Martin Luther. How Right Could He Have Been?

In writing about the Moslem threat to Europe in the 1500s, Martin Luther was torn between looking at them as God’s rightful punishment of sinful Christians or as enemies that should be stopped. Amazingly, it actually took him awhile to decide what should be done. At first, he made the amazing assertion that they were no different from other Christians: “We must fight on all fronts against the ranks of the devil. In this age of ours how many varied enemies have we already seen? Papist defenders of idolatry, the Jews, the multifarious monstrosities of the Anabaptists, Servetus, and others. Let us now prepare ourselves against Muhammad.”

Of Charles V’s efforts against the Turks, he went so far as to say, if the emperor’s task were really “to destroy unbelievers and non-Christians, he would have to begin with the pope, bishops, and clergy, and perhaps not spare us or himself.”

His bizarre analysis, when it goes so far as to “not spare us or himself” is of questionable sanity, meaning that since none of us are perfect, we should all be murdered or sold into slavery. Luther is able to turn a blind eye to the never-before-as-bloodied Mediterranean Sea. It was covered with Moslem galleys, mostly rowed by Christian slaves kidnapped from their homes in Europe. Their swift fleets had robbed, burned, pillaged, killed and sold into slavery countless millions of Christians. Moslems had destroyed, and were destroying Christian kingdoms from Armenia to Spain, and had not completely been expelled from it. It is not recorded that The Roman Catholic Church ever did anything but defend itself against Moslem aggression launching only a few Crusades that merely held them at bay for a couple of centuries.

When wanting to read about Luther on the Moslems, this link will give some basic “thoughts” of his on the subject.( Amazing that Lutherans (Boyce and Henrich are both Lutherans) would be the ones to let us know that Luther comes across as so inconsistent and incorrect that his analytical abilities are brought into serious question.

Studying his response, especially after having read about the Moslems’ endless, awful attacks on Europe, one is struck by one fact: It is possible to reasonably conclude that Luther, in seeing no moral difference between centuries of Moslems murdering countless millions of those who disagreed with them and “Papists” (who, at the time included such kindly, loving people at the Franciscans), was so wrong that he may not have been altogether sane on this issue. In fact, on this subject he’s so far off the rails that one wonders how, or if, he could have ever got back on the tracks at all. We may, in fact, look at later Lutherans as brave pioneers, bravely moving back to sanity.

(One may wish to consider, at least tentatively, the hypothesis that Luther was brought into theological prominence by a semi-confederation of petty German Kings and Princes whose theological preferences were based on monetary concerns. They wanted to stop the serious cash drains that impoverished their kingdoms during the period that indulgences were sold in order to finance the building of St. Peter’s in Rome. Attacking that money-raising technique on theological grounds would, if carried to the logical conclusion, get rid of, or weaken The Church, Who also interfered with political leaders in the selection of bishops. There were very powerful political interests who profited by putting Luther in charge of a “replacement church”, and it is to be doubted that they were without influence in beginning, financing, and establishing the necessary Protestant structures to increase their wealth and power.)

One must conclude that his irrationality in this area was not necessarily the result of brain damage, though that must be considered, but was caused by forcing his soul to live in such a vast, dark jungle of intellectual and historical errors that he was simply unable to see such basic differences as those between Popes, all of whom believed that we should love our neighbors, and Moslem tyrants, who, with equal fervor, believed that neighbors were there to be killed or enslaved.