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Freethinkers

(742 words)

Author(s): Reinalter, Helmut
1. Goals Freethinkers represent a cultural, political, and philosophical movement, atheistic in belief and made up of various groupings that seek to rid people of religious and scientific errors and prejudices. This movement rejects the teachings and ties of religious institutions. The various groups stress the separation of church and state, oppose the traditional influence of the Christian church on public life, advocate cremation instead of church burial (Funeral), oppose church-sanctioned war, seek the legal recognition of their so…

Josephinism

(562 words)

Author(s): Reinalter, Helmut
1. Meaning The term “Josephinism” denotes the extension of the absolute authority of the state to all church matters other than doctrine. Flourishing particularly in Austria under Joseph II (Holy Roman emperor 1765–90), it entailed the full subjection of the church and its institutions to the interests and control of the autonomous state (Church and State). Along with dominant Enlightenment ecclesiastical policies, including religious toleration, it also contained strong reforming elements. 2. Origin Already under Joseph’s mother, Maria Theresa (succeeded to the Haps…

Masons

(1,330 words)

Author(s): Reinalter, Helmut
1. Values and Organization The Masons, or Freemasons, compose the world’s largest fraternal organization. Advocating human dignity, tolerance, free development of the personality, brotherhood, and universal love, they assume that human conflicts can be resolved without destructive consequences, which requires relationships of trust between those of different convictions. Freemasonry is strongly oriented to the individual and has a concern for moral perfection but otherwise has no ethical principles …