Would it be fair to say that Protestantism has led to modern day liberalism?

What I mean by this is that because of Luther and other reformers challenging the church, he put the focus on God and the individual, not the individual as a part of the church community. Anyway, this led the way to individuals not only challenging the church but challenging all authority and even God itself, leading to the enlightenment in the 17th and 18th centuries where many thinkers (including a few of our founding fathers) were deists.
Because of these ideas, there was more emphasis on individual liberty and freedom, but not the right kind of freedom. More of the kind of freedom where "I can do whatever I want and no one can stop me). This lack of respect for God, as well as desire for libertinism led to where we are today. While protestantism in some respects has remained strong, I feel that because of it people feel free to challenge all authority and eventually it leads to where people have no God and all they care about is the kind of freedom that satisfies desires of the flesh, not the true freedom found in God.

So could it be true that Protestantism, while certainly not part of Liberalism, has led to liberalism and the decline of our society or am I way out there?

It does seem to be a contributor, a major one considering how wide spread the church was at that time. There definitely was a domino effect of denominations after Lutheran, and since church was such a big part of society it would make sense that seeing the example of being able to have your own denomination instead of your religion or form of christianity chosen for you that it would trickle down into the homes and the way we relate to other issues in our daily lives.

I would say no, there is not a direct connection.

Maybe a better way of putting it would be that it was one factor that leadto modern day liberalism. Also, the whole idea of protestantism is personal interpretation, thus people accept things like birth control and euthanasia as okay. Sadly I think this idea has taken root among cafeteria Catholics who feel they can challenge the church

I’d strongly disagree.

Not sure what you disagree with. The quote in your post does not match what benjamin posted.:shrug:

The very notion which that benjammin brought forth to ponder. Either either in the original thread title and post, or in that recent refined form.

Without derailing the thread, I would dispute the bolded.


The problem is that in both Catholicism/Protestantism there are people who believe that they don’t have to preach the whole gospel, just parts of the gospel.

The political/religious Left has taken up the Social Justice part of the Christian message.
The political/religious Right has taken up the Sin/Pro-life part of the Christian message.

Jesus helped the poor and disadvantaged, but he also pointed out when people were sinners and behaving badly. It hurts everyone when either side is more interested in promoting an agenda rather than teaching people the entirety of Jesus and the Gospel message.

So, no, I can’t justify saying that, on the whole, Protestantism has led to modern day Liberalism.

Political movements are concerned with politics.

Religious movements are concerned with religion.

I think that Christianity would do a lot better, as a movement, if it stuck to religion and got out of politics - especially the way we mix politics and religion these days.

It’s one thing to be political and be a Christian. It’s another to be Christian first and political second. I think that Christians need to be reminded of their primary duty - and that’s not to any political party.

In the US, we don’t have a State religion - which is really important to note because it’s such a fundamentally drastic change from the way things were in Europe at the time of our founding.

In other eras, America was primarily Protestant and everyone had similar values, regardless of their politics. People had a common morality, regardless where they worshiped. That simply doesn’t exist anymore. So, in some ways, it didn’t matter if you weren’t Protestant because people still followed the basic ideas of the 10 commandments.

These days, I have to wonder how many people have heard of the idea of the 10 commandments, let alone know what they are - and bonus points, if someone could list them in order.

I’m not too familiar with religious history, but I do know politics. Protestantism isn’t a friend of Socialism/Communism/the extreme Left. Most Leftists hate religion, so they co-opt religious leaders and more moderate folks who agree with them on some things, knowing that they are just a means to an end.

The enlightenment took hold in Catholic countries just as much, if not more, than in Protestant countries. France was the leading exponent of enlightenment philosophy. As for liberalism itself, it is owed both to the Renaissance, Enlightenment, and Romanticism. Again, all three were as influenced by Catholic proponents as well as Protestant.

Modern liberalism within Protestantism, at least numerically, is on the decline (going strictly by numbers). Liberalism in Catholicism, not so much.

Modern day political correctness is not anything to do with the Protestant religionreligion. It is entirely the work of Frankfurt School Marxists and their fellow travellers.

The only political philosophy which would link closely with English Protestantism is Burkean conservatism.

Sadly, I must agree with you.

Not sure how you arrived at this conclusion. The Catholic Church has certainly not accepted the liberal point of view on the important matters of contraception, abortion, same-sex marriage, etc… although again, sadly, we have many “Catholics” who do not follow Church teaching on these issues. I consider them the protestants within.

In general, I would not say that protestantism has affected liberalism as much as liberalism has affected protestantism.

I disagree that it is fair to say this, because a lot of Evangelical churches still hold to very conservative beliefs…traditional Lutherans for one example. Yes, more and more churches are becoming liberal, but isn’t it likely due to being swayed by societal pressures and not because of what Luther five centuries ago? I mean, these liberal churches weren’t this liberal 100 years ago, so the causation, if there is any, is very weak.

Liberalism takes hold in a Church Body when they allow error to come into the Church by trying to the Church conform to the world to try to make it grow. This is why we have church bodies accept abortion, homosexual lifestyle including marriage, ordination and adoptions, etc.
It is said that error comes into the Church in three stages. First, error tells Truth, that it will not bother anyone, just tolerate it and leave it be. Second, error tells Truth that they are equal and they can co-exist and everything will be OK. Third, after awhile, error tell Truth that error is the majority and Truth will have to conform or Truth will have to leave because Truth is a disturber of the peace of the Church.
Two Church bodies that are in the third stage or close to it are the ELCA and the Episcopal Church.

Yes, you could not be more correct. Liberalism has affected many people in all faith traditions. It does kind of make one sick, however, when we see what is occuring in the Anglican (Episcopal) tradition. Even within the Lutheran Church, however, I believe contraception is allowed which is a very modern symptom of liberalism. But you are correct, it was not always so.

Protestantism did in fact encourage individualism and humanism.

It was attractive to monarchies around Europe, and led to a strengthening of their position.

As a result it strengthened the role of the nation state as opposed to Christendom.

The doctrine of Sola Scriptura encouraged an individualistic and conscience based approach to scripture.

The “Protestant Work Ethic” and capitalism go hand in hand.

The Reformation led to Descartes (1596-1650): “I think therefore I am”

Which did it strengthen? The nation state or the individual? You can’t have it both ways, after all. You’re correct that the weakening of authoritarianism could have been influenced by Protestant thought. But it couldn’t have also strengthened the monarchy at the same time. The only real major monarchy to embrace Protestantism was England. Some of the princes in the German provinces became Lutheran, but not all. The nations that did lean Protestant became democracies within a few hundred years.

The doctrine of Sola Scriptura encouraged an individualistic and conscience based approachto scripture.

The Reformation led to Descartes

Descartes was by all accounts a devout Catholic up until his death. He is even credited with the conversion of a Protestant monarch. Descartes was influenced by Aristotelianism and Stoicism.’

I like it two ways, and so I will have it two ways: and also I am right:p

Protestantism strengthened the nation state - **and **it also strengthened individualism.

It strengthened the nation state because princes and kings realized they could use protestantism to break away from the hegemony of Rome.

Once you had a secular state then secularism followed.

It strengthened the idea of the individual, as I have said, through the doctrine of Sola Scriptura

Yes Descartes was a Catholic - but cannot Catholics be influenced by individualism?

Was it not Descartes who said “I think therefore I am?” (I always remember the Monty Python song to get this right :p) This argument is the foundation of all modern western thinking .

Descartes’ contemporary Blaise Paschal believed that Descartes had gotten rid of the need for God.

As to nation states that were protestant: off the top of my head. Many German states, Switzerland. Sweden (bigger then than now). Britain. Holland.

Seems like most of Northern Europe to me - which of course it was.:shrug:

I’ve read secular scholars connect the Protestant Reformation with the Enlightenment. Obviously the Enlightenment is what created the atheism and secularism of today.

Wrong. Individualism created secular Republics/Democracies. After abandoning the Church and monarchy, the “people” decided that having individuals voting on morality and truth would lead to a greater society. Now the people-- the masses of individual opinions-- elect leaders who will do their will.

Unfortunately there is no objective morality or standard of any sort within Democracy or Republics. So long as enough people agree with a sinful socially damaging belief, that belief will become law. No objective moral standard stands above the masses subjective opinions.

This is directly connected historically with the Protestant Reformation. When Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli all proclaimed “sola scriptura,” they couldn’t even agree with each other about what the Bible actually said. Soon thereafter came the anabaptists, Anglicans, etc. They couldn’t even agree on whether or not the sacraments are just signs or if the Holy Spirit working through them to give us grace? Did God predestine people to Hell or do we have free will to make a choice? Did God create the world to demonstrate His justice by predestining people to Hell; or did He create the world out of Love and give free creatures a free will to choose Him? These aren’t minor issues, they’re huge. Yet everyone agreed that the Bible was the objective truth that society should be based upon, but ultimately their interpretation of the meaning of scripture was up to the individual and his or her denomination. And if you disagreed with your denomination you simply started your own.

Well, if everyone is pointing to an objective standard but arguing about what the objective standard actually means-- that is, they are appealing to an objective standard but their interpretations are subjective-- it only takes a few generations of people to simply remove the objective standard (the Bible) and keep the subjetive standard (personal interpretation). Thus society fell into relativism.

A society simply doesn’t jump from “One Church whose authority to bind and loose is exercised through the Magisterium, protected through by the Holy Spirit”; to “secular relativism.” There has to be a step inbetween. That step was Protestantism-- a belief where objective truth is said to exist but is ultimately left to individual interpretation.

Eventually society simply abandoned the objective standard (the Bible) and kept the individual interpretation.

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