By Maurizio Viroli
Religion and liberty are usually considered mutual enemies: if faith has a ordinary best friend, it's authoritarianism--not republicanism or democracy. yet during this e-book, Maurizio Viroli, a number one historian of republican political idea, demanding situations this traditional knowledge. He argues that political emancipation and the safety of political liberty have continuously required the self-sacrifice of individuals with spiritual sentiments and a non secular devotion to liberty. this is often relatively the case while liberty is threatened by means of authoritarianism: the staunchest defenders of liberty are those that think a deeply spiritual dedication to it.
Viroli makes his case by way of reconstructing, for the 1st time, the background of the Italian "religion of liberty," protecting its whole span yet targeting 3 key examples of political emancipation: the loose republics of the past due heart a long time, the Risorgimento of the 19th century, and the antifascist Resistenza of the 20 th century. In each one instance, Viroli indicates, a spiritual spirit that looked ethical and political liberty because the optimum items of human lifestyles used to be basic to constructing and retaining liberty. He additionally exhibits that once this non secular sentiment has been corrupted or suffocated, Italians have misplaced their liberty.
This booklet makes a robust and provocative contribution to cutting-edge debates in regards to the compatibility of faith and republicanism.
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Additional resources for As If God Existed: Religion and Liberty in the History of Italy
9:14–15). If instead the ruler mistakenly trusts foolish councillors, he will bitterly regret it, for “sand and salt and a lump of iron / are a lighter burden than a dolt” (Sir. 22:15). 5 One of the ruler’s most important duties is to address the people when soldiers die. On such sad occasions, the podestà must reemphasize to the citizens that man’s life on earth is composed of just conscript service (Job 7:1), and that it is men’s duty to fight against pride, vainglory, avarice, and envy. The podestà must then explain that the soldier who falls for the country emigrates from earth to God (ad Deum).
It is wiser, once more, to ponder the Old Testament’s words: “Yahweh gave, Yahweh has taken back. 7 In public rites, an essential moment of republican religion, the Bible teaches the fittest words to instill within the citizenry both the courage and the wisdom indispensable to a life of freedom. The work closes with an invective against bad rulers, who, longing for earthly glory, break human and divine laws, unmindful of the sacred principle of compassionate justice. Their bad conduct offends not only men but also God: it violates the principles of human justice and exemplifies a way of life antithetical to Christian principles.
Fifty years had passed since the achievement of national unity, when the liberal state collapsed under fascism. From the outset, the fascist movement presented itself as a new religion, with its Il Duce divinized as a new prophet, and the fatherland—deformed by the grim strains of nationalism—as a new god with new rites and martyrs, hostile to the Christian message of charity and peace, but close instead to the Christianity of the Counter-Reformation. How could an openly anti-Christian movement, and then an openly anti- Christian regime, emerge and triumph in a Christian country, which for centuries had been the seat of Christ’s vicar?