We have plenty to be grateful for — particularly the way that the Reformation developed our language and communication technologies. The Reformation also paved the way for how faith is now conventionally a personal choice, rather than something imposed by our society. We may take that for granted today but it’s a trend whose roots are found in the tumultuous events of 500 years ago.
It opened the way to the development of much stronger ideas of the nation state — especially the different kingdoms and principalities of what is now known as the United Kingdom, and eventually the development of British identity.
The arts, sciences and literature flourished, thanks to the Bible becoming available in each person’s language, rather than only in Latin. People began to own books, starting with bibles and prayer books.
Economically, there were creative and innovative developments — especially in finance and banking. It became acceptable to charge interest on loans, which led to the sort of economic development that had not been possible before. If you’re reading this on your way home from the City or Canary Wharf, your work is partly down to that German friar.
But as the story of the two cardinals shows, there was also much to mourn, and much for which to be sorry.
500 years ago today, this post went viral. pic.twitter.com/80m45vNKZ3
— ian bremmer (@ianbremmer) October 31, 2017