2. Give an account of the role of religion and the church in medieval and renaissance society. The head church in Europe during the medieval ages was the Roman Catholic Church. Religion was the foremost divine power and authority during the medieval period. Therefore the lives of the people were completely dominated by the church; whether they were peasants, noble men, or kings. Because of their strong authority over people, religious institution became very rich and powerful. The church controlled every aspect of society during the medieval time.
They created their own laws, own lands, and imposed taxes. “In addition to collecting taxes, the Church also accepted gifts of all kinds from individuals who wanted special favors or wanted to be certain of a place in heaven;” growing with its wealth every day. They had such great controlled that they manipulated the kings of Europe. Just as any other periods, there were plenty of problems that persist during the medieval times. There were many injustice performed by the church.
Any people who opposed the way of the church would result in exile, excommunication, or even execution. People would be prevented from attending any church services, receive sacraments, and would be set for life full with misery and would go to straight to hell when they died. Many innocent people were tortured and executed in the name of religion. Therefore, there wasn’t any room for questioning the word of God. The church was the foundation of learning. Monks and Nuns followed Christ’s teachings in groups in the convents or Monasteries where they lived and worked.
They had three main jobs which were work, study, and prayer. The monks were almost similar to the griots from Africa; they kept the ancient learning of the past alive and past it down to generations. The monks also were also head of schools and hospitals. During that time, there was no such thing as medicine instead people strongly believed that God was the healer of all, even sickness. Wherever, the monks went they converted everyone to Christianity; which was the religion of Europe.
The church was fully committed to maintaining a Christian belief by manipulating people into believing that anyone who lived a good life would be rewarded by God and one who does wrong would be punish. People would seek the church for education, medicine, nature, art, and help. The medieval period proceeded to the renaissance. The church’s’ position during the renaissance declined. After the Black Death people started questioning the word of God and became aware that the universe is not the extension of an absolute and external God.
As the renaissance occurred simultaneously with plenty of new discoveries, it also harmed the credibility of the church. Therefore, people began to make up their own mind pertaining to religion and the aspects of the church, that’s where individualism and humanism started to evolve. People started looking for answers on their own, rather than relying on the church. Many factors began to act against the church. All of which weakened the church’s influence, including peoples’ awareness of corruption in the church.
Many priests bought their way into high positions of leadership and several were uneducated and illiterate. In addition many priests broke their vows by having children, marrying, and gambling. The corruption raged many people. Exposing the faults of what was once believed to be a blameless organization, peoples’ faith and respect for the church declined. Much was introduced within these two periods, some had its birth and fall of developments which has either been lost or forgotten throughout history.