WHY WAS RELIGION SO IMPORTANT IN THE MIDDLE AGES?
People believed that HEAVEN and HELL were very real places. Where you ended up depended on how you lived your life on Earth!
For some people life seemed very hard and Heaven seemed a warm comforting place to make up for all the suffering on Earth.
People also used religion to explain things:
HOW DID PEOPLE FIND OUT WHAT THE CHURCH BELIEVED?
Most people in the Middle ages were very poor. School had to be paid for so most could not read or write.
How then could they understand and believe?
The church thought of clever ways to help people understand the bible: (TRY TO REMEMBER THEM)
Look below CAN YOU SPOT these??
1. Murderers being put into a pot of boiling oil?
2. A bridge of spikes for dishonest workmen?
3. A money lender burning —but still counting money?
4. Demons pulling people off the ladder
5. A woman having her hand bitten by a dog
6. A drunken pilgrim drinking from a wine bottle
7. Jesus defeating the devil who has his hands tied
8. Angels helping people up the ladder into Heaven
9. St Michael weighing peoples souls to see if they are good enough to get into heaven
WHAT WERE THE PROBLEMS WITH THE CHURCH?
Many people in the Middle Ages were scared or respectful of the church BUT there were many who had big problems with it and things they felt were wrong and needed Reformed or Changed:
HOW WAS THE CHURCH ORGANISED?
HOW DID PEOPLE SHOW HOW RELIGIOUS THEY WERE?
There were a number of ways people could show how religious they were. Many would want to please God to get to Heaven. Others would want to be healed from sickness and believed they could be healed through pleasing God
- People would GIVE MONEY to the church
- People would make a special religious journey or PILGRIMAGE
- Some would buy special religious objects called RELICS or PARDONS
- Men could show how religious they were by going on a CRUSADE - (Religious war)
- Men and Women may devote their lives to God by becoming MONKS or NUNS
BUYING RELICS OR PARDONS
People in the Middle Ages would often spend large amounts of money to buy PARDONS or RELICS. Pardons could be bought from the church to 'forgive sins'
RELICS were holy items with some religious connection. Many churches claimed to have a real piece of the Cross or a part of Jesus' clothes.
These items would often cost a lot of money and many people would travel huge distances to see them.
One of the most famous relics in the world is the TURIN SHROUD. It is said to be from the death robes (shroud) of Jesus and seems to show his image.
Check out this weblink: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/4210369.stmweeblylink_new_window
MONKS AND NUNS
Often men and women in the Middle Ages would DEVOTE THEIR LIFE TO SERVING GOD by becoming a MONK or NUN.
- Men became MONKS.
- They Lived in MONASTERIES.
- Their life was spent devoted to God with strict times to Pray, Eat, Worship and Work
- The top of their head was shaved in a TONSURE to show their devotion.
- They also wore a HABIT which was a plain robe
- They were very important in their community. They would look after the sick and teach the poor.
- They would also write the bibles - as there were no printing presses!!
© J Wishart 2018