Martin Luther Would not Like Today’s Evangelicals

It has to do with what is called “reason”.

When I read about who Luther was, the life he lived and his views on things, I see a person very much like the pastors and priests I am most admire.  They, like Luther, are intellectuals and are able to separate their own emotional feelings about religion from rational and reasoned thinking.  

Luther had studied philosophy.  He did not like it.  This is because he was more interested in the emotional attachment to religion,  to God, and knew that the study of philosophy seemed to get in the way.  He wrote that reason is not a path to God.  Reason was a tool in the field of philosophy, not in religion.

Today’s evangelicals are trying to compete in the realm of reason.  They are trying to make their arguments appear rational. They try to put them into play in debates where they do not belong.

One of the places they continue to try this is in the argument of evolution versus creationism.  For example, they are trying to relabel creationism with the term ”intelligent design.” They argue that the human eye is so complex the odds are against it being the product of evolution.  I’d like to be diplomatic about this but I cannot.  They are making  a rediculous argument. 

Evangelicals would do well to recognize the wisdom of Martin Luther.  They should simply admit that religion and reason are two different things.

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About Jon Lindgren

I am a former President of the Red River Freethinkers in Fargo, ND, a retired NDSU economics professor and was Mayor of Fargo for 16 years. There is more about me at Wikipedia.com.
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7 Responses to Martin Luther Would not Like Today’s Evangelicals

  1. Dan says:

    Religion requires faith. Therefore everyone is religious. You either have faith that there is a God or you have faith that there isn’t one. And both faiths continually try to prove the opposing faith wrong. And for sure, we’ll all find out which faith is correct someday.

    Reason means the application of logical principles to the available evidence. While the principles of logic/reason are certain, the conclusion that one obtains from them are only as certain as the underlying assumptions, which is why science is rarely, if ever, absolutely certain. This is how theorys are derived.

    Therefore, I have to disagree with your “theory” that, “Today’s evangelicals are trying to compete in the realm of reason.” I would propose that they compete in the realm of faith that suggests that there is a God.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Dan–Thanks for your comment. I have never seen nor heard an evangelical person say something like, “I know we are the result of intelligent design rather than evolution because I have faith that intelligent design is the correct explanation.” Instead, they say, “I know intelligent design is the correct explanation because there is ‘available evidence’ (using your term for reason)”. (The “evidence” being the complexity of, for example, the human eye.) That is why I maintain they are trying to compete in the realm of reason. On your statement that nobelievers have “faith” there is no god, you imply this is a statement of fact. I would respectfully suggest it is instead your opinion. A nonbeliever would say he does not see evidence that there is a God. I’ve never heard a nonbeliever say he has faith there is no God.

  2. Dan says:

    Thanks for the reply. In regards to your statement that a nonbeliever would say he does not see evidence that there is evicence of a God, who is interperter of the evidence. For example, if a court jury hears a case, some will interpert the evidence one way while others interpret it another. Both groups will formulate their decision based on the presented evidence. Some might conclude a crime was committed while others might conclude that there wasn’t one committed. If a believer of God suggests that the universe alone is evidence of God’s existence and a nonbeliver suggests that it is merely evidence of a big-bang…who’s evidence is more accurate? Would not faith play an important role in making a decision of which evidence is correct? Even more, what is evidence? How much evidence is required to deem something fact?

    Dan

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Dan–Thanks for your 2:43 comment. Who has the best “evidence”, and, are we biased by our faith or lack of it? Yes. Perhaps an interesting question, though it does not provide a final answer because could be biased in its own way, is this. Why does the percentage of atheists have a direct relationship with the number of years of education? That is, why are the largest % of atheists in the population of Ph. D.’s and the lowest in the least educated? Of course, one can argue that education introduces a bias, but it is the point of training in research to limit bias to the smallest degree possible. It seems like the computer is having the same impact on people’s thinking. People have access to more information, and as they do, they leave behind the faith of their parents. It’s all interesting stuff to think about.

  3. Brad Campbell says:

    Martin Luther was one of the individuals that changed the course of human history.

    I believe in evolution; there is too much evidence not to accept it. But I also believe God had his hand in the process of evolution.

    From a “pool” of various molecules in a pond to DNA and the complexities of life…..yes, there was divine guidance in that.

    Brad Campbell’s 2$

  4. David says:

    I always find it interesting that religious people so often argue that atheism is a faith or even a religion. A failure to accept the validity of another person’s faith does not require “faith”. Over the last seventy years my position has become that when asked the question “do you believe in God?” must be replied by the statement “I am sorry I do not understand the question. Please define your terms and I will be able to say yes or no.”

    Three comments in one afternoon (local time) is a record for me. But it is good to see a blog that does not descend to vulgar abuse.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      David (5:24) “I’m sorry I do not understand the question…” That’s not only brilliant, but accurate. What any of us mean by the word, “god”, “faith”, “spirituallity” or “creator” needs to be defined. There is a Christian blogger on AreaVoices who recently moved so effortlessly from quoting the Consitution’s use of the word “creator” to referring to it as “God”. He did not make the correct disclaimer that it is his opinion the Founding Fathers meant them to be the same. We can’t really say we know what they meant when they inserted the word “creator”. By defining these terms more carefully we call all show respect for each others views.

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