Can ideas be dangerous? New ideas can help people think of new ways to improve society. New ideas can also make powerful people feel threatened.
This conflict arose as humanist ideas spread from Italy to the rest of Europe. People wanted to think about the world in new ways, but the Catholic Church saw this as a threat to its power. A Dutch humanist scholar named Erasmus (1469–1536) thought new ideas could change religion for the better.
Erasmus saw corruption in the Catholic Church. He said the Church should go back to being simpler, without so much ritual and ceremony. In order to read the New Testament in its original language, he learned Greek. He thought all Christians should be able to read the Bible. His humanist approach to learning set in motion big changes for religion.