THE FRUIT OF THE REFORMATION--ATHEISM
The town of Wittenberg Germany where Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church has undergone enormous changes including what some may call the curse of atheism. From chicagotribune:
"The wooden doors of Castle Church were long ago replaced by ones made of bronze, but what comes as a far greater disappointment to Protestant pilgrims, especially those from America, is that only about 15 percent of Wittenberg's inhabitants identify themselves as Christian.
"Most of the others proudly celebrate their atheism.
"We knew that Christianity had taken a hit during communist times, but to come here, to the land of Luther, and to find so many people outside the church, yes, it was a surprise," admitted Stephen Godsall-Myers, a Lutheran pastor from Pennsylvania.
"The situation is even starker when the pilgrims make their way to the town of Eisleben, Luther's birthplace. There, only 8 percent of the population calls itself Christian.
"What theologians and academics describe as the de-Christianization of Europe began more than a century ago, but in eastern Germany the process was greatly accelerated under the communist rule of the former German Democratic Republic."
Yes, Germany suffered through the devastation of communism--but this cannot account for the domination and speed with which atheism has spread in the historical heart of the Reformation and throughout the entire continent. What Germany suffers from is de-Christianization brought on by the Reformation. It is indeed the Reformation itself that has led to the devastation of faith and the growth of atheism throughout the West. It is also the Reformation that has led to the massive loss of common sense and healthy fear of the potential Islamization of the whole of Europe.
When Martin Luther stood against the authority of the Catholic Church he stood against Christianity as a viable concept for unbelieving modern man. He stood as a brand new mini-pope that would inaugurate all the atheistic mini-popes. Instead of standing with Christ he stood with all the authors of heresies including Mohammed, himself. Luther ushered in the one concept that plagues modern man's mind and prevents his attainment of truth in all its glory--relativism.
When the authority of the Church was denied--protesting Christianity became relativistic. Man became the creator and author of his own version of "truth". Every pastor became free to interpret what he saw as God's final word on any given moral issue. And when a disagreement inevitably occurred another denomination was born.
Thanks to the Reformation the atheist citizenry of Wittenberg no longer have a "visible" Christianity to return to. To the unbeliever the landscape of religion on the whole let alone Christianity, is fraught with confusion due to division and splintering. This is why Islam is viewed by so many in the de-Christianized West as simply another religion which is no better than Christianity-- rather than a dangerous and destructive heresy that threatens our civilization. Additionally, the rise of militant atheism that dismisses all Christians as "nuts" is a natural outgrowth of the confusion bought about by the Reformation.
The very idea of one Church possessing the truth and being ordained by God as His Church is not only absolutely foreign, but is repugnant to the modern mind. And with the dismissal of authority in Christianity came the dismissal of the entire concept of absolute truth.
The division and damage done not only to souls but also to Western Civilization by splintered and perpetually dividing Christianity is untold. We need Catholic missionaries to restore the concept of truth to our world. God in his mercy has restored the liturgy to the Catholic Church--which I and so many others believe has the potential to restore the world to Christ.