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The term Protestant is used to refer to any Christian group which developed from the Reformation. Characteristic of most Protestant churches are such dogmas as acceptance of the Bible as the sole source of revelation and authority, justification by faith alone (sola fidei), and the universal priesthood of all believers.

Contrary to popular perception, the name does not stem directly from the idea of people "protesting" various doctrines and actions of the Catholic Church. Early on in the Reformation, those dissenters were referred to in Germany as Evangelicals (and this is the term still in use today). Peace was established between Evangelicals and Catholics at the Diet of Speier in 1526 because the emperor, Charles V, needed peace at home in order to deal with foreign conflicts.

Once he felt that he had those foreign issues in hand, Charles turned back to the religion issue at home and, at a second Diet of Speier, he revoked the peace along with the concessions given to Evangelicals (which allowed each person to follow their consciences and each prince to handle religious matters in their territory). This may have pleased the Catholic Church, but it infuriated the Evangelicals and they protested his actions - it was at this time that the name Protestant came into widespread use.

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What is Christianity?
What are the various Christian groups, denominations, sects and heresies? What are some key concepts in Christian theology? What are some of the most important events in Christian history? All of this and more are covered in the Christianity FAQ.

What is the Philosophy of Religion?
Sometimes confused with theology, the Philosophy of Religion is the philosophical study of religious beliefs, religious doctrines, religious arguments and religious history. The line between theology and the philosophy of religion isn't always sharp, but the primary difference is that theology tends to be apologetical in nature, committed to the defense of particular religious positions, whereas Philosophy of Religion is committed to the investigation of religion itself, rather than the truth of any particular religion.

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What is the difference between monotheism and monolatry? Between pantheism and panentheism? How about between animism and shamanism? Or theism and deism? What the heck is henotheism?

What is Religion?
A system of human beliefs, ideals and practices which is harder to define than it may at first appear. Read more about how dictionaries, scholars and others have tried to define and explain religion.

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