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Thread: Christ is Risen!

  1. #121
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    Re: Christ is Risen!

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    Re: Christ is Risen!

    Quote Originally Posted by amherstblackbear View Post
    Serious question: is the argument here of the form:

    1. We like modern hospitals and universities.
    2. Modern hospitals and universities developed closely with religion.
    3. If not for religion, we would not have anything like modern hospitals and universities.
    4. People should celebrate religion, because it is only due to the positive impact of religion that we are learned enough to question it.

    It's tempting, but it's also the case that modern hospitals and universities were decisively influenced by, well, modernity.

    God help us all if universities had not been transformed from the model of a millennium ago.
    The problem is that the Greeks and pre-Christian Romans had universities as well, not to mention the Egyptians who even had specialized medical schools. As Foxton correctly points out, systems of formal education were merely co-opted by the church in the Dark and Medieval periods - they certainly did not originate from Christianity. It's ridiculous to imagine a bunch of Christian elders sitting around in 800 AD saying, "You know, there's never been ANY formal education of young people before, but the Bible clearly teaches us that there should be. What's that? Where? Hmmm - can't remember the passage, but it's in there somewhere, I'm sure. In any case, let's start one up from scratch." Nonsense.

    The scholars of the day worked within the confines of the Church because of the Church's monopolistic grip on political and economic power during those times. If there had been a competing religion of approximately equal influence, do you really think the scholars and artists and architects of the day would have refused commissions from them? Michelangelo could have just as easily been famous for his statue of The Buddha as for The David - but that's not the world he happened to grow up in.

    To suggest that there would be nothing like modern hospitals or universities if Christianity had not been the dominant religion in the middle ages is just plain silly.
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  3. #123

    Re: Christ is Risen!

    Quote Originally Posted by LynahFan View Post
    The problem is that the Greeks and pre-Christian Romans had universities as well, not to mention the Egyptians who even had specialized medical schools. As Foxton correctly points out, systems of formal education were merely co-opted by the church in the Dark and Medieval periods - they certainly did not originate from Christianity. It's ridiculous to imagine a bunch of Christian elders sitting around in 800 AD saying, "You know, there's never been ANY formal education of young people before, but the Bible clearly teaches us that there should be. What's that? Where? Hmmm - can't remember the passage, but it's in there somewhere, I'm sure. In any case, let's start one up from scratch." Nonsense.

    The scholars of the day worked within the confines of the Church because of the Church's monopolistic grip on political and economic power during those times. If there had been a competing religion of approximately equal influence, do you really think the scholars and artists and architects of the day would have refused commissions from them? Michelangelo could have just as easily been famous for his statue of The Buddha as for The David - but that's not the world he happened to grow up in.

    To suggest that there would be nothing like modern hospitals or universities if Christianity had not been the dominant religion in the middle ages is just plain silly.
    Ironically, the adoption of Christianity by the Romans is what doomed the first universities.

    As for hospitals and medicine, the Muslims get credit for that.

    Christianity doesn't have to resort to claiming inventions they had little to do with. It gave us more than enough wonderfully originally stuff:

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    Last edited by Kepler; 04-15-2012 at 10:59 AM.
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  4. #124
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    Quote Originally Posted by LynahFan View Post
    To suggest that there would be nothing like modern hospitals or universities if Christianity had not been the dominant religion in the middle ages is just plain silly.
    That's not what is being argued. It started with showing that Christians are often associated with compassion based partly on the association between Christians and hospitals. Universities got thrown in there too for some reason.

    I don't think anyone is claiming the Church started the original idea of universities and hospitals. Just that for a while, all three were very closely tied and many still are today.

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    Re: Christ is Risen!

    Quote Originally Posted by cF[Authentic] View Post
    That's not what is being argued. It started with showing that Christians are often associated with compassion based partly on the association between Christians and hospitals. Universities got thrown in there too for some reason.

    I don't think anyone is claiming the Church started the original idea of universities and hospitals. Just that for a while, all three were very closely tied and many still are today.
    In other words, Christianity dominated universities and hospitals because Christianity was dominant. I don't disagree at all.
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  6. #126
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kepler View Post

    Christianity doesn't have to resort to claiming inventions they had little to do with.
    At the risk of repeating myself:

    I don't think anyone is claiming the Church started the original idea of universities and hospitals. Just that for a while, all three were very closely tied and many still are today.

  7. #127
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    Re: Christ is Risen!

    Quote Originally Posted by cF[Authentic] View Post
    That's not what is being argued. It started with showing that Christians are often associated with compassion based partly on the association between Christians and hospitals. Universities got thrown in there too for some reason.

    I don't think anyone is claiming the Church started the original idea of universities and hospitals. Just that for a while, all three were very closely tied and many still are today.
    Good point. I wasn't intentionally ignoring the context as much as I was simply ignorant of it - not having read the entire thread.

    I was going to return and try to address the issue more head-on. You beat me to it.

    Anyway - there's a healthy amount of historical contingency in any major social institution, as Lynah notes.

    So what? So . . . it's still a mistake to attribute the contemporary virtues of hospitals and universities to the specific period in which Christianity dominated those institutions. The role that universities played in public life during that time was probably quite different. I mean, universities in the middle ages probably weren't all about individual empowerment and spreading economic opportunity. The same may be true of hospitals. In fact, much of what we actually like about those institutions in the 21st century may have come about precisely as a result of those institutions' liberation from religious control. In which case, it would be more than a little perverse to cite those institutions as evidence of Christianity's social benevolence.

    I'll leave it to a history major to fill in the details, or challenge the thesis.
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  8. #128
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    Quote Originally Posted by amherstblackbear View Post
    Good point. I wasn't intentionally ignoring the context as much as I was simply ignorant of it - not having read the entire thread.

    I was going to return and try to address the issue more head-on. You beat me to it.

    Anyway - there's a healthy amount of historical contingency in any major social institution, as Lynah notes.

    So what? So . . . it's still a mistake to attribute the contemporary virtues of hospitals and universities to the specific period in which Christianity dominated those institutions. The role that universities played in public life during that time was probably quite different. I mean, universities in the middle ages probably weren't all about individual empowerment and spreading economic opportunity. The same may be true of hospitals. In fact, much of what we actually like about those institutions in the 21st century may have come about precisely as a result of those institutions' liberation from religious control. In which case, it would be more than a little perverse to cite those institutions as evidence of Christianity's social benevolence.

    I'll leave it to a history major to fill in the details, or challenge the thesis.

    I think that is fairly accurate. Christianity's connection now is obviously quite different than it was in the middle ages. However, there are still Christian based medical and social welfare organizations that are at the top of their respected lists. That is what some here are claiming as evidence of Christianity's connection to compassion.

  9. #129
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    Re: Christ is Risen!

    I also think that id depended on which sect of Christianity you were with as far as the repression of new knowledge, etc in the middle ages. Some were ridiculously insular and there were some that made great strides in medicine, learning etc. I don' think it is much different now. We don't belong to a Catholic church but have many relatives that do. Their churches are night and day. Go to the shrine and there are women who still wear head coverings. Go a mile to the south and people are on the altar in flip flops. One church won't allow gluten free wafers because that isn't Church sanctioned- gluten intolerant~ too bad for you. (this one made the paper they were so intransigent) Others could care less and welcome the rice wafer.

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    Re: Christ is Risen!

    It appears to me that two different "groups" of posters here are each using the same word to mean very different things, and so to a certain extent the conversations are zooming past each other without residing in the same neighborhood.

    If you don't mind a stilted attempt at clarification: one "group" seems to be using the word "religion" to refer to "actions performed by representatives of institutionized religious structures" while another seems to be using the word to refer to "tenets for living a moral life according to certain scriptural teachings."

    The former, being human, is necessarily flawed and always open to criticism from one viewpoint or another. The latter, being aspirational, is a guide for self-betterment. To the extent that the latter succeeds in its aspirational function, society is better off for it; to the extent that the former has inflicted hurt, harm, and death upon others in its names is certainly grounds for chastisement.

    If a person says, "in my experience, I find..." it is inappropriate at best and rude at worst to respond "I don't believe you," for from what grounds might one question another's description of their private personal experience?*




    * absent that technical subset of situations in which the other is hallucinating or in a drug-induced haze, etc.
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    Re: Christ is Risen!

    Quote Originally Posted by LynahFan View Post
    The problem is that the Greeks and pre-Christian Romans had universities as well, not to mention the Egyptians who even had specialized medical schools. As Foxton correctly points out, systems of formal education were merely co-opted by the church in the Dark and Medieval periods - they certainly did not originate from Christianity. It's ridiculous to imagine a bunch of Christian elders sitting around in 800 AD saying, "You know, there's never been ANY formal education of young people before, but the Bible clearly teaches us that there should be. What's that? Where? Hmmm - can't remember the passage, but it's in there somewhere, I'm sure. In any case, let's start one up from scratch." Nonsense.

    The scholars of the day worked within the confines of the Church because of the Church's monopolistic grip on political and economic power during those times. If there had been a competing religion of approximately equal influence, do you really think the scholars and artists and architects of the day would have refused commissions from them? Michelangelo could have just as easily been famous for his statue of The Buddha as for The David - but that's not the world he happened to grow up in.

    To suggest that there would be nothing like modern hospitals or universities if Christianity had not been the dominant religion in the middle ages is just plain silly.
    Umm...its a bit odd seeing you spend so much time arguing an origination concept that you and Foxton began. But, you do appear to be missing the role Christianity did play...so to repeat:

    Universities: European higher education took place for hundreds of years in Christian cathedral schools or monastic schools (Scholae monasticae), in which monks and nuns taught classes; evidence of these immediate forerunners of the later university at many places dates back to the 6th century AD. The earliest universities were developed under the aegis of the Latin Church, usually from cathedral schools or by papal bull as studia generalia.

    Libraries and ancient knowledge that drives today's society: The contents of the great Greek works in Islamic libraries were copied by Christian monks in Muslim/Christian border areas, particularly Spain and Sicily. From there they eventually made their way into other parts of Christian Europe. These copies joined works that had been preserved directly by Christian monks from Greek and Roman originals, as well as copies Western Christian monks made of Byzantine works. The resulting conglomerate libraries are the basis of every modern library today.

    Oh...and all historical accounts I've seen are that the Christian monks that conducted this work were in fact Christian monks...and not non Christian artists that were forced to work in monasteries. If you have evidence to the contrary...you can provide.
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    Re: Christ is Risen!

    Quote Originally Posted by 5mn_Major View Post
    Umm...its a bit odd seeing you spend so much time arguing an origination concept that you and Foxton began. But, you do appear to be missing the role Christianity did play...so to repeat:

    Universities: European higher education took place for hundreds of years in Christian cathedral schools or monastic schools (Scholae monasticae), in which monks and nuns taught classes; evidence of these immediate forerunners of the later university at many places dates back to the 6th century AD. The earliest universities were developed under the aegis of the Latin Church, usually from cathedral schools or by papal bull as studia generalia.

    Libraries and ancient knowledge that drives today's society: The contents of the great Greek works in Islamic libraries were copied by Christian monks in Muslim/Christian border areas, particularly Spain and Sicily. From there they eventually made their way into other parts of Christian Europe. These copies joined works that had been preserved directly by Christian monks from Greek and Roman originals, as well as copies Western Christian monks made of Byzantine works. The resulting conglomerate libraries are the basis of every modern library today.

    Oh...and all historical accounts I've seen are that the Christian monks that conducted this work were in fact Christian monks...and not non Christian artists that were forced to work in monasteries. If you have evidence to the contrary...you can provide.
    I'm not missing the role that Christianity played - I've specifically stated that Christianity did dominate education, etc, just as you have recapped here.

    The point (which *you're* missing) is that we don't know what would have happened if Christianity had not been the dominant religion. What if the Muslims had launched a counter-Crusade and conquered Europe or if the Moors had spread beyond Portugal and Spain so that Islam had been the dominant European religion? Or what if religion had simply faded in importance relative to political power? My contention (won't speak for Foxton) is that people who were curious about the world and who appreciated history and art (i.e. scholars) and those who had compassion for the suffering of others (i.e. medical practitioners) would have *still* found outlets to express these characteristics. I don't see anything particularly unique about Christianity which made it, and it alone, uniquely suited to fostering universities, hospitals, and libraries. I believe these would have developed naturally under essentially any religion, or under none at all. In fact, it would be very easy to argue (and many have) that Christianity actually retarded the development of these institutions.

    If a parent malnourishes his child to the point that the child's growth is stunted, the parent technically still "raised" the child, right? Christianity may have incubated universities, libraries, and hospitals, but that doesn't mean they necessarily did a great job at it - the growth of these institutions was stunted until they got out from under the thumb (iron fist?) of Christianity and got back onto a proper diet of rationalism.
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  13. #133

    Re: Christ is Risen!

    Quote Originally Posted by huskyfan View Post
    anyone who looks at life with caring compassion love and gratitude is going to be happier. duh.

    I'm curious. for those who revile the Christian faith. how do you feel about other faiths? Jews? Muslims? Hindus? Buddhists?

    if the Christian theology is a little hard to follow (and it sure can be), perhaps a faith like Buddhism can be easier. and it teaches all the good stuff - love, self sacrifice, compassion, community, appreciation of nature, without having to directly "worship" a "God".
    Buddhism aint easier. It's a bureaucratic dream -- it seems like a religion created by undersecretaries of urban planning.

    Shinto Animism looks pretty simple -- find a tree, put a school girl uniform on it, and sing it a song.

    Have you ever actually met someone who "reviles" the Christian faith? I haven't, though I have met a lot of people who eventually lose patience with its insistence that it's the Only Way and all the other suckas are going to burn in the lake of fire.
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    Re: Christ is Risen!

    Quote Originally Posted by LynahFan View Post
    The point (which *you're* missing) is that we don't know what would have happened if Christianity had not been the dominant religion. What if the Muslims had launched a counter-Crusade and conquered Europe or if the Moors had spread beyond Portugal and Spain so that Islam had been the dominant European religion? Or what if religion had simply faded in importance relative to political power?
    I haven't missed anything...the shift to this tangent is happening faster than the San Andreas fault...but ok.

    I have already alluded to the fact that Islam had some of the same positive roles as Christianity. Which is not a big surprise as its another religion.

    There was plenty of political power. There were barons or strong men all over Europe. If anyone else would have done it, why didn't these barons lead or at least play a major role in all this enlightenment?

    In the end, it was Christians who did the work with Christianity driving the outcome. You might want to give little credit here...but its what actually happened.
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  15. #135

    Re: Christ is Risen!

    Quote Originally Posted by 5mn_Major View Post
    There was plenty of political power. There were barons or strong men all over Europe. If anyone else would have done it, why didn't these barons lead or at least play a major role in all this enlightenment?

    In the end, it was Christians who did the work with Christianity driving the outcome. You might want to give little credit here...but its what actually happened.
    The question is whether there was anything inherent in Christianity that drove the development of the West. The answer has to be yes, because religion is such an important part of cultural history (so important that Toynbee even gave it pride of place and said the history of civilizations is really the playing out of religions).

    One consensus from the Whig theory of history was that western Christianity helped set up the tug of war between church and state that allowed enough breathing room for the individual to escape capture by either. That's a "point" for the Catholic-Protestant wing of the religion, though not for Christianity as a whole -- compare Orthodox Christianity when the church and state were unified, the culture took a different path, and the political environment was more authoritarian.

    Personally I think the development of personal freedom in the West was mostly the work of Doubters -- either religious non-conformists or atheists -- and the reason Doubters won in the West was that we could push back against the theocratic impulses of religious institutions without necessarily threatening the state. Muslims could do that for a while, too, so they had their Golden Age. When their fundamentalist backlash came it sucked all the air out of the culture and asphyxiated it, leaving a dead husk. That's why it's vital that while we let our fundies do whatever they want in their own homes we must fight them to a standstill in the public square. When they win a world, that world dies.
    Last edited by Kepler; 04-16-2012 at 09:28 AM.
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  16. #136
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    Re: Christ is Risen!

    Foxton reviles all religion not just Christianity.

    Most of us "Non-Believers" don't much care as long as you keep your religion away from us. Problem is that doesnt happen often enough. I am happy you have your beliefs and that they help you live the life you want to lead but the second you preach to me or act even the slightest bit in judgement of me (which happens more often than you would think even with just the "semi-faithful") then guess what I am going to retort. This goes for any religion, including the faith I was raised Judaism. (and vice versa...I dont preach non-belief to people and scoff at the people who do) No matter what you think, you are not better than me and especially not because you memorized some passage from a book.

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    Re: Christ is Risen!

    yes, I've met people who actually "revile" Christianity. Foxton for one. my son-in-law for another. my son-in-law actually "believes" that atheists are the one true proven belief. its not religion, its science! yeah right.
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    Re: Christ is Risen!

    Quote Originally Posted by 5mn_Major View Post
    There was plenty of political power. There were barons or strong men all over Europe. If anyone else would have done it, why didn't these barons lead or at least play a major role in all this enlightenment?

    In the end, it was Christians who did the work with Christianity driving the outcome. You might want to give little credit here...but its what actually happened.
    Now I've heard everything - Christianity drove the enlightenment. Black is white. Up is down.

    Unless, by some chance that you mean that the church tried to "drive" all the enlightened individuals out of society and thereby accidentally fanned the flames brighter than they otherwise would have been. Any relationship the church had with enlightenment was strictly a case of keeping their enemies closer.
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  19. #139

    Re: Christ is Risen!

    Quote Originally Posted by Handyman View Post
    Most of us "Non-Believers" don't much care as long as you keep your religion away from us. Problem is that doesnt happen often enough. I am happy you have your beliefs and that they help you live the life you want to lead but the second you preach to me or act even the slightest bit in judgement of me (which happens more often than you would think even with just the "semi-faithful") then guess what I am going to retort.
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    Re: Christ is Risen!

    Quote Originally Posted by LynahFan View Post
    Any relationship the church had with enlightenment was strictly a case of keeping their enemies closer.
    I'd say it's more like the relation between car companies and consumer safety advocates. The institution tries everything it can to deny, defame, and delay. Once the writing is on the wall they run ads about how they were air bag pioneers.

    In this we should distinguish the bureaucratic and institutional (and coercive) mechanisms of religion from the religious faith itself. Churches may just be amoral tools to magnify the power of the individuals who control them, like governments or corporations. Their hierarchies may even be witting manipulators (show me a pope, president, or CEO, and before anything else I'll show you Tyrion Lannister). And true enough the broad mass of the congregation (or citizenry, or shareholders) are just trying to stay afloat in the world they happen to have been born into. BUT they also can't be divorced from their biographical context. We try to make, say, Roger Bacon into some sort of avant-garde secular humanist, but that's silly. We can't cut out the parts we don't like and say "well, those parts are environment, but within his breast there beat the heart of a 13th century Voltaire." Nonsense.
    Last edited by Kepler; 04-16-2012 at 12:21 PM.
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