"But why was Luther able to achieve such remarkable success with his heretical revolt? Was the Church’s practice of selling indulgences truly despised enough to tear Christendom asunder? Were people really willing to abandon a millennium and a half of religious tradition over a few unsavory practices? Many scholars contend that this is exactly what happened.  They hold that Luther’s cause was so righteous and the Roman Catholic Church so mired in corruption that those who strained under Catholicism’s yoke rejoiced at his arrival. 

            Yet the truth seems to be far less romantic.  When one approaches the historical record, both from the Catholic and Protestant perspectives, it becomes clear that the success of Luther’s revolution was determined not by the righteousness of the Protestant faith or the contemptible corruption of the Catholic Church but rather by that most human of vices: Greed.”

- an excerpt from Ben Davidson’s paper “Avaritia vult!” A study of Economic Incentive and the Protestant Reformation”

05/15/12 at 11:53am
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