In the ancient city of Laodicea in western Turkey, site of the church reprimanded in the book of Revelation for being “neither cold nor hot,” our guide led us across the old agora to a pile of broken columns. One had a fascinating marking. A menorah had been scratched onto the stone, and next to it was inscribed a cross. What did this mean?
For two November days, pilgrims were turned away from major Christian shrines throughout Palestine-Israel. Church doors were closed to protest Israel's decision to allow construction of a mosque next to the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth.
It was not what was predicted by mainstream sociologists who followed in the footsteps of Karl Marx, Max Weber and Émile Durkheim, but it has happened. Instead of slowly withering away or lodging itself quietly into the privacy of worshipers’ hearts, religion has emerged as an important player on the national and international scenes.
In U.S. Protestant circles there is a particularly popular story about the origins of religious toleration. In the aftermath of the Reformation, the story goes, there was an Age of Religious Wars typified by unrelenting repression in all matters religious.