Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Must the Sun Set on the West?

We’re often times told in our educational system that with the fall of the Roman Empire Western civilization devolved into the darkest of all ages. In fact, various versions of Webster’s Dictionary describe the millennium that ensued as a time of intellectual stagnation and widespread ignorance.[1]

Some say that the superlative rationality of Classical Greek thinkers was snuffed out by superstitious irrationality of Medieval Christian churchmen. In fact, if you look at Edward Gibbon, as a historian he elucidates the tragedy with supposed eloquence and eradiation in a massive six volume series The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. In his work, he points out that Christianity was not only the cause of the decay of the Empire, but it was primary cause of the Dark Ages that ensued.

Many of you may have heard this in academic settings that Rome was forged on the anvil of Classical Greek thought, then you have the fall of Rome, then the Dark Ages and it isn’t until the Italian Renaissance and the Enlightenment that finally we are in touch again with great Classical Greek thought. The shackles of Christian superstition are once again broken, and we see the light of human reason shining through. We’re finally free from the superstition of Christianity, but what a guest of mine recently told us in real eloquence and eradiation is that this is a myth.

My guest Dr. Vishal Mangalwadi argues that Western Civilization was built on the back of Western Christianity, which was built on the DNA of the Bible. This great resource entitled Must the Sun Set on the West? is available at our Website of www.equip.org or by calling us at 1-888-700-0274. Also look for my interviews with Dr. Mangalwadi at our Website on July 28th and July 29th, 2009.


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[1] As noted in Rodney Stark’s book, For the Glory of God: How Monotheism Led to Reformations, Science, Witch Hunts and the End of Slavery (Princeton University Press; illustrated edition 2003), 129.

13 comments:

Boris said...

My guest Dr. Vishal Mangalwadi argues that Western Civilization was built on the back of Western Christianity, which was built on the DNA of the Bible.

Boris says: What a crock. Hanegraaf's religion has fought against every scientific advance and theory ever made since the Bible was forged and voted on. Hank had ID magic hoaxer Stephen Meyer on the other day and these two idiots were bashing science in keeping with the 2000 year long Christian tradition of science hating and fearing. When are thses creation "scientists" and ID magicians going to actually produce some results with all their hocus-pocus? Science isn't done by writing books. It's done by actually making the world a better place with some kind of viable advance. When are the ID hoaxers going to come up with a new and better anti-biotic, new medicine, better food crops or better poisons to protect those food crops from insects? It seems a might strange that evolutionary biologists keep coming up with advances that improve our lives since they are supposedly working with bogus information. According to Hanegraaf they are knowingly working with bad information too. Yet the people who supposedly have the right information and knowledge cannot produce anything but literature. Literature I might add that has all been soundly refuted by real scientists. But it didn't have to be. Creationism and Intelligent Design magic are religious weapons in the 2000 year long Christian war on science, scientists and scientific and social progress. Those weapons backfired too. ID magic was the last hope for Christian superstitions. When that was proved to be a hoax Christianity went down the drain with it.

Boris said...

Yeah Hank, the authors of the Bible and Yahweh knew all about DNA. You think DNA designs magical spirit bodies that fly of to a magical happy land and live forever and ever and ever.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

All absolutist positions on this are wrong. One thing I blame Greek philosophy for is grafting all kinds of superfluous, divisive and destructive doctrines onto the rather simple piety of original Christian teachings. However, Christianity, when it wasn't suppressing scientific advances, sometimes advanced them, just as Islam, when it wasn't fanatically suppressing reason, preserved and developed a great deal of science that we benefit from to this day. As to humans, all fall short of the glory of God. It may be true that the deal cut by Constantine helped to undermine the Roman Empire in the long run, but the empire would have collapsed under its own weight anyway. The deal certainly corrupted the Christian faith, making necessary the as yet incomplete Protestant Reformation. Don't look for perfect saints or perfect rationalists in this question: "All fall short of the glory of God," therefore none are perfect.

John Tucker said...

Boris, your pontifications have grown old and boring. Seriously. Go somewhere else. PLEASE.

Boris said...

Siarlys Jenkins I agree with most of what you said except the God stuff.

John Tucker if you could actually refute my post you would. I could go away the facts you've been exposed to in my posts will not.

The Pragmatic Soul said...

Boris and his darn pontifications... hilarious stuff. Western civilization was built on the back of biblical DNA, that's a joke right? One must never forget that when we look at current western civilizations (the United States) the plight was the escape of religious persecution. They were escaping from Christianity not running towards it. Of course they had some feeble concept of God, it had been burned into them. But I would really like someone to supply an affirmative argument for the religious piety of Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin. I despise that Christian Foundations banter one because the In God We Trust and the religious monuments in government weren't added until the mid 1900s and two, because religious persecution by Western Christianity led to the deaths of an entire nation of people and the burning of hundreds of "witches". If that's the legacy you want to believe in and follow then I pity you. And so the argument goes "they misused the scriptures and didn't understand the teachings" but they believed in it then just as you believe in it now, no justification or excuse required.

Boris said...

It is a fact that North America was settled by mostly Christians. “My ancestors were Puritans from England. They arrived here in 1648 in hopes of finding greater restrictions than were permissible under English law at the time” – Garrison Keillor, American humorist. Our nation and its laws were founded by mostly deists like Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin. Christian historical revisionists purposely blur the distinction between the settling of North America and the founding of the United States and falsely claim that the United States was founded as a Christian nation by Christians. The revisionists would like us to believe that the Creator mentioned in our Declaration of Independence is the Christian God but nothing could be further from the truth.

“The Christian god is a three-headed monster; cruel, vengeful and capricious… One only needs to look at the caliber of people who say they serve him. They are always of two classes: fools and hypocrites.” – Thomas Jefferson.

“Since it is impossible for me to have any positive, clear idea of that which is infinite and incomprehensible, I cannot conceive otherwise that that He… expects or requires no worship or praise from us.” – Benjamin Franklin

Siarlys Jenkins said...

Did the Pragmatic Soul compare Boris to the Pontiffs? I have always found militant atheists to have much in common with the Bishops of Rome: both offer the freedom to think "my way" rather than for each of us to use the minds God gave us. Yes, Boris and I differ on the God part. Boris blames God for the human institutions and egoistical humans who claim to speak in the name of God. As Mark Twain observed, if Jesus came back today, one thing he would not be is a Christian.

"The West" is not a great and unalloyed blessing, nor is Islam, nor Confucian China. The United States does not offer a history of unbroken virtue. That said, I am more happy than not that the American Revolution succeeded -- British Canada was not really much more kind to the original inhabitants, although happy to use them as pawns of war. Thomas Jefferson, craven coward though he was about slavery, did lay the foundations for Martin Luther King to pick up on 175 years later.

Garrison Keillor is correct about his Puritan ancestors, but the church they founded became today's Congregational Church, and they also spawned the Unitarians. I love the Reformation, but I am perfectly happy today in the company of Roman Catholics. Sure western civilization was built on the back of Christianity, and of Teutonic paganism, and borrowed a good deal from Islamic civilization, at its peak of intellectual prowess, but the values we hold now (which we can't generally agree on anyway) do not depend upon the vitality of any given church. Do they depend upon faith in God? Probably. Nobody has figured out a sound basis for mutual respect, rare as that can sometimes be even in the church, without some sense of divine origin and overview.

Boris said...

Yes, Boris and I differ on the God part. Boris blames God for the human institutions and egoistical humans who claim to speak in the name of God.

Boris says: There is no God to blame for anything. I blame humans for human institutions.

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