Lutherans aren’t the only ones celebrating the 500th anniversary of Luther’s posting of the 95 theses. Nor are Protestants or other Christians. Luther had a monumental impact on Western Civilization, so even the secularists are taking the opportunity to study Luther’s cultural contributions, from his impact on universal education to his pioneering use of information technology (the printing press).
Time Magazine has published an article reprinted from History Today by scholar Frank Furedi entitled How Martin Luther Helped Invent Individual Freedom.
Furedi argues that when Luther stood up against Pope and Emperor at the Diet of Wurms, making his stand on his individual conscience, he, in effect, invented personal freedom. His rejection of temporal and ecclesiastical authority would lead, Furedi says, to the undermining of all authority. Including, eventually, to the authority of God.
Read Furedi’s argument, quoted and linked after the jump. After which, I will explain what is wrong with what he says, while acknowledging that Luther did play an important role in the rise of freedom.