Martin Luther is born into a world dominated by the Catholic Church. For the keenly spiritual Luther, the Church's promise of salvation is irresistible. Caught in a thunderstorm and terrified by the possibility of imminent death, he vows to become a monk. But after entering the monastery, Luther becomes increasingly doubtful that the Church can actually offer him salvation. His views crystallize further when he travels to Rome and finds the capital of Catholicism swamped in corruption. Wracked by despair, Luther finds release in the pages of the Bible, discovering that it is not the Church, but his own individual faith that will guarantee his salvation. With this revelation, he turns on the Church. He attacks its practice of selling Indulgences in his famous 95 Theses, putting himself on an irreversible path to conflict with the most powerful institution of the day. The Catholic Church uses all of its might to try to silence Luther, including accusations of heresy and excommunication. Protected by his local ruler, Frederick the Wise, Luther continues to write radical critiques of the Church. In the process, he develops a new system of faith that places the freedom of the individual believer above the rituals of the Church. Aided by the newly invented printing press, his ideas spread rapidly. He is called before the German imperial parliament in the city of Worms and told he must recant. Risking torture and execution, Luther refuses, proclaiming his inalienable right to believe what he wishes. His stand becomes a legend that inspires revolution across Europe, overturning the thousand-year old hegemony of the Church. But as the reformation expands into a movement for social freedom, Luther finds himself overwhelmed by the pace of change, and is left vainly protesting that his followers should be concerning themselves with God.
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