Case of Michael Servetus (1511-1553) the Turning Point in the Struggle for Freedom of Conscience

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Studies in the western history of church and religion often ignore the role played by the church in the destruction of the humanistic principle of morality and freedom of conscience and intellectual inquiry. This book is intended to fill this gap and trace the development of modern thought in history back to its turning point. It traces first the establishment of the morally bankrupt ideology by the post-Nicaean Christianity and its implementation in societies. On this historical background then is shown the figure of Michael Servetus, his program, his struggle to express his ideas, their repression, and their impact on the intellectual spheres of the epoch. Servetus' sacrifice induced another humanist, Sebastian Castellio, to rethink the issue of heresy and its repression and was a crucial step in forcing people evaluate the morality of prevailing church ideology. Servetus' theological inquiry initiated the study of the Bible and an attempt to uncover the real religious doctrines contained in it. Both these aspects led to a chain reaction - development of the Antitrinitarian movement - the Socinianism - the Enlightenment - American Democracy - French Revolution.

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