Dr. Rath Health Foundation

Dr. Rath Health Foundation

Responsibility for a healthy world Dr. Rath Research Institute 100+ Studies Published In PubMed

Making Health a Human Right

Liberation from Illiteracy

Imagine that you acquire such a bible written in colloquial German, English, French, Dutch, Spanish or any other European language. In the evening you sit in your medieval hut and with the help of candlelight you start to read the Word of God all by yourself. First it is a very slow process, but then you literally devour the pages.

Colored woodcuts, here from Lucas Cranach, the chronicler of Luther’s time illustrated the first printed bibles. These illustrations accelerate the process of learning to read and write for the common people.

Pictures in the form of current woodcuts illustrate the texts and help you to learn and understand. Together with millions of other disenfranchised peasants you realize that God understands the German language as well any other spoken language. You suddenly discover what had thus far been inconceivable for you, that you can talk to God in your own language, even your dialect. You can suddenly pray to him without an interpreter and, best of all, you know He understands you. Suddenly, it becomes clear to you that the Latin language was a lie and a deception by which the spiritual and secular authorities kept the people of the earth poor and ignorant – like animals. You understand, that this deliberate illiteracy and poverty had one purpose: to maintain the excessive power and wealth of the rulers of the world and the church at that time.

Duke Frederick the Sage of Saxony (1486 - 1525) supported Luther and the new Age, among others, because he no longer had to pay heavy taxes to the Roman Church.

More importantly, the newly acquired ability to read and write can not only be used vertically from earth to heaven to communicate with God it also enables you to communicate horizontally with your fellow country men through letters and written texts – even over long distances. Suddenly, you can participate in daily life. Imagine the undreamed of perspectives suddenly opening up to you. Every minute of your day is now filled with the unrestricted feeling of liberation from a century old yoke of poverty and illiteracy.

The rulers of the land and the church react immediately. The first bibles printed in the spoken languages were banished and its printers prosecuted. The rulers know knowledge is power! And they were unwilling to share their knowledge and their power with their subordinates. But millions of people at that time no longer asked for permission of the rulers. They simply took the right to learn the art of reading and writing and no prohibition could prevent this huge literacy campaign organized by the people themselves. In the course of only one century the illiteracy rate in Europe dropped from 80% to 20%. The liberation of the human mind became irreversible.

The invention of book printing was the decisive technological advance without which the liberation from illiteracy could not have been accomplished.

From a historic perspective the narrow-minded role of the nobility was remarkable. No one benefited more from the dissociation from Roman dominance than the European nobility, who had to pay huge taxes to Rome. Their support of Luther would have saved the European earls and dukes millions in church taxes. Of the few dukes who dared to support Luther openly, most notable was Fredrick the Sage, from Saxony.

The decisive breakthrough for Luther came not from the nobility, but from millions of people. But equally important was a new invention: Johann Gutenberg had developed the technique of book printing. From then on books no longer had to be copied by hand, so100 copies or even 1000 copies could be produced at one time.

The combination of Luther’s teaching of the liberation of the human mind with the possibility to multiply and disseminate this information through printed media changed the course of history.

This liberation also had direct economic consequences. The money saved by no longer having to pay indulgences and by the dissolution of monasteries and abbeys could now be used for immediate and urgent social needs. The “common chest” of the city of Wittenberg was established at that time in order to help the poor and needy citizens. The money that became available to develop trade and commerce was, of course, many times greater.


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