Saturday, March 28, 2009

Luther on Faith and Reason


PZ Myers posted this image of an actual church sign photographed in Arkansas. The quote is from Martin Luther -- its presence in books being the only convincing exlanation of the absence of any spelling or usage errors.

It comes from Luther's Table-Talk, a collection of venemous, longwinded, unhinged rants on a variety of subjects. The particular passage served as a prop* to Luther's view that unbaptised children go straight to eternal hellfire if they die:

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.
It's also worth pausing, albeit only briefly, over what this Father of the Reformation and Enemy of Reason had to say about Jews and women, among others. But I do recommend keeping it brief, as it's really not worth the effort.

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* Don't mistake it for reason! Reason is icky!

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