Adventist Media Response and Conversation

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Martin Luther - Reason is a whore

One of the things that I really don't like to see is people taking a quote out of its context. Fortunately with the internet it is now possible to often quickly find the context to verify if the use of the quote is accurate to the way the quote is used.
Marco at HeavenlySanctuary.com writes;
Satanic statement of the day:
"Reason is the greatest enemy that faith has; it never comes to the aid of spiritual things, but - more frequently then not - struggles against The Divine Word, treating with contempt all that emanates from God."
Who said this?

The hint is in the title, but for the record, sometimes I think that instead of moving the church from The Dark Ages, The Reformation covertly gave The Dark Ages a nicer looking face.

The more I study it, the more I'm leary of being associated with "Reformation Theology."
Comments?
Marco here assumes that Martin Luther is attacking the concept of reason. However Luther is defending his position on the correctness of the Roman Catholic belief in infant Baptism.
LUTHER'S TABLE-TALK OF BAPTISM CCCLIII.
The anabaptists pretend that children, not as yet having reason, ought not to receive baptism. I answer: That reason in no way contributes to faith. Nay, in that children are destitute of reason, they are all the more fit and proper recipients of baptism. For 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, treating with contempt all that emanates from God. If God can communicate the Holy Ghost to grown persons, he can, a fortiori, communicate it to young children. Faith comes of the Word of God, when this is heard; little children hear that Word when they receive baptism, and therewith they receive also faith.
I would not have wanted to get involved with Luther and his arguments. He was in fact quite brutal particularly those who were more conservative then he. However wrong he is on infant baptism and his predestination views it is not appropriate to call such a quote satanic. His material about the Jews, and his denouncement of other Christians such as Zwingli, those things are more substantially evil. However all of us say evil things.

Another quote attributed to Martin Luther is the following:

"Reason is a whore, the greatest enemy that faith has."

I never really found the source of that quote many places quote it with out reference. The only one that gave a reference gave the quote as:
"Reason is a whore of the devil." But it only gave abbreviations of the source and I could not find the title of the abbreviation used.(WE 51, 126, 7 ff.; comp. 10 I, 1, 326, 16; 18, 164 , 24. 182, 11)

I actually like those alleged quotes however. As one person said of this quote:

"There's a method to his madness here, as always: reason is only as good as its premises or assumptions, and, like rhetoric, reason will sell its service to any set of premises."

As I planned to post this a couple days ago the folks at HS.com have been discussing the quote and as yet none have figured out the context but some are questioning the context. Maybe they will stumble upon the meaning before they lose interest. In any case the idea of questioning the Reformation is wise because though it did many good things it also failed in many things. I should not be looked at as the standard for Christian theology. It was a re-awakening and the reformation to really serve it's purpose must continually re-awaken.



3 comments:

Dave J. Escobar said...

Do you mind if I use this posting on my website (with appropriate citations)? I rather enjoyed it.

Ron Corson said...

Go right ahead, I just wish I could remember the guy who I quoted responding to the Reason is a whore. But I copied it and not the address.

Alexander said...

Hey Ron,

Good catch there. I get a little worried with quotes like that as well. Faith at essence is non-rational, but immediately requires careful reasoning and contextual awareness in becoming mature, or strange things happen. And wacky ideas emerge.

The almost "feidist" himself,
Kierkegaard writes in Fear and Trembling.

"But he who reached faith (it makes no difference whether he be a man of distinguished talents or a simple man) does not remain standing at faith, yea, he would be offended if anyone were to say this of him, just as the lover would be indignant if one said that he remained standing at love, for he would reply, 'I do not remain standing by any means, my whole life is in this.'"