Secular Right | Reality & Reason

May/09

25

Religion red in tooth and claw

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I’ve been reading about Jan Kupecky, a Baroque Bohemian portraitist, whose paintings I fell in love with in Prague several years ago.   (This lousy reproduction does not begin to convey the extraordinarily modern irony and chiseled delicacy of this sitter’s expression (he is the miniaturist painter Carlo Bruni); the lips of this young tutor blaze mesmerizingly red in the original.)  Kupecky’s family history in what is now the Czech Republic is a reminder of what Christianity meant when it was at the height of its power and in league with the state.   The first throes of the Thirty Years War began in Bohemia, from which Protestants were driven out unless they agreed to convert to Catholicism.  Starting in 1627, one fourth of the nobility and one fifth of the burghers, including Kupecky’s parents, emigrated.  From the middle of the 17th century, non-Catholicism was considered an offense against the Habsburg state in Bohemia.  Such worldly power plays were as much the natural condition of Christianity as its more recent tamed American version.

7 comments

  • Conspirama · May 25, 2009 at 6:56 pm

    Secular Right » Religion red in tooth and claw…

    Religion red in tooth and claw. May 25th, 2009 – Heather Mac Donald. Goto comments Leave a comment. I’ve been reading about Jan Kupecky, a Baroque Bohemian portraitist, whose paintings I fell in love with in Prague several years ago. ……

  • john · May 25, 2009 at 10:41 pm

    I used to be an ardent admirer of the Reformation until I (not being very broadly educated) belatedly discovered the 30-years’ war and its horrors. Ah yes, the brave uncompromising Reformationists, lovers of Truth with a capital T … too bad about all those innocent people who died in the upheaval. (I’d place as much blame on the other side, who could have made some compromises for the sake of peace). Does anyone have an estimate as to the actual number of deaths in the 30-years war attributable to the war? I have heard some fraction of the population but haven’t found any absolute numbers.

  • Rich · May 27, 2009 at 4:17 am

    >>Such worldly power plays were as much the natural condition of Christianity as its more recent tamed American version.<<

    Good grief. How does one write sentences like this?

  • Ivan Karamazov · May 27, 2009 at 6:54 am

    Rich :

    Rich

    >>Such worldly power plays were as much the natural condition of Christianity as its more recent tamed American version.<<
    Good grief. How does one write sentences like this?

    Oh, I don’t know. Perhaps by being familiar with ones subject matter, and knowing how to turn a phrase? Why do you ask?

  • Don Kenner · May 27, 2009 at 9:15 am

    >>Such worldly power plays were as much the natural condition of Christianity as its more recent tamed American version.<<

    I thought it was rather nice phrasing. Perhaps you meant the opinion being asserted and not the actual construction of the sentence. If so, something along the lines of “How does one believe things like this?” would’ve been more appropriate. Although, having done a little reading on the Thirty Years War I think she is on target with that observation.

  • Neuroskeptic · May 27, 2009 at 11:49 pm

    Some people just have a gift, Rich.

  • Art · June 3, 2009 at 4:24 pm

    “Kupecky’s family history in what is now the Czech Republic is a reminder of what Christianity meant when it was at the height of its power and in league with the state.”

    Christianity’s meaning is the same today as two millennia ago. There is only one version. The idea that Christianity can be defined by the actions of any individual, or group of individuals, acting outside it’s precepts is just gibberish. Christianity is, as Thomas Jefferson said, “the most sublime and benevolent code of morals which has ever been offered to man.”

    Don’t let me break up the little circle jerk you’ve got going. Continue your confusion.

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