The Reformation: Martin Luther’s Pathological War

Aeneas

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
To understand why the forerunners for the Reformation who lived during the Black Death had such apocalyptic views, it is worth having a look at the online ebook by Sacha Dobler about what actually happened in the 14th century. It was not only from 1347 to 1351 that there was trouble. It lasted from about 1290-1350+ with the Black Death being the culmination. In that period there were massive crop failures, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, outgassings, meteor bombardments, extreme hot and cold season etc., so little wonder if people felt slightly gloomy about life on planet Earth.

If one considers the Mandate of Heaven as Pierre wrote about in Earth Changes and the Human Cosmic Connection and tying it together with how closely connected ecclesiastical and secular powers were in those days, then it is not so strange that a number of people at some level might have thought that the Mandate of Heaven had been withdrawn from the ruling powers. Of course, new wannabe rulers saw this as the opportunity to become the new rulers with the blessings of the ideology du jour.
 

Aeneas

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
For context, a little about the plague or rather the plagues as many subsequent plagues rages for 300+ years.

According to wiki:
The Black Death is estimated to have killed 30% to 60% of Europe's population.[7] In total, the plague may have reduced the world population from an estimated 450 million to 350–375 million in the 14th century.[8] It took 200 years for the world population to recover to its previous level.[9][10] The plague recurred as outbreaks in Europe until the 19th century.
And
The plague repeatedly returned to haunt Europe and the Mediterranean throughout the 14th to 17th centuries.[75] According to Biraben, the plague was present somewhere in Europe in every year between 1346 and 1671.[76] The Second Pandemic was particularly widespread in the following years: 1360–1363; 1374; 1400; 1438–1439; 1456–1457; 1464–1466; 1481–1485; 1500–1503; 1518–1531; 1544–1548; 1563–1566; 1573–1588; 1596–1599; 1602–1611; 1623–1640; 1644–1654; and 1664–1667. Subsequent outbreaks, though severe, marked the retreat from most of Europe (18th century) and northern Africa (19th century).[77] According to Geoffrey Parker, "France alone lost almost a million people to the plague in the epidemic of 1628–31
Luther lived right in the middle of this, so an ideal period for a schizoid with little faith in free will and who clung to faith for salvation.
 

Ghazi18

The Force is Strong With This One
This makes a lot of sense. I was baptized at a Lutheran church and they taught me that the bible is the only truth and would talk about how other Christian denominations are incorrect because they do not do things as they are in the bible. My in laws are Pentecostal and going into their church was pretty weird because the pastor would "speak in tongues" and people in the audience would shake frantically and some of them would laugh in a strange way while he would do that. One of the ex pastors at their church took a picture with his catholic girlfriend by a statue of a saint and it was such a big deal that he ended up leaving. I have heard my mother in law ( which is a youth teacher at the church) talking about Catholic's as if they were a evil religion. Just seemed weird to me because they would preach about love, unity, and "the word" of Christ.
 

Peter Henkel

A Disturbance in the Force
On the secular front, there is Peter Henkel's German book "Enough with Luther - On the erroneous ways of a radical" ("Schluss mit Luther - Von den Irrwegen eines Radikalen"). It's a great little book that compiles a lot of facts and quotes from and about Luther that make your hair stand up, and also questions
the official history of "evil Catholics against progressive protestants". The author is a mainstream journalist and self-proclaimed atheist, so it's not a catholic partisan book, which gives it more credence. On the other hand, some of
what he writes is just standard atheist, anti-religious drivel. Another problem of the book is that it doesn't provide sources/footnotes.


Dear Luc, I am the author of that German book about Luther you mentioned in the beginning of your article. Of course it pleases me to notice your commendation ("great little book"), particularly since your long and thorough text shows your sincere interest in that complex matter. (Above all, you focus on Luther's theology being indeed much more his rebellion's foundation than his opposition to pope and church which is only derived from his religious convictions. So many people anywhere in this world know nearly nothing about it - till today).



What pleases me less are those resentful remarks that follow.

"Mainstream journalist" - how did you find that out?

"Self-proclaimed atheist" - although this might be a neutral assessment, too, here again I hear the sound of resentment against perons who deny God for a lot of good reasons. For what would you say if I said: "Luc is a self-proclaimed christian"? Do we need to wait until other people say what we are?

Minor details. Worse is the "anti-religious drivel" you accuse me of without any hesitation. Dear Luc, here you express the typical self-righteousness of so many worshippers making themselves comfortable within a system of faith keeping away unpleasant facts and a realistic appraisal of life and mankind, world and universe. That self-righteousness prevents any serious dialogue between atheists and believers on equal footing - although we need just this dialogue because religion will remain an extremely important subject and will not disappear out of our thinking and feeling in near future.

My proposal: To invest the same - or probably more - intellectual and emotional energy and honesty you invested in the context of Luther and to start to examine the credibility of the christian religion on the whole.

My promise: By discovering the truth about it (God with all his contradictions, his fabulous and implausible biography - developping from a little local weather god in a small Middle East region to the almighty creator of heaven, earth and every individual -; the bible with its magic fantasies, lies, errors, historical forgeries, cruelties, authoritarian and arbitrarian threats to those who insist on their fundamental right to refuse that faith), your satisfaction will be deeper and more intense than you felt studying the Luther story. If, to repeat it, you 'd try to be honest.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Henkel
 

Joe

Administrator
Administrator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
My promise: By discovering the truth about it (God with all his contradictions, his fabulous and implausible biography - developping from a little local weather god in a small Middle East region to the almighty creator of heaven, earth and every individual -; the bible with its magic fantasies, lies, errors, historical forgeries, cruelties, authoritarian and arbitrarian threats to those who insist on their fundamental right to refuse that faith), your satisfaction will be deeper and more intense than you felt studying the Luther story. If, to repeat it, you 'd try to be honest.
With respect, I think you're out of your depth here Peter. First, we can dispense with the silly straw man arguments that seek to make some silly point by exposing the ridiculous aspects of standard religious belief.

Second, atheism is nonsense. The vast majority of people live their lives as if some kind of god or transcendent power exists. The really deluded ones call themselves atheists. Assuming you live your life according to certain moral values, you by definition believe in something 'higher' that codifies that otherwise pointless morality. Atheism = materialism, but no one lives as if - or believes at their unconscious core that - materialism is the be all and end all of existence, otherwise they would not live their lives according to a moral framework.

If there is nothing but rational materialism, then there is no rational reason to constrain ourselves with any morality, save that which can be described as 'rational self-interest', which leaves a LOT of scope for immoral acts. If you live your life according to a moral framework, you are not an atheist. A much closer approximation to an atheist, if only temporarily, is the true believer church pastor who kills his wife and children.
 
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genero81

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
That self-righteousness prevents any serious dialogue between atheists and believers on equal footing
Considering most atheists and 'believers' are equally out to lunch, any "serious dialogue" is unlikely.

With respect, I think you're out of your depth here Peter.
Yeah, we're well past being fascinated by the realization that what's in the bible isn't to be taken at face value.
 

luc

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
Dear Peter Henkel,

Thank you for your feedback, much appreciated. Let me first restate that I really enjoyed reading your book and that I think it was very important that you wrote it, especially considering the glorification of Luther that is still going strong, especially in Germany. Thank you for that!

Some things I said about your book were perhaps a little snide, my apologies. They do have a context however, so let me try to explain, maybe you can better see where I'm coming from then.

What pleases me less are those resentful remarks that follow.

"Mainstream journalist" - how did you find that out?
That was my assumption because I read that you wrote for the Frankfurter Rundschau, which is a mainstream newspaper. The point was this: it seems to me that you are not a "fringe researcher" or a religious partisan, so I found it useful to give that background. In your book, you argue from a secular, pro-enlightenment position, which is very common in German media, politics and academia (hence "mainstream"), and your criticism of Luther comes from this spirit. Do you think this is a fair assessment?

To label you a "mainstream journalist" was sort of blanket statement though, which I now think might have been somewhat misleading, considering that by criticizing Luther, you went against his widespread glorification.

Minor details. Worse is the "anti-religious drivel" you accuse me of without any hesitation.
The reason why I put it that way is that some of your criticism of Luther comes from an Atheist perspective: if I remember correctly, at some points in the book you basically criticize him for still adhering to religion, for taking his faith serious. The way I understood it is that you are basically saying "look guys, your hero wasn't an enlightenment person, he still believed in all this religious nonsense". While I found many of your points against the Luther legacy very on-point and valid, I simply don't share this atheist blanket criticism of all things religious.

My proposal: To invest the same - or probably more - intellectual and emotional energy and honesty you invested in the context of Luther and to start to examine the credibility of the christian religion on the whole.

My promise: By discovering the truth about it (God with all his contradictions, his fabulous and implausible biography - developping from a little local weather god in a small Middle East region to the almighty creator of heaven, earth and every individual -; the bible with its magic fantasies, lies, errors, historical forgeries, cruelties, authoritarian and arbitrarian threats to those who insist on their fundamental right to refuse that faith), your satisfaction will be deeper and more intense than you felt studying the Luther story. If, to repeat it, you 'd try to be honest.
Look, I have grown up as an Atheist, and I know many of those arguments. And I'm all for criticizing the bible and ridiculing fundamentalists such as Luther.

What I don't like though is to automatically dismiss all things religion as mere superstition based on what David Berlinski called "Atheism and Its Scientific Pretensions". (His book might interest you.)

To make a long story short, I think atheist materialism is completely wrong for a whole lot of philosophical and scientific reasons. In fact, it is itself a form of religion, and a very intolerant one at that.

What this means is that we can't just dismiss everything religious out of hand, but need to separate the wheat from the chaff. In the case of Christianity: yes, there is a lot of nonsense, but there are also great teachers and profound teachings. There's lots cruelty and stupidity, but there is also lots of love and wisdom.

So, what I'm interested in when it comes to Luther is this question: how did he affect Christian thought and practice, and by extension thought and practice of the Western world in general to this day? My conclusion is that Christianity was a lot worse off after Luther. In other words, Luther was all about nonsense and cruelty, and not about profound teachings and love/wisdom.

I hope I could clarify my position a bit.

By the way, I have a question: you mention in your book the episode of Martin Luther preaching and shaking, screaming "it is not me, it is not me", referring to demonic possession. I found that very interesting. Could you refer me to the source of this story? I did a quick search but couldn't find it. It is also mentioned in O'Hare's book "Facts about Luther", but it is given without context and sources there as well. Thank you!
 

Peter Henkel

A Disturbance in the Force

Atheists are poor people. If and as soon as it comes to the fundamental question - if there is God or not -, their self-righteousness about which I wrote misleads believers to logical mistakes, fellacies, misunderstanding and wrong quoting, without and with intention. Besides to missing the point, dropping the subject and to use- and senseless personal attacks.



Also in this forum my simple confession to be an atheist has provoked these comments:



I am out of depth.

silly straw man arguments trying to make silly points...

atheism is nonsense

deluded atheists

atheism = rational materialism

atheists (and believers) are out to lunch.

living according to a moral framework means being not able to be an atheist (!!).



((this is a whitespread error which has no idea of the fact that moral is a result of social und cultural evolution in mankind's history; not at all moral rules need any God as explanation für their genesis. This fact, by the way, is NOT a proof against God's existence. But a great example of secular down-to-earth-thinking and its evident advantages compared with magic constructs of a transcendence NEVER showing itself.))





All this is an impoverished demonstration of prejudices and of being biased that, indeed, makes a "serious dialogue" impossible.



Dear Luc, I will not offend you. But: If you really know most of the arguments for atheism I mentioned in a nutshell it would make more sense to inform me and us about the reasons why these arguments cannot convict you und bring you to a secular position - - instead of talking about dismissing religious things as ridiculous etc. I criticize religion and faith, but I am never doing something like that. In four books I wrote about (christian) religion I defend religion and faith against false reproaches. I acknowledge their merites and contributions to mankind's cultural history, to moral, to social and individual strength - although just the opposite has happened much more often than it ought to be true.



atheism has nothing to do with these subjects. atheism denies the existence of (the Christian's) God and offers many good reasons for that.



Sincerely yours



Peter Henkel



P.S. I hope to have not made too many mistakes with my six-years-grammar-school-English.

Just I discover one mistake: of course I meant not: convict, but: convince.
 
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