Monday, July 30, 2007

The Curious History of the Inquisition.

It always surprises me how unfamiliar people otherwise conversant in the period are with the Inquisition. I’ve often heard it described as being “as bad as the holocaust or worse” and it is commonly cited to illustrate the dangers of organized religion.

Unfortunately the facts don’t support these assertions. The worst excesses of the inquisition pale in comparison the depredations of any number of avowedly secular states. Furthermore, the outrages which did occur (any they were many) came at the behest of civil authorities not religious ones.

From the article:

"[T]he religious ideals of Catholicism were used in the Inquisition as a moral fig leaf by the Iberian monarchies for their political motivations. The most dangerous use of religious ideology was when it could be appropriated by powerful political forces for secular ends."

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