Friday, August 26, 2005

pandora's box

When we first started this discussion about MacCulloch's history, The Reformation, I wrote:

The Reformation also gave western Europeans the means to criticize, to question the most essential truths of the day. That is the pandora's box, isn't it.

M. Sinclair Stevens wrote that she was unsure what I meant by that statement. She wrote:

I'd argue that the current movement to shut the door to reasonable discussion, to any question or dissent, is what will unleash evil on the world. I'm in no hurry to return to pre-Reformation days.

I agree with her in the value of discussion, tolerance of dissent, and yes, the more I read in MacCulloch's book, the less interested I'd be in living in Reformation days.

I was being a bit flippant when I wrote that statement. In the case of the Reformation, the folk who challenged the Old Church ended up (often) being challenged themselves, or at least their followers did.

I think I was also referring to the general nervousness that the kind of liberalism you describe appears to create in this world among all kinds and types of folk.


lemming said...

The Reformation was a violent era. I am grateful that I live in a time that means I can support Bishop Robinson and not face the fires of Smithfield.

Don said...

lemming - last night, I was reading the section on the Spanish Inquisition under Isabelle. No, I don't want to go back to that time.