The movie Luther, begins by emphasizing the importance of sacred space and time. Luther’s clumsy actions cause a negative reaction due to the reverence and respect the sacred and rituals require. Guidelines are to be followed and random or incorrect acts are not acceptable within the reality and magnified sacred space. The mass gives us insight to the performative nature of rituals that is then reinforced as Luther visits Rome, where members of the Roman Catholic community worship and purchase indulgences as a symbol of their faith. This process opens Luther’s eyes to the corrupt actions of the church, bribing people through different methods in exchange for holy matters. Members of this community purchased peace for the spirits of their deceased, indulgences of saints are purchased for healing, the Pope and heads of the church are benefiting finically from the church’s beliefs and the people’s trust. Luther realizes the insignificance of these purchased goods and makes it his objective to enlighten and reveal the truths of Christianity to these people.
Idealizing indulgences established a ritual, or a habit, for this community of paying to acquire years in heaven or reduce the years in purgatory. It enforces the basic function of a ritual, establishing union and creating a community that becomes one in action and faith. The movie Luther also displays the performative nature of rituals showing the various ritual actions, such as kneeling and praying on the stairs for the spirits of their loved ones to be spared, the community completes together. These indulgences, although they provide no effective religious exchange or belief, offer the community as sense of peace and hope. They comfort the community’s idea of chaos and death, in turn establishing unity and order keeping their hope and faith alive. After experiencing this tragic truth, Luther is sent to study and lead the community in the righteous path. Clearly, Luther is very intelligent quoting and citing verses from the bible and questioning the professor’s teachings that are contradictory to the sacred scripture. Hermeneutics plays an important role in the movie Luther, as the protagonist begins to interpret the scriptures differently and teach “new doctrines” to the community. Luther’s acts begin with the burial of a suicidal young boy that the community believes would disrupt the peace of other sprits, to teaching the love of a merciful God within the mass, and even causing a rebellion and bloodshed of many lives.
Sadly, his efforts to reveal the truths of Christianity are against the politics of religion in the sense that, those ideals and “new doctrines” go against the Roman teachings and ongoing financial benefit the upper hand seeks. After writing books in the German language, the Romans are furious of the chaos and power this can cause opening the door for the Germans to religious freedom. As a result of all of the upheaval against the church that Luther caused, he is sentenced to excommunication but lives though the trial and escapes only to marry and motivate others to fight for their religious freedom and the word of God. Luther’s new doctrines opens the eyes of many christians and publicizes these truths within his work, the 95 Theses, that act as a form of recording these outrageous actions from the church. This film enforces the theories learned in class in an entertaining way and touches on a discussion of a new theory that violence and sadness are needed for religion to exist and create the sense of a happy, unified community.