Did Christians Invent Religious Liberty?

A podcast on religious tolerance in early Christian thought

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Most people today think of religious liberty and religious tolerance as Enlightenment ideals–a triumph of reason over Christian obscurantism. Some have always challenged that view, arguing that religious tolerance is in fact a strong theme in Christian thought, going back to the earliest Christians. In a recent episode of our Legal Spirits podcast series, my colleague Marc DeGirolami and I interview Duke classicist Jed Atkins about Christians in late Rome (Augustine and Tertullian, for example) and their thoughts on religious tolerance. It was a great conversation, if I say so myself, especially when we explored the similarities between the intellectual world of late antiquity and our own. Here's the link.

NEXT: Prof. Michael Ramsey Blogging on Originalism and Birthright Citizenship

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  1. Choose reason. Every time.

    Choose reason. Especially over sacred ignorance and dogmatic intolerance.

    Choose reason. Most especially if you are older than 12 or so. By then, childhood indoctrination fades as excuse for gullibility, ignorance, bigotry, backwardness, and superstition. By adulthood — and this includes ostensible adulthood — it is no excuse, not even in the most desolate backwater.

    Choose reason. And education, tolerance, modernity, science, freedom, progress, and inclusiveness. Avoid ignorance, superstition, bigotry, backwardness, dogma, authoritarianism, insularity, and pining for good old days that never existed — not 50 years ago, not 2,000 year ago.

    People are entitled to believe as they wish, but not to have arguments founded in fiction treated with respect. Competent adults neither advance nor accept superstition-based argument or positions in reasoned debate, particularly with respect to public affairs.

    Choose reason. Every time. Be an adult.

    Or, at least, please try.

    Thank you.

    1. Arthur’s going to end up as a partisan in some war where a bunch of factions are fighting over whose Reason is more reasonable.

      1. I think Kirkland’s role in the revolution will mirror that of Nikolai Yezhov.
        Sure he’ll have fun hunting down Xtians and other heretics for a while, but in the end he’ll be blubbering with fear in a basement, while his own men riddle him full of bullet holes.

        1. I expect the future to be similar to that which I have already experienced throughout my lifetime.

          My preferences — reason, science, inclusiveness, modernity, freedom, education, progress — will continue to advance against superstition, dogma, bigotry, insularity, authoritarianism, and ignorance in America.

          The culture war will continue along its decades-established path, with modern, educated, diverse communities and liberal-libertarian schools shaping American progress, while bigots, yahoos, can’t-keep-up communities, and backwater religious schooling recede at an increasing pace in the great American sifting.

          Clingers will mutter impotently about ‘all of this damned progress.’ Their betters will permit the vestigial conservatives to complain so long as they toe the line established by America’s better elements.

          Do you genuinely doubt any of this?

          1. Go back to your rot gut Triple Rock

            1. Why so cranky, Don Nico? A gathering awareness of what is about to befall the clingers?

          2. Arthur, aren’t you a Marxist scum bag? Zero tolerance for Marxist scumbags.

          3. Can you tell me the science of how a man can live his entire life as a man then one day wake up believing they are a woman and that belief transforms them into a real, authentic woman?

              1. So you’re saying there’s a “female brain” and transes have it?

                1. Perhaps that explains gender disparities. Female brain mat not seek money as much, and this biological difference should be respected. We need a study of brain reactivity to cash on the table. Perhaps, do trans people accept lower salaries as part of their identity? These studies are weak. They should at least get duplicated.

                2. So I responded to your question, only for you to continue to purposefully miss the point.

                  You’re playing with tribalism, not science.

                  1. You posted a link without commentary.

                    That article suggests there is a female brain and a male brain and that transes have the brain of the opposite sex.

                    I’m asking you if you think that’s true?

              2. I identify with being rich. Send me money or I sue for discrimination. I have a rich brain. It is not a choice.

            1. Can you tell me anyone who actually believes that happens?

              1. Leftist dogma states:

                1.) Transwomen are women.
                2.) Transgender is what you believe your gender is.

                From those two you can derive my statement.

                1. OK, so you don’t understand the difference between sex and gender.

                  Your statement is a logical fallacy for the same reason the following is a logical fallacy:

                  Every fifth baby in the world is Chinese
                  Mr. and Mrs. Hernandez are expecting their fifth baby.
                  Therefore, Mr. and Mrs. Hernandez’ baby will be Chinese.

                  Now, if you spend some time actually thinking it through, I’m sure you’ll figure out what is wrong with both your statement and that statement.

                  1. Are you suggesting transes are really Male Women or Female Men?

                    1. You seem overly interested in the transes.

                      Leave your sexual fantasies out of it next time.

                    2. No. That’s not what I’m suggesting.

                    3. @James

                      Why are you trying to insult me by accusing me of being attracted to transes? What is it about transes you find so revolting that you use them to insult others?

                      @Krychek

                      You need to be more explicit with your point. You said I was confused about the difference between sex and gender. Show your work and not with vague and unrelated metaphors.

                      And if sex and gender are indeed different, then surely transgender would be correctly described by the terms Male Woman and Female Man.

                    4. Sam, did you try googling “difference between sex and gender”? Because if someone told me that I didn’t understand a concept, the very first thing I would do would be to look it up for myself just to see if he’s right.

                      Sex and gender are different things, so to conflate them to come up with “male women” and “female men” makes no more sense than to discuss how you would play checkers on a backgammon board. What you’re suggesting is a meaningless concept.

                      Now, a question for you: I assume you are aware that hermaphrodites exist, people both with both sets of sexual organs. In your world, what are they? Male, female, both, neither? The real answer to your question is that it’s not a binary system. Most people do fit comfortably into one or the other, but not everyone.

    2. The dominant religion harrassed the others. On occasion, a smaller one became dominant, and started harrassing the others. But one was always dominant and did the harrassing.

      Choose freedom, every time.

      They fought for dominance so they could force their will on others, rather than merely using persuasion. It was a rallying cry from the top grafters to the masses, so the top could be the skimming kleptocracy.

      Choose freedom every time.

      Eventually religion was kicked out of direct control of government. Yet the grafters at the top still needed rallying cries and found them.

      Choose freedom every time.

      Religion and modern politics are not just similar phenomona, not to be talked about at polite coctail parties. Rather, they are the exact same phenomenon, rallying cries for the masses so the power hungry can say, “Give me power, and I will bash the other religion’s leaders and hellbound dupes over the head and make your lives better. I promise!” Then they get back to graft even as they demand you praise them for your salvation.

      Choose freedom every time.

      Both should be stripped from the ring of power. One down. One to go.

    3. You are the least tolerant, most bigoted and most irrational commenter in these threads. You constantly say “choose reason” yet fail to ever choose it for yourself.

  2. I don’t suppose those of us with hearing loss can find a link to a transcript, can we?

  3. This is a joke, right?

    Religious intolerance was perfected by Christianity. Within a few years of its beginning, and extending until the last century, Christianity has exhibited factionalism and a willingness to kill others based on differences as to doctrine so minute as to escape detection from outside observers. No other religion comes close.

    1. Then again, when they were still an (occasionally persecuted) religious minority in the Roman empire, I’m sure they were very much in favour of religious tolerance…

    2. No other religion? You aren’t trying hard enough or you’re just terribly ignorant.

    3. 1. Please give me a link to a violent interchristian war that took place ‘within a few years of its beginning’.

      2. Tolerance in the modern sense began developing in the late Roman Christian Era. Not entirely because of Christians but they were part of it. The fullymodern conception of tolerance came from the matrix of culturally Christian Europe. Its true it had its share of intolerance but the two products are not mutually exclusive. Christian Europe has been no saint. But it many ways its been a sight better than the alternatives. If the OP tested the tolerance of the supposedly more enlightened rivals of Christianity in the same way. He’d find himself crucified, being set on fire in a wickerman, or having his heart ripped out in a sacrificial ceremony.

      3.. “no other religion comes close” Right here you can tell this person has absolutely no grasp of history. A more educated person would remember at least the muslim wars before they uttered such an overbroad and ridiculous statement. Someone more educated than that would realize there have been countless more religious conflicts besides these two . And a person who can think for themselves would realize that its not really a matter of religion in the narrow sense but of creed. And history is pretty much just relentless nonstop intercreed conflict of which these are just two.

      1. Factions are already appearing in the New Testament. Again and again the epistles show people taking sides within their churches. They didn’t kill each other because they were not yet in control of the machinery of government. Once they were (in the fourth century) there was suppression of non-Christians and “wrong flavor” Christians, religious persecution of an intensity that had never been done before. Men like John of Ephesus were sent into the homes of pagan peasants, pretending to be friends, then reporting back to the bishop if they happened to see a pagan shrine on their living room. The penalty of course was death. Eventually we get to inquisitions, witch hunts, internecine warfare . . .

        1. “John of Ephesus”

          Five hundred years later isn’t exactly within a few years of it’s beginning.

          And the Spanish inquisitions (which is what you’re referring to I’m sure) are far closer to now than the beginning, and were a socio-political weapon of the King of Spain, actually opposed by the Pope.

          1. The Inquisitions were just a more organized continuation of what had been going on before. The first formal inquisition was in the 1200’s. They were all directed by Rome, though of course secular rulers used them for their own purposes.

          2. And the Spanish inquisitions (which is what you’re referring to I’m sure) are far closer to now than the beginning, and were a socio-political weapon of the King of Spain, actually opposed by the Pope.

            Exactly. In the beginning, nobody expected the Spanish Inquisition.

      2. As requested: Link to violent interchristian war.

      3. “Please give me a link to a violent interchristian war that took place ‘within a few years of its beginning’.”

        There weren’t enough of them to call the fighting a “war”.

    4. You can only hold this opinion if you have no knowledge of religion or even philosophy outside of the modern West.
      Hell, modern secular humanism itself is a hybrid of Neoplatonism and Christianity.

  4. Some people would claim the multireligious model of the Romans but that just begs the question why they were feeding the Christians to the lions in the first place. Before then and outside Europe the usual situation was for different groups to be segregated/ghettoized in such a fashion conflict didn’t come up until it did. The situation of the post medieval and the modern era can be characterized at best as uneasy tolerance to outright hostility.

    Let’s put forth the hypothesis that a religious or more accurately and inclusively a truly tolerant truly multicreed state is in practice impossible in the end. There will always be a dominant creed and this creed (whether ‘religious’ or ‘secular’) will not long suffer the existence of rivals without eliminating or effectively neutering them into a toothless state. The lower creeds can be allowed to exist and jockey among themselves but a king will rule all above the fray.

    For awhile we’ve had the ideals of classical liberalism be our king of creeds but while it provided for more of that weak uneasy tolerance that we supposedly value, people have a natural craving for a more religious less barebones religion. So we head back into the frenzies of the past as we adapt the social justice cult as our new state creed.

    1. “people have a natural craving for a more religious less barebones religion”

      and Christians have had an insatiable craving for torture devices — check the lists of ‘top ten torture devices Christians have used against heretics.’

      Organized religion is dying, clingers, in modern America — and deservedly so.

      1. How to Design Your Own Atheistic Personal Philosophy – by Professor Kirkland

        1. Start with the assumption of no God
        2. However, also start with Christian morality
        3. Remove the bits you personally don’t like
        4. Proclaim that it’s self-evident
        5. Ignore the meaninglessness of a Godless universe
        6. Declare Christianity to be brutal in comparison while ignoring Secular Humanism’s death toll in the twentieth century.

        1. 1. Good
          2. Begging the question. It isn’t inherently Christian.
          3. You mean think for yourself instead of what people tell you to think
          4. Wrong. Proclaim that it doesn’t derive from a supreme being. That isn’t the same as self-evident
          5. Wrong again. We don’t ignore it. Atheists have diverse views on the meaning of the universe. Some agree it is but say so what; why does there need to be a meaning? Some say meaning is what we make of it. Some may take a biological view and say the only true meaning is to live and reproduce the rest is filler. And there are countless others. The only uniting factor is to say god doesn’t provide meaning.
          6. What wars were done in the name of secular humanism? What mass killings?

          1. Within about a year of the revolution, the state expropriated all church property, including the churches themselves, and in the period from 1922 to 1926, 28 Russian Orthodox bishops and more than 1,200 priests were killed (a much greater number was subjected to persecution).[55] Most seminaries were closed, and publication of religious writing was banned

            1. “Within about a year of the revolution, the state expropriated all church property, including the churches themselves, and in the period from 1922 to 1926[…]”

              And what happened between 1776 and 1922?

              1. He failed to mention this was the Soviet Union, not the US.

                There is a far cry from secular humanism to state atheism. Heck there is a big difference between atheism and anti-theism which is what they actually were.

    2. “Let’s put forth the hypothesis that a religious or more accurately and inclusively a truly tolerant truly multicreed state is in practice impossible in the end. There will always be a dominant creed and this creed (whether ‘religious’ or ‘secular’) will not long suffer the existence of rivals without eliminating or effectively neutering them into a toothless state. ”

      Depends on its state of evangelism. As long as some people feel their faith is weakened by other people not believing in it, they will continue to attempt to force conversion. Get a religion that doesn’t care if other people believe in it, and this pressure ends.

  5. Sigh. Religions tolerance is re-invented every people decide it’s not convenient to kill people who think differently.

    And religious intolerance is invented every time people decide the opposite.

  6. I was wondering whether I should choose reason, and if so, whether I should choose it only some of the time, or all of the time?

    Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

    1. If reason forbids a giant memeplex (group of memes), including “God”, which promises to save your soul and hurt those hellbound sinners over there, from controlling the government, then yes.

      If reason forbids an equally complex group of memes, most identical or very similar, with one exception, no “God”, and promising to save you from those hebound sinners over there, from controlling gkvernment, then no.

      We are still a child population, an angry caveman population, ready to hand over infinite power to people who claim they will save us from the other bad guys, pay no attention to their graft behind the curtain.

      1. “We are still a child population, an angry caveman population, ready to hand over infinite power to people who claim they will save us from the other bad guys, pay no attention to their graft behind the curtain.”

        Perhaps you are, but you don’t speak for everyone.

  7. Tolerance for other religions goes against the missionary nature of Christianity. In their view, to be “tolerant” of other religions is to willingly allow those people to not know the love and redemption of Jesus. To allow them to die without being saved would be quite immoral.

    1. Correct. At the end of “Merchant of Venice” Shylock is forced to convert. That offends us greatly, but to Shakespeare’s audience, it meant saving him from Hell.

    2. “Tolerance for other religions goes against the missionary nature of Christianity. In their view, to be “tolerant” of other religions is to willingly allow those people to not know the love and redemption of Jesus. To allow them to die without being saved would be quite immoral.”

      Yes, people can rationalize away all sorts of objectionable behavior.
      I’d argue that forcing people to convert is a subversion of God, who saw to it that the savage heathens believed as they did prior to the missionary’s arrival, as He saw fit.

  8. Did Christians Invent Religious Liberty?

    My impression is that pre-Christian Rome was fairly tolerant of religious beliefs, but this changed as Christianity gained in power. There were Jewish communities in ancient Greece which were not persecuted for their beliefs.

    So maybe Christians didn’t.

    It seems like a rather strong claim in any event, an assertion that nobody really thought of this idea for thousands of years before Christ. Hard to credit without a pretty deep exploration of early religion worldwide.

    1. The pagan Roman system let you worship other gods so long as the gods you worshipped included the imperial cult. Those Jews who submitted to Rome were in effect, as I understand it, given a special dispensation from worshipping the emperor(s). Of course, definitions of tolerance may vary, considering that Pompey defiled the Temple and the Romans later destroyed it.

      1. But the issue is whether Christianity invented religious tolerance. Since the Christian record on tolerance is, shall we say, spotty, it really doesn’t prove anything to say that the Roman record wasn’t that great either.

        Besides, even if the Romans were wildly intolerant, which they weren’t, that doesn’t address other societies. We are not talking about Christendom vs. pagan Rome. The claim being made is that Christianity invented religious tolerance. So it’s Christendom vs. the world.

        1. I was taking on your more narrow claim that Christians *invented* “intolerance” in the Roman empire.

    2. You know, except for that whole “Throwing Christians to the Lions” thing… Very tolerant, that.

      1. The Cradle of Judah, one of “the most sophisticated of the Spanish Inquisition’s inventions, it was created to deal with heretics [by Christians].”

        Keep preaching, Armchair Lawyer.

        See you at the Nov. 3 service, which is looking to be a great one.

      2. By “pre-Christian” I meant before Christ.

        No Christians to throw to the lions.

        1. “By “pre-Christian” I meant before Christ. ”

          And you expected everyone else to just make that same assumption?

    3. Before the rise of the modern religions, each religion had its own people and when the different peoples fought each other, this was seen as a conflict between deities. So a war over who got to settle in Canaan was a fight between Baal and YHWH. With one representing the people who were already there and the other representing the people who were moving in on the farmland.

      1. What is a modern religion, other than perhaps Scientology?

        1. Statism.

          Marxism.

          Socialism.

          All fact-free belief systems.

  9. I don’t think religion per se is the problem. I think monotheism is the problem. If your god is just one in a whole set of deities it’s pretty difficult to be intolerant of other people’s deities. And I’m not aware of any war, inquisition or religious persecution ever waged by one polytheistic group against another; historically that seems to be entirely a feature of monotheism.

    So if you want to be pissed off at the Jews for something they actually did, inventing monotheism seems a good candidate.

    1. Clarification: I’m not aware of any polytheistic groups ever having gone to war against each other over religious dogma. Obviously polytheists have waged wars for other reasons.

      1. I’m going to suggest you take a quick look at India’s history, or China’s, or Japan’s. There are plenty of religious conflicts in those polytheistic societies.

        1. There is a long history of conflict in those regions but mostly for expansionism, empire, political power and accumulation of wealth. I’m not aware of many wars fought over theology. Unlike in Europe where 50,000 soldiers died in battle to resolve the question of whether the Holy Spirit proceeds from both the Father and the Son.

          1. Again: take a look at history. There were plenty of occasions where Hindu fought Hindu (or Buddhist fought Buddhist) over religious issues – adding or removing gods, disputes over religious sites, etc. That ignores the not-uncommon occurrence of some ruler declaring themselves or their family divine, and going to war with the temples of other gods over it.

            Of course, once the Muslims invaded, internecine warfare fell out of popularity in favor of killing the infidel.

            1. Indeed. The big problem here is a western-centered education that doesn’t understand the history of the rest of the world (both good and bad). Here’s some reading from wikipedia on the many persecutions of Buddhists in the ancient and modern history.

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persecution_of_Buddhists#Pre-modern_persecutions_of_Buddhism

              1. I read your link. I’m not sure my case is as strong as I did before I read it. But still, “Mine is the one true God, and failure to give him his rightful place is cosmic treason” gives an additional rationale for religious persecution that you don’t have if there’s a whole boatload of gods and pick the one(s) you like. Historically, I’ll bet there have been far more cases of polytheists peacefully coexisting than monotheists.

                1. The biggest disagreements come from people who almost, but don’t quite, agree about everything. Anyone familiar with academic infighting can tell you about the biggest blowups over the most trivial details. Religion isn’t immune from this principle.

                  Both Christianity and Islam are based on Judaism, and the Christians can’t stand the Muslims, and vice versa, and neither one of them has much respect for the Jews.

                2. Oh Krychek….

                  Do you know what the Rohingya genocide is? 25,000 deaths in Burma due to religious discrimination, since 2016. The ruling nationalist Buddists in Myanmar killing off thousands of Rohingya Muslims.

                  Then there’s the Chinese, who are in a class all their own. According to the current chairman Xi, “members of the Chinese Communist Party must be unyielding Marxist atheists.” And there’s the massive discrimination against Muslims (and other religions, but right now Muslims are getting it worst).

                  Polytheists and atheists can and do discriminate against other religions just as badly as monotheists…

                  1. Except that if the Rohingya all converted to Buddism, the persecution would continue because that conflict is ethnic, though it doesn’t help that they are also of different religions. Which is unlike, say, the Spanish Inquisition in which ethnicity had nothing to do with it and those being persecuted had the option of converting. And I’m not sure why you’re lumping in non-theists here, but whatever.

                    I never said polytheists never engage in religious persecution, just that historically the monotheists seem to do it with far more frequency. And I’m distinguishing true religious conflicts from ethnic or other conflicts.

                    1. “The Spanish Inquisition in which ethnicity had nothing to do with it”

                      Really? You mean, besides the major target being ethnic Jews (Marranos) and Moors (Moriscos) in Spain…. Again, a poor understanding of history, and the way that religion and ethnicity often intertwine.

                    2. OK, now you’re being dishonest. The Jews were targeted because *they weren’t Christian*.

    2. Wow…

      And Krychek busts out some anti-semitism rationalizations….

      1. Oh, come on.

        I don’t think he’s correct, but antisemetic he is not. Don’t cry wolf about that stuff.

        1. I don’t think he’s correct either. But there’s nothing funny about giving “new” reasons to be antisemetic…

      2. So mocking anti-Semites is anti-Semitic?

        The point of my joke, which you obviously didn’t get, is that there’s a long list of things for which Jews have been blamed — murdering God, poisoning wells, sacrificing Christian infants, just to name a few. So, for those who are bound and determined to hate Jews, here’s something you can blame them for that they actually did — invent monotheism. Sorry it went over your head.

        1. There’s some Zoroastrians at the back door who’d like a word with you.

          1. Zoroastrians were indeed monotheists, but I’m pretty sure the Jews got there first.

        2. Jews were perhaps the first monotheists but they were not into proselytizing.

        3. Just FYI, “blaming Jews” for doing things usually comes across as antisemetic. Not a joke. Even if you think they actually did those things. It’s never really funny at all..

          1. So what’s your opinion of blaming Jews for not having a sense of humor?

            1. Depends on your “joke”. Some “Jokes” aren’t really funny. For example:

              “Did you hear the one about what you get when you mix a gas chamber and a Jew? A better world!” Ha…Ha…Ha…

              That’s a not funny joke. In fact it’s anti-semetic as hell. And if you say Jews don’t have a sense of humor because they don’t laugh at your joke….You’re a jerk at best.

              1. Except that that joke actually is anti-semitic, whereas mine was anti-anti-Semitic. But then I already explained that.

              2. “Depends on your ‘joke’. Some ‘Jokes’ aren’t really funny. For example: ”

                Maybe just work with the one I provided.

  10. Easy to support religious liberty when being tossed to the lions.

    The church invented the Inquisition 1.0. It imposed its ridiculous catechism on the law. It was known to be ridiculous in the 13th Century by anyone with eyes. Only force could validate its false and sick beliefs. Only the American lawyer profession still subscribes to the Scholasticism doctrines in it, across the board. The Church itself renounced the core belief of Scholasticism in the 19th Century. The American lawyer is more atavistic and slower to change than the Catholic Church.

    Why? The rent seeking theory explains all lawyer profession pathology. The Inquisition was such a good business model, it lasted 700 years and greatly enriched the Church hierarchy. It ended when French patriots beheaded and expelled 10000 church officials.

    Today, the American people suffer under the Inquisition 2.0, from the most toxic and disruptive occupation in the country, the out of control lawyer profession. This biggest criminal enterprise in the world must be crushed to save our nation. It has totally infiltrated and controls the three branches of government. The techniques of the Inquisition have been greatly refined, and made stealthier.

    The attack on the lawyer profession must begin with a campaign of relentless lawfare. The alternative is violence. The 25000 strong hierarchy of this vile criminal enterprise can be arrested in one day. Then ban anyone who has passed 1L must be banned from any responsible policy position. Those in those positions already must be purged.

    1. I’ve always said Modern Progressives are just Islamists in a secular coat.

      Islam has three rules:
      – Convert to Islam
      – Or be a dhimmi and pay the jizya
      – Or die

      Modern Progressivism also has three rules:
      – Espouse and express progressive dogma
      – Pay hefty civil fines
      – Or suffer social or commercial death

      1. Follow the money. The more things lawyers can sue over, the better. Laws are passed nowadays with bounties for lawyers to track down and claim from companies dragging ass on implementation. This is touted as a feature, not a bug, much less freedom violation.

        Follow the money. It gets back fractionally to the politicians, both as official donations, and as, you know.

        In dictatorships, failed states, and even nominal democracies like Brazil and India and Mexico, massive corruption reigns, grinding economic growth to a halt. Investment and risk are tough enough as it is without having to worry about estimating kickback amounts as an initial cost and ongoing cost of business.

        They just have to hide it better here.

        Example:

        The graft-laden taxi system is under assault from a disruptive technology. The graft takers defend it by launching memes about how crushing regulatory burden must be applied to protect those paying them protection money, and useful idiots out in the wild lap it up.

        At least Seoul, South Korea was honest, when it kicked Uber out, then handed the business model to connected cronies.

        Here, they have to hide it better.

        1. I oppose the method of the French Revolution, beheading the lot.

      2. “I’ve always said Modern Progressives are just Islamists in a secular coat.”

        Any other groups you don’t like, that you’d like to throw in there while you’re at it?

        Muslims, as a tendency, are fairly conservative people. and the extremists among them are extremely conservative. So, of course they remind you of “Modern Progressives”. Because you are incapable of analysis.

        1. I didn’t say “Muslims” I said “Islamists”.

          Why did you lie about my words when what I said is right there plain as day?

          1. sorry, I forgot you were stupid.

            1. I’m stupid because I know the difference between Islamists and Muslims and you don’t?

              That doesn’t make much sense.

    2. ” the most toxic and disruptive occupation in the country”

      Internet randos with axes to grind?

  11. Well, OF COURSE the early Christians had a different opinion of treatment of religious minority. In the early days, they WERE the minority.

  12. Everyone’s religious opinion except mine is wrong.

    If God is bothered by anyone’s religious opinion, He’ll take care of it when He gets around to it, and it’s not my job so I don’t have to care if you offend Him.

  13. One important aspect of tolerance in Christian countries is that it was often a policy of the king, rather than the church. Religious authorities, Christian and other, as a general rule, are less tolerant than secular ones. (Yes, there have been some notable exceptions, but I am talking about earlier times.) It’s important to distinguish between the two, because there was often conflict between them.

    In many cases the Jews were valuable to the king as sources of loans and as a way to indirectly engage in money-lending himself. Bear in mind that the church was a competitor in this regard. Plus, of course, it was handy to have Jews around as a convenient scapegoat when needed.

  14. I would say Roman Catholicism tried to stamp out religious liberty, and Protestants fought for religious liberty, until they gained the upper hand in certain areas (like New England) and then they tried to stamp out religious liberty too.

    1. Of course Moslem’s had a novel approach to religious liberty, convert or die.

      1. “novel” mean “new”, and “convert or die” wasn’t new when the Muslims showed up, and it isn’t new now. It has a long, proud history.

      2. This was hardly a universal attitude in Islamic countries. In many places Islam was decidedly more tolerant than Christianity.

  15. I think minority religions have always tended to espouse religious liberty, and majority religions have always tended to oppose it if they had enough control over the levers of government policy.

    So no, Christians didn’t invent religious liberty, and they also didn’t invent religious persecution. But when they had the power, they reveled in engaging in it, just like every other religion that had the levers of governmental power. Being able to say God is on your side is a powerful drug.

  16. One of the first things Moses did when he came down from the mount was to order his followers to slaughter people for not worshiping right.

    Christianity has only ever backed off from that position when it was no longer able to enforce it.

    And to be clear, this isn’t unique to Christianity: history shows that basically all religions are tyrannical when in power, and much more benevolent and kind when not.

    So me? I like religious liberty. Because having many different religions in an area makes it more likely that none will be able to seize control and return to tyranny.

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