Thank you to Teri Fitzgerald for sharing this forthcoming radio programme with me:
Book of the Week, The Reformation Episode 1 of 5
500 years after the Reformation, Diarmaid MacCulloch examines how the announcement of a university seminar in Germany led to the division of Europe. He examines the ideas of Martin Luther, where they came from and why they proved so revolutionary, tracing their development and influence, and reflecting on what they mean for us today."
It is due to start Monday 9th January - see http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b087pr2y
The reformation means nothing today. It belongs in the past along with the bloodshed it brought.
I have to respectfully disagree, just as I would disagree with anyone claiming that the Holocaust means nothing today and belongs in the past because of the bloodshed involved, just as I would disagree with anyone who suggested that the European witchcraft persecutions resulting in the torture and death of thousands belongs in the past, just as I would disagree with anyone who would argue that future generations should not study, and hopefully learn from, the terrorist attacks and violence happening in our own time. History, however unpalatable, must never be ignored.
So do you think we should repeat all those things or learn from them? I agree that history should never be ignored but people who continue to praise the reformation ignore the negative impact it had, including civil and religious wars, the destruction of property, beautiful things, art, buildings, burning at the stake, divisions in Christian Europe, people hung, drawn and quartered, whole cities turned into exclusion zones save for new converts to the reformation, armies of peasants slaughtered, pilgrims executed in England and the witchhunts were also a product of the reformation. There were a number of positive points, such as more people could read the Bible in their own language, expanding education, although many schools also closed, different ways of thinking, new ideas, but these all came at a terrible price and in England the reformation was imposed on the people. Yes, there were a lot of grassroots reform ideas from the continent and individuals who wanted the teachings, but the majority of people remained Catholic and didn’t want an enforced reformation. Religious wars in Europe tore the place apart. Today we are seeking reconciliation and peace with each other, not digging up the meaning of the Reformation, which divided people and that belongs in the past and has no place in our society now. We need to build a more forgiving world, not one that praises the bloodshed of all the above, which is why we can’t relive the reformation.