Protestant Reformation And Catholic Counter Reformation

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During the 15th through 18th centuries, Europe was going through drastic changes. A series of poor harvests due to the harsh weather conditions lead to widespread famine, growing inflation due to the introduction of Spanish silver from the New World, an increase in the poverty population and transmission of diseases due to unsanitary living conditions and the traveling of large armies of infected soldiers across the country all contributed to this downfall. Changing political structures and religious commotions caused by the Protestant Reformation and Catholic Counter-Reformation resulted in a chaotic society. The Protestant Reformation and Catholic Counter-Reformation increased the fear of witchcraft within its citizens by promoting the idea of personal piety (a person’s alone time with their bible and God), which promoted individualism and took away from community involvement. Instead of religious groups coming together, they were dividing and the people feared that the end of the world was near. Catholics believed that this division in society was proof that the antichrist was running rampant and creating havoc across the world, while the Protestants believed that the corrupt behavior of the Catholic Church was the sign that the devil was busy at work. Both Protestants and Catholics were involved in the persecutions because both of their views on the devil and witchcraft were similar. The Reformation played a very important role in the development of witch hunts and witch trials because it convinced people to blame witches for everything. Protestants and reformed Catholics believed and preached that magic was a sin that was controlled by the devil and that the only way to protect themselves against this evil was to kill the d...

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...the witch-craze was fueled by superstition, which caused social intolerance. A lot of people were victimized because their beliefs differed from majority of the population and some people were just falsely accused. The Protestant and Catholic churches were responsible for these witch hunts because they were the ones who declared it a crime, determined how the issue would be handled and ordered for these people to be prosecuted. Basically anyone who didn’t conform to the Christian beliefs and questioned authority were accused and punished. As a result of these witch hunts, majority of Europe converted to orthodox Christianity. Through terror from the witch hunts, these people made their citizens believe that there was one God in power who was not apart of earth. They also transformed magic from being a delusion to being evil and the product of the devil.
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