latitudinarian adj : unwilling to accept authority or dogma (especially in religion) [syn: free-thinking, undogmatic, undogmatical] n : a person who is broad-minded and tolerant (especially in standards of religious belief and conduct)
- For this term as used in philosophy, see Latitudinarianism (philosophy).
The best example of the latitudinarian philosophy is the Cambridge Platonists.
While always officially opposed, the latitudinarian philosophy was, nevertheless, dominant in the 18th century in England. Because of the Hanoverian reluctance to act in church affairs (see, for example, George II's actions in the Bangorian Controversy) and all sides of the religious debates being balanced against one another, the dioceses became tolerant of variation in local practice. Furthermore, after George II dismissed the Convocation, there was very little internal Church power to sanction or approve. Thus, with no Archbishop of Canterbury officially announcing it, nor Lords adopting it, latitudinarianism was the operative philosophy of the English church in the 18th century. For the 18th-century English church in the United States (which would become the Episcopal Church after the American Revolution), latitudinarianism was the only practical course since it was a nation with official pluralism and diversity of opinion and diffusion of clerical power.
Today, latitudinarianism must not be confused with ecumenical movements, which seek to draw all Christian churches together, rather than to de-emphasize practical doctrine. The term has taken on a more general meaning, indicating a personal philosophy which includes being widely tolerant of other views, particularly (but not necessarily) on religious matters.
big person, broad-gauge person, broad-minded, ecumenicist, esprit fort, free lance, free spirit, free trader, freethinker, freethinking, humanist, independent, individualist, isolationist, liberal, liberalist, liberalistic, libertarian, libertine, mugwump, neutral, nonpartisan, open-minded, rugged individualist, secular humanist, third force, third world, tolerant, unbigoted