This edition: Reformation: The Individual Before God
The Amish today are peaceable folk, but five centuries ago their ancestors were seen as some of the most dangerous people in Europe. They were radicals - Protestants - who tore apart the Catholic Church. In the fourth part of his History of Christianity Diarmaid MacCulloch makes sense of the Reformation, and of how a faith based on obedience and authority gave birth to one based on individual conscience. He shows how Luther wrote hymns to teach people the message of the Bible, and how a tasty sausage became the rallying cry for Ulrich Zwingli - a Swiss Reformer - to tear down statues of saints, allow married clergy and deny that communion bread and wine were the body and blood of Christ. "Jesus ascended into heaven" declared Zwingli, "he's sitting at the right hand of the Father, not on a table here in Zürich."