The link below discusses an author’s idea the Reformation started the Western World down a path toward not believing. It did this by encouraging lay people to read and interpret the Bible themselves. People came up with a gazillion different interpretations and started fighting among themselves.
And, why wouldn’t they? The Bible’s odd and archaic language, social setting unfamiliar to readers a thousand years later and localized issues of an ancient time left the field open to take many different interpretations.
Besides the imprecision of original writers, their writing has been recopied by hand thousands of times. Experts say every new copy was in some way different than its source.
The Reformation, the author says, set off this series of events still taking place today. The only different is the rate of change seems to be increasing rather than decreasing.
The Protestant focus on the Bible as the source of the faith’s tenets made these problems of wide interpretation all the more problematic. If, for example, reformers had articulated a few clear tenets all were to follow and set the Bible aside as an interesting read, the splintering and eventual secularization might not have happened.
Some argue the same pattern of disagreement and growth of skepticism would have happened anyway–it’s just the nature of people to challenge each other. Catholicism, however, with its centralized control of dogma have not scattered as far and wide as Protestantism.
We can all agree, times are changing. Not everyone will agree change is good.
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