Archive for the ‘religious toleration’ Category

Failure to live by high ideals

December 23, 2011

In his Utopia Sir Thomas More described a land where “everyone was free to practise what religion he liked, and to try and convert other people to his own faith, provided he did it quietly and politely, by rational argument.”

Yet More was a tireless persecutor of Protestants. A writ for Thomas Bilney’s burning was quickly procured from More, who despatched him to the flames with a heartless joke remarking the proper course would have been to “burn him first and procure a writ afterwards”.

“Husbandmen, artists, tradespeople and even noblemen felt the cruel fangs of the clergy and of Sir Thomas More,” wrote hsitorian Merle d’Aubigne

More defended the burning of heretics (A Dialogue concerning Heresies) as just an necessary.

More couldn’t even be polite let alone tolerant as his ideal suggested. He called Tyndale, one of the greatest of Englishman,

“a beast discharging filthy foam of blasphemies out of his brutish beastly mouth “- a “railing ribald” – a “drowsy drudge that has drunken deep in the devil’s dregs” – because he translated the New Testament into English from Greek.

 

 

 

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Was Constantine a champion of religious toleration?

June 20, 2011

Through the Edict of Toleration, (313 A.D), Constantine granted to “Christians and to all others full liberty of following that religion which each may freely choose.”

source

The beginnings of religious toleration?

Whoever boast of being ‘tolerant’ towards other beliefs while, at the same time, asserting that such beliefs are fundamentally no different to any other set of beliefs or that, even if they were, they do not make any decisive difference to a person’s life now or ever, is simply emptying the word tolerance of any moral value

November 11, 2009

Whoever boast of being ‘tolerant’ towards other beliefs while, at the same time, asserting that such beliefs are fundamentally no different to any other set of beliefs or that, even if they were, they do not make any decisive difference to a person’s life now or ever, is simply emptying the word tolerance of any moral value. At worst, it is simply a narcissistic endorsement of one’s own worldview.

Vinoth Ramachandra, The Recovery of Mission, p.271

To develop tolerance is to develop a story about stories, a perspective on all our values and beliefs

November 10, 2009

You can only be truly tolerant of other people’s realities by having found some new way to inhabit your own…To develop tolerance is to develop a story about stories, a perspective on all our values and beliefs.

Anderson, W.T. (1990). Reality isn’t what it used to be: Theatrical politics, ready to wear religion, global myths, primitive chic, and other wonders of the post-modern world. San Francisco: Harper & Row. p.267f.

In other words, Anderson prescribes that ‘real’ tolerance (to ‘be truly tolerant’, like him) you must (no room for tolerance there, you must) have a constructivist view of ‘the nature of human truth’ and ensure that you say you hold your beliefs provisionally and not as the last word. You must, in short, change your beliefs (albeit allowing local colouring) to be like Anderson’s. Tolerance of intolerance is not tolerated of course. Got that?!

There is one thing a professor can be absolutely certain of: almost every student in America believes, or says he believes, that truth is relative

September 26, 2009

The relativity of truth is not a theoretical insight but a moral postulate, the condition of a free society, or so they see it. (Students) have all been equipped with this framework early on, and it is the modern replacement for the inalienable natural rights that used to be the traditional American grounds for a free society. That it is a moral issue for students is revealed by the character of their responses when challenged — a combination of disbelief and indignation: “Are you an absolutist?” the only alternative they know, uttered in the same tone as “Are you a monarchist?” or “Do you really believe in witches?” . . . the danger they have been taught to fear from absolutism is not error but intolerance. Relativism is necessary to openness; and this is the virtue, the only virtue, which all primary education for more than 50 years has dedicated itself to inculcating. Openness – and the relativism that makes it the only plausible stance in the face of the various claims to truth and the various ways of life and kinds of human beings — is the great insight of our times. The true believer is the real danger. The study of history and culture teaches us that all the world was mad in the past, people always thought that they were right and that led to wars, persecution, slavery, xenophobia, racism and chauvinism. The point is not to correct the mistakes and be right, rather it is not to think that you are right at all.

There is one thing a professor can be absolutely certain of: almost every student in America believes, or says he believes, that truth is relative. That anyone should regard the proposition as not self-evident astonishes them, as if they were calling into question 2+2=4. These are things you don’t think about.

Allan Bloom, The Closing of the American Mind

Heresy and Tolerance

August 26, 2009

Errors are refuted by argument, not by fire.

Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153

Nowhere in Scripture is the Church armed with the temporal sword to punish falsehood. Nor is she to hypocritically call on the power of the State to do her dirty work. Christ said to Peter, “Put your sword into its sheath’ (John 18.11) and nowhere afterwards is she told to remove it.