Sunday 21 March 2010

Next In Depth

The In Depth programme continues. In order to do the present day Catholic traditionalists I will need to look at the Oxford Movement and all that, but before that last time the background was covered in Thomism and reason reintroduced into Christianity. Well in order to do evangelicalism and all that, the next session on Tuesday has the group looking at the Protestant Reformation. It starts with Catholic corruption and ends with Catholic destruction.

I admit to bias. I think John Calvin was a kind of religious Stalin, an evil man. He was a killer. I know we are not to judge by our times and mores, but his reformation was completely authoritarian. Luther also upheld the power of the princes. I don't actually mention his anti-Semitism, though I'm sure it will come up in discussion. The poor Anabaptists were persecuted by both, drowned or hoisted into cages and starved. They did this to men, women and children. I've not much time for Zwingli either. Surprise surprise that I have quite a lot of time for Faustus Socinus and Francis David (the latter pronounced Dah-vid) and the left wing of the Reformation. They benefited from their tolerant monarchs and thus provided an Eastern European zone of toleration, at least until the Jesuits stamped it out and ethnically cleansed Poland, although the Transylvanian Unitarians continued so long as they did not innovate any further (the Hungarian dissenters were wiped out by the Hapsburgs). But as regards the theology, the brief survey shows continuity with the supernatural beliefs that evangelicals peddle today, as if the world of science and rationality never arrived - but I can introduce that topic for discussion at a later session. This presentation is just a basic look at the Protestant side of the 1500s and 1600s, more history than anything.

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