OrthodoxChristianity.net
October 21, 2014, 04:09:25 PM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Reminder: No political discussions in the public fora.  If you do not have access to the private Politics Forum, please send a PM to Fr. George.
 
   Home   Help Calendar Contact Treasury Tags Login Register  
Pages: 1   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Christianity and the Dark Ages  (Read 1530 times) Average Rating: 0
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
TryingtoConvert
Elder
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Disbelief in your belief
Jurisdiction: All in your mind
Posts: 384



« on: December 08, 2010, 07:28:29 PM »

Sorry if this is the wrong board, but maybe I could get an Orthodox (or even Catholic) take on the subject?

Quote
GK Chesterton once remarked: "And in history you will find that Christianity, so far from belonging to the Dark Ages, was the one path across the Dark Ages that was not dark. It was a shining bridge connecting two shining civilizations. If any one says that the faith arose in ignorance and savagery the answer is simple: it didn't. It arose in the Mediterranean civilization in the full summer of the Roman Empire. The world was swarming with sceptics, and pantheism was as plain as the sun, when Constantine nailed the cross to the mast. It is perfectly true that afterwards the ship sank; but it is far more extraordinary that the ship came up again: repainted and glittering, with the cross still at the top.

This is the amazing thing the religion did: it turned a sunken ship into a submarine. The ark lived under the load of waters; after being buried under the debris of dynasties and clans, we arose and remembered Rome. If our faith had been a mere fad of the fading empire, fad would have followed fad in the twilight, and if the civilization ever re-emerged (and many such have never re-emerged) it would have been under some new barbaric flag. But the Christian Church was the last life of the old society and was also the first life of the new. She took the people who were forgetting how to make an arch and she taught them to invent the Gothic arch. In a word, the most absurd thing that could be said of the Church is the thing we have all heard said of it.

How can we say that the Church wishes to bring us back into the Dark Ages?

The Church was the only thing that ever brought us out of them."

I wasn't sure Christianity pulled us out of the dark ages. It was the Renaissance that was marked by people moving away from the church and religious doctrines that "pulled us out" of the Dark Ages, not Christianity.

Am I right?

source - Michał Kalina
« Last Edit: December 10, 2010, 04:05:46 AM by Michał Kalina » Logged
Papist
Patriarch of Pontification
Toumarches
************
Offline Offline

Faith: Catholic
Jurisdiction: Byzantine
Posts: 12,254


Praying for the Christians in Iraq


« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2010, 07:48:33 PM »

Yeah, just ignore all the music, art, philosophy, architecture, and science that came from those big bad "dark ages". Silly boy. an undergrad could refute you.
Logged

Note Papist's influence from the tyrannical monarchism of traditional papism .
biro
Excelsior
Site Supporter
Warned
Toumarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox
Posts: 14,022


Και κλήρονομον δείξον με, ζωής της αιωνίου

fleem
WWW
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2010, 08:03:37 PM »

What's 'funny' (peculiar, not ha-ha) is that the Dark Ages were in large part provoked by the massive invasions to which Europe was repeateadly subjected, at the hands of the Moors and the Huns.

 Roll Eyes

Logged

Charlie Rose: If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?

Fran Lebowitz: Everything. There is not one thing with which I am satisfied.

http://spcasuncoast.org/
sainthieu
Abstractor of the Quintessence
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Antiochian
Posts: 621


« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2010, 08:28:08 PM »

Your parents grounded you for a month, right?
Logged
Cognomen
Site Supporter
OC.net guru
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Catholic
Jurisdiction: Phyletism Rules, OK
Posts: 1,968


Ungrateful Biped


« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2010, 08:43:52 PM »

Your parents grounded you for a month, right?

 laugh laugh laugh A similar thought had occurred to me.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2010, 08:45:11 PM by Cognomen » Logged

North American Eastern Orthodox Parish Council Delegate for the Canonization of Saints Twin Towers and Pentagon, as well as the Propagation of the Doctrine of the Assumption of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 (NAEOPCDCSTTPPDAMAFM®).
Fr. George
formerly "Cleveland"
Administrator
Stratopedarches
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox (Catholic) Christian
Jurisdiction: GOA - Metropolis of Pittsburgh
Posts: 20,091


May the Lord bless you and keep you always!


« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2010, 08:49:52 PM »

Sorry if this is the wrong board, but maybe I could get an Orthodox (or even Catholic) take on the subject?

I would have to agree with Chesterton to a point; Christianity (esp. in the East) helped pull the West out of the Dark Ages, with its continued dedication to preserve the ancient philosophers and scientists, writers and mathematicians, and their willingness to share that information with all who came - Slavs, Arabs, Franks, and more.  His underlying point is good, too: people all too quickly assume that religion sent us into the Dark Ages, and use quaint beliefs like, "religion has caused more wars, yada, yada, yada," to support their assumptions.  What they fail to see is that people are power-hungry, and have superficially used religion to satisfy that craving.  When you brush aside the false premise that religion (and Christianity in particular) is divisive, you see a clearer picture: people who were trying to be charitable and kind beyond what society expected, folks who were/are committed to education, preservation of manuscripts and the like, and who were/are generally "good neighbors."  The Church sustained the dim light of knowledge in the West, and provided the fuel for its resurgence from the East.

I wasn't sure Christianity pulled us out of the dark ages. It was the Renaissance that was marked by people moving away from the church and religious doctrines that "pulled us out" of the Dark Ages, not Christianity.

Am I right?

I chalk this up with, "Everyone before Galileo believed that the world was flat and revolved around the sun" - it fits nicely into our bias for the present, but doesn't line up with the records, which show that there were plenty of heliocentrists, and round-Earthers, well before our "(grand-)fathers of modern science."  They may not have swayed everyone, but there was serious investigation and consideration of the questions (esp., again, in the East) because Christianity allowed for the free exchange of these ideas, the questioning of previous observations of the Universe, and the continued pursuit of learning.
Logged

"The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the one who can't read them." Mark Twain
---------------------
Ordained on 17 & 18-Oct 2009. Please forgive me if earlier posts are poorly worded or incorrect in any way.
Fr. George
formerly "Cleveland"
Administrator
Stratopedarches
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox (Catholic) Christian
Jurisdiction: GOA - Metropolis of Pittsburgh
Posts: 20,091


May the Lord bless you and keep you always!


« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2010, 08:51:00 PM »

Yeah, just ignore all the music, art, philosophy, architecture, and science that came from those big bad "dark ages".

They were "dark," compared to our hedonist present, no? Wink

Silly boy. an undergrad could refute you.

That's a low blow.
Logged

"The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the one who can't read them." Mark Twain
---------------------
Ordained on 17 & 18-Oct 2009. Please forgive me if earlier posts are poorly worded or incorrect in any way.
ialmisry
There's nothing John of Damascus can't answer
Warned
Hypatos
*****************
Offline Offline

Faith: جامعي Arab confesssing the Orthodox Faith of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church
Jurisdiction: Antioch (for now), but my heart belongs to Alexandria
Posts: 37,960



« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2010, 09:37:46 PM »

Sorry if this is the wrong board, but maybe I could get an Orthodox (or even Catholic) take on the subject?

Quote
GK Chesterton once remarked: "And in history you will find that Christianity, so far from belonging to the Dark Ages, was the one path across the Dark Ages that was not dark. It was a shining bridge connecting two shining civilizations. If any one says that the faith arose in ignorance and savagery the answer is simple: it didn't. It arose in the Mediterranean civilization in the full summer of the Roman Empire. The world was swarming with sceptics, and pantheism was as plain as the sun, when Constantine nailed the cross to the mast. It is perfectly true that afterwards the ship sank; but it is far more extraordinary that the ship came up again: repainted and glittering, with the cross still at the top.

This is the amazing thing the religion did: it turned a sunken ship into a submarine. The ark lived under the load of waters; after being buried under the debris of dynasties and clans, we arose and remembered Rome. If our faith had been a mere fad of the fading empire, fad would have followed fad in the twilight, and if the civilization ever re-emerged (and many such have never re-emerged) it would have been under some new barbaric flag. But the Christian Church was the last life of the old society and was also the first life of the new. She took the people who were forgetting how to make an arch and she taught them to invent the Gothic arch. In a word, the most absurd thing that could be said of the Church is the thing we have all heard said of it.

How can we say that the Church wishes to bring us back into the Dark Ages?

The Church was the only thing that ever brought us out of them."

I wasn't sure Christianity pulled us out of the dark ages. It was the Renaissance that was marked by people moving away from the church and religious doctrines that "pulled us out" of the Dark Ages, not Christianity.

Am I right?
LOL. Trolls rarely are.

One, Dark Ages is restricted by historians to c. 476 (Fall of the Western Roman Empire, though many fail to recognize the "Western" part of that)-800 (foundation of the "Holy Roman Empire") or 1000.  But the popular use of most atheists define it from c. 325 (Council of Nicea)-13th century (beginnings of the "Renaissance")/15th century.  It doesn't matter which definition you use, as Chesterton's reasoning is sound, and your little quip is not under either.

Both the Carolingian renaissance (which ended the narrowly defined Dark Ages) and the Florentine/Italian Renaissance later were heavily patronized by the church, relied on clerics to further and spread knowledge, and expended a great part of their energies to the Chrisitan cause. You are going to have to define-and defend-what you mean by "Dark Ages," "Renaissance," and how the "Renaissance pulled people away from the church and religious doctrines" to make a cogent arguement.

That said, I doubt that you aimed to make a cogent arguement.
Logged

Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth
Nero
Member
***
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 115



« Reply #8 on: December 08, 2010, 10:33:00 PM »

Quote
Silly boy. an undergrad could refute you.

Someone called?
I'm actually taking a class on the history of Medieval European History right now. Note, that does not make me an expert by any means. Wink
But it has taught me more than wide-sweeping generalizations.

First of all, no, it was not the Renaissance that brought us out of the dark.
When Rome fell, it was the Church that filled in the void - exactly as G.K Chesterton says. The Church became the preserver of Western knowledge (cf Boethius), the protector of Europe (cf Clovis, Charles Martel, Charlemagne, etc), the uniting force behind former Roman provinces, their governing force, etc. This structure was what kept Europe afloat when it was absolutely devoid of power. It did not create the dark ages, it saved Europe from them.

The reason why the Dark ages were called that, by the way, is not because of any lack of learning or understanding. The reasons why we refer to it as the dark ages are:

1) Attacks and raids on practically all sides of the continent (Vikings, African pirates, barbarian tribes, Muslim invaders, etc)
2) Plague outbreak (which most likely came from outside Western Europe, Black sea region)
3) Loss of the security of the Roman force - nations had to build themselves from scratch from the ground up, in intensely forested regions with bad soil.

Without the security of the Church, which stepped in where Rome failed, Europe would've been decimated under all these conditions. Yes, things were not particularly pleasant in this time period, but no, it was not the Church's fault.
Logged
Aindriú
Faster! Funnier!
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Cynical
Jurisdiction: Vestibule of Hell
Posts: 3,918



WWW
« Reply #9 on: December 08, 2010, 10:39:05 PM »

Quote
Silly boy. an undergrad could refute you.

Someone called?


LOL
Logged


I'm going to need this.
Ebor
Vanyar
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Posts: 6,423



« Reply #10 on: December 08, 2010, 11:22:12 PM »

Sorry if this is the wrong board, but maybe I could get an Orthodox (or even Catholic) take on the subject?

Quote
GK Chesterton once remarked: "And in history you will find that Christianity, so far from belonging to the Dark Ages, was the one path across the Dark Ages that was not dark. It was a shining bridge connecting two shining civilizations. If any one says that the faith arose in ignorance and savagery the answer is simple: it didn't. It arose in the Mediterranean civilization in the full summer of the Roman Empire. The world was swarming with sceptics, and pantheism was as plain as the sun, when Constantine nailed the cross to the mast. It is perfectly true that afterwards the ship sank; but it is far more extraordinary that the ship came up again: repainted and glittering, with the cross still at the top.

This is the amazing thing the religion did: it turned a sunken ship into a submarine. The ark lived under the load of waters; after being buried under the debris of dynasties and clans, we arose and remembered Rome. If our faith had been a mere fad of the fading empire, fad would have followed fad in the twilight, and if the civilization ever re-emerged (and many such have never re-emerged) it would have been under some new barbaric flag. But the Christian Church was the last life of the old society and was also the first life of the new. She took the people who were forgetting how to make an arch and she taught them to invent the Gothic arch. In a word, the most absurd thing that could be said of the Church is the thing we have all heard said of it.

How can we say that the Church wishes to bring us back into the Dark Ages?

The Church was the only thing that ever brought us out of them."

I wasn't sure Christianity pulled us out of the dark ages. It was the Renaissance that was marked by people moving away from the church and religious doctrines that "pulled us out" of the Dark Ages, not Christianity.

Am I right?



What do you mean when you write the "Dark Ages" and how much do you know of the real recorded history of the time, please?  It's not like there's a blank spot of centuries of which we know nothing.  The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle is a primary source document of what was happening in what would become England.  One of the greatest poems in the English Language (albeit Old English) Beowulf comes from that era and there are other works of poetry that have survived.  The Norse peoples weren't just brutal raiders, but had their own records and poetry and travels.  There was art created in metal and glass and other materials, the "Sutton Hoo" treasures just to name one.  Ireland was a land of scholars and law and poetry and lore.  Scotland and Wales as well and down into France and the Iberian Peninsula, just to name a few of the western European lands.  What do you think made those centuries "Dark"?

While I am neither EO nor RC, but Anglican, I think I know something that time and area and can take a look at the subject.  First off, the label "The Dark Ages" as applied to the post Roman Empire era is one devised by what a friend of mine termed "chrono-snobs" that is persons who look down on other time periods.  There is an interesting article titled Petrarch's Conception of the "Dark Ages" by Theodor E. Mommsen that was published in 1942 that looks at this idea and how it was to quote one of his sources "never primarily a scientific term, but rather a battle-cry, 'a denunciation of the mediaeval conception of the world, of the mediaeval attitude toward life, and of the culture of the Middle Ages." (Mommsen 227)
This paper can be read on JSTOR if you have access to that wonderful source through a library or other organization. I also have a pdf if anyone is interested.

So what specifics or examples are you thinking of?

Ebor

edited for grammar correction
« Last Edit: December 08, 2010, 11:25:19 PM by Ebor » Logged

"I wish they would remember that the charge to Peter was "Feed my sheep", not "Try experiments on my rats", or even "Teach my performing dogs new tricks". - C. S. Lewis

The Katana of Reasoned Discussion

For some a world view is more like a neighborhood watch.
elijahmaria
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Byzantine Catholic
Posts: 6,473



WWW
« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2010, 01:05:14 AM »

Sorry if this is the wrong board, but maybe I could get an Orthodox (or even Catholic) take on the subject?

Quote
GK Chesterton once remarked: "And in history you will find that Christianity, so far from belonging to the Dark Ages, was the one path across the Dark Ages that was not dark. It was a shining bridge connecting two shining civilizations. If any one says that the faith arose in ignorance and savagery the answer is simple: it didn't. It arose in the Mediterranean civilization in the full summer of the Roman Empire. The world was swarming with sceptics, and pantheism was as plain as the sun, when Constantine nailed the cross to the mast. It is perfectly true that afterwards the ship sank; but it is far more extraordinary that the ship came up again: repainted and glittering, with the cross still at the top.

This is the amazing thing the religion did: it turned a sunken ship into a submarine. The ark lived under the load of waters; after being buried under the debris of dynasties and clans, we arose and remembered Rome. If our faith had been a mere fad of the fading empire, fad would have followed fad in the twilight, and if the civilization ever re-emerged (and many such have never re-emerged) it would have been under some new barbaric flag. But the Christian Church was the last life of the old society and was also the first life of the new. She took the people who were forgetting how to make an arch and she taught them to invent the Gothic arch. In a word, the most absurd thing that could be said of the Church is the thing we have all heard said of it.

How can we say that the Church wishes to bring us back into the Dark Ages?

The Church was the only thing that ever brought us out of them."

I wasn't sure Christianity pulled us out of the dark ages. It was the Renaissance that was marked by people moving away from the church and religious doctrines that "pulled us out" of the Dark Ages, not Christianity.

Am I right?



There is an entire historical paradigm that argues that the "Dark Ages" were not dark at all.  In fact they were profoundly Christologically illuminated....

Something one might pursue as an idea...

Logged

NorthernPines
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA
Posts: 934



« Reply #12 on: December 09, 2010, 12:45:05 PM »



I wasn't sure Christianity pulled us out of the dark ages. It was the Renaissance that was marked by people moving away from the church and religious doctrines that "pulled us out" of the Dark Ages, not Christianity.

Am I right?




Woah, if you think The Renaissance was a period when people moved AWAY from religion you need to seriously get to a library and a few museums! Cheesy Do you really think David was sculpted because people were becoming "less" religious? Come on.

Now I definitely think Chesterton is simply doing some spin doctoring and apologetics with these quotes but in some ways he right. For many, many people in Western Europe, it was the Church and the Church alone which remained a "link" to the glory days of the Roman Empire and to a time when civilization was, well civilization. People often fled to the Church and monasteries because these were the one place where life could be reasonably safe. Of course there was plenty of "Dark Age" thinking within the Church at that time. But that's not to be poo pooed. It is what it was. The biggest problem is the desire of some Christians TODAY who wish to return to a more "dark age" mindset, but of course as Isa has explained the "dark ages" aren't really what us moderns are thinking of when we use terms like "dark age" thinking. We're talking about a later period in Church history, closer to the time of Martin Luther actually, (rampant superstition, witch hunts, etc) but I suspect the details aren't your point. I suspect you think it was the church that dragged Europe into the dark ages, and that is simply untrue, at least as something we can "blame" the Church for. It's not like the Crusades or the Jesus Wars in the eastern Church, where we can look and say "holy cow the Church did THAT and did it consciously?" Nah. If the Church has any blame at all it is because some of the Pagans were right, that Christianity "weakened" the Empire, obviously not for the Pagan reason though that "the gods" had foresaken Rome but for purely geopolitical reasons. OTH, many argue that Rome had crumbled so far from it's former glory that the Empire becoming Christian is what made it eek out another 100-150 years in the West. This actually makes sense to me because had Constantine not won the Empire, I think the nuts who would have taken over would have simply watched things crumble to nothing. Why did Diolcetian impose the great persecution? because he and his forerunners had squandered the empire's fund's and glory and they needed a scape goat to unify the Empire against. It didn't work. Christianity was too popular at that point. Constantinian's dynasty managed to stretch out the Empire far longer than it would have had someone who took the Diocletian view which probably would have ripped the Empire apart even further, leading to what eventually happened after the fall of Rome, but generations earlier. Christianity itself had a unifying effect on Rome, and this, from a purely historical POV, probably held off the dark ages.

It is of course untrue to say that the church was a "beacon of light" throughout the dark ages. Tell that to the Jews, or women, or people forced into monasteries against their will, or people killing for Christ etc. we know all the ugly stories. It's utter nonsense to say none of this stuff really happened or was only sporadic (like some modern apologists do, yuck!), but it's also utterly ridiculous to suggest that the Church was the ancient version Big Brother, and that everything it did was pure evil. Neither is true, and I think the biggest clue to that is that both views make things way too easy to understand.

Without Christianity, world history would have unfolded very differently. Perhaps for the better. Perhaps not. We of course will never know. It's fun to speculate as an exercise in "what if" scenarios, but beyond that we only have the world we have and while the Church did do some terrible things, things that most Christians are afraid to fess up to, it's untrue that the church was pure evil and everything it did it did to destroy the world of old. That gives the early Church WAY too much power, power it did not have until well after Constantine. But I am not the thought police, nor am I qualified to be! (obviously some of what I say is a bit unconventional probably) I love these what if scenarios though which is why I was a big fan of the TV show Sliders! (well, before John Ryes Davies left the show that is)

Logged
Fr. George
formerly "Cleveland"
Administrator
Stratopedarches
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox (Catholic) Christian
Jurisdiction: GOA - Metropolis of Pittsburgh
Posts: 20,091


May the Lord bless you and keep you always!


« Reply #13 on: December 14, 2010, 05:35:15 PM »

I'm wondering if our "TryingtoConvert" friend has seen this topic lately, and wishes to respond to the points made.
Logged

"The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the one who can't read them." Mark Twain
---------------------
Ordained on 17 & 18-Oct 2009. Please forgive me if earlier posts are poorly worded or incorrect in any way.
TryingtoConvert
Elder
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Disbelief in your belief
Jurisdiction: All in your mind
Posts: 384



« Reply #14 on: December 17, 2010, 05:03:47 AM »



I wasn't sure Christianity pulled us out of the dark ages. It was the Renaissance that was marked by people moving away from the church and religious doctrines that "pulled us out" of the Dark Ages, not Christianity.

Am I right?




Woah, if you think The Renaissance was a period when people moved AWAY from religion you need to seriously get to a library and a few museums! Cheesy Do you really think David was sculpted because people were becoming "less" religious? Come on.

Now I definitely think Chesterton is simply doing some spin doctoring and apologetics with these quotes but in some ways he right. For many, many people in Western Europe, it was the Church and the Church alone which remained a "link" to the glory days of the Roman Empire and to a time when civilization was, well civilization. People often fled to the Church and monasteries because these were the one place where life could be reasonably safe. Of course there was plenty of "Dark Age" thinking within the Church at that time. But that's not to be poo pooed. It is what it was. The biggest problem is the desire of some Christians TODAY who wish to return to a more "dark age" mindset, but of course as Isa has explained the "dark ages" aren't really what us moderns are thinking of when we use terms like "dark age" thinking. We're talking about a later period in Church history, closer to the time of Martin Luther actually, (rampant superstition, witch hunts, etc) but I suspect the details aren't your point. I suspect you think it was the church that dragged Europe into the dark ages, and that is simply untrue, at least as something we can "blame" the Church for. It's not like the Crusades or the Jesus Wars in the eastern Church, where we can look and say "holy cow the Church did THAT and did it consciously?" Nah. If the Church has any blame at all it is because some of the Pagans were right, that Christianity "weakened" the Empire, obviously not for the Pagan reason though that "the gods" had foresaken Rome but for purely geopolitical reasons. OTH, many argue that Rome had crumbled so far from it's former glory that the Empire becoming Christian is what made it eek out another 100-150 years in the West. This actually makes sense to me because had Constantine not won the Empire, I think the nuts who would have taken over would have simply watched things crumble to nothing. Why did Diolcetian impose the great persecution? because he and his forerunners had squandered the empire's fund's and glory and they needed a scape goat to unify the Empire against. It didn't work. Christianity was too popular at that point. Constantinian's dynasty managed to stretch out the Empire far longer than it would have had someone who took the Diocletian view which probably would have ripped the Empire apart even further, leading to what eventually happened after the fall of Rome, but generations earlier. Christianity itself had a unifying effect on Rome, and this, from a purely historical POV, probably held off the dark ages.

It is of course untrue to say that the church was a "beacon of light" throughout the dark ages. Tell that to the Jews, or women, or people forced into monasteries against their will, or people killing for Christ etc. we know all the ugly stories. It's utter nonsense to say none of this stuff really happened or was only sporadic (like some modern apologists do, yuck!), but it's also utterly ridiculous to suggest that the Church was the ancient version Big Brother, and that everything it did was pure evil. Neither is true, and I think the biggest clue to that is that both views make things way too easy to understand.

Without Christianity, world history would have unfolded very differently. Perhaps for the better. Perhaps not. We of course will never know. It's fun to speculate as an exercise in "what if" scenarios, but beyond that we only have the world we have and while the Church did do some terrible things, things that most Christians are afraid to fess up to, it's untrue that the church was pure evil and everything it did it did to destroy the world of old. That gives the early Church WAY too much power, power it did not have until well after Constantine. But I am not the thought police, nor am I qualified to be! (obviously some of what I say is a bit unconventional probably) I love these what if scenarios though which is why I was a big fan of the TV show Sliders! (well, before John Ryes Davies left the show that is)

Yeah, still not buying it.

I don't want to paste this entire webpage, but I think this article paints an accurate view of what happened during that period of time:

The Tragedy of Theology: How Religion Caused and Extended the Dark Ages: http://www.theobjectivestandard.com/issues/2006-winter/tragedy-of-theology.asp

But my ultimate point in mentioning the Dark Ages was to highlight the fact that religion doesn't automatically make people moral. It certainly didn't make Europe into a utopian society even when it was dominant. There are also people who are moral without religion. So the argument that people need religion to BE moral is without merit.

To reiterate the point of this thread, people can use reason to define and develop objective systems of morality. We've already have actually done so to some degree throughout the ages and we continue to do so passively. But at this point in our history we should openly acknowledge that there are some things that are objectively, rationally, and scientifically, "right" and "wrong" without depending on theology.
Logged
John of the North
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christianity
Jurisdiction: Eparchy of Edmonton and the West
Posts: 3,533


Christ is Risen!

tgild
« Reply #15 on: December 17, 2010, 06:48:35 AM »

But my ultimate point in mentioning the Dark Ages was to highlight the fact that religion doesn't automatically make people moral.

I would be shocked if anyone on an actual Orthodox forum was claiming such a thing. You are talking to people who worship in a church that preaches continual repentance and struggle for salvation. No one is claiming that victory in such struggles happens automatically. You have set up a straw man.

Quote
It certainly didn't make Europe into a utopian society even when it was dominant.

I must have missed the part in the catechism where the Church claimed to be striving for a utopian society.

Quote
But at this point in our history we should openly acknowledge that there are some things that are objectively, rationally, and scientifically, "right" and "wrong" without depending on theology.

 "to say that something is wrong because . . . it is forbidden by God, is . . . perfectly understandable to anyone who believes in a law-giving God. But to say that something is wrong . . . even though no God exists to forbid it, is not understandable. . . ." "The concept of moral obligation [is] unintelligible apart from the idea of God. The words remain but their meaning is gone."  Richard Taylor, Ethics, Faith, and Reason (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1985), 90, 84.
Logged

"Christianity is not a philosophy, not a doctrine, but life." - Elder Sophrony (Sakharov)
NorthernPines
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA
Posts: 934



« Reply #16 on: December 17, 2010, 11:58:35 AM »



Yeah, still not buying it.

Still not buying what? That the Church did much good even in the dark ages? Which of MY points are you not buying? That Constantine was better for the ancient world that the nut jobs who could have controlled the Empire? Which parts? You cannot mean my entire post since I agreed with much of what you said.




Quote
I don't want to paste this entire webpage, but I think this article paints an accurate view of what happened during that period of time:

The Tragedy of Theology: How Religion Caused and Extended the Dark Ages: http://www.theobjectivestandard.com/issues/2006-winter/tragedy-of-theology.asp

I don't have time to read what amounts to a small BOOK on that website right now, sorry...lol! I did skim over it and I find much that I actually agree with. I see the book is essentially a refutation of rodney stark's extreme apologetic that the middle ages "advanced civilization, and science etc"...If you had bothered to read MY words you would see that I despise such absurd apologetics. I despise rewriting history on both ends (the Church is pure good vs the Church is pure evil). You seem to take the latter view which is just as a-historical and mythical as the apologists take. You're doing the same thing people like Starks is doing only in reverse.


Quote
But my ultimate point in mentioning the Dark Ages was to highlight the fact that religion doesn't automatically make people moral.

I certainly don't believe that and I don't know of any Orthodox theologian, nor do I personally know any Orthodox Christian who thinks such a thing. Again I think you're confusing us with fundamentalist Protestants.

Quote
It certainly didn't make Europe into a utopian society even when it was dominant.

I agree it did not.


Quote
There are also people who are moral without religion. So the argument that people need religion to BE moral is without merit.

I agree on both counts.


The problem is your original points didn't seem to have anything to do with what you just said above. it feels like that you are changing the subject of the thread in midstream from "the dark ages were evil" to "people don't need religion to be moral". Those are 2 completely different topics. Feel free to start a new topic on this new subject, however I think most of us here would agree with the statement that people don't need religion to be moral, so I don't think it will be much of a conversation. LOL!
« Last Edit: December 17, 2010, 12:00:20 PM by NorthernPines » Logged
Jason.Wike
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Posts: 1,046


« Reply #17 on: December 17, 2010, 01:15:25 PM »

The Dark Ages didn't start with the acceptance of Christianity, they coincided with the spread of Islam which cut the ancient world in half.Correlation doesn't imply causation and all... but before Islam trade existed from as far away as the British Isles to Beijing. Goods and ideas were spread the entire width of that, with even religions like Buddhism existing in places like Antioch and Alexandria, and Greco-Roman ideas spreading as far as Japan in the opposite direction (basically all classical depictions of Buddhist figures were developed by Greeks). The rise of Islam cut that off entirely, the formerly well traveled routes through the Red Sea across to India were closed to Europeans, the Silk Route was basically closed to Europeans by the Turks too.

While I haven't researched it enough to hold a conclusive opinion on it I suspect that had a much more major impact on the development of the "Dark Ages" than Christianity did. Also the Dark Ages don't seem to have existed at all in the Eastern Roman Empire which only expired 500 years ago.
Logged
CRCulver
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Church of Finland and Romanian Orthodox Church
Posts: 1,159


St Stephen of Perm, missionary to speakers of Komi


WWW
« Reply #18 on: December 17, 2010, 01:27:32 PM »

Jason, you can't blame the decline of Western Europe on Islam. The trade routes to northern France and Britain never recovered from the political turmoil of the 2rd century and were essentially cut off by 400, two full centuries before Muhammad. See Cleary's The Ending of Roman Britain for a picture of just how serious the economic, political and social collapse was.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2010, 01:28:16 PM by CRCulver » Logged
Jason.Wike
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Posts: 1,046


« Reply #19 on: December 17, 2010, 01:42:39 PM »

Jason, you can't blame the decline of Western Europe on Islam. The trade routes to northern France and Britain never recovered from the political turmoil of the 2rd century and were essentially cut off by 400, two full centuries before Muhammad. See Cleary's The Ending of Roman Britain for a picture of just how serious the economic, political and social collapse was.

Land routes were but ocean routes weren't until Islam got to the Straits of Gibraltar. The ocean route wasn't minor either, so I don't think the land routes being disrupted, alone, can account for everything. People knew and relied on the routes along the Atlantic and into the western Mediterranean.
Logged
Jason.Wike
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Posts: 1,046


« Reply #20 on: December 17, 2010, 01:43:41 PM »

Oh, and I was thinking about checking out that book but its been out for a decade and there's no reviews of it?
Logged
CRCulver
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Church of Finland and Romanian Orthodox Church
Posts: 1,159


St Stephen of Perm, missionary to speakers of Komi


WWW
« Reply #21 on: December 17, 2010, 01:45:20 PM »

Jason, kindly provide some citations, because your assertions contradict numerous studies of Western Europe's economy in the late Roman era. Cleary writes, for example, that the standard long-distance trade products -- pottery, certain foodstuffs -- were completely absent from fifth-century Britain. This isn't a matter of the main trade routes shifting from land to sea, it's an utter collapse of trade, and it happened long before Islam.

There are some reviews of that book on Amazon's UK site.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2010, 01:46:34 PM by CRCulver » Logged
ialmisry
There's nothing John of Damascus can't answer
Warned
Hypatos
*****************
Offline Offline

Faith: جامعي Arab confesssing the Orthodox Faith of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church
Jurisdiction: Antioch (for now), but my heart belongs to Alexandria
Posts: 37,960



« Reply #22 on: December 17, 2010, 03:17:10 PM »

Yeah, still not buying it.
Since you're bankrupt, you're not buying anything.

I don't want to paste this entire webpage, but I think this article paints an accurate view of what happened during that period of time:
The Tragedy of Theology: How Religion Caused and Extended the Dark Ages: http://www.theobjectivestandard.com/issues/2006-winter/tragedy-of-theology.asp
Oh?
Quote
A related disaster was that Classical learning was largely lost in the West. One reason was that, in the days of the Roman Empire, educated Romans studied the writings of Plato, Aristotle, and other thinkers in their original Greek, so there had been no need to translate these writings into Latin. Although the conquering barbarians learned some Latin, Westerners no longer learned Greek. The loss of literacy in Greek was catastrophic for civilization, for it meant “the simultaneous loss of philosophy, mathematics, medicine, engineering, and science....

...Contributing to the educational debacle, in 529 the Christian emperor, Justinian I, ruling the Eastern Empire from Constantinople and holding that Greek philosophy was “inherently subversive of Christian belief,” closed all the pagan schools of philosophy, including Plato’s Academy, which, for 900 years, had specialized in the teachings of its founder. To fully enforce his ban, Justinian forbade any pagan to teach. (Boethius (480–525), a Christian and the last serious philosopher for 350 years, had been educated in the great pagan schools.) As a result, nobody in the West would have the opportunity to study the achievements of Greek culture for six interminable centuries. As the eminent historian, Will Durant, observed: “Greek philosophy, after eleven centuries of history, had come to an end.”

W. T. Jones, the 20th century’s leading historian of philosophy, succinctly captured the essence of the decline, and of Christianity’s causal role in promoting it, when he stated: “Because of the indifference and downright hostility of the Christians . . . almost the whole body of ancient literature and learning was lost. . . . This destruction was so great and the rate of recovery was so slow that even by the ninth century Europe was still immeasurably behind the classical world in every department of life. . . . This, then, was truly a ‘dark’ age.”
He seems to be ignorant that we still spoke Greek in the Orthodox world, and read Aristotole and Plato, if that is so important.

But my ultimate point in mentioning the Dark Ages was to highlight the fact that religion doesn't automatically make people moral.
Reiterating your assertion doesn't highlight it as a fact.

And depends on what religion, and what you call morality.

It certainly didn't make Europe into a utopian society even when it was dominant.

And can you kindly point out for us where Christ in the Gospel promises a rose garden on this earth? Btw, you are aware that the great Christian martyr, Sir Thomas Moore, coined the term "utopia" from Greek for "no-place land," no?

There are also people who are moral without religion. So the argument that people need religion to BE moral is without merit.
Show us you make immoral people without religion be moral.

To reiterate the point of this thread, people can use reason to define and develop objective systems of morality.
Such can. The Bolsheviks and Nazis founded a whole society on doing so, following the firstborn of the enlightenment, the Jacobins.

We've already have actually done so to some degree throughout the ages and we continue to do so passively. But at this point in our history we should openly acknowledge that there are some things that are objectively, rationally, and scientifically, "right" and "wrong" without depending on theology.
And what would some of those things be?
Logged

Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth
TryingtoConvert
Elder
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Disbelief in your belief
Jurisdiction: All in your mind
Posts: 384



« Reply #23 on: December 22, 2010, 02:40:20 AM »

What I’m not buying is your attempt to re-frame or re-contextualize history to reinforce the validity of your belief system. Even with your analysis of that article it’s like you’re selectively taking the pieces that you want and disregarding the rest. It's NOT that everything you say is untrue; it’s just that when you make statements like Christianity "sustained" civilization or "pulled the West out" of the Dark Ages, it's as though you’re taking a piecemeal approach that doesn’t reflect the overarching historical reality. History is complex and there is often not one "right" view - perhaps I'm overly critical of the role of Christianity in history, but by the same token, you're overly lenient.

What you’re doing is like Confederacy defenders who claim that the Civil War was not about slavery. Certainly there were a multitude of reasons why various individuals fought in the Civil War and why the South seceded, but slavery is mentioned numerous times in the Articles of Confederacy AND in a speech given by the vice president of the Confederate States in which he repeatedly identified slavery as the cause for succession. That doesn’t negate the other reasons but it provides an overarching theme to the cause.

I’m not trying to confuse the issue, but I’m just saying that these are examples of the type of argument you’re making.

It actually CAN be argued that Christians DID “sustain” civilization during Medieval Times – but they did so in the same way as the Borg in Star Trek – “Assimilate or be destroyed.”

Christians did indeed promote art, culture and philosophy, and built numerous institutions during that time period – but they did so, in large part, for the same reasons that Nazis promoted art, culture and philosophy, and built institutions – in order to indoctrinate the masses with their ideology.

The bottom line is, “Christian” rule during the Middle Ages was FAR from purely benevolent. Spreading "Christian-dome" during that time period was synonymous with rulers spreading their empires. I didn’t live during that time period, so I can’t really say for sure what happened, but we do know that near the end of that era Martin Luther was so disgusted with the Church that he started a movement to rebel against it. To the best of my knowledge, he wasn't an atheist and wasn't just some jerk making trouble, so what does that say about the state of the Church (the guiding force behind Christianity) at that period in history? You CAN argue that all of the corruption and evil committed in those times was the result of corrupt and evil rulers, but then why try to defend that period as a highlight in Christian history?

Also, I was using "utopia" in the way it is commonly used in modern language to mean "an ideal community or society possessing a perfect socio-politico-legal system". Jesus didn't promise such a society, but YOUR assertion seems to be that people are savage, immoral beings without religion (Christianity), therefore it follows to reason that they should be civilized and  benevolent moral beings WITH religion (again, read "Christianity"). Which is why I brought up the Middle Ages in the first place. Christianity was the dominate religion at the time in Europe, yet it wasn't the height of moral behavior in human history. If there is no connection between the practice (or at least the pretense) of Christianity (or religion in general), then how can the argument be made for its necessity for "moral" behavior?

And it's pretty easy to identify the flaws in reason by any group that uses violence to enact social change - especially by groups such as the Nazis who's entire premise of the differences between the races, the causes for the ills in German society and the "solutions" to resolve those issues where all critically in error. When people make the claim that they use reason to justify their actions, they should be challenged on it and if their actions are "unjust", "immoral", or "unethical", then the flaws in their logic will bear that out. We shouldn't simply accept that because people claim to use logic or reason to justify evil ends that their reasons are valid - anymore than when people claim to use religion to justify evil. The difference is when people try to use reason, then they can be argued with. However, when people use religion...well, you can't really argue with someone who's motivation is that "God" told them to do it.

I think it could easily be demonstrated that society as a whole is far less Christian or even religious in general than in those times, yet we are also more moral - well, at least, we're not burning "heretics" anymore or enslaving people who owe large debts or making war in the name of religion (for the most part), or castrating young boys so that they stay sopranos for the rest of their lives, etc. Does the LACK of Christianity MAKE people moral? Of course not. But as a famous physicist once said, "With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil — that takes religion."
Logged
Tags:
Pages: 1   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.18 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.125 seconds with 51 queries.