Christianity: Toleratiom

Figure 1.--Jesus' teachings as conveyed in the Gospels include many advanced moral concepts such as the Golden Rule and the parable of the Good Samaritan. Even as late as the early-20th century when this New York chorister was making beautiful music, there was still considerable intolerance even in the United states with freedom of religion as a core principle. By the late, the great bulk of the Chritian community has achieved a level of toleration in keeping with Jesus' central teachings. Eecumenism and inter-faith dialogs have become major efforts.

The issue of toleration has been a moral failing of the Chritian Church for much of its history. This begn with the the point that Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire. The Roman persecution of Chritians does not seem to have generated an appreciation of tolerance, but rather a desire to supress other faiths, a orientation with no basis in Jesus' teaching. The Church by the advent if the second mellinium had become extremely harsh with Jews, the only other religion tolerated. Not all religions are intolerant of other religions, including other stare religions. Hindism and Budhism have tended to be tolerant of other religions. The Abrahamic relgions less so, but this has varied over time. Medieval Christianity was perhaps the most intolerant of all religions, not only other relgions, but other Christian sects as well. It is unclear why Christianity becane so intolerant. This was no part of Jesus' teaching in sharp contrast to Islanic docrine. The Church began using the power of the state to supress pagan religions. There was at first a toleration of Judaism, but this changed over time. There were no other religions in Europe for some time, but from an early point in church history, the Church struggled with theological disputes. And proceeded to supress non-conformist thought as well as Jews. The Church also launched the Crusades during with unbelievable brutality was directed at Muslims and Jews and at times as well as other Christians. For centuries the Roman Catholic Church dealt harsly with those seens as heritics, such as the Cathars in France. The Renaissance launched a monumental shift in European thought, but did change attitudes toward toleration. Even so, by shifting man's concept of himself laid the fondation fir future change. Spain for several centuries was the only multi-cultural society in Eurpe. This ended as the Reconquist finally movd to the ultimate conlusion. The Church created the Inquisition to obliterate both Islam and Judaism, And in the same yer the last Muslim state fell, the Catholic Monarchs (Isabel and Ferdinand) expelled both Muslims and Jews, beginnung the Sephardic Diaspora. A few years later, Marin Luther launched Spanish Inquisition. Unlike previoushericies, Protestantim developed a large enough following that it proved impossible for the church to extinguish, especially afrer several German monarchs adopted Protestantism. This seems more of a political move to create independent nation states than theological fervor. This set in motion some of the bloodiest wars in European history--the religious wars. Europeans for nearly two centuries battered each other relentlessly, but failed to destroy either Catholocism or Protestantism. Finally from exhaustion the religious wars ended and Europe was left with a Catholic south and Protestant north. Only slowly, however did a spirit of toleration devlop out of divided Europe. Here primary movers were first the Enlightenment and then the amercan Revolution. Out of the Revolution came a Constitution in which religious freedom was enshrined as a fundamental principle. Thus Christianity which was once the most intolerant of religions evolved into the most tolerant. Toleration was largely seen as a just or moral principle, only in recent times has it been recognized that tolerant sicieties are not only just, but the most creative and productive societies. At the same time, Islam which had aegree of toleration has evolved into the most intolerant. Islam today demonstrates a level of intolerance unknown at the height of the Caliphate. without the benefit of the Renaissance, Reformation, or Enlightenment has become a firce for medieval intolerance and unbelievable barbarism.


Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Web Site:
[Return to the Main Christianity page]
[Return to the Main religion page]
[Introduction] [Activities] [Biographies] [Chronology] [Clothing styles] [Countries]
[Bibliographies] [Contributions] [FAQs] [Glossaries] [Images] [Links] [Registration] [Tools]
[Boys' Clothing Home]

Created: 4:18 AM 1/17/2015
Last updated: 4:18 AM 1/17/2015