The last time we had a nice big round number come around on the timeline of history, I ranted about the world before & after WWI. Much as that event burned a black path across Western Civilization, there’s a much bigger round number, with much bigger impact, coming around in October. Better get my $.02 in before anybody else.
According to legend, October 31st, 1517 is when Luther nailed his 95 feces to the church door.
I hope I don’t need to tell you much about what this set off in Europe for the next couple of centuries. Just Google a few fun things like “Reformation”, “Siege of Munster”, “30 Years War”, and “Witch Trials”.
I’m likely to piss off a few Christians with my first observation: that the content of his 95 theses and the subsequent debate over them are the LEAST interesting part of all this to modern people. Some day, future humanoids will look back on the ideological battles of the 20th century (the Cold War, for instance), and laugh as heartily as we do over indulgences and transubstantiation. (Assuming humanoids stay around that long, but that’s another essay.) Continue reading