Recent Synod enshrines Religious Liberty
#3
I think you all are really overthinking this one. 

They are saying:  All human beings have a right to believe and exercise that belief. 

My understanding of that:  People should not be forced to follow a religion or no religion at all because of the views of the state.  Nor should people be subject to physical coercion in this matter.  Given the persecution of Christians the world over, this isn't an outlandish statement.   

Why do I see it this way?  Well, God gives us all free will: the ability to accept Him in our lives or turn from Him.  Essentially, the freedom to sin has always been a God-given right.  This is just a very specific statement of our right framed within the context of religious liberty.  Man may believe as he wills; it doesn't mean that belief is correct or that he will get into heaven by doing so.  In no way does a right to religious liberty excuse man from the obligation to believe correctly.  It just means that he should be allowed to believe as he chooses and not have his beliefs dictated to him. 

Think about it this way.  Just because you hog tie someone and beat them until they say they believe in God's one true Church doesn't mean they really believe it.  Coercion and forced belief are nothing but lip service.  The Spanish Inquisition faced this issue head on in terms of conversos - those who were forced to convert from their Jewish faith or leave Spain.  Many conversos continued to practice their Jewish faith in secret and the inquisition sought out these false converts and punish them.  St. Teresa of Avila discusses this in her own family.  She was questioned repeatedly about whether or not her family owned special shabbat dishes and other items tied to the Jewish faith.  Likewise, when she traveled and stayed with others, she was questioned as to whether or not she saw these same items in other households.  The issue the Spanish Inquisition was confronting was this: Jews had been forced to convert to Catholicism and had done so - if only in terms of public worship.  Can we make windows into men's souls?  Of course not, but they sure tried. 
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Re: Recent Synod enshrines Religious Liberty - by Fontevrault - 10-30-2012, 01:16 PM



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