Friday, 21 October 2011

Wars of Religion Part 2: It's a Matter of Opinion

After our last written assignment, my professor knocked off points (got 70% on the assignment, that is below a "C") and told me my opinion was wrong. Here are his comments and an email exchange that followed:

Prof's comments on my assignment:
You overlook the fact that the Scots actually start the fighting, and do so over a prayerbook. You also overlook the Irish flat out revolting over religion. Charles claims that all his actions are divinely ordained, clear religious activity, and the Parliament opposed these claims. How again is this not a war of religion? All the countries that had these official wars also had people using religion to settle old grudges. The fact that there were old grudges (decades of arguing about the place of King and Parliament) does not mean that religion was not the cause. If anything the fact that religion is where they finally spilled over from arguing to killing indicates that it was religiously motivated.

My 1st email response:
The fact that these people were all very religious in their own ways, I agree with. The fact that there were small skirmishes with the Irish and the Scotts and the fact that the king along with being power-hungry, attributed that to God's will, I also agree with. However, the book states:
"By 1642, the king (supported by many of the nobility, great landowners, and conservatives and moderate Anglicans) was at war with many of the parliamentarians (supported by lesser gentry and yeomen, the merchant classes, the large cities, and the Puritan) The English Civil War (1642-1648) consequently broke out. "
According to the textbook, it makes it look like it is upper classes (with the King)against lower classes (with Parliament) and some of those groups happened to fall within Anglicans (upper with king) and Puritans (lower class with Parliament).
This is the third (fourth?) time you have said to give our opinion, and then state my opinion is wrong. Did you want me to discover your opinion and state it? I'm just wondering. Great class, though, I've learned alot, and enjoyed it...and I think I've learned a little about your opinions ;-)

****(This is directly from what he asked of us for this assignment: After reading the article on the various wars of Religion. There is one famous war from that age not included - The English Civil War. Determine whether or not the English Civil War of the 1640's was a "War of Religion"? Be sure to include historical facts to support your opinion. )****

Prof's reply to my 1st email response:
In the online environment almost anything the professor says is immediately latched onto and repeated by students. This leads to a very poor form of education. Any time I state an opinion before an assignment is due all I get back is my opinion. All assignments in this class are left open to allow students the freedom to try their 'wings'. For the first few weeks there are no repercussions for being wrong to encourage students to be themselves. This does not mean that there are not right and wrong answers. Throughout the course most of the assignments do not have a "wrong" answer and whatever choice is made will result in full credit so long as historical support and explanation is included. If a student does the basics of supporting their thoughts with explanation and historical facts they still receive a passing grade, just not an "excellent" grade, or an "above Average" grade. Failure to appreciate the historical facts is a problem, but not the end of the world. By the way there were eight of these assignments during the semester. If you only went astray three times, you got it "right" more times than not, and better than most.
As to your specific questions for this assignment, The Parliament at this time was at the very least extremely rich, and almost all either Nobles, or about to be nobles. Thus when King and Nobles fights Parliament, it is King and Nobles fighting Nobles. Both sides had their underlings from the lower orders. You will notice that by the textbook definition the English Civil War does not start until 1642, when most sources say 1640. And the textbook lists the ECW as lasting until 1648 when Charles was in Parliament hands for more than a year and imprisoned for two by that time thus effectively ending the war. Remember what your text ignores Charles was King of: England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales (along with a bunch of other places). When the people are in revolt in three of four of the main places it is rather poor form to ignore two of those three.
Does all this make sense?

My 2nd email response:

You do make me think alot deeper than what is given in the textbook, and I enjoy that very much...
Both sides had their underlings from the lower orders. You will notice that by the textbook definition the English Civil War does not start until 1642, when most sources say 1640. And the textbook lists the ECW as lasting until 1648 when Charles was in Parliament hands for more than a year and imprisoned for two by that time thus effectively ending the war. Remember what your text ignores Charles was King of: England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales (along with a bunch of other places).
I understand, and also agree with you, that a person (or persons) who puts together a textbook will have their own opinions and own priorities on the things that they think are more important (leaving out what they think might not have influenced a situation as much as what they think were the main reasons, etc) because you do have to draw lines somewhere, not every issue and jot and tittle can be brought up, and different people will have different opinions on where the cut off points need to be. I often find myself in disagreement with authors of books, or professors on a certain point on a topic, and even so I learn through the experience. :)
Also, I go onto Christian message forums, and have disagreed with the majority on issues like whether Christians should kill Muslims in wars, whether that is being a good Christian. Most American Christians think in order to be a good Christian, one must support Israel, which to them means to kill Arabs. In my OPINION, being a good Christian means to "PRAY FOR YOUR ENEMIES" even while they are killing me, as Jesus did. I've been kicked off Christian message forums for saying this....(!!!???!!!) sheesh....
I understand that you want us to think about things "from our opinion" before giving us yours, and the reasons for your opinions which do make sense even when I still hold to my own (I can understand the logic although I come to a different conclusion), instead of giving us your opinions right off the bat, and what the textbook says as gospel truth. I agree that I, for one anyway, am learning alot this way, and do enjoy this teaching style better than the other way.

Not that I think it will change anyone's opinions (lol) but this web article also seems to say that although there were religiously motivated people involved in conflicting situations in England during this time, it was the problem of politics, money and power, that was the cause of the English Civil War:

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Wars of Religion

For this assignment we were to read about civil wars that occurred during the high middle ages. We were given an article, I tried to find the original location for this article, but it was removed...but found it here (with that Washington U link at bottom, which was removed)

Anyway...our assignment was to read this article, and then decide if the English Civil War ....(this article was not part of our assignment, but I don't want to type out all that our textbook had to say about it) was a religious war...

So what do YOU think? Was the English Civil War a "religious war"?

I'll edit this post later to add my paper and a dialogue of back and forth between my prof and I :)



Ok, that sparked alot of interest, lol :)

Oh well, that's ok. This was an interesting assignment for me because it examined the reasons for people fighting and for feeling justified to kill other people. If you read the linked article it acknowledges the fact that many people in England were fighting about spiritual matters. They were fighting about a prayer book. They fought about the Catholic influence seeping into the Anglican Church. They were angry with Charles for taking a Catholic bride. However the article gives the long time bickering over whether the king should have all the power, or if Parliament (who had been getting used to making some of the decisions) got to share some of that power with the king. The king thought he should have all the power and control of England. Parliament disagreed with him. The people were divided, some backed the king, and some backed Parliament.

This is what I wrote for our assignment:

The religious wars of the 16th and 17th centuries were between Protestants and Catholics. It started out with no bloodshed, just a lot of bickering and arguing about whose religion was right, each accusing the other of heresy. But that peace was shattered when “Protestants and Catholics would (later) shed each other's blood in prodigious amounts in national wars and in civil wars.”(from the article: Discovery and Reformation; Reformation Religious Wars). In France it was between the Huguenots (Protestants) and Guises (Catholics). There was already animosity between these families, which were intensified with the spiritual conflicts. “It is important to understand that the rivalry between the Guises and the other two families was primarily a political rivalry; this political rivalry, however, would be swept up in the spiritual conflict between the Catholic church and the new reformed churches.” (Ibid.)
The Guises “understood what this religious tolerance was all about and quickly clamped down on it. In March, 1562, an army led by the Duke of Guise attacked a Protestant church service at Vassy in the province of Champagne and slaughtered everybody they could get their hands on: men, women, and children—all of whom were unarmed. Thus began the French Wars of Religion which were to last for almost forty years and destroy thousands of innocent lives.” (Ibid.)

By comparison, the English Civil War occurred during a time when there were religious factions that didn't like each other in England; the Puritans (Calvinists) and Anglicans. The Anglicans were of two main stripes: one that accepted many of the Catholic traditions minus a pope, and one that didn't accept any of the Catholic rituals. However England's civil war centered around a power struggle between the king and Parliament.

The English Civil War started in 1642 when Charles I raised his royal standard in Nottingham. The split between Charles and Parliament was such that neither side was willing to back down over the principles that they held and war was inevitable as a way in which all problems could be solved. The country split into those who supported the king and those who supported Parliament – the classic ingredients for a civil war.

It didn't help the king that he married a Catholic, it made a difficult relationship with Parliament even more difficult. It caused Parliament to trust the king even less than they already did. The king wanted absolute power, and the Parliament had gotten used to the fact that they had “enjoyed a real partnership with the royal government.” (Concise Survey of Western Civilization; Pavlac; ch 10 page 220) “In June 1642 the Long Parliament passed a new set of demands called the Nineteen Proposals that called for the King's powers to be greatly reduced and a greater control of government to be given to parliament. This move divided parliament between those who supported the Nineteen Proposals and those who thought parliament had gone too far.

Both Parliament and Charles began collecting together their own armies. War was inevitable. People were forced to choose sides and on 22nd August 1642, the King raised his standard at Nottingham”

It polarized the people to join either the king's side, or the side of Parliament.

This problem was all resolved in 1688. “In the Glorious Revolution of 1688, the English established the basic system of republican and constitutional government that still exists today...they forced James to flee to France. Parliament then invited James' Protestant daughter Mary to be queen, with her husband William of Orange, as co-ruling king...The victorious Parliament generously approved a small measure of toleration for religious dissenters, both Roman Catholics and Presbyterian Calvinists” (Concise Survey of Western Civilization; Pavlac; page 222)

The way I understand it, this civil war was a power struggle between the king who only wanted a Parliament who would offer him suggestions and remain meekly in the background giving him absolute power, and a Parliament who had gotten used to being able to make some of the rules. It was therefore not a religious war. Religion became a contributing factor to the problem but was not the main issue. Our system of government here in the states today similarly shares a “balance of powers” so no one individual takes totalitarian control that can be abused. All those that make up “the balance of powers” have their problems, just as the king and his Parliament did during the time of England's civil war, but it is preferable to a power hungry absolute dictator. The side of the war I would have picked would be Parliament's side. I would be leery of a king that wanted complete power and was trying to control what the church did, by making it more Catholic to please his bride.

In a few days I'll add a surprising comment from the professor that led to a little email dialoguing back and forth....until then...:-) Be well

Friday, 7 October 2011

Economic Crisis

Interesting article stating the

Top 100 Statistics About The Collapse Of The Economy That Every American Voter Should Know 

Each is linked to an article that substantiates the item listed.

Here's a good article about truly beneficial ways (and it doesn't include handing them money) we can help those (if we are in a position to help) who are unstable or homeless:

Prophecy from 90 year old woman given in 1968

Not sure (I was unable to verify this myself...yet, anyway...if I do find out more I'll put it into comments) if this really was from 1968 and who the "90 year old (Norwegian) lady" was.

Found a discussion about it on

There are the usual scoffers, and then there are some which say "if it causes some people to put oil into their lamps in preparation...." (Romans 8:28 always)

The Supernatural

The fact that there are "otherworldly experiences" goes without saying. Many people would like to dismiss them altogether by saying that there is always a rational or scientifically sound explanation for these occurrences. They make us uncomfortable. They are the things of "horror movies" or "sci-fi thrillers". They cannot possibly involve something so primitive and superstitious as demons or devils. Surely these come from psychological predispositions, i.e. explainable illnesses with medical causes. Certainly that MUST be the case, or we might all be susceptible, and the thought is just too frightening to be acceptable....

I watched a video that Elizabeth Prada has on her blog

In another post where she talks about demonic possession, she tells of a situation involving a school where
"One parent believes the demons were released during the Divali pooja (Hindu prayer) at the school". Witnesses such as school officials and MTS security guards saw "unimaginable feats of strength (confirmed report), gravity defying leaps, speech in tongues and suicidal whispers (reported by a victim)" Read the rest of post here

What does the Bible say about demon possession?

Ephesians 6:10-24