Must violent reformation precede rationality needed for co-existence.
- Update 8.2013. What is needed before a nation or person can progress to a supposedly higher level, an improvement over what is. The issue is well addressed, I now see, in Mysteries and Masterpieces, by Adam Kirsch, Harvard Magazine Fan-Feb 2012 at 48ff. We never had a medieval period; we are a product of the Enlightenment, truncated and sprung from no roots here. We can return to Puritanism, perhaps, or William Penn, but we lack the middle ages. So what do we do? Turn to the Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library featured in the piece, and explore. Our religion, for example, is stuck between extremes of ardent belief, and barely imaginable cruelty, as in the Middle Ages. There is no history of on-site resolution, or pattern evolving, so conflict leading to coexistence. We are back in the Inquisition. Yet, our tutor, the Middle Ages is left remote, its rules ignored as having little to say to us, here. Remaining: the approach of St. Benedict -- the Bible is not a whole, not a total book, but separate passages to be inserted carefully according to the Rule. In other words, cherry pick. Riches. Of a "distant, forbidding, yet strangely familiar world." At p.79.
Must the US go through the old fires of mayhem over difference: fixed ideologies claiming all others heretic, and burning them one way or another. Watch the world's ongoing battles, cultures east and west, opposing intransigent opposites. Can the US pivot to reason; as Europe finally did, even though that may have been temporary, with old divisions reappearing. How to foster co-existence at least on some issues.
How are we like the old Reformation, and earlier European histories of ideologies morphing into mass murder.
The era concluded in Europe with its Age of Enlightenment. America was a nation founded on the Enlightenment's coat-tails, and never went through a Reformation phase between extremist religious views. Colonies were founded by different ideological groups, but distance and choice of where to live kept issues down.
Do we now have to go through our own Reformation to address issues of one recalcitrant view against another, when we are now in eyesight, earshot, a click, a text, away. The Reformation era divisions re-appear, with the same kinds of opposing view conflicts as resulted in persecutions, killings of perceived heretics from one's own dogma, as in old Europe. Is our future to be years of warfare among ourselves.
B. Principles in any Reformation
1. Domination once experienced and in motion for a period of time is hard to modify.
Europe allowed the Roman branch of Christianity to dominate its religious and secular culture, once they won the Canon wars. See the fixing of the Old Testament cannon at http://www.columbia.edu/cu/augustine/arch/sbrandt/canon.htm; and the New Testament at http://www.ntcanon.org/Carthage.canon.shtml. The Reformation in Europe presented the spectacle of digging in of dogmatic heels in the Roman side; and persistent insistence on letting the people read the Bible in their own language, often leading to rejection of Roman dogma, and burnings, burnings, heretics and libraries aflame. Where is Purgatory in the Bible? Asked the Reformers. Where are saints, the worship of the same as wooden icons, details and regimens. History: worth reviewing
See Protestant Reformation
Authoritarians distrust those who accept, extend a hand, inquire, seek opportunity, understand. Autonomy seekers distrust absolutism, exclusion, inflammatory language, ostracizers, unyielding positions. Both use propaganda techniques to further the desired process: repetition, bandwagon, repetition, repetition.
2. Is there a smoother path to rationality than inquisitions, divisions.
The Founders of the American democracy relied not on one group's religious precepts of received authority from anywhere, religious or secular. Instead, our Founders relied on on rationality, balance, proportion, enabling multiple approaches to the business of living without damning any belief system, secular or religious.
Literature and research suggest that the violence phase must be endured. Is that so? Read Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall; a portrayal of Thomas Cromwell, advisor and other roles, as to Henry VIII and his Court and era. See a review at http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/books/2009/10/19/091019crbo_books_acocella/.
A closer look at what violence is, and does, may help persuade to another path. What are the sounds, sights, smells, feelings, upon watching an institution burn its declared heretic, an old woman Lollard, who believed bread on the altar was bread, perhaps analogous but not the actual body of Christ. Light the pyre. Kill, as by our own militia or lone-wolves, self-ordained enforcers of what they want. Back to the past we go.
C. The Reformation Era in England.