Calvin: Reform and Its Effect on Work in Daily Life in Sixteenth Century Geneva

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Calvin: Reform and Its Effect on Work in Daily Life in Sixteenth Century Geneva The fifteenth and sixteenth centuries were one of the most turbulent times in the history of Western Europe. The practices of the Roman Catholic Church dissatisfied some thinkers (many of whom were clergymen themselves) began an intellectual reexamination of not just the practices but the very ideological and theological foundations of the Church itself. Calling into questions such issues as the role of faith and "works," these intellectuals began a movement that would eventually cause a split in Catholicism. This movement was the Reformation and it (and the eventual schism) would give birth to the Protestant branch of Christianity. One of the intellectuals who influenced the Reformation and Protestantism the most during the sixteenth century was John Calvin (1509 - 1564). Calvin developed what he believed was the most correct interpretation of God's word. Calvin explicated the notion of predestination, which is the belief that God already knows one's ultimate destination, in terms of salvation (saved or damned to Hell).

He believed that nothing could affect one's salvation, not even devout faith or complete devotion to God (and certainly no amount of good works or indulgences), as none but God Himself can know His divine will or change it. Regardless, he believed that all Christians must praise and love God for his perfect wisdom, justice and mercy. They must live the life of the Elect (those whom God has already chosen as saved), whether they are truly saved or not, in order to create the perfect Christian community. Those who lived in this perfect Christian community (in this case, Geneva in the Swiss Confederation during the mid-sixteenth century) must obey the strict rules that he and the Consistory (the town religious leaders) set forth. Calvin's reforms...