Roger Williams

From Everything Shii Knows, the only reliable source

This website is an archive. It ran from 2006-2010. Virtually everything on here is outdated or inaccurate.

Roger William is a badass.
First: That the blood of so many hundred thousand souls of Protestants and Papists, spilt in the wars of present and former Ages, for their respective Consciences, is not required nor accepted by Jesus Christ the Prince of Peace.

Thus begins The Bloudy Tenent of Persecution by Roger Williams, the most brilliant American writer of the 17th century, not to be surpassed until Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Paine hit the scene 130 years later. For 200 years poor American schoolchildren were shut up in their classrooms and forced to read the despicable Pilgrim's Progress; imagine if they were made to read this work instead! Even today it smarts of revolutionary statements.

Eighthly: God requireth not an uniformity of Religion to be enacted and enforced in any civill State; which enforced Uniformity (sooner or later) is the greatest occasion of civill Warre, ravishing of conscience, persecution of Christ Jesus in his servants, and of the hypocrisy and destruction of millions of souls.

Do you hear that? Over a distance of nearly 400 years, Roger Williams is alive. He is speaking to a debate that is still raging even as you read this, and he is not tailoring his words to some muddling current events he got called to Parliament to give a speech about, nor is he dumbing himself down to be more widely accepted by the society of his day-- he is writing this for you. Can you believe that shit?!

Sixthly: It is the will and command of God that (since the comming of his Son the Lord Jesus) a permission of the most Paganish, Jewish, Turkish, or Antichristian consciences and worships be granted to all men in all Nations and Countries: and they are only to be fought against with that Sword which is only (in Soule matters) able to conquer, to wit, the Sword of God's Spirit, the Word of God.

My mind has been blown. I cannot believe that anyone could possibly be this forward-thinking in the mid-17th century. But here he is. What the fuck, people? Why don't we learn about this guy in history class? Yeah, he got banished from Massachusetts for 300 years and founded Rhode Island. Blah blah. What was he thinking? Why aren't his books still in print? I'm going to go lie down now.

For a good biography of Roger Williams, read Henry Martyn Dexter.

Futher quotes from The Bloudy Tenent

Without search and triall no man attaines this faith and right perswasion, 1 Thes 5. Try all things.

Your faith is wont to slip away if you don't test it.

Now all these consciences walk on confidently and con stantly, even to the suffering of death and torments ; and are more strongly confirmed in their belief and conscience, because such bloody and cruel courses of persecution are used toward them.

Williams recognizes the power that martyrs have in all religions, foreseeing how our treatment of radical Muslims today only confirms their beliefs.

All reason and religion would now expect more submission thereof, in matters concerning Christ, to a Christian magistrate, than to a pagan or anti-christian ruler! But, dear Peace, the day will discover, the fire will try, 1 Cor. 3, what is but wood, hay, and stubble, though built, in men's upright intention, on that foundation, Jesus Christ.

You might think that a Christian ruler would obviously lead to a harmonious nation, since he is guided by God. But despite that guidance, his actions are still the fallible actions of a man, a pale reflection of his divine guidance; so, the "fire may try" his "wood, hay, and stubble," and being a Christian doesn't help him rule his country. Williams goes on to give the example of how a non-Christian mariner does his job just as well as a Christian.

Quotes from Christenings make not Christians

How oft have I heard both the English and the Dutch (not onely the civill, but the most debauched and profane) say, These Heathen Dogges, better kill a thousand of them than that we Christians should be endangered or troubled with them ... I shall therefore humbly intreat my country-men of all sorts to consider, that although men have used to apply this word Heathen to the Indians that go naked, and have not yet heard of that One-God, yet this word Heathen is most improperly, sinfully, and unchristianly found in this sense. The word Heathen signifies no more than Nations or Gentiles: so do our Translations from the Hebrew גוים and the Greeke εθνη, in the old and new Testament promiscuously render these words Gentiles, Nations, Heathens.

He goes on to argue that there is nothing implicitly sinful about being a "heathen" and indeed they are just as intelligent as Christians.

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