The Reformation: Martin Luther’s Pathological War

luc

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Thanks Pierre for this great post that adds new angles to the whole thing I wasn't aware of! And yes, Luther's and protestantism's impact on modernity can hardly be overstated.

It all feels very schizoidal to me. For some reasons (impossibility to marry, management of indulgence given to the Dominicans), Luther went into full destructive mode and beyond the politically correct veneer (ending corruption, stopping indulgences, etc.) Luther's true and only objective was the destruction of the Church.
It's funny how the protestant narrative always stretches how Luther supposedly came up with his theology step by step as a consequence of the evil church. This doesn't make sense at all of course, but as I said, they MUST see it that way to avoid the obvious conclusion that Luther WAS a heretic if there ever was one.

And in a sense, it is true, but "wordly" reasons for Luther's actions aside (wants to marry, money, power etc.), I think it's crucial to understand that so much is a direct consequence of his early theological ideas, "sola fide" in particular. People don't understand for example that his opposition to indulgences was not at all about moral outrage because of corrupt clerics; it was because (as you said) his sola fide concept implied that nothing of this world can help you with salvation - not your actions, not the church, nothing except God's whims.

I'm still not sure what drove Luther, whether it was your typical ambitions and typical schizoidal dream of bending reality to your intellect and theory, or whether there was something else: namely a form of possession, being terrorized by otherworldly influences. Maybe this drove him to frantically find a way for his own salvation, to be saved by God despite all his sins and contact with the "devil". If it's the latter, then this might point to a "steering" of Luther by higher STS forces, which used him as a tool to lay the foundation for everything that unfolded. It could be a combination of both things of course - there needs to be some "active cooperation" on the part of the pawn, after all. Anyway, I kept thinking about this during the research.
 

flashgordonv

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Thanks Luc, Pierre and the others for these insights. I'm learning about 'protestantism' for the first time. A few conversations with protestants always kept nagging me. A few protestants said to me "I'm not Catholic, I'm Christian" which, you may imagine, sounds oddly strange to someone who doesn't know the theological differences. One even declared during a meeting "if I ever do X, then I'll become catholic", as if it were the worst thing that could happen (like if I do X, I'll hang myself or something). The most disturbing is the very derogatory descriptives aimed not at Jews or Muslims, but specifically at Catholics. Very strange indeed.
Not too surprising really. When I was a Pentecostal, there is no doubt that we all considered that Catholics were not saved and in fact therefore were not Christians at all.
 

Approaching Infinity

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Not too surprising really. When I was a Pentecostal, there is no doubt that we all considered that Catholics were not saved and in fact therefore were not Christians at all.
Yep, and that's been going on for the past 150 years or more in the States, since Catholic immigration picked up in the middle of the 1800s. A large motivation for the 'progressive' polices in the late 1800s and early 1900s was to "Christianize the Catholics". For example, the Protestant 'pietists' couldn't stand that the Catholic immigrants were teaching their own children in Catholic schools, thus the push for public schools in order to homogenize society. There were similar motives behind some eugenics policies, and other progressive policies like prohibition (Catholics tended to congregate and talk politics at the saloons), women's suffrage (Protestant women were more likely than Catholic women to vote), and birth control (Catholics were having too many babies). Anti-Catholicism wasn't the ONLY motive for these policies, but the religious and ethnic concerns were a big factor.
 

luc

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For example, the Protestant 'pietists' couldn't stand that the Catholic immigrants were teaching their own children in Catholic schools, thus the push for public schools in order to homogenize society.
Yes, and of course the very idea of an intermingling between state and religion, or more precisely the supremacy of the state over religion and its control of it, is wholly protestant in nature. Can't have this foreign authority of the pope, after all! This was one of the chief reasons why European princes adopted the Reformation in the first place.

It is sometimes argued that this protestant-Prussian push for the authority of the state over religion was one of the main enablers of Hitler - the protestants were eager early Nazis, and there was no moral authority outside the "Volk" that could have held that in check. And the Nazis, of course, wanted to integrate the church into the totalitarian state.
 

luc

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We've seen this removal of free will at work in Talmudism. It paves the way to a temporal asceticism made of a number of laws controlling every aspect of the temporal life of individuals. While Luther didn't elaborate a set of extensive temporal laws, Puritans did. Catholicism recognized free will and promised salvation to the ones who behaved virtuously, in this sense Catholicism encouraged honesty, humility, respect, etc. in one word: love. On the other hand, Luther and, later, puritan temporal asceticism encouraged obedience (to the "religious" laws). Love VS law, indeed.
I think this is a crucial observation. Perhaps the greatest rendition of the silliness and cruelty of "Law over Love" is Monty Python's famous stoning scene:



Regarding Law vs. Love - of course, you cannot generalize these things, but catholic culture seems to be very different from protestant culture in that respect. I find it difficult for example to imagine a catholic screaming "to the fire with him!" if his neighbor cuts his apple tree on Sunday... But I can easily imagine a protestant fundie doing precisely that! Or sabotaging your lawn mower... The sort of things the ultra-religious Jews do in Jerusalem to those who don't obey the Sabbath. Law over Love indeed!

Another thought that occurred to me: Protestants always deride Catholicism for being "unfree" or "authoritarian" because of the pope; they hate the principle of the pope's "infallibility", they hate the hierarchical structure of the catholic church etc. But maybe they are merely projecting their own slavishness, their own fixation on rules, and their own impoverished, authoritarian, rigid, black-and-white world view on the Catholics? Because it seems to me that catholic culture is nothing like that: they don't tend to put everything into neat little boxes and generally are a more hearty bunch. I mean, Catholics know exactly that there were and are corrupt popes as well as good ones, that the vatican can be a viper's nest, and that a lot of what's going on in their ranks is all-too human. How could it be otherwise? They are not stupid! And there's a constant string of inner-church talk and rumoring, about vatican politics and factions etc. Human life is rich! And if you bring love to the table, in this case love for your church and its rich tradition, you CAN consider something sacrosanct and still laugh about it; you CAN think of something as divinely ordained and still recognize its flaws; you CAN look at the details of each situation and each character without imposing your rigid rules-based worldview on everything etc. It takes a particular narrow and rules-fixated mind to deny or ignore that.
 

Ursus Minor

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It is sometimes argued that this protestant-Prussian push for the authority of the state over religion was one of the main enablers of Hitler - the protestants were eager early Nazis, and there was no moral authority outside the "Volk" that could have held that in check. And the Nazis, of course, wanted to integrate the church into the totalitarian state.
Luc, I think you're finally crossing the line. The Protestants - what, all of them throughout Germany?
Or just the "evil Prussians"? Since the Hitler movement originated in Bavaria I would be very surprised if the majority of his early followers have not been predominantly catholics!

If you are suggesting that the moral authority in Germany at that time (or any time) might have been the Catholic Church, think again. Just remember that Pope Pius XI was eager to sign the Reichskonkordat with Hitler as early as July 1, 1933.

If you think the Pope might have been forced to sign under Nazi pressure then look up Vatican Ratlines.

Senior German Nazi criminals escaped prosecution after World War II by the use of different “ratlines “ spread over Europe, which were operated via a network of Vatican contacts. The Catholic Church believed this effort would contribute to the “re-Christianization” of Europe and feared the threat to Europe of paganism and communism.
In the pursuit of its political and spiritual interests, it was quick to forgive Nazi war criminals.
Welcoming former sinners back to the bosom of the Church seemed a higher calling than turning them over to war crimes investigators. According to many church officials who were questioned about this practice: “You don’t understand us, but we did the right thing.”

It is estimated that 5,000 Nazi leaders managed to escape thanks to this network.
 

luc

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Luc, I think you're finally crossing the line. The Protestants - what, all of them throughout Germany?
Or just the "evil Prussians"?
Of course not. And I didn't mean to suggest the catholics were (or are) all good or something. I'm just looking at all this from a particular angle: how did and does protestantism affect history, people's mindsets etc.? That doesn't mean that Protestantism is the root of all evil or explains Hitler or whatever. I'm just trying to shake that particular tree and see what falls off, to gain a better understanding and maybe add another piece to the puzzle. It's easy though when you're doing something like that to cross a line, so thank you for bringing this up.

That being said, I think the popular (leftist?) theory that the catholic church was "in bed" with Hitler and supported him is simply not true. You can accuse them of having been too weak, of having miscalculated, maybe of having been too cowardly. But as a whole, they clearly didn't like Hitler at all, and Hitler for his part hated the catholic church.

You brought up the Reichskonkordat, but I don't think you can just accuse the Catholic Church for having made a deal with Hitler (it was standard practice with many nations), as if that meant they supported him. On the contrary, they feared him! And they tried to make a deal to protect their institutions in Germany, their German clerics, and the German Catholic population from harassment by the state. You might want to read the very good wikipedia article about it. It also lists the details of the deal and gives much background. It was ALL about protecting Catholics from the state. So maybe you could even argue the church saw what's coming earlier than many others. And they got a pretty sweet deal. But as it turned out, this was just Hitler's tactic, he was smart enough not to mess with the Catholics in the early stages. But:

The Reichskonkordat ("Concordat between the Holy See and the German Reich"[1]) is a treaty negotiated between the Vatican and the emergent Nazi Germany. It was signed on 20 July 1933 by Cardinal Secretary of State Eugenio Pacelli, who later became Pope Pius XII, on behalf of Pope Pius XI and Vice Chancellor Franz von Papen on behalf of President Paul von Hindenburg and the German government. It was ratified September 10, 1933 and it has been in force from that date onward. The treaty guarantees the rights of the Roman Catholic Church in Germany. When bishops take office Article 16 states they are required to take an oath of loyalty to the Governor or President of the German Reich established according to the constitution. The treaty also requires all clergy to abstain from working in and for political parties. Nazi breaches of the agreement began almost as soon as it had been signed and intensified afterwards leading to protest from the Church including in the 1937 Mit brennender Sorge encyclical of Pope Pius XI. The Nazis planned to eliminate the Church's influence by restricting its organizations to purely religious activities.[2]
Here are some excerpts from the wiki article about the Reichskonkordat:

Background
See also: Germany–Holy See relations and Apostolic Nuncio to Germany

The 'Reichskonkordat' between Germany and the Holy See was signed on July 20, 1933 and ratified in September of that year. The treaty was an extension of existing concordats already signed with Prussia and Bavaria[5] Concordats have been used to create binding agreements to safeguard church interests and its freedom to act, particularly in countries that do not have strong jurisprudence guaranteeing government non-interference in religious matters or where the church seeks a privileged position under government patronage.[6]

Kulturkampf
Main article: Kulturkampf



Otto von Bismarck became Chancellor of Germany in 1871 and launched the Kulturkampf Culture Struggle against the Roman Catholic Church in Germany.

Accounts of 20th-century diplomatic relations between Germany and the Vatican commonly take as their starting point the political scene in the late 19th century.[7] German Chancellor Bismarck's Kulturkampf ("Battle for Culture") of 1871–78 saw an attempt to assert a Protestant vision of nationalism over the new German Empire, and fused anticlericalism with suspicion of the Catholic population, whose loyalty was presumed to lie with Austria and France. The Catholic Centre Party had formed in 1870, initially to represent the religious interests of Catholics and Protestants, but was transformed by the Kulturkampf into the "political voice of Catholics".[8] Bismarck's Culture Struggle was largely a failure.[9]

Bismarck sought to restrict the power of the Catholic Church in Germany. He regarded the Roman Church as "the enemy within". His Kulturkampf included the disbanding of Catholic organizations, confiscation of church property, banishment or imprisonment of clergy and an ongoing feud with the Vatican.[10] According to novelist James Carroll, the end of Kulturkampf signaled "that the Church had successfully resisted to his face the man [Bismarck] who, according to an admiring Henry Kissinger, was 'outmaneuvered' by nobody."[11] The Catholic Church's firm resistance to Bismarck and Kulturkampf, including passive resistance by the Church in general and the excommunication of collaborating priests, has been used as benchmark for assessing the Church's response to the Nazis from the early 1930s through World War II.[12]

End of World War I
Main article: Aftermath of World War I

A formal realignment of Church and state relationships was considered desirable in the aftermath of the political instability of 1918 and the adoption of the Weimar constitution for the Reich along with the new constitutions in the German states in 1919.[13] Key issues that the Church hoped to resolve related to state subsidies to the Church, support for Catholic schools, the appointment of bishops and the legal position of the clergy.[13] The Reich government, in turn, wished for reasons of foreign policy to have friendly relations with the Holy See. Also, Germany wanted to prevent new diocesan boundaries being established which would dilute Germany's ties to ceded German territories in the east such as Danzig and Upper Silesia.[14]

Negotiations relating to specific points, rather than a general concordat, took place between 1919 and 1922. But even after subsequent feelers were put out between the two parties the negotiations failed, primarily because both the Reichstag and Reichsrat were dominated by non-Catholic majorities who, for a variety of reasons, did not want a formal pact with the Vatican.[14] In the absence of an agreement relating to particular areas of concern with the Reich, the Holy See concluded more wide-ranging concordats with three German states where Catholics were concentrated: Bavaria (1924), Prussia (1929) and Baden (1932).[14]

Pope Pius XI
Main article: Pope Pius XI

Pius XI was elected Pope in 1922. His pontificate coincided with the early aftermath of the First World War. The old European monarchies had been largely swept away and a new and precarious order formed across the continent. In the East, the Soviet Union arose. In Italy, the Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini took power, while in Germany, the fragile Weimar Republic collapsed with the Nazi seizure of power.[15] Pope Pius's major diplomatic approach was to make concordats. However, wrote Hebblethwaite, these concordats did not prove "durable or creditable" and "wholly failed in their aim of safeguarding the institutional rights of the Church" for "Europe was entering a period in which such agreements were regarded as mere scraps of paper".[5]

In 1929, Pius signed the Lateran Treaty and a concordat with Italy, confirming the existence of an independent Vatican City state, in return for recognition of the Kingdom of Italy and an undertaking for the papacy to be neutral in world conflicts.[15] In Article 24 of the concordat, the papacy undertook "to remain outside temporal conflicts unless the parties concerned jointly appealed for the pacifying mission of the Holy See".[16] Other major concordats included those signed with Germany (1933), Austria (1935), Yugoslavia (1935) and Latvia (1938).[5] The concordats were generally observed by the countries involved, with the exception of Germany.[17]

[...]
Further:

The Catholic Church ... had generally viewed the Nazi Party with fear and suspicion. It had felt threatened by a radical ultranationalist ideology that regarded the papacy as a sinister, alien institution, that opposed denominational separatism in education and culture, and that at times appeared to promote a return to Nordic paganism. The establishment of the Third Reich seemed to portend the coming of a bitter conflict between church and state.
— Theodore S. Hamerow, On the Road to the Wolf's Lair: German Resistance to Hitler[23]
In early 1933 Hitler told Hermann Rauschning that Bismarck had been stupid in starting a Kulturkampf and outlined his own strategy for dealing with the clergy which would be based initially on a policy of toleration:
We should trap the priests by their notorious greed and self-indulgence. We shall thus be able to settle everything with them in perfect peace and harmony. I shall give them a few years' reprieve. Why should we quarrel? They will swallow anything in order to keep their material advantages. Matters will never come to a head. They will recognise a firm will, and we need only show them once or twice who is the master. They will know which way the wind blows.[24]
An initially mainly sporadic persecution of the Catholic Church in Germany followed the Nazi takeover. Hitler was hostile to the Catholic Church, but for political reasons was prepared to restrain his anticlericalism and did not allow himself to be drawn into attacking the Church publicly as other Nazis would have liked him to do.[25] Kershaw wrote that, following the appointment of Hitler as Chancellor by President von Hindenberg, the Vatican was anxious to reach agreement with the new government, despite "continuing molestation of Catholic clergy, and other outrages committed by Nazi radicals against the Church and its organisations".[26] In March 1933, the British Roman Catholic periodical The Tablet in an article titled "The Ides of March" asserted:

[Hitler's] Dictatorship is a usurpation and his enforcement of it is a brutality. While we write these lines, with news of more arrests and repressions coming to us every hour, we remember that we have reached the Ides of March and the anniversary of a never-forgotten assassination. But Nazism's daggers cannot slay what is noblest and best in Germany. The Church, now that the Centre is no longer the key-group in German politics, may be persecuted; but HITLER will not succeed where BISMARCK failed.[27]
Robert Ventresca wrote that because of increasing harassment of Catholics and Catholic clergy, Cardinal Pacelli sought a quick ratification of a treaty with the government, seeking in this way to protect the German Church. When Vice-Chancellor Papen and Ambassador to the Vatican Diego von Bergen met Pacelli in late June 1933, they found him "visibly influenced" by reports of actions being taken against German Catholic interests.[28]

There were some thoughts that the Church was keen on coming to terms with Hitler as he represented a strong resistance against Communism. The Papal Nuncio in Berlin (Cesare Osenigo) is reported to have been "jubilant" about Hitler's rise to power and thought that the new government would soon be offering the same concessions to the Church that Mussolini had made in Italy.[29] Historian Michael Phayer balances Lewy and author and journalist John Cormwell stating:
John Cornwell in Hitler's Pope argues that the Concordat was the result of a deal that delivered the parliamentary votes to Hitler, thereby giving him dictatorial power (Enabling Act of March 23, 1933). This is historically inaccurate. According to "Papen Fails to Get Vatican's Support for Hitler's Plans. Pope Refuses Reconstruction of Centrist Party in Reich and General Concordat. Civil Service is Purged, German Decree Ousts Non-Aryans and Leftists and Excludes Their Admission in the Future," (The New York Times, April 13, 1933), von Papen and Goering were received by Pius XI in April 1933, but their mission was understood to have been a failure. They had wanted to obtain Vatican support for a scheme to reconstruct the Centre party to insure its stable support of the Hitler government and to conclude a general concordat between the Holy See and the Reich to replace the three present concordats with Prussia Bavaria and Baden. Neither suggestion was approved by the Pope. The failure was interpreted as evidence of the Vatican's lack of confidence in the durability of the Nazi government. The Vatican was likewise reticent to abandon the existing concordats with Prussia, Bavaria and Baden for a general concordat with the Reich. However, there is no question about Pius XII's tenacious insistence on the Concordat retention before, during and after the Second World War.[30]
More food for thought:
The Roman Catholic Church suffered persecution in Nazi Germany. The Nazis claimed jurisdiction over all collective and social activity and the party leadership hoped to dechristianize Germany in the long term. Clergy were watched closely, and frequently denounced, arrested and sent to concentration camps. Welfare institutions were interfered with or transferred to state control. Catholic schools, press, trade unions, political parties and youth leagues were eradicated. Anti-Catholic propaganda and "morality" trials were staged. Monasteries and convents were targeted for expropriation. Prominent Catholic lay leaders were murdered, and thousands of Catholic activists were arrested.

In all, an estimated one third of German priests faced some form of reprisal in Nazi Germany and 400 German priests were sent to the dedicated Priest Barracks of Dachau Concentration Camp. Persecution of the Church in Germany was at its most severe in the annexed Polish regions. Here the Nazis set about systematically dismantling the Church and most priests were murdered, deported or forced to flee. Of 2,720 clergy imprisoned at Dachau from Germany and occupied territories, the some 2,579 (or 94.88%) were Catholic.

If you contrast that with the Protestants during the Nazi time: the least you can say about Protestantism under the Nazis is that they were divided between those who openly welcomed Hitler and the Nazi ideology, and those who tried to maintain a certain distance to the regime. The latter group (Bekennende Kirche) was not resisting Nazism though, BTW. In fact, as it turned out, they had SS officers and such in their ranks - and that was supposed to be the moderate half of the bunch!

This article gives an overview:
...
The Nazi government ushered in key changes to the Protestant churches in Germany. First, the Nazi leadership supported the German Christian movement, a group of Protestants who wanted to combine Christianity and National Socialism into a movement “that would exclude all those deemed impure and embrace all ‘true Germans’ in a spiritual homeland for the Third Reich.”

Second, the Nazi leadership urged Protestants to unite all regional churches into a national church under the centralized leadership of Ludwig Müller, a well-known pastor and Nazi Party member, who was appointed as Reich bishop. Many German Protestants embraced these changes. By supporting the German Christian movement and Müller, they could continue to practice their faith and at the same time show support for Hitler. In a national vote by Protestants taken in July 1933, the German Christians were supported by two-thirds of voters, and Müller won the national election to lead them.

The German Christian movement made significant changes to German Protestantism to bring it in line with Nazi racial ideology. Instead of classifying people as Christians or Jews based on their faith, as the Protestants had always done, German Christians began to classify people by racial heritage, as the Nazis did. Therefore, church leaders whose parents or grandparents had converted from Judaism to Christianity were considered Jewish and, according to the 1933 civil service law, no longer officially permitted to serve in those positions. Although the state never enforced this law in the churches, some German Christians forced out non-Aryan clergy to show their commitment to the regime. By January of 1934, Müller was vowing to purge Protestant churches of all “Jewish influence,” including removing the Old Testament from their bible because it is based on the Hebrew bible. A public appeal released by German Christian leaders claimed that “the eternal God created for our nation a law that is peculiar to its own kind. It took shape in the Leader Adolf Hitler, and in the National Socialist state created by him. This law speaks to us from the history of our people. . . . It is loyalty to this law which demands of us the battle for honor and freedom . . . One Nation! One God! One Reich! One Church!"

Not all Protestants in Germany agreed with the German Christian movement and the changes it instituted. In response to the growing power of the German Christians, another Protestant faction was formed called the Confessing Church. Its slogan was “Church must remain church,” and its members sought to protect their religion from the grasp of politics and the Nazi government. For instance, the Confessing Church considered that anyone baptized in the faith was a Christian, regardless of his or her racial descent. Also, the members of the Confessing Church opposed the German Christian movement’s changes to the bible.

Despite their opposition to the German Christian movement, the Confessing Church did not object to most elements of Nazism, and some people within the movement were Nazi Party members. The disagreement between the two groups was focused on how much influence the Nazi government should have over how they practiced their faith. Early on, Confessing Church member Martin Niemöller and two Protestant bishops met with Hitler and his top aides. The religious leaders reaffirmed their support for Hitler’s domestic and foreign policies and asked only for the right to disagree on religious matters. Hitler did not compromise, and after the meeting both bishops signed a statement of unconditional loyalty to Hitler; Niemöller did not. As a result, Niemöller was increasingly targeted by the Nazis and was eventually imprisoned for seven years in concentration camps.

Although about 7,000 of the nation’s 16,500 Protestant clergymen openly supported the Confessing Church, they limited their opposition to defending church teachings against Nazi influence. One member of the Confessing Church, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, did resist the actions of the Nazis more broadly. In April 1933, he professed sympathy for Jewish victims of Nazism and argued that National Socialism and Christianity were incompatible. He later became an important symbol of resistance to Nazi Germany and was executed for his role in a plot to assassinate Hitler in 1945.

In general, Protestants in Germany found a way to be both believers in Christianity and supporters of Nazism. In contrast, Jehovah’s Witnesses struggled under the new regime. Initially, some leaders of this small religious group (which numbered about 20,000 in Germany in the 1930s) tried to make peace with the Reich. But their faith often prevented them from serving in the army, swearing allegiance to the state, or uttering the words “Heil Hitler,” by this time a common way of saying hello and goodbye. Hitler was not interested in this unpopular minority, and the Nazis targeted the Jehovah’s Witnesses for persecution. The Nazis destroyed their national headquarters, outlawed their church, and sent many thousands to concentration camps or prisons, where more than 1,000 were killed.

I haven't read the book, but historian Manfred Gailus apparently makes a very detailed and strong case for the very positive reception of Nazism in protestant milieus in his book "Protestantismus und Nationalsozialismus". (Summary in German.)

See also here (German).

As for the vatican rat lines - I know about it but haven't looked in detail into it. But given the historical background, I find it hard, if not impossible, to believe that whatever the Vatican did there was motivated by a support of Nazism or a love for Hitler or anything like that (which is the implication whenever that is brought up). My hunch is that this had to do with political reasons, with strengthening the church's position after the war, protecting catholics, with fear of Communism, perhaps a misguided "forgive the sinners" principle and so on. But I don't really know. And BTW, the protestant churches welcomed Nazis with open arms and helped them as well after the war.


Look, I don't deny that Catholics deserve some bashing. But maybe they are getting more bashing than they deserve - both in the media and in "official history". Protestantism on the other hand, it seems to me, has been a very destructive force indeed, which is often completely overlooked. At the end of the day, it's the individual that counts, not which group it belongs to. But to understand the world both past and present, I think it's important to get to the bottom of things like the role of protestantism, its theology, and how that affected and still affects the world...
 

Ursus Minor

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Luc, thank you for link to the JÜDISCHE RUNDSCHAU on the subject "Why did Protestants vote for Hitler in greater numbers than their Catholic compatriots?"

The maps shown (of the 1934 census and the July 1932 general election) indicate that Catholic areas (shown black) did indeed produce less votes for the Nazis than mainly Protestant regions.

[Luc] It is also noteworthy that Hitler got massively more votes among protestants than among catholics in the early days of Nazism.
Luc, you come across as a very educated man, surely you must have known that the Catholics obviously voted mainly for the Zentrumspartei, their "katholische Milieupartei" and Bavarians for their BVP (Bavarian People's Party) that also centered around Catholic identity in Bavaria. So that's why the Nazis got less of them...


That being said, I think the popular (leftist?) theory that the catholic church was "in bed" with Hitler and supported him is simply not true. You can accuse them of having been too weak, of having miscalculated, maybe of having been too cowardly. But as a whole, they clearly didn't like Hitler at all, and Hitler for his part hated the catholic church.
(...)
I haven't read the book, but historian Manfred Gailus apparently makes a very detailed and strong case for the very positive reception of Nazism in protestant milieus in his book "Protestantismus und Nationalsozialismus".)
Surely Hitler hated the Catholic church, not least because of its power.

We'll see what Manfred Gailus comes up with concerning the reception of Nazism in protestant milieus, but with seemingly so many Protestants (rather than Catholics) being convinced of Nazism, then how would you explain the fact that Nazi elite circles were overwhelmingly comprised of Roman Catholics?

(Hitler, Himmler, Streicher, Goebbels, von Papen, Barbie, Hoess, Henlein, Mengele, Heydrich, Müller, Gehlen, Frank)

To be fair, Col. Count von Stauffenberg who made an attempt on Hitler's life was a Catholic too.
I could only find three Protestants among the bunch: Bormann, Speer and Hess. (Göring had a catholic mother and a protestant father...)

Look, I don't deny that Catholics deserve some bashing. But maybe they are getting more bashing than they deserve - both in the media and in "official history". Protestantism on the other hand, it seems to me, has been a very destructive force indeed, which is often completely overlooked. At the end of the day, it's the individual that counts, not which group it belongs to. But to understand the world both past and present, I think it's important to get to the bottom of things like the role of protestantism, its theology, and how that affected and still affects the world...
Talking about destructive forces, I wouldn't let the Roman Catholic church get off that lightly...

Even before Luther (whom I don't fancy very much) came to a certain fame locally, there had been all kinds of Crusades in Europe and the Middle East, the Cathars were exterminated by 1400 and the Conquista in South America was in full swing. No doubt every campaign endowed with a papal bull.

Another thought that occurred to me: Protestants always deride Catholicism for being "unfree" or "authoritarian" because of the pope; they hate the principle of the pope's "infallibility", they hate the hierarchical structure of the catholic church etc. But maybe they are merely projecting their own slavishness, their own fixation on rules, and their own impoverished, authoritarian, rigid, black-and-white world view on the Catholics? Because it seems to me that catholic culture is nothing like that: they don't tend to put everything into neat little boxes and generally are a more hearty bunch. I mean, Catholics know exactly that there were and are corrupt popes as well as good ones, that the vatican can be a viper's nest, and that a lot of what's going on in their ranks is all-too human. How could it be otherwise? They are not stupid! And there's a constant string of inner-church talk and rumoring, about vatican politics and factions etc. Human life is rich! And if you bring love to the table, in this case love for your church and its rich tradition, you CAN consider something sacrosanct and still laugh about it; you CAN think of something as divinely ordained and still recognize its flaws; you CAN look at the details of each situation and each character without imposing your rigid rules-based worldview on everything etc. It takes a particular narrow and rules-fixated mind to deny or ignore that.
This thread started out as a seemingly scholarly discussion and is sadly descending into a rant.

"Protestants always.. they hate this, they hate that. They are slavish, they are fixated with an impoverished, authoritarian, rigid, black-and-white world view..."

Luc, I think scientific research does not match with pent up anger and bias.

I am very sorry that I cannot love the Roman Catholic church as much as you do. ;-)
 

Adaryn

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Ursus Minor said:
Even before Luther (whom I don't fancy very much) came to a certain fame locally, there had been all kinds of Crusades in Europe and the Middle East, the Cathars were exterminated by 1400 and the Conquista in South America was in full swing
About the Crusades, here's an article I stumbled upon. It's a review of God's Battalions by Rodney Stark, I haven't read it but it looks interesting and thought provoking:

God's Battalions by Rodney Stark

This well-researched book with its profuse bibliography and copious notes is not a history of the crusades. Nor is it, as some reviewers suggest, an apology for the crusades. Rather this is an extended essay which refutes a number of common myths or outdated theories about the crusades and the crusader states. Stark is not a polemicist, but a professor at Baylor University, who has published extensively on religion and sociology. In short, he is a scholar intent on paring away legend and prejudice to enable academic and popular discourse shaped by fact not fiction. Any serious scholar of the crusades and the crusader states should start with this book — and then get on with their actual research unencumbered with false notions. Even more important, this ought to be required reading in all classes that touch on the topic of the crusades.

Stark systematically dissects and destroys the following notions about the crusades that still dominate public perceptions and debate.
  • The idea that the crusaders were aggressors, who fell upon peace-loving and tolerant Muslim states without provocation.
  • The equally anachronistic idea that the crusades were an early form of European colonialism.
  • The claim that Jerusalem was particularly “holy” to Muslims in the period before the Crusades.
  • The thesis that crusaders were primarily motivated by greed.
  • The portrayal of crusaders as uncultivated barbarians fighting a “higher” civilization in the Muslim east.
  • The assertion that the Christians conducted warfare in ways that were more brutal and cruel than their enemies.
  • The myth that the Muslim rulers were more tolerant of other religions — and their own heretics — than Christian rulers.
  • The thesis that Western/Latin crusaders fell upon Constantinople without provocation and “destroyed” the city without cause.
  • The notion that bitterness over the crusades persisted (despite the Muslim’s complete and utter victory over the Crusader States in the second half of the 13th century) to the present day.

Stark starts by cataloguing the long list of Muslim conquests against Christian states and peoples from Syria and North Africa to Armenia, Spain and Southern France, but he also provides a chilling list of mass murders of Christian monks and pilgrims — each with dates and numbers: 70 Christian pilgrims executed in Caesura for refusing to convert to Islam and 60 crucified in Jerusalem in the early eighth century, the sack and slaughter of the monastery near Bethlehem in the later eighth century, the destruction of two nearby churches gradually escalating to multiple attacks on churches, convents and monasteries in and around Jerusalem including mass rapes in 808 and 813, a new wave of atrocities in 923, the destruction of an estimated 30,000 (yes, thirty-thousand) Christian churches including the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in 1009. So much for Muslim “tolerance.”

Stark also brings considerable evidence that the alleged “superiority” of Muslim/Arab culture was largely based on accomplishments of Persian, Jewish, Indian and, indeed, Christian scholars living under Muslim rule. Thus the alleged mathematical superiority of the Arabs came from the Hindus, the great libraries and legacy of learning came from the Greeks, Arab medicine was, Stark argues, “Nestorian Christian” in origin and so on. He then contends that the Christian west was anything but “backward” and the so-called “Dark Ages” is a misnomer that says more about the ignorance of historians than the state of civilization in the period between the fall of Rome and the First Crusade. Stark points out that the military technology of the crusaders — from stirrups, horseshoes and crossbows to the devastatingly effective “Greek Fire” — was markedly superior to the military technology of their opponents. But it wasn’t just in military matters that the crusaders were ahead of the Saracens. In the fields of agriculture, land-transportation and nautical technology, Western technology also significantly out-stripped that of the Middle East.

Stark is perhaps at his best in documenting the many times that Muslim victors slaughtered the garrisons and inhabitants of conquered cities — long before the first crusaders even set out from Europe. He points out the hyperbole in popular accounts of the fall of Jerusalem in the First Crusade as well. But he is most effective in countering the myth of Muslim chivalry is his account of the fall of the Kingdom of Jerusalem in the second half of the 13th Century, where time and again the Mamluk leaders broke their word and enslaved or massacred those to whom they had promised freedom and life. One quote from a primary, Muslim source about the sack of the great Roman city of Antioch should suffice to make this point. The source is a letter to the Prince of Antioch (who had not be present in his city to defend it) by none other than the Muslim Sultan himself. Sultan Baibars gloated: “You would have seen your Muslim enemy trampling on the place where you celebrate Mass, cutting the throats of monks, priests and deacons upon the altars, bringing sudden death to the Patriarchs and slavery to the royal princes. You would have seen fire running through your palaces, your dead burned in this world before going down to the fires of the next.” Ah, yes, Saracen “chivalry” at its best indeed.

The book does have its weaknesses, of course. Stark is covering far too great a canvas to provide any analysis or detail. His book is structured as a rebuttal to unfounded allegations and theses, but for the most part he does not provide alternative theses. Certainly, he does not describe personalities and their impact on events except in some rare instances. His explanations of developments are often facile, and occasionally he falls into outright errors. (For example, he claims plate armor was so heavy a knight needed a crane to mount his horse; in reality it was much lighter than chainmail and a knight in his prime could vault onto his horse without use of a stirrup much less a crane. ) But the bottom line is that this book does what it sets out to do: it destroys a whole series of insidious myths that turn the crusades into an excuse for all subsequent barbarity; it clears the way for a more productive debate based on fact rather than falsehood.
 

genero81

Ambassador
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FOTCM Member
This thread started out as a seemingly scholarly discussion and is sadly descending into a rant.

"Protestants always.. they hate this, they hate that. They are slavish, they are fixated with an impoverished, authoritarian, rigid, black-and-white world view..."

Luc, I think scientific research does not match with pent up anger and bias.

I am very sorry that I cannot love the Roman Catholic church as much as you do.
I think you protest too much. I don't think anyone is trying to render the Catholic Church white as snow here. If Christianity was targeted for attack there must be a reason for it. Where exactly did things go astray? In what way? Which church is adhering to the original tenants of Christianity as outlined through the writings of Paul most closely?

These are fair questions I think. Maybe important questions. It's very easy to be led astray in this world after all. We have a duty to try and get to the bottom of things as best we can and try and decipher what it is about Christianity that makes the PTB want to destroy it. OSIT
 

mkrnhr

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FOTCM Member
Incidently, in a book I started reading, came across this "en passant" quote:

Paul's anti-Torah message is so pronounced that modern-day Protestants ascribe to the idea that faith by itself, whatever one's sins, is enough to earn salvation, citin Paul as support to this fundamental interpretation, expecially passages like this:

Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. Because of what law?
The law that requires works? No, because of the law that requires faith. For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. Or is God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too?
If true, how can such a misunderstanding occur? The text cannot even be taken out of context if one wishes to.
 

marek760

Jedi Master
FOTCM Member
Analyzing Luther's doctrine, everything boils down to releasing a man from responsibility for his faults on faith or god. Whether you are a thief, murderer, rapist, or ordinary sinner, if you believe you will be saved.

A few quotes from Luther:


„Good deeds are bad and they're a sin, just like others.”

Henri Denifle, Luther et Lutheranisme. Etude Faite d’apres les sources, tłum. J. Paquier, A. Picard, Paris 1912-13, vol. III, p. 47)


"There is no depravations greater, more dangerous, more venomous than a good outer life manifested in good works and a godly way of life. This is the great gate, the way which leads to condemnation."

Henri Denifle, Luther et Lutheranisme. Etude Faite d’apres les sources, tłum. J. Paquier, A. Picard, Paris 1912-13, vol. II, s. 128).



"...when it comes to God, and everything that influences salvation or condemnation, [man] has no free will but is a prisoner, prisoner and serfdom slave, either to the will of God or to the will of Satan.”

Bondage of the Will, [w:] Martin Luther: Selections From His Writings, red. John Dillenberger, Anchor Books, 1962, p. 190



"A man is like a horse. God jumps into the saddle? The horse is obedient and adapts to every movement of the rider and goes where he wants to go. God gives up his reign? Then satan jumps to the back of an animal that leans forward, goes down and surrenders to the spurs and whims of its new rider. (...) Therefore, necessity, not free will, is the controlling principle of our conduct. God is the author of what is evil and what is good; and as he gives happiness to those who do not deserve it, and so on condemns those who do not deserve their fate."

De Servo Arbitrio, 7, 113 seq., quote. P.F. O’Hare, [w:] Facts About Luther, TAN Books, 1987, p. 266-267).



"No good deed is the result of someone's own wisdom, but everything must happen in dullness. Reason must be rejected, for he is an enemy of faith."

Tischreden, Weimar, VI, 143, 25-35



"Be a sinner and let your sins be immense, but let your trust in Christ be stronger and rejoice in Christ, who is the victor over sin, death and the world. We will sin by staying here, for this life is not a place where righteousness dwells. No sin can separate us from him, even if we have to kill or commit adultery a thousand times each day."

Let Your Sins Be Strong, [w:] The Wittenberg Project, The Wartburg Segment, tłum. Erika Flores, [w:] Dr. Martin Luther, Sämmtliche Schriften, list nr 99, 1 VIII 1521. – also, Henri Denifle, Luther et Lutheranisme. Etude Faite d’apres les sources, trans. J. Paquier, A. Picard, Paris 1912-13, t. II, s. 404



I translated quotes from Polish website, sorry for the mistakes
_500 lat protestantyzmu: 35 absurdalnych cytatów z Marcina Lutra
 

Ursus Minor

Jedi Council Member
If Christianity was targeted for attack there must be a reason for it. Where exactly did things go astray? In what way? Which church is adhering to the original tenants of Christianity as outlined through the writings of Paul most closely?

These are fair questions I think. Maybe important questions. It's very easy to be led astray in this world after all. We have a duty to try and get to the bottom of things as best we can and try and decipher what it is about Christianity that makes the PTB want to destroy it. OSIT
I certainly agree. There is an attack on Christianity and 4-D elements of the PTB may actually have gone back in time to arrange things according to their requirements.

While searching for a church that is adhering to the original tenants of Christianity we shouldn't count out the Orthodox churches which have a following of more than 200 million people in Eastern Europe and the Russian Federation.

I think the language barrier keeps most of us here from exploring their fate.

Are they being attacked too?
Could it be that Eastern countries and societies are much more cohesive and stable?

I think the attack is not so much on churches who are often co-opted by the globalist set at the top and have dwindling membership rates, as on Western society on the whole which is still hanging on to Christian values.
 

genero81

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I think the attack is not so much on churches who are often co-opted by the globalist set at the top and have dwindling membership rates, as on Western society on the whole which is still hanging on to Christian values.
Thanks to Luther as well as other factors no doubt, what it is to be a Christian is confused to a large degree in the West. I think the strong cohesion of the Orthodox Church in the Russian Federation and the resistance to corruption of society that it shields against is at least part of what makes the elites of the west so hell bent on trying to find a way to bring them down. Keep in mind that pathological types use whatever ideology is mainstream to 'hide' behind which just happens to be Christianity in the West. I think it's a mistake to fault that rather than the pathology.

Added: I'm no expert where it comes to religion, however.
 
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