The Fruits of the Triumph of Religious Freedom.

2. The Fruits of the Triumph of Religious Freedom.

The story of the triumph of religious freedom is an interesting one.

1. One aspect of religious freedom was freedom from religion itself. Certain religions committed such excesses that religion itself lost caste with many thinking people. Religion generated hostility in many people which still subsists in many secular movements including communism.

2. Another feature of this newly-won religious freedom is the triumph of Reason. Faith had denied reason too long; and reason in turn, in its triumphant hour, denied faith.

3. Europe’s Rational Movement became anti-religion; and if we reflect over the problem, we shall understand why.

When a great truth of life is denied, as reason was denied by faith, it sets up an opposite movement. Let us remember that reason came as a great liberating force from the shackles of a narrow faith, though it need no longer deny faith its due place in the new circumstances.

A third feature of the triumph of religious tolerance in Europe was that the scene of religious excesses in Europe shifted to other continents. Whether they were Catholics or Protestants, Jesuits or Calvinists or Methodists, Baptists or Anabaptists, they all turned to the countries of Asia, Africa and America. They might have differed and debated bitterly amongst themselves on subtle points of theology, which to the outsiders made no sense, but they all agreed that the people of these new continents were benighted and they needed Christian enlightenment. In spreading this light, as they saw it, they used all kinds of methods—force, fraud, persuasion, trade, and lately social service. In this self­chosen task, the white man’s burden, the energy of Europe found a new outlet.