Martin Luther and the Renaissance RelationshipJune 27, 2021
The late humanist is the German priest and theologian Luther (1483-1546), who is generally regarded as the representative of Christian humanism.
He was born into a peasant German family. He studied law, but due to some events, he chose to become a priest. The idea that the Christian religion needed a fundamental reform came to life in Luther’s revolutionary initiative, thus, a new denomination within the Christian religion emerged: Protestantism. The extension of Protestantism in France became Calvinism, led by Calvin. Philosophically he was greatly influenced by William of Ockham. Ockham took a strictly empirical, somewhat skeptical view of knowledge. He argues: “From the fact that one thing is known to exist, it cannot be inferred that another thing exists. To say that some things are caused by other things constitutes no evidence for saying that God is the cause of the natural order” (Stumpf, 1994: 209). Ockham deduced from this not that we know anything about God, but that an unsupported mind cannot discover God.
Knowledge of God, then, is a gift of grace and can be guaranteed by an act of faith. Luther St. Finding effective support for this view in the writings of Augustine, he sought to build his theological approach on this basis. He found another important support for the importance of faith in the writings of Augustine: the wickedness of man’s inherent sinfulness came not from his ignorance or undeveloped mind, but from the moonlight of his will; Therefore, it is faith, not reason, that can overcome this dire state. What is impossible for the mind can be fit for faith. For him, the difficulty of reason is that it is a faculty of limited humanity, which tends to reduce everything to its own limited perspective. This is especially true when the natural mind seeks to understand nature and the capacities of God. Here, when the human mind tries to calculate what God is and what he can do, it tends to limit God. Thus, Luther drew attention to the intellectual difficulties in understanding God and included the necessity of faith on the path to God. In the religious reform attempt, he continued his struggle by taking strength from the thesis of faith against reason.
Luther saw the mind as a limited ability of a limited person, and he thought that trying to grasp God with the mind would limit him, so faith came before reason.
The Lutheran version of Christian life, then, was meant both to challenge the medieval system of scholastic theology and not to favor the optimistic view that individual and social competence could be gained by doing what the clergy said. According to Luther, one thing is necessary for righteousness, freedom, and Christian life; It is the Gospel of Jesus. Apart from this, none of the other stereotypes that the church wants or enforces have any value: From this point of view, it will be enough to freely turn to God and live by faith alone. Instead of the many religious ceremonies of the Catholic Church, it will be sufficient for a person to believe that he will be saved first and to believe in God by continuing this belief. With these views, Luther neutralized the clergy, in other words, the church organization, which mediated between God and the servant. His political thoughts also paralleled these theological views.
According to Luther, it is enough to freely turn to God and live by faith in God. For this, there is no need for church institutions and stereotypes enforced by the church.
According to Luther, government is God’s will; therefore, the functions of the state can be considered for the purpose of maintaining peace: The rebelliousness caused by the sinful nature of man necessitated a strong ruler. God has made humans subject to authority by nature. What corresponds to faith in political life is therefore submission to authority, that is, an act of obedience. The individual must obey the ruler no matter what order he is given: for his orders are for the maintenance of peace and order. If the power of the ruler is insufficient, the centralization of the people can lead to anarchy and thus the world can be plunged into chaos. Actually, life in this world is not the most important thing. The important thing is the salvation of the soul. In other words, it is to attain peace and happiness in the next world. No matter what a ruler does, he cannot harm the soul, only the body and property. Suffering does not wear out the soul, on the contrary, it develops it. But if a ruler harms the body and property, he must of course be resisted and dealt with. As can be seen, Luther included a theological basis in his political views in order to justify the earthly ruler and his laws. In this respect, St. Thomas, on the other hand, made the following observation. “If a positive law made by a ruler is contrary to natural laws, then this law must be repealed. For he does not need to be obeyed.” Here it is thought that the foundations of the natural law are in God.