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Neither Angel nor Beast by Francis X.J. Coleman

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10

THE POLITICS OF ORTHODOXY

Religious controversies are like family feuds: they have tremendous importance for the families in which they occur, sometimes even leading to rupture; but for persons not in the family, they seem either silly, senseless or, at best, unfortunate. Family counsellors are paid to listen to descriptions of such feuds with a clinical ear, and to offer their advice for appeasement, reconciliation or, sometimes, separation. Friends drawn into family feuds are implicitly expected to take sides; but once they do so, they will invariably be wounded by the other side – and usually also by the side they took, at some later date. Prudence dictates impartiality. Religious controversies are more elaborate, and the language used ...

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