Monday, December 26, 2011

How to Create a Martin Luther Myth

Here's how to start your own Martin Luther myth. I recently read the following statements from Martin Luther and decided to beat my Roman Catholic friends to the punch.

Writing to his friend Nicolaus von Amsdorf, Luther stated:
"If you would like to refer the matter back to me, considering me as a pope (as I consider you a bishop- may God not be blamed for our great honors!), then you must consider that quite often the bishops have been more erudite and pious than the popes" [WA 38:330-331].


"For myself, I, who permit myself to be named a pope (as indeed I am)" [WA 38:331-333]
After posting these snippets (or perhaps before) declare something like, Luther thought he was a hyper-infallible super pope or some such inflammatory statement. The more shocking, the better. Never make any indication that Luther's contexts dictate the meaning of the sentences, or that Luther's polemical treatises are filled with strong hyperbole. This sort of admission is not at all helpful in spreading propaganda. Rather, describe Luther's words as examples of sadly self-deluded, megalomaniacal language or some other psycho-pleniloquence. If you're somewhat ecumenical, throw in something like Luther was sincere, but deluded.

Now in making a myth, this next part is crucial. If possible, use a secondary source rather than a primary source. This will often insulate your myth from direct exposure.  It's best to give no references. If you'd like to give off the appearance that you've done in-depth research, provide references that most people would have no idea what's being referred to. In the above example, I've used references to "WA". The typical person (say over on the Catholic Answers forums) would have no idea if WA stood for "Walla Walla" or Weimar. If they did get "Weimar" it would depend on their Google-smarts if the actual source could be either named or located. If either occurs, you're still safe because most of the folks I've run into can't read German or Latin. You're also fairly safe if they attempt to Google search the context for this quote in English. It's been my experience that a great majority of people don't care enough to actually look up references anyway. But every so often some pharisee-pest will come along looking to quibble about references and contexts. The more obscure you can make something, the better.

There you have it, a tidbit of propaganda is born. Simply begin posting the material on either your blog or a popular discussion board. Watch the quote travel recklessly through cyber-space!

6 comments:

Pilgrimsarbour said...

James,

You seem to presume malevolence on the part of the folks at CA.

I, on the other hand, tend to view it more as laziness or sloppiness and ignorance on their part, but mostly ignorance.

Your presumption may be correct, however, if it is never challenged by anyone else on their side of the aisle there; that is, it may start out as ignorance and morph into a conspiracy to defend the Roman faith at all costs afterward.

--PA

James Swan said...

You seem to presume malevolence on the part of the folks at CA.

Hmm, That may be true of the way I feel personally based on a number of CA folks I've either read or interacted with over the years. But, it certainly isn't true of what's written in this blog entry. In the context of what I've written in this post, I state,

In the above example, I've used references to "WA". The typical person (say over on the Catholic Answers forums) would have no idea if WA stood for "Walla Walla" or Weimar. If they did get "Weimar" it would depend on their Google-smarts if the actual source could be either named or located. If either occurs, you're still safe because most of the folks I've run into can't read German or Latin.

Note I was speaking about someone on the CA forums actually being able (or caring enough) to look up my obscure quote. So, in fact, I would then agree with you when you state:

I, on the other hand, tend to view it more as laziness or sloppiness and ignorance on their part, but mostly ignorance.

Ricardo N. said...

I´m so tired of religious apologists... Since I convert to Christianity, reading "Mere Christianity" by C. S. Lewis, the "Confessions" by Augustine and, of course, the Bible, I´v been changing my mind from one denomination to another. Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Lutheranism, and now I´m exploring Calvinism... I really don´t believe anymore in any infallible authority beyond Scripture, but also don´t feel confortable with protestant interpretation of Bible and tradition... Apologistis always have arguments for everything... Is there anyone in this situation?

Sorry about my english. I´m from Brazil (I was discussing in some post in this blog, but I forgot what was the post).

James Swan said...

I really don´t believe anymore in any infallible authority beyond Scripture, but also don´t feel confortable with protestant interpretation of Bible and tradition... Apologistis always have arguments for everything... Is there anyone in this situation?

Hi Ricardo,

I think you should slow down a bit. Concentrate on reading Scripture, and let it take root in your heart. The words of this or that apologist will pass away, but God's word will endure forever.

Before you stop reading "Protestant interpretation of the Bible and Tradition", try reading the Heidelberg Catechism. For instance, here is the very first Question and Answer:


1. Pregunta: ¿Cuál es tu único consuelo tanto en la vida como en la muerte?
Respuesta: Que yo, con cuerpo y alma, tanto en la vida como en la muerte (a), no me pertenezco a mí mismo (b), sino a mi fiel Salvador Jesucristo (c), que me libró del poder del diablo (d), satisfaciendo enteramente con preciosa sangre por todos mis pecados (e), y me guarda de tal manera (f) que sin la voluntad de mi Padre celestial ni un solo cabello de mi cabeza puede caer (g) antes es necesario que todas las cosas sirvan para mi salvación (h). Por eso también me asegura, por su Espíritu Santo, la vida eterna (i) y me hace pronto y aparejado para vivir en adelante según su santa voluntad.
a. Rom.14:8.- b. 1 Cor. 6:19.- c. 1 Cor. 3:23; Tito 2:14.- d. Hebr. 2:14; 1 Juan 3:8; Juan 8:34, 35, 36.- e. 1 Pedro 1:18, 19; 1 Juan 2:22, 12.- f. Juan 6:39 ; Juan 10:28; 2 Tes.3:3;1. Pedro 1:5.- g. Mateo 10:30; Luc. 21:18.- h. Rom.8:28.- i.- 2 Cor.1:22; 2 Cor. 5:5, Efes. 1:14; Rom.8:16.- j. Rom. 8:14; 1 Juan 3:3.-

PeaceByJesus said...

As often, i am posting a bit late, and came across something that does not exactly deal with what your post is about, but i thought you would like this: How Luther went viral

Five centuries before Facebook and the Arab spring, social media helped bring about the Reformation

I also think it a paradox that the printing press that God enabled in His timing to print Bibles, was also used to print indulgences, or so i think i read.

James Swan said...

PBJ, thanks for the link, I'm listening to it now.

I'll probably post it on the blog.