Tag Archives: Religion-philosophy

Dr. Martin Luther: Persuader–and Not Simply a Humble German Monk

Filmed in Wiesbaden, West Germany, this month’s movie, Martin Luther (Pichel, 1953), received Oscar nominations in 1954 for Best Cinematography, Black and White, and Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Black and White.

As one of the producers of this movie, the Lutheran Church in America’s presence suggests a protestant bias, although we expect an unbiased historical accounting from its statement as part of the credits at the beginning of the movie,

This dramatization of a decisive moment in human history is the result of careful research of facts and conditions in the 16th century as reported by historians of many faiths.

Martin Luther, Augustinian priest
Dr. Martin Luther, Augustinian Priest

Often described as “a humble German monk,” Dr. Martin Luther (1483 – 1546) was also a gifted scholar, having attained the highest level of university education. He served as Professor of Theology at the University of Wittenberg for his entire career, and as a Catholic Augustinian Priest until his excommunication by Pope Leo X in 1521. Continue reading Dr. Martin Luther: Persuader–and Not Simply a Humble German Monk

Luther’s Social Media: Essential to Reformation

On what I imagine to be a breezy autumn day in the year 1517 in the quaint town of Wittenberg, Germany, Martin Luther walked up to a chapel with a hammer, some nails and placards. Once he had posted the “95 Theses” for all to see, he surely pondered the consequences of his boldness as he walked back home. Settling in at his humble abode, he must have felt increasing confidence for he proceeded to write more papers to express his beliefs that the Catholic church was corrupt.

Meanwhile,  Luther may have gone about his daily life with no inkling that his criticism of the church was creating such a buzz that, within a matter of weeks, his message would roar into each village, town, and city in Christian Europe. Considering that this was the 16th century, the speed at which Luther’s message spread is no less astounding than the instantaneous sending and receiving of text messages today. Continue reading Luther’s Social Media: Essential to Reformation

Not Everyone is Celebrating the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation

In the Year of Our Lord 1517, Dr. Martin Luther hammered a note, popularly called “The 95 Theses,” on the door of a chapel in Wittenberg, Germany. He might as well have taken that hammer and shattered the earth for the effect that this paper, which Luther entitled “Disputation on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences,” had on mankind. So great was the aftershock of this event that its ripples reach us five centuries later, and will likely continue to impact future generations for as long as humans exist.

St. Peter's Basilica in Rome
St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome

This event was a metaphoric earthquake waiting to happen. From medieval times (5th-15th century), the formidable Catholic Church dominated Europe and by Luther’s time (1483-1546) was steeped in corruption, which included the selling of indulgences to absolve parishioner’s sins. Rome’s magnificent St. Peter’s Basilica was built on funds raised from such practices (Justice, 2011). Continue reading Not Everyone is Celebrating the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation

How the Church of Scientology Appeals to Otherwise-Sane People and Why They Stay

A cult organization proclaimed tax-exempt in the US in 1993 (Levathan, 1993, May 15), the Church of Scientology appeals to  people for any number of possible reasons, but I’ll name two. Its main appeal may be that it promises ultimate truth that will conform one into a supreme being. Second, the Church of Scientology demands a significant amount of time and money.

That second reason may also be part of why members stay. In some cases, it’s also because Scientology owns their secrets.

Scientologists Possess Ultimate Truth

Scientology members believe that they can possess the “ultimate truth,” thus become godlike, in control of their lives, and “have it made.” According to the documentary film, Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief (Gibney, 2015), this idea is offered to members through the structures of “The Bridge,” a hierarchy of eight levels, where at each level a member strives towards the next for the sake of rising in prestige and becoming more godlike. Thus the various principles of Scientology are revealed piecemeal to members as they reach one level and move on to the next. Continue reading How the Church of Scientology Appeals to Otherwise-Sane People and Why They Stay

A Man for All Seasons: Brief Notes

Summary

The story of Thomas More, who stood up to King Henry VIII when the King rejected the Roman Catholic Church to obtain a divorce and remarriage.—IMDb, A Man for All Seasons (1966).

Title: A Man for All Seasons
Director: Fred Zinnemann
Date of Release: 1966
Awards: Six Oscars in 1967, four Golden Globes, and multiple others
Cast:
  • Paul Scofield as Thomas More
  • Robert Shaw as Henry VIII
  • Orson Welles as Cardinal Wolsey

READ the following notes to enhance the movie-watching experience:

Notes:
The movie takes place in 16th-century England and focuses on the last seven years of Sir Thomas More’s life.
Director Fred Zinnemann spotlights the River Thames for its consistent presence in English history. In the movie, the river is the go-between Henry VIII’s Castle and Sir Thomas More’s residence.
Zinnemann struggled with how to portray an ideological disagreement in a movie, a big challenge for any director. He relied on accomplished and talented actors to achieve success. He chose not to indulge in pyrotechnics (special effects, visual fireworks, etc.).
Knowledge of this period in English history helps to understand the lengthy discourses in the movie. If one is not familiar with King Henry VIII in 1500’s England, quick research beforehand is highly recommended. Good Source: Wikipedia (Henry VIII of England, 2017, Nov 01).
Sir Thomas More is considered by many the greatest Englishman of the era—a man who would not compromise his principles under any circumstances (Thomas More, 2017, Nov 2). It has been said that men (or women) like Sir Thomas More come around only once in a century. Another example is Mahatma Gandhi.

REFERENCES

A Man for All Seasons (1966). (2017). In IMDb. Retrieved from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0060665/

Jokinen, A. (Ed.). (2009, Jul 7). Excerpt from Sir Thomas More: A Man for One Season by James Wood. Retrieved from http://www.luminarium.org/renlit/wood.htm

Henry VIII of England. (2017, Nov 1). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Henry_VIII_of_England&oldid=808206654

Thomas More. (2017, Nov 2). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Thomas_More&oldid=808418641