Human Individualism Essay

1807 words - 8 pages

The beliefs of Martin Luther, John Calvin, and Galileo on the Bible are similar in some aspects, but mostly different from one another. Martin Luther and John Calvin are somewhat similar in their belief that faith alone is the key to salvation. Galileo, however was a scientist, and his views on the Bible differ from those of Calvin and Luther. Since Galileo was not a theologian, most of his writing is not about God and the Bible, but it is about science. Though their writings are very different, Calvin, Luther, and Galileo all speak about the subject of human individualism. Their views of human individualism differ from one another, and arise from different circumstances. Each of these three ...view middle of the document...

These actions do not determine whether or not they are a good person, but a person must be good before doing good things, or bad before doing bad things. Since a person’s character, be it good or wicked, is defined before that person commits good or wicked actions, something must come before their character is defined (15). According to Luther, a person’s character is determined by their faith and relationship with the Lord. Any heathen can perform good deeds such as wearing robes and praying aloud, but according to Luther’s writer, these things make such a person a hypocrite (9). Therefore, the aforementioned person is wicked, which is proven by the fact that he or she is a hypocrite. When a person has faith in the Lord, the Holy Spirit works to change the individuals heart. Luther mentions that commandments are given to show mankind their sin, and promises are given as assurance of pardon (11). When a Christian understands these things, he or she will perform acts such as wearing robes and praying aloud, but for the right reason, which is to honor the Lord. Since the soul lives on faith alone, it does not harm the soul to dwell with unbelievers or to not pray aloud (9). When Jesus was on the Earth, he visited the homes of sinners. The process of becoming a Christian is done between the individual and the Lord, according to Luther. In addition to claiming that priests and bishops in the Catholic Church are not necessary for salvation, Luther also says Christian become fellow priests of God (12).
In contrast to the writings of Martin Luther, John Calvin focuses more on mankind’s dependency on God. In Luther’s mind, the individual must recognize his or her sin before accepting Christ and becoming a better individual. Calvin claims that nothing an individual can do will change his or her heart, or make him or her right with God in any way. Mankind is completely depraved and dependent on God. Calvin’s beliefs on Christianity have been appropriately named Calvinism. Calvinism and Lutheranism are similar in some aspects. Later in Martin Luther’s life, he began to accept some of Calvin’s ideas and believe in them himself. Calvin, however had his extreme beliefs from the very beginning.
Human individualism to John Calvin revolves around his belief of innate depravity. The most important thing an individual can do is realize that he or she does not deserve God’s grace, and can do nothing to deserve it (31). However, since all of mankind is totally depraved, it takes the work of the Holy Spirit to change a man’s heart. On his or her own, an individual cannot recognize his or her sin without the work of the Holy Spirit. God must choose who will be saved since everyone is totally depraved; it is impossible for humans to choose God, because individuals are tainted with sin in every way (32-33). Therefore, the importance of the individual is not what he or she does on their own, but what God does in their life. Once an individual is saved, the Holy...

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