The Splits in Christianity Led to Religious Toleration

The spirit which animated the reformers did not introduce a real freedom of sentiment. Each religion, in the country in which it prevailed, had no indulgence but for certain opinions. Meanwhile, as the different creeds were opposed to each other, few opinions existed that had not been attacked or supported in some part of Europe. The new communions had beside been obliged to relax a little from their dogmatical rigour. They could not, without the grossest contradiction, confine the right of examination within the pale of their own church, since upon this right was founded the legitimacy of their separation. If they refused to restore to reason its full liberty, they at least consented that its prison should be less confined: the chains were not broken, but they were rendered less burthensome and more permanent. In short, in those countries where a single religion had found it impracticable to oppress all the others, there was established what the insolence of the ruling sect called by the name of toleration, that is, a permission, granted by some men to other men, to believe what their reason adopts, to do what their conscience dictates to them, to pay to their common God the homage they think best calculated to please him: and in these countries the tolerated doctrines might then be vindicated with more or less freedom.

We thus see making its appearance in Europe a sort of freedom of thought, not for men, but for christians: and, if we except France, for christians only does it any where exist to this day.

But this intolerance obliged human reason to seek the recovery of rights too long forgotten, or which rather had never been properly known and understood.

Ashamed at seeing the people oppressed, in the very sanctuary of their conscience, by kings, the superstitious or political slaves of the priesthood, some generous individuals dared at length to investigate the foundations of their power; and they revealed this grand truth to the world: that liberty is a blessing which cannot be alienated; that no title, no convention in favour of tyranny, can bind a nation to a particular family; that magistrates, whatever may be their appellation, their functions, or their power, are the agents, not the masters, of the people; that the people have the right of withdrawing an authority originating in themselves alone, whenever that authority shall be abused, or shall cease to be thought useful to the interests of the community: and lastly, that they have the right to punish, as well as to cashier their servants.


When there were many sects of Chrisianity, Europe had to grow tolerant of them.

Folksonomies: religion tolerance

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Human rights (0.965338): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc | yago
Reason (0.783427): dbpedia | freebase
Truth (0.733042): dbpedia | freebase
Toleration (0.721689): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Religion (0.709591): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Religious toleration (0.704649): dbpedia | yago
Political philosophy (0.677914): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Christianity (0.675838): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc

 Outlines of an Historical View of the Progress of the Human Mind
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Condorcet, Jean-Antoine-Nicolas de Caritat (1795), Outlines of an Historical View of the Progress of the Human Mind, Retrieved on 2012-08-06
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  • Folksonomies: philosophy