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Religious Ferment

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Oliver Cromwell. Image from History’s HEROES. No  attribution given for the original.

Chapter 2 of A Purgatory of Misery concerns the role of religion in the many conflicts that raged throughout Europe in the centuries preceding the famine. From the disputes over the relationship between the Church and the King to the turmoil that accompanied the reformation, religion and its beliefs and practices were often at the heart of political and philosophical discourse and frequently erupted into war. Whilst it is possible to contend that often religion formed a kind of smokescreen behind which the real source of conflict was a territorial dispute between one or more of the Royal Families of Europe, this was certainly not  the case when it came to Oliver Cromwell. The self styled ‘Lord Protector’ was a religious fundamentalist who believed himself to have been chosen by God to destroy Roman Catholicism. He earnestly believed the Pope to be the Antichrist – a belief reiterated 3 centuries later by the late Ian Paisley.

If you are just starting to read the book, begin here at the introduction. To go straight to Chapter 2, click here.


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