The 20 Most Important Events in Human History

The Reformation

Martin Luther hammering his demands to the door of the Wittenberg All Saints Church is commonly cited as the spark which lit the fire of the reformation. For centuries, the Catholic Church had been the foremost broker of power in the Christian world. All the churches belonged to them, their doctrine dictated how almost every person in Europe practiced religion. Afterwards, wars would be fought and people burned at the stake over the differences in these ideologies.

As a professor of morals and ethics at the local university, Luther had grown sick of what he saw as the hypocrisy and the non-religiousness of the Catholic Church. He demanded change – bibles printed in plain language, a removal of gold decorations from churches, mass to be conducted in local dialects – and printed up his arguments on a sheet of paper. He hammered this to the door of the church on a holy day and, through sheer force of will, changed the course of Christianity forever.
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