Jan 21, 2012

Do statistics prove the Bible's supernatural origin?

Applying the Science of Probability to the Scriptures


Professor Peter Stoner
For years I have been quoting a book by Peter Stoner called Science Speaks. I like to use a remarkable illustration from it to show how Bible prophecy proves that Jesus was truly God in the flesh.
I decided that I would try to find a copy of the book so that I could discover all that it had to say about Bible prophecy. The book was first published in 1958 by Moody Press. After considerable searching on the Internet, I was finally able to find a revised edition published in 1976.
Peter Stoner was chairman of the mathematics and astronomy departments at Pasadena City College until 1953 when he moved to Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California. There he served as chairman of the science division. At the time he wrote this book, he was professor emeritus of science at Westmont.
In the edition I purchased, there was a foreword by Dr. Harold Hartzler, an officer of the American Scientific Affiliation. He wrote that the manuscript had been carefully reviewed by a committee of his organization and that "the mathematical analysis included is based upon principles of probability which are thoroughly sound." He further stated that in the opinion of the Affiliation, Professor Stoner "has applied these principles in a proper and convincing way."
The book is divided into three sections. Two relate directly to Bible prophecy. The first section deals with the scientific validity of the Genesis account of creation.

Part One: The Genesis Record

Stoner begins with a very interesting observation. He points out that his copy of Young's General Astronomy, published in 1898, is full of errors. Yet, the Bible, written over 2,000 years ago is devoid of scientific error. For example, the shape of the earth is mentioned in Isaiah 40:22. Gravity can be found in Job 26:7. Ecclesiastes 1:6 mentions atmospheric circulation. A reference to ocean currents can be found in Psalm 8:8, and the hydraulic cycle is described in Ecclesiastes 1:7 and Isaiah 55:10. The second law of thermodynamics is outlined in Psalm 102:25-27 and Romans 8:21. And these are only a few examples of scientific truths written in the Scriptures long before they were "discovered" by scientists.
Stoner proceeds to present scientific evidence in behalf of special creation. For example, he points out that science had previously taught that special creation was impossible because matter could not be destroyed or created. He then points out that atomic physics had now proved that energy can be turned into matter and matter into energy.
He then considers the order of creation as presented in Genesis 1:1-13. He presents argument after argument from a scientific viewpoint to sustain the order which Genesis chronicles. He then asks, "What chance did Moses have when writing the first chapter [of Genesis] of getting thirteen items all accurate and in satisfactory order?" His calculations conclude it would be one chance in 31,135,104,000,000,000,000,000 (1 in 31 x 1021). He concludes, "Perhaps God wrote such an account in Genesis so that in these latter days, when science has greatly developed, we would be able to verify His account and know for a certainty that God created this planet and the life on it."
The only disappointing thing about Stoner's book is that he spiritualizes the reference to days in Genesis, concluding that they refer to periods of time of indefinite length. Accordingly, he concludes that the earth is approximately 4 billion years old. In his defense, keep in mind that he wrote this book before the foundation of the modern Creation Science Movement which was founded in the 1960's by Dr. Henry Morris. That movement has since produced many convincing scientific arguments in behalf of a young earth with an age of only 6,000 years.

Peter Stoner's Calculations Regarding Messianic Prophecy

Peter Stoner calculated the probability of just 8 Messianic prophecies being fulfilled in the life of Jesus. As you read through these prophecies, you will see that all estimates were calculated as conservatively as possible.
  1. The Messiah will be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2).
    The average population of Bethlehem from the time of Micah to the present (1958) divided by the average population of the earth during the same period = 7,150/2,000,000,000 or 2.8x105.
  2. A messenger will prepare the way for the Messiah (Malachi 3:1).
    One man in how many, the world over, has had a forerunner (in this case, John the Baptist) to prepare his way?
    Estimate: 1 in 1,000 or 1x103.
  3. The Messiah will enter Jerusalem as a king riding on a donkey (Zechariah 9:9).
    One man in how many, who has entered Jerusalem as a ruler, has entered riding on a donkey?
    Estimate: 1 in 100 or 1x102.
  4. The Messiah will be betrayed by a friend and suffer wounds in His hands (Zechariah 13:6).
    One man in how many, the world over, has been betrayed by a friend, resulting in wounds in his hands?
    Estimate: 1 in 1,000 or 1x103.
  5. The Messiah will be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12).
    Of the people who have been betrayed, one in how many has been betrayed for exactly 30 pieces of silver?
    Estimate: 1 in 1,000 or 1x103.
  6. The betrayal money will be used to purchase a potter's field (Zechariah 11:13).
    One man in how many, after receiving a bribe for the betrayal of a friend, has returned the money, had it refused, and then experienced it being used to buy a potter's field?
    Estimate: 1 in 100,000 or 1x105.
  7. The Messiah will remain silent while He is afflicted (Isaiah 53:7).
    One man in how many, when he is oppressed and afflicted, though innocent, will make no defense of himself?
    Estimate: 1 in 1,000 or 1x103.
  8. The Messiah will die by having His hands and feet pierced (Psalm 22:16).
    One man in how many, since the time of David, has been crucified?
    Estimate: 1 in 10,000 or 1x104.
Multiplying all these probabilities together produces a number (rounded off) of 1x1028. Dividing this number by an estimate of the number of people who have lived since the time of these prophecies (88 billion) produces a probability of all 8 prophecies being fulfilled accidently in the life of one person. That probability is 1in 1017 or 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000. That's one in one hundred quadrillion!

Part Two: The Accuracy of Prophecy

The second section of Stoner's book, is entitled "Prophetic Accuracy." This is where the book becomes absolutely fascinating. One by one, he takes major Bible prophecies concerning cities and nations and calculates the odds of their being fulfilled. The first is a prophecy in Ezekiel 26 concerning the city of Tyre. Seven prophecies are contained in this chapter which was written in 590 BC:
  1. Nebuchadnezzar shall conquer the city (vs. 7-11).
  2. Other nations will assist Nebuchadnezzar (v. 3).
  3. The city will be made like a bare rock (vs. 4 & 14).
  4. It will become a place for the spreading of fishing nets (vs. 5 & 14).
  5. Its stones and timbers will be thrown into the sea (v. 12).
  6. Other cities will fear greatly at the fall of Tyre (v. 16).
  7. The old city of Tyre will never be rebuilt (v. 14).
Four years after this prophecy was given, Nebuchadnezzar laid siege to Tyre. The siege lasted 13 years. When the city finally fell in 573 BC, it was discovered that everything of value had been moved to a nearby island.
Two hundred and forty-one years later Alexander the Great arrived on the scene. Fearing that the fleet of Tyre might be used against his homeland, he decided to take the island where the city had been moved to. He accomplished this goal by building a causeway from the mainland to the island, and he did that by using all the building materials from the ruins of the old city. Neighboring cities were so frightened by Alexander's conquest that they immediately opened their gates to him. Ever since that time, Tyre has remained in ruins and is a place where fishermen spread their nets.
Thus, every detail of the prophecy was fulfilled exactly as predicted. Stoner calculated the odds of such a prophecy being fulfilled by chance as being 1 in 75,000,000, or 1 in 7.5x107. (The exponent 7 indicates that the decimal is to be moved to the right seven places.)
Stoner proceeds to calculate the probabilities of the prophecies concerning Samaria, Gaza and Ashkelon, Jericho, Palestine, Moab and Ammon, Edom, and Babylon. He also calculates the odds of prophecies being fulfilled that predicted the closing of the Eastern Gate (Ezekiel 44:1-3), the plowing of Mount Zion (Micah 3:12), and the enlargement of Jerusalem according to a prescribed pattern (Jeremiah 31:38-40).
Combining all these prophecies, he concludes that "the probability of these 11 prophecies coming true, if written in human wisdom, is... 1 in 5.76x1059. Needless to say, this is a number beyond the realm of possibility.

Part Three: Messianic Prophecy

The third and most famous section of Stoner's book concerns Messianic prophecy. His theme verse for this section is John 5:39"Search the Scriptures because... it is these that bear witness of Me."
Stoner proceeds to select eight of the best known prophecies about the Messiah and calculates the odds of their accidental fulfillment in one person as being 1 in 1017.
I love the way Stoner illustrated the meaning of this number. He asked the reader to imagine filling the State of Texas knee deep in silver dollars. Include in this huge number one silver dollar with a black check mark on it. Then, turn a blindfolded person loose in this sea of silver dollars. The odds that the first coin he would pick up would be the one with the black check mark are the same as 8 prophecies being fulfilled accidentally in the life of Jesus.
The point, of course, is that when people say that the fulfillment of prophecy in the life of Jesus was accidental, they do not know what they are talking about. Keep in mind that Jesus did not just fulfill 8 prophecies, He fulfilled 108. The chances of fulfilling 16 is 1 in 1045. When you get to a total of 48, the odds increase to 1 in 10157. Accidental fulfillment of these prophecies is simply beyond the realm of possibility.
When confronted with these statistics, skeptics will often fall back on the argument that Jesus purposefully fulfilled the prophecies. There is no doubt that Jesus was aware of the prophecies and His fulfillment of them. For example, when He got ready to enter Jerusalem the last time, He told His disciples to find Him a donkey to ride so that the prophecy of Zechariah could be fulfilled which said, "Behold, your King is coming to you, gentle, and mounted on a donkey" (Matthew 21:1-5 and Zechariah 9:9).
But many of the prophecies concerning the Messiah could not be purposefully fulfilled — such as the town of His birth (Micah 5:2) or the nature of His betrayal (Psalm 41:9), or the manner of His death (Zechariah 13:6 and Psalm 22:16).
One of the most remarkable Messianic prophecies in the Hebrew Scriptures is the one that precisely states that the Messiah will die by crucifixion. It is found in Psalm 22 where David prophesied the Messiah would die by having His hands and feet pierced (Psalm 22:16). That prophecy was written 1,000 years before Jesus was born. When it was written, the Jewish method of execution was by stoning. The prophecy was also written many years before the Romans perfected crucifixion as a method of execution.
Even when Jesus was killed, the Jews still relied on stoning as their method of execution, but they had lost the power to implement the death penalty due to Roman occupation. That is why they were forced to take Jesus to Pilate, the Roman governor, and that's how Jesus ended up being crucified, in fulfillment of David's prophecy.
The bottom line is that the fulfillment of Bible prophecy in the life of Jesus proves conclusively that He truly was God in the flesh. It also proves that the Bible is supernatural in origin.

Note: A detailed listing of all 108 prophecies fulfilled by Jesus is contained in Dr. Reagan's book, Christ in Prophecy Study Guide. It also contains an analytical listing of all the Messianic prophecies in the Bible — both Old and New Testaments — concerning both the First and Second comings of the Messiah.

Jan 20, 2012

Medical Journal Article: 14,000 U.S. deaths tied to Fukushima fallout

Please note that this is estimated deaths caused in the U.S.  Very little has been discussed in the media regarding the fallout from the mass meltdowns at Fukushima.  However radioactive fallout reached the continental U.S. within days of the disaster, and continued for months afterwards.

Impact Seen As Roughly Comparable to Radiation-Related Deaths After Chernobyl; Infants Are Hardest Hit, With Continuing Research Showing Even Higher Possible Death Count.

An estimated 14,000 excess deaths in the United States are linked to the radioactive fallout from the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear reactors in Japan, according to a major new article in the December 2011 edition of the International Journal of Health Services. This is the first peer-reviewed study published in a medical journal documenting the health hazards of Fukushima.

Authors Joseph Mangano and Janette Sherman note that their estimate of 14,000 excess U.S. deaths in the 14 weeks after the Fukushima meltdowns is comparable to the 16,500 excess deaths in the 17 weeks after the Chernobyl meltdown in 1986. The rise in reported deaths after Fukushima was largest among U.S. infants under age one. The 2010-2011 increase for infant deaths in the spring was 1.8 percent, compared to a decrease of 8.37 percent in the preceding 14 weeks.
The IJHS article will be published and will be available online as of at http://www.radiation.org.

Just six days after the disastrous meltdowns struck four reactors at Fukushima on March 11, scientists detected the plume of toxic fallout had arrived over American shores. Subsequent measurements by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found levels of radiation in air, water, and milk hundreds of times above normal across the U.S. The highest detected levels of Iodine-131 in precipitation in the U.S. were as follows (normal is about 2 picocuries I-131 per liter of water): Boise, ID (390); Kansas City (200); Salt Lake City (190); Jacksonville, FL (150); Olympia, WA (125); and Boston, MA (92).

Epidemiologist Joseph Mangano, MPH MBA, said: “This study of Fukushima health hazards is the first to be published in a scientific journal. It raises concerns, and strongly suggests that health studies continue, to understand the true impact of Fukushima in Japan and around the world. Findings are important to the current debate of whether to build new reactors, and how long to keep aging ones in operation.”
Mangano is executive director, Radiation and Public Health Project, and the author of 27 peer-reviewed medical journal articles and letters.

Internist and toxicologist Janette Sherman, MD, said: “Based on our continuing research, the actual death count here may be as high as 18,000, with influenza and pneumonia, which were up five-fold in the period in question as a cause of death. Deaths are seen across all ages, but we continue to find that infants are hardest hit because their tissues are rapidly multiplying, they have undeveloped immune systems, and the doses of radioisotopes are proportionally greater than for adults.”

Dr. Sherman is an adjunct professor, Western Michigan University, and contributing editor of “Chernobyl – Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment” published by the NY Academy of Sciences in 2009, and author of “Chemical Exposure and Disease and Life’s Delicate Balance – Causes and Prevention of Breast Cancer.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issues weekly reports on numbers of deaths for 122 U.S. cities with a population over 100,000, or about 25-30 percent of the U.S. In the 14 weeks after Fukushima fallout arrived in the U.S. (March 20 to June 25), deaths reported to the CDC rose 4.46 percent from the same period in 2010, compared to just 2.34 percent in the 14 weeks prior. Estimated excess deaths during this period for the entire U.S. are about 14,000.


By Coach Dave DaubenmireNewsWithViews.com
I want you to know right up front that I am not a pacifist.
I believe in a strong military, and that national defense is one of the Constitutional responsibilities of our government. When a “terrorist” blows up a group of people He should be swiftly put to death.
I believe in a strong national defense and that our obligation is to America first.
But I do not believe in continuous wars, especially the politically-correct ones.
You know what I am talking about.
The types of wars we fight today are, for the most part, offensive, even though our leaders try to convince us that they are necessary for our defense.
Most are not. At least not in my life time. America has been at war somewhere in the world for the entirety of my 59 years on this earth. WWI was known as “the war to end all wars,” which of course it didn’t. It was just a slogan. Americans like slogans. Slogans often masquerade the real issue and make us feel better about jumping on the bandwagon..
The war on terror, the war on drugs, the war on poverty, and the war on ignorance are all nothing more than sloganeering. It is high time the American people came to the realization that each one of those wars was never engaged with victory as the goal. It was the fighting of the war, the funding of the war, and the perpetuation of the war that they were interested in.
Billions of dollars have been thrown down a rat-holes fighting wars that they knew could not be won. And many became rich. The same applies to military wars.

Today we continue to fight in Afghanistan even though America is insolvent.
No one can tell you why we are there. I think it somehow connects to 19 Saudis flying planes into the Twin Towers back in 2001 and “The War on Terror”, but that is just a guess.
Somewhere along the line somebody figured out that there were a lot of dollars to be made in war. Bullets and bombs were needed for war and a sinister group of warmongers figured out a way to make millions by performing their “civic duty” by supplying the ammo...often to both sides.
Christian/conservative Republicans are the greatest promoters of this perpetual-state-of-war. They serve the Prince of Peace by cheering, and voting, for war.
Someone coined the term "Warvangelicals." They are determined to evangelize the world through the barrel of a rifle. Jesus warned us to be careful…those who live by the sword shall die by the sword.
If you listen closely you will hear the rattle of death reverberating through the American economy. Misuse of the "sword" is bringing death to America.
Wars will not destroy America, but paying for them will. Will the Republican Party even permit you to be a member if you happen to be against the wars?
I am for a strong military, but am against an ever-increasing Department of Defense budget. Did you know that America has military facilities in over 138 different countries including 218 in Germany, 115 in Japan, and 86 in South Korea? “War-mongers”, not liberators,is what the Eastern World calls us.
We have nearly 1.5 million Americans currently serving in the Armed Forces. Nearly 20% of them are deployed overseas. This “Policeman of the World” approach is enriching the Industrial/Military complex, but busting the banks of the American people. Over 400,000 Americans are enriching the economies of other nations through their deployment.

The world has changed, but America is stuck in the “Cold-War” mindset. Why is it the job of Americans to pay for the defense of Germany…or Japan…or South Korea? The American economic coffers are being bled dry. “Those who live by the sword…”How did war become a Christian/Conservative value?
Christians are soooo confused. Willfully ignorant might be a more appropriate description. Flag-waving Christians are the most ardent supporters of military intervention. Sadly, they know nothing of the theory of just war.
The Principles of Just Wars are:
1. Just cause/right intention: A just war must be fought only for purposes of self-defense against armed attack or to right a serious wrong.
2. Proper authority: A war is just only if waged by a legitimate authority.
3. Last resort: A just war must be the last resort; all peaceful options must be exhausted before the use of force can be justified.
4. Probability of success: There must be a reasonable chance of success; deaths and injury that result from a hopeless cause cannot be morally justified.
5. Beneficial outcome: The outcome of the war must be better than the situation that would exist had the war not taken place.
6. Proportionality: The violence and destruction must be proportional to the injury suffered.Does that sound to you like any of the “conflicts” that we have recently found ourselves embroiled in? America has not fought a “just war” since WWII.
Now, Evangelical favorite Rick Santorum wants to bomb Iran.

My greatest concern from a military point of view is not that Iran may bomb us, but that we are vulnerable to an attack here at home. Fighting in Afghanistan, or keeping Iran from getting a bomb, will not increase security here at home. The enemy is already amongst us. Perhaps we can catch them at the airport!
(Oh I am going to lose half of my friends because of what I am about to say…but I’ve got to say it.)
Much of the reason we are such interventionalists in the Middle East is the position held by most Evangelicals that we have a religious obligation to defend Israel. To say otherwise is to be called “anti-Semitic,” “anti-Israel,” or “un-Biblical.” Listen to how often the Republican candidates mention the word “Israel.” This a Pavlovian trick that makes Evangelicals mouth’s water.
I am not anti-Israel nor anti-Semitic. I am pro-America. If we don’t return to an America-first policy we won’t be able to defend ourselves, let alone our friends in the Middle East.
America has spent a generation arming Israel. Estimates are that Israel is currently in possession of as many as 400 nuclear warheads. American foreign aid to Israel paid for most of their weaponry. They are far and away the most powerful, well armed military in the Middle East.

I understand that God has an “everlasting covenant” with Israel. I understand that those who “bless Israel” will be blessed. I understand that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East. But I can not find one Biblical admonition to "protect" Israel. I do find the Lord asking us to "pray for the peace of Jerusalem." Do we “bless Israel” by sending foreign aid to her enemies?
Is it the obligation of the US Government to defend the nation of Israel? The Covenant was a Covenant between God and Israel. God will keep His promise. Why do Christians see it as our obligation to do for Israel what God has promised HE will do? A broken, financially bankrupt America cannot protect Israel. Only God can do that.
The Kingdom of God is a Spiritual Kingdom, not a natural one. It is the “Spiritual Israel” that God has made the Covenant with. Remember, He told us that "My Kingdom is not of this world." It is to natural-Israel that Jesus will return and set up his “everlasting Kingdom.” Does He need our intervention to help him keep His Word?
Remember that popular bumper sticker after 911…THE POWER OF PRIDE? Perhaps that is our problem.
Warvangelicals are more concerned with protecting Israel than they are in protecting America. There is nothing “Christian” about invading a sovereign nation and killing innocent women and children. Has the American military now become the “Army of God.”
It is not popular to say it in Evangelical circles, but Christians should not rejoice in the killing of innocent Muslim women and children. Each one is a potential child of the Living God and Christians should be more interested in flooding the Middle East with Bibles rather than bombs. Just War...remember? Currently, they are more interested in “spreading democracy” than they are in spreading the Gospel.

God is judging America, not because we are turning our backs on Israel, but because we are a decadent, insolent, greedy, blood-thirsty nation that winks at the shedding of innocent blood in the womb, while we “high-five” the killing of innocent children in other parts of the world. We have rejected God. Our works are "continuously evil in His sight" and our hands are stained with innocent blood.
I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: Deut. 30:19.
America is dying because we have chosen death and Warvangelicals are the varsity cheerleaders of the War Party.
There, I said it. Are we still friends?

Jan 19, 2012

We Should Be Forced To Take Trial Vaccines - AMA Journal

Population should be forced to take experimental shots “for the greater good”
Paul Joseph Watson

An article published by the American Medical Association’s Virtual Mentor journal advocates making participation in vaccine trials mandatory, arguing that people should be forced to take experimental shots in a similar vein to how jury service is compulsory.
The article, written by Oxford University’s Susanne Sheehy and Joel Meyer, is entitled Should Participation in Vaccine Clinical Trials be Mandated?
Concerned about the “distressing decline in the numbers of healthy volunteers who participate in clinical trials,” the piece argues that “Compulsory involvement in vaccine studies” should be considered for the “greater good of society.”
“Many societies already mandate that citizens undertake activities for the good of society; in several European countries registration for organ-donation has switched from “opt-in” (the current U.S. system) to “opt-out” systems (in which those who do not specifically register as nondonors are presumed to consent to donation) [10], and most societies expect citizens to undertake jury service when called upon. In these examples, the risks or inconvenience to an individual are usually limited and minor. Mandatory involvement in vaccine trials is therefore perhaps more akin to military conscription, a policy operating today in 66 countries. In both conscription and obligatory trial participation, individuals have little or no choice regarding involvement and face inherent risks over which they have no control, all for the greater good of society.”
Using the example of military conscription – the draft – to justify the idea of compulsory participation in vaccine trials, illustrates how the whole idea is completely rooted in authoritarian tendencies. The draft has its historical origins in slavery and has largely been abolished by developed nations.

And if you thought the use of the term “for the greater good of society” wasn’t downright creepy enough, the authors later propose tackling society’s reluctance to accept compulsory recruitment to vaccine trials by virtually advocating the arrival of a more deadly disease than swine flu in order to ensure “compulsory recruitment becomes a more palatable option.”

“Consider an infectious disease with a high transmission and mortality rate for which vaccine development were possible but limited by a shortage of volunteers willing to participate in clinical trials. Would mandatory participation in clinical trials then be an acceptable policy?” ask the authors, ruminating on how an “Increase (in) the severity of the disease in question,” would increase the likelihood of society accepting mandatory vaccine trials.

The authors conclude by bemoaning ethical considerations that would present a roadblock to the effort to force people to take experimental vaccines, proposing instead that a system of “mandated choice” be introduced to coerce people into agreeing to be given the shots.
Mandating that people take experimental vaccines is of course completely abhorrent, it violates the fundamental human right not to be forcibly medicated, and harks back to the dark days of eugenics, mandatory sterilizations, and episodes like the Tuskegee syphilis experiment.

The very reason why less people are willing to volunteer for vaccine trials is the fact that vaccines, whether approved or experimental, have been responsible for deaths and injuries worldwide in increasing numbers. The United States, which administers the highest number of vaccines to babies, has the highest infant mortality rate out of all developed nations, a connection that is no coincidence according to a recent medical study published in a prestigious medical journal.

Indeed, earlier this month GlaxoSmithKline was fined $93,000 dollars for its role in an experimental vaccine program in Argentina that killed 14 babies between 2007 and 2008.
For this authoritarian premise to even be considered in the AMA’s ‘Journal of Ethics’ is shocking, but the increasing move towards making vaccines mandatory is a wider phenomenon.

Last year, California passed a law that allows children to be given the Gardasil shot, which has been linked with thousands of adverse reactions and dozens of deaths, without parental consent.

Parents who try to remove their children from the ever-expanding list of “required” vaccine programs for school-age kids are being targeted by law enforcement. When Rachel Garmon told her doctor that she had taken the decision not to vaccinate her healthy 2 and a half year old son, she was subsequently visited by a Pennsylvania State Trooper who was tasked with investigating her “suspicious behavior,” despite the fact that Pennsylvania is one of the many states that allows vaccination exemptions on both religious and medical grounds.

The AMA article represents a shocking insight into the control freak tendencies of some of today’s most influential medical minds. Forcing people to take part in experimental vaccine trials that pose a serious risk to their health is totally contemptible and has no place in a free society.

Edible Microchips, Biometric Identity Systems, and Mind Reading Computers

edible microchips - looks like rice

As technology continues to advance at an exponential rate, will we someday find ourselves living in a "scientific dictatorship" where virtually everything that we do, say and think is monitored and controlled by technology?  To many of you that may sound like a wild assertion, but just keep reading.  Our world is changing faster than ever before, and scientists have some absolutely wild things planned for our future.  As you read this, they are feverishly developing edible microchips, cutting edge biometric identity systems, and mind reading computers. 

Many futurists envision a world where someday nearly all humans are embedded with microchips and have thousands of tiny nanobots living inside of them.  The idea is that we can "take control of our own evolution" and use technology to "improve" humanity.  But very few of those futurists address the potential downsides.  The truth is that all of this technology could one day be used by a totalitarian government to establish a dystopian nightmare where nobody has any liberties and freedoms whatsoever.

The world of tomorrow is not going to be anything like the world of today, and most people have no idea how dramatically the world is changing.

For instance, many people have never even heard of "edible microchips".
Unfortunately, they are not some wild idea that some wacky scientists are hoping to develop in the future.

They are already here, and they are about to be marketed to the public in the UK.
The idea is that these edible microchips will help doctors monitor your health conditions and the medicines that you are taking.  The following comes from a recent article in the Daily Mail....
The sensor, which contains no battery, antenna or radio, creates a unique digital signature that is picked up and recorded by a patch attached to the patient's shoulder.
The patch, which also monitors bodily functions such as heart rate and temperature, sends this encrypted information to blue-tooth enabled smartphones or computers owned by the patient and their doctors and carers.
In this way, both patients and their doctors can work out exactly which pills have been taken. Medics can also interpret whether the patient is sleeping well, or taking enough exercise using the information transmitted from the patch.
But could such edible microchips be used for more nefarious purposes in the future?
Of course.

And scientists are developing many other new ways for you to be tracked by technology as well.

For example, do you remember in the movie "Minority Report" how Tom Cruise had to cover his eyes because he was being tracked by them wherever he went?

Well, it won't be too long before that becomes a reality in our world.

IBM is aggressively developing new biometric identity systems that could significantly change the way that we live our lives.  The following is from a recent IBM press release....
You will no longer need to create, track or remember multiple passwords for various log-ins. Imagine you will be able to walk up to an ATM machine to securely withdraw money by simply speaking your name or looking into a tiny sensor that can recognize the unique patterns in the retina of your eye. Or by doing the same, you can check your account balance on your mobile phone or tablet.
Each person has a unique biological identity and behind all that is data. Biometric data – facial definitions, retinal scans and voice files – will be composited through software to build your DNA unique online password.
Referred to as multi-factor biometrics, smarter systems will be able to use this information in real-time to make sure whenever someone is attempting to access your information, it matches your unique biometric profile and the attempt is authorized.
When biometric identity systems become widespread enough, authorities will pretty much know where you are and what you are doing at all times.

But even more frightening is something else that IBM is developing right now.  IBM scientists are actually working really hard to develop mind reading computers.  The idea is that someday we will all be able to control various electronic devices simply by using our thoughts....
IBM scientists are among those researching how to link your brain to your devices, such as a computer or a smartphone. If you just need to think about calling someone, it happens. Or you can control the cursor on a computer screen just by thinking about where you want to move it.
Scientists in the field of bioinformatics have designed headsets with advanced sensors to read electrical brain activity that can recognize facial expressions, excitement and concentration levels, and thoughts of a person without them physically taking any actions.
The following promotional video from IBM describes some of these emerging technologies in more detail....

But IBM is not the only one working on mind reading technology.

Several video game makers have been attempting to develop games that you control not with a joystick or a gamepad but rather with your brain waves.

This all sound fascinating, but could such technology someday be adapted for other purposes?

Instead of us controlling the electronic devices that we connect our brains to, could they instead be used to control us someday?

Being more "connected" is not necessarily a good thing.

People have been looking for ways to stay more "connected" to the Internet for a long time, and many futurists are now suggesting that we should find a way to directly connect our brains to the Internet.  An article on the website of the Science Channel put it this way....
What if it were possible to connect your brain to the Internet, either wirelessly or through a cable, download digital information at high speed, and then translate it automatically into a chemical form that could be stored by your brain cells as memory?
The same article explained what some of the benefits from such a connection might be....
If you could pump data directly into your gray matter at, say, 50 mbps — the top speed offered by one major U.S. internet service provider — you’d be able to read a 500-page book in just under two-tenths of a second.
But wouldn't this be potentially dangerous?

If we found a way to connect our brains to the Internet 100% of the time, couldn't someone potentially "download" damaging programs or "viruses" directly into our heads?

That is something to think about.

A British researcher named Mark Gasson infected an RFID chip in his hand with a computer virus and found that the virus-infected chip implanted in his hand was able to contaminate external systems.

So wouldn't the danger be far greater if we connected our brains directly to the Internet?
I don't know about you, but I don't plan on ever connecting my brain directly to the Internet and I don't plan on ever letting anyone put an RFID chip inside of me either.
Unfortunately, the use of implantable RFID chips in humans and animals is rapidly spreading.  A lot of employers now require that their employees take them for identification purposes.  Some cities in the U.S. are actually making it mandatory to put microchips into your pets.

Increasingly, RFID implants are being injected into thousands of elderly Americans living with Alzheimer's disease who are at risk of wandering off and getting lost.  In addition, RFID chips are being implanted into many people who are chronically ill so that doctors can access their medical information quickly in an emergency.
And many companies are working hard to make it even easier to implant RFID chips into humans and animals.

In fact, one company called Somark has developed a stunning breakthrough in chipless RFID ink.  Their "RFID tattoos" are applied using a geometric array of micro-needles and a reusable applicator.

Somark says that it is incredibly easy to apply one of these RFID tattoos.  They say that it only takes about 5 to 10 seconds to tattoo an animal or a human.  Once the tattoo has been applied, an RFID reader can read it from up to four feet away.
Frightening stuff.

But some say that there might be an even easier way than that to keep track of everybody in the future.

IBM is actually working on a "bar code reader" that can read your DNA.  The following is from a Fox News article about this project....
The DNA Transistor is a project from IBM Research that aims to advance personalized medicine, by making it simpler (and much cheaper) to read an individual's unique DNA sequence — the special combination of proteins that makes you unlike anyone else.
The technology isn't finished yet, but its potential is tantalizin enough that IBM wanted to share it with the world. And the company claims researchers are making progress.
Essentially a bar code reader for genes, the DNA Transistor is part technique and part device. It consists of a 3-nanometer wide hole, known as a nanopore, in a silicon microchip. A sensor in the pore can read DNA and determine its unique makeup.

Our world is changing at a mind blowing pace right now.
The decisions that are made now are going to have a dramatic affect on how the future plays out.

That is why so many of us are speaking out about how the government is watching us and about how our liberties and our freedoms are being taken away.
If we don't stand up for freedom and liberty right now, our children may one day wake up in a world where they are so controlled by technology that they are unable to do so.
Right now we are not too far away from the kind of world that authors such as George Orwell once warned about.  This article will conclude with a quote from his famous work 1984....

"It was terribly dangerous to let your thoughts wander when you were in any public place or within range of a telescreen. The smallest thing could give you away. A nervous tic, an unconscious look of anxiety, a habit of muttering to yourself--anything that carried with it the suggestion of abnormality, of having something to hide. In any case, to wear an improper expression on your face...; was itself a punishable offense. There was even a word for it in Newspeak: facecrime..."

The Life of Martin Luther

The life of Martin Luther is one of the most fascinating stories in the history of Christianity. It has all the stuff of a good novel: parental conflict, spiritual agony, life-changing moments, near-misses, princes, popes, emperors, castles, kidnapping, mobs, revolution, massacres, politics, courage, controversy, disguises, daring escapes, humor and romance. And not only is it a good story, it marks a major turning point in western history and in Christianity.
Diet of Worms
Luther at the Diet of Worms.


Luther's story begins in Eisleben, a small town in the region of Saxony in modern Germany. As a part of the Holy Roman Empire, 15th-century Saxony was under the political control of the Holy Roman Emperor and the religious control of the Roman pope. The Roman Catholicism into which Luther was born focused on purgatory, hell, angels, demons, sin, judgment and the saints. Jesus was depicted as an unapproachable, terrifying judge, but believers knew they could call upon the Blessed Virgin and other saints to intercede on their behalf.

On November 10, 1483, Hans and Margarethe Luther welcomed their firstborn son into the world. As was customary, the boy was named after the saint on whose feast day he was born, St. Martin.

Luther's house in Eisenach

Martin Luther was the eldest of seven children in a middle-class German peasant family. He seems to have been an unusually sensitive and religious youth. The prevalent graphic images of Christ as Righteous Judge and the agonies of hellfire terrified him.
At 21, Luther earned a Master of Arts degree from the University of Erfurt. Hans Luther was determined that his son be well-educated, and his hard work in the copper mines financed the younger Luther's education. In May 1505, Luther entered law school in accordance with his father's wishes. But less than a year later, his life took an unexpected turn.

That same year , while traveling back to university from his parents' home, Luther was caught in a severe thunderstorm. Nearly hit by a bolt of lightening, he cried out in desperation to the patron saint of miners: "Help me, St. Anne, and I'll become a monk!" Luther escaped the ordeal unharmed, and true to his word, entered a monastery within a month.

Monastic Life

Martin Luther as monk
Martin Luther as a young monk (1522)
Not surprisingly, the new career direction was not warmly received by the elder Luther. But the young man took the monastic life very seriously and excels at it. Still terrified of the wrath of God, he confessed sin as often as 20 times a day, punished his body by sleeping on a cold concrete floor and performed his first Mass with a trembling hand.
When he was 27, Luther was assigned to travel to the holy city of Rome to represent his monastery. The Church taught that by paying respect to relics of saints, one can earn religious merit that would shorten one's time in Purgatory. The trip was a tremendous opportunity for the young monk, but it proved to be a profoundly disappointing experience. He was shocked by the immorality, ignorance and flippancy of the Roman priests. As he dutifully kissed each of Pilate's stairs, he began to doubt the Church's teachings about relics and merits. Luther returned to Saxony more troubled than ever.
Luther's superior, Johann von Staupitz, tried to counsel the monk to stop striving and worrying and simply love God. But how could he love someone he feared so? Luther later recalled his true feelings: "Love God? I hated him!" This, of course, only added to his spiritual fear and turmoil. Finally, the exasperated Staupitz directed Luther to earn a doctorate in theology at the local University of Wittenburg, hoping the rigors of academia and helping others would force Luther to focus on things other than the state of his own soul.

Luther argues for the scriptures at Worms

A Spiritual "A-ha" Moment

Father Staupitz' plan was far more successful than he could have imagined. Luther flourished in his new role as academic, but his thorough study of Scripture yielded an another, unexpected result - religious enlightenment. While preparing for lectures in 1513, Luther read two biblical passages that changed his life. First, he read in the Psalms the words Christ had cried out on the cross: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Luther realized with amazement that the Divine Judge had once known the very desolation he was feeling. This new perspective offered some comfort. Then, almost two years later while preparing for a lecture on the book of Romans, the professor read at verse 1:17, "The just will live by faith."

Luther was struck by the power of the simple phrase. He meditated on its meaning for several days, and the full significance of the passage changed his life. No longer terrified of God or enslaved by the system of religious merits, Luther was finally able to rest in the knowledge that faith was all that was necessary to save him. The new perspective became evident in his lectures and conversations with other faculty, and before long his ideas became prominent at the University of Wittenburg.

One Indulgence Salesman

Pope Leo X with cardinals
Meanwhile, in Rome, Pope Leo X needed funds to build St. Peter's Basilica. Fortunately for him, the Church had as a major source of income at its disposal: the sale of indulgences. So, in 1517, Leo announced the availability of new indulgences. Those who purchase them, he announced, will not only help protect the precious relics of St. Paul and St. Peter from the ravages of rain and hail, but would receive valuable religious merit. This merit, which could be distributed at the Pope's discretion from the treasury of merit of the saints, would alleviate the penalty of sin in this life and the next.
A Dominican monk named John Tetzel was assigned to the sale of indulgences in Saxony. A talented and unscrupulous salesman, Tetzel was willing to make any claim that improved sales. He thus promised not only a reduction in punishment for sin, but complete forgiveness of all sin and a return to the state of perfection enjoyed just after baptism.

He added that if one would generously purchase indulgences to speed the release of a deceased loved one from Purgatory, no actual repentance on the part of the giver was even necessary. Marketing genius that he was, Tetzel employed a memorable jingle to make his offer clear and simple:
"As soon as the coin in the coffer rings, a soul from Purgatory springs."

Luther nailing the 95 Theses at Wittenberg

Ninety-Five Theses

Some of those who purchased indulgences from Tetzel were Luther's parishioners. Appalled at the abuse, Luther penned 95 statements against the practice of selling indulgences. On October 31, 1517, he nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the castle church in Wittenburg, a common method of initiating scholarly discussion.

Luther posts his theses

The actual title of the famous theses is Disputation on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences. Luther wrote them in Latin with an intended audience of his university colleagues, and could not have imagined the impact they would have on Christianity and on Europe.

But his Theses were translated into German, and using to Guttenberg's newly-invented movable-type printing press, quickly copied and disseminated all over Saxony. The Pope himself received a copy, but he was unimpressed. He is said to have inquired, "What drunken German monk wrote these?" He directed the Augustinian order to deal with the situation.

When invited to the order's next meeting, in April 1518, Luther feared for his life, and for good reason. Heresy had cost the lives of many reformers before him. But to his surprise, Luther found that many of his fellow friars agreed with him. Others simply regarded the issue as yet another dispute between the rivals Dominicans and Augustinians.

Diet of Augsburg

In October 1518, an imperial diet ("DEE-it") - a meeting of the Holy Roman Empire's princes and nobles - was held in Augsburg. The Pope sent a representative to the meeting with instructions to convince the German princes to support a crusade against the Turks. A secondary task was to meet with Luther and convince him to recant. Not entirely confident he would return home alive, Luther nevertheless attended the meeting in the hopes of defending his views.

Unfortunately, the papal representative Cardinal Cajetan showed no interest in debating issues, only in persuading Luther to recant. Like Jan Hus, who was burned at the stake for heresy 100 years prior, Luther responded that he would be glad to recant if shown his errors from the Scriptures. When he learned he was to be arrested if he refused to recant, Luther escaped by night and returned to Wittenburg.

Martin Luther at his studies

Fortunately, politics were on his side for the moment. As one of the electors of the Holy Roman Emperor, the Pope did not wish to upset Luther's prince, Frederick the Wise. A truce was called in which both the Pope and Luther agreed to abstain from further controversy. Of course, neither would obey the truce for long.

In July of 1519, a professor from Ingolstadt named John Eck challenged one of Luther's colleagues at Wittenburg to an academic debate. The colleague, Karlstadt, was a convert to Luther's way of thinking, and in fact more radical in some ways than Luther himself. (Luther later wryly remarked of his friend: "He has swallowed the Holy Spirit, feathers and all.")

Luther accompanied Karlstadt to the debate, which was held in Leipzig. As Eck had hoped, Luther wound up participating directly. He demonstrated a superior knowledge of the Scriptures, but Eck was highly skilled in the art of debate. Luther was led to state that councils can err, and that the average Christian with the authority of Scripture has more power than a council or the Pope himself. Eck considered himself victorious, for Luther had proved himself to be a heretic just like Hus. From this point forward, anti-Lutheran propaganda often portrayed the monk as "the Saxon Hus."
Martin Luther's Papal Bull
Papal bull excommunicating Luther.


Luther spent the next year developing his ideas, teaching, and writing. His most important treatises of this period include Address to the German Nobility, On the Babylonian Captivity of the Church, and Freedom of a Christian.
On October 10, 1520, Luther received a papal bull (official proclamation from the Pope). Entitled Exsurge Domine ("Arise, O Lord"), the bull began by dramatically appealing to God to protect his church from the threat of Luther.
Arise, O Lord, and defend Thy cause!
A wild boar has invaded Thy vineyard.
Less poetic was the papal bull's sober message that Luther would be excommunicated if he did not recant within 60 days. In Catholic doctrine, in which salvation is only available through the church, excommunication amounts to eternal damnation.

Luther burns the papal bull
Luther, once a trembling Catholic kissing each of Pilate's steps in Rome, publicly cast the bull into a bonfire. He was officially excommunicated by the Pope on January 3, 1521.

Diet of Worms

Emperor Charles V opened the imperial Diet of Worms (pronounced "DEE-it of Vorms") on 22 January 1521. Luther was summoned to renounce or reaffirm his views and was given an imperial guarantee of safe-conduct to ensure his safe passage. When he appeared before the assembly on 16 April, Johann Eck, an assistant of Archbishop of Trier, acted as spokesman for the Emperor. (Bainton, p. 141) He presented Luther with a table filled with copies of his writings. Eck asked Luther if the books were his and if he still believed what these works taught. Luther requested time to think about his answer. It was granted.

Luther prayed, consulted with friends and mediators and presented himself before the Diet the next day. When the counselor put the same questions to Luther, he said: "They are all mine, but as for the second question, they are not all of one sort." Luther went on to say that some of the works were well received by even his enemies. These he would not reject.

A second class of the books attacked the abuses, lies and desolation of the Christian world. These, Luther believed, could not safely be rejected without encouraging abuses to continue.

The third group contained attacks on individuals. He apologized for the harsh tone of these writings, but did not reject the substance of what he taught in them. If he could be shown from the Scriptures that he was in error, Luther continued, he would reject them. Otherwise, he could not do so safely without encouraging abuse.
Eck, after countering that Luther had no right to teach contrary to the Church through the ages, asked Luther to plainly answer the question: Would Luther reject his books and the errors they contain? Luther replied:
"Unless I am convicted by Scripture and plain reason — I do not accept the authority of popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other — my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe."
According to tradition, Luther is then said to have spoken these famous words:
"Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen." (Bainton, pp. 142-144)
Private conferences were held to determine Luther's fate. Before a decision was reached, Luther left Worms. During his return to Wittenberg, he disappeared. The Emperor issued the Edict of Worms on May 25, 1521, declaring Martin Luther an outlaw and a heretic and banning his literature.

A Nighttime Kidnapping and Exile in Wartburg

Luther as Knight George

Luther's disappearance after the Diet of Worms was planned. Frederick the Wise arranged for Luther to be seized on his way from the Diet by a company of masked horsemen, who carried him to Wartburg Castle at Eisenach, where he stayed for about a year. He grew a wide flaring beard, took on the garb of a knight, and assumed the pseudonym Jörg (or "Knight George"). During this period of forced sojourn in the world, Luther was still hard at work upon his celebrated translation of the New Testament, though he couldn't rely on the isolation of a monastery.

With Luther's residence in the Wartburg began the constructive period of his career as a reformer; while at the same time the struggle was inaugurated against those who, claiming to proceed from the same Evangelical basis, were deemed by him to swing to the opposite extreme and to hinder, if not prevent, all constructive measures. In his "desert" or "Patmos" (as he called it in his letters) of the Wartburg, moreover, he began his translation of the Bible, of which the New Testament was printed in September 1522. Here, too, besides other pamphlets, he prepared the first portion of his German postilla and his Von der Beichte, in which he denied compulsory confession, although he admitted the wholesomeness of voluntary private confessions.

He also wrote a polemic against Archbishop Albrecht, which forced him to desist from reopening the sale of indulgences; while in his attack on Jacobus Latomus he set forth his views on the relation of grace and the law, as well as on the nature of the grace communicated by Christ. Here he distinguished the objective grace of God to the sinner, who, believing, is justified by God because of the justice of Christ, from the saving grace dwelling within sinful man; while at the same time he emphasized the insufficiency of this "beginning of justification," as well as the persistence of sin after baptism and the sin still inherent in every good work.

Wartburg Castle

Although his stay at Wartburg kept Luther hidden from public view, Luther often received letters from his friends and allies, asking for his views and advice. For example, Philipp Melanchthon wrote to him and asked how to answer the charge that the reformers neglected pilgrimages, fasts and other traditional forms of piety. Luther's replied: "If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong, but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world. We will commit sins while we are here, for this life is not a place where justice resides. We, however, says Peter (2. Peter 3:13) are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth where justice will reign." (Letter 99.13, To Philipp Melanchthon, 1 August 1521.)

Meanwhile some of the Saxon clergy, notably Bernhardi of Feldkirchen, had renounced the vow of celibacy, while others, including Melanchthon, had assailed the validity of monastic vows. Luther in his De votis monasticis, though more cautious, concurred, on the ground that the vows were generally taken "with the intention of salvation or seeking justification." With the approval of Luther in his De abroganda missa privata, but against the firm opposition of the prior, the Wittenberg Augustinians began changes in worship and did away with the mass. Their violence and intolerance, however, were displeasing to Luther, and early in December he spent a few days among them. Returning to the Wartburg, he wrote his Eine treue Vermahnung . . . vor Aufruhr und Empörung; but in Wittenberg Carlstadt and the ex-Augustinian Zwilling demanded the abolition of the private mass, communion in both kinds, the removal of pictures from churches, and the abrogation of the magistracy.

Around Christmas, Anabaptists from Zwickau added to the anarchy. Thoroughly opposed to such radical views and fearful of their results, Luther entered Wittenberg on March 7, and the Zwickau prophets left the city. The canon of the mass, giving it its sacrificial character, was now omitted, but the cup was at first given only to those of the laity who desired it. Since confession had been abolished, communicants were now required to declare their intention, and to seek consolation, under acknowledgment of their faith and longing for grace, in Christian confession. This new form of service was set forth by Luther in his Formula missæ et communionis (1523), and in 1524 the first Wittenberg hymnal appeared with four of his own hymns. Since, however, his writings were forbidden by Duke George of Saxony, Luther declared, in his Ueber die weltliche Gewalt, wie weit man ihr Gehorsam echuldig sei, that the civil authority could enact no laws for the soul, herein denying to a Roman Catholic government what he permitted an Evangelical.

The Peasants' War

The Peasants' War (1524-1525) was in many ways a response to the preaching of Luther and other reformers. Revolts by the peasantry had existed on a small scale since the 14th century, but many peasants mistakenly believed that Luther's attack on the Church and its hierarchy meant that the reformers would support an attack on the social hierarchy as well. Because of the close ties between the hereditary nobility and the princes of the Church that Luther condemned, this is not surprising. Revolts that broke out in Swabia, Franconia, and Thuringia in 1524 gained support among peasants and some disaffected nobles. Gaining momentum and a new leader in Thomas Münzer, the revolts turned into an all-out war, the experience of which played an important role in the founding of the Anabaptist movement.

The Peasants War

Initially, Luther seemed to many to support the peasants, condemning the oppressive practices of the nobility that had incited many of the peasants. As the war continued, and especially as atrocities at the hands of the peasants increased, Luther came out forcefully against the revolt; since Luther relied on support and protection from the princes, he was afraid of alienating them. In Against the Murderous, Thieving Hordes of Peasants (1525), he encouraged the nobility to visit swift and bloody punishment upon the peasants. Many of the revolutionaries considered Luther's words a betrayal. Others withdrew once they realized that there was neither support from the Church nor from its main opponent. The war in Germany ended in 1525, when rebel forces were put down by the armies of the Swabian League.

Luther resented Germany's domination by a group of clergymen based in Rome, and these nationalist feelings may have motivated the Reformation to some extent. During the Peasants' War, Luther continued to stress obedience to secular authority; many may have interpreted this doctrine as endorsement of absolute rulers, leading to acceptance of monarchs and dictators in German history.

Luther's Death and Legacy

Luther's deathbed

Luther died in Eisleben, the same town in which he was born, on 18 February, 1546.

Monument to Luther in Eisleben

Martin Luther's bold rebellion, more than the other religious dissenters that preceded him, led to the Protestant Reformation. Thanks to the printing press, his pamphlets were well-read throughout Germany, and soon other thinkers developed other Protestant sects. Since Protestant countries were no longer bound to the powerful Roman Catholic Church, an expanded freedom of thought developed which probably contributed to Protestant Europe's rapid intellectual advancement in the 17th and 18th centuries.
On the darker side, Roman Catholics waged bitter and ferocious wars of religion against Protestants. A century after Luther's protests, a revolt in Bohemia ignited the Thirty Years' War, which ravaged much of Germany. And Luther's violent writings against the Jews may well have strengthened medieval and modern anti-Semitism in Europe.
Both for better and for worse, the legacy of Martin Luther's massive personality is still felt across the western world.