Spanking Plato: Set 4: Luther and Calvin

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Alfred North Whitehead, a famous thinker, once said, “All of western thought is a footnote to Plato.” But imagine that western thought is a person. How would he or she feel? Behave?

In Spanking Plato, a satirical, funny, and irreverent story that some have called the next Monty Python, I have personified Western Thought—also known as Wes or Wesley Thought—as someone who is confused and angry because everybody thinks he is nothing more than a copy, a cheap imitation of Plato. After all, as he says, he was around long before and after Plato.

He also is angry because many other famous people like Newton and Galileo have put words in his mouth. As a result, he is confused about who he is and suffers an identity crisis. He seeks the help of a therapist.

* * *

In this section, we will explore the strange personality of Martin Luther. Some think he had severe personality problems or may have suffered depression or post-traumatic disorder Draw your own conclusions.

What do you think of a man who stands up three women before marrying a fourth? Does he lead them on? We will look at the background of John Calvin and see how he impacts your life today.

Critical Thinking questions:

1. Wesley Thought states that some scholars say that not only was Luther anti-Semitic, but the Nazis would quote him to justify their treatment of the Jews. Research this and be ready to discuss in class or prepare a written report.

2. Erik Erikson claims in his book, Young Man Luther, that “Martin's standing up to a Holy Roman Church can only be understood in the context of his initial disobedience to his father. Luther was not…rebellious or disobedient by nature,” From your reading of this story, what are your thoughts about Luther’s relationship with his father?

3. Erikson also claims in the same book that “although Martin Luther made a theological point, the church was not particularly out of line with the times of the era, but it was simply Martin Luther's own personal, internal issues with himself, that manifested against the church, and by projection, a crisis of identity.” What do you think?

4. Wesley quotes John Milton when he says, “Do you know what John Milton said about Calvinism? He said, ‘Though I may go to hell for it, such a God cannot command my respect.’” How closely do Calvin’s views reflect those of your peers or yourself?

5. What do you think Calvin’s views were about women? Some contemporary religious people claim that those of a “modern” Calvinistic (neo-Calvinistic) background believe “that men are called to lead in every sphere of life, including business and politics, and women are called to submit.” What do you think? Are there people like that today?

6. Do you know anyone with a personality like John Calvin? How do you relate to that person? How would you describe him or her?

7. What are Calvin’s views about the rich and the poor? Whom does he blame for their condition? Why?
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Spanking Plato: Set 4: Luther and Calvin
Spanking Plato: Set 4: Luther and Calvin
Spanking Plato: Set 4: Luther and Calvin
Spanking Plato: Set 4: Luther and Calvin