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Comparative Religion

Divided by Faith: Religious Conflict and the Practice of by Benjamin J. Kaplan

By Benjamin J. Kaplan

As spiritual violence flares worldwide, we're faced with an acute difficulty: Can humans coexist in peace whilst their easy ideals are irreconcilable? Benjamin Kaplan responds via taking us again to early smooth Europe, while the problem of spiritual toleration was once no much less urgent than it's at the present time.

Divided by means of religion starts within the wake of the Protestant Reformation, while the harmony of western Christendom was once shattered, and takes us on a breathtaking journey of Europe's non secular landscape--and its deep fault lines--over the subsequent 3 centuries. Kaplan's grand canvas unearths the styles of clash and toleration between Christians, Jews, and Muslims around the continent, from the British Isles to Poland. It lays naked the advanced realities of daily interactions and calls into query the bought knowledge that toleration underwent an evolutionary upward push as Europe grew extra ''enlightened.'' we're given brilliant examples of the improvised preparations that made peaceable coexistence attainable, and proven how universal folks contributed to toleration as considerably as did intellectuals and rulers. Bloodshed used to be avoided now not through the excessive beliefs of tolerance and person rights upheld this present day, yet through the pragmatism, charity, and social ties that persevered to bind humans divided by way of religion.

Divided via religion is either heritage from the ground up and a much-needed problem to our trust within the triumph of cause over religion. This compelling tale finds that toleration has taken many guises some time past and means that it will possibly do an analogous sooner or later.

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Additional info for Divided by Faith: Religious Conflict and the Practice of Toleration in Early Modern Europe

Sample text

For Catholics as well as Protestants, the very nature of Christian piety changed. No religion is static, and over its two millennia of existence the Roman Catholic Church has transformed itself several times. The so-called Investiture Controversy of the eleventh century precipitated one such trans- A Holy Zeal 29 formation; in the 1960s, Vatican II decreed another. So too in the sixteenth century, partly in response to the Protestant challenge, partly driven by internal impulses for renewal and reform, the Catholic Church initiated sweeping changes in everything from ecclesiastic administration and the training of priests to liturgy and forms of private devotion.

The one was therefore an act of Christian love, the other of uncaring neglect. In 1582 a Calvinist synod phrased the argument thus: “Regarding Christian love, it does not consist in having to tolerate every person in his disbelief without speaking against it or punishing him. . He too uses love who admonishes and instructs with soft and hard words, as the need demands. . The Reformed church cannot exempt [a person] from God’s law nor teach anything else . . or promise anyone freedom and salvation except those to whom God has promised them.

Why could A Holy Zeal 27 none of the Christian churches admit the possibility that individuals might disagree in good conscience on basic matters of faith? Part of the answer lies in an irreducible dogmatism—a belief that there was something called truth, revealed to us by God and clearly identifiable, and that every other belief was plain wrong. It is also crucial to realize that Christian tradition conceived of the conscience not as an independent judge of right and wrong, as we think of it today, but as a slate upon which God wrote his law.

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