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The Modern Church

With the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 the wars following the Reformation ended. It effectively dissolved the Holy Roman Empire, which had been largely a religious ideal. The decentralized feudalism of the Middle Ages gave way to nation states. Criticism of the Bible rose, knowledge was sought without the supervision of the church or theology, and society became increasingly secular. The church, which had long dominated culture, would now begin a struggle for relevance. As science came to be regarded as the premier source of knowledge and progress, religion was gradually seen by many as subjective in nature. Then as postmodernism developed in the twentieth century, science too came to be regarded as partly, or even largely, subjective. Ecumenism began as a force to bridge the rift between Catholics and Protestants, and as well between the Eastern and Western halves of Christendom. In a culture reluctant to affirm that there can be one absolute truth or set of moral standards, Christianity now interfaces with a globalized community of religions, sects, and commitments to various lifestyles.
1648: The Treaty of Westphalia
The Treaty of Westphalia ended the Thirty Years War, on October 24, 1648. The war involved many European countries, including Germany, the Hapsburg Empire, France, Sweden, Bohemia, Spain , Holland, Scotland and Denmark. The thirty years of fighting was considered a religious war between the Reformed Church (Calvinist) and the Catholic Church.