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Martin Luther, Erasmus, and a progressive walk into a bar …

Conservative Review

Martin Luther was the instigator of the Protestant Reformation, which celebrates its 500th anniversary this week. Erasmus was often Luther’s nemesis, debating him on behalf of the Catholic Church. Then there’s your typical progressive, joining Luther and Erasmus in this imaginary but all too real conversation.

On truth:

LUTHER: “I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand. I can do no other, so help me God. Amen.”

ERASMUS: “There are others who are rich only in wishes; they build beautiful air-castles and conceive that doing so is enough for happiness.”

PROGRESSVE: “Whatever, man. The only truth I stand in is my truth. But I plan on making you feel the yoke of my truth as if it really is God’s truth, because tolerance is for suckers. Kneel before me and make me feel like a victim and a ruler all at the same time. That’s exactly what I want. And until you give it to me, your claims of truth will be cause for me to whip up my very own little Spanish Inquisition on you. My sin is my sacrament and my emotions are my judge and jury.”

On faith:

LUTHER: “I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God’s hands, that I still possess.”

ERASMUS: “And so when the whole man will be outside himself, and happy for no reason except that he is so outside himself, he will enjoy some of the ineffable share in the supreme good which draws everything into itself.”

PROGRESSIVE: “I can’t believe you listen to stupid ideas from imaginary spaghetti monsters in the sky. I listen to cool things like reason and science. Like when they tell me that life begins at conception, obviously I promote the killing of those babies with impunity. And when they tell me the clear, DNA-based difference between the two sexes, naturally I make up new ones and hack my body to pieces in defiance. And when they tell me the universe appears to be designed, clearly I build sex robots and socialism because my plans are obviously much more beautiful to behold.”

On idolatry:

LUTHER: “Whatever your heart clings to and confides in, that is really your God.”

ERASMUS: “At last concluded that no creature was more miserable than man, for that all other creatures are content with those bounds that nature set them, only man endeavors to exceed them.”

PROGRESSIVE: “I’ll show you for believing such nonsense. This is me taking a knee against you. Look! Look at me! Sure, I don’t really have a coherent alternative to what you are saying, but a good protest doesn’t really need to be bogged down in such details. I just simply don’t like you. So if you say ‘up,’ I am going down. Down all the way to your hell that doesn’t really exist, just to show that you aren’t the boss of me.”

On sacrifice:

LUTHER: “The Gospel cannot be truly preached without offense and tumult.”

ERASMUS: “Whoever among you thinks himself wise must become a fool (to this world) to be truly wise.”

PROGRESSIVE: “What an ugly word. Unless you mean human sacrifice, then we’ve got that one down stone cold. But I have no plans to sacrifice my pursuit of pleasure, by considering any bigger picture that doesn’t place my every whim squarely at the center of the universe. And while I claim human nature is basically good, obviously I think those who disagree with me are bad since I give myself permission to call them every name in the book. Now, don’t ask me how that works. For the great and powerful me is a fickle god, and I like my me much more than your me.”

On freedom:

LUTHER: “A Christian man is the most free lord of all, and subject to none; a Christian man is the most dutiful servant of all, and subject to everyone.”

ERASMUS: “Bidden or unbidden, God is present.”

PROGRESSIVE: “What a white-privilege piece of garbage your so-called ‘freedom’ is. You aren’t really free at all. You are a slave to a system created by man designed to oppress you. So here’s my alternative — another system created by man that totally won’t oppress you or take your business away, or sue nuns or anything like that. Because we are the people we’ve been waiting for and you will be made to care if you dare to disagree.”

On church:

LUTHER: “Anyone who is to find Christ must first find the church. How could anyone know where Christ is, and what faith is in Him, unless he knew where His believers are?”

ERASMUS: “I put up with this church, in the hope that one day it will become better, just as it is constrained to put up with me in the hope that I will become better.”

PROGRESSIVE: “My church is the government, and unlike your place of worship, attendance is mandatory. You fools wander around talking about faith, hope, and love when the real game is raw, unfettered power. If the Constitution can help me get that, cool. If the Constitution stands in the way of that, I will ignore it or ‘evolve’ it until the plebes bend to my will out of exhaustion, cowardice, or brainwashing. And my church’s tithe is the confiscatory taxation that I never think is enough, because I’m certain I can spend your money better than you can.”

At this point Luther and Erasmus leave the bar, each having heard enough. The two old and at times bitter rivals then turn to each other and simultaneously say: “Dude, that progressive fellow is nuttier than a fruitcake. We better hang together on this one, or we will most certainly hang separately.”

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