Five hundred years ago, the European society said “Enough!” regarding the church indulgences and social inequity. The people voice soon became one: Martin Luther, who officially started the Reform in Europe. Remarkably, Luther was an Augustinian monk, a doctor in theology, and a firm believer in the Bible. It helps us to understand how deep the corruption and money greed captured the Church at that moment. On the other side, money was necessary to build what today are the most desirable cultural place to visit in Europe (St. Peter’s Basilica, in Rome, for example). So Pope Leo X decided that old indulgences are with expiring time and needs to be replaced with a stronger new one for a guarantee that your soul is going to Heaven. The moment of Reform in Europe find his principal reason.
Living under the alias Junker Joerg (Knight George), Luther translated the New Testament into German, from the original Greek, in eleven weeks. He then returned to Wittenberg and translated the Old Testament, from the Hebrew. The Luther Bible became the fulcrum of the Reformation and did for vernacular German roughly what Dante had done for Italian.” by Peter Schjeldahl in the article “Five hundred years of Martin Luther” in The New Yorker from 14 November 2016.
Before Reform, elite religious claim that God punishes you for your sins and should keep for his Church some economic activities (like beer production). Luther introduced God Love for every human, refuse the authority of religious rulers under the reason that is not written in the Bible about them, and started a different vision in work relationships. Of course, political protection helps him not to be killed (fast method of silence at that time). For this part, Frederick the Wise has the influence even to kidnap Luther when considered the threat to big for him.
Mr. Bruce A. Little, Senior Professor of Philosophy, has lectured in Europe and Africa on issues related to culture. I listened to him in Brasov, Romania at Transilvania University, exposing the role of Martin Luther in European Culture. Invited by Engage Association, it was happy to answer the questions about the past and future. First, let’s listen to him with an introduction:
On the end session, he agreed to answer some questions from the audience, and ideas have inside directions dedicated to those which intends to extend the knowledge level:
- technology will replace the Divine representation;
- a new Reform in Europe is not possible because the economic connectivity is too broad and affect all the religious structure with significant social effects, but a further spread of biblical teaching find interest on people like Chinese;
- Muslim influence can’t be relevant to European Culture. A big phenomenon will block them before to rich political power.
On this point, I don’t know if Mr. Professor is talking about the European Union dissolving if we are looking at Visegrad countries, Russian cybernetic war, corruption of South-East, Brexit, justice issues in Poland and Romania, press and minorities in Hungary, Turkey, West Balcans, different level of cohesion and convergence between members or ascension of the extreme right almost everywhere. All reasons representing a cross point for Europeans and put a shadow on Reform after half of the millennia.
Unfortunately, this Schwärmer present also in Luther life five centuries ago can use populism to create a history of bad repetition.
Then, once he issued the theses and began his movement, he had to struggle not just with the left – the Schwärmer (fanatics), as he called them, the people who felt that he hadn’t gone far enough. He spent days and weeks in pamphlet wars over matters that, today, have to be patiently explained to us, they seem so remote.” by Joan Acocella in the article “How Martin Luther changed the world” published in The New Yorker at 30 October 2017.
We can say that in present days fake news is our Schwärmer which influence the mind even to be involved in terrorist actions. Wrong information, unverified sources, ignorance, and week politics still keeping the indulgences in our life after so many years. Martin Luther King Jr. is another great example when talking about change. Do we need the next leader to express the people consideration? Accepting or not, but tolerance is starting from everyone hart and thots not only from the politicians.
Reform in Europe it means at the same time starting of religious wars. Today, only the European Union umbrella keep away, from already 70 years, this conflicts but not so far in the future if consider West Balcans. New rights extremist groups find in Muslim religion an enemy and imams try to convince their believers that Europe or America is the Devil. Programs like Erasmus exchange help us to know about the neighbor culture and the European boundaries touching Africa at this moment.
Luther struggled with Jewish, women, and peasant situation. We have migrants, terrorism, radicalization. Let’s do the Reform in Europe again in a better evolutive way.