Friday, March 24, 2000

Martin Luther vs. Niccolo Machiavelli

                There are many things that play a role in your life and in the decisions that you make. It could be the way that you were brought up or the lessons that you have learned from past experiences. It could be rules and regulations that are forcing you to act a certain way or do things a certain way. For some, however, there are other factors that play a role in this, and that would be religion. Everyone believes in something different, but no matter what you believe, it can play a role in the decisions that you make. Individuals who are passionate about religion tend to have religion play a role in the decisions that they make. This can make it very difficult to gain support from individuals that do not believe.
            When you are a leader, whether it be a leader of a company or a leader in society, you are going to need to be able to gain support from individuals in order to help you achieve your plans and goals. However, if someone does not like you or does not believe in the same things that you believe in, they are going to be resistant to help you or follow you. This can also be the case when religion is involved. When someone is a leader and many of the decisions that they make are based according to what they believe, that can cause some problems. There are going to be some people that are not going to want to help you or follow you because they do not believe in the same things that you believe in.
            There were two key leaders that experienced this same thing. Niccolo Machiavelli and Martin Luther were two leaders who accomplished some great things. However, they were looked down upon and not followed by some because of the fact that they incorporated religion to some of their greatest accomplishments. They were men who knew what they believed in and felt very strongly about it, and they were not going to let the words or actions of others take that away from them. They stood strong for what they believed and went through life displaying it proudly.
            Martin Luther was a man became one of the most influential figures in Christian history when he began the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century (Martin Luther Biography). However, he did not always know that this was going to be the path in life that he was going to take. Martin’s father wanted him to become a lawyer, so he enrolled him in school for that and he received his Master’s degree. In July of 1505, Luther got caught in a violent thunderstorm, in which a bolt of lightning nearly struck him down. He considered the incident a sign from God and vowed to become a monk if he survived the storm. The storm subsided, Luther emerged unscathed and, true to his promise, Luther turned his back on his study of the law days later. Instead, he entered an Augustinian monastery. In 1512, Luther received his doctorate and became a professor of biblical studies. Over the next five years Luther's continuing theological studies would lead him to insights that would have implications for Christian thought for centuries to come. (Martin Luther).
            Perhaps one of the most known pieces of work for Martin Luther was the Disputation on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences, also known as The 95 Theses. The 95 Theses later become the foundation of the Protestant Reformation. The first two of the theses contained Luther's central idea, that God intended believers to seek repentance and that faith alone, and not deeds, would lead to salvation. The other 93 theses, a number of them directly criticizing the practice of indulgences, supported these first two. The 95 Theses spread very quickly throughout Germany and Rome (Martin Luther and the 95 Theses).
            Niccolo Machiavelli began serving in the political field in 1494 as a diplomat. He served in that position for 14 years in Italy's Florentine Republic during the Medici family's exile, during which time he earned a reputation for deviousness, enjoying shocking his associates by appearing more shameless than he truly was. After his involvement in an unsuccessful attempt to organize a Florentine militia against the return of the Medici family to power in 1512 became known, Niccolo was tortured, jailed and banished from an active role in political life (Niccolo Machiavelli Biography). Despite this treatment, Niccolo never forgot his faith and used that to get through this rough and difficult time in his life. It would have been very easy to give up at a time like this, but Niccolo did not.
            Though it was initially a dark period for his career, Machiavelli's time away from politics gave him the opportunity to read Roman history and to write political treatises. One of his most notable works is a book written called “The Prince.” The main theme of this short work about monarchal rule and survival is man's capacity for determining his own destiny in opposition to the power of fate, which has been interpreted as the political philosophy that one may resort to any means in order to establish and preserve total authority (Niccolo Machiavelli Biography). This was a primary piece of Niccolo’s career and is one of the pieces that he is most known for. However, it was not perceived well by everyone.
            Pope Clement VIII condemned The Prince for its endorsement of rule by deceit and fear. One excerpt from the book reads: "Since love and fear can hardly exist together, if we must choose between them, it is far safer to be feared than loved” (Niccolo Machiavelli). The fact that you have a piece of work that you have dedicated much of your time and effort in to condemned is not something that can be taken easily. This was a time in Niccolo’s life that he really had to stand by what he believed in and continue to move forward. He did just that by writing many other works that displayed what he believed in.
            Both of these men used religion in their day to day lives, and they did not let it influence their way of doing things or their motivation to pursue things the way that they believed they should occur. Both men met some struggles along the way. However, whether their decisions included religion or not, they did not let that influence them. They did what they believed was right and it worked out in the end the way that it should be.

Martin Luther. (n.d.). Retrieved November 8 2013 from
Martin Luther and the 95 Theses. (n.d.). Retrieved November 9, 2013 from
Martin Luther Biography. (n.d.). Retrieved November 7 2013 from
Niccolo Machiavelli. (n.d.). Retrieved November 9, 2013 from
Niccolo Machiavelli Biography. (n.d.). Retrieved November 7 2013 from