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History of Christian thought on persecution and tolerance

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article gives a historical overview of Christian positions on Persecution of Christians, persecutions by Christians, religious persecution and toleration. Christian theologians like Augustine of Hippo and Thomas Aquinas legitimized religious persecution to various extents, and during the Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, Christians considered heresy and dissent to be punishable offences and fought wars to impose Christianity on non-Christian populations (or Christian sects viewed as heretical). However, Early modern Europe witnessed the turning point in the history of Christian thought on persecution and tolerance. Christian writers like John Milton and John Locke argued for limited religious toleration, while some Christians eventually came to support the concept of religious freedom, developed by secular authors like Thomas Jefferson. Christians nowadays generally accept that heresy and dissent are not punishable by a civil authority. Many Christians "look back on the centuries of persecution with a mixture of revulsion and incomprehension."[1]

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  • ✪ History Summarized: Spread of Christianity
  • ✪ The World's Most Persecuted Minority Christians
  • ✪ Know Your Enemy: The New World Order From a Christian Perspective
  • ✪ Early Christian Schisms - Lies - Extra History
  • ✪ History of Christianity: Later Persecutions


If you live in the northern hemisphere and have stepped outside as of late, you've probably realized that it's colder than the farthest reaches of space. That's because it's winter. Hopefully this isn't news to you, because if it is, you need to stop watching this immediately and brush up on your Magic School Bus as fast as you possibly can. Assuming we're all on the same page and know how seasons work, you're probably enjoying the holiday season, and if you're a Westerner, odds are the biggest one for you is Christmas. You've probably decorated a tree, hung up lights, unwrapped enough presents to furnish a Viking funeral, or maybe just watched that one episode of Stranger Things on loop for three days straight. The thing is, you probably already know that none of these were original Christmas traditions way back in the day, and if we're really trying to go for authenticity here, we shouldn't be doing any of this in the winter at all. But you know what, to just explain what Christianity is and how it got to where it is now, I think we need to back up and start from the beginning. Yes, The Beginning. The Gospel of John starts with: "In the beginning there was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." Now what's all this about the Word? What does that even mean? While we're at it, how is the Word with God and also God? Why do the other three gospels start completely differently? Also, where does Jesus come into this, and wasn't he Jewish? My point is that there's certainly a lot of questions that come up here, and Christianity is rife with this kind of historical and theological intrigue. Despite how widespread it is in our world, it seems like the history of Christianity is almost universally glossed over or mythologized. But the fact of the matter is there's solid and well documented history here, and I think it would do us a world of good to be educated on it. I won't talk about Jesus's life because you all know the highlights already. Instead, I'm going to talk about how the development of Christian doctrine is heavily influenced by its political, historical, and philosophical context. We start in the 1st century AD. The time period containing the growth of early Christianity is a fascinating time historically, as the newly formed Roman Empire was having a grand old time expanding into the Levant. The relationship between Romans and the history of Judaism is easily its own video but for the time being let it suffice to say that they really, really did not get on all that well. I will though explain that Roman religion was defined by inclusivity – shocker, right – well, the Romans believed that they had to do what they could to secure what's called the pax deorum – the goodwill of the gods – and they were totally cool with doing whatever they needed to do to get it. That's why their pantheon is full of gods, and every time they conquered some new territory the top of their to-do list is either finding a way to incorporate these new gods by adding them to the pantheon as is or combining them with an existing Roman god. Acquiring this pax deorum was absolutely essential to the welfare of Rome, so religious life went hand in hand with politics. It was similar to the Chinese concept of the Mandate of Heaven: if they lost the divine double thumbs up, their empire would crumble, and nobody wanted that. (Well, nobody Roman.) It's not that the church and state weren't separated, it's that the church was the state. Now baby Christianity was very much the opposite, in that instead of trying to blend into the Roman pantheon and the politics thereof, Christianity insisted that it remained separate, distinct, and unique. To put it simply, the premise of holding on to their unified identity above all else is single-handedly the reason for Christianity's staggering success as well as the reason for nearly all of the problems it would have throughout history and even today. Now Rome was no slouch when it came to religious toleration, believe it or not. Most Romans partook in what we call mystery religions — groups that met to practice quasi-secret rites in order to worship particular gods – and there were tons of them. Think of any pagan god. There was probably a mystery cult specifically for them. And Rome was eventually more or less on board with it because the Romans knew that no matter what a citizen did or which god a citizen worshipped the most in private, when it came to them as a collective of citizens they were always on board with the full Roman pantheon and were right there helping Rome keep its precious pax deorum. Now here's the trick. Christianity's desire to be separate and do their own religious thing apart from Roman state helps explain why the Christians were so fiercely prosecuted. If Christians didn't conform to the Roman religion, or at least accept it in addition to their own personal devotion to Christ, Rome saw itself as being robbed of pax deorum and as a result doomed to fail. Most of us today will agree that persecuting a religion or its people simply for their beliefs is totally wrong, but if you look at it through Rome's perspective, it does make sense why they saw Christianity as such a threat to their state. From their perspective, just by holding on to their beliefs, Christianity was disrespecting the very gods that let Rome maintain its empire at all. So this led to a slew of persecutions throughout the next few centuries, but no matter how hard Rome tried, Christianity didn't stop. In fact, persecution probably made Christianity even stronger. It's that whole martyr thing at the core of the religion. Think of it as "If Jesus died for our sins, we need to hold fast to our belief in him, despite how badly we're being persecuted. He suffered through it and so can we." There are certainly a multitude of things about Christianity that were appealing, and the afterlife is for sure on that list, but Christianity may have struck where other religions failed because of its emphasis on overcoming challenges through unity and the strength of faith in the face of open persecution. All this was going on for a few hundred years; the New Testament is slowly getting codified as Christianity tries to figure out exactly what it is. The main conflict was between the influences of Judaism and Hellenism. Jesus was Jewish and so are most of his early followers. Christianity was originally very much an offshoot of Judaism, and that's no surprise since there were a whole bunch of them running around at the time, like those guys who made the Dead Sea Scrolls. Anyway, it's kind of why the Hebrew Bible ended up becoming the Old Testament. Christianity was, at least way back then, fundamentally Jewish, and was building on a solid framework of Jewish beliefs. The problem was that there was also a heavy push to be more Greek. If you look at the places where Paul sends his letters about how great Jesus was, you'll notice that more than half of them are Greek places, and of course Greek was the common language of the eastern Mediterranean world thanks to our old friend Alexander the Great. But that's another story entirely. To solve this vexing problem about where to go and what to do, the early church took the bold stance of "¿porque no los dos?" and made itself Greek and Jewish. That's probably one reason why the final codified version of the New Testament has four gospels, each written as to appeal to a somewhat different group of people. The gospels are almost a choose-your-own-adventure of religious teaching. Matthew spoke to the Jews by relating everything back to Hebrew scripture and showing how Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament prophecy and laws. Mark spoke to the Romans by emphasizing Jesus's actions as a leader to appeal to their whole imperialistic thing. Luke spoke to the Greeks by playing to their culture's desire to live a happy and erudite life, and the gospel of John from earlier speaks to all audiences, but takes a hard right turn into serious platonic philosophy to show how Jesus was the divine reason itself incarnate. In fact, in Christianity's first 500 years the vast majority of theology we see is profoundly influenced by Greek philosophy, and specifically Plato, and the importance he places on the Word – otherwise, you know, speech – Logos in the Greek – reason. According to John, Jesus is the physical manifestation of this divine reason. But to get back to one of our questions from the beginning, how was the Word both God and with God? That's where the second big conflict comes in. Is the church to be Trinitarian or not? That is, are God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit the same thing, or is Jesus just a prophet sent by a God who was not actually his father? Here we see another geographical split. While the fight between leaning towards Greek or Jewish influence was more or less east to west, this Trinitarian split was more north to south. It's all because of an early theologian by the name of Arius, whose advocacy of non-Trinitarian theology inspired a Gothic Christian missionary named Ulfilas to spread non-Trinitarian Christianity all around the Germanic tribes. Most of Southern Europe remained firmly Trinitarian. Non-Trinitarian Christianity, however, was a home run in the north, and brushing over a number of historical hiccups for the sake of time, a decent number of people were converted from both Paganism and non-Trinitarianism into Trinitarian Catholicism in a few centuries. Speaking of which, side note, the word "catholic" comes from the Greek words meaning "universal". With that, let's jump back in time to Rome. While all these philosophical debates were going on, Christianity was gaining ground within the Roman empire. The first big example of this is Constantine, who was born a pagan but raised by a Christian mother. Now Constantine wasn't born as the heir to the whole empire. He had to earn that particular title by fighting one of Rome's very peculiar 4-way civil wars which happened every now and again throughout the 3rd and 4th centuries. The night before a battle with the ruler of one such fourth of the empire which contained Italy and North Africa, Constantine had a dream in which he was instructed to paint the Christian Chi-Rho symbol, the first two Greek letters of Christ, onto his army's shields, so he did and they won and in 313 he delivered the edict of Milan which legalized Christianity within the empire. So at this point paganism was still in charge but Constantine effectively said that Christianity can contribute to securing the pax deorum too. And this makes sense because, from Constantine's perspective, Christianity absolutely delivered pax deorum by helping him win this battle and unite the empire. The important distinction to note here is that this decree only indicated Rome's tolerance for Christianity. It didn't become the official state religion until the emperor Theodosius made it so in 380 CE. From this point on my historical command becomes foggier and events stop happening quite as fast so the rest of this history will be in more of a vignette style. Since Christianity was now the official religion of the empire, it needed a new Roman makeover, so it would fit. This is the part where Christmas probably gets co-opted into one of at least two pre-existing Roman festivals. The evidence isn't all there but the seasonal and thematic correspondences are hard to miss. Since historians actually have no original evidence at all that Jesus was born on December 25th, or any day for that matter, the Saturnalia and Sol Invictus festivals are our best bets for which ones got linked in. Our friend Theodosius made the brilliant decision to split the empire between his two sons, which had only been the cause of, oh, about, I don't know, like five civil wars in the past century. [sigh] It's not been a winning strategy so far by any stretch, but since it didn't immediately blow up in everyone's face I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt on this one. While the empire was getting irrevocably cleaved between east and west, the church has slowly but surely been drifting farther apart along those same lines for centuries. There really is no way to properly simplify this, but I also don't want to get on too much of a tangent here. Suffice to say that any ideology will tend to conform to the culture it inhabits with time. In the case of Christianity the Roman west ended up taking it in a different direction than the predominantly Greek east. Differences ultimately involved issues like how monks should cut their hair, how to calculate when Easter should be celebrated and the more complex question of Jesus's nature. Was it all divine or both human and divine? That is, was it in Jesus's very nature to be able to sin? On one side, the monophysites – Greek for "one nature" – they said no, it's only divine, it was impossible for Jesus to sin. The other side said that Jesus's nature was both human and divine, so he could sin, but didn't. Debates like this were all the rage in the first millennium of Christianity and most of them ended up with one brand of Christianity being deemed unorthodox which means they were anathematized, expelled from the church, and in effect condemned to burn in the eternal fires of hell. Reminds me of middle school. And remember, this is all just for having a different point of view than the central church did. The church took maintaining a uniform orthodoxy very seriously, but I mean, hey, whatever floats your ark, man. [bird chirping] I thought that joke was hilarious. The split between the eastern and western churches grew and grew and grew until they were so separate that both sides stopped responding to the other's text messages entirely. This mutually assured silent treatment is known as the Great Schism of 1054, the point where the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches split up for good. You know the saying, if you can't beat them, pretend like they don't exist. When the split happened a young boy named Odo was 12 years old. Fast forward 14 years and our little Odo became Pope Urban II. Three years into his papacy he saw a golden opportunity to end this recently formed schism. The Byzantine empire had lost a major battle along with a sizable portion of Anatolia. It's important to note here that the church in the west had formed what's called the Papal States in central Italy in 754, which was really just a formal recognition of the political power the pope had enjoyed in the region for over a century already. What this means is that just like our old Roman government that saw church and state as one entity, the papacy in the seventh odd century had become as much a political position as it was a religious one. The pope was running the civic business in Rome for some time at this point in history and it had also since picked up a nice little swath of territory. If you ask me, I think it's actually really neat to see the Catholic Church emulating Rome in this way. Back to the point. Pope Urban saw a brilliant opportunity to help out the Byzantines and get their land back for them in the hope that Byzantium would recognize the benefits of sticking with the pope and Catholicism and that all that business of splitting off was just a phase. Basically Urban wanted to do the Byzantines a solid favor and have the Orthodox church repay it by running right back into the pope's loving arms. This "favor" lasted for a few hundred years, and we today call it the Crusades. You may recall that Dante's Inferno devotes several passages solely to bemoaning the state of the church. – For those keeping score, that's so far a handful of popes and one major city that Dante's blaming for the sorry state of the church. – Well, tellingly, another two hundred years later we have the Borgias, the holiest of holy families. (He said overly sarcastically.) And given that little tangle of a family tree can be considered devout, it is no surprise that at this point in history enough people are bothered by not just the Church's debauchery, but the heavy politicking to do something drastic. Cue Martin Luther. Our pal Martin Luther's main objection to the church was the common practice of selling indulgences. You can check out Red's series on Dante's Divine Comedy for more on this, but the idea is that if you sinned, you can repay the church to cut down on the amount of time your soul has to spend in purgatory before ascending to heaven. Essentially, give the church money and your sins won't count. Martin Luther thought this and a bunch of other stuff was way wrong, but after he got no traction inside the church, he set about creating his own offshoot branch of Christianity that abstained from priestly hierarchies entirely and believed that everyone should read the Bible. Since a lot of Europe was kind of thinking the same thing as Martin Luther, and since the new invention of the printing press half a century before made large-scale communication a breeze, protest-ant-ism — Protestantism as it was called, get it – spread rapidly through the north. Soon enough you had entire communities, towns and cities rejecting hierarchies and basking in their ability to all read the Bible together and come to their own conclusions. This was all well and good until there were so many people coming up with their own interpretations that each person believed was totally right and that everyone else, especially Catholics, were obviously dead wrong, and then you get fighting – a lot of fighting. Eventually small revolts here and there gave way to entire nations breaking away from the pope and going on to do their own thing. That means now proper armies are killing each other over religion. Whoa, wait Guys – aren't we all here because we love Jesus? No? You mean we have to make sure that our super-niche version of following and praising the same person as you is the right one, and to prove it we'll literally kill you? Or just kill you because we have political beef with you and see this is a good enough time as any to take out our otherwise secular aggressions? Yeah, seems legit. In all seriousness, the absurdity we're seeing here is a byproduct of the very thing that let Christianity become so powerful and widespread in the first place: the determination to hold to one's own beliefs in the face of persecution and any external force that seeks to invalidate it. See, it's an admirable concept and probably the reason it survived its early history, but like anything rooted in stubbornness it leads to tension. It was functionally a Christian civil war broke out because all sides were so dead set on their own interpretation. What you got was a collision between multiple immovable objects and the end result was a lot of collateral damage. It's also interesting to note that Christianity didn't inherit this trait from Judaism. You see, an intrinsic part of the Jewish belief system was that the Torah was meant to be debated over. It was almost its own form of worship for rabbis to just convene and argue for hours at a time over the meaning of these texts. I'll go into more detail when I cover Judaism in its own video, but basically it was an accepted and fundamental part of the culture to present individual interpretations of sacred texts and debate their respective merits with the understanding that there was unlikely to be one right answer. Now, to be fair, what Christianity did have was a system of ecumenical councils, councils where bishops would gather to debate on matters of doctrine. However at the end of each council the bishops would vote on which side would be adopted as the official belief. So the proud tradition of debate lives on! Sort of, because at the end of the day Christianity is still pretty solidly rooted in that idea that there's one interpretation of the texts, even if that one interpretation takes some discussion to get to. That said, the verdict of the council was overturned now and again, but this tradition of ecumenical councils nevertheless institutionalized the pursuit of one doctrine. This is another iffy consequence of that same strength of belief that carried Christianity through centuries of conflict, albeit sometimes self-induced. It's the trade-off between strength and flexibility and Christianity is nothing if not strong. Fortunately though, when you do get big huge multinational wars popping up over the issue, eventually everyone gets it out of their system, and by the turn of the 18th century there was a huge outpouring of religious toleration from governments and between people, because everyone just kind of got tired of killing each other over this. Pretty much everyone walked away from the Reformation wars with the conclusion that "Yeah, it was pretty terrible. I think I'm just gonna let those guys do their thing and I'll go do my own thing in my own church. Good deal, good deal." It's thanks to the fact that everyone calmed down and got on that whole diversity of thought bandwagon that we ever got the Enlightenment in the following century at all, which is almost universally accepted as being a very good thing. People just stopped caring about everyone else's religion and the public discourse and popular culture turned more to matters of politics, economics, sociology, science and philosophy, which is why the Enlightenment was the intellectual powerhouse it was. It's because of all this that we went back to the good old days, you know, when wars were fought for sensible reasons like politics and territorial disputes and centuries-old grudges between two countries that should probably just make up and kiss already. You know, sensible reasons. To recap our history. Christianity survived the harshest possible circumstances under Roman persecution, tailored their beliefs to appeal to multiple cultural demographics, reconciled one doctrinal dispute but split the church over another and capped it off with one big civil war of sorts. After which everyone got along and lived happily ever after, or maybe I just stopped caring after 1800, but who's keeping track? Oh... Hey, sophomore year high school European history class. I totally remember you. You're the one with the wars right? Christianity had a hard time figuring itself out for one key reason. Here's the thing. You never see religions with belief systems as disparate as say, Judaism and Buddhism arguing with each other, because, well, there's so little overlap between them to argue about in the first place. It's compare and contrast instead of "I'm right, you're wrong". When it's two competing sects of one religion, though, there are specific things to disagree on, and you get much more pointed arguments, as we saw with Christianity, and as I touched on in Judaism, though it's much less of a right-wrong binary there, but that's for its own reasons. I like to think of it as an uncanny valley of religion. It looks similar to ours, it acts similar to ours, but it's not. It's somehow wrong. And we want to fix those tiny little things so they can be right and be like us and we can all be happy together, but they want to do the same thing to us because to them we're in the uncanny valley and we need to be fixed. This is the fundamental unfortunate side effect of one of Christianity's greatest strengths, for all the good it's done, and please don't think I'm underselling the importance of the orphanages, schools, hospitals and medical missions Christianity has consistently been a huge proponent of for centuries. I think if we start from the platform that we all have a lot to learn about each other, we can do way more good than if we just assume we already know everything about everything. No one is completely right. I think sometimes the only option is to agree to disagree on certain things and respect the other person's opinion. It's not going to make everyone happy, because being disagreed with feels kinda ughh, but being happy all the time is less important than being good to people. Wasn't Jesus's big lesson all about occasionally turning the other cheek? You know, love thy neighbor. Give a hoot, don't pollute. It's all right there in the gospels people, come on! In summation, Christianity has done a lot of amazing things for civilization in the past 2,000 years, but to understand why and to make the most out of it we need to learn how it succeeded and where it failed if we're to make progress now. You know what they say about learning history, right? Well, what they usually say around this time of year is "Oh, God, I need to learn three months worth of history or I'll fail this final" which in its own way is a nice example of the whole doomed to repeating thing But I digress Anyway, now that all that is out of the way, go and get back to playing with those gifts you got from a fourth century saint with an affinity for women of the night who dropped your presents down a shaft meant for fire. Man, Christmas is weird.


Historical background

Early Christianity was a minority religion in the Roman Empire and the early Christians were persecuted during that time. After Constantine I stopped the persecution of Christians, it became the dominant religion in the Roman Empire. Already beginning under his reign, Christian heretics were persecuted; The most extreme case (as far as historians know) was the burning of Priscillian and six of his followers at the stake in 383.[2] In the view of many historians, the Constantinian shift turned Christianity from a persecuted into a persecuting religion.[3] Beginning in the late 4th century A.D. also the ancient pagan religions were actively suppressed.

After the decline of the Roman Empire, the further Christianization of Europe was to a large extent peaceful,[4] although Jews and Muslims were harshly persecuted, to an extent of forced conversions in Byzantine empire. Encounters between Christians and Pagans were sometimes confrontational, and some Christian kings (Charlemagne, Olaf I of Norway) were known for their violence against pagans. The Northern Crusades, a series of campaigns against the pagan Balts and Slavs of northeastern Europe, faced fierce pagan resistance, requiring decades of violence by dedicated warrior-monks to force the submission, and compel the conversion, of the region's inhabitants, who were often left as serfs to an imported Christian German-speaking nobility[5]. There were often severe consequences for populations that chose to resist; for example, the Christian conquest and conversion of Old Prussia resulted in the death of much of the native population, whose language subsequently became extinct. [6]

The persecution of Christian heretics resumed in 1022, when fourteen people were burned at Orléans.[2] Around this time Bogomilism and Catharism appeared in Europe; these sects were seen as heretical by the Catholic Church, and the Inquisition was initially established to counter them. Heavily persecuted, these heresies were eradicated by the 14th century. The suppression of the Cathar (or "Albigensian") faith took the form of the Albigensian Crusade (1209–1229), a 20-year military campaign initiated by the Roman Catholic Church. Its violence was extreme even by medieval standards. Notable individuals who were executed for heresy in the late Middle Ages are Jerome of Prague, John Badby and Jan Hus. Only the Waldensians, another heretical Christian sect, managed to survive in remote areas in Northern Italy.

Also during the late Middle Ages, the Crusades pitched Christians and Muslims against each other in a war about the possession of Jerusalem, with atrocities from both sides. There were massacres of Muslims and Jews when Jerusalem was taken by Crusaders in 1099. After Grand Duchy of Moscow and later the Tsardom had conquered the Kazan Khanate and Astrakhan Khanate in the 1550s, the government forcibly baptized Muslim Volga Tatars and pagan Chuvash, Mordva and Mari. Mosques were prohibited. This persecution ended only under the reign of Catherine II of Russia in the late eighteenth century.

The Spanish and Portuguese Inquisition also went on to persecute Jews and Muslims. In Spain after the Reconquista, Jews were forced to either convert or be exiled. Many were killed. The persecution of Jews goes back to 12th-century Visigothic Spain after the emergence of the blood libel against Jews. Although the Spanish had agreed to allow Muslims the freedom of religion in 1492, this was often ignored. In 1501, Muslims were offered the choice of conversion or exile. In 1556, Arab or Muslim dress was forbidden, and in 1566 Arabic language as a whole was prohibited in Spain.[7] Jews were eventually expelled from England by King Edward I, too.

When Martin Luther wrote his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517, Catholicism reacted the same way as it had to the heresies of the late Middle Ages. However, while the Protestant Reformation could be "crushed" in Spain with "a few dozen executions in the 1550s",[8] the same strategy failed in Germany, Northern Europe and in England. France had to suffer through the French Wars of Religion before it again became wholly Catholic. The divide between Catholicism and the new Protestant denominations was deep. Protestants commonly alleged that the catholic Pope was the Antichrist. Conflicts between Christian factions reached their heights in France with the 1572 St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre, in Germany and Central Europe with the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648) and in England with the English Civil War (1641–1651). Following the devastations caused by these wars, the ideas of religious toleration, freedom of religion and religious pluralism slowly gained ground in Europe. The Witch trials in Early Modern Europe, which had reached their height between 1550 and 1650, continued until 1750.

European Colonialism, that was accompanied by Christian evangelism and often by violence, led to the suppression of indigenous religions in the territories conquered or usurped by the Europeans. The Spanish colonization of the Americas largely destroyed the Aztec and Inca civilization. However, Colonialism (and later European Imperialism) as a whole were not motivated by religious zeal; the suppression of the indigenous religions was their side result, not their main purpose. Only partial aspects, like the Goa Inquisition, bear resemblance to the persecutions that occurred on the European continent. By the 18th century, persecutions of unsanctioned beliefs had been reduced in most Europeans countries to religious discrimination, in the form of legal restrictions on those who did not accept the official faith. This often included being barred from higher education, or from participation in the national legislature. In colonized nations, attempts to convert native peoples to Christianity became more encouraging and less forceful. In British India during the Victorian era, Christian converts were given preferential treatment for governmental appointments.

At the present time, most countries in which Christianity is the religion of the majority of the people, are either secular states or they embrace the separation of Church and State in another way. (A list of countries in which Christianity still is the state religion can be found at the article on State religion.) Some recent political conflicts are sometimes considered as religious persecution. Among these, there is the case of the Hue Vesak shootings in Vietnam on May 8,[9] 1963 and the ethnic cleansing of Albanians, most of them Muslim, in Kosovo between 1992 and 1999, along with Bosnian Muslims.[10]

Christian Roman doctrine in 4th and 5th century A.D.

After he had adopted Christianity following the Battle of the Milvian Bridge, Constantine I issued the Edict of Milan in 313 (together with his co-emperor Licinius). Since 306 there had already had been several edicts that granted Christians religious toleration in parts of the Empire, but the Edict of Milan removed all obstacles to the Christian faith and made the Empire officially neutral with regard to religious worship. Constantine supported the church with his patronage; he had an extraordinary number of large basilicas built for the Christian church, and endowed it with land and other wealth.[11] In doing this, however, he required the Pagans "to foot the bill".[11] According to Christian chroniclers it appeared necessary to Constantine "to teach his subjects to give up their rites (...) and to accustom them to despise their temples and the images contained therein,"[12] which led to the closure of pagan temples due to a lack of support, their wealth flowing to the imperial treasure;[13] Constantine I did not need to use force to implement this;[11] his subjects are said to simply have obeyed him out of fear. Only the chronicler Theophanes has added that temples "were annihilated", but this is considered "not true" by contemporary historians.[14] According to the historian Ramsay MacMullen Constantine desired to obliterate non-Christians but lacking the means he had to be content with robbing their temples towards the end of his reign.[15] He resorted to derogatory and contemptuous comments relating to the old religion; writing of the "obstinacy" of the pagans, of their "misguided rites and ceremonial", and of their "temples of lying" contrasted with "the splendours of the home of truth".[16]

During the course of his life he progressively became more Christian and turned away from any syncretic tendencies he appeared to favour at times and thus demonstrating, according to his biographers, that "The God of the Christians was indeed a jealous God who tolerated no other gods beside him. The Church could never acknowledge that she stood on the same plane with other religious bodies, she conquered for herself one domain after another".[17]

After the 3-year-reign of Julian the Apostate (ruled 361 to 363), who revived the Roman state paganism for a short time, the later Christian Roman Emperors sanctioned "attacks on pagan worship".[18] Towards the end of the 4th century Theodosius worked to establish Catholicism as the privileged religion in the Roman Empire."Theodosius was not the man to sympathise with the balancing policy of the Edict of Milan. He set himself steadfastly to the work of establishing Catholicism as the privileged religion of the state, of repressing dissident Christians (heretics) and of enacting explicit legal measures to abolish Paganism in all its phases."[19]

Two hundred and fifty years after Constantine was converted and began the long campaign of official temple destruction and outlawing of non-Christian worship Justinian was still engaged in the war of dissent.[20]

The Augustinian consensus

The transformation that happened in the 4th century lies at the heart of the debate between those Christian authors who advocated religious persecution and those who rejected it.[18] Most of all, the advocates of persecution looked to the writings of Augustine of Hippo,[18] the most influential of the Christian Church Fathers in the Latin West.[21] Initially (in the 390s), he had been sceptical about the use of coercion in religious matters. However, he changed his mind after he had witnessed how the Donatists (a schismatic Christian sect) were "brought over to the Catholic unity by fear of imperial edicts." When Augustine had characterized himself in De utilitate credenti (392), he said he was cupidus veri, eager for truth.[22] But in his 93. letter he described himself as quietis avidus, needing rest, and gave as reason the agitating Donatist.[22] From a position that had trusted the power of philosophical argumentation, Augustine had moved to a position that emphasised the authority of the church.[22] Augustine had become convinced of the effectiveness of mild forms of persecution and developed a defence of their use. His authority on this question was undisputed for over a millennium in Western Christianity.[18] Within this Augustinian consensus there was only disagreement about the extent to which Christians should persecute heretics. Augustine advocated fines, imprisonment, banishment and moderate floggings, but, according to Henry Chadwick, "would have been horrified by the burning of heretics."[23] In late Antiquity those burnings appear very rare indeed, the only certain case being the execution of Priscillian and six of his followers in 385. This sentence was roundly condemned by bishops like Ambrose, Augustine's mentor.[24]

The treatment of heretics

With the adoption of Christianity by Constantine I (after Battle of Milvian Bridge, 312), heresy had become a political issue in the late Roman empire. Adherents of unconventional Christian beliefs not covered by the Nicene Creed like Novatianism and Gnosticism were banned from holding meetings,[18] but the Roman emperor intervened especially in the conflict between orthodox and Arian Christianity, which resulted in the burning of Arian books.[18]

In contrast to the late antiquity, the execution of heretics was much more easily approved in the late Middle Ages, after the Christianization of Europe was largely completed. The first known case is the burning of fourteen people at Orléans in 1022.[24] In the following centuries groups like the Bogomils, Waldensians, Cathars and Lollards were persecuted throughout Europe. The Fourth Council of the Lateran (1215) codified the theory and practise of persecution.[24] In its third canon, the council declared: "Secular authorities, whatever office they may hold, shall be admonished and induced and if necessary compelled by ecclesiastical censure, .. to take an oath that they will strive .. to exterminate in the territories subject to their jurisdiction all heretics pointed out by the Church."[25]

In the process of eliminating these heretical movements, Church officials, especially members of the Inquisition, made widespread use of torture to provoke confessions. Heretics who refused to recant their beliefs were hung or burnt alive. [26]. At the Siege of Béziers during the Albigensian Crusade (launched to eliminate the Cathars in Languedoc, crusaders under the direction of a papal legate, Arnaud Amalric killed an estimated 20,000 people, both Cathars and orthodox Catholics.[27]

The Old Testament has been the main source for Christian theologians advocating religious persecution. An example of this would be John Jewel. In defending the demand for religious uniformity by Elizabeth I of England, he declared: "Queen Elizabeth doth as did Moses, Josua, David, Salomon, Josias, Jesophat, ..." [28]

In the Middle Ages

In the Middle Ages, violent persecution of non-Christians became widely accepted by the Catholic Church within the framework of the Crusades. These tactics were particularly widely used in the Northern Crusades, where Christian rulers – and, later, monastic orders such as the Teutonic Knights – waged a centuries-long series of campaigns to compel the pagan Balts and Slavs of the region to convert by conquering them and settling in the newly conquered territory as feudal rulers. [29] The region’s inhabitants resisted conquest, and, even once subjected, rebelled repeatedly in an effort to reject Christianity and reverse the conquest. As part of these campaigns, forced conversions were widespread; massacre and atrocity, combined with the capture and killing of hostages to compel surrender and conversion, were commonly used tactics. [30] [31] These tactics sometimes reached such extremes that they caused large-scale depopulation of some regions through the extermination or fleeing of local inhabitants; [32] the Old Prussian people vanished as a distinct culture as a result of the Prussian Crusade. [33]

The Church’s acceptance of forced conversion was a new ideological development within Christianity. Beginning with the Wendish Crusade, the Church began to sponsor and endorse forced conversion through conquest, something it had hitherto not done. [34]. In addition to sponsoring forced conversion, the Church accepted the use of forced conversion as a pretext for the elimination of hostile or recalcitrant tribes that did not easily submit to conquest. [35] In 1171 or 1172, Pope Alexander III, in the Bull Nos parum animus noster, declared the conquest and forced conversion of pagans in northern Europe an official Crusade, recognizing it as a spiritually meritorious activity whose participants would receive the same remission of sin as those fighting in Levant. [36] The concept of just war was extended to include any war against pagans, with tactics traditionally outside the concept of just war included as acceptable. [37] Dominican friars helped ideologically justify the crusades and their tactics by portraying the pagans as evil and deserving of conquest, persecution and forced conversion in their preaching in support of the crusades [38].

The Protestant theory of persecution

The Protestant Reformation changed the face of Western Christianity forever, but initially it did nothing to change the Christian endorsement of religious persecution. The Reformers "fully embraced" Augustine's advocacy of coercion in religious matters, and many regarded the death penalty for heresy as legitimate.[24] Furthermore, by presenting a much more powerful threat to Catholic unity than the heretic groups of the Middle Ages, the Reformation led to the intensification of persecution under Catholic regimes.

  • Martin Luther had written against persecution in the 1520s, and had demonstrated genuine sympathy towards the Jews in his earlier writings, especially in Das Jesus ein geborener Jude sei (That Jesus was born as a Jew) from 1523, but after 1525 his position hardened. In Wider die Sabbather an einen guten Freund (Against the Sabbather to a Good Friend), 1538, he still considered a conversion of the Jews to Christianity as possible,[39] but in 1543 he published On the Jews and their Lies, a "violent anti-semitic tract."[40]
  • John Calvin helped to secure the execution for heresy of Michael Servetus,[41] although he unsuccessfully requested that he should be beheaded instead of being burned at the stake.

Effectively, however, the 16th-century Protestant view was less extreme than the mediaeval Catholic position. In England, John Foxe, John Hales, Richard Perrinchief, Herbert Thorndike and Jonas Proast all only saw mild forms of persecution against the English Dissenters as legitimate.[42] But (with the probable exception of John Foxe), this was only a retraction in degree, not a full rejection of religious persecution. There is also the crucial distinction between dissent and heresy to consider. Most dissenters disagreed with the Anglican Church only on secondary matters of worship and ecclesiology, and although this was a considered a serious sin, only a few 17th-century Anglican writers thought that this 'crime' deserved the death penalty.[43] These concerns notwithstanding, the English government saw fit to execute as treasonous a multitude of priests, dissenters, and recusant Catholics, even those who retained but private reservations.[citation needed] The English Act of Supremacy thus significantly complicated the matter by securely welding Church and state.

The Elizabethan bishop Thomas Bilson was of the opinion that men ought to be "corrected, not murdered", but he did not condemn the Christian Emperors for executing the Manichaeans for "monstrous blasphemies".[44] The Lutheran theologian Georgius Calixtus argued for the reconciliation of Christendom by removing all unimportant differences between Catholicism and Protestantism, and Rupertus Meldenius advocated in necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas (in necessary things unity; in uncertain things freedom; in everything compassion) in 1626.

Protestant advocacy for toleration

The English Protestant 'Call for Toleration'

While the Christian theologians mentioned above advocated religious persecution to various extents, it was also Christians who helped pioneer the concept of religious toleration.

In his book on 'The English Reformation', particularly in the chapter 'The Origins of Religious Toleration', the late A. G. Dickens argued that from the beginning of the Reformation there had "existed in Protestant thought – in Zwingli, Melanchthon and Bucer, as well as among the Anabaptists – a more liberal tradition, which John Frith was perhaps the first echo in England".[45] Condemned for heresy, Frith was burnt at the stake in 1533. In his own mind, he died not because of the denial of the doctrines on purgatory and transubstantiation but "for the principle that a particular doctrine on either point was not a necessary part of a Christian's faith".[46] In other words, there was an important distinction to be made between a genuine article of faith and other matters where a variety of very different conclusions should be tolerated within the Church. This stand against unreasonable and profligate dogmatism meant that Frith, "to a greater extent than any other of our early Protestants", upheld "a certain degree of religious freedom".[46]

Frith was not alone. John Foxe, for example, "strove hard to save Anabaptists from the fire, and he enunciated a sweeping doctrine of tolerance even towards Catholics, whose doctrines he detested with every fibre of his being".[47]

In the early 17th century, Thomas Helwys was principal formulator of that distinctively Baptist request: that the church and the state be kept separate in matters of law, so that individuals might have a freedom of religious conscience. Helwys said the King "is a mortal man, and not God, therefore he hath no power over the mortal soul of his subjects to make laws and ordinances for them and to set spiritual Lords over them".[48] King James I had Helwys thrown into Newgate prison, where he had died by 1616 at about the age of forty.

By the time of the English Revolution Helwys' stance on religious toleration was more commonplace. However, whilst accepting their zeal in desiring a 'godly society', some contemporary historians doubt whether the English Puritans during the English Revolution were as committed to religious liberty and pluralism as traditional histories have suggested. However, historian John Coffey's recent work[49] emphasises the contribution of a minority of radical Protestants who steadfastly sought toleration for heresy, blasphemy, Catholicism, non-Christian religions, and even atheism. This minority included the Seekers, as well as the General Baptists and the Levellers. Their collective witness demanded the church be an entirely voluntary, non-coercive community able to evangelise in a pluralistic society governed by a purely civil state. Such a demand was in sharp contrast to the ambitions of the magisterial Protestantism of the Calvinist majority.

In 1644 the "Augustinian consensus concerning persecution was irreparably fractured."[50] This year can be identified quite exactly, because 1644 saw the publication of John Milton's Areopagitica, William Walwyn's The Compassionate Samaritane, Henry Robinson's Liberty of Conscience and Roger William's The Bloudy Tenent of Persecution. These authors were Puritans or had dissented from the Church of England, and their radical Protestantism led them to condemn religious persecution, which they saw as a popish corruption of primitive Christianity.[51] Other non-Anglican writers advocating toleration were Richard Overton, John Wildman and John Goodwin, the Baptists Samuel Richardson and Thomas Collier and the Quakers Samuel Fisher and William Penn. Anglicans who argued against persecution were: John Locke, Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 1st Earl of Shaftesbury, James Harrington, Jeremy Taylor, Henry More, John Tillotson and Gilbert Burnet.[52]

All of these considered themselves Christians or were actual churchmen. John Milton and John Locke are the predecessors of modern liberalism. Although Milton was a Puritan and Locke an Anglican, Areopagitica and A Letter concerning Toleration are canonical liberal texts.[53] Only from the 1690s onwards the philosophy of Deism emerged, and with it a third group that advocated religious toleration, but, unlike the radical Protestants and the Anglicans, also rejected biblical authority; this group prominently includes Voltaire, Frederick II of Prussia, Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor, Thomas Jefferson and the English-Irish philosopher John Toland.[51] When Toland published the writings of Milton, Edmund Ludlow and Algernon Sidney, he tried to downplay the Puritan divinity in these works.[54]

The Holy Roman Emperor, Joseph II, issued the Patent of Toleration in 1781.

Developments in 17th-century England

Following the debates that started in the 1640s the Church of England was the first Christian church to grant adherents of other Christian denominations freedom of worship, with the Act of Toleration 1689, which nevertheless still retained some forms of religious discrimination and did not include toleration for Catholics. At present, only individuals who are members of the Church of England at the time of the succession may become the British monarch.

In the United States

The Puritan-Whig tradition of toleration did have their greatest effect not in England, but in the Thirteen Colonies that would later form the United States.[54] Notable tolerationists were directly involved in the founding of the colonies. Roger Williams founded the colony of Rhode Island, "a haven for persecuted minorities,"[54] John Locke drafted the Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina and William Penn drew up the constitution of Pennsylvania. Voltaire pointed the readers of his Traité sur la Tolérance (1763) specifically to the examples of Carolina and Pennsylvania.[54] People like Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and John Adams stood self-consciously in the tradition of Milton, Sidney and Locke, and extended their tolerationism further to also apply to Catholics and atheists.[55] Coffey considers it possible to argue, "that the tolerationist tradition of seventeenth-century England reached its fulfilment in the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom and the First Amendment to the American Constitution."[55]

That the North American colonies and later the United States provided a refuge for religious minorities from Europe partly explains the higher degree of religiosity in the contemporary United States and the "unusual sectarian quality of U.S. Protestantism".[56] Compared to Europe, "the United States has a superabundance of denominations and sects (...) as well as a far higher ratio of churchgoers."[57] Which importance the Christian religion should have in the United States, with its strong concept of Separation of church and state, is a contentious question. For political commentator Kevin Phillips, "few questions will be more important to the twenty-first-century United States than whether renascent religion and its accompanying hubris will be carried on the nation's books as an asset or as a liability."[58]

According to a 2008 survey, 65% of US-American Christians believe that many religions can lead to eternal life.[59] 52% of US-American Christians think that at least some non-Christian faiths can lead to eternal life.[59]

(At its surface, the percentages above seem contradictory; the key is in the appellation of the term non-Christian in the second, lesser quantity. For some Christians, different sects of Christianity represent "different religions." These people thus mistake the survey term "many religions" to mean "different sects of Christianity," even though that is not the common intended use of the phrase. What the survey really shows is that more US Christians believe that God can make himself known through multiple Christian sects, than believe that He can make Himself known even through other religions. It is worth noting that a majority of US Christians take the more inclusive stance.)

The mid-20th-century Spanish model

As of the mid-20th century, an example of Catholic church-state relations was the Catholic situation in Franco's Spain, where under the National Catholicism doctrine the Catholic Church:

  • was officially recognized and protected by the state,
  • had substantial control over social policy, and
  • had this relationship explicitly set out in a Concordat.

It had long been the policy of the Catholic Church to support toleration of competing religions under such a scheme, but to support legal restrictions on attempts to convert Catholics to those religions, under the motto that "error has no rights".[citation needed]

Modern Roman Catholic policy

On the seventh of December 1965 The Catholic Church as part of the Vatican II council issued the decree "Dignitatis humanae" that dealt with the rights of the person and communities to social and civil liberty in religious matters. It states: "2. The Vatican Council declares that the human person has a right to religious freedom. Freedom of this kind means that all men should be immune from coercion on the part of individuals, social groups and every human power so that, within due limits, nobody is forced to act against his convictions in religious matters in private or public, alone or in associations with others. The Vatican Council further declares that the right of religious freedom is based on the very word of God and by reason itself. This right of the human person to religious freedom must be given such recognition in the constitutional order of society as will make it a civic right...but if it [the civil authority] presumes to control or restrict religious activity it must be said to have exceeded the limits of its power...Therefore, provided the just requirements of public order are not violated, these groups [i.e. religious communities] have a right to immunity so that they may organize their own lives according to their religious principles...From this it follows that it is wrong for a public authority to compel its citizens by force or fear or any other means to profess or repudiate any religion or to prevent anyone from joining or leaving a religious body. There is even more serious transgression of God's will and of the sacred rights of the individual person and the family of nations when force is applied to wipe out or repress religion either throughout the whole world or in a single region or in a particular community".[60]

On 12 March 2000 Pope John Paul II prayed for forgiveness because "Christians have often denied the Gospel; yielding to a mentality of power, they have violated the rights of ethnic groups and peoples, and shown contempt for their cultures and religious traditions" [61]

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) wrote "The quality of exemplarity which the honest admission of past faults can exert on attitudes within the Church and civil society should also be noted, for it gives rise to a renewed obedience to the Truth and to respect for the dignity and the rights of others, most especially, of the very weak. In this sense, the numerous requests for forgiveness formulated by John Paul II constitute an example that draws attention to something good and stimulates the imitation of it, recalling individuals and groups of people to an honest and fruitful examination of conscience with a view to reconciliation"[62]

See also


  • John Coffey (2000), Persecution and Toleration in Protestant England 1558-1689, Studies in Modern History, Pearson Education
  • Ramsay MacMullen, "Christianizing The Roman Empire A.D.100-400, Yale University Press, 1984, ISBN 0-300-03642-6
  • Ramsay MacMullen, "Christianity & Paganism in the Fourth to Eight Centuries", Yale University Press, 1997, ISBN 0-300-07148-5


  1. ^ Coffey 2000: 206.
  2. ^ a b Coffey 2000: 23
  3. ^ Coffey 2000: 22
  4. ^ Lutz E. von Padberg (1998), Die Christianisierung Europas im Mitterlalter, Reclam (in German), p. 183
  5. ^ Christiansen, Eric. The Northern Crusades. London: Penguin Books. pg. 14-15.
  6. ^ The German Hansa, P. Dollinger, page 34, 1999, Routledge
  7. ^ Lapidus, Ira M. (1988). A History of Islamic societes. Cambridge University Press. p. 389. ISBN 0-521-22552-3.
  8. ^ Coffey 2000: 212
  9. ^ Tucker, p. 291.
  10. ^ Barbara Larkin (editor). International Religious Freedom (2000): Report to Congress by the Department of State. ISBN 0-7567-1229-7.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  11. ^ a b c MacMullan 1984:49.
  12. ^ quoted after MacMullan 1984:49.
  13. ^ MacMullan 1984:50.
  14. ^ MacMullan 1984: 141, Note 35 to Chapter V; Theophanes, Chron. a. 322 (PG 108.117)
  15. ^ MacMullan 1984:96.
  16. ^ "A History of the Church", Philip Hughes, Sheed & Ward, rev ed 1949, vol I chapter 6.[1]
  17. ^ C. G. Herbermann & Georg Grupp, "Constantine the Great", Catholic Encyclopedia, 1911, New Advent web site.
  18. ^ a b c d e f Coffey 2000:22.
  19. ^ "Studies in Comparative Religion, "The Conversion of the Roman Empire, Philip Hughes, Vol 3, CTS.
  20. ^ R. MacMullen, Christianity and Paganism in the Fourth to Eight Centuries, P151, ISBN 0-300-07148-5
  21. ^ Augustine and Manichaeism in the Latin West, ed. by Johannes van Oort et al., 2001, back cover
  22. ^ a b c Kurt Flasch: Augustin - Einführung in sein Denken (in German), 3. ed., Reclam, 2003, p.168
  23. ^ quoted after Coffey 2000: 23.
  24. ^ a b c d Coffey 2000:23.
  25. ^ Medieval Sourcebook: Twelfth Ecumenical Council: Lateran IV 1215
  26. ^ Sean Martin, The Cathars: The Most Successful Heresy of the Middle Ages, Pocket Essentials, 2005, p.g. 105-120
  27. ^ Zoé Oldenbourg. Massacre at Montségur. A History of the Albigension Crusade (1961). Phoenix, 2006. p. 109ff. ISBN 1-84212-428-5.
  28. ^ John Coffey, Persecution and Toleration on Protestant England 1558-1689, 2000, p.31
  29. ^ Christiansen, Eric. The Northern Crusades. London: Penguin Books. pg. 14-15
  30. ^ Christiansen, Eric. The Northern Crusades. London: Penguin Books. pg. 73, 88.
  31. ^ Tyerman, Christopher. “Henry of Livonia and the Ideology of Crusading,” in Crusading and Chronicle Writing on the Medieval Baltic Frontier: A Companion to the Chronicle of Henry of Livonia, eds, Marek Tamm, Linda Kaljundi, and Carsten Selch Jensen. Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing Company, 2011. pg. 23, 678-79.
  32. ^ Forstreuter, Kurt. Deutschland und Litauen. Königsberg: Ost-europa, 1938. p. 9
  33. ^ The German Hansa, P. Dollinger, page 34, 1999, Routledge
  34. ^ Haverkamp, Alfred. Medieval Germany: 1056-1273. Trans. Helga Braun and Richard Mortimer. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. p.g. 157-158
  35. ^ Fonnesberg-Schmidt, Iben. “Pope Honorius III and Mission and Crusades in the Baltic Region”. In The Clash of Cultures on the Medieval Baltic Frontier. Ed. Alan V. Murray. Farnham: Ashgate Publishing Company, 2009. p.g. 119.
  36. ^ Christiansen, Eric. The Northern Crusades. London: Penguin Books. pg. 71.
  37. ^ Urban, William. The Teutonic Knights: A Military History. South Yorkshire: Pen &Sword Books Ltd.,2011. p.g. 9
  38. ^ Boockmann, Harmut & Johannes Falkenberg. Der Deutsche Orden und die polnische Politik. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1975. p.g. 58
  39. ^ Thomas Kaufmann, 2005: Luthers "Judenschriften in ihren historischen Kontexten (Nachrichten der Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen) (in German), p. 526
  40. ^ Coffey 2000: 23, 24
  41. ^ Coffey 2000: 24.
  42. ^ see Coffey 2000: 24,25.
  43. ^ Coffey 2000: 25
  44. ^ Coffey 2000: 24,26; Thomas Bilson 1585, The True Difference between Christian Subjection and Unchristian Rebellion, pp. 19,20, 383.
  45. ^ Dickens, A.G. (1978). 'The English Reformation'. London & Glasgow: Fontana/Collins. p. 438.;
  46. ^ a b Dickens, A.G. (1978). 'The English Reformation'. London & Glasgow: Fontana/Collins. p. 116.;
  47. ^ Dickens, A.G. (1978). 'The English Reformation'. London & Glasgow: Fontana/Collins. pp. 439–440.;
  48. ^ Helwys, Thomas (1612). ‘A Short Declaration on the Mystery of Iniquity’.;
  49. ^ Coffey, John (1998) "Puritanism & Liberty Revisited: The Case for Toleration in the English Revolution", The Historical Journal, Cambridge University Press.
  50. ^ Coffey 2000: 47.
  51. ^ a b Coffey 2000: 50.
  52. ^ This list is taken from: Coffey (2000), 50
  53. ^ Coffey 2000: 206; A. Patterson, Early Modern Liberalism, Cambridge 1997
  54. ^ a b c d Coffey 2000: 207.
  55. ^ a b Coffey 2000: 208.
  56. ^ Kevin Phillips (2006): American Theocracy. The Perils and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century. p. 104
  57. ^ Kevin Phillips (2006): 105.
  58. ^ Kevin Phillips (2006): 99.
  59. ^ a b "Many Americans Say Other Faiths Can Lead to Eternal Life". PEW Forum. December 18, 2008.
  60. ^ Austin Flannery (General Editor), Vatican Council II - The Conciliar and Post Concilliar Documents, 1981 Edition
  61. ^ "POPE JOHN PAUL II ASKS FOR FORGIVENESS". Sacred Heart University. March 12, 2000. Retrieved April 16, 2007.
  62. ^ Cardinal Ratzinger, Joseph. ""MEMORY AND RECONCILIATION: THE CHURCH AND THE FAULTS OF THE PAST", International Theological Commission held in Rome from 1998 to 1999". Retrieved 17 April 2008.

Further reading

  • John Courtney Murray; J. Leon Hooper (1993). Religious Liberty: Catholic Struggles With Pluralism. Westminster John Knox Press. ISBN 978-0-664-25360-8.
  • Robert P. Geraci; Michael Khodarkovsky (2001). Of Religion and Empire: Missions, Conversion, and Tolerance in Tsarist Russia. Cornell University Press. ISBN 978-0-8014-3327-6.
  • Ole Peter Grell; Bob Scribner (2002). Tolerance and Intolerance in the European Reformation. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-89412-8.
  • R. Po-Chia Hsia; Henk Van Nierop (2002). Calvinism and Religious Toleration in the Dutch Golden Age. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-80682-4.
  • Chris Beneke (2006): Beyond toleration. the religious origins of American pluralism, Oxford University Press
  • Alexandra Walsham (2006): Charitable hatred. Tolerance and intolerance in England, 1500 - 1700, Manchester University Press
  • Hans Erich Bödeker; Clorinda Donato; Peter Reill (2008). Discourses of Tolerance & Intolerance in the European Enlightenment. University of Toronto Press. ISBN 978-1-4426-9136-0.
  • C. Scott Dixon; Dagmar Freist; Mark Greengrass (2009). Living With Religious Diversity in Early-Modern Europe. Ashgate. ISBN 978-0-7546-6668-4.
  • Adam Wolfson (2010). Persecution or Toleration: An Explication of the Locke-Proast Quarrel, 1689-1704. Lexington Books. ISBN 978-0-7391-4724-5.
  • John Corrigan; Lynn S. Neal (2010). Religious Intolerance in America: A Documentary History. Univ of North Carolina Press. ISBN 978-0-8078-3389-6.
  • John Laursen; Cary Nederman (2011). Beyond the Persecuting Society: Religious Toleration Before the Enlightenment. University of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN 978-0-8122-1567-0.
  • Chris Beneke; Christopher Grenda (2011). The First Prejudice: Religious Tolerance and Intolerance in Early America. University of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN 978-0-8122-4270-6.
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