Belief in God was so embedded in Western European culture that it was itself unaffected by the demands for systemic change brought about by the Protestant Reformation.
Protestantism developed the foundation for the emergence of atheism several centuries later.
Yet the seeds of a renewed interest in atheism had already been sown.
The power of the corrupt, oppressive, and backward church had legitimized the older order which could not cope with the challenges of a new age.
So how could the church now liberate from a bondage that it had perpetuated and legitimized?
-rewrite of Alister McGrath, The Twilight of Modern Atheism, Chapter 1, page 10.