Here I stand: A life of Martin Luther
Luther remains one of the prominent figures who stood for injustice and inequality. His agenda was to challenge the unfair system and address issues like transformations of the Catholic church and selling indulgences. He stood against the corrupt practices of for abolition of sin. The leader stood against the negative role played by the religious leaders. Martin Luther was born in 1483 in Eisleben, Germany and became a prominent historian. He was born to Hans and Margareta and belonged to the Holy Roman Empire. He started his education at the age of 13 in a local school and was inspired by the Brethren's teachings about personal life and religion. In 1501 Luther joined the monastery by getting enrolled to the University of Erfurt. At university, he learned astrology, arithmetic, geometry and philosophy. In 1505 when he was struck by a thunderstorm he was surprised and vowed to become a monk.
God and religion remain two significant concepts in the life of Luther. He started living like a serpent and a monk for exploring the reality of religion. Luther's struggles contributed to western civilization because he provided the real meaning of religion. He claimed that Christianity was not to devalue people and empower the wealthy. He served as a representative of Rome for German monasteries in 1510. He was inspired by religion and continued to broaden his knowledge of theology. He struggled to understand the deeper meaning of Christianity and its relevance with the world. By the sixteenth century, he emerged as a prominent theological leader who criticized the unfair practices of the church and the evil role of the religious leaders. he managed to interpret the right meaning of religion that was to reach salvation through divine grace. The only way that could connect people to God is through their good deeds. He thus rejected the corrupt practices of religious leaders.
Theses 95 remains one of the significant contributions of Luther for illustrating the true meaning of religion. He claimed that the distribution of power was unfair and wrong because the leaders were using it for their personal gains. Luther stood against the odds and challenged the corrupt practices of selling indulgences. In 1517 he hanged his Theses 95 on the door of Wittenberg Castle church with the aim of stopping the wrong practices of the church pope. By that time Luther had gained much popularity in the people and was identified as a topologist. He ensured academic discussions on the negative and unjust role of the church. The leader stated that there is a need for revising the church activities and making them according to religion. The theses of Luther also provide a foundation for the protestant reformation. He claimed that “Roman clergy should not logically have undermined his faith in the capacity of Holy Rome to confer spiritual benefits” (50). The criticism opened the eyes of the people and they started accepting Luther’s ideology of fairness and justice.
Luther promoted the beliefs of Catholic and remains the prominent leader of the protestant reformation. “Luther probed every resource of contemporary Catholicism for assuaging the anguish of a spirit alienated from God” (Bainton, 1955, pp.54). He managed to overcome the feelings of doubt by improving his understanding of religion and church. He stressed on changing the ways in which clergyman was using their power. The purpose of powerful people must be to support humanity and people. However, the popes and the religious leaders were using their status for gaining wealth and power. To transform the beliefs of the people he started using biblical quotes for improving knowledge of the people. He mentions, "Man, God is not angry with you. You are angry with God. Don't you know that God commands you to hope?" (Bainton, 1955, pp.54). This was to familiarize people with the true meaning of religion and God. He showed them that God was on their side and there is no scope of corrupt practices in religion. His philosophy allowed people to see that the popes were using their position in a negative and unfair way. He emphasized the concepts of forgiveness and mercy as explained by Christ in his teachings.
Luther for the first time introduced a true meaning of forgiveness that was interpreted from the Bible. He mentioned, "if you expect Christ to forgive you, come in with something to forgive parricide, blasphemy, adultery instead of all these peccadilloes” (Bainton, 1955, pp.54). This reflects his knowledge of religious teachings and faith in Christ. Luther discovered manuscripts that assisted him in his mission of spreading the right message of religion. He Luther accepted the challenges and stood against the oppressed. He also remained part of western civilization because he focused on ending oppression. He claimed, “but I will not make use of them unless Christ, my protector, be willing, who has perhaps inspired the knight” (Bainton, 1955, pp.134)
He claimed that inequality is prevalent in all aspects that include justice, education and disparities. A groundbreaking revelation related to Roman prejudice reflects that it does not depend on hostile intent or individual negative attitudes. When the power of a single group remain active in the cultural context it represents threats to all other people and groups. What shapes human experiences remains a significant concern for depicting the role of prejudice in real life. Oppressed encounter inequality every day that influences their daily lives and affects their routines. The experiences of Luther shaped the beliefs of the community regarding religion thus convincing them to believe that they are not the sinner. He mentions, "I am not willing to fight for the gospel with bloodshed. In this sense, I have written to him. The world is conquered by the Word, and by the Word, the Church is served and rebuilt" (Bainton, 1955, pp.154)
In 1520, Luther started sermons for promoting the real message of religion. His mission was to shed light on the corrupt practices of the clergyman and church popes. He focused on rebuilding the church on the idea of Christianity defined by Christ. Responses of the public against church leader become visible in movements and their attempts to eliminate exploitation of power. Many studies stigmatize the racism faced by indigenous communities and the strategies adopted for coping with racial issues. He mentioned, “the pretensions of the Roman Catholic Church rest so completely upon the sacraments as the exclusive channels of grace and upon the prerogatives of the clergy, by whom the sacraments are exclusively administered” (Bainton, 1955, pp.137).
Luther criticized the unfair system and claimed that it deteriorated the poor and the common people. Role of self-fulfilling prophecies also remains visible in making people of no power feel inferior. The historical role of popes and clergyman also influenced the creation of an unfair system. The strong and powerful groups always tried to keep entitlements that also reflected non-religious attitudes. The exploitation of power is understood only through experiences. The ideology of Luther suggests that the negative role of a clergyman is the outcome of preconceived beliefs even if they don’t exist in real life. Responses to corruption are more helpful in understanding the concept of power division and its implications on society.
Luther had a necessary role in shaping the contemporary culture behaviours of the people towards religion and church. The discussions of Luther and his debates focused more on the jurisdiction of civil courts and its negative role. Contradictory views appear regarding the prevalence of courts, however, it exists at individual levels, institutional and organizational levels. This reflects the involvement of Luther in socio-political aspects. In the historical context, selling indulgences and was a justification for against violence and wealth appropriation that allowed clergyman to justify their injustices against the common people. Luther claimed, “in as much as this means of grace is administered exclusively by their hands, they occupy a unique place within the Church; and because the Church is the custodian of the body of Christ, she occupies a unique place in society” (Bainton, 1955, pp.138). His idea was to familiarize people with the real teachings of Christ. He claimed that the Bible doesn't give power for gaining wealth to the clergyman. This reflects his concerns for the commoners. His sermons constantly attacked the clergy and religious leaders with the mission of providing fair and just life to the people.
Luther was involved in the restoration of confidence and order. He explained that the reason for the collection of charity is to support the weaker. This reflects his idea of helping the deserving rather than the rich and powerful. Luther's role is not limited to religion and church but he also provided insights in other aspects of life such as politics, order and courts. His central philosophy was that the purpose of the church is to work for the welfare and massive levels of improvements for the deserving and weak. He discouraged the exploitation of power and resources.
BIBLIOGRAPHY BAINTON, R. H. (1955). Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther. ABINGDON-COKESBURY PRESS.
Luther, Martin. "Disputation of Doctor Martin Luther on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences." Spaeth, Adolph, L.D. Reed, and Henry Eyster Jacobs. Vol. 1. A. J. Holman Company, 1915. 29-38.
Locklair, David H. "THE 95 THESES: DAWN OF THE REFORMATION." (2017).
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