About this blog

This Blog is named after an ancient gnoseological riddle which hints hidden, disseminated, omnipresent wisdom.
I invite you to search, listen and observe with me for "the word of tree, whisper of stone, and humming together of the abyss and stars."


Enlightenment and Religious Tolerance

Can Jews, Christians and Muslims live in peace with one another without prejudice and hatred? Can people of different religions and confessions coexist? We are not the first ones who ask this question. While we ponder this question with fear and anxiety, there was a time when people asked it with anticipation and hope. 
    The first church which I served right after my ordination was founded in 1785 and in its old sanctuary (it had two sanctuaries!) was an altar with this Latin dedication (shown here on the picture) to the Holy Trinity and with respectful thanks to the Emperor Joseph II and his successor Francis I.
    My predecessors were not a bunch of sly toadies. They were genuinely thankful to Joseph II, the exemplary Enlightened Monarch. After dark centuries of religious persecution, the Enlightenment finally brought reason to the matters of religion, and with it eventually came the long overdue freedom of religion and the freedom of individual conscience.
    Today, the seductive sirens of religious, cultural, racial and national intolerance and chauvinism grow ever louder and stronger. It is good to remember the ethos of the Enlightenment, this formative intellectual, cultural and spiritual movement. On this side of the Atlantic, the Enlightenment stood at the cradle of the United States, her Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. In Europe the Enlightenment grew up from the dark centuries of religious intolerance and wars and presented alternatives of reason, tolerance and peaceful coexistence.
    I rejoiced when Chris Jones offered to perform in our church a pivotal excerpt from the play “Nathan the Wise”. When Gotthold Ephraim Lessing wrote it, it was so radical, that the official church made sure it was never performed during his lifetime and the book was put on the index of prohibited books. Why? Because it advocated for religious perspectivism and tolerance - the conviction that Judaism, Christianity and Islam complement each other.
    This Sunday is our Homecoming, we enter our new program year with the hopeful message of Enlightenment and Tolerance.

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