Overview Enlightenment Rationalism

HTH-511 Topic 5 Overview Enlightenment Rationalism (1700-1800) The Reformation changed Europe and ushered in the modern era. However, it also left Europe in a state of crisis. Out of this crisis emerged the Enlightenment. The crisis of the Enlightenment was the crisis of authority. The Reformation called into question the authority of the church by pointing to the authority of the Bible. However, as Protestant scholasticism showed, there were a number of ways to interpret the Bible. At the same time, the reformers invested the princes with authority. As Martin Luther argued in his “Appeal to the Nobility of the German Nation,” princes had the duty by God to protect the religion of their citizens. Because of the diversity of religion after the Reformation, the basic solution was to say that the official religion of the region was the religion of the individual who was in charge. Princes had a newfound power and they often appealed to their duty to ensure the integrity of their religion in order to justify the expansion of their domain. The modern nation state emerged as these rulers went to war to expand and define their jurisdiction. The numerous conflicts that arose as a result of the ambition of these princes were once called the European “Wars of Religion.” The notion that they were religiously motivated wars has now been debunked, but the reason why they were originally pitched as religious wars is important. Enlightenment philosophers attributed the bloody conflicts to religion and further argued that religion is inherently an unstable source for authority since so few of its claims can be agreed upon. This led to a cry for a new source of authority for modern society. If religion caused controversy and violence, they needed something other than religion as the source for societal organization and public policy. Here entered the rise of natural reason. For the new thinkers, “reason” was thought to be in innate to every human being. While religion needed to be cultivated through a culture and a church, every human was given reason at his or her birth. Hence the famous exhortation of Immanuel Kant to “think for yourself” in his essay “What is Enlightenment?” The hope was that since all humans were endowed with reason, all humans could agree on universal truth. Reason would be a more stable basis for society than religion. This put religion on its heels. From here forward, if religion were to have a role in society, it would have to prove its rationality. That is, it would have to prove itself a universal truth that every human could innately recognize. This led to the rise of Deism, which dramatically stripped religion of most of its specificity and claims to divine intervention. Later it led to two different forms of apologetics, empirical apologetics that sought to give historical or scientific proof of religious claims, and idealist apologetics that sought to argue from reason itself (e.g., presuppositional apologetics). © 2019. Grand Canyon University. All Rights Reserved For this assignment you will select three of the six questions below. This assignment will be visible from the beginning of this topic and will be due to the instructor at the end of Topic 5. Each selected question must be answered with 700-800 words. Make sure to write as clearly and specifically as possible. Review and utilize any material and references from previous assignments in order to focus and maximize your answer. 1. Explain Martin Luther’s understanding of justification by faith against its late medieval context. 2. How did the Renaissance influence scriptural interpretation in such a way that it set up the Reformation? 3. Explain the Catholic Counter-Reformation and its agents. 4. Explain the theological shifts related to God’s will in late medieval nominalism and assess whether Luther and Calvin’s understanding of predestination was an outworking of those shifts. 5. Explain the differences among the four main branches of the Reformation: Lutheran, Anabaptist, Reformed, and Anglican. 6. Explain the Enlightenment understanding of reason and how reason becomes the basis for secular society. Prepare this assignment according to the guidelines found in the Turabian Style Guide, located in the Student Success Center.

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