Does Science need God? John Lennox at University of Michigan – UMich professor of public policy, John Ciorciari, interviews Oxford professor of mathematics, John Lennox, on questions of science and faith at The Veritas Forum at the University of Michigan 2013. Published on Nov 25, 2013 Photo credit

VIDEO by The Veritas Forum

The First (1385) English Bible Translator – John Wycliffe’s Life – (Video)

„John Wycliffe” is a dramatic biography of the life of the 14th century scholar and cleric who translated the Bible into English for the first time. Wycliffe found himself in the middle of religious, political and social conflicts. An Oxford scholar, one of Europe’s most renowned philosophers, he was a defender of English nationalism against the power of the pope and a champion of the poor against the injustices of the rich. John Wycliffe taught that God’s forgiveness couldn’t be bought with indulgences. He preached that the only true authority is the Word of God, and the Word could only be understood by all if the people could read it in their native tongue. „John Wycliffe” captures the trials and heroic struggles of this significant man of faith – the „Morning Star” of the Reformation.

(DVD available at Amazon) Other video of interest – Martin Luther (English with Romanian subtitles)

You can read an in depth  biography on John Wycliffe here.

VIDEO by poftc

The Case against Scientism – leading scholars explore Lewis’s prophetic warnings about the abuse of science

„The new oligarchy must increasingly rely on the advice of scientists,

till in the end, the politicians become merely the scientists’ puppets”.

C. S. Lewis in „Willing Slaves of the Welfare State”.

More than a half century ago, famed writer C.S. Lewis warned about how science (a good thing) could be twisted in order to attack religion, undermine ethics, and limit human freedom. In this documentary „The Magician’s Twin: C.S. Lewis and the Case Against Scientism,” leading scholars explore Lewis’s prophetic warnings about the abuse of science and how Lewis’s concerns are increasingly relevant for us today.

Some quotes, followed by notes from the documentary video:

  • lewis holy trinity churchDuring the first half of the 20th century, 3 prophetic writers warned about the dark side of scientific and technological progress: (1) G K Chesterton, ‘Eugenics and other evils‘ (2) George Orwell, ‘1984‘ and (3) C S Lewis ‘Abolition of Man‘. Best known for his Narnia story and his books of Christian theology, C S Lewis also had an intense interest in the growing power of scientism- the efforts to use the methods of science to explain and control every part of human life.
  • Lewis was opposed to an ideology, which in his view had been confused with science. It was a particular materialistic approach which  wanted to reduce everything we could learn scientifically to materialistic causes- blind, undirected causes. (Angus Menuge PhD) Lewis thought that science was a perfectly legitimate enterprise. He never denied it, he in fact studied it quite a bit. (Victor Reppert Phd). Just like in all human disciplines, Lewis thought that science could be corrupted, and that some people could pursue science because they wanted power over the world and power over other people, in particular. (John G West PhD) What he saw was that you had to avoid those extremes, not in the employment of science, but in the popularization of science. (Michael Aeschliman PhD)
  • You could not afford to ignore the finding of science, the importance of scientific method, you had to see that it’s one of the greatest applications and developments of the rational method perse, a subset of the rational method. But, that it was very dangerous, and then in the 20th century we had had very malignant consequences to deify it. Scientific socialism is credibly a scientific version of politics. The Marxists called their system scientific socialism. Well, no one in their right mind, in 2012, will say that Marxism was scientific. No one in his right mind, but people did for 170 years.
  • Social Darwinist racial science in Nazi Germany. Enormous prestige was given to racialist views by their apparent clothing people such as Heckel and Münchner popularizing reductive scientific ideas with immense success. In many ways, more success in Germany than in England.
  • Lewis saw these developments: 2 World Wars, in one he served and was badly wounded, had roots in barbaric and hysterical scientistic ideas of abuses of the scientific method, abuses of scientific terminology and language, abuses of scientific faith. When warning about the abuse of science, Lewis made an unusual comparison. Although most people think of science as something modern, Lewis compared it to something ancient: MAGIC. Lewis thought that science and magic are twins. If you think about this, it might sound very strange. But Lewis was very perceptive here. In fact, he highlighted 3 different ways that science and magic really are quite similar.

(1) Science as religion.

Science has the ability to function as a religion. Certainly, a magical view of the world can give one a sense that there’s something more than just our every day lives. If you walk through a forest and think it’s enchanted it gives you a grand vision that there’s something out there that we don’t ordinarily experience.It can give you a sense of meaning. There’s a real reason why fantasy stories are so beloved… It gives people a sense of grandeur of the universe and something higher than ourselves. And in fact, for some people who aren’t religious, this magical view of the world can actually be more attractive, because it substitutes for that. In the same way, science can be an alternative religion. And during Lewis’s own time, there were people like H G Wells, who turned Darwins’ theory of evolution into this cosmic theory of life developing in this long struggle in the human universe, and then human life develops in this heroic character fighting against nature, and then, eventually, man evolves, and evolves himself through eugenics into a wave of demigods. This epic cosmic struggle of evolution was really an alternate religion for H G Wells, and you see that same thing today, whether it be Oxford biologist Richard Dawkins who says that „Darwin has made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist„. Or, in 2012, we had 10-20,000 people converge on Washington DC for this Reason Rally, where a lot of people testified that they really offer science as a religion. Today, you see a lot of people speaking in the name of science, who offer science as a quasi religion. It’s what gives their life meaning. Another area where we see this today is in the celebration of Darwin’s birthday. Hundreds of colleges, community organizations, if not thousands around the world, on Feb. 12th, every year, hold Darwin day celebrations. It really takes on the trappings of a religion.

(2) Science as credulity

A second way science and magic are similar, according to C S Lewis, is their encouragement of a lack of skepticism. Again, this may seem just completely outlandish, because science, how does that promote gullibility? How? It’s supposed to be just the hard facts. Now, in magic, you can think there’s a witch doctor and the tribe believes whatever the witch doctor says. And so, magical thinking can promote a type of credulous thinking where you just trust what the authority figure says. But, how does science promote that type of credulous and gullible thinking? Lewis pointed out that in the modern world, people will believe almost anything if it’s dressed up in the name of science.

For Lewis, one of the leading examples of science fueling gullibility was Freudianism. Lewis had an interest in Sigmund Freud since his days an Oxford undergraduate. Lewis was intrigued by some of the claims of psychoanalysis, but he ultimately rejected the efforts by Freud’s followers to explain everything from religion to stealing cars as a result of our subconscious urges. Lewis pointed out that if you actually take Freud’s view to its eventual conclusion, that actually undermines even the belief in Freudianism. Lewis’s point is: Where does this end? If you really think that all reasoning, fundamentally, is based on sub rational urges and that we can’t analyze those urges, and there isn’t real reason we can judge, based on evidence, and that we can’t be self critical, then that destroys Freudianism, just like it destroys everything else.

Shortly after Lewis accepted Christianity, he satirized Freud in his allegory ‘The Pilgrim’s Regress’. In Lewis’s story, the main character, John, winds up thrown in jail by a character named Sigismund enlightened. Sigismund was actually SIgmund Freud’s real first name, so this was very much a parody about Freud. But, what is this jail he is thrown into? Well, it’s a jail governed by this giant, and this giant has a particular propensity, that anything that he looks at becomes transparent. And so, when this pilgrim character is thrown into this dungeon, into this jail, it’s a jail of horrors because whenever he looks at someone , he doesn’t see them, he sees their insides, he sees through them. It’s like a house of horrors. And that was Lewis’s picture of where Freudianism leads you: If you try to deconstruct everything, you’re left with nothing

Another example of science inspired credulity, according to Lewis, was what he called evolutionism- the popular idea that matter could magically transform itself into complex and conscious living things, through a blind and unguided  process. Lewis’s doubts about unguided evolution went back to his days as a soldier in World War I. While recovering from shrapnel wounds, a young Lewis read the book ‘Creative Revolution’ by french natural philosopher Henri Bergson. Bergson questioned the ability of Darwin’s theory to account for complex structures, like the human eye, through a blind process like natural selection. Lewis believed that evolutionism, like Freudianism, contained a fatal self contradiction regarding the human mind, according to the Darwinian view. Reason was simply the unforeseen and unintended by-product of a mindless process based on survival of the fittest. Lewis pointed out the key difficulty with the Darwinian account of reason: „If my own mind is the product of the irrational,” he asked, „how shall I trust my mind when it tells me about evolution?” In his personal copy of Charles Darwin’s autobiography, Lewis underlined passages where Darwin had asked himself the same question. (16:00) The idea that a blind and purposeless process without a mind  can produce things like human beings that have minds, and produce moral beliefs in things that sometimes go against our need for physical survival, the idea that a mindless process of survival of the fittest could create such things, really was an outlandish one, according to Lewis. How could a mindless process produce minds? And, to think that it could really just shows how gullible people can be in the name of science.

(3) Science as power

The third similarity between science and magic, according to Lewis, is the quest for power. Magic was about the quest for power. Magicians wanted to have power over the world and over the universe. They wanted to harness the deeper powers of nature in order to control it, and Lewis said that much of modern science, not all, but much of modern science was actually developed fro power over the world. For many people in the 20th century, the power of modern science was its greatest virtue. They hoped science would usher in a new age of peace and prosperity- a scientific utopia. For the scientific utopians of Lewis’s era, science was the savior that would allow us to remake our world. And of course that can be good. Modern science can bring us good things. Many things: from the microwave oven to the computers, to life saving treatments of modern medicine, which Lewis certainly appreciated, But, on the other hand, that tendency to want to control things can bring us the Orwellian state of George Orwell’s 1984. And so, Lewis thought that modern science, in fact, was far more dangerous than magic, because magic failed. Magic doesn’t work at the end of the day. And so, it wasn’t so dangerous because people couldn’t use it to control the world. Modern science has the potential that you really can control  people, if you find the right drugs, or find the right treatments, you can manipulate them. And so, if you don’t have some other way of protecting to remedy what you do in the name of science, some ethical basis that isn’t dictated by science itself, that can control it, then you are facing a really bleak future.

1927 Supreme Court

Lewis’s critique of scientific utopianism was at the heart of his novel ‘That Hideous Strength’, which tells the story of a conspiracy to transform England into a Scientific dictatorship. The conspiracy is led by a government bureaucracy, with a deceptively innocuous name  of the National Institute of Coordinated Experiments or NICE. „That Hideous Strength’ and Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’ are the 2 greatest dystopias  in our language, in the 20th century. The agenda of NICE in ‘That Hideous Strength’ reads like a wish list drawn up by England’s leading scientific social reformers. It included sterilization of the unfit, selective breeding, biochemical conditioning, experimentation on both animals and criminals, and above all- truly scientific planning. A scientific planning that is pretending to provide a new humanity, that is doing away with traditional ethics, that is doing away with all traditional restraints. (United States 1927: Forced Sterilization Upheld. Supreme Court Rules: „Three generations of imbeciles are enough”. Alabama 1947: Blacks denied Penicillin as part of US Public Health Service study on effects of syphilis.) Lewis depicts a world in ‘That Hideous Strength’, in which nothing is sacred. Daniel Dennet has told us that the essence of modernity is that nothing is sacred.  Nothing is sacred, which includes the human person, and when that happens, there are no distinctions between individuals, or humans and animals, or humans and vegetables, and humans and minerals and we have the kind of things we had in the 20th century.

In the 2 decades before his death, Lewis became increasingly alarmed by the scientific authoritarianism. Lewis was very concerned by the dogmatic use of science, and that is why he wrote his novel ‘That Hideous Strength’, that is why he wrote his book ‘The Abolition of Man’, where he actually worries and somewhat predicts the rise of a new class of people, of experts, speaking in the name of science, who would dictate to everyone else. In fact, by the end of his life, Lewis was worrying about the rise of what he called scientocracy- government and society that claim to be based on the claims of modern science, but, in reality really is based on a scientific click of a few people who are speaking in the name of science. And maybe they’re adopting the majority view of science, but, they’re claiming the right to rule based on their scientific knowledge and expertise.

barcode at birthLewis’s concern for the authoritarian science seems eerily prophetic. (See photos of actual headlines form newspapers at the 23rd minute) In a world driven by science and technology, those who question the new order, like C S Lewis did, increasingly find themselves labeled anti-science. C S Lewis would have rejected the charge. Lewis did not accept the idea that science was a special form of knowledge, that was somehow immune to inspection, or somehow cordoned off from the nonspecialist assessing the deliverance of the sciences. Lewis was well aware, first of all, that there is no such thing as science, as such. There are sciences. And each science has its particular methods, and its particular area of study, and also, that the sciences to be good need to interact with one another, but they do so by means of the larger tools of good rational critical thinking. And so, the things that scientists say are subject to review by everyone who is able to think critically, to think rationally. Lewis did not deny that scientific expertise might be necessary for good public policy in many areas. But he insisted that science alone was not sufficient. Knowing how cells work, or knowing how ecosystems work doesn’t tell you what you ought to do for your society, because public policy is not just about technical expertise as to how things work. It’s about what good it’s worth having it in first place and as C  S Lewis pointed out, on these questions a scientific training gives you no added value. Scientists are not moral philosophers. Yet, political and social judgments involve, not just how do things work, and how can we make them work better? But, how should we act, and what’s worth spending money on, and what’s worth doing, and what freedoms are worth giving up or not?

healthcare mandate

On these sort of moral and ethical questions, someone in science training, it doesn’t give them the right to dictate to the rest of society. C S Lewis: „I dread government in the name of science, that is how tyrannies come in”. C S Lewis thought that science was a good thing, but he also thought that it held some really strong dangers. The biggest danger, really, was the penchant to control. In a scientific view, that is the only way that we have knowledge of the world. And so, if you think that I have the scientific truth about something, that’s end of story. I know everything. That really tends to feed a power trip, whether you’re a scientist or a politician who is trying to latch on to the prestige of science, you really have people who are going to abuse their power because they thing, „Look, we’re the only ones who know what should happen, because we know how the universe really works. Therefore, we should be able to dictate what our cultural beliefs are, we should dictate what our government should do, how we should design governmental programs, we should dictate all manner of public policy and anyone who doesn’t have a scientific training or isn’t part of the consensus view of science is basically stupid or against progress, or against science, and so should be swept by the wayside and shouldn’t be listened to. And Lewis thought that that almost totalitarian impulse was really a dangerous thing.

Lewis was properly so, frightened by that potential within science. That’s why he stressed, „We really need limits on science and that there is something behind science, a larger, transcendent ethical sphere behind science and that we aren’t just blind matter  in motion, that we’re part of a designed universe that actually sets limits on what we should and shouldn’t do. It’s an age old problem: How do we prevent something good to being twisted for evil ends? C S Lewis hoped that scientists themselves would find a way to rescue science from scientists, creating a regenerate science that respected human rights and honored human dignity. A science that would no longer be the magician’s twin.

The Magician’s Twin: C.S. Lewis and the Case against Scientism

Citeste-l pe C. S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis

Născut în Irlanda în 1898, C.S. Lewis este educat la Colegiul Malvern timp de un an, după care își continuă studiile în particular. Obținând cea mai mare distincție de absolvire acordată de Universitatea Oxford (triple First), rămâne în cadrul Universității ca Fellow al Colegiului Magdalen, funcționând ca tutore, în perioada 1925-1954.În 1954 devine profesor de literatură medievală și renascentistă la Universitatea Cambridge. Cursurile ținute de el, remarcabile și populare, au influențat în mod profund și durabil generații de studenți.Ateu până la maturitate, C.S. Lewis își descrie convertirea în Surprised by Joy (Surprins de bucurie): „În 1919, pe la Rusalii, m-am dat bătut și am admis că Dumnezeu este Dumnezeu… eram, poate, cel mai descurajat și mai nehotărât convertit din toată Anglia.” Această experiență a fost cea care l-a făcut să înțeleagă nu doar apatia, ci și refuzul activ de a accepta religia; pornind de aici, în ipostaza de scriitor creștin înzestrat cu o minte excepțional de ascutită și de logică și cu un stil lucid și înviorător, C.S. Lewis a fost fără egal.The Problem of Pain (Problema durerii), The Screwtape Letters (Scrisorile lui Sfredelin sau Sfaturile unui diavol bătrân către unul mai tânăr), Mere Christianity (Creștinism. Pur și simplu), The Four Loves (Cele patru iubiri), precum și postuma Prayer: Letters to Malcom (Rugăciune: Scrisori către Malcom) nu sunt decât o parte dintre operele sale cele mai vândute. A scris și cărti pentru copii și science-fiction, în paralel cu multele sale lucrări de critică literară. Operele sale sunt cunoscute de milioane de oameni, pretutindeni în lume, prin traduceri.S-a stins din viață în 22 noiembrie 1963, în locuința sa din Oxford.

Cateva citate din scrierile lui C.S. Lewis:

Creştinismul, dacă este fals, nu are nicio importanţă,
iar dacă este adevărat, are o importanţă covârşitoare.
Dar nu poate avea o importanţă moderată.

Dumnezeu nu ne poate oferi fericire şi pace în afara Lui, pentru că ele nu se află acolo. Nu există aşa ceva.

Există două feluri de oameni: cei care îi spun lui Dumnezeu “Facă-se voia Ta” şi cei cărora Dumnezeu le spune “Bine, acţionează după cum crezi”.

Creştinul are un mare avantaj faţă de ceilalţi oameni, nu pentru că este mai puţin căzut decât ei, nici pentru că este destinat să trăiască într-o lume căzută, ci pentru că ştie că este un om căzut într-o lume căzută.

În realitate, rugăciunile noastre care par cele mai proaste, pot fi, în ochii lui Dumnezeu, cele mai bune. Mă refer la acelea care sunt cel mai puţin susţinute de sentimente evlavioase. Pentru că ele s-ar putea să vină de la un nivel mai adânc decât sentimentele. Dumnezeu pare să comunice cu noi extrem de profund atunci când ne prinde, cum s-ar spune, cu garda jos.

Fa click aici sa citesti cartea –

Fa click aici pentru carte format audio–

Fa click aici pentru mai multe carti de C S Lewis si alti autori crestini (in Limba Romana si Engleza) –

Tim Keller answers questions at Oxford (6) Last video in the series

Photo source

Watch the other videos (or read some notes) at these links:

You can visit for more resources. And OICCU also recommends- as a great apologetics site, as well as

In every session (video) Tim Keller set aside the last half hour to answer questions texted by students in attendance. IN this last one, the entire session (45 min) is a free form session of questions & answers.

Uploaded by  on Feb 11, 2012

Tim Keller answers questions from Oxford students texted in on the Saturday lunchtime of „This is Jesus”, OICCU’s 2012 main event. These are the questions asked by the Oxford students:

  1. What does Christianity believe about other religions and do we call people of there religions our brothers & sisters? (min 4)
  2. I’m gay and I want to be a Christian. On the two, following Christ and this human innate desire for intimacy and companionship appear to be mutually exclusive. What is your advice? (8 min)
  3. Why does the Bible make no mention of evolution, or life on other planets or make no distinction between animals that were present before it was written? (17 min)
  4. Yesterday you said that the wages of sin are death. Can you explain what you meant by that? (19 min)
  5. How is the God of love the same one who commands the extermination of whole ethnic groups? (min 23)
  6. Can religion be explained simply as a product of social evolution? (29 min)
  7. How can I be sure that Christ has entered my life? (31 min)
  8. The Christians in the Crusades justified some of their actions because they saw armies of angels with them and heard God telling them what to do. They backed this up with testimonies of many eyewitness. Is this not the same as justifying the Bible by many eyewitnesses who saw Jesus after he died? If the people in the Crusades were mistaken why were the eyewitness of Jesus not? (min 36)

AUDIO links for all sessions here:

  1. A Skeptical Student Encounters Jesus
  2. The Insider and the Outcast Encounter Jesus
  3. Two Grieving Sisters Encounter Jesus
  4. A Wedding Party Encounters Jesus
  5. The First Christian Encounters Jesus
  6. Tim Keller Responds to Oxford’s Questions

Science vs. God?

Oxford Museum debate between Richard Dawkins and John Lennox: A must see debate.  Two scientists return to the Oxford Museum of Natural History, the famed site of the 1860 Evolution debate between Huxley and Wilberforce.

Fixed Point Foundation hosts a second discussion between Professor Richard Dawkins and Professor John Lennox this time in the UK at the Oxford Museum of Natural History. An enthralling topic for scientists, skeptics, and Christians for nearly 150 years, the answer to this question has implications that reverberate through-out public and private live, from government policy and medical ethics to individual choices made every day. Two scientists return to the Oxford Museum of Natural History, the famed site of the 1860 Evolution debate between Huxley and Wilberforce. Discussing an issue the BBC calls ‘as fierce as ever,’ the two go head to head in a remarkable match of intellect.
Holding the Atheistic position is Prof. Richard Dawkins, celebrated author of the God Delusion and regarded by many as the spokesman for the ‘New Atheism.’ Opposing Dawkins is fellow Oxford Professor John Lennox. Lennox like Dawkins, has dedicated his career to science, but arrives at very different conclusions. ‘It is the very nature of science,’ he says, ‘that leads me to belief in God.’
Some interesting highlights:
  • right at the start in his introduction, Dawkins states his surprise (with some irritability) at Lennox’s belief in supernatural miracles in light of the fact that Lennox is a scientist
  • Richard Dawkins does not have any answer, nor does he seem interested in answering the question of origins for  either the cosmos or life itself. (See exchange below in the ‘origins of the cosmos’ notes from debate.
  • Richard Dawkins on the jump from low level molecules to the phenomenal self organizational potentiality of micro molecules: ‘Science doesn’t yet know everything… there’s a lot of work to be done.’  THERE ARE STILL GAPS.
  • Richard Dawkins: I can’t explain the origin of life now. Nobody can.
  • Richard Dawkins states that this God who (supposedly) defies physics couldn’t think of a better way to rid the world of sin, than to send Himself down to be tortured so He can forgive Himself and humanity- this shows Dawkins caricaturization of the trinity, which he either does not understand or he does not/will not accept the doctrine of the trinity as explained and held to by Christianity. This statement he again pronounces as profoundly unscientific that in his opinion „doesn’t do justice to the grandeur of the universe”. Dawkins calls this action- God’s plan of salvation for mankind:  „petty and small minded” and points out that this is the God that John Lennox believes in.
  • John Lennox responds, „I believe God, the creator of the universe is not just a force, but is a person who created us in His image. And you say that God becoming human and God dying on the cross and rising from the dead is petty. I think the exact opposite. It’s not petty because it deals seriously with the fundamental problem that I don’t think atheism even begins to deal with and that is the problem of our alienation with God. Of course, that makes no sense unless we believe in God. As a scientist, we both believe in the rational intelligibility of the universe. I believe this because there is a creator God behind it. How do you account for the rational intelligibility of the universe?
  • Richard Dawkins: For many years it seemed obvious that the universe couldn’t be a „freak accident” by looking at the diversity of animals. Darwin came along and showed that it was not a freak accident, nor is it designed, that there is a third way that in the way of biology is evolution, by natural selection which produces a close imitation of something that is designed. It is not designed, we know that now, it just looks designed. Now, the cosmos hasn’t yet had its Darwin. We don’t yet know how the laws of physics came into existence, how the physical constants came into existence and so we can still say, „Is it a freak accident or was it designed?” The analogy with biology might discourage us from being too confident that it’s designed because we had our fingers burned before the 19th century. Now, in the case of the cosmos, the point that I’ve made over and over again is that even if we don’t understand how it came about, it’s not helpful to postulate a creator, because a creator is the very kind of thing that needs an explanation and although it is difficult enough to explain how a very simple origin of the universe cam into being, how matter and energy, how 1 or 2 physical constants came into existence, although it’s difficult enough to think how simplicity came into existence, it’s a hell of a lot harder to think how something as complicated as a God comes into existence, difficult enough to think how a deist God comes into existence, and even more difficult to think how a christian God, who actually cares about things like sin and gets Himself born of a virgin.

Published on Jun 9, 2012 by 

On the question of  ‘design’ vs. natural selection
John Lennox: Darwin didn’t explain the origin of life nor the origin of the universe. I would want to start there. You say, „We don’t know how it came to be”. But, as scientists, cosmologists, physicists we’re studying it and that very study, and you r own science assumes that the universe is rationally intelligible. Correct me if I’m wrong, but, it seems to me atheism is saying, „The thoughts in our mind are only the result of a mindless, unguided process”. Now, if that is the case, it seems to me that it is very difficult to see how they could tell us anything that is true about ourselves. I think it was Steven Pinker who said that evolution has to do with reproductive sex and nothing to do with truth. John Gray, who is also an atheist, made the point not long ago is that the problem with Darwinism is that if you take it in its ultra form, it really undermines the notion that we can give any credence to what we think. So, it seems to me that your atheism undermines the very rationality that I assume and you assume when we go to study the universe. That’s the first point I would make.
Richard Dawkins: It seems to me quite an absurd thing to say: that because we are saying that our minds are produced by brains, and brains evolve by evolution, by natural selection, therefore, that’s somehow undermines our ability to understand  everything. Why on earth should that be? Natural selection builds brains which are good at surviving and brains that are good at surviving are brains that have survived in the world…
John Lennox: But where is the concept of truth? How do we recognize things like truth, if those thoughts are simply reducible to physics and chemistry and neurophysiology? How do they serve truth?
Richard Dawkins: Truth is what happens. An animal that was attempting to survive, and it didn’t recognize truth and falsehood in some sense, at whatever level is appropriate for the kind of survival that it has, it wouldn’t survive. Truth just means that you are living in the real world and you behave in the real world in such a way as things make sense in a real world. When you see a rock in your way, you don’t go charging into it. You would die if you did that. If you jump over a cliff, you die. That’s truth. It’s perfectly obvious that natural selection would favor, in any animal, a brain that behaves in a way that recognizes truth and acts upon it.
John Lennox: I can’t see how natural selection would produce this truth, but, coming back to that in itself, you say this ‘illusion of design’ (and I find your writing so fascinating because of the metaphors you use), you said somewhere that it is terribly, terribly tempting to believe that it has been designed, but that Darwin has shown us that this design is an illusion. But, I have been very interested in the kind of thing that Conway Simon Morris has been saying recently, that ‘if you take the evolutionary pathway, they’re never getting through an informational hyper space with phenomenal precision, and therefore, there is the impression of design at that level. I mean, if this mechanism that you talk about that doesn’t account for the origin of life at all, let’s leave that aside, if it is so phenomenally clever, then it itself is giving evidence that there’s a mind behind it.
Can there be guidance in natural selection?
Richard Dawkins: Our point of Darwinian natural selection is that it worked without design, without foresight, – John Lennox interjects: „That’s an assumption.” Dawkins responds: No it’s not an assumption. That is exactly how it works. Before Darwin came along it looked perfectly obvious that even if evolution happened, there must be some guided to tell animals or humans how they ought to evolve. Natural selection is a blind force; the things that survive, survive. With hindsight we can see that the ones that survive are the ones that are good at surviving; they have the genes that make them survive. Simon Conway Morris would not deny that, he’s got some kind of, well, I rather share his view- convergent evolution– we both of us are perhaps on the extreme end of Darwinians, in that we emphasize the power of natural selection to hone in on particular ends. As he would say: Natural selection is mechanics,l blind, automatic force. I can’t say it’s not guided, but, there’s no need for it to be guided. The whole point is that it was without guidance. John Lennox interjects: But, it could be guided, or do you completely shut that out? Richard Dawkins responds: I mean, why bother when you’ve got a perfectly good explanation that doesn’t involve guidance? Why bring it up?
John Lennox: The point is that you use words like blind and automatic; this watch (points to watch) is blind and automatic, but, it has been designed. The words themselves do not shut out that notion. And it seems to me, the impression that I am getting is that what’s coming through is that the whole process is so sophisticated itself (that) it’s giving a rational mind behind it. Am I understanding you right, that you say you deny that because you have any principal reason for denying it? That is, everything must, as far as you’re concerned, from the simple to the complex and therefore your major argument of ‘Delusion’ (book) as I understand it is that God is, by definition more complex than the thing you’re explaining, so He’s got to be explained.
Richard Dawkins: That is a major point that I want to make, but let me go back to what you were saying before about guidance. When you drop a stone it falls to the ground and you as a scientist will explain that by gravity. You wouldn’t dream of saying, „Oh, there must be a God pushing it down”. That’s exactly what  you’re in effect saying in respect to evolution because we understand evolution in just the same kind of level, rather at a better level than we understand gravity.
God and science: are they alternative explanations ?
John Lennox: This is a very important point, because I detect in many of your writings that you oppose science and God as explanations. When Newton discovered the law of gravity he didn’t say, „Marvelous, now I know how it works, I don’t need God”. God is an explicator at the level of an agent, not a mechanism, so that we can study mechanisms in biology. The more sophisticated they are the more they might point towards an agent. You don’t argue away the existence of an agent by showing that there is a mechanism. I don’t quite understand how you manage to get, if I understand you right, God and science as alternative explanations.
Richard Dawkins: I think you do get rid of an agent if the agent is superfluous to the explanation. When you’re studying something that’s happening, there may well be an agent. There may be a car riding along and avoiding obstacles and moving left and turning right and you say (there’s) an agent controlling that car. And there is, there’s a driver. But, if you don’t need an agent to explain what’s going on and we don’t in the case of biology  ad we don’t in the case of gravity (we have to accept that Newton was a theist and in the 17th century everybody was), you don’t need an agent, an agent is a superfluous explanation, it’s a gratuitous grafting on of something that you don’t need.
John Lennox: I find that unconvincing because even if you accept the whole evolutionary paradigm, it depends on there being a fine tuned universe. And that fine tuned universe raises itself some very big questions as to the origin of the universe. Evolution doesn’t deal with that. Nor does it deal with the origin of life. They are vastly important points. The notion of things in principle going from simple to complex and they must go that way; that seems to me to be your belief, your faith.
Richard Dawkins: No, it doesn’t. Those are separate points. Things must go from simple to complex? No, if things go from simple to complex we need an explanation. Natural selection is an explanation for that.
John Lennox: Let’s go back to the origins of the universe and the origin of life. My life, as we both know has got this digital data base. It’s got a language all of its own. Now, the only thing we know of, capable of producing language is mind.  And yet you reject that. By definition, as an atheist you must reject that there is no mind behind this language.
Language and the language of DNA
Richard Dawkins: I do reject it. When you say, ‘the only thing we know that can produce language’, we know that what produces human languages mind, yes we do, because that is human language. But, DNA is not human language. It is very sophisticated but it doesn’t follow that it has to be generated by mind.
John Lennox: But we know of no other way that it could be generated. It seems to me from a mathematical point of view, I think you said it in a different context: Junk in, junk out. Here we have this phenomenally sophisticated information processor which is the cell. Am I really to believe that that information processor capacity simply came by the laws of nature and random processes, without a mind? Richard Dawkins answers: Yes, yes. Lennox: I mean, that’s impossible to believe as a mathematician.
Richard Dawkins: It’s called the argument form personal incredulity.
Logos – in what sense is it an explanation?
John Lennox: But, I could just reverse that and say that your position is your argument form personal credulity. The rationality comes from irrationality, that mind comes from matter. To me, the biblical explanation: ‘In the beginning was the Word Logos’, that makes perfect sense and it makes sense of the fact that we can do science itself.
Richard Dawkins: But you haven’t explained where the Logos came from in the first place.
John Lennox: Of course not, because the Logos didn’t come from anywhere.
Richard Dawkins: Then, in what sense is it an explanation?
John Lennox: Because, the notion that you say, you have to ask who created the Logos, that says that you are thinking of a created God. The whole point about the God revealed in the bible is that He was not created, He is eternal, He is the eternal Logos. And I ask myself as an inference to the best explanation, which makes more sense? That there is an eternal Logos and that the universe, its laws, the capacity for mathematical descriptions and so on, that these things are derivative, including the human mind from the Logos, that makes very much more sense to me as a scientist than it’s the other way around. Then there is no explanation for the existence of the universe. Do you believe that the universe is just a brute fact?
Origins for the cosmos and life
Richard Dawkins: The universe is an easier fact to accept than a conscious creator.
John Lennox:  Well, who made it?
Richard Dawkins: It’s you who insists on asking that question.
John Lennox: You asked me who made the creator. The universe created you, Richard. Who made it then?
Richard Dawkins: A god, a complicated entity which requires a much more sophisticated and difficult explanation than a universe, which is according to modern physics a very simple entity. It is a very simple beginning. It is not a negligible beginning, but it is a very simple beginning that has got to be easier to explain than something that is as complicated as a god.
John Lennox:  You can’t explain the existence of God with… I think you may have missed my question. I’m drawing a parallel. You see, I’m getting the message that it’s ridiculous for me to believe in a God who created the universe and me because I (then) have to ask who created God. All I’m doing is turning that question around and saying, the universe, you admit created you because there’s nothing else. Well then, who created it?
Richard Dawkins: I understand you perfectly. We, both of us are faced with a problem of saying, „How did things start?” I’m saying it’s a hell of a lot easier to start with something simple than to start with something complex. That’s what complex means.
John Lennox:  But, I don’t think so. If I  pick up a book called The God Delusion, it’s a pretty sophisticated book, it’s got lots of words in it. But, actually, as I look at page 1- I don’t even have to look beyond page 1- I conclude that it comes form something complex in that book itself. Do you?
Richard Dawkins: Yes, obviously complex things exist.
John Lennox: Well, why can’t I look at the universe, the whole show, which includes Dawkins and Lennox..
Richard Dawkins: I’ll tell you why, because my brain, that produced the book has an explanation in its own right. That explanation is evolution, we go back and back and back to the origin of the universe, that provides an explanation for complex brains, and complex brains produce books and museums and cars and computers. Of course we have complex things that produce other complex things, but, science has an explanation of where complex brains come from  in terms of simple beginnings.
John Lennox:  I don’t think it has at all. At the level of the origin of life, reading the literature, even the recent literature, the word ‘miracle’ comes up probably far too often for your liking anyway, but, they’re just going from the self organizational properties of low level molecules that you’ve got in some kind of primeval situation to the phenomenal self organizational potentiality of micro molecules. There’s just no way you can get there.
Richard Dawkins: Well, you’re asserting that there’s no way. We don’t yet know what it is because there’s a lot of work yet to be done. Science doesn’t yet know everything. THERE ARE STILL GAPS. 
John Lennox: It seems to me that the fact that the basic description of this ancient language and it is a very ancient language of DNA points much more arguably to the existence of a divine Logos that started it, than the notion that it’s going to be exhaustively explained in purely naturalistic terms, because I would still go back to the point I made earlier: This extreme reductionism removes from me the very rationality which we use to have the discussion. So that, I am not simply terribly tempted to believe it’s all been designed. I believe it’s all been designed, but, that doesn’t STOP science. I fear sometimes that your dichotomy- either God or science- might put some people off science, because they would prefer God and that would be a pity.
Richard Dawkins: When you feel like it, you will smuggle in magic. You will smuggle in magic for miracles in the bible, you will smuggle in magic for the origin of life. I can’t explain the origin of life at the moment, nobody can.
John Lennox: But you believe that it will have a naturalistic solution.
Richard Dawkins: I think that it is a cowardly copout to suggest that just because we don’t yet understand something, therefore magic did it.
John Lennox: I agree with that- the God of the gaps idea…
Richard Dawkins: But, that’s exactly what you’re putting forward, a God of the gaps. You’re pointing to the origin of life, you’re pointing to the origin of DNA and you’re saying, „Ok, Darwin has done everything after the origin of life, but, he hasn’t done the origin of life. That’s a god of the gaps.
John Lennox: What I am saying here is that there may well be 2 kinds of gaps. That is, there are bad gaps that science closes. But, could it not be that science can open some gaps? What I mean by that is this: Your assumption as I understand it is that there’s going to be an exhaustive reductionist naturalistic explanation of everything in scientific terms. I don’t think so. Now, if there is a God and if He created this universe, and if, as I believe, He is personal, then I would expect certain things to follow. (1) That I would see evidence; not proof, but evidence in the universe that God existed. I see that in mathematical describability of the universe, in the fine tuning of the universe and in the marvelous sophistication of the world. I’d expect to see God’s traces there. I would also expect that there would be occasions where and when God speaks in special ways and therefore, the more we try to analyze those things in terms of purely reductionist science, it will get more and more difficult instead of more and more simple. I wouldn’t expect there to be many of those places. I think the origin of life would be one of them. And, certainly when it comes up into more recent history, you mentioned miracles- the thing that is central for miracles is the fact that what you call petty and I find is vastly significant because it’s touching on something that affects every human being- the question of death. Now, if Jesus did really, literally rose from the dead as a matter of history, that makes an enormous difference to our view of the world. And so, far from being petty, if this is God speaking to us I want to take it extremely seriously. Why do you think it is so petty?
God –  justice, morality and righteousness
Richard Dawkins: Of course it makes a huge difference if it’s true, but, you’ve suddenly leapt from a sophisticated discussion on the origins of the universe, where one can have a proper discussion on whether cosmic intelligence could have set forth the law of physics and you suddenly jumped to a man who lived 2,000 years ago, was born of a virgin, rose from the dead. I think that’s petty, by comparison with the grandeur of the universe. To put my point again: Do you really think the creator of this magnificent edifice of this universe, this expanding universe, the galaxies? He really couldn’t think of a better way to get rid of the sins on this one little speck of dust, than to have Himself tortured? He’s the one doing the forgiving after all. Couldn’t He just have forgiven?
John Lennox: Because this is a moral universe Richard and just forgiving doesn’t make sense.
Richard Dawkins: Then He has to kill Himself in order…or get Himself killed or tortured.
John Lennox: He doesn’t kill Himself. God sends His Son into the world to provide forgiveness and to provide a basis on which He can just bring forgiveness to me. We need to step back a minute from this because actually it is really a highly relevant topic. In your world, where is justice to be found?
Richard Dawkins: Justice is a human construct of great importance in human affairs and it’s something most of us have a sense of, which I think properly can be given some sort of Darwinian explanation, but, I don’t see where you’re taking this.
John Lennox: My question is: Is there any ultimate justice? You see, you say this is petty. I’m saying: I find myself in a world, which is a broken world, I find myself in a world where there’s massive injustice, where many people won’t get it, we’re so privileged, we live in Oxford and so on, we got enough money to live on and so on. But, if there is no God, then there’s no ultimate justice. And one of the things that the resurrection transforms for me from pettiness right into center stage is – if this is true, then there’s real hope that there’s rational evaluation and fair justice at the end of the world. But atheism doesn’t give you that.
Richard Dawkins: Ok, suppose there is no hope. Suppose there is no justice. Suppose there’s nothing but misery and darkness, bleakness. Suppose there’s nothing we would wish for and nothing we would hope for. Too bad! That doesn’t make it true, just because God would make us feel good. So, why do you make that argument up? You said there is no hope without God.
John Lennox: Because I believe that there is evidence that it is true. I don’t believe in the resurrection ‘just like that’, because faith is based on evidence. The question to be decided then is: Is there a God and has He revealed Himself? That’s where, again, I believe this pettiness needs to be pushed aside because I can’t get to know you as a person. You’re not just some scientific object. I can look at you through a telescope and a magnifying glass and even dissect you and so on and so forth. But, because you are a person, I cannot get to know you unless you are prepared to reveal yourself to me. So, the fact that the claim of Christ to be the truth, to be God incarnate, that makes perfect sense to me because, if there is a God who entered this marvelous universe with all the science and all there is, then He has taken the initiative in getting to know us, revealing Himself to us and He has revealed Himself to us at a level we can understand. You’re a person, He’s a person. That at least makes sense. So, one of the very important questions to ask is: Is that really true or is that myth and fantasy?
On the historicity of Jesus
Richard Dawkins: It’s myth and fantasy for me.
John Lennox: That disturbs me for the following reason. Reading your book ‘The God Delusion’, you say that it’s under scholarly dispute among historians that Jesus actually existed. Now, I checked with the ancient historians, it is not so. And it disturbed me. History is not natural science. But, what I don’t understand is this: Why you would write something like that.
Richard Dawkins: I don’t think it’s a very important question whether Jesus existed. There are some historians, most historians think He did, some…
John Lennox: They certainly do, I couldn’t find one ancient historian that didn’t.
Richard Dawkins: Well there are one or two. But, I don’t really care precisely because it’s petty. I mean, I cannot, I mean if you could possibly persuade me that there’s some kind of creative force in the universe, there was some kind of physical, mathematical genius who created everything- the expanding universe, devised quantum theory, relativity and all that, you could possibly persuade me of that. But, that is radically and fundamentally incompatible with the sort of God who cares about sin, the sort of God who cares about what you do with your genitals, a sort of God who is interested, who has the slightest interest in your private thoughts and wickedness and things like that. Surely, you can see that a God who is grand enough to make the universe is not going to give a darn about what you’re thinking about and your sins and things like that.
God – morality, sin and Dawkins bus campaign
John Lennox: So you think that morality is not important? It sounds like you’re saying…
Richard Dawkins: Of course I don’t think morality is not important. I’m a human being and I live in a society of human beings and within a society of human beings, morality is of course important. But we are one of billions of planets on a huge scale and a cosmic God who bothers about this kind of human scale is not the kind of God who is compatible with a scientific view of the universe, a medieval view.
John Lennox: But, do you think size is the measure of importance? Incidentally a logarithmic view of the scale, you’re about the half way between an atom and the universe, so in terms of logarithm your point folds.
Richard Dawkins: This in a sense is an emotional argument we’ve come into now. Lennox: I don’t think so at all. Dawkins: If I begin to respect a god it would be the kind of god that Carl Sagan might have worshipped, not the sort of medieval God who fusses about sin and has an obsession with sin and righteousness and sort of … I keep coming to this word ‘petty’ and I stand by it.
John Lennox: Well, it’s an image of God that I find strange and I gather from the BBC today that you are promoting some advertising on buses which is going to say something like ‘There probably is no God, so don’t worry and enjoy your life’. Now I was very interested in that. Why ‘Don’t worry’? Do you associate the idea of God with worrying?
Richard Dawkins: I fought for a better slogan than that. This was something that was devised by a woman on the Guardian that wanted to raise money for this advertisement on the London buses. I offered to match donations and I said I’d rather change the slogan from ‘There probably is no God’ to ‘There is almost certainly no God’ and I didn’t want to say ‘Don’t worry and enjoy your life’, I wanted to say something like ‘Live your life to the full’. But, it was too late to change it and since the money has been raised in the first day, I’m going to get the say in the next slogan and it’s not going to say what the present one does.
John Lennox: From where I sits, my relationship with God is the very thing that stops the worry and gives me the fullness of life. We’re back to the pettiness, because if God is real and has revealed Himself, then it’s through a relationship with Him that you really can enjoy a full life, science included.
Richard Dawkins: I find that so unconvincing. I think there’s something wonderful about standing up and facing up to the universe, where we are increasing our understanding and we throw away childhood obsessions, we throw away the sort of imaginary friend that comforts us when children and we feel the need for a kind of parent figure to turn to. I think when we grow up we need to cast that aside and stand up tall in the universe and it’s cold. We’re not gonna last forever, we’re gonna die. We face up to that. And I think that’s a nobler way of getting through life, then to pin your hopes on childhood illusions.
John Lennox: But that all rests on the assumption that there’s no God and that they’re childhood illusions. That’s a typical Freudian explanation- one’s atheism could be exactly that. Dawkins answers: Yeah. Lennox: A flight away from the reality that there is a God. We’re back to the question, inevitably- we need the evidence. What I’m suggesting to you is: We do have evidence. We have it in science- part of God’s revelation, and I believe this building was probably dedicated to the glory of God (Oxford museum). Dawkins: No, it wasn’t. Rather the reverse. Lennox: Ok, Oxford University was. Dawkins: That’s going back a few centuries. It seems to me that by truncating everything and putting it into the science basket, so to speak, I get the impression that you’re not taking history really seriously, otherwise you would try to interact with it. And I’m trying to get to the basis of why that is so, because you’re trying to regard what Jesus has done and who He is as petty. And I find the contrast between standing tall in a silent and cold universe with no hope, believing that your moral sense must ultimately be illusion, your waiting for justice because most people will never get it because death ends everything.The contrast between that and enjoying the friendship, personal friendship of God and knowing that ultimate justice will be done is immense. The basic question is: IS it true or not?
Richard Dawkins: That is the basic question. It is completely irrelevant if it is comforting, if it gives you hope, if it keeps you happy… That has nothing to do with whether it is true. So we need to know whether it’s true. Now, when you look at history… let’s leave aside… maybe I alluded to the possibility that some historians think that Jesus never existed. I take that back. Jesus existed. However, if you’re going to say that Jesus was born of a virgin, Jesus walked on water, that He turned water into wine, that is palpably anti scientific. There is no evidence for that, there simply isn’t any and no scientist could ever take this seriously.
John Lennox: I can make it worse for you. Dawkins: I know you can. Lennox: because Jesus actually came to be the Logos who created the whole universe and if this is the creator incarnate, making water into wine and so on is really a triviality. The more fundamental thing is the fact that He came to be and gave evidence that He was God. When you say it is anti scientific, I don’t think that it’s anti scientific at all. Science cannot say that miracles do not occur. It can say they’re highly improbable. But, no one is saying that these things occurred by natural processes. They occurred because God had His power in them. Nor did the whole universe, if we look in that sense by natural processes God created, we study all the natural processes in it. So, when you say it is anti scientific, I don’t think it is anti scientific.
Richard Dawkins: What I mean by that is if and when doing science we constantly have to keep in mind that in any moment there might be a little magic trick slipped in that would completely nullify the whole enterprise of .
John Lennox: I agree with that. But, in order to recognize what the New Testament calls miracle- a special act of God, you must be living in a universe that has regularities and we recognize them. I agree with you entirely. Dawkins: Otherwise you wouldn’t notice the miracles. Lennox: Exactly, you wouldn’t recognize the miracle if dead people were popping all over the place, you wouldn’t think it was very special. But, the fact is you need two things, not one: (1)You’ve got to have regularities, which we call the laws of nature. They’re not causes, they’re in a sense descriptions that we can use. (2)You also need to be able to recognize those, so that for example, Joseph discovered that his wife to be, Mary, was pregnant. He said he didn’t believe her story. He was to divorce her. He knew exactly where babies came from. He knew the regularity. It took very special convincing for him to realize that something extremely special had happened. But, science cannot stop that. The question is, of course, did such a thing ever happen? And the central focus in the New Testament is not that which is so readily accessible to evidence, the very conception, but the resurrection of Christ. And ancient historians, this fascinated me recently, ancient historians whose discipline is very venerable, and I’m not talking about Christian ancient historians. Ancient historians, many of them, even at the skeptical end of the spectrum say that the evidence for the resurrection of Christ is very powerful. The explosion of the Christian church from a non-proselytizing group of Jews in the first century, the empty tomb and all the rest of it has even led Geza Vermes, a distinguished ancient historian here at Oxford to say: Yes, this tomb was empty. Hallucinations and these kind of explanations do not wash. So we have to ask ourselves: Are we prepared to believe an historical testimony or not?
Richard Dawkins: Well, you must talk to different historians than the ones I talk to, but, in any case, I still come back to the point that you cannot do science if at any time- remember that old cartoon with a miracle sign in the middle of the equation? That is deeply against the spirit of science. And I don’t think that I could do science if I thought that at any time something like the resurrection, something like the virgin birth was going to be smuggled in by a Godly caprice.
50 minute mark here. Topic moves on to the issue of meaning: Human life and meaning and purpose and morality.
Richard Dawkins: Well, we have talked a bit about morality. Meaning is something obviously which scientists like to find. We like to find meaning in things, we like to understand things and as I said before: Brains are selected to function, to work well in the real world. And one of the things that works well from a survival point of view to find meaning and correct meaning to interpret  the world in a way which fits in. What’s gonna happen next, for example. You don’t jump over a cliff because you understand what happens if you jump over a cliff- you’re gonna die. So, meaning is something that human brains appreciate, meaning is something that scientists appreciate in a sophisticated way.
John Lennox: So what is the ultimate meaning of life for you?
Richard Dawkins: The ultimate meaning of life depends on what you mean by it, obviously. Each one of us can make an ultimate meaning, each one of us can have a private meaning, a purpose in our life, what we hope to achieve in our life. Or, a biologist might say, the ultimate meaning of life is the propagation of genes, that would be a very different kind of meaning. They’re both true.
John Lennox: I suppose the basic question for me here is: What is the nature of ultimate reality? If ultimate reality is simply the universe in some sense, or multiverse, that’s one thing. I am at a loss to understand how you get from simple atoms, elementary particles and so on, to a brain, let alone a mind, the eye, the person. I don’t understand what consciousness is. I don’t begin to say and I don’t think scientists begin to say how you can get to something that even understands the concept of meaning. But I can understand if behind the universe, the ultimate reality is not in personal matter and energy, that somehow has produced all this stuff, bottom up. I can understand it if it’s top down, as well as partly bottom up and that is that there is a God, who is personal, who is good, who is the source of life and meaning and who reaches up to me as a person and who in fact, far from stopping me doing science, encourages the development of the mind that He has given me. And so meaning to me has all kinds of dimensions you would agree with, my family and my wife, my children and my work and so on. But it’s not bounded by the 3 score years and ten. It is not bounded by the death of the universe. It’s got an expanding horizon of hope and that to me is the only thing that is worthy of the God who created this vast cosmos, that our lives are not going to be extinguished just like that. There is a beyond and I can walk with confidence into that beyond cause I’ve got a real relationship that’s got a firm basis with the God who invented it all. And therefore, it seems to me that the meaning given by atheism in the reductionism is very, very tiny. Of course you’ll come back immediately and say it’s a question of truth. Of course it’s a question of truth. But at least we can have a look at the two different kind of worlds that we represent, because that business of ‘it’s tempting’, it is terribly tempting. Do you ever get terribly tempted to believe that there is a God?  That the kind of thing I’m saying is true?
Richard Dawkins: I said to you already that there are very many things that would be very nice about it, as you’ve just repeated though, it doesn’t make it true. I mean, you think you’re going to survive your own death, I gather. You think that even though your brain dies… I mean, at what point in evolution did that remarkable faculty emerge?
John Lennox: I haven’t a notion. It’s part of… God has created human beings in His image.
Richard Dawkins: What on earth does that mean? In His image… He looks like us?
John Lennox: No, no, we have personality, it’s Anthropomorphism. But, we are persons, God is a person, therefore we can relate to Him.
Q & A in the 57th minute lasts 23 more minutes.
Disclosure: Professor John Lennox who is highly esteemed by Christians and in the Reformed community does in fact believe that God may have used the process of evolution at some point in His creation of mankind. This topic however is not discussed in this debate.

Traducatorul Bibliei DUMITRU CORNILESCU Un Luther al Romaniei (studiat la Oxford de Iosif Ton si onorat la Geneva)

Alte postari despre Dumitru Cornilescu


ISTORIA ANABAPTISTILOR – Daniel Branzai (Lucrare de baza pentru Romanii Protestanti)

(sursa) situl Crestinul

Miscarea Anabaptistilor e importanta pentru ca Anabaptistii au fost percusori ai Reformei.

Mişcarea anabaptistă


1.1. Definirea, incadrarea si delimitarea subiectului.

Sub aspectul cercetarii istorice, subiectul se defineste atat ca subiect de istorie a crestinismului in cadrul istoriei religiilor, care apartin stiintei seculare, folosind metode obiective, cat si ca subiect de istorie a Bisericii, ca ramura a Teologiei, folosind metoda de cercetare teologica din perspectiva evanghelica.

Subiectul se defineste drept studiu al unei miscari crestine constituite in timpul Reformei din sec. al XVI-lea, miscare care are continuitate pana in prezent. Din acest punct de vedere, se coreleaza cu o alta ramura a Teologiei istorice, si anume istoria gandirii crestine sau istoria doctrinelor crestine.

Prin problemele de teologie sistematica pe care le pune istoria doctrinelor, subiectul se coreleaza si cu teologia sistematica, mai ales cu dogmatica si cu teologia polemica. Prin problemele de teologie practica, subiectul cercetat se leaga de ramuri ca teologia evanghelizarii sau misionarism, teologia pastorala, liturgica, etc…

Din punct de vedere al istoriei seculare, subiectul pune probleme ce depasesc istoria bisericeasca, raportandu-se la istoria culturii si civilizatiei, societate, economie, stat, corelate, bineinteles, cu problema fundamentala a relatiei dintre Biserica, stat, si natiune.

1.2. Importanta problemei cercetate care justifica abordarea ei in aceasta lucrare.

Lucrarea anabaptista apartine Reformei radicale, care, la inceput, a fost prezentata ca extremista, iar in prezent este reconsiderata de teologii protestanti, mai ales cei evanghelici, fiindca prin tendinta ei anabaptista este precursoarea tuturor bisericilor evanghelice care practica botezul la varsta adulta. Prin tendinta radicala de traire integrala a crestinismului, precede fundamentalismul neoprotestant, iar prin tendinta entuziasta, precede miscarea penticostala.

Anabaptistii au separat radical Biserica de Stat, prefigurand un aspect care va fi reluat in America de Nord de baptisti, si care se va impune in statele seculare dupa Revolutia franceza din 1789. Din alt punct de vedere, participarea partiala a miscarii anabaptiste la miscarea hiliasta ( milenista), care a incercat sa instaureze o societate bazata pe crestinismul comunitar, a prefigurat socialismul secular din sec. XVIII- XIV, de la Saint Simon la Marx, care nu au facut decat sa „teoretizeze” o imparatie de 1 000 de ani fara Dumnezeu.

Esecul de a instaura o societate milenista pe scara larga a condus la aparitia comunitatilor anabaptiste inchise. In prezent, aceste comunitati tind sa se deschida si contribuie prin scrieri si activitati practice la dezvoltarea conceptiei dupa care Biserica preia de la statul secular sfere intinse de activitate.

Invatamantul, asistenta sociala, asigurarile si multe alte domenii care privesc viata sociala a membrilor sunt preocupari importante pentru Biserica. In felul acesta este limitata activitatea statului, reducandu-se riscul aparitiei tensiunilor social-politice. Importanta miscarii anabaptiste, ca subiect de cercetare reiese si din faptul ca a influientat istoria crestinismului din tara noastra, unde tendinta anabaptista spre unitarism este si mai clara prin faptul ca promotorul unitarismului in Transilvania, David Francisc a fost si promotorul anabaptistilor.

Tendinta actuala de apropiere a miscarii anabaptiste de cea evanghelica justifica un studiu pozitiv al acestor reprezentanti ai Reformei radicale.

1.3. Obiectivele cercetarii.

Originea, aparitia si dezvoltarea miscarii anabaptiste evanglelice in Elvetia, Imperiul Romano – German, Olanda, Transilvania, continuarea miscarii anabaptiste pana in prezent si tendintele ei actuale.




Biserica Crestina, din perioada apostolilor si pana la Reforma, a fost mai intai biruitoare, in ciuda persecutiilor, dar apoi, incepand cu sec.IV a cunoscut o perioada de decadenta si declin, care s-a accentuat cu trecerea timpului.

Una din devierile timpurii de la invataturile Noului Testament a fost supozitia ca actele de cult contin puteri magice si sunt mijloace prin care se obtine mantuirea.

Botezul, in decursul timpului, a ajuns sa fie vazut ca un instrument de regenerare iar participarea la impartasanie ca un mijloc de obtinere a iertarii pacatelor savarsite dupa botez.

In decursul catorva secole, alte grave erori si practici nescripturale si-au gasit drumul in biserica. Odata cu acceptarea religiei crestine de catre Constantin, imparatul Imperiului Roman, persecutiile au incetat. Atunci a inceput cresterea exterioara si expansiunea bisericii.

Constantin si fiii lui, care i-au succedat la domnie, au acordat privilegii Bisericii, iar mai tarziu, crestinismul a devenit religie de stat. Teodosiu I, in anul 380 a dat un edict in care declara crestinismul religie de stat. Biserica s-a unit cu statul si mai tarziu, populatia a fost silita sa devina crestina.

Toate conditiile preliminare de a putea fi primit ca membru in biserica au fost abandonate, cu exceptia botezului, care a fost facut obligatoriu. Deoarece, in teorie, acest act de cult trebuia sa fie un instrument de regenerare, membrii bisericii erau considerati persoane regenerate. A fost introdus botezul copiilor mici, ceea ce inseamna ca biserica nu mai putea fi un trup de credinciosi. Disciplinarea biblica nu mai putea fi aplicata in biserica.

Consecinta acestui declin in credinta si practica a dus la pierderea standardului de viata si practica lasat de apostoli.

Ideea de preotie, luata in mod literal, a inlocuit preotia spirituala a tuturor credinciosilor. Preotii acestor biserici erau considerati ca mediatori intre Dumnezeu si om. Acum, o preotie luata in sens literal, avea nevoie de un altar, sacrificii, deasemenea luate in sens literal. Acest lucru s-a realizat prin ceremonia liturghiei, cu supozitia ca painea sau azima, in serviciul de impartasanie, este schimbata in trupul Domnului Isus, si ca El trebuie, in mod literar, oferit din nou si din nou, ca ispasire pentru pacat.

Rugaciunea catre Maria si sfinti era considerata necesara. In limbajul Scripturii, sfintii sunt cei credinciosi. In viziunea bisericii numai cei ce se canonizau si erau despartiti de viata lumeasca, erau considerati sfinti.

In timp, imagini despre Isus si sfinti au inceput sa fie obiecte de inchinare si adoratie. Biserica de Apus si cea de Rasarit aveau practici diferite in ceea ce priveste obiectele de inchinare (picturi, statui de piatra, lemn).

Printre semnele clare ale indepartarii de invataturile Noului Testament au fost doctrinele cu privire la purgatoriu, indulgente, folosirea apei si uleiului sfint, superstitiile legate de relicve, si alte practici.

Dupa secolul al 12-lea credinciosului nu i se dadea si vinul, ci numai painea, considerandu-se ca fiecare element continea si trupul si sangele lui Hristos.

Muzica a devenit complicata si colorata ca un acompaniament potrivit pentru misterele sacre al liturghiei.

Intre anii 1309-1439 Biserica Romana a ajuns cat se poate de jos in ochii laicilor. Organizarea ierarhica cu cererea ei de celibat a dus la un declin in morala clericilor. Multi preoti aveau concubine sau se angajau in aventuri nepermise cu membre din bisericile lor.

Papalitatea si-a pierdut prestigiul datorita evenimentelor legate de “Captivitatea Babiloniana” si “Marea Schisma”. Impozitele papale si numeroase alte taxe au devenit o povara pentru populatie. In anumite tari(Franta, Anglia) statul national a devenit suficient de puternic pentru a-l sfida pe papa si a incerca sa supuna Biserica intereselor nationale. Toate acestea cereau reforma interna a papalitatii in perioada evului mediu tarziu.

2.1.2. O epoca a nelinistii

Cele doua secole care preced reforma s-au dovedit in mod remarcabil vitale in fata unei provocari si schimbari fara precedent. Cu cat se inmulteau abuzurile in biserica, cu atat se se auzeau mai multe strigate pentru reforma. Noi forme de pietate laica, mici tratate devotionale, interes renascut pentru relicve, pelerinaje si sfinti, miscarile religioase – toate marturisesc o spiritualitate cu radacini adanci. Se poate observa crestere constanta in intensitate si profunzime a sentimentului religios pana la perioada Reformei.

Acest lucru nu inseamna negarea realitatii ca Evul Mediu Tarziu a trecut si prin perioade de transformari politice, sociale, economice si religioase.

Poetul Eustache Deschamps spunea „Acum lumea e lasa, decazuta si slaba, batrana , invidioasa si balbaita. Nu vad decat barbati si femei nebune. Se apropie sfarsitul, intradevar …..toate merg prost„, exprimand starea generala de melancolie.

De fapt aceasta stare de indispozitie, sentimentul ca vremurile au scapat de sub control, combinata cu asteptarile religioase tot mai mari, a produs o epoca de extraordinara neliniste.

In cartea sa , The Courage To Be, Paul Tillich schiteaza istoria civilizatiei vestice in termenii a trei tipuri recurente de neliniste, de frica.

Sfarsitul antichitatii clasice a fost marcat de o neliniste ontologica, de o preocupare intensa pentru soarta si moartea omului. Catre sfarsitul Evului Mediu, a predominat o neliniste caracterizata de un sentiment de vinovatie si frica de condamnare. Aceasta, in schimb, a lasat loc, catre sfarsitul epocii moderne, unei nelinisti spirituale, unui sentiment de desertaciune si lipsa de sens. Moartea, sentimentul vinovatiei si al lipsei de sens rasuna ca o nota distonanta in literatura, arta si teologia acestei perioade.

Aceste trei teme se contureaza in zbaterea lui Luther si in incercarea lui de a gasi un Dumnezeu plin de har. Prins in mijlocul unei furtuni cu tunete si trasnete, si temandu-se ca i se apropie sfarsitul, Luther a jurat ca va deveni calugar. O data ajuns la manastire, a fost cuprins de un coplesitor sentiment de vinovatie. Desi zbaterea lui Luther a fost doar a sa, ea rezuma sperantele, nelinistile vremii sale. El a fost, am putea spune, exact ca toti ceilalti,dar intr-o masura putin mai mare. Asfel teologia reformatorilor a fost un raspuns specific la nelinistea aparte a vremii lor.

In Evul Mediu Tarziu, Europa a fost invadata de o preocupare morbida pentru suferinta si moarte. La baza acestei experiente neplacute stau doua fenomene inrudite: foametea si ciuma. Criza agrara a fost deosebit de puternica la inceputul XIV-lea; acesteia i s-a adaugat ciuma bubonica sau Moartea Neagra, care a ajuns la apogeu in Anglia in jurul anului 1349 si care a cauzat moartea a cel putin o treime din populatia Europei.

Viziunea mortii s-a manifestat atat in predici si xilogravuri, cat si in pictura si sculptura vremii. Mormintele erau deseori impodobite cu imaginea unui cadavru gol, cu gura cascata, pumnii inclestati si cu maruntaiele mancate de viermi. Moartea, vazuta sub forma unui schelet, dansa conducandu-si victimele.

Siguranta mortii era o tema obisnuita si pentru predicatori. Un calugar franciscan, Richard de Paris, a predicat zece zile consecutiv, cate sapte ore pe zi, numai despre Zilele din urma: moarte, judecata, rai, iad. Nelinistea morala, pe care Tillich o considera a fi motivul dominant in epoca, deriva din faptul ca moartea implica judecata, iar judecata il aduce pe pacatos in fata in fata cu un Dumnezeu sfant si plin de manie.

Au existat diferite incercari de a diminua sentimentul de vinovatie, care apasa atat de greu asupra sufletelor oamenilor. Cele mai radicale au fost exercitate de diverse grupuri de persoane care practicau flagelarea, ascetismul sever, si care mergeau din oras in oras, biciuindu-se cu biciuri de piele, in sperata ca vor ispasi vina proprie si cea a intregii societati.

Nicaieri altundeva nu este mai evident sentimentul vinovatiei care caracterizeaza viata religioasa din perioada medievala ca in manualele confesionale si in catehismele laice, care au invadat lumea cu ajutorul tiparnitelor recent inventate. Analiza acestor documente, pe care o face Steven Ozment, arata ca, departe de a oferi un sentiment de iertare, acestea nu au facut altceva decat sa reinvie vina deja existenta.

In stransa legatura cu frica, ce a dominat toate fazele vietii in Evul Mediu Tarziu, se afla o criza de incredere in identitatea si autoritatea Bisericii. Spre deosebire de alte doctrine stabilite la diferite concilii, doctrina despre Biserica nu a primit niciodata un statut dogmatic.

Reforma din sec. XIV-lea a fost o continuare a cautarii adevaratei biserici, care a inceput cu mult inainte ca Luther, Zwingli, Calvin sau parintii catolici sa intre in scena.

2.2. Precursori ai reformei

De-a lungul veacurilor, pe masura ce Biserica unita cu statul se indeparta tot mai mult de adevarul Sfintelor Scripturi, au existat diferite grupuri de crestini care s-au straduit sa ramana credinciosi invataturii curate a Noului Testament. Astfel Dumnezeu nu a ramas nici o data fara sa aiba un popor al Sau, oameni care sa-L marturiseasca atat prin viata lor cat si cu gura, chiar cu riscul vietii lor. Dintre aceste grupari se pot mentiona in mod special: donatistii, valdenzii si anabaptistii. Supusi unor prigoane salbatice de catre „sfanta biserica”, hartuiti pretutindeni, torturati, macelariti, masacrati in mare parte, acesti oameni „nu si-au iubit viata, chiar si pana la moarte”. Asa cum spune autorul epistolei catre Evrei: „…unii, ca sa dobandeasca o inviere mai buna, n-au vrut sa primeasca izbavirea, care li se dadea si au fost chinuiti. Altii au suferit batjocuri, batai, lanturi si inchisoare; au fost ucisi cu pietre, taiati in doua cu fierastraul, chinuiti; au murit ucisi de sabie, au pribegit imbracati in cojoace si-n piei de capre, lipsiti de toate, prigoniti, munciti, – ei, de care lumea nu era vrednica – au ratacit prin pustiuri, prin munti, prin pesteri si prin crapaturile pamantului” (Evrei 11:35-38).

Chiar daca unele din aceste grupari nu mai exista astazi asa cum erau pe vremuri, ideile lor, credinta lor curata a strabatut veacurile si au influentat alti oameni de seama a lui Dumnezeu. Multe dintre ideile lor se gasesc in marturisirea de credinta si in practica Bisericilor Penticostale din zilele noastre. Este demn, ca pe langa aceste grupari pe care le-am amintit mai sus, sa consemnam contributia importanta pe care au avut-o unele personaje din istoria bisericii. Dintre acestea as aminti pe: William Ockham, Misticii scolastici, John Wyclif, Jan Hus si Savonarola, care au avut o contributie considerabila in pregatirea Reformei. O buna parte din ideile lor au fost luate si propovaduite de reformatori. Doresc in continuare sa vorbesc putin despre cateva dintre aceste miscari si personaje, care au avut un rol deosebit in pregatirea reformei care a urmat. Acestea sunt: Valdenzii, William Ockham, Misticii medievali, Fratia vietii in comun, John Wyclif si Jan Hus. Nu putem vorbi despre toti, deoarece spatiul acestei lucrari nu permite. De aceea i-am ales pe cei care au avut o rezonanta mai puternica in ceea ce priveste baza biblica a credintei lor precum si influenta asupra personajelor reformei, in special asupra lui Luther.

2.2.1. Valdenzii

Cea mai veche grupare crestina pre-reformatoare, care a existat si exista si azi o constituie valdenzii. Numele si l-au luat de la un negustor bogat din Lyon pe nume Petro Valdes, care pe la 1175-1176 si-a impartit averea saracilor si a hotarat sa urmeze pilda lui Hristos, traind o viata de saracie si propovaduind Evanghelia. El avea o traducere a Noului Testament din limba latina in limba vorbita de popor, traducere care a stat la baza actiunii lui de evanghelizare. Barbati si femei consacrati i s-au alaturat, iar acest ideal de viata dusa in saracie si simplitate a fost aprobat de papa Alexandru III la Conciliu Luteran III in 1179.

De aceea cred ca merita sa spunem ceva despre ei. Iata cum prezinta Elisabet Livingstone inceputurile lor: „Aceasta mica comunitate crestina, care supravietuieste in Piedmont, isi are originea in grupa <<Saracilor din Lyon>>, organizata in secolul XII de Petro Valdes, de la care si-au preluat numele… Valdes a fost un negustor bogat din Lyon care a murit intre 1205 si 1218. In 1173 sau curand dupa aceea el si-a impartit averea la saraci si a devenit predicator itinerant; in scurta vreme a atras o multime de urmasi, barbati, femei si … Alexandru al III-lea i-a aprobat lui Valdes juramantul de saracie, dar i-a interzis lui si tovarasilor sai sa predice fara invitatia clerului. Valdes a inceput curand sa nu mai de-a ascultare prohibitiei impuse… Valdes si urmasii sai s-au organizat separat de Biserica, au ignorat decretele si sanctiunile ei si si-au numit proprii lor slujitori. Mai presus de toate ei au insistat asupra dreptului datoriei de a predica”.

Dupa un timp ei au fugit din Lyon si si-au organizat miscarea ca o Biserica, alegandu-si episcopi, preoti si diaconi. In cele din urma s-au declarat Biserica adevarata si s-au raspandit peste tot: in sudul Frantei, si Spaniei, apoi in Germania, Piedmont si Lombardi dar predominand in Lombardia (Italia de nord) si Proventia (Franta de sud). Puternicul papa Inocentiu III nu putea ingadui aceasta situatie.

In 1214, el i-a denumit pe valdenzi eretici, schismatici iar in 1215, la marele conciliu Lateran IV, Inocentiu III a repetat denumirea generala a ereticilor, inclusiv a valdenzilor. Cu toate acestea valdenzii s-au raspandit atat de mult geografic si doctrinar, incat in 1218 au convocat un conciliu general la Bergano (Italia) unde s-au discutat diferentele doctrinare intre valdenzii din Lombardia si cei din Franta. Mai tarziu au fost urmariti de Inchizitie fara ca aceasta sa-i poata distruge.

Invatatura lor, pe care o respingea papa, era propovaduirea neautorizata a Bibliei si respingerea rolului intermediar al clerului, cele doua chestiuni fundamentale care le-au atras denumirea de eretici.

Una din sursele cele mai convenabile ale invataturii valdenze este un tratat scris pe la 1320 de Bernard Gui, un vestit inchizitor francez pe vremea cand valdenzii erau inca una dintre cele mai puternice miscari dizidente. Acesta ii descrie ca respingand autoritatea eclesiastica, mai ales prin nesupunerea fata de papa sau fata de decretele sale de excomunicare, si prin reinterpretarea tuturor sacramentelor romano-catolice, cu exceptia spovedaniei si iertarii si a impartasaniei.

In teorie, toti valdenzii, barbati si femei, puteau administra aceste sacramente, iar euharistia avea loc o data pe an. Pare sa se fi practicat si un botez valdenz. Sarbatorile si rugaciunile romano-catolice erau respinse de valdenzi.

Gui ii invinuieste ca se erijau ca Biserica alternativa in care „preotul” era pur si simplu un om bun, in loc sa fie o persoana ordinata de Biserica. Aceasta ii parea ceva mult mai greu decat alta importanta trasatura distinctiva ale valdenzilor, propovaduirea misionara in limba locala, cu o puternica scoatere in evidenta a Noului Testament.

Ei refuzau sa depuna juraminte, fiindca spuneau ca Biblia interzice aceasta. Valdenzii negau purgatoriul intrucat nu gaseau nici o baza pentru el in Noul Testament, negand astfel credinta romano-catolica in favoarea rugaciunilor si milosteniilor facute pentru morti. Pentru Valdenzi, daca mortii erau in iad, nu mai erau speranta pentru ei, iar daca erau in ceruri nu aveau nevoie de rugaciune.

In ceea ce priveste organizarea Bisericii spune Gui, valdenzii aveau superiori si credinciosi. Superiorii trebuiau sa traiasca vieti mai austere, fiind obligati sa evanghelizeze si sa rataceasca predicand fara incetare ca si apostolii.

Punctele notate de inchizitorul Gui in sec XIV sunt iarasi dezvaluite de inchizitorii ulteriori in sec. XV si in sec. XVI, cu anumite trasaturi, care par sa devina mai radicale.

Erau acuzati ca resping cladirile, cimitirele, altarele, agheasma, liturghiile, pelerinajele, indulgentele, toate fiind socotite netrebuincioase. Valdenzii si-au completat organizarea. „Clerul” valdenz continua sa se consacre exclusiv predicarii in dialectul local.

Zonele in care ei au fost mai puternici, au fost cele din Europa centrala si tarile romano-catolice din Europa rasariteana. Insesi invataturile valdenze au fost influentate de alte miscari dizidente.

Valdenzii francezi au continuat sa fie hartuiti pana la sfarsitul evului mediu. Aceasta a culminat cu o cruciada contra lor in 1488, in Dauphine (dofine). In Italia, ei au continuat sa reziste cu succes impotriva Inchizitiei, gasindu-si refugiu mai ales in Piemont, unde au fost atacati in 1488. Lucrarea celor din Europa centrala si partea romano-catolica a Europei de est, avea sa influenteze mai tarziu cursul Reformei protestante.

In sec. XV, in pofida campaniilor repetate impotriva lor, valdenzii au circulat mult in Europa centrala si au avut schimburi de idei cu husitii cehi si wyclifitii englezi care se aflau in aceasta zona.

Viata acestor credinciosi in munti nu a fost usoara atata timp cat ei erau cautati pentru a fi executati. Insa dupa un timp oamenii care locuiau la poalele muntilor le-a oferit un ajutor, iar mai tarziu „fratii din Boemia” au fost pentru ei un ajutor, acesta incercand o unificare cu valdenzii. Mai tarziu au luat contact cu reformatorii, fiind influentati puternic de teologia lui Calvin si identificandu-se in mare masura cu reformatii.

In ciuda tuturor prigoanelor care s-au abatut asupra lor de-a lungul timpului, au ramas si exista si azi, asa cum scrie Gunar Westin: „ei traiesc si azi inItalia si sunt unici in felul lor, o biserica libera protestanta din secolul XII, care este plina de vitalitate”.

Alaturi de aceste grupari crestine din biserica oficiala s-au ridicat si barbati de seama, cercetatori ai Sfintelor Scripturi, teologi remarcabili, care au inteles din studiul lor personal, luminati de Duhul Sfant adevarurile Bibliei si ratacirile doctrinei catolice. Cei mai de seama reprezentanti de care ne vom ocupa in cadrul acestui capitol sunt John Wycliff si Jan Huss.

2.2.2. Fratia vietii in comun (Devotia Moderna)

Aceasta a fost o comunitate de barbati, atat laici, cat si clerici, care s-au adunat in casa lui Radewijns din Deventer. Acestia erau in principal prieteni ai acestuia care aveau acelasi fel de gandire si erau adepti ai lui Groote Geert – un bastinas din Deventer (Olanda) care studiase la Paris si fusese profesor la Colonia (Koln). Acesta s-a pocait in anul 1374 (anul mortii lui Petrarca); mai tarziu a adunat in casa lui femei cucernice care traiau fara sa fi depus vreun juramant monastic, apoi s-a asociat cu Florens Radewijns. Acesta era un preot care studiase la Praga, era un bun organizator si a trait intre anii 1350-1400.

Cei care s-au adunat in casa lui Radewijsn au ajuns cunoscuti sub numele de Fratii Vietii in comun. Erau un grup semimonahal care respecta regula simpla a saraciei, castitatii si ascultarii insa neangajati prin nici un legamant formal. Astfel, orice membru era liber sa paraseasca fratia si sa se intoarca la viata seculara, daca asa ii placea. Fratii nu cerseau pomeni, cum faceau „fratii cersetori”, ci aveau grija sa fie tacuti, sa-si vada de treburile lor si sa lucreze cu propriile lor maini, dupa invatatura apostolului Pavel.

Cand Graote a murit de ciuma, Radewijns a preluat conducerea miscarii Devotio Moderna, iar in 1387 a intemeiat casa ei cea mai influenta la Windesheim, langa Zwolle, in Olanda. Acolo, Fratii Vietii in comun au devenit canonici augustini iar statutul lor a fost aprobat de papa Bonifaciu IX in 1395. Peste cativa ani, s-au asociat cu alte case din Olanda, ca sa formeze Congregatia de la Windesheim. Ei s-au consacrat nu doar vietii spirituale si renuntarii la lume, ci si intregului proces al educatiei. Ei predau in scoli locale si isi infiintau propriile lor scoli. Ca sa-si intretina comunitatea, se ocupau de toate aspectele productiei de carti: scrierea, copierea manuscriselor, legarea si comercializarea volumelor, iar odata cu aparitia tiparului, isi tipareau cartile in propria lor tipografie. Windesheim si casele sale afiliate s-au facut curand cunoscute ca stupi de sarguinta cucernica. Cu timpul, miscarea pornita de Grapte a luat avant si s-a raspandit. In secolul XV, Canonicii de la Windesheim au infiintat comunitati in Germania si Elvetia.

Multi dintre fratii vietii in comun si dintre cei mai educati de ei au marcat prin personalitatea lor lumea crestina. Cei mai de seama dintre acestia au fost Nicolaus din Cusa (Kues) si Erasmus insusi. Gabriel Biel (1420-1495), filosof cunoscut ca „ultimul scolastic german” si umanistul Rudolf Agricola (1444-1485), au fost membri ai acestei comunitati, intrucat cele mai stralucite elemente ale scolasticii si umanismului coexistau in Devotio Moderna.

Aceasta comunitate a fost importanta prin accentul pe care l-a pus pe studiu. Este deosebit de important sa stim aceste lucruri, deoarece ne vor ajuta sa-l intelegem mai bine pe Luther care a studiat intr-o asemenea scoala si este evident ca acest fapt l-a influentat in ideile si teologia lui de mai tarziu.

2.2.3. William Ockham (1280-1394)

A fost un ganditor crestin de prima importanta. S-a nascut intre 1280-1290, probabil in satul Ockham din Surrey (Anglia) si a murit la Munchen (Germania) pe la 1349. Dupa ce a intrat in ordinul franciscan, si-a inceput studiile teologice la Oxford, pe la 1309 si a indeplinit conditiile pentru a primi gradul universitar de Magister, cu prelegerile sale asupra „Cartii sentemtiilor” de Petru Lombard pe la 1318-1320.

Dupa cate s-ar parea, fostul cancelar al universitatii l-a denuntat ca eretic papei Ioan XXII si William a fost convocat la Avignon in 1324. Cand a ajuns acolo, s-a implicat intr-o controversa asupra saraciei apostolice care l-a facut sa fie mai critic fata de papalitate; el a cerut ca biserica sa fie condusa de un colegiu de papi si a afirmat ca Hristos este unicul Cap al Bisericii, invataturi care prevesteau miscarea conciliara. Ockham a respins complet autoritatea papala in materie seculara. In 1328, a intrat in serviciul imparatului romano-german, Ludovic de Bavaria, sprijinindu-l in lupta lui cu papalitatea.

In filosofie, Wiliam a elaborat o noua forma de teorie nominalista. El a respins doctrina predominanta, dupa care „universaliile” – instructiuni mentale fara realitatea autonoma – ar fi avut existenta reala. Nominalismul lui William avea sa fie numit „via moderna” (calea moderna) in opozitie cu „via antiqua” (calea veche) a lui Aquinas. Ockham argumenta ca „universaliile” sunt pur si simplu produse artificiale ale mintii umane, necesare pentru comunicarea cu ajutorul limbajului. Numai indivizii sau lucrurile „particulare” (concrete) ar avea existenta reala. Intrucat cunoasterea se bazeaza pe experienta lucrurilor individuale, stiintelor naturii li s-a dat o noua semnificatie.

In multele sale scrieri, Gulielmus Occamus (pe numele sau latinizat) a dezbatut cu iscusinta logica, magistrala marile teme ale filosofiei si teologiei. Principiul sau cunoscut sub numele de „briciul lui Ockham”, afirma: concluzia care se poate formula pornind de la mai putine presupuneri nu are rost sa fie formulata pornind de la mai multe presupuneri („ceea ce se poate face cu mai putin, in zadar se face cu mai mult”); mintea nu trebuie sa inmulteasca lucrurile fara necesitate. Occamus a facut critica elaborata a dovezilor existentei lui Dumnezeu, desi el insusi formulase o puternica teologie pozitiva (KATAFATICA, care definea pe Dumnezeu prin afirmatii, spre deosebire de teologia negativa, APOFATICA, dupa care se poate spune doar ceea ce nu este Dumnezeu, nu ceea ce este.

Originalitatea si profunzineam lui Ockham, este deficitara. Dumnezeu este absolut liber si omnipotent, El poate face totul, inclusiv sa se contrazica, de pilda poate sa mantuiasca un raufacator si sa osandeasca un sfant. Aceasta afirma unii istorici despre Ockham deoarece el subliniaza ca Dumnezeu este cunoscut numai prin credinta, nu prin ratiune sau prin iluminare si ca voia lui Dumnezeu este absolut suverana dar aceasta nu inseamna ca se contrazice. In aceste privinte si in altele, Ockham a netezit calea pentru teologia reformatorilor din sec. XVI, in mod special a lui Luther care va fi influentat de nominalismul lui, pe care il va studia la universitatea din Erfurt.

2.2.4. Misticii Germani

Studiul acestor mistici este important deoarece ei au influentat gandirea lui Luther precum si lucrarea lui.

Primul mare mistic care l-a influentat pe Luther in lucrarea sa de mai tarziu a fost Johnn Eckhart (1260-1327).

Meister Eckhart a fost un calugar dominican german a carui opera este la originea curentului mistic renan si a traditiei conceptuale reluata de idealismul german. Dupa moarte, invatatura lui a fost condamnata de papa Ioan XX (1316-1334). Este recunoscut acum drept forta cea mai de seama in viata religioasa a Germaniei inainte de Reforma.

b) Johnn Tauler (1300-1361)

Elevul lui Eckhart, Johnn Tauler – si el un mistic dominican german, a fost un predicator puternic care a accentuat nimicnicia omului in prezenta lui Dumnezeu. Predicile lui au contribuit la modelarea gandirii lui Luther intr-un stadiu critic al experientei lui spirituale.

c) Johann von Wesel (1400-1481)

Johann von Wesel, din Renania a prefigurat pe reformatorii germani intr-o mare parte din invatatura sa. A respins multe dintre doctrinele si practicile specifice ale Bisericii catolice medievale si a declarat ca numai Biblia este autoritatea absoluta in materie de credinta. A scris impotriva indulgentelor in 1475, a fost judecat de Inchizitie in 1479 si condamnat la detentiune pe viata in manastirea augustina de la Mainz.

d) Wssel Gansfort (1419-1489)

Wessel Gansfort, un teolog olandez educat de Fratii Vietii in comun, a fost denumit unul dintre umanisti biblici. Si el a scris impotriva indulgentelor si a luat in mare masura aceeasi pozitie ca si Luther in atacearea pretentiilor papei si in denuntarea erorilor Bisericii din timpul sau.

2.2.5. John Wycliff (cca. 1328-1384)

Este foarte interesant modul in care apare pe scena acest credincios considerat un premergator al Reformei.

Supunerea Regelui John al Angliei fata de Papa Inocentiu al III-lea si umilirea sa de catre acesta, au dus la o atitudine ostila fata de papalitate in acesta tara. Intreaga natiune engleza s-a considerat injosita in urma acestui act. Pretentiile exagerate ale papilor si amestecul lor in numirea episcopilor englezi au dus in repetate randuri la dispute deschise intre Biserica si conducerea laica, contribuind la largirea prapastiei existente. In aceste conditii apare pe scena Bisericii engleze Wycliff.

Iata cum il prezinta Andrew Miller:

„Tocmai cand rabdarea poporului fata de abuzurile papalitatii parea sa se fi epuizat, Dumnezeu a gasit cu cale sa ridice un oponent puternic al intregului sistem ierarhic primul om care a facut sa se zguduie din temelii dominatia papei in Anglia, si inainte de toate, un om care a iubit in mod sincer adevarul si care l-a vestit atat celor invatati cat si poporului de rand. Acesta a fost John Wycliff. El este numit pe drept precursorul, sau steaua de dimineata a zorilor Reformei”.

O buna parte din viata si-a petrecut-o studiind si apoi predand la Oxford. La inceput dorinta sa nu a fost sa lupte impotriva autoritatii Bisericii Romano-Catolice, ci dorea o reformare din interiorul ei. Astfel pana in 1378 intentia lui a fost sa reformeze Biserica prin eliminarea clericilor si prin deposedarea de proprietati care, credea el, sunt cauza coruptiei. In 1376 scrie lucrarea „Of Civil Dominio” (Despre stapanirea civila) in care sustine ca exista o baza morala pe care trebuie sa o aiba conducerea eclesiastica. Insa nu a putut suporta modul in care clerul deposeda de bani pe credinciosii de rand ai Bisericii. Pamanturile, in mare parte, erau proprietatea Bisericii, de aceea la cererea lui de deposedare de proprietati a acesteia, s-a bucurat de un sprijin deosebit din partea nobilimii engleze, care dorea mult acest lucru.

Daca la inceput a incercat reformarea Bisericii din interior, mai tarziu „dezgustat de <<captivitatea Babiloniana a Bisericii>> si de schisma, Wycliff n-a mai fost satisfacut de aceasta abordare mai degraba negativa, si dupa 1378 a inceput sa se opuna dogmei Bisericii cu idei revolutionare”.

Intrebarea fireasca pe care si-o pune orice istoric este cum a reusit Wycliff sa-si propage ideile fara sa fie excomunicat si omorat ? Raspunsul este ca Dumnezeu l-a ocrotit prin nobilii englezi si prin John de Graunt. Astfel Biserica nu s-a atins de el.

Lovitura cea mai puternica pe care a dat-o Bisericii a fost in anul 1379, cand fara sa-i fie frica de consecintele nefaste care ar fi putut sa apara, a sustinut cu toata taria in scris ca “Hristos este capul Bisericii, si nu Papa”. Prin aceasta nega ca Biserica ar avea putere absoluta, spunand: „Puterea pe care a pierdut-o prin pacate de moarte”. Sau altfel spus: „chiar daca papa si toti clericii ar disparea de pe pamant… credinta nu s-ar pierde, pentru ca ea isi are temelia numai in Domnul Isus, Stapanul si Dumnezeul nostru”.

Vazand importanta pe care o dadea clerul Bisericii in sine precum si invataturile eronate cu privire la autoritatea ei, abuzand astfel de neglijenta fata de Sfanta Scriptura, Wycliff nu a mai suportat acest lucru afirmand ca: „Biblia si nu Biserica este singura autoritate pentru credincios si ca Biserica trebuie sa ia model de la Biserica Nou Testamentala”. Critica adusa Bisericii nu s-a oprit aici, el atacand prin predicile sale alte nereguli cum sunt: cultul icoanelor, cultul sfintilor, al moastelor si al sacramentelor, precum si infiintarea indulgentelor.

Cea mai mare realizare a lui Wycliff a fost aceea de a pune Biblia la indemana poporului in limba engleza. Astfel el a putut sa-si sustina mai bine convingerile cu privire la Biserica, Papa, Scriptura.

In ceea ce priveste euharistia a sustinut consubstantierea insa extrema la care a ajuns cu privire la sacramente a fost aceea de a nu recunoaste nici un sacrament, negand caracterul sacru al euharistiei. Dupa moartea lui insa cei care au continuat invatatura lui au fost numiti „lolarzi”. Acestia erau predicatori laici care au continuat ideile lui Wycliff, iar miscarea acestora a fost numita miscarea lolarzilor.

Cu privire la acestia Elisabeth A. Livingstone a afirmat: „lolarzii sunt urmasi ai lui Wycliff, isi bazau invatatura pe credinta personala, alegerea divina si mai presus de toate pe Biblie”. In general s-au opus celibatului preotilor, transsubstantiunii, indulgentelor si pelerinajelor, sustinand totodata ca validitatea actelor preotesti era determinata de caracterul moral al preotului. Acestia erau oameni simpli, tarani care au ales sa traiasca modest. Dupa 1401, prin statutul de „haereticis comburend” s-a aprobat osandirea oricarui taran sau croitor care tagaduia sfintenia Euharistiei sau care participa seara la o intrunire frateasca in care se propovaduia Cuvantul Bibliei.

Traducerea Bibliei in limba engleza si crearea grupului de predicatori lolarzi a avut o influenta asupra englezilor si a netezit calea Reformei. In afara de aceasta ideile lui Wycliff s-au raspandit in Europa cu repeziciune. Un rol important in raspandirea acestora l-au jucat studentii boemieni, care studiau in Anglia. Acestia i-au dus ideile in Boemia, unde au devenit baza pentru invatatura lui Jan Hus.

Concluzionand in ceea ce priveste ideile lui Wycliff in istorie pot spune ca ele nu constituie altceva decat „cateva grinzi” ale unui pod care face trecerea de la un ev mediu intunecat la o epoca moderna, acest pod prinzand contur odata cu declansarea Reformei.

2.2.6. Jan Hus (1373-1415)

Pentru a intelege ceea ce s-a intamplat in centrul Europei prin anii 1400, trebuie sa ne reamintim ce s-a intamplat in Anglia precum si legaturile acesteia cu Europa centrala. In acest sens nu trebuie uitata casatoria lui Richard al III-lea al Angliei cu Ana de Boemia, care a avut o importanta istorica deosebita, aceasta concretizandu-se in ceva practic si anume: „schimbul de studenti intre Anglia si Boemia”.

Trebuie retinut faptul ca la fel ca in Anglia s-au facut simtite sentimentele nationale. In ambele cazuri, ele s-au ridicat impotriva stapanului strain, care domnea la Roma, si care avea pretentia de a fi loctiitorul lui Hristos pe pamant. In afara de aceasta, in Boemia existau nemultumiri si din cauza faptului ca germanii detineau multe pozitii inalte in cadrul Bisericii in detrimentul cehilor, iar la Universitatea din Praga pretindeau a avea o pozitie privilegiata.

Luptele dintre ei au dus la retragerea germanilor de la Praga si la infiintarea Universitatii din Leipzig in anul 1409. Atunci cand ideile teologice si filozofice a lui Wycliff s-au intalnit si s-au impletit cu nationalismul ceh, s-a dezvoltat in Boemia o puternica miscare de emancipare sub tutela Romei.

Am spus ca intre cele doua orase Oxford si Praga s-au facut schimburi de studenti. Astfel ideile lui Wycliff au ajuns foarte repede si usor pe teritoriul Boemiei, datorita studentilor care au studiat in Anglia si s-au confruntat cu ideile lui. Gasindu-le bune, acestia le-au luat in Boemia.

In vremea aceea la Oxford, in Anglia, se dezbateau ideile lui Wycliff. Acesti studenti le-au imbratisat si le-au adus in Boemia.

Dupa acestea intre studentii din Praga a luat fiinta o comunitate de admiratori ai ideilor lui Wycliff, in fruntea carora se afla Jan Hus. Pe langa acestia, ideile au fost imbratisate de multi intelectuali, clerici si laici.

Jan Hus s-a nascut in Bohmernald (astazi Husinet) in 1373 dupa unii ar fi 6 iulie 1369, intr-o familie modesta. Ramanand de timpuriu fara tata, a fost crescut de mama sa, care era o femeie credincioasa. Muncind din greu, aceasta l-a ajutat sa ajunga la Universitatea din Praga. Fiind un student sarguincios, a reusit foarte repede sa se adapteze situatiei. Interesat de cunoasterea Scripturilor, va deveni unul dintre cei mai buni studenti ai Universitatii.

Dupa terminarea studiilor ajunge predicator la Capela Betleem din Praga, avand un dar deosebit de a-si captiva ascultatorii cu predicile sale. Era familiar cu ideile lui Wycliff, astfel ca in predicile sale reproducea nu doar ideile acestuia ci chiar limbajul. Avea un rol important la Universitatea unde la inceput a fost magistru. Dupa plecarea germanilor la Leipzig, devine rector al acesteia in anul 1409. Ataca in predicile sale unele dogme ale Bisericii Romano-Catolice, coruptia clerului inalt. Sustinea, asemeni lui Wycliff ca Biblia este singura autoritate in viata si credinta crestinului: „Biserica este comunitatea celor alesi, iar Hristos este singurului ei Cap.

O vreme se parea ca Hus va reusi sa atraga de partea acestei invataturi prin predici si scrieri intreaga natiune ceha; insa si in Boemia existau ierarhi catolici, care i s-au impotrivit. Daca la inceput arhiepiscopul Sbinok de Praga l-a incurajat, curand acesta l-a abandonat, trecand de partea papei Alexandru al V-lea. Lui Hus i s-a interzis sa mai predice, iar papa a emis o bula in 1410 prin care s-a ordonat distrugerea cartilor lui Wycliff, iar pentru a curma influenta reformatorului ceh i-a interzis sa mai predice si in capelele private.

In 1411 papa Ioan al XXIII-lea l-a excomunicat pe Hus, care a trebuit sa se refugieze din Praga. In timpul acesta de refugiu, el s-a dedicat scrisului, elaborand, astfel principala sa opera „De Eclesia” in 1413, scrisa sub influenta directa a lucrarilor lui Wycliff.

Fiind citat sa se prezinte in fata Conciliului Bisericii, care s-a desfasurat la Constance in 1414, Hus bazandu-se pe promisiunea imparatului ca nu i se va intampla nimic rau, da ascultare si se deplaseaza acolo. Din pacate, imparatul nu s-a tinut de cuvant. Ba mai mult atat ideile lui Wycliff, cat si invatatura sa au fost condamnate ca eretice. Refuzand sa-si retracteze invatatura, Hus este intemnitat, iar in anul 1415 ars pe rug. Invatatura lui Hus nu a putut fi distrusa, fiind dusa mai departe de urmasii sai, care s-au impartit in doua tabere. Una era tabara radicala, „taboritilor”, dupa muntele Tabor, fortareata lor din sudul orasului Praga. Acestia au respins orice invatatura cu privire la credinta si practicile Bisericii Romano-Catolice care, spuneau ei, nu aveau fundament scriptural.

Cea de-a doua ramura care sustinea ideile lui Hus si care era mai moderata, era cea a „utraquistilor”. Ei au avut o pozitie proprie prin care sustineau ca numai ceea ce Biblia interzice trebuie eliminat si ca toti credinciosii, nu numai clerul trebuie sa primeasca atat painea cat si vinul la impartasanie.

Din gruparea radicala a taboritilor s-a format gruparea „Fratii Uniti”, sau „Fratii Boemiei”. Acestia au aparut prin anii 1540, constituind astfel suportul unei noi biserici care poate fi gasita si azi, numita „Biserica Moraviana”. Aceasta s-a dezvoltat foarte mult prin spiritul ei misionar, de aceea nu este ceva deosebit daca spunem ca Hus l-ar fi inspirat pe Luther. Deoarece Luther avea posibilitatea sa cunoasca invataturile lui Hus.

Seriozitatea religioasa, atat a lui Wycliff cat si a lui Hus, cere o admiratie deosebita. Dar in ciuda recunoasterii lui Luther a multor puncte de legatura cu Hus, Reforma s-a datorat intr-o mica masura eforturilor lor. Totusi nu trebuie uitat faptul ca ei au anticipat spiritul si lucrarea reformatorilor, netezind calea acestora si usurand astfel aparitia Reformei.

2.3. Reforma protestanta. Linii generale.

Reforma a fost o incercare de intoarcere la puritatea crestinismului Noului Testament si dezvoltarea unei teologii in acord cu acesta. Reformatorii erau convinsi ca aceasta teologie nu va deveni niciodata o realitate atata timp cat Biserica va fi autoritatea finala in locul Bibliei. In cea mai mare parte, Reforma a fost limitata la Europa de Apus si la popoarele teutonice. Nici Biserica de Rasarit si nici popoarele latine din vechiul Imperiu Roman nu au acceptat Reforma. In acele parti, inca stapaneau idealurile medievale de unitate si de uniformitate, dar in nordul si vestul Europei, popoarele teutonice au trecut la diversitatea protestantismului.

Totusi, in anumite tari Romano-Catolice in ciuda tuturor persecutiilor si-au mentinut existenta mici denominatii Valdenze si ale Fratilor Boemieni.

Principalii lideri ai acestei miscari au fost Martin Luther (1483 – 1546), Ulrich Zwingli (1484 – 1531), John Calvin (1509 – 1564). La inceput ei au fost pentru o restaurare a Crestinismului primar, dar nu dupa mult timp, liderii acestei miscari au adoptat ideea si apoi au decis ca o unire cu statul este necesara succesului bisericii. Aceasta decizie a fost un compromis fata de pozitia sustinuta la inceput. Acceptarea acestui compromis de catre Luther si Zwingli, compromis care includea si eliminarea oricaror disidente, a dus la aparitia miscarii Anabaptiste evanghelice.

Martin Luther s-a nascut la Eisleben, 1483 in Saxonia, o provincie din Imperiul German. A primit educatie la scoala Latina din Eisenach si la Universitatea din Erfurt. In 1505, el a devenit calugar augustinian in acelasi oras, sperand sa gaseasca pacea sufletului prin efort personal. In cele din urma, a ajuns la concluzia ca iertarea divina si schimbarea interioara sunt rezultatul credintei in Christos.

In 1509, a acceptat sa fie profesor la Universitatea din Wittenberg in Saxonia. In 1517, Johann Tetzel a fost insarcinat sa vanda indulgente papale in diferite parti ale Germaniei. Luther a considerat ca Tetzel pretinde prea mult pentru eficacitatea acestor indulgente, si ca in aceasta privinta el a actionat in contradictie cu vointa papei si cu invatatura Bisericii Romano – Catolice.

In consecinta, Luther a scris 95 teze in latina si le-a fixat pe usa Bisericii din Witteberg. In aceste teze el a condamnat abuzurile de care se facea vinovat Tetzel, din punctul de vedere romano- catolic. In timpul controverselor ce au urmat, Luther a fost din ce in ce mai mult convins ca multe invataturi si practici ale Bisericii Romane sunt nescripturale. Inca inainte de expunerea acestor teze el a avansat ideea doctrinei justificarii prin credinta, care din punctul de vedere al Bisericii Romane era o erezie. Electorul Frederich cel Intelept i-a acordat toata protectia posibila.

In cele din urma Luther a fost excomunicat de papa in 1520. Obtinand o copie a declaratiei papale, Luther i-a dat foc in public. Anul urmator a aparut in fata Dietei, ori a Parlamentului Imperiului German, la Worms, dar a refuzat sa retraga ceea ceea ce i s-a cerut. Electorul Frederich, in secret, a aranjat sa fie dus la Castelul Wartburg, pentru siguranta lui personala. In timpul acesta, Luther a luat decizia ca Liturghia sa fie mentinuta pana cand ea ar fi putut fi inlocuita cu aprobarea autoritatilor civile. Aceasta atitudine cu privire la Liturghie si alte puncte practice ce trebuiau reformate a dus la o stransa legatura intre stat si biserica. Liturghia a fost in cele din urma abolita in Wittenberg si in toata Saxonia, dupa moartea Electorului Fredereck, de catre fratele acestuia, Electorul John, in 1525. Biserica Luterana a fost facuta biserica de stat in Saxonia si in cele din urma in toate provinciile Germaniei si Scandinaviei, ai caror conducatori acceptasera crezul lutheran.

In aceeasi perioada Biserica Zwingliniana sau Reformata a devenit biserica de stat in anumite cantoane din Elvetia.

Ulrich Zwingli a fost un lider al Reformei in regiunea din Elvetia in care se vorbea limba germana. El s-a nascut in anul 1484, la Wildhaus, langa St. Gall in Elvetia. A studiat in Bern, Viena, si Basel fiind consacrat ca preot in 1506. In anul 1518 a fost ales episcop principal al orasului Zurich, cel mai important oras din Elvetia.

Dupa sosirea lui in Zurich, s-a putut observa in predicile lui o nota evanghelica. In cativa ani, in predicile lui, Zwingli a atacat anumite doctrine si practici Romano – Catolice. Atitudinea Consiliului din Zurich fata de Reforma a fost favorabila, dar guvernul federal al Elvetiei s-a opus miscarii. Consiliul din Zurich i-a dat lui Zwingli deplina libertate in ceea ce priveste predicarea din Scripturi. Din motive politice, consiliul a ales o atitudine de compromis, interzicand toate devierile de la practicile Bisericii Romano – Catolice ce puteau avea loc. In concluzie, lui Zwingli i s-a permis sa predice impotriva Bisericii Romane, dar nu sa si abandoneze practicile ei.

Luther si Zwingli nu au avut, in toate, aceleasi invataturi. Principala controversa dintre ei a fost in legatura cu Cina Domnului. Luter a aparat doctrina Prezentei Reale, adica painea si vinul sunt in realitate trupul si sangele lui Hristos, in timp ce Zwingli sustinea ca acestea sunt embleme sau simboluri. Zwingli, a respins doctrina regenerarii prin botez, pe care Luther o sustinea.

Zwingli a ajuns la aceste pareri datorita controverselor cu Fratii Elvetieni, dandu-si seama de faptul ca Anabaptistii aveau dreptate cand sustineau ca nici botezul nici impartasania nu sunt mijloace prin care sa se obtina iertarea pacatelor. Reforma, in anumite state a condus la infiintarea unor biserici de stat protestante. Conducatorii care acceptau crezul luteran sau zwinglinian, stabileau fie o biserica de stat Luterana sau Zwingliniana. Formarea unei noi biserici de stat nu era ceva complicat. Conducatorul teritoriului respectiv dadea ordin preotilor sa se conformeze doctrinei si practicii noului credeu. Peotii duceau la indeplinire ordinele conducatorilor. Oamenii de rand nu aveau nimic de spus in aceasta problema.

Infiintarea acestor noi biserici de stat erau in avantajul personal al acestor conducatori. In felul acesta aveau control mai larg asupra bisericilor si asupra averilor manastirilor. In provinciile Lutherane, printul conducator era considerat summus episcopus al bisericii din acel stat. Surprinzator este faptul ca religia de stat se schimba in functie de poruncile autoritatilor civile.Anumite districte care trecusera la Zwinglianism, au trecut sub stapanirea unor conduceri Romano-Catolice, iar populatia acestor districte au reacceptat credeul Romano Catolic. Locuitorii regiunii Palatinelor de Sus au fost nevoiti sa-si schimbe religia de patru ori in timpul Reformei. Oamenii, fie protestanti fie catolici nu au luat credinta lor in serios ca sa fie gata sa sufere persecutii pentru ea. Numarul martirilor Luterani si Zwinglinian este foarte mic. Anabaptistii s-au plans de multe ori ca au fost ridiculizati pentru ca au fost gata sa indure persecutii pentru credinta lor. Dupa cum s-a aratat, orice disidenta sau deviere de la crezul bisericii de stat era sever pedepsita.

Din scrierile lui Luther si Zwingli, reiese clar ca in anii de inceput ai Reformei, ei au aparat principiul membriei voluntare, nevoia disciplinei in biserica si independenta bisericii de stat. Toate aceste obiective nu au putut fi atinse de Luther si Zewingli. Istoricul lutheran, profesorul Karl Mueller, Tuebingen, Germania, a spus: „Puterea agresiva, cuceritoare, pe care lutheranii au manifestat-o in prima perioada, s-a pierdut oriunde, in momentul in care guvernantii au luat problema in mainile lor si au stabilit Crezul Lutheran.”


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