He was a hired geek. Priests of his day were part of the privileged few allowed to read and study the Bible, which was only in Latin. Martin Luther was surprised by what he read there. He found that God asked for our faith, not our money or elaborate rituals. Luther knew he had to challenge his fellow theologians. And he had to spread the truth among the common people, that what they'd been taught was wrong.
So he went to the social media platform of his day: the church door, where notices were tacked. He'd made a list of 95 points, or theses, a structured argument against the church's practice of indulgences. These were fees paid to priests, and the claim was that these would buy your deceased loved one's way out of purgatory and into heaven. People were buying false hope from the only ones with the knowledge to give them the real thing. So Luther began translating the Scriptures into common German, and teaching his seminary students the truths he'd found. Within four years, these acts led to his excommunication by the church and an order for his arrest from the state. At his secular trial he was asked to renounce parts of his writings, and his famous reply was:
I cannot and will not recant anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience.
Supporters helped him disappear and Luther went on to get married, have a family, and translate more Scriptures. He died following a stroke, 29 years after his revolutionary post. Luther posted his 95 Thesis on October 31, 1517, and the Protestant Reformation had its start. So today is a holiday on the church calendar. It's Reformation Day. If you haven't seen the 2003 film Luther, that would be a good way to celebrate. It's funny and well done
Who are your favorite revolutionary geeks? .