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Declaration of Religious Freedom (DIGNITATIS HUMANAE) in Vatican 2: Yay, or Nay?

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  • Declaration of Religious Freedom (DIGNITATIS HUMANAE) in Vatican 2: Yay, or Nay?

    I would say Nay. It's pretty much the only thing I disagree with Vatican 2 on, and I disagree 'very' strongly with it. What say you guys?
    Better to illuminate than merely to shine, to deliver to others contemplated truths than merely to contemplate.

    -Thomas Aquinas

    I love to travel, But hate to arrive.

    -Hernando Cortez

    What is the good of experience if you do not reflect?

    -Frederick 2, Holy Roman Emperor

  • #2
    As far as I can tell it declares the right of human beings to reject the truth and damn themselves, and that Roman Catholics are to no longer force "convert" anyone. Sounds pretty reasonable. Unless you think it is acceptable to torture someone until they profess with their mouth Jesus is Lord, regardless of what they believe in their heart? I don't think you do, but that is my immediate understanding from your OP and the document.
    Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith? -Galatians 3:5

    Comment


    • #3
      When younger, I used to be sympathetic to the point of view that would oppose it on the grounds that the one government that was sanctioned by God did not have religious freedom. However, my mind has changed. I recognize that we can't extrapolate too much from that example because it was a situation that God has not seen the need to repeat elsewhere, and where the presence of God may well have been much more apparent (with God miraculously providing manna and such, and with people who could have attested to these even to a few generations, there would have been absolutely no excuse). Also, Jesus told people upfront what the costs were to follow him and would allow people to freely walk away if unwilling to pay the price (i.e. the rich young ruler).

      Another reason, but non-biblical, why I do not support force conversions is some of the "fruit" these practices have resulted in. Ever read Bartolome de la Casas's A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies? He was a Spanish priest who witnessed conquistadors physically forcing conversions of natives (which were accompanied by needless atrocities). I remember reading one scene where they tortured one man while trying to get him to convert, and he basically said that he would rather go to hell than be with the god of the people who would do that. de las Casas wrote the account out of genuine concern for the souls of the natives, because he knew that this was reflecting horribly on Christianity.
      "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

      Comment


      • #4
        Well as someone whose been on the Catholic Side, and the Protestant side (I now go as ecumenist) I vote for agreement. If God loves us so much He himself gives us this freedom, it is the responsibility of the RCC as his representative to protect that freedom.
        A happy family is but an earlier heaven.
        George Bernard Shaw

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        • #5
          Ehh, you guys seem to be misunderstanding what I said. Not supporting religious freedom, and supporting force conversions of foreign peoples, are two different things, entirely. Not supporting religious freedom, simply means that, when a state or government identifies God as the legal head of state, in the form of either theocracy, or declaring Christianity as the official state religion (such as the Medieval monarchies), they aren't required to respect or tolerate the practices of heathen or heretical religions in their territory. Essentially "You can worship a god different than ours, you just can't do it on 'our' land."
          Better to illuminate than merely to shine, to deliver to others contemplated truths than merely to contemplate.

          -Thomas Aquinas

          I love to travel, But hate to arrive.

          -Hernando Cortez

          What is the good of experience if you do not reflect?

          -Frederick 2, Holy Roman Emperor

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Pentecost View Post
            As far as I can tell it declares the right of human beings to reject the truth and damn themselves, and that Roman Catholics are to no longer force "convert" anyone. Sounds pretty reasonable. Unless you think it is acceptable to torture someone until they profess with their mouth Jesus is Lord, regardless of what they believe in their heart? I don't think you do, but that is my immediate understanding from your OP and the document.
            Very nice job putting words in my mouth. Once again, there's a difference between not tolerating heathen religions within your 'own' territory, and forcibly conquering foreign territories with the intent to torture-convert them.
            Better to illuminate than merely to shine, to deliver to others contemplated truths than merely to contemplate.

            -Thomas Aquinas

            I love to travel, But hate to arrive.

            -Hernando Cortez

            What is the good of experience if you do not reflect?

            -Frederick 2, Holy Roman Emperor

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by TimelessTheist View Post
              Very nice job putting words in my mouth. Once again, there's a difference between not tolerating heathen religions within your 'own' territory, and forcibly conquering foreign territories with the intent to torture-convert them.
              Well, you didn't really clarify what you meant in the OP, so my attempt to respond was a good faith attempt to respond about what I think about religious freedom in general. I imagine Pentecost's response was the same way.

              Having said that, my anecdote was meant to demonstrate what attitudes can stem from these kinds of laws.
              "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by KingsGambit View Post
                Well, you didn't really clarify what you meant in the OP, so my attempt to respond was a good faith attempt to respond about what I think about religious freedom in general. I imagine Pentecost's response was the same way.

                Having said that, my anecdote was meant to demonstrate what attitudes can stem from these kinds of laws.
                Well, I know there are some bad examples, such as the aforementioned Indians (Although, I would say that had a lot more to do with conquering land, than the religion of the Indians.) but, you could say that for pretty much everything.

                Although, yes, I suppose I could've been more clear on that.
                Last edited by TimelessTheist; 02-18-2014, 08:00 PM.
                Better to illuminate than merely to shine, to deliver to others contemplated truths than merely to contemplate.

                -Thomas Aquinas

                I love to travel, But hate to arrive.

                -Hernando Cortez

                What is the good of experience if you do not reflect?

                -Frederick 2, Holy Roman Emperor

                Comment


                • #9
                  I wasn't putting words in your mouth, you were the height I unclear and,
                  "I don't think you do, but that is my immediate understanding from your OP and the document."
                  clarifies that there was a percieved difference on my behalf on what you seemed to be saying as opposed to what you meant.

                  But to adress the problem with the point that you [apparently] meant, I find your concern problematic for democracies in that there is the inherent danger of the definitional changes, or law changes. If a national church is formed then it is definitionally at threat to change by the government for example the first few monarchs of the Anglican Church having varied theological commitments, with "Bloody Mary" being involved. Or the heretical Positive Chistians in Nazi Germany.

                  Alternatively, Christianity as a whole may be sponsered but then how does the government determine orthodoxy? Or what if they change it to Islam instead (democracy remember)?

                  It is acceptable to allow peaceful heathens operate their faith if it means Christians may peacefully operate (including evangelism).
                  Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith? -Galatians 3:5

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    History also suggests that the church is better when operated apart from a government. Rodney Stark's The Triumph of Christianity: How the Jesus Movement Became the World's Largest Religion argues that the church became more corrupt when entangled with politics; people with no personal religious beliefs were getting church positions for personal gain.

                    To be fair, this wouldn't necessarily crop up as a problem if the proposal was simply that only one religion were allowed. Still, who gets to determine the bounds of what is orthodox Christianity? Is Catholicism? Protestantism? Oneness Pentecostals? Jehovah's Witnesses? The line has to be drawn somewhere, and whoever gets to draw it has great power.
                    "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Pentecost View Post
                      I wasn't putting words in your mouth, you were the height I unclear and, clarifies that there was a percieved difference on my behalf on what you seemed to be saying as opposed to what you meant.

                      But to adress the problem with the point that you [apparently] meant, I find your concern problematic for democracies in that there is the inherent danger of the definitional changes, or law changes. If a national church is formed then it is definitionally at threat to change by the government for example the first few monarchs of the Anglican Church having varied theological commitments, with "Bloody Mary" being involved. Or the heretical Positive Chistians in Nazi Germany.

                      Alternatively, Christianity as a whole may be sponsered but then how does the government determine orthodoxy? Or what if they change it to Islam instead (democracy remember)?

                      It is acceptable to allow peaceful heathens operate their faith if it means Christians may peacefully operate (including evangelism).
                      Well...yes. The declaration of an official state religion doesn't exactly work in a 'fully' democratic society. I don't really see the flaw in logic there.
                      Better to illuminate than merely to shine, to deliver to others contemplated truths than merely to contemplate.

                      -Thomas Aquinas

                      I love to travel, But hate to arrive.

                      -Hernando Cortez

                      What is the good of experience if you do not reflect?

                      -Frederick 2, Holy Roman Emperor

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Then what are you arguing? That there should be Christian dictatorships?

                        Edit: Now you can say I'm putting words in your mouth.
                        Last edited by Pentecost; 02-18-2014, 09:14 PM.
                        Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith? -Galatians 3:5

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by KingsGambit View Post
                          History also suggests that the church is better when operated apart from a government. Rodney Stark's The Triumph of Christianity: How the Jesus Movement Became the World's Largest Religion argues that the church became more corrupt when entangled with politics; people with no personal religious beliefs were getting church positions for personal gain.

                          To be fair, this wouldn't necessarily crop up as a problem if the proposal was simply that only one religion were allowed. Still, who gets to determine the bounds of what is orthodox Christianity? Is Catholicism? Protestantism? Oneness Pentecostals? Jehovah's Witnesses? The line has to be drawn somewhere, and whoever gets to draw it has great power.
                          I'll have to read that, and check his sources. As for which denomination gets to draw the line, well, that the one that is true, as in, the one that is logically coherent and in line with scripture. As for which 'one' is true, well, I obviously have my mind made up, but that's a discussion for another day.
                          Better to illuminate than merely to shine, to deliver to others contemplated truths than merely to contemplate.

                          -Thomas Aquinas

                          I love to travel, But hate to arrive.

                          -Hernando Cortez

                          What is the good of experience if you do not reflect?

                          -Frederick 2, Holy Roman Emperor

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by TimelessTheist View Post
                            I'll have to read that, and check his sources. As for which denomination gets to draw the line, well, that the one that is true, as in, the one that is logically coherent and in line with scripture. As for which 'one' is true, well, I obviously have my mind made up, but that's a discussion for another day.
                            He's an eminent sociologist who is very favorably disposed toward Christianity. He wrote as an agnostic most of his career but recently converted. It's an interesting book, which takes a view of most of church history that is contrary to the "mainstream" (i.e. he defends the Crusades as a positive and argues that the so-called Dark Ages were a time when the church caused knowledge to flourish).
                            "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Pentecost View Post
                              Then what are you arguing? That there should be Christian dictatorships?

                              Edit: Now you can say I'm putting words in your mouth.
                              Yes, there are types of government other than a full democracy and a dictatorship, I know this might be hard for you to process. However, I suppose a full democracy 'could' work, if it had an overlaying constitution, such as the U.S. does, establishing such religion.
                              Better to illuminate than merely to shine, to deliver to others contemplated truths than merely to contemplate.

                              -Thomas Aquinas

                              I love to travel, But hate to arrive.

                              -Hernando Cortez

                              What is the good of experience if you do not reflect?

                              -Frederick 2, Holy Roman Emperor

                              Comment

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