Luther on Reason

Why is it that Luther was so against reason, even calling it an enemy of faith? Doesn’t it seem extremely silly? An atheist pulled this up on me trying to show me how dumb and narrow minded so many of us christians are :rolleyes: If only I had known that this was Luther’s saying I would have defintely said something. I simply refuted it with St. Thomas Aquinas’s philosophy of faith AND reason.

Actually no, since you have no quote here and you have no source, I can only guess what you may or may not be referring to. But I am going to go with this. In The Small Catechism, on the third article of the Apostles Creed, Luther starts his explanation: “I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him”. If we apply strict reasoning to anything having to do with faith, they will always be at odds. I think Pascal put it best when he said. “La coeur a ses raisons que la raison ne connait pas.”

Since I don’t know French…something about raisins being dead grapes? :smiley:

Reason is the Devil’s greatest whore; by nature and manner of being she is a noxious whore; she is a prostitute, the Devil’s appointed whore; whore eaten by scab and leprosy who ought to be trodden under foot and destroyed, she and her wisdom … Throw dung in her face to make her ugly. She is and she ought to be drowned in baptism… She would deserve, the wretch, to be banished to the filthiest place in the house, to the closets."
Martin Luther, Erlangen Edition v. 16, pp. 142-148

There is on earth among all dangers no more dangerous thing than a richly endowed and adroit reason… Reason must be deluded, blinded, and destroyed.
Martin Luther, quoted by Walter Kaufmann, The Faith of a Heretic, (Garden City, NY, Doubleday, 1963), p. 7

We know, on the authority of Moses, that longer than six thousand years the world did not exist.
Martin Luther, “Lectures on Genesis”

Well I don’t disagree with you and neither does the Church I suppose. Reason alone cannot suffice but it is a great step. Notice the striking difference between Luther and the Church.

35 Man’s faculties make him capable of coming to a knowledge of the existence of a personal God. But for man to be able to enter into real intimacy with him, God willed both to reveal himself to man and to give him the grace of being able to welcome this revelation in faith. The proofs of God’s existence, however, can predispose one to faith and help one to see that faith is not opposed to reason.

36 "Our holy mother, the Church, holds and teaches that God, the first principle and last end of all things, can be known with certainty from the created world by the natural light of human reason."11 Without this capacity, man would not be able to welcome God’s revelation. Man has this capacity because he is created “in the image of God”.12

37 In the historical conditions in which he finds himself, however, man experiences many difficulties in coming to know God by the light of reason alone:

Though human reason is, strictly speaking, truly capable by its own natural power and light of attaining to a true and certain knowledge of the one personal God, who watches over and controls the world by his providence, and of the natural law written in our hearts by the Creator; yet there are many obstacles which prevent reason from the effective and fruitful use of this inborn faculty. For the truths that concern the relations between God and man wholly transcend the visible order of things, and, if they are translated into human action and influence it, they call for self-surrender and abnegation. The human mind, in its turn, is hampered in the attaining of such truths, not only by the impact of the senses and the imagination, but also by disordered appetites which are the consequences of original sin. So it happens that men in such matters easily persuade themselves that what they would not like to be true is false or at least doubtful.

38 This is why man stands in need of being enlightened by God’s revelation, not only about those things that exceed his understanding, but also “about those religious and moral truths which of themselves are not beyond the grasp of human reason, so that even in the present condition of the human race, they can be known by all men with ease, with firm certainty and with no admixture of error”

39 In defending the ability of human reason to know God, the Church is expressing her confidence in the possibility of speaking about him to all men and with all men, and therefore of dialogue with other religions, with philosophy and science, as well as with unbelievers and atheists.

“The Faith of a Heretic” sounds like a good, objective, unbiased source! :rolleyes::stuck_out_tongue:

Yes the French you see have an aversion to raisins.

I always heard that they have an aversion to AMERICANS! :p:(

Wow, Faith of Heretic, I suppose that was an unbiased look at the writings and sermons of Martin Luther.

And in all those quotes that you pulled from CCC, Luther’s teachings on reason do not disagree. Just because man in his infinite wisdom may come by reason that a God/Creator exists and that this reason can lead to some kind of personal relationship, that does not follow that reason is going to lead you down the garden path to a cross that asks you to believe things that are contrary to reason of the natural world and to your natural instincts as a human being and your ego. I think reason is a whore when it comes to Jesus Christ. There is nothing that Christ teaches us that is reasonable from the stand point of my natural reason that starts with me as the center.

This is disturbing and uncharitable and totally unnecessary. Whether Catholics like Luther or not, the man holds a sentimental and affectionate place in the hearts of Lutherans for his contributions to their spirituality. Calling him a nutjob would be just as hurtful as a Lutheran calling St. Thomas Aquinas a “wacko” or Pope John Paul II something cruel. Just stick to the facts and debate without the low-blow personal attacks and character assassination attempts.

I can’t remember when I saw this much pure hatred toward Luther on this board? It’s odd.

Luther is quoted on several sites as well although I could not find his actual sermons or writings since the originals are probably in German. I did find other sources mostly atheist basher sites and even a quote site like brainy quote that has Luther’s quotes on reason. If you don’t like my sources fine but either way it doesn’t change Luther’s opposition towards reason. There is no bias there. Don’t you think this is a red flag? We are to use reason…it is not a bad thing. The CCC never said reason would lead to Christ…you need to reread it again it clearly says faith is needed. Luther seems to be against reason and that would mean he does disagree.

And sorry if I came off meaning that Luther was an actual nut job…I meant it looks very polar when you compare the statements so please don’t go off on a charity, peace and love rant.

God gave us reason. We should use it…

Dispense with the psychological profiles and remain on topic.

To me Jesus said it best. Keep his commandments and you will know the truth. If we do something Jesus will do the rest. I firmly believe that our thoughts are not our own. We have two types of thought. Dark and Light. We should blot out dark thoughts and open up to thoughts of the light. We must DO one or the other. Try not thinking. It’s hard. Prayer is great. God bless:thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:

I agree, God gave us reason, but we should use it sparingly. How can you look at a holy mystery such as the Eucharist and say oh that is completely reasonable.

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