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  #21  
Old 9th May 2012, 11:51 AM
the_gelf the_gelf is offline
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Default Re: christianity: a civilising effect through the ages?

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Originally Posted by oberg View Post
I wouldn't be terribly proud of some of the less successful civilisations, such as the Mayans or the Polynesians (Rapa Nui, Aotearoa - both reverted to cannibalism). However, that is all really beside the point. As I said in the previous post, I never claimed that it was the only civilising factor. I just claimed that its effect overall was a civilising one.
I would say that religion has had a far less civilizing effect than democracy and liberty.

By all means use the term "mysticism" when referring to precepts that have been used as steppping stones to found civilization.

Last edited by the_gelf; 9th May 2012 at 11:55 AM.
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  #22  
Old 9th May 2012, 07:23 PM
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Default Re: christianity: a civilising effect through the ages?

To say that christianity has a civilizing effect is a positive statement. It requires, for support, an indication of influences specifically produced by adherence to the religion that actually moved society toward greater levels of civilisation.

To say that it was merely present does not support the claim, although it also does not refute it.

Christianity was certainly on the rise as Roman civilization was collapsing. There is a temptation to see one as a cause of the other, but is there evidence? This could be an example of christianity being antithetical to high civilization, I'll have to do some research.

During the European dark age what role did christianity play toward civilization? Does tighter tribalism count? Certainly the supression of learning and experimentation and the creation of thought crimes was strongly destructive of attempts to climb out of the collapse of civilization.

Maybe later, something to do with the Enlightenment? Nope, the religious were oppressive and destructive and resisted the nascent enlightenment through murder.

Anti slavery perhaps? Wilberforce was a christian. Except his opponents were also christians. So it can't have been christianity per se that was the civilizing force here. More likely it was humanism.

I don't know. What about modern times? Christianity has been strongly anti science, anti human rights for the last couple of centuries. Nope, don't see any civilizing factor from christianity anywhere.
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  #23  
Old 10th May 2012, 04:41 AM
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Goldenmane Goldenmane is offline
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Default Re: christianity: a civilising effect through the ages?

Which Christianity?

The Christianity espoused by, say, Constantine was a dramatically different beastie to that espoused by, say, Pope Benedict V, Martin Luthor, Martin Luthor King Jr, and so on through an endless list.

I don't really think Christianity could be legitimately depicted as having a civilising effect on society, since Christianity itself doesn't make any civilising suggestions - certainly none that haven't been made from different, unrelated positions.

After all, what is Christianity? In a nutshell, it is the notion of human unworthiness imposed by an omnipotent overlord with a penchant for torture. Any notions of living your life not being a fuckstick toward others are simply tacked on, and accepted or not depending on how any given Christian manages to interpret it. Some Christians would say, for example, that their God says Gays Shouldn't Marry!, and yet other Christians call shenanigans on it, saying their God is love... and so it goes.

It's not about Christianity, which after all is just any given believer's take on ancient mythology. The civilising effect comes from ideas like... "Hey, how neat would it be if we acted all civilised and shit?"

Yeah. I'm arguing that stoners have had more of a civilising effect than Christianity.
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  #24  
Old 10th May 2012, 07:59 AM
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Default Re: christianity: a civilising effect through the ages?

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Originally Posted by DanDare View Post
To say that christianity has a civilizing effect is a positive statement. It requires, for support, an indication of influences specifically produced by adherence to the religion that actually moved society toward greater levels of civilisation.

To say that it was merely present does not support the claim, although it also does not refute it.

Christianity was certainly on the rise as Roman civilization was collapsing. There is a temptation to see one as a cause of the other, but is there evidence? This could be an example of christianity being antithetical to high civilization, I'll have to do some research.

During the European dark age what role did christianity play toward civilization? Does tighter tribalism count? Certainly the supression of learning and experimentation and the creation of thought crimes was strongly destructive of attempts to climb out of the collapse of civilization.

Maybe later, something to do with the Enlightenment? Nope, the religious were oppressive and destructive and resisted the nascent enlightenment through murder.

Anti slavery perhaps? Wilberforce was a christian. Except his opponents were also christians. So it can't have been christianity per se that was the civilizing force here. More likely it was humanism.

I don't know. What about modern times? Christianity has been strongly anti science, anti human rights for the last couple of centuries. Nope, don't see any civilizing factor from christianity anywhere.
I need to find an academic, historical account. But I think that we no longer need religion. Everything is explained by science and philosophy.

While I do not withdraw my original comment that I think christianity has had a net positive effect on civilisation, I am not prepared to continue to defend it, as I need to read more on the matter.

It may be an unanswerable question. Many counter-factual or alternative history questions are. Certainly we should honestly look at what has been good and what has been bad. I have seen that there is a lot of resistance to claims that any good done by christianity should be attributed to christianity because the good done is the same as the good done by secular humans.
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  #25  
Old 10th May 2012, 08:09 AM
oberg oberg is offline
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Default Re: christianity: a civilising effect through the ages?

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Which Christianity?

The Christianity espoused by, say, Constantine was a dramatically different beastie to that espoused by, say, Pope Benedict V, Martin Luthor, Martin Luthor King Jr, and so on through an endless list.

I don't really think Christianity could be legitimately depicted as having a civilising effect on society, since Christianity itself doesn't make any civilising suggestions - certainly none that haven't been made from different, unrelated positions.
Isn't the argument that Christianity does no more good than a good secular humanist organisation? I tend to agree with that. That doesn't mean we should deny the good in christianity. Nor should we deny the bad.

Today we don't need christian organisations. But in the (ancient ... or hundreds of years back) past, there we no organised secular institutions. If there had been, we really could have a discussion about who was "gooder". Read my post above too.

Quote:
After all, what is Christianity? In a nutshell, it is the notion of human unworthiness imposed by an omnipotent overlord with a penchant for torture. Any notions of living your life not being a fuckstick toward others are simply tacked on, and accepted or not depending on how any given Christian manages to interpret it. Some Christians would say, for example, that their God says Gays Shouldn't Marry!, and yet other Christians call shenanigans on it, saying their God is love... and so it goes.

It's not about Christianity, which after all is just any given believer's take on ancient mythology. The civilising effect comes from ideas like... "Hey, how neat would it be if we acted all civilised and shit?"

Yeah. I'm arguing that stoners have had more of a civilising effect than Christianity.
Your view is right in our modern time. I agree. My comments have not been in the context of today.
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  #26  
Old 10th May 2012, 03:38 PM
stevebrooks stevebrooks is offline
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Default Re: christianity: a civilising effect through the ages?

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. But in the (ancient ... or hundreds of years back) past, there we no organised secular institutions. If there had been, we really could have a discussion about who was "gooder". Read my post above too.
Yes but isn't that because the good christians came along and stomped them all into the ground and beat up all the heathens until those remaining swore that they also believed in god on pain of death?

Argueing alternate history is pointless I agree, we need to look at actual history and the burden under which any secular organisation would labour to bring forth any goodness and simply say, until recently modern days the christians destroyed any alternatives that dared raise a head. That in itself is bad things, we simply had no chance to see if that secular alternative was better, so we need to look at modern secular organisations as an example of what they may have been like.

The conclusion is that secular organisations and states are actually doing a far better job than religious organisations and states, and would have done so in the past had they been given a chance, and that as a result christianity was not a civilising force but a retardation on human social development.
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  #27  
Old 11th May 2012, 06:33 AM
oberg oberg is offline
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Default Re: christianity: a civilising effect through the ages?

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Yes but isn't that because the good christians came along and stomped them all into the ground and beat up all the heathens until those remaining swore that they also believed in god on pain of death?

Argueing alternate history is pointless I agree, we need to look at actual history and the burden under which any secular organisation would labour to bring forth any goodness and simply say, until recently modern days the christians destroyed any alternatives that dared raise a head. That in itself is bad things, we simply had no chance to see if that secular alternative was better, so we need to look at modern secular organisations as an example of what they may have been like.

The conclusion is that secular organisations and states are actually doing a far better job than religious organisations and states, and would have done so in the past had they been given a chance, and that as a result christianity was not a civilising force but a retardation on human social development.
You have made an excellent point. Religion did hinder the development of science, but when there was NO science there was only organised religion to explain things. My point is that there was no secularity, only mysticism, barbarism and the faint light of civilisation.

Organised christianity made a better fist of it, IMHO, than the mystical and primitive tribal cultures and we are making a better secular life without it. By recognising that christianity has had a positive impact, in my opinion, I am not suggesting that it it valid and useful in the future.

But I also don't think we should re-write history. I think, for me, this issue can be clarified by looking at historical accounts, written by peer-reviewed historians, and try and get some sort learned understanding of what was before christianity and what was during. I see us in a period of "after religion" now.
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  #28  
Old 11th May 2012, 09:09 AM
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bruce1937 bruce1937 is offline
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Default Re: christianity: a civilising effect through the ages?

What is Christianity other than a "mystical and primitive tribal culture"?
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  #29  
Old 11th May 2012, 11:00 AM
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Goldenmane Goldenmane is offline
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Thing to keep in mind when talking about Christianity retarding science is that it's a little more complicated than that.

It was the structure of the church which enabled the preservation of quite a lot of knowledge in Western Europe during what is commonly called the Dark Ages.

As I said, it's complicated.
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  #30  
Old 11th May 2012, 02:00 PM
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Default Re: christianity: a civilising effect through the ages?

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It was the structure of the church which enabled the preservation of quite a lot of knowledge in Western Europe during what is commonly called the Dark Ages.
It was the structure of the church that destroyed countless millions of books, plays, other priceless pieces of literature, paintings and sculptures.

It was the structure of the church that destroyed endless amounts of knowledge of science and medicine.

It was the structure of the church that placed endless books on The Index in an effort to prevent the dissemination of knowledge.

If the church preserved any knowledge at all, then it was kept by the church, for the church and out of the hands of those who may learn the real truth and not the truth as fabricated by the church.
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