Nevertheless I do believe that a psychological explanation is possible. Luther, as I have tried to show, was an extremely self-centred man, obsessed by the idea of being inspired by Heaven. While he was fighting for his own ideas, he preached that it was unchristian to restrain him; he demanded absolute and complete liberty of thought and word, action, and deed. But once he had been successful, he believed himself to be the one and only authority on all matters of faith and religionand woe to those who dared to argue with him! It is then that he called the secular power to his assistance, that he gave rights and tasks, absolute authority and dictatorial powers to the princes such as they had never known before.
In the Reformer's own times, the results of his teaching were tragic. All his counsels were, of course, of such a nature that they provoked the people to an unchristian persecution of their Jewish citizens. It is typical that in towns like Strasbourg, Lutheran in religion but French and Latin in culture and tradition, the magistrates decided to prohibit Luther's antisemitic pamphlets being printed in the city.
Old Tibet was much more like Europe during the religious wars of the Counterreformation.” In the thirteenth century, Emperor Kublai Khan created the first Grand Lama, who was to preside over all the other lamas as might a pope over his bishops.
Many religious persons, including many scientists, hold that God created the universe and the various processes driving physical and biological evolution and that these processes then resulted in the creation of galaxies, our solar system, and life on Earth. This belief, which sometimes is termed "theistic evolution," is not in disagreement with scientific explanations of evolution. Indeed, it reflects the remarkable and inspiring character of the physical universe revealed by cosmology, paleontology, molecular biology, and many other scientific disciplines.
In the words of one of their traditional prayers: “Praise to you, violent god of the Yellow Hat teachings/who reduces to particles of dust/ great beings, high officials and ordinary people/ who pollute and corrupt the Gelug doctrine.” An eighteenth-century memoir of a Tibetan general depicts sectarian strife among Buddhists that is as brutal and bloody as any religious conflict might be.
Many attempts have been made to explain the exaggerated, destructive nationalism of the Germans and the Nazis. Again, I think that to a great extent Martin Luther is at the bottom of it. Not only was he the first true nationalist of this kind of modern times, but through him German nationalism was preached to the people, a new religion was founded, a German god created. Here is one of the main distinctionsalready mentioned abovebetween the evil results of Luther's teachings and the democratic consequences of reformers such as Calvin.
Surely here was a movement which the Luther of 1520, the traditional Luther, should have welcomed and hailed. But in 1535 Luther was at the peak of his power and tolerated no other belief, no other religion, no other leadership, but his own. So he recommended the same treatment for the Anabaptists as he had previously urged should be applied to the peasants. The principal thing, he said, required to protect the people against the devils who were teaching through the mouths of the Anabaptist prophets was in the case of the common people compulsion by the sword and by the law . . . the law with its penalties rules over them in the same way that wild beasts are held in check by chains and bars, in order that outward peace may prevail amongst the people; for this purpose the temporal authorities are ordained and it is God's will that they be honoured and feared.
If we look at Luther until just before the Peasants' War, i.e.1525, then it might be true to say, as so many of his biographers have done, that The roots of religious freedom are to be found in Lutheranism. Luther repelled the use of violence in religion; he protested against propagating reforms by persecution, and with a wise moderation he maintained the sublime doctrine of freedom of conscience.
Another typical comment is that Luther's lack of system is nowhere more apparent than in his views concerning the authorities and their duty towards religion. The attempt to sum up in a logical system the ideas which he expressed on this subject under varying circumstances and at different times, and to bring these ideas into harmony with his practice will ever prove a failure. It will never be possible to set aside the contradictions of his theory, and between his theory and his practice.
The later Luther is so often ignored. The change which took place once he had achieved his aim, once he was a national hero, a dictator of morals, politics, and religion, is rarely taken into account. And yet it is the later Luther who had (anyhow in my interpretation) so much greater an influence on Germany than the young rebellious monk.
Those who do not fully understand the history of German thought have often wondered what a strange coincidence it is that in Frederick, miscalled the Great, Bismarck (the Ems Dispatch!), William II, Hitler, and many others there has always been that love of lying, that double-dealing, that lack of truth and honesty. They have rarely thought that it might be part of a German religion, preached by the lying monk of Wittenberg for the first time over four centuries ago, supplanting Christian ethics, and putting German religious ideas in its place. We consider everything allowable against the deception and depravity of the Papal antichrist. I have quoted earlier. Replace the phrase Papal antichrist with whomever Germany happens to consider at a given moment her mortal enemyand there is left nothing mysterious about German ethics. It all becomes clear, clear if we do not look at the isolated facts but at the underlying spiritual forces which are found first of all in Martin Luther.
I have quoted chiefly Luther's own words, and have shown his character as I believe it was. To my mind this is the infinite tragedy of Luther and Germany, that he himself believed in his manias, in his mission from God, in his replacing Christand that his countrymen believed it, too. Who will ever decide whether a country produces her outstanding men, or whether these outstanding men have a revolutionary influence on their country? In Luther's case probably both are true. Nowhere else but in Germany, which was not yet as civilised as the Latin countries, could a man like Luther have been born and bred. And nowhere else could a man like Lutherhysterical, irrational, irreligioushave been followed by the whole nation for centuries. A nation which found it easy to accept a character like Luther as Christ, could not find it difficult to accept a man like Hitler as Messiah.