Is There One True Religion, One True Path to God?

Discussion in 'Comparative Studies' started by Namaste Jesus, Jun 18, 2014.

  1. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Messages:
    7,502
    Likes Received:
    147
    OK, well...first I've heard this version. Shows there's scholarship to prove just about anything I suppose. I will say that what the writer wrote doesn't wholly dismiss the story, just the unlikelihood, noting Luther didn't want to provoke his superiors. I suspect at that point in time, provoking his superiors was precisely what he had in mind...it would have been mine.

    And yes, he sided with the nobles...that's what kept him alive and out of reach of the Pope's minions, who were on the hunt and ready to grab Luther and drag him back to the Vatican, pretty much "dead or alive." After the 95 theses (nailed or not), Luther had a bounty on his head and was no longer safe to preside over the local church. He was allowed refuge in the castle of an influential nobleman who sheltered him and allowed him to continue his studies. As I recall this nobleman was the same man who brokered the meeting with the Vatican officials for a debate...which Luther won handily. All of this was sensational news at the time, printed out and distributed to a wide audience much like we have tabloid news now, but all that was very novel and new at the time. In a way, Luther was the rock star of his day.
     
  2. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Messages:
    21,270
    Likes Received:
    1,689
    Oh I agree...not in any way discounting Luther, or the 95 theses....just the meme ..the points of contention on the story.... We've got nothing of Luther's saying he did this (he wrote he mailed it, not nailed it). We've got no discussion of it during his lifetime. And the guy who wrote the earliest account of the legend, wasn't an eyewitness....it has all the markings of an urban myth.
     
  3. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea An ordinary cup of tea

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2011
    Messages:
    3,284
    Likes Received:
    552
    Help me out here because I don't get it. Wils link says that there is no evidence he did nail them to the door, but the only thing evidence that he didn't was that he "wouldn't"? I've read it over and over again, I don't know what I'm missing.
     
  4. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    Messages:
    10,551
    Likes Received:
    1,541
    Not so sure, Wil ... I wouldn't pin everything on one scholar's opinion, and from the link supplied, a fair degree of assumption rather than any actual evidence that exposes a myth ... added to that pinning theses to the doors was standard practice, so it's not so much a myth that he did, it's more that it would be strange had he not. How else did he hope to open the matter for debate, other than the standard practice of pinning his theses to the doors of those churches where they would be seen by his contemporaries?

    The only thing I would say is mythological is that the pinning of the theses triggered the Reformation. That's a retro-active pov, it was not Luther's intention to start a revolution, simply to engage his contemporaries in theological debate. So the whole event has taken on mythical status, I agree, but it probably happened, although it was never seen as the 'big deal' it later became.

    On indulgences –

    Luther was not against the practice, nor the idea – of indulgences.

    What he was against was that his archbishop was losing money.

    Albrecht was 24 and already Archbishop of Magdeburg when he was elected to Archbishop of Mainz. This broke two rules: archbishops had to be over 30, and could only hold one archbishopric. So Albrecht borrowed money to send to Rome to smooth the way ... but managed to seal the deal on sole rights to sell indulgences in his jurisdictions, on condition the money went to Rome, towards the construction of St Peters Basilica. Albrecht agreed but then worked the books, diverting half the funds raised to pay of his debts.

    in April 1515 Johannes Tetzel, the Papal Commissioner for Indulgences, arrived in the German states. Tetzel drew huge crowds wherever he went, and the local Saxons went to Jüterbog, outside their archbishop's jurisdiction, to hear him preach and make their contributions. So many, in fact, that there was a significant impact on Archbishop Albrecht's income ... so not that money was passing out of Germany into Rome, but that Albrecht could not take his cut to pay his bills.

    Luther was moved to defend his archbishop ...

    The theological problem came about because Tetzel's preaching seemed to overlook the absolute necessity that genuine contrition was a de facto requirement of forgiveness of sin. Without that, the whole thing was meaningless. Tetzel seemed to imply that all you had to do was put your money in the box ... (it's not a given, but I reckon that's the way he was selling it ...)

    Rome received Luther's 95 theses and ignored them, treating the whole thing as an argument between monks and of little consequence ... big 'oops' there!

    The pinning of the these to the door was in reality something of little consequence (another reason why the 'myth' is questioned: what was it supposed to mythologise?)

    What did happen was that the theses were translated into German, and then printed, and then distributed by those who supported the emerging humanist debate ... Luther probably had no hand in any of it, nor ever thought that such a thing would come about.
     
    A Cup Of Tea likes this.
  5. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    Messages:
    10,551
    Likes Received:
    1,541
    Well ... Luther was free for three years, until his trial at Worms in 1521. He fled the court when he saw which way the wind was blowing.
     
  6. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    Messages:
    10,551
    Likes Received:
    1,541
    I think timing is important here –

    Whether or not Luther nailed his theses to the door, he posted them to bishops, and he posted them to the Pope. So whether or not he pinned them to the door was, I'm pretty sure, the least of it. The only people who read such notices were theology students like himself ...

    Luther was called to answer the charge of heresy in 1521, not just for his theses, but also for To the Christian Nobility of the German Nation, On the Babylonian Captivity of the Church, and On the Freedom of a Christian. These works, I reckon, were the last straw.
     
  7. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    Messages:
    10,551
    Likes Received:
    1,541
    But the contention is founded on nothing but opinion.

    Again, I think the myth is the importance later and contemporary scholars put on the nailing of the theses nailed to the door. Melanchthon wasn't myth-making when he said Luther nailed them to the door, that's the point.
     
  8. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Messages:
    21,270
    Likes Received:
    1,689
    Not myth making...but repeating that story he heard around the fire...

    The myth is based on nothing but opinion....and repetition for hundreds of years...there is power in that repetition.... tis the nature of legend.
     
  9. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea An ordinary cup of tea

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2011
    Messages:
    3,284
    Likes Received:
    552
    I don't understand wil, why is it unreasonable that he nailed them to the door? You're comparing this event to the parting of water. Nailing shit to the door is what you did. What is mythological about it?
     
    Namaste Jesus likes this.
  10. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Messages:
    7,502
    Likes Received:
    147
    Not fully sure on what you mean by "emerging humanist debate," but I think I mostly agree with this. There was a smoldering undercurrent of resentment towards Rome, primarily in the educated classes...and Luther's scholarly arguments resonated with them. Remember too, there was a growing conflict over having the Bible printed in the vernacular, in order that the "common folk" could read it for themselves.
     
  11. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Messages:
    21,270
    Likes Received:
    1,689
    No, I am not saying it is unreasonable....simply that during his life it was not discussed, by him, or others in any fashion that we can find...it wasn't till after he was gone that the story was circulated...

    Yes postings to doors was common at the time (which would make it not nearly so fantastical as it sounds today)...

    lol what we actually have is ONE account that he did this.... an account that most scholars and theologians today studying the subject evidently no longer buy.... legends and disinformation are hard to dispel... just as we learned about the brontosaurus as children in school, despite the fact that in the early 1900's it was dismissed as a fake by scientists... yet 80 years later...it remained in school text books... a lie repeated is powerful stuff... think climate change and short earthers.
     
  12. Amica

    Amica Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2005
    Messages:
    649
    Likes Received:
    7
    According to my religion (Islam), there is only one True Path. There have been thousands of Messengers from God that preached the same Message, starting with Adam saws and ending with Muhammad saws. That is why, it is believed, diverse religions have similarities.

    " And verily We have raised in every nation a messenger, (proclaiming): Serve Allah and shun false gods. Then some of them (there were) whom Allah guided, and some of them (there were) upon whom error had just hold. Do but travel in the land and see the nature of the consequence for the deniers!" Qur'an 16:36

    "To each community, a messenger" Qur'an 10:47

    "We have sent messengers before you, some of them we mentioned to you, and some We did not mention to you" Qur'an 40:78 (also 4:164).


    God is fair and just, according to Islam, and as so He does not punish people for unbelief if they do not know about Him. Therefore, He sends a Messenger as a warning:"And never would We punish until We sent a messenger." Quran 17:15

    Muslims believe there had been over 100,000 prophets/messengers. Most of the ones named in the Noble Qur'an are mostly from the House of Israel:

    Adam
    Idris (Enoch)
    Nuh (Noah)
    Hud (Heber)
    Salih (Methusaleh)
    Lut (Lot)
    Ibrahim (Abraham)
    Ismail (Ishmael)
    Ishaq (Isaac)
    Yaqub (Jacob)
    Yusuf (Joseph)
    Shu’aib (Jethro)
    Ayyub (Job)
    Dhulkifl (Ezekiel)
    Musa (Moses)
    Harun (Aaron)
    Dawud (David)
    Sulayman (Solomon)
    Ilias (Elias)
    Alyasa (Elisha)
    Yunus (Jonah)
    Zakariya (Zachariah)
    Yahya (John the Baptist)
    Isa (Jesus)
    Muhammad
     
  13. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea An ordinary cup of tea

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2011
    Messages:
    3,284
    Likes Received:
    552
    You mix a lot of different stuff in that paragraph, trying to unravel it seems...arduous. I question your scholarship. The only link you have provided is to a page that is highly suspect which tries to prove the negative. If this seems enough to base your opinion on I wonder if perhaps your mind is made up before you even got to the page? Comparing climate change and short earthers here seems odd since I think it's pretty much established that most here are the former and few the later. The idea about the camp fire is firmly set in your mind, but there are more things at work then storytelling. If something is unproven doesn't mean it's is myth.
     
    Lux likes this.
  14. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Messages:
    21,270
    Likes Received:
    1,689
    Let us be clear... I don't have any problem with mythology... nor do I have an issue with facts.... just when one is presented as another... half a dozen famous Luther biographers say 'nah', most don't think it worth the debate (its a fun story...has no bearing....who cares)... all this leads me to believe it didn't happen. One even says that he is sure Luther didn't do it, wouldn't have done it, but one of his assistants or followers might have....and that is how the story started...another said the story was started by a publisher...to sensationalize and sell books.... I got no horse in this fight, other than thinking it valuable in life to separate the wheat from the chaffe...to assist in proper nutrition for body, mind and soul..
    That thinking is not uncommon...

    One only needs to look at the many threads and posts of all those who are on their only one True Path.
     
  15. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    Messages:
    10,551
    Likes Received:
    1,541
    LOL, Wil, are you sure this 'fireside storytelling' thing isn't your own meme? ;) All history seems to be concocted round the fire, as far as you're concerned, I've never heard you talk of any other process.

    No, the rebuttal of the account is an opinion, big difference.

    In fact, there's more myth-making in the rebuttal than in the story itself. Consider:

    "Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg with hammer strokes which echoed throughout all of Europe."
    No they didn't.

    "It has become a symbol of the Reformation as nothing else has." Doesn't make it a myth.

    "It was like a slap in the face when the catholic Luther researcher, Erwin Iserloh, asserted in 1961 that the nailing of the theses to the door of the Castle Church belonged to the realm of legends"
    I doubt that, too.

    "The facts are convincing ... "
    No they're not, else there would be no question.

    So already we have a lot of sensationalising, but we're still nowhere near any evidence to the contrary.

    "... the first written account of the event comes from Philipp Melanchthon who could not have been an eye-witness to the event since he was not called to Wittenberg University as a professor until 1518."
    So? No-one ever said he was. That doesn't invalidate the statement.

    "Also, this account appeared for the first time after Luther's death and he never commented on 'nailing anything up' in 1517."
    The nailing of the theses really had nothing to do with the furore that later emerged. I'll explain later, but the idea that the nailing of the 95 theses to the door initiated the Reformation, that is a myth, but nothing to do with Luther, or Melanchthon or any of their contemporaries.

    "Announcements of upcoming disputes were supposedly regularly hung on the door of the Castle Church."
    Supposedly? Yes they were, it was the practice of the day, and still is. Today the university notice board is used.

    "But, openly hanging the theses without waiting for a reaction from the Bishops could have been seen as a clear provocation of his superiors."
    No, that's tosh. A month before, Luther led a debate on Scholastic Theology in which he said far more radical things than in the 95 theses. He didn't contact his bishops about that. This is someone leading his reader by the nose ...

    "Luther would not have done that because he only wanted to clear up some misunderstandings."
    Nah ... Luther certainly saw himself as a loyal Catholic. The 95 theses were not a declaration of schism with his bishop or with Rome, he wasn't trying to provoke anything, just initiate discussion.

    "It is also worth noting, that there was no open discussion of the theses in Wittenberg and that no original printing of the theses could be found."
    Because they weren't originally printed. They were written in Latin. The printed texts are in German. As to no open discussion ... how do we know?

    "Today, the majority of Luther researchers see it as fact, that Luther did not nail his theses to the door of the Castle Church on that day."
    LOL, sounds like you ;) 'the majority? I think the majority have an open mind, a better knowledge of the background, and really are not too bothered either way.
     
  16. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Messages:
    21,270
    Likes Received:
    1,689
    That is the one that is the best... you are wrong, you are wrong, you are wrong, but even if you are right...it really doesn't matter.

    But back to the one true path.... whether you believe the Catholic (universal) or the Protest-ant version of Christianity, or the various denominations of any religion...what we do know...like the above...is we don't know....the old get 10 rabbis in a room and you'll get 11 opinions still holds here, and around the globe. But we'll beat each other over the head verbally, or travel distances to 'convert' others to our beliefs with whatever it takes...or so it seems.
     
  17. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    Messages:
    10,551
    Likes Received:
    1,541
    OK. Let me state my position, as being Catlick, I'm no particular defender of Luther, but there's a huge amount of mythology about the events under discussion, but the pinning of the theses to the door is no part of that!

    I think one has to sift the facts carefully. In the case of the Reformation, I think there's more myth-making going on than most realise, and that has distorted the question of the pinning of the theses, making something big of something relatively trivial.

    But let me add this: In 2006 a document was found in a university library with a note by George Rorer, Luther's secretary, who mentions in a private note that the 95 theses were pinned "on the folding-doors of the churches" (Franz Posset, The Real Luther, p. 23). Rorer was not at Wittenberg in 1517 either, but I would say it safe to assume he asked Luther about the start of it all.

    Consider:

    From 1509, Luther taught philosophy and then theology at Wittenburg University.

    In those days, there wasn't a fixed curriculum. Students chose which lectures they attended, and they paid to attend. Luther was a member of the Augustinian Order, but he would derive an income dependent on how many students he could attract. This went to his order, but the more students meant better posts at better universities ...

    If you want to propose a lecture, you would post your thesis – the lecture subject – where the student body would see it. At Wittenberg, as elsewhere I think, you pinned it to the doors of the churches serving the Faculty of Theology. That was the way students found out who was lecturing where, on what. It was the equivalent of the university noticeboard or intranet.

    Where the mythology kicks in:

    Today people see this as the start of the Reformation. In fact it was nothing like that at all. Luther was a loyal Catholic who wanted to see certain abuses cleared up. This was brought to focus by the Dominican preacher Tetzel, who was selling indulgences, if the popular understanding is to be believed, like a 'get out of jail free' card. I'll not bore you with the fine detail, but suffice to say that while Luther was happy with the doctrinal position on indulgences, he was not happy with what Tetzel was saying, and indeed Tetzel was criticised by the Church authorities, and his crusade was brought to an end.

    The point here being that Luther was not declaring war on Rome. Pinning the theses to the door was no big deal, no sensational event ... it was a commonplace. It's what you did. So common, it was not worth talking about.

    Timeline is all important:

    Let's look at what M. says:
    Read it, it's really interesting.

    So what M is saying is that Luther made public his position on the matter of indulgences against Tetzel's exaggerations, to bring about a debate and hopefully silence the Dominican. He was not against indulgences per se – that is a popular myth (!) – he supported the official Catholic teaching on indulgences, but rather he was against what he understood to be Tetzel's far-from-orthodox preaching on the matter.

    Luther wanted a public debate on the matter. He wanted the issue discussed at the university. If I were Luther I'd know that the pope's not going to do anything, because Tetzel is raising money for his pet project. And my archbishop isn't, because who wants to make waves? So either there is a public debate, or I shut up. (Reading on, it's Tetzel who escalates the debate by attacking Luther as well as pushing the sale of indulgences.)

    Oct 1517: Luther 'pins his theses to the door'.

    May 1518: 50 theses under Tetzel’s name (but composed by the theologian Konrad Wimpina) proclaimed against Luther.

    Oct 1518: Luther questioned by papal legate Cardinal Cajetan (who had condemned Tetzel's errors!). Luther now stated that he did not consider the papacy part of the biblical Church because historistical interpretation of Bible prophecy concluded that the papacy was the Antichrist! This was way beyond the 95 theses! Luther's interpretation of prophecy re the Antichrist became the controversy and the hearings degenerated into a shouting match. The theses are forgotten, Luther is now an enemy of the Pope and the Church.

    June-July 1519: The Leipzig Debate. Johann Eck OP challenges Andreas Karlstadt to a public debate concerning Luther's teachings on the doctrines of free will and grace.

    Luther arrives in July at the invitation of Eck. Luther and Eck expanded the terms of the debate, to discuss purgatory, the sale of indulgences, the legitimacy of papal authority. Luther bested by Eck who ends up admitting heresy, rather than backing down. He also declares sola scriptura (scripture alone) was the basis of Christian belief and that the Pope had no power as he was not mentioned in the Bible.

    The debate led to Luther's excommunication from the Catholic Church by the Pope in June 1520. That's the turning point.

    1520: Luther publishes three books, all with an anti-Catholic sentiment.

    Jan-May 1521: Diet of Worms invites Luther to recant, but Luther's journey to Worms was welcomed enthusiastically in all of the towns he went through. Suffice to say, he did not back down.

    Luther and his supporters leave. The emperor imposes an Imperial Act declaring Luther an outlaw. On the trip home Luther is 'kidnapped' (he knew about it beforehand). This allows Luther to disappear for a while. This also allows Friedrich of Saxony to hide him away without himself coming under charges of protecting an outlaw and heretic.

    I would say that Luther's heated debate with Cardinal Cetejan was the crucial turning point with regard to the Reformation, not his announcement of a theological discussion about a Dominican's sales patter ... his clash with Cetejan set Luther head-to-head with the Pope, hence the shouting match.

    The content of the 95 theses was certainly a point of discussion, but pinning them to the door? Nah, that's not at issue. That's just the way the stuff got 'out there', there was no crime in that.

    I think Juantoo3's finger and the moon analogy fits here ... too much is made of the pinning to the door as some kind of act of defiance. It never was, that bit, that the act was a declaration of war, that's a myth.
     
    Lux likes this.
  18. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    Messages:
    10,551
    Likes Received:
    1,541
    I think it seems that way to you, as BigJoeNobody and I have discussed elsewhere, but it's really not. I'm not trying to convert anyone, I'm just trying to let reason prevail.
     
  19. Devils' Advocate

    Devils' Advocate Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2014
    Messages:
    2,086
    Likes Received:
    378
    Not exactly on topic, but I'm curious why all the cries of converting are suddenly flying around the site? What's with that. Seems a bizarre turn of events to me as I have seen nothing of the kind myself.
     
  20. Devils' Advocate

    Devils' Advocate Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2014
    Messages:
    2,086
    Likes Received:
    378
    On topic of Luther nails it. I have no horse in this race whatsoever, so what interests me about the discussion is how we as individuals (and as groups) deal with information as it is handed down to us. For some, the reasoning is if it was reasonable to have happened why not believe it happened? For others it is more if there is no direct evidence it happened, it likely did not. To me both are flawed arguments. Why? Because the one simple reality is we cannot know. To make any other statement is reading into the story more, or less, than there is. (I have to include myself here, as I have fallen into this error more than once!).

    And does it really matter whether Luther posted this on church doors or not? Seems Thomas has the right approach. What was the result of that document, both what might have been intended and what it turned in to. Surely the progress of history is what is important here. Dealing with minutia less and dealing with the big picture more seems the right way to go.
     
    juantoo3 likes this.

Share This Page