading to Protestant churches such as the Lutheran churches and Baptist churches. The Renaissance came about as a rebirth of classic civilization, leading to breakthroughs in artistic, scientific, political and philosophical thought.

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  • Q:

    What are the main religions in North America?

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    The main religions in North America are Protestantism, Catholicism, Judaism, Islam, Sikhism and Buddhism. A large number of people in North America classify themselves as "other," which can refer to other forms of Christianity that merge multiple faiths into one.

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