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One of the practices in Utopia that may have struck sixteenth century readers as odd would be their custom of teaching children to reject items prized by others, including gold and precious stones. In an era where political economists were beginning to argue that nations should build up as many gold and silver reserves as possible, the idea that Utopians used gold to line their chamberpots must have seemed especially strange. To many humanists and others who argued against the increasing spirit of avarice and greed among the nobility and clergy, however, it may have seemed like a situation much to be desired.
Another aspect of Utopian society that makes sense given the context in which it was published is their prohibition against religious disputation. Most Utopians believe in the same deity, but they worship that deity in a variety of ways. Judging that religious strife was counterproductive, the Utopians outlawed arguments over doctrinal issues. In a Europe that was about to be torn apart with sectarian strife, this must have seemed a particularly wise course of action.
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