Saturday, March 12, 2016

The Washing Machine of a Belief: Jesus and Martin Luther

When Martin Luther nailed his "Ninety-five Theses on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences to the door of All Saint Church in Wittenberg, to protests against clerical abuses, including the sale of indulgences, he unwittingly started the Protestant Reformation. According to Wikipedia, however, and contrary to popular belief, "Luther merely passed around the pages, a move aided by the advent of the printing press around the same time."

In either case, by challenging the Catholic Church, Luther had become the new Christ. After all, did Christ not "over turn the tables of the money lenders" who were operating within the temple, and threaten to "destroy the temple" (which has been interpreted to mean both the physical structure Christ was standing in when he made the claim, as well as Christ himself)?

Luther, therefore, was simply following in the footsteps of Christ. For Christ challenged the Sanhedrin and the Pharisees for their corruption in the same way Luther challenged the Catholic Church for theirs.

What is interesting is why.

Martin Luther was convinced that his Christianity was real, and that Christ was the son of God. As such, no amount of corruption and bloodshed that the Church could commit, could ever change his mind. So, rather than concluding that perhaps he was wrong to believe such things, he concluded the very opposite; but all within the Christian paradigm.

Christianity is a belief system that claims there is heaven and hell, a God and the devil. So while an atheist would see evidence of corruption in the Church as proof that the Christian belief system is simply a charade operating as a spiritual ponzi scheme, Luther concluded that corruption was proof, not that the Church was a lie, but that the Church was in the hands of the Devil.

It never occurred to Luther, so it seems, that perhaps the entire game had been rigged from the start. Instead, his beliefs had limited his options: the Church was either good or evil, but it couldn't simply be an elaborate ruse. (Of course, you can't really blame Luther for this, since no one believed that the Germans or the Khmer Rouge could actually be committing genocide either.)

Since it had never occurred to Luther that he had been brain washed, in other words, he had never thought to climb out of the washing machine of his beliefs.     

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