Controversial saying from Martin Luther
While one or two parts are taken out of context, this does reflect Luther's negative view of humanity and intolerance of any dissent. This is the view reflected by St. Augustine and his influence on Western Christianity.
Let's not get caught totally into his ravings while irrational today were commonplace in the 16th century. We owe Luther a great deal in he managed to break the power of the Catholic Church and set a path with other reformers of that day to our modern society. His ideas are not new and are reflected through St. Augustine and Marcion to the Apostle Paul.
While it's true some Christian fundamentalists want to revert to a world of state enforced religious terror, the vast majority of Lutherans and mainline Protestants have renounced this level of superstition and intolerance.
Martin Luther, German leader of the Protestant Revolution, founder of Lutheranism, Protestant theologian, was behind much of Protestant theology.
An examination of some of his quotes makes it quite obvious that we are not looking at a rational man. Modern Protestants would do well to learn something about the heritage of their present theology.
"God does not work salvation for fictitious sinners. Be a sinner and sin vigorously.... Do not for a moment imagine that this life is the abiding place of justice; sin must be committed."
"Sin cannot tear you away from him [Christ], even though you commit adultery a hundred times a day and commit as many murders."
"A large number of deaf, crippled and blind people are afflicted solely through the malice of the demon. And one must in no wise doubt that plagues, fevers and every sort of evil come from him."
"An earthly kingdom cannot exist without inequality of persons. Some must be free, some serfs, some rulers, some subjects."
"As for the demented, I hold it certain that all beings deprived of reason are thus afflicted only by the Devil."
"As to the common people, ... one has to be hard with them and see that they do their work and that under the threat of the sword and the law they comply with the observance of piety, just as you chain up wild beasts."
"At Poltersberg, there is a lake similarly cursed. If you throw a stone into it, a dreadful storm immediately arises, and the whole neighboring district quakes to its center. 'Tis the devils kept prisoner there."
"At Sussen, the Devil carried off, last Good Friday, three grooms who had devoted themselves to him."
"Demons live in many lands, but particularly in Prussia."
"How often have not the demons called 'Nix,' drawn women and girls into the water, and there had commerce with them, with fearful consequences."
"I almost feel like throwing Jimmy into the stove, as the priest in Kulenberg did."
"I feel much freer now that I am certain the pope is the Antichrist."
"I maintain that some Jew wrote it [the Book of James] who probably heard about Christian people but never encountered any."
"I myself saw and touched at Dessay, a child of this sort, which had no human parents, but had proceeded from the Devil. He was twelve years old, and, in outward form, exactly resembled ordinary children."
"I should have no compassion on these witches; I should burn them all."
"Idiots, the lame, the blind, the dumb, are men in whom the devils have established themselves: and all the physicians who heal these infirmities, as though they proceeded from natural causes, are ignorant blockheads...."
"In many countries there are particular places to which devils more especially resort. In Prussia there is an infinite number of evil spirits."
"In Switzerland, on a high mountain, not far from Lucerne, there is a lake they call Pilate's Pond, which the Devil has fixed upon as one of the chief residences of his evil spirits...."
"Many demons are in woods, in waters, in wildernesses, and in dark poolly places ready to hurt...people."
"Many sweat to reconcile St. Paul and St. James, but in vain. 'Faith justifies' and 'faith does not justify' contradict each other flatly. If any one can harmonize them I will give him my doctor's hood and let him call me a fool."
"No gown worse becomes a than the desire to be wise."
"Our bodies are always exposed to Satan. The maladies I suffer are not natural, but Devil's spells."
"Reason is the greatest enemy that faith has: it never comes to the aid of spiritual things, but--more frequently than not --struggles against the Divine Word...."
"Reason must be deluded, blinded, and destroyed. Faith must trample underfoot all reason, sense, and understanding, and whatever it sees must be put out of sight and ... know nothing but the word of God."
"Snakes and monkeys are subjected to the demon more than other animals. Satan lives in them and possesses them. He uses them to deceive men and to injure them."
"Some [demons] are also in the thick black clouds, which cause hail, lightning and thunder, and poison the air, the pastures and grounds."
"The best way to get rid of the Devil, if you cannot kill it with the words of Holy Scripture, is to rail at and mock him. Music, too, is very good; music is hateful to him, and drives him far away. "
"The damned whore Reason...."
"The Devil can so completely assume the human form, when he wants to deceive us, that we may well lie with what seems to be a woman, of real flesh and blood, and yet all the while 'tis only the Devil in the shape of a woman. 'Tis the same with women, who may think that a man is in bed with them, yet 'tis only the Devil; and...the result of this connection is oftentimes an imp of darkness, half mortal, half devil...."
"The Devil...clutched hold of the miserable young man...and flew off with him through the ceiling, since which time nothing has been heard of [him]."
"The Devil fears the word of God, He can't bite it; it breaks his teeth."
"The Devil, it is true, is not exactly a doctor who has taken degrees, but he is very learned, very expert for all that. He has not been carrying on his business during thousands of years for nothing...."
"The Devil, too, sometimes steals human children; it is not infrequent for him to carry away infants within the first six weeks after birth, and to substitute in their place imps...."
"The fact that [the biblical book] Hebrews is not an epistle of St. Paul, or of any other apostle, is proved by what it says in chapter two...."
"The winds are nothing else but good or bad spirits. Hark! how the Devil is puffing and blowing...."
"There is no rustic so rude but that, if he dreams or fancies anything, it must be the whisper of the Holy Ghost, and he himself a prophet."
"This fool [Copernicus] wishes to reverse the entire science of astronomy; but sacred scripture tells us that Joshua commanded the sun to stand still, and not the earth."
"To be a Christian, you must pluck out the eye of reason."
"...two devils rose from the water, and flew off through the air, crying, 'Oh, oh, oh!' and turning one over another, in sportive mockery...."
"We are at fault for not slaying them [the Jews]."
"We know, on the authority of Moses, that longer than years the world did not exist."
"We may well lie with what seems to be a woman of flesh and blood, and yet all the time it is only a devil in the shape of a woman."
"We need not invite the Devil to our table; he is too ready to come without being asked. The air all about us is filled with demons...."
"We should throw the Epistle of James out of this school [the University of Wittenberg]....
"What shall we do with...the Jews?...I advise that all their prayer books and Talmudic writings...are to be taken from them."
"What shall we do with...the Jews?...I advise that safe-conduct on the highways be abolished completely for the Jews."
"What shall we do with...the Jews? I advise that their rabbis be forbidden to teach on pain of loss of life and limb."
"What shall we do with...the Jews?...set fire to their synagogues or schools and bury and cover with dirt whatever will not burn, so that no man will ever again see a stone or cinder of them."
"What shall we do with...the Jews?...their homes also should be razed and destroyed."
"When I was a child there were many witches, and they bewitched both cattle and men, especially children."
"Whoever wants to be a Christian should tear the eyes out of his reason."
"Women...have but small and narrow chests, and broad hips, to the end that they should remain at home, sit still, keep house, and bear and bring up children."
"So tenaciously should we cling to the world revealed by the Gospel, that were I to see all the Angels of Heaven coming down to me to tell me something different, not only would I not be tempted to doubt a single syllable, but I would shut my eyes and stop my ears, for they would not deserve to be either seen or heard."
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