The one group is the Catholics, because they are by definition intolerant; they want to subdue any country they canto the authority of the Roman Church, with force.
And the others are the atheists, not because they are intolerant but because they threaten the very foundation of Western society, which is based on the idea of God, however this may be formulated in rationalistic or Enlightened terms And the greatest witness for John Locke is Friedrich Nietszche who said that now the transformation of the whole of the whole society is at hand because “God is dead.” And that was what John Locke wanted to exclude, in the name of reason.
Now I cannot go much more into these things. Another movement of great importance for modern theology was English Deism, i.e., a kind of people who were less philosophical than practical users of philosophy for the sake of theological problems. Deism is a movement of intelligentsia more than of real philosophy. They wrote attacks against. the traditional Orthodoxy. They criticized in the same sense ill which the Socinians did it, the problems of Biblical religion. All elements of criticism can be found around them. Between 1700-ca.1730, everything was developed which we now discuss in liberal and critical theology. The problems of Biblical history, the authority of Jesus, the problem of miracles, the question of special revelation, the history of religion, which shows that Christianity is not something very special, according to the Deists, the category of myth (which is not invented by Bultmann in the year 1950, in his demythologization book, but which has been invented already by the Deists in the beginning of the 18th century, more than 250 years ago. ) There we have the problems which, since the middle of the 18th century, Continental theology started to deal with. Since ca. 1750 the great movement of historical criticism started. The greatest personality in the German Enlightenment, Lessing, the poet., philosopher, estheticist, etc., was the leader in this fight against a stupid orthodoxy which stuck to the traditional terms. And then the great critical statement in theology – by David Friedrich Straus Schleiermacher, all those in the 19th century up to Johannes Weiss and Albert Schweitzer and Bultmann. All this line of development started in the middle of the 18th century and carried through the ideas of the Socinians and the others.
I spoke of “tides.” Now it looks as if this were one all-embracing development, an ocean which f looded over continents. But that is not true. In all these periods there were reactions against this development. This is what I meant with the high and low “tides.” There was reaction already in the early period – Methodism and Pietism, ca. 1730-50; there was reaction at the end of the 18th century, in the Romantic movement; there was reaction in the early middle of the 19th century, in terms of the revivalistic movements; there was reaction in the beginning of the20th century, in terms of the movement which we call now “Neo-Orthodoxy. We always have one or the other of these reactions. And in all these movements, which determine our present. theological situation, one question is predominant, namely the question: “What about the compatibility of the modern mind with the Christian message?”‘ That’s what the great men in these developments tried to find out. It was always an oscillation between an attempt at a synthesis, in the Hegelian and Platonic sense, of the creative unity of different elements of reality – that is what synthesis should mean and always meant. Now in this sense the two greatest theological influences in the beginning of the 19th and end of the 18th centuries are Schleiermacher and Hegel. They together, each in his way, produced what I call the great synthesis. They took into themselves all the impulses of the modern mind, all the results of the autonomous development. And beyond this they tried to show that the true Christian message can come out only on this basis, and not in terms of Orthodoxy; but also not in terms of the Enlightenment. They rejected both and tried to find a way beyond them – Schleiermacher more from the mystical tradition of his Pietistic past (he was a Moravian, as you know); Hegel more in the philosophical term out of the Neo-Platonic tradition from which he came. In the year 1840 both forms of this synthesis were considered as having broken down, completely and radically, and an extreme naturalism and materialism developed. In this time another theological school tried to save what could be saved. This was the Ritschlian school, the great names of which are Ritschl himself; then Hermann (who was the teacher of many, also professors of this Seminary, notably Professor Coffin); and then Harnack, who is still the teacher of all of us, in many respects.