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In a blog entry by Ron Dart titled A European Pilgrimage: Erasmus, Heidegger, Nietzsche, Hesse, the writer states

It does not take a great deal of reflection to watch the unravelling of Christianity with the coming to be of Protestantism.

What does the writer mean by the coming to be of Protestantism? Could you please explain to me what the phrase "coming-to-be" means in general, not only in this particular context? (I did not find any related entry in the dictionary.)

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    This is just a bad sentence. Why would I have to reflect in order to observe? Reflection typically comes after observation. It feels as if someone is deliberately being obscure here. – Wayfaring Stranger Dec 19 '14 at 3:33
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    A mirror's reflecting comes before observation, but only just. – Oldcat Dec 19 '14 at 23:52
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To come to be simply means 'to emerge', 'to develop', 'to (a)rise', 'to come into existence'.

Edit

Here is your sentence with substitutions:

It does not take a great deal of reflection to watch the unravelling of Christianity with the emergence of Protestantism.

It does not take a great deal of reflection to watch the unravelling of Christianity with the development of Protestantism.

It does not take a great deal of reflection to watch the unravelling of Christianity with the rise / arising of Protestantism.

It does not take a great deal of reflection to watch the unravelling of Christianity with the coming into existence of Protestantism.

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    Sorry, I am still unable to grasp the meaning. Could you replace the "coming-to-be" in the text above with one word? – Misha99 Dec 19 '14 at 0:34
  • @Misha99 Are you struggling with the definitions of emerge or arise? What is your difficulty in understanding Erik's answer? – Nick2253 Dec 19 '14 at 0:36
  • @Misha99 - the emergence of Protestantism: the process of coming into being, or of becoming important or prominent. – anongoodnurse Dec 19 '14 at 0:38
  • Still dumb since Protestantism is a form of Christianity. Probably the word Christendom is meant - the unified Catholic Europe that was split by the rise Protestantism in that era. Even with that, the first part of the sentence is worthless. – Oldcat Dec 19 '14 at 23:55
  • @Oldcat - I think you have a point, since the blog posting focuses quite considerably on what the author considers to be the unfortunate consequence for the unity of the Christian Church/religion arising from the dissenting tradition associated with Protestantism. As far as I can see, you can still attach a comment to the author's blog posting. – Erik Kowal Dec 20 '14 at 1:28
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I would suggest birth, maturation, or advent. The best word, for this context, however, is "eventuation," as the example sentence is looking back on protestantism as an event that became an event not at one singular moment in time, but through a process whose end was not known at the time, but is obviously known in the retrospective of the sentence. If the idea of unrolling feels suitable, "evolution" might be the pick, as that is what evolution etymologically means.

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