Weird History
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All The Many Ways Martin Luther Was Out Of His Ever-Loving Mind

Updated October 9, 2017 11.2k views12 items

When Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses on the door of Castle Church in Wittenburg, Germany, in 1517, he opened a big chasm in the already-fracturing Catholic Church. His basic grievances - indulgences, simony, excessive Church wealth - were what got him in trouble with the Pope and kicked out of the Protestant Reformation, but some of his other ideas were even further out there.  

Martin Luther held a lot of beliefs that have caused historians to question his perspective and his sanity, to say nothing of his dark, brooding, stubborn personality. The plausible potential for Martin Luther's mental illness would explain a lot of his firebrand characteristics. Luther didn't mince words when it came to marriage, the Church, or even lying - in some ways that may surprise you. And some of his most important revelations may have struck him while he was sitting on the toilet, which makes sense, given how much he talked about poop.

  • Luther Used To Swear At The Devil During His Bouts With Constipation
    Photo: WikiMedia

    Luther Used To Swear At The Devil During His Bouts With Constipation

    Luther liked foul language and was pretty open about the fact that he suffered from constipation - sometimes those things collided.  He spent a lot of time in the lavatory, by his own admission, and many scholars think that wrote much of 95 Theses while trying to evacuate his bowels. In 2004, archaeologists discovered Luther's famous toilet. 

    One of the phrases Luther peppered into his works that brought together his theology and his toilet-time include "I sh*t on the devil."

  • Luther Thought That Lying Was Okay - Sometimes
    Photo: WikiMedia

    Luther Thought That Lying Was Okay - Sometimes

    According to Luther, it was okay to lie out of necessity, and, from his perspective, this kind of lie wouldn't offend God. Luther found several lies to be acceptable, actually,

    "what harm would it do, if a man told a good strong lie for the sake of the good and the faith of the Christian Church...a lie out of necessity, a useful lie, a helpful lie, such lies would not be against God, he would accept them."

  • Luther Once Called The Pope A 'Fart-Ass'

    Martin Luther was in no way on good terms with the Catholic Church after he was excommunicated in 1521 and that framed how he talked about the Papacy and other church officials. In 1545, Luther wrote one of his most scathing works against the papacy, calling Pope Paul III a "fart-ass and enemy of God." To Luther, the Papacy was worse than the Antichrist in its excess and sin. 

    Pope Paul III wasn't the first Pope that Luther called the Antichrist, of course. He considered the Papacy in general to be an abomination and working against the Church from within. 

  • Luther Had Mixed Feelings About The Ten Commandments
    Photo: Tyler Merbler / flickr / CC-BY 2.0

    Luther Had Mixed Feelings About The Ten Commandments

    With his desire to remove any excess from the Bible - he tried to remove several of the early books from the New Testament, including the Book of James, Jude, Hebrews, and Revelation - he had mixed feelings about their use. He was in support of the laity studying and understanding the basics of the Ten Commandments, because they guided humanity to proper behavior, but also had little hope that the common man could understand them enough to carry them out sufficiently

    On the other side of that argument, there were times when Luther's argument for salvation through faith alone was enough for religion made the Ten Commandments seem irrelevant.