“The historical record is pretty clear that during the medieval period and even later Protestants, Catholics, and Muslims all engaged in fairly extensive persecutions of their sectarian opponents. In fact, the same thing still happens today in states where religion and politics have not been separated. Much of the Christian world in the pre-modern era wasn’t much different from what you find in places like Saudi Arabia today. In African Christianity, you still have witch burnings, executions of ‘sodomites,’ and the like.
It’s also true that when the religions were eclipsed by the rise of secular Enlightenment thinking, religious persecution gave way to persecutions in the name of secular ideologies. The French revolutionaries, their “cult of reason,” and their de facto Catholic genocide (which matched the earlier French Catholic genocide of the Huguenots) is an early example. Nietzsche said in the 19th century that the 20th century would be a time of wars between secular ideologies just like the seventeenth century had seen the wars between contending religions, and he was right. 20th century totalitarian ideologies had all the trappings of a religious cult. Some of them persecuted religions as well. In fact, they still do in places like China and North Korea.”
Categories: Religion and Philosophy