mercredi, décembre 09, 2015

The National: 'Terrorism and fanaticism: Were the early Calvinists Scotland's Daesh?'

Terrorism and fanaticism: 
Were the early Calvinists Scotland's Daesh?
by Chris Bambery
(The National 8 Dec 2015)

Read original article here

'Letter to Editor' in response to above -
"A caliphate...for Calvinists?" must surely rank as the National's most irresponsible anti-Christian polemic yet. Ironically reminiscent of the offensive anti-Yes distortions we have so long endured from British tabloids. How, I wonder, shall we ever close the 50% gap if swathes of our community are so gratuitously demonised? Please allow a brief attempt at rebalance -

The patent truth is that Scottish Christians have made an illustrious contribution to human democracy. Berwickshire founder of the Scottish tradition of philosophy John Duns Scotus (1266-1308) influenced Gleghornie-born John Mair (1467-1550), who in turn became a highly influential professor at the University of Paris. Mair's lectures were heard by an unlikely mix including John Knox, Jean Calvin, George Buchanan, Ignatious Loyola, Francisco Vitoria, and François Rabelais. Mair sought to curb the autocratic power of the Pope within the Catholic Church. His 'Conciliar Movement' principles influenced the Protestant Reformation of the 16th C, and also the struggle of constitutional government against absolute monarchies in Europe of the 17th C.

The treatise 'Art and Science of Government among the Scots' by Calvinist-humanist George Buchanan (1506-1582) had a huge influence on political thought in Britain and America. John Milton in his 'Defence of the People of England' wrote concerning just government: "For Scotland I refer you to Buchanan". 

Presbyterian minister and St Andrews Professor, Samuel Rutherford (1600-1661) in his 'Lex, Rex' systematized Calvinistic political theories and laid the foundation for the libertarian ideas of the US Declaration of Independence and Constitution. Indeed, the American War for Independence was referred to by the British as a "Presbyterian Rebellion"! John Locke ('Father of Classical Liberalism') echoed 'Lex, Rex'.

Nearer our own day, the late Dutch Christian philosopher Herman Dooyeweerd (1894-1977) has written profoundly and extensively on the nature of the "just state". The jurist and humanist G.E. Langemeyer called him "the most original philosopher Holland has produced, even Spinoza not excepted".

So Calvinism at its best has defended freedom of conscience. Calvin himself (unsuccessfully) fought for the complete separation of Church and State in Geneva. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Genevan and no friend to Christianity, exclaimed: "So long as the love of country and liberty is not extinct amongst us, the memory of this great man will be held in reverence." (Du contrat social 1762).

Fearghas MacFhionnlaigh