By the XVI century. religion is increasingly no longer the main factor of history. Abuse of the popes, the intervention of the church in secular affairs caused the crisis of the Catholic Church. In the ecclesiastical environment, discussions began. Thus, the Jesuit Luis Molina (1536-1600) made amendments to the doctrine of predestination. In his opinion, a man by his free will, i.e. without the help of divine grace, can do a good deed. When a person achieves this, then God sends down his grace, through which he, a person, experiences the supernatural action of sanctification. Free will is equally active both before the sending down of grace and at the time of its manifestation: everything depends on man - his free will makes God's help either real or invalid. However, the decisive word said art. In the created at this time the greatest creations in the field of sculpture, painting, literature and poetry were glorified ancient traditions, people, pure beauty of forms; in any case, the connection with the religious ideas in them was clearly weakened. In general, during those years, the anti-religious tendency in Italy, especially among the upper classes, was obvious. Luther, who visited Italy at that time, was amazed: in Rome it was considered a good form to reject Christian principles; about the dogmas of the Catholic Church, the texts of the Holy Scriptures at the courts were spoken with mockery, and even with contempt. But the main thing, of course, is that out of admiration for the beauty of the forms and imitation of the ancient in Italy arose a great national literature and philosophy.

In particular, great humanistic ideas were proclaimed and defended by Giovanni Pico della Mirandola (1463-1494). He expressed the essence of his humanistic worldview as follows: God is the beginning, and man is the center of all things. After creating a man, God said to him: "We have not given you a place or a special heritage. All the other created beings we subordinated to certain laws. You are not connected by anything, you can take what you want, and be of your choice to those you decide on your own. You, by your own will and to your credit, should be your own master and builder and form yourself out of the material that suits you. You are free - you can descend to the lowest stage of the animal world, but you can also ascend to the higher divine spheres. Animals from birth have all that they will ever have. Only in man did the Father lay the seed for any activity and embryo of any way of life. " Pico della Mirandola consistently defended the freedom and dignity of man, one hundred right to independently create one's own personality.

Of course, the first humanists, such as Dante and Petrarch , did not yet dare to completely overthrow the scholastic "scholarship", yet they already maintained that philosophy First of all it must be the art of living, to prepare a person for moral and political life. The outstanding humanist Lorenzo Valla (1405/1407-1457) substantiated and defended ideas in the spirit of epicureanism. He considered natural everything that serves self-preservation, the happiness of man.

Marcelino Ficino (1433-1499), being in his philosophical views a supporter of Neoplatonism, argued that philosophy is not a servant of theology, but her sister: philosophy is "scholarly religion". In the spirit of Plato and Neoplatonism, he argued that virtue is a special order of the soul, allowing one to maintain dignity in relation to oneself and others, i. E. fulfill duties and in relation to yourself, but also to others, for only actions that are absolute and committed with respect to the performance of duties are noble, but actions contrary to duties are shameful . According to Ficino, the nobility and dignity of the soul in Socrates and Plato are one and the same. Similarly, notes Ficino, and their followers - Platonists, Peripatetics, Stoics, etc. - taught that there are two kinds of moral virtues, some of which control the feelings and actions of man, others are directed to do the best in respect of those with whom we deal in our lives. Platonists called the first kind of virtue moderation, the second - modesty. They believed that the concept of moderation includes abstinence, constancy , restraint, patience, perseverance, courage, generosity. Another kind of virtue - modesty - includes loyalty, innocence, justice, friendship, benevolence, generosity, splendor. Appealing to Aristotle, Ficino notes that, from the point of view of the Greek philosopher, virtue is best manifested in difficulties and that it is more difficult to behave virtuously towards others than towards oneself. Therefore, those virtues that relate to public life are worthy of greater praise than those relating to private morality. No wonder Aristotle said: the worst is not one who is vicious in relation to himself, but one who is vicious in relation to others; the best is not one who is virtuous in relation to himself, but in relation to others. All these judgments of Aristotle Ficino share, but the best virtue considers magnificence. He builds the following hierarchy of virtues: innocence - the purity of the soul, the constant desire to harm no one - generates justice, some inclination the human will to give every due; the basis of justice is faithfulness, constancy and truth in words and deeds. The justice is followed by generosity and magnificence: generosity is virtue, yet retains the orientation toward the person who manifests it; grandeur is always manifested in large public expenditures and deeds.

Defending the idea of ​​an active, creative attitude to life, the Italian humanist, philosopher, architect and artist Leon Batista Alberti (1404-1472) also appeals to Antiquity: "I ... like the thought of the philosopher Anaxagoras, who answered the question of what God produced for man, so that he could contemplate the sky, the stars, the sun and all these wonderful creations of God. And we can find considerable confirmation of this opinion, because, as we see, there is no other animate subject whose head would not be turned downward, to the ground, to sustenance; Only in a man who has a straight line, his forehead and face are directed upwards, i.e. as if by nature itself, it is designed to look and admire the sky and its luminaries. According to the Stoics, nature has produced man as the contemplator of the world and the master of things; Chrysippus believed that every thing is intended to serve man, man is to preserve the community and friendship between people. To this same opinion ... Protagoras was committed, saying that man is the measure of all things. Plato ... writes that people are born not only for themselves, for one part of their being belongs to the fatherland, the other to the parents, the third to the friends ... Therefore, I very much like Aristotle's idea that "man is like a happy mortal God, if he cognizes and acts with the help of reason and virtue ... Happiness can not be obtained unless one works good, just and worthy ".

Pietro Pomponazzi (1462-1525) also developed his philosophy in the spirit of the Renaissance. He rejected the teachings of Aristotle as the main source of scholasticism. In his opinion, philosophy must proceed from scientific principles; religion is needed only to educate the moral sense. Pomponazzi rejected the immortality of the soul: the soul is mortal; man is immortal only in the sense that he has ideas about high spiritual essences. Reason is the main thing: it is only through the help of reason that one can achieve happiness and bliss, which are the meaning and purpose of his life. Pomponazzi believed that everything in nature obeys the universal natural law, everything has a cause, everything is deterministic, randomnesses are excluded. God is destiny, fate, natural necessity.

During the Renaissance, such an outstanding thinker, historian and writer, as Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527) also lived. Many regard him as an apologist for violence, treachery, deceit, lies, etc. In any case, in his treatise ("Sovereign", 1513) he instructed the sovereign: be strong and cruel, like a lion, and cunning, like a fox. But we need to take into account the socio-political context of these instructions: Italy is fragmented, the princes are at enmity among themselves, all means are used in the internecine war. The Sovereign, a pupil of Machiavelli, must know this and be ready to fight, otherwise he will not achieve goals, Italy will not unite. At the same time Machiavelli expressed a number of deeply humanistic positions: political slavery is a pernicious disease for the state; Only those wars are just, which are necessary, only those weapons are sacred, on which the last hope rests. What can be more necessary for us than freedom and what weapon is more sacred than the breaking chain of political slavery?

To the north of the Alps, the spiritual and cultural development was different. If unbelief was growing in Italy, then, for example, in Germany, on the contrary, profound theology was affirmed. M. Luther, J. Calvin and others acted as the head of the movement for the reform of the church. Many believers were outraged by the policy of the Roman Catholic Church, the abuse of popes, the sale of indulgences (absolution). The leaders of the Reformation demanded a return to early Christianity, preached the idea of ​​the "priesthood of all believers", about "justification by one faith", that "it is fitting for every Christian to know and discuss teaching; befits, and let there be cursed the one who undergoes these rights in an iota " etc. They insisted, especially Calvin, on the idea of ​​predestination, according to which some are meant by God to eternal salvation, others are condemned.

The beginning of the Reformation is associated with the performance of Martin Luther (1483-1546) against the trade of papal indulgences (1517). Energetic and calculating, Luther managed to find allies in many layers of European society. Especially of great importance for him was the support of princes who aspired to national independence. In 1520 Luther burned the papal bull, betraying his curse. In 1521, he opposed himself not only to the Pope, but also to the Emperor. Struggling against the Pan, Luther stressed: "I attacked not only abuse, but the whole teaching of the Pope, I bit him in the heart," and he was right. Moreover, the ideas of the Reformation carried a social-revolutionary charge. They called the Peasants' War against the feudal lords (1524-1526), ​​led by Thomas Münzer (circa 1490-1525). The danger of these ideas was felt by Luther; he urged the princes to hang insurgent peasants like rabid dogs.

With particular irritation, Luther spoke about reason, about appeals to reason. According to Luther, a man who relies only on his own mind commits a mortal sin. Faith must turn the neck of reason, strangle this "fiercest and harmful enemy of God."

Karl Marx, praising the Reformation as a whole, nevertheless about Luther himself said: "Luther defeated slavery by piety only by putting slavery in his place by conviction. He broke faith in authority, restoring the authority of faith. He turned the priests into laymen, turning laymen into priests. He freed man from external religiosity, making religiosity the inner world of man. He emancipated the flesh from bondage, putting fetters upon the heart of man. " Anyway, but after the Reformation, it was already impossible to return to the past. F. Engels was right in assessing the Reformation as "the bourgeois revolution No. 1 with the peasant war as a critical episode." Reformation, of course, contributed to the turn to the New Time. In the European public thought criticism of clericalism and feudalism grew, ideas of humanism became more and more confirmed.

A major contribution to the protection of humanistic ideas was made by Erasmus Rotterdam (1467-1536). In the book "The Praise of Stupidity" (1508), he subjected the papacy, the church, the society as a whole to ruthless criticism, and this criticism was such that they spoke of it: "Erasmus took down the egg that Luther had served." Chanting humanism, Erasmus of Rotterdam interpreted it as a moral respectful attitude of people to each other. He condemned the war as the most terrible curse of mankind, defended the idea of ​​a single "Christian world", a single church as the guarantor of a single national European civilization. Defending a man, justifying humanism, Erasmus Rotterdam appealed to irony as a theoretical and political position. "Irony is the pathos of the middle ... she frolics between contrasts and does not hurry to stand on either side and make a decision: for she is full of foreboding that in big issues where it comes to man, any decision may prove premature and untenable and that not solutions are ... a goal, but harmony, which, as far as the eternal contradictions are concerned, perhaps lies somewhere in eternity, which already carries a playful reservation called Irony ".

The Catholic Church condemned freethinking Erasmus as an Arian and Pelegian heresy. But Protestants, in particular M. Luther, were also unhappy: "Human means more to him than divine," Luther wrote about Erasmus.

The English humanist, statesman and writer, one of the founders of utopianism Thomas More (1478-1535) strongly criticized the medieval society, condemned the cruelty of the church. He defended the idea of ​​tolerance for all faith (except denying the immortality of the soul and providence) as for a purely personal matter, called for the abolition of all class distinctions, denied the death penalty (excluding the most dangerous criminals). In his book, Utopia (1515) he described an imaginary country corresponding to the ideals of reason. In this country there is a community of property; the family is respected, its purity is strictly protected by law; all work hard, getting benefits according to needs. The final conclusion of Mor: the true happiness of man lies in the full and harmonious development of the mind, science and literature.

Another great Utopian Tommaso Campanella (1568 - 1639) also painted a happy image of a future society in his book "The City of the Sun" (1602). The prototype was the Republic of Plato with the only difference that the philosophers-rulers of the Greek thinker were replaced by primate rulers. Campanella promises: in Sun City nature will be reborn, art and law will be transformed and the blessing of the holy people of Christ unfolded. "If a happy golden age existed once on earth, why not return to it again?".

* * *

Even after centuries, outstanding thinkers appreciated the era of the Italian Renaissance and the European Renaissance. "This was the greatest progressive revolution ... an era that needed titans and which gave birth to titans in the power of thought, passion and character, in versatility and learning," Engels wrote in the Dialectics of Nature. "Italian revival concealed in itself all the positive forces that we owe to modern culture, namely: the liberation of thought, contempt for authority, the victory of education over the arrogance of the tribal nobility, an enthusiastic love for science and the scientific past of people, the removal of fetters from the person, the flame truthfulness and aversion to an empty appearance and effect (this flame flared up in a whole multitude of artistic characters that demanded the perfection of their works, and perfection alone, in alliance with the highest moral pure th). Moreover, the Renaissance possessed positive forces, which in modern culture have not yet appeared so mightily. It was the golden age of our millennium, despite all its spots and vices, "believed F. Nietzsche .

United States philosopher Nikolai Berdyaev (1874-1948) highly estimated this era: "The Middle Ages, concentrating and disciplining the spiritual forces of man, at the same time connected them. It kept them in subjection to the spiritual center, it centralized the entire human culture ... At the dawn of modern times ... the creative powers of man were released. And now the effervescence of these creative forces created what we called the Renaissance, the consequences of which continue until the XIX century. The whole new history is a Renaissance period of history. This historical period stands under the sign of the dismissal of the creative powers of man, spiritual decentralization, detachment from the spiritual center, differentiation of all spheres of public cultural life, when all areas of human culture become autonomous. Autonomous are science, art, public life, economic life, the entire community and the whole culture. This process of differentiation and autonomization is what is called the secularization of human culture. "

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