Sunday, November 4, 2012

Constantine + 1700 and the Advent of Neo-Paganism



Western Pagandom is slowly swallowing Western Christendom

1700 Years ago, Roman Emperor Constantine embraced Christianity, ending Roman persecution of the followers of Jesus and setting the stage for the ascendancy of Western Christendom, which is now in its waning centuries.

Benjamin Wiker has written an interesting article, Constantine's Gift to Christianity. He banishes romantic notions of “pure” Christianity before The Way became The Church:
Christians were stripped and flogged with whips, put on the rack, scraped with iron combs used to card wool, and had salt and vinegar poured over their fresh wounds; they were slowly roasted to death over fires individually or thrown on great piles to be burned alive en masse (an entire town in Phrygia—men, women, and children—was set on fire by soldiers); they were strangled or run through with swords; they were tied hand and foot, put into boats, and once pushed out to sea, drowned; they were jailed, and then led into the arena to be torn to pieces by panthers, bears, boars, and bulls; they had their skin torn bit by bit with pottery shards, or they were decapitated; women were stripped and hung upside down for public humiliation, and sometimes believers were hung this way over a fire so as to be choked by the smoke; Christians had their limbs tied to trees that were bent down and then let snap, tearing their legs or arms from their bodies; sharp reeds were driven under fingernails, molten lead was poured down backs, genitals horribly mutilated, eyes gouged out and cauterized with a hot iron, and the list goes on. (Constantine's Gift to Christianity)
Christianity transformed the Roman Empire and shaped our Western Civilization
To take some poignant examples, the pagan Roman culture happily affirmed contraception, abortion, infanticide, suicide, homosexuality, homosexual marriage, euthanasia, pornography, prostitution, concubinage, divorce, pederasty, and the mass killing of human beings for entertainment in gladiatorial combat.
Life drastically improved for the followers of Christ once Christianity became the religion of the empire...
Once the emperors became Christian, both the Church and the Christian imperium engaged in the moral transformation of pagan society, and the Christian moral understanding was incorporated into law in the various imperial codes. And also, quite unlike Rome, both the Church and Christian state began to care for the poor and destitute, the widows and orphans. (Constantine's Gift to Christianity)
And we are all better off for it, but somewhere along the way we ceased forward progress. We are now slipping back into paganism, with Christianity moribund on the continent of Europe and no longer holding the sway it once did in the United States…
What we notice, in the list of evils smiled upon by pagan Rome and rejected by Christendom, is that so many of them have returned today. In many respects—with our contemporary affirmation of contraception, abortion, homosexuality, pornography, and so on—Christians find themselves in a society not very much different from the one in which, prior to Constantine’s conversion, Christians were so severely persecuted. (Constantine's Gift to Christianity)
I don't see Christian persecution in our future, just mocking ridicule, stigmatization and ostracizing of the dwindling band of the faithful.    

But the main thrust of the article is a treatment of the pros and cons of Church-State relations. Holy Empires and Official State Religions have proven detrimental to both Church and State, but having some state protection of all religions, as we have in the US, seems to be the sweet spot.  Will such constitutional protections endure?  I'm doubtful.

Constantine’s Gift to Christianity is a thought-provoking article and well worth the read.

62 comments:

conservativesonfire said...

There is much more to the story of Constatine and the compromises made by the early Christians in ordeer that the pagans of Rome would accept Christianity. But, the point that you and Wiker make is valid. The Christian norms of behavior; the morals and mores became the common cultural bonds of western civilizations. The destruction of Christianity and, thereby, or culture befan in the sixties with the hippies and the anti-war movement of free love and anything goes attitude. Whatever one thinks of Christianity as a relogion, the decay of its moral teaching is leaving the world worse off, in my opinion.

Mustang said...

It is an interesting subject. For me, the emergence of Christianity is less fascinating than its formation over the next several hundred years. There is so much room for critical analysis, and as I read about it, it seems apparent to me we’ve forgotten that religion, while spiritual, is also very political. Hence, the adoption of doctrine became a matter of will, power, influence, and intrigue. At loggerheads for many years was St. Augustine and Pelagius. Now it appears that Pelagius had it right all along. It is enough to keep thinking people busy for many years.

I always find you posts interesting, which is why I look forward to Western Hero as part of my daily read. Thanks again for your efforts on our behalf.

Shaw Kenawe said...


SF: "I don't see Christian persecution in our future, just mocking ridicule, stigmatization and ostracizing of the dwindling band of the faithful."

With 2.2 BILLION, approximately 2/3of the world's population, Christians worldwide, one has to question your use of the term "dwindling band of the faithful."

Christians outnumber Muslims, Secularists, and Hindus.

SF: "Will such constitutional protections endure? I'm doubtful."

Where is your evidence for these doubts? I have not seen any movement by the US government for closing down Christian churches, or for taxing them.


SF: "I don't see Christian persecution in our future, just mocking ridicule, stigmatization and ostracizing of the dwindling band of the faithful."

No, SF, that action is being taken against Muslims in this country, not Christians.

I seriously doubt you need to spend much time worrying about Christianity's "dwindling numbers."


BTW, you, or the author of the book you mention, left out the downside of what havoc and destruction a majority of religious people, driven by ignorance and hatred, can do to other populations not like them. The Dark Ages of Auto de fe, witch hunts, anti-Semitism, Church venality were ascendant when Christianity dominated western civilization. And I won't even mention Christian rationalization for slavery, anti-mecegenation, and anti-homosexuality here in this country.

That anti-Semitism, btw, helped Christian people in Europe to look the other way while Hitler sent Jews to their hideous deaths.

I think its naive to talk about Christianity and not understand it was also a force for evil.

In any event, this subject and speculation about persecutions and dwindling numbers appears to be nothing more than the usual feelings of victimization where none exists.

Silverfiddle said...

BTW, I knew this would spur at least one liberal defense of Islam.

BTW, the historical phenomena you mention are not exclusive to Christianity's march. Lands and cultures get taken over and subsumed by others throughout history and across the globe.

Your numbers are correct, and I am extrapolating based upon recent trends. It's a supposition, not a stated metaphysical fact, so get over yourself.

And while you're at it, where is all this Muslim persecution you speak of here in the US?

Muslims here are freer and more prosperous that almost anywhere else in the world. Certainly moreso than the vast majority of beshitted lands they come from.

Always On Watch said...

Simply put, today many who call themselves Christians have lost their salt and have embraced moral relativism. They don't know that they stand for!

Whatever happened to "Be ye in this world, but not of this world"?

Christians are supposed to be different. This difference, of course, doesn't give Christians permission to persecute others who don't hold the same views; nor should Christians become self-righteous. The latter is my biggest complaint about my fellow Believers.

Always On Watch said...

Many churches in Europe are seeing drastically dwindling congregations. At the same time, the mosques are packed, and some cathedrals of long standing are being sold to convert to mosques. Just sayin'.

Shaw Kenawe said...

SF: "BTW, I knew this would spur at least one liberal defense of Islam."


Oh stop. Observing that Muslims have experienced ridicule and stigmatization is not a "defense," it is a fact. I don't favor one religion over another, since I am a nontheist.

SF: "Your numbers are correct, and I am extrapolating based upon recent trends. It's a supposition, not a stated metaphysical fact, so get over yourself."

SF, you're so predictable. Whenever I present a fact to counter your supposition, you tell me to "get over myself." Cute.

BTW, have you seen any groups stopping the building of Christian churches lately?

HERE


HERE

Constitutional Insurgent said...

SF - "And while you're at it, where is all this Muslim persecution you speak of here in the US?"

There's no state sanctioned persecution, but there certainly are several instances of citizen protestation of Mosques and fear-mongering against Shari'a.

AOW - "Simply put, today many who call themselves Christians have lost their salt and have embraced moral relativism. They don't know that they stand for!"

This may be true, I'll not try and presume what internal struggles Christians are enduring...but one possible reason is that religion and liberty often come to loggerheads. As most tenets and dogma of religion are either presumed to be translated by man, or made by man from whole cloth....it is easy for me to see how philosophies and ideologies can be uncomfortably incompatible.

Silverfiddle said...

So all those Manhattanites who protested a mosque going up next to ground zero are "persecuting" muslims?

Somebody needs a dictionary. Perhaps reading up on the plight of Christians in Egypt or Pakistan could give you an idea of what persecution is.

Constitutional Insurgent said...

What would you call it if the same happened to a Christian church?

And persecution take many forms. Were the early non-violent pogroms against German Jews not persecution?

Note that this is no defense of Islam.

Silverfiddle said...

And Shaw, you get the Ms. Canardo award. What is is with progressives who can't stick to the topic at hand, instead preferring to sow controversy where there is none?

Anywhere someone is constructing something, there are leftists giddily eager to tear it down.

I plainly stated that I don't see any Christian persecution, but as a society we are trending away from Judeo-Christian values, and those values are routinely mocked in the popular media. Not complaining, just making an observation.

Also, since you brought up numbers, so look a the trend of self-identified Christians in the US and Europe. The percentage is trending downward.

Constitutional Insurgent said...

The answer to dwindling populations of the faithful, and a decline in Christian morals, always seems to be legislation of those morals.

Surely there's a better way to counter what you deem to be a problem?

Silverfiddle said...

You're threading a fine needle there, CI.

No, protesting a mosque is not persecution, and the history you cite does not apply.

Jews had already been persecuted for centuries in Europe, a precedent was set, so even non-violent actions would indeed count as persecution since there was a precedent that such actions were indeed a prelude to violence.

We have no such history of that against Muslim here in the US. Against Catholics and Mormons and Jews, yes, but not against Muslims.

Silverfiddle said...

And also, CI, I am not advocating a further legislation of Christian morals.

Looks like Shaw has inspired you down the Canard path as well...

Constitutional Insurgent said...

"Looks like Shaw has inspired you down the Canard path as well... "

How so? There is no shortage of advocacy groups and politicians who do or attempt to do exactly what I stated.

That is no canard. Had I stated that you specifically support such, then you would have a point.

Silverfiddle said...

The original post is about how Christianity influenced Western Civilization and the upside and downside of church-state partnerships.

The percentage of Christians are declining, and given our cavalier disregard for the constitution, I believe it is plausible that our religious liberties could one day be gone.

Constitutional Insurgent said...

To which, though I may have taken the scenic route, I ask....aside from the attempts to legislate those morals.....how would one go about restoring a percentage of practicing Christians......while still maintaining the equally important tenets of individual liberty and religious liberty?

Maintaining a state sanctioned preferential treatment of one at the expense of the other is an untenable solution in a free society.

Shaw Kenawe said...

SF, you misread my comment to you:

SF: "I don't see Christian persecution in our future, just mocking ridicule, stigmatization and ostracizing of the dwindling band of the faithful."

SK: "No, SF, that action is being taken against Muslims in this country, not Christians."

Obviously I should have qualified that answer to mean just "...mocking ridicule, stigmatization and ostracizing."

But you jumped on it for who knows what reasons. I didn't tear down anything in your post, just pointed out some facts, which apparently angered you.


SF: "we are trending away from Judeo-Christian values, and those values are routinely mocked in the popular media. Not complaining, just making an observation."

What examples can you give on the media routinely mocking Judeo-Christian values?

SF: "Also, since you brought up numbers, so look a the trend of self-identified Christians in the US and Europe. The percentage is trending downward."

Maybe one should look at what the reasons are that drive this downward turn in Europe. The Catholic Church used to be unassailable in Ireland. I read recently somewhere that Ireland is now one of the most non-religious countries in Europe--can't be sure of that, but Ireland certainly is no longer ruled by Catholic prelates.

PS. Constantine's Sword, by James Carroll is a good history of Christianity as well.

Silverfiddle said...

how would one go about restoring a percentage of practicing Christians

Certainly not by force of the state! You should know me well enough by now to know my answer on that one!

And I am not advocating preferential treatment for anyone or any group.

Christians, Muslims, atheists all have the same unalienable rights, and that includes residents protesting a mosque or a church or a Walmart going up in their neighborhood.

Silverfiddle said...

Shaw: Christian beliefs are routinely mocked in movies and tv shows, plus Christian values are just not promoted as they used to be.

I am not waving a finger at anyone here, and I am not suggesting government remedies, and if you notice, nowhere do I say Christians have not done the damage to their own cause.

Constitutional Insurgent said...

Sorry about that....I should have written with more clarity. I indeed know that you are of similar mind where it regards the influence and scope of the state.

My question was more generally directed, as some of your readers may not be quite of that mind, and I'm curious to read different interpretations of possible solutions.

Though I can';t say I'm terribly religious, I'm hopeful that something exists for the hereafter, and I believe religious liberty to be a fundamental component of individual liberty.

Do you think that the Church should [evolve] for lack of a better term?

There were many doctrinal councils that shaped and evolved the direction of Christianity from Constantine's time onward......do you believe that similar could be in order in this era?

BTW, I'm not versed enough to know if more recent Vatican edicts qualify in this regard or not.

beamish said...

As someone not in the habit of confusing and conflating Catholicism with Christianity, I must point out that the atrocities and human rights abuses of the Roman Empire's "church" continued well after Constantine.

They didn't remove violent, anti-Semitic language from their "catechism" until 22 years after the last Nazi German death camp was liberated, after all.

beamish said...

Didn't Christianity begin with Jesus, not Constantine?

beamish said...

Why did Constantine's empire continue to mint coins bearing the names and faces of pagan Roman gods some 20+ years after the "Council of Nicea?"

Why does Eusebius record that the first Christian emperor of Rome was Philip (ruled 244 - 249 AD)?

Why does history and archaeology so strikingly disagree with Catholic claims?

Silverfiddle said...

Frank J from IMAO has an excellent column in PJ Media today about why a president is not our leader:

Here are a few samples:

Of course, would Mitt Romney understand his job as president any better? He has his plan to fix America, and if 90% of the plan isn’t “stay out of everyone’s way,” he’s overthinking it.

And this is classic Frank J:

And we need to get out of the president’s head the silly notion that he’s our leader.

If America wanted a leader, we would have a special set of feats a person would have to accomplish in order to become that leader, like create a business, win a nacho-eating contest, and punch out a grizzly bear — things that display Americanness.


Silverfiddle said...

Beamish: We've been over this already.

Now go back to your Newt Gingrich blow-up doll...

Silverfiddle said...

CI: I don't know.

This post is a lament more than anything.

If you read any Blackstone or thinkers like them, they will tell you that proper law is not 'made,' is it discovered among the mores and societal norms of the people.

Christianity influenced lawmaking thusly for almost two millennia.

Thou Shalt Not Murder, was law centuries before the enlightenment thinkers proved it to be a self evident truth.

Despite Fabians and other leftists decrying Christianity's trampling of murderous pagan cultures and sighing for the freedom to throw virgins into volcanoes, Christianity and its practitioners have been on balance a force for good in the world.

Reverend Martin Luther King, God bless his soul, did not appeal to Marx and Lenin, he appealed to our consciences, laying bare the fact that we cannot call ourselves Christian while discriminating against our fellows.

Finntann said...

From the position of Advocatus Diaboli, one could argue that the Christian church was the entity that invented "victimhood".

From voluntary martyrdom to provoking not only the mobs but authorities to respond.

When approached by a group of Christians demanding to be executed, Arrius Antoninus is reported to have sent them away with the statement "if they wanted to kill themselves there was plenty of rope available or cliffs they could jump off".

One can argue that Nero was the first documented case of Christian persecution, but at the time of Nero, Christians in the eyes of the Roman Empire were still considered 'jews'. Christians were obliged to pay the 'jewish tax' up until the year 96.

The question remains... how much early Christian persecution was initiated by the authorities and how much was instigated by the Christians themselves?

It is also necessary to look at the entire situation from the perspective of defying imperial authority. In context, the early Christians were treated pretty much the same as anyone else who opposed the empire.

Just sayin...

beamish said...

Now go back to your Newt Gingrich blow-up doll...

I see the utter ass-whoopin' you took in that thread still haunts you.

Silverfiddle said...

Yeah, it haunts me so bad I posted the link so everybody could go read it for themselves.

Always On Watch said...

Constitutional Insurgent,
one possible reason is that religion and liberty often come to loggerheads

I don't quite follow what you mean. Maybe because my guidance has always been the following: I have enough trouble taking care of my own soul to but into the business of your soul.

That said, I don't see why those who have moral and religious objections to abortion should be forced to fund abortions.

As for liberty and Christianity, does not history show the development of the concept of individual liberties after the Protestant Reformation and the separation of government and established church? Of course, sequence doesn't necessarily mean that one caused the other. But did one facilitate the other?

I have a question for you: If one doesn't develop a moral ethos along the lines of faith, how should one then develop a moral ethos?

It is my view that the idea of if it feels good, it can't be wrong is a failed idea as far as having an orderly society is concerned.

Shaw Kenawe said...

SF: "Thou Shalt Not Murder, was law centuries before the enlightenment thinkers proved it to be a self evident truth."

Zoroastrianism prohibits murder, and that religion pre-dates Christianity.

Jainism also prohibits the taking of any life. That religion also pre-date Christianity.

There are probably other religions that prohibit taking another life, but those two came to mind first.

Constitutional Insurgent said...

AOW - Issues that are considered moral are not mutually exclusive from issues of liberty. I subscribe to the tenet that a citizen should be free to pursue life and liberty to the fullest extent where it does not harm another, steal from another, or restrict the rights of another. The left often skews this to the detriment of the tax payer, but the right often proclaims subscription to these tenets, but with limitations that only favor those who follow religious dogma.

Legislation can absolutely have a religiously inspired moral component.....but if it lacks any secular value...it has no business being codified in a free society.

You shouldn't have to pay for elective medical procedures....but you also shouldn't be able to deprive contract rights to committed partners based on gender [as an example].

The flip side I see coming from religious advocacy groups is more often than not, along the lines of "if it feels good, it IS wrong".

Jack Whyte said...

Forget for a moment the religious argument. Liberty demands of us responsibility; no responsible human being will demand the right to kill an unborn infant.

Silverfiddle said...

Shaw: I agree with you, and I never stated otherwise. Include Judaism in your list as well.

The article I cite is how Christianity supplanted paganism in the Roman Empire.

Always On Watch said...

CI,
Thanks for explaining more.

The word harm is nebulous, however.

For example, is it a good thing for the children of heterosexual couples to have so much exposure to the ideas of two daddies and two mommies?

In my view, an important core value is the concept of the nuclear family with a mother and a father.

As for contractual matters, I have no problem with same-sex rights. But adoption of children too? I don't think so.

The jury is still out as to how children come to terms with their sexual identity.

You know, when I was growing up, I didn't know a single-parent family except for the rare instances of widowhood. Cohabitation without benefit of marriage was a rarity. It seems to me that our society was, as a whole, mentally healthier then.

In my view, the West is having a serious crisis trying to determine what its core values are. How can a civilization or a culture be viable without defining and upholding core values?

FreeThinke said...

Silver, you're a wonder. If I were you, I'd clap all of them in irons, throw 'em in a dungeon, and let the rats get 'em. ;-)

But then, you love argument for argument' sake as much as anyone, don't you?

Me, I'm getting so old that eternal contentiousness bores and enervates me.

I know damned well after long and bitter experience that marshaling whatever forces I may possess to shed light -- as I understand it -- has yet to persuade a single soul to change his or her mind -- and only very rarely to acknowledge even the faint possibly there might be a scintilla of merit in anything I have to offer.

So, more and more I see my blog and the parts of myself I choose to display there as a kind of sculpture in a park -- something for imbeciles to spray with graffiti, drunks to piss on, lovers to ignore while they spawn illegitimate babies and pigeons to poop on in broad daylight.

After a while you case to care what anyone thinks, and be content just to stand there rooted to the spot as a handy target for abuse.

What else are we here for anyway?

Constitutional Insurgent said...

AOW - 'Harm' may be nebulous, but so is 'good'.

Your initial question can also be flipped....is it a 'bad' thing for the children of heterosexual couples to have so much exposure to the ideas of two daddies and two mommies?

If the parents in question are loving and protective, I say no. But the conundrum arises when we attempt to legislate on the grounds of 'I think' and 'I feel'.

History is replete with examples of societal norms that we now look upon with disgust or disdain. This isn't to say that every social shift is a net good...but history should require us to have reasoned and logical discourse over what we decide is to be banned, regulated or taxed.

Always On Watch said...

CI,
This isn't to say that every social shift is a net good

The verdict on a lot of relatively recent changes isn't in. We don't have the perspective of enough time.

Ah, well. Humanity is the grand experiment, isn't it?

Ducky's here said...

@Silverfiddle --- ... and that includes residents protesting a mosque or a church or a Walmart going up in their neighborhood.
------------
Yeah, churches are protested all the time and we know how much public opinion effects the spread of Walmarts.

Now in the matter of mosques, well when your a minority facing discrimination it goes a little beyond the mealy mouth high school civics crap.

"BTW, I knew this would spur at least one liberal defense of Islam."

But like any palooka it's east to get you to drop gloves.

Silverfiddle said...

Speaking of mealy-mouth... Your comment is irrelevant.

Persecution? give some examples.

Ducky's here said...

"with our contemporary affirmation of contraception, abortion, homosexuality, pornography, and so on—Christians find themselves in a society not very much different from the one in which, prior to Constantine’s conversion ... "

--------
To often the decline of religion is presented as a lament that it is no longer able to control human sexuality.
Of course the Catholic church has virtually abrogated its claim to being any kind of spiritual authority in the matter.

But it presses on with attempts to restrict contraceptive and attempts to dignify the homophobic neurosis. And you wonder why it's in decline and being ridiculed?

Historically the christian was both the oppressed and the oppressor. The conversion from paganism was quite brutal.
A few good films on the topic:
Bergman -- The Virgin Spring
Tarkovsky -- Andrei Rublev
Vláčil -- Marketa Lazarova

Vláčil's film is only available on a foreign DVD unfortunately but his research was extensive and the film is a real revelation. That church was very much part of that barbaric environment. The social gospel was hard won. Too bad we've tossed it.

Stogie said...

Shaw, your defense of objections to Islam and mosques is puzzling. You are aware, I presume, that Islam incorporates murder, anti-semitism and aggression within its holy texts? Killing infidels is a requirement for salvation in Islam. That's why there was 911, Madrid, Beslan, London, Mumbai and Fort Hood. That is why I oppose Islam in all its forms, because it is a lethal, totalitarian ideology. It isn't remotely comparable to Christianity or anything else. I will oppose all mosques and all Islamic immigration into this country for this reason, and no, I don't feel the least bit guilty or ashamed of it. Islam is evil. Period.

Silverfiddle said...

Yeah, too bad we dropped the pagan ritual of sacrificing virgins...

Shaw Kenawe said...

"Shaw, your defense of objections to Islam and mosques is puzzling." --Stogie

Then you apparently don't believe in the 1st Amendment? Just because some Muslims around the world are criminal, you would deny the American Muslims their first amendment rights?

Are you suggesting we single out American Muslims to be exempt from our First Amendment protections?

Sounds like Germany in 1930.






Shaw Kenawe said...

"Yeah, too bad we dropped the pagan ritual of sacrificing virgins..."


But isn't it great that Christians dropped having a hot poker shoved up non-Christians, erm, posteriors, because they refuse to convert?

Silverfiddle said...

Godwin's Law proves out again

And using it to defend The World's Greatest Joo Haters is especially rich.

Silverfiddle said...

Actually, Shaw, yes, yes it is great that they terminated that practice.

I find it amusing the lengths progressives go to in order to denigrate Western Civilization.

Ducky's here said...

@Stogie -- Killing infidels is a requirement for salvation in Islam.

------
Look, are you aware that you are one of those ignorant bigots whose knowledge of Islam and the Qur'an is taken from a few blogs and a Glenn Beck broadcast.

There are many good texts out there to study before you make yourself look like a jerkoff mouthing this simpleton to people who have gone to the trouble.

The thing is that you are so stupid you actually believe you are presenting something new to people. Dumbass.

KP said...

<< has yet to persuade a single soul to change his or her mind >>

When the goal is to change somebody's mind there is virtually no chance of success. Instead, try to learn something about another person's point of view. Once you have learned something you didn't know about the other person's position or belief system you have the opportunity to share your view. "Share" is the operative word; not "change" or "convince" or "force".

I have two adult daughters. When they were teenagers I focused on listening to them when we disagreed. I could have dictated the outcome of a confrontation by saying "it's my house and if you want to live here we are going to do it my way". But that makes the next confrontation or disagreement less likely to be settled with both of us as winners.

It's not all that different in politics. Our elected representatives don't seem to understand this most basic nuance of interpersonal relationships.

You cannot control someone else's mind so that they see things your way. Leaders don't make other people do things or see it their way. Leaders encourage people to follow them. People don't want to let a leader down.

Sculptures in a park have an important place; but who is going to teach others how to sculpt?

On the other hand, a little bird poo and/or urine never hurt anybody :-)

FreeThinke said...

Moral opacity abounds and astounds.
Apparently, it knows no bounds.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Sf: "I find it amusing the lengths progressives go to in order to denigrate Western Civilization."


Dear SF, I find it silly to say something like that in the face of historical fact. What is it about some folks who, when presented with historical events, decide that those who mention them are anti-western, or any, civilization.

Almost every great culture that has arisen on this insignificant little rock has brought about exceptional achievements in the advancement of civilization. But it has also participated in horrific degradations of human beings.

Exceptionalism cuts both ways.

Ducky's here said...

@KP --- When the goal is to change somebody's mind there is virtually no chance of success. Instead, try to learn something about another person's point of view.
-------------------------
Pretty solid.

How can people who believe in exceptionalism bring themselves to learn anything from the vulgarians?

Silverfiddle said...

Shaw: I think we have to examine it on balance, and also as compared to other civilizations.

China obviously has a much older culture, much great literature and wisdom has come from it, but they've had to steal technology from the west to advance, and then there's the whole communism killing over 80 million people thing...

So, on balance, I think Western Christendom had done pretty well.

KP said...

@Ducky << How can people who believe in exceptionalism bring themselves to learn anything from the vulgarians? >>

With greatness comes the responsibility to be humble.

Humility to such a degree that a man/woman or country understands there is often something to learn in the least likely places.

Without humility there is no exceptionalism.

beamish said...

Yeah, it haunts me so bad I posted the link so everybody could go read it for themselves.

Good. Saves me the trouble of reiterating some of the many differences between self-serving Catholic history and verifiable reality.

Ducky's here said...

And of course, Silverfiddle, we have to remember the church's role in scientific advances. Remember Copernicus and Galileo?
How about Giordano Bruno?

But of course the Middle Ages were chaste. Just read Chaucer or Rabelais or Boccaccio.

FreeThinke said...

At the rate we're going, if we keep working at it, pretty soon we'll all be able to despise each other.

Thrust. Parry. Parry Thrust.
Thrust. Parry. Parry Thrust.
Thrust. Parry. Parry Thrust.
Thrust. Parry. Parry Thrust.
Thrust. Parry. Parry Thrust.
Thrust. Parry. Parry Thrust.
Thrust. Parry. Parry Thrust.
Thrust. Parry. Parry Thrust. ad infinitum

Or at least till death from sheer exhaustion overtakes us.

In wars of attrition do people ATTRIT one another?

Silverfiddle said...

Ducky: Nowhere did I say it was all goodness and light, merely that Christianity was better than the paganism it supplanted.

Keep knocking down those strawmen!

LSP said...

Great post, Silverfiddle. Imagine if the Western Church were to really stand against the neo-pagans and their anti-virtues. I'd wager persecution wouldn't be so very far behind.

beamish said...

Nowhere did I say it was all goodness and light, merely that Christianity was better than the paganism it supplanted.

None of which the pagan / Catholic (forgive the redundancy) Constantine had anything to do with. Sure, he ended the legal ban on Christianity, but he did not make it the state religion. If the legends are true, he himself didn't become a "Christian" until he was on his death bed, and even then you have to contend with "heretical" Arianists like Eusebius dominating his court.

But, again,this is that eternal conflict between verifiable history and Catholic bullshittery.

Silverfiddle said...

For anyone even mildly interested in Reverend Beamish, Church of Fred Phelps, I refer you to the thread I linked to earlier, where facts and reason are presented that rebut his every cockamamie theory.

Please feel free to continue expounding upon your crackpot theories, Reverend Beamish, at your blog. Grownups are having serious discussion here.