[Buddha-l] Watery dharma

curt at cola.iges.org curt at cola.iges.org
Tue Dec 18 21:35:35 MST 2007

I would suggest not bringing up the Jews when talking about "clear evidence of religious tolerance" on the part of Christians. Regardless of the century.

As to the 11th century in particular, this is generally recognized by historians as a time when religious persecution significantly accelerated throughout European Christendom. Although some historians have speculated that it was really just the record keeping that got better.

See, for example, "The Formation of a Persecuting Society" by Robert Ian Moore. Moore, by the way, is not some wild-eyed "polemicist". He is the General Editor of Blackwell Publishers "History of the Word" series (not to be confused with their "History of the World Series") - and he is a professor of Medieval History at the University of Newcastle on Tyne.

Moore's thesis is that during the 10th - 13th centuries European Christendom became a "persecuting society ... that may be seen as the forerunner of the atrocities of the religious wars, the executions of the Reformation, even the Holocaust of the 20th century." I still haven't figured out why Moore thinks Europe wasn't already a persecution society before the 10th century - but I kind of suspect it's because he happens to be a Medievalist.

Curt Steinmetz

----- Original Message -----
From: SJZiobro at cs.com
To: "Buddhist discussion forum" <buddha-l at mailman.swcp.com>
Sent: Tuesday, December 18, 2007 5:59:46 PM (GMT-0500) America/New_York
Subject: Re: [Buddha-l] Watery dharma

Actually, one finds clear evidence of religious tolerance in the 11th century relative to St. Bernard's advocacy for the Jews.  If one does not fall into the trap of anachronism one will find other evidence even earlier, for example, when Christians were themselves persecuted from roughly 90 AD to 313 AD.  It is also important to distinguish polemic and doctrines from actual practice.

Stan Ziobro

curt at cola.iges.org wrote:

>Actually, all present strains of Christianity (other than Catholics, Orthodox, Copts, and Ethiopians) have their origins in the orgy of fundamentalist hypersectarian bloodshed known quaintly as "The Reformation". Groups that came into existence at this time generally took up as their first order of business the declaration of holy war against all the other groups. Any religious tolerance within Christianity is of very recent origins. I would be happy to be proved wrong on this, but simple assertions don't impress me much. If Richard or anyone else believes they have some evidence of genuine religious tolerance among Christians earlier than this - please don't keep you candle under a bushel.
>The early history of religious tolerance in Christianity only begins, very modestly, in 16th century. At that time, the question on the table was what constituted a capital offense, theologically speaking. Being intolerant meant you thought that things like questioning the Trinity made one worthy of execution, whereas the "tolerant" folks thought you should only be put to death if you refused to accept Jesus as the savior of mankind. 
>I've mentioned this before - but the best scholarly work on this subject is Perez Zagorin's "How the Idea of Religious Toleration Came to the West":
>----- Original Message -----
>From: "Richard Hayes" <rhayes at unm.edu>
>To: "Buddhist discussion forum" <buddha-l at mailman.swcp.com>
>Sent: Tuesday, December 18, 2007 1:43:58 PM (GMT-0500) America/New_York
>Subject: Re: [Buddha-l] Watery dharma
>On Tuesday 18 December 2007 10:35, curt wrote:
>> Christianity has a very different history, though. Historically
>> Christianity has discouraged (to put it mildly) any form of
>> "dual-membership".
>During the past 2000 years, so many strains of Christianity have evolved (or 
>have been created) that it can be misleading to assume that what has been 
>true of some Christian traditions historically is still true of those 
>traditions today, let alone of all forms of Christianity. And it would be a 
>grave mistake to think that only Christians are prone to spiritual 
>A few years ago my wife and I attended an interfaith event in Spain, which had 
>been organized by an orthodox rabbi from Israel. At one point the rabbi 
>suggested all the delegates meet together for a period of meditation. The 
>Jews, Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists and most of the Christians were all for 
>it, but the Russian Orthodox delegates said they could not pray or meditate 
>in the presence of non-Christians (by which, it turned out, they meant not 
>only Jews, Muslims, Hindus and so on, but also Roman Catholics and 
>Protestants). So the idea of an interfaith meditation was given up, and 
>everyone went to do something with their coreligionists. I don't know what 
>the others did. The Buddhists got into an argument about whether Mahayana or 
>Theravada best captured the true spirit of Buddhism. 
>Things got even more complicated when it came time to eat.
>The entire experience was profoundly discouraging. I went to the conference 
>believing in the spiritual unity of humankind and left thinking that our 
>species is doomed to live out its remaining existence fighting stupid and 
>pointless holy wars over trivial details of diet and head wear. 
>Richard P. Hayes
>"We should not kill each other over different ways of saying how the world is 
>-- Coleman Barks quoting an Iranian mullah
>buddha-l mailing list
>buddha-l at mailman.swcp.com
>buddha-l mailing list
>buddha-l at mailman.swcp.com
buddha-l mailing list
buddha-l at mailman.swcp.com

More information about the buddha-l mailing list