Christianity in Europe.

Sep 2018
3
UK
#1
As a non believer i would be interested to know your opinions regarding Christianity and if it 'civilised' Europe or would we have been better off without it? Maybe we would still be carrying out human and animal ritual sacrifices today and worshipping our Pagan Gods if it wasn't for the introduction of Christianity.
 

Rodger

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
5,843
US
#3
People can be uncivil, by their nature. Christianity, in its ideal form, curbs the incivility and carries a positive message. In practice, we know all too well that people don't live up to its ideals, even those who claim to follow Christianity, as the bar for following is very high.
 
Nov 2016
686
Germany
#4
People can be uncivil, by their nature. Christianity, in its ideal form, curbs the incivility and carries a positive message. In practice, we know all too well that people don't live up to its ideals, even those who claim to follow Christianity, as the bar for following is very high.
Your opinion about the moral value of Christianity refers to the Christianity "light" that had taken shape only after the European Enlightenment, which pushed back the until then highly repressive and, according to our human rights standards, highly amoral ideology and practices of the church and of clerical institutions. Therefore I think you are seeing the moral of Christianity just through rose-tinted spectacles.

See for example what happened in Greece when Christianity was step by step becoming the Roman state religion:

The Christianization of Greece was pushed through against the resistance of the polytheistic population with extreme brutality. I list the most important stations in the 4th century CE:

324
Emperor Constantine closes the Apollonian oracle at Didyma and has its priests tortured to death. The Greek temples on Mount Athos are destroyed.

326
He has numerous other Hellenic temples destroyed.

335
He has all Hellenic oracle priests crucified.

341
Emperor Flavius Julius Constantius does the same.

353
Constantius punishes all non-Christian cult practices with death.

354
He has all non-Christian temples closed or converted into brothels.

359
In Syria, death camps (torture and execution) are set up for arrested non-Christians.

361-363
Emperor Flavius Claudius Iulianus temporarily reintroduces non-Christian cults until his assassination in 363.

370
Emperor Valens brutally persecutes and kills non-Christians in the eastern half of the empire. Thousands of non-Christian books are publicly burned.

372
Emperor Valens orders that all non-Christians in Asia Minor and their books be eliminated.

Morever, see what barbaric things, initialized by popes and carried out by Christian soldiers, happened in the course of the medieval crusades. See what even crueler things happened to hundreds of thousands of women in the course of the ´witch´ huntings in the Middle Age and Early Modern Age. See what extrem sadistic pains were caused by the Inquisition to such victims and to others who were accused of heresy (e.g, Freemasons). See what cruel things, including hard slavery, happened to indigenous people in the course of the colonization of America by Christian Spains and Portugueses. And so on, and so on.

As to Christian ideology, things aren´t better. The Jesus figure in the gospels threatens his opponents more than 30 times with the pains of hell, what laid the foundation for the sadistic ideology of the Inquisition. Another basis for this were Augustine´s views.

Difference between the ethics of polytheism and monotheism:

Monotheism claims responsibility for the whole world; it has no intention of tolerating foreign cults even in the slightest. The Romans, on the other hand, limited their claim to worship their own gods (and the emperor) to their dominion territory. No Roman would have come up with the idea of conquering foreign territories for the sole reason of forcing Roman gods upon them. Exactly this however - to want to convert foreign populations to one's own faith - is a basic motive of monotheistic thinking, which logically results from the principle of the omnipotence of the Only God over the world.

In Islamic thought, for example, there is the concept of "Dar-al Harb", i.e. the world of unbelievers who must be converted to true faith through jihad. One of the first advocates of the Christian doctrine of spreading Christianity all over the world was Eusebius of Caesarea, who advised Emperor Constantine on matters of religious policy. As to Judaism, when the Jewish Hasmoneans (Maccabees) came to power in Palestine from 167 BC for about 100 years, they brutally forced the surrounding tribes to accept the Jewish faith.

This is the decisive difference to Roman (and generally polytheistic) thinking: the Romans had demanded the worship of the Roman gods from the conquered tribes, but had allowed them to continue their cults. Mithraism, by the way, was a tolerant religion, too.

So in the pre-Christian Roman Empire there was a ´contract´ between state and foreign cults in such a way that these cults were allowed to be practised under the condition that on certain occasions formal sacrifices were made to the Roman gods and the emperor. Such rituals were, by the way, a purely external matter, nobody asked for the inner conviction. What counted - also for the ´gods´- was only the formal act. The deal was advantageous for all foreign, but non-monotheistic cults, since they could enjoy the cultural advantages of the Roman Empire without losing their own ritual substance.
 
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Bart Dale

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
7,095
#5
As a non believer i would be interested to know your opinions regarding Christianity and if it 'civilised' Europe or would we have been better off without it? Maybe we would still be carrying out human and animal ritual sacrifices today and worshipping our Pagan Gods if it wasn't for the introduction of Christianity.
Christianity did spread the heritage of Greco-Roman civization to areas in Europe that had bee outside it sphere, to Scandinavia, Ireland, Scotland, Germany outside the Roman empire, and Eastern Europe. It brought literacy to areas that were mostly without it.

It also forged a sense.of.common identity, of all the peoples of Europe having an European identity that wouldn't have happened without Christianity. The heliocentric theory was created by a Pole, promoted by an Italian, and used by a German to derive the orbits of the planets. The common intellectual community of Europe would not have existed without Christianity, and the modern world as we know it would not have existed. It was the Christian Church that created and built the first modern universities, and it it's use of Latin made that language of science and scholarship. Lineaus, creator of the modern scientific.naming of living things using Latin, was Swedish, a country the Romans never ruled.

Without Christianity, Europe would never have become the most advanced.civilization of the world. International.accords.like the Geneva conventions that tried to limit the horrors of war would not have existed, nor would international aid organizations like the Red Cross. And while the people.of Scandinavia did not become entirely peaceful upon conversion, they did become less destructive than their Viking forefathers.
 

Corvidius

Ad Honorem
Jul 2017
2,592
Crows nest
#6
and worshipping our Pagan Gods if it wasn't for the introduction of Christianity.
There is an assumption, primarily based on 2000 years of propaganda and enforcement, that the Abrahamic god is God, when it is just a god, one of many invented by us over countless millenia. This assumption can also cloud atheists, for instance in the phrase "I don't believe in God", singular and capitalized, thus giving a sort of priority to the Abrahamic god. As gods and religion are man made, then, to me, it is not the religions per se that give the "good things", but our own advancement as humans. I think it wrong to say that, for instance, universities are the direct result of Christianity, as they are the result of a general move forward that I think would have occurred despite Christianity. On the other hand and to be balanced, I do not ascribe Greek philosophy to their "paganess" but to their humanity, likewise the ancient Egyptians who, in pharaonic times, were leaders in medicine and prosthetics, not because of their gods, but because of their human ingenuity.

IMO, there always was, and still is, far too much, "I did this for god" or "I do this because god will approve", and the name Jesus can be used as well as god. They do things because they want to and can, including inventing new gods and new religions, which then wrongly get the credit, or condemnation, for "good" or "bad things".
 

Rodger

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
5,843
US
#7
Your opinion about the moral value of Christianity refers to the Christianity "light" that had taken shape only after the European Enlightenment, which pushed back the until then highly repressive and, according to our human rights standards, highly amoral ideology and practices of the church and of clerical institutions. Therefore I think you are seeing the moral of Christianity just through rose-tinted spectacles.

See for example what happened in Greece when Christianity was step by step becoming the Roman state religion:

The Christianization of Greece was pushed through against the resistance of the polytheistic population with extreme brutality. I list the most important stations in the 4th century CE:

324
Emperor Constantine closes the Apollonian oracle at Didyma and has its priests tortured to death. The Greek temples on Mount Athos are destroyed.

326
He has numerous other Hellenic temples destroyed.

335
He has all Hellenic oracle priests crucified.

341
Emperor Flavius Julius Constantius does the same.

353
Constantius punishes all non-Christian cult practices with death.

354
He has all non-Christian temples closed or converted into brothels.

359
In Syria, death camps (torture and execution) are set up for arrested non-Christians.

361-363
Emperor Flavius Claudius Iulianus temporarily reintroduces non-Christian cults until his assassination in 363.

370
Emperor Valens brutally persecutes and kills non-Christians in the eastern half of the empire. Thousands of non-Christian books are publicly burned.

372
Emperor Valens orders that all non-Christians in Asia Minor and their books be eliminated.

Morever, see what barbaric things, initialized by popes and carried out by Christian soldiers, happened in the course of the medieval crusades. See what even crueler things happened to hundreds of thousands of women in the course of the ´witch´ huntings in the Middle Age and Early Modern Age. See what extrem sadistic pains were caused by the Inquisition to such victims and to others who were accused of heresy (e.g, Freemasons). See what cruel things, including hard slavery, happened to indigenous people in the course of the colonization of America by Christian Spains and Portugueses. And so on, and so on.

As to Christian ideology, things aren´t better. The Jesus figure in the gospels threatens his opponents more than 30 times with the pains of hell, what laid the foundation for the sadistic ideology of the Inquisition. Another basis for this were Augustine´s views.

Difference between the ethics of polytheism and monotheism:

Monotheism claims responsibility for the whole world; it has no intention of tolerating foreign cults even in the slightest. The Romans, on the other hand, limited their claim to worship their own gods (and the emperor) to their dominion territory. No Roman would have come up with the idea of conquering foreign territories for the sole reason of forcing Roman gods upon them. Exactly this however - to want to convert foreign populations to one's own faith - is a basic motive of monotheistic thinking, which logically results from the principle of the omnipotence of the Only God over the world.

In Islamic thought, for example, there is the concept of "Dar-al Harb", i.e. the world of unbelievers who must be converted to true faith through jihad. One of the first advocates of the Christian doctrine of spreading Christianity all over the world was Eusebius of Caesarea, who advised Emperor Constantine on matters of religious policy. As to Judaism, when the Jewish Hasmoneans (Maccabees) came to power in Palestine from 167 BC for about 100 years, they brutally forced the surrounding tribes to accept the Jewish faith.

This is the decisive difference to Roman (and generally polytheistic) thinking: the Romans had demanded the worship of the Roman gods from the conquered tribes, but had allowed them to continue their cults. Mithraism, by the way, was a tolerant religion, too.

So in the pre-Christian Roman Empire there was a ´contract´ between state and foreign cults in such a way that these cults were allowed to be practised under the condition that on certain occasions formal sacrifices were made to the Roman gods and the emperor. Such rituals were, by the way, a purely external matter, nobody asked for the inner conviction. What counted - also for the ´gods´- was only the formal act. The deal was advantageous for all foreign, but non-monotheistic cults, since they could enjoy the cultural advantages of the Roman Empire without losing their own ritual substance.
The teachings of Jesus have nothing to do with the state forcing others to worship, which was primarily a POLITICAL move and really differed little from the days when the Empire persecuted most of those those who refused to worship the emperor. As for the cultic aspect, Christianity did permit many of those who converted (forced or not) to continue some of their cultic practices. This is seen in many of the Christian saints' days and other festivals and celebrations.
 
Aug 2012
803
Washington State, USA.
#8
The teachings of Jesus have nothing to do with the state forcing others to worship, which was primarily a POLITICAL move and really differed little from the days when the Empire persecuted most of those those who refused to worship the emperor. As for the cultic aspect, Christianity did permit many of those who converted (forced or not) to continue some of their cultic practices. This is seen in many of the Christian saints' days and other festivals and celebrations.
Yes, people have to consider how long several centuries are in changing the way people think. There was violence between Christians and Pagans almost constantly up to the time of Constantine when the Christians achieved a great deal of power. In the beginning, the Pagans were the clear opressors, but at some point the pagans became the underdog in all of Europe
I personally would mark this at the death of Attila the Hun. Even during the Viking era, pagans were a minority by then.
 

Bart Dale

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
7,095
#9
Your opinion about the moral value of Christianity refers to the Christianity "light" that had taken shape only after the European Enlightenment, which pushed back the until then highly repressive and, according to our human rights standards, highly amoral ideology and practices of the church and of clerical institutions. Therefore I think you are seeing the moral of Christianity just through rose-tinted spectacles.
In medieval times, religious orders often ran the hospitals/hospices, and religious orders were often dedicated fondling charitable works.

Both the Dominican and Franciscans were activiley involve in education.



See for example what happened in Greece when Christianity was step by step becoming the Roman state religion:

324
Emperor Constantine closes the Apollonian oracle at Didyma and has its priests tortured to death. The Greek temples on Mount Athos are destroyed.
Please provide contemporary evidence for those claims. According to what I read, it was closed by edict of Theodosius in 385 AD, and there were no torture of priest involved.


326
He has numerous other Hellenic temples destroyed.
Constantine did not ban pagan religions. While he did favor Christianity, other religions were not banned.

335
He has all Hellenic oracle priests crucified.

341
Emperor Flavius Julius Constantius does the same.

353
Constantius punishes all non-Christian cult practices with death.

354
He has all non-Christian temples closed or converted into brothels.

359
In Syria, death camps (torture and execution) are set up for arrested non-Christians. [/Quore]

Please provide contemporary sources to back up what you claim. There is no legitimate source that talks about crucifying pagan priest as you assert.

361-363
Emperor Flavius Claudius Iulianus temporarily reintroduces non-Christian cults until his assassination in 363.
Libanius' claim that Julian was assassinated is not supported by other contemporary historians, whonsaid Julian died from sounds received in combat against the Persians. Since Libanius' was likely a pedophile as many of the ancient Greeks were, he no doubt had resentment against the Christians for banning his pedophile activities.

370
Emperor Valens brutally persecutes and kills non-Christians in the eastern half of the empire. Thousands of non-Christian books are publicly burned.
Please provide the ancient contemporary source for those claims. I find no support in actual ancient contemporary text for your claims.

Ancient emperor's were always killing people. It is estimated that Caesar killed up to 1 million non Christians in his conquest of Gaul.

372
Emperor Valens orders that all non-Christians in Asia Minor and their books be eliminated.
Please provide contemporary sources to support those claims. Nothing I read said he exterminated all non Christians in Asia Minor as you assert.

Morever, see what barbaric things, initialized by popes and carried out by Christian soldiers, happened in the course of the medieval crusades. See what even crueler things happened to hundreds of thousands of women in the course of the ´witch´ huntings in the Middle Age and Early Modern Age. See what extrem sadistic pains were caused by the Inquisition to such victims and to others who were accused of heresy (e.g, Freemasons). See what cruel things, including hard slavery, happened to indigenous people in the course of the colonization of America by Christian Spains and Portugueses. And so on, and so on.
Caesar killed a million perhaps in his conquest of call, and Stalin killed millions on the Ukraine, as did the atheist Pol Pot in Cambodia. The Mongols killed something like a 1/3 or more of Hungary. So what ?


Monotheism claims responsibility for the whole world; it has no intention of tolerating foreign cults even in the slightest. The Romans, on the other hand, limited their claim to worship their own gods (and the emperor) to their dominion territory. No Roman would have come up with the idea of conquering foreign territories for the sole reason of forcing Roman gods upon them.
No, the Romans just conquered Carthage to completely exterminate the people and put salt on the ground so nothing would grow there. And the Seleucid Greeks did try to force their pagan culture on the Jews, which lead to the Maccabean Revolt.

In Islamic thought, for example, there is the concept of "Dar-al Harb", i.e. the world of unbelievers who must be converted to true faith through jihad. One of the first advocates of the Christian doctrine of spreading Christianity all over the world was Eusebius of Caesarea, who advised Emperor Constantine on matters of religious policy.
Wrong as usual. Eusebius was a historian, please provide contemporary text that shows Eusebius was Constantine religious advisor as you claim.

And it is the Gospel of Matthew that commands Christians to convert the whole world, peacefully through their testimony not the sword, centuries before Eusebius. Nor did Constantine try to convert pagans with the sword as you imply.


As to Judaism, when the Jewish Hasmoneans (Maccabees) came to power in Palestine from 167 BC for about 100 years, they brutally forced the surrounding tribes to accept the Jewish faith.
This thread was about Christianity, not Judaism, and what the Maccabean did is not relavent. Also the topic was about Europe, and Israel is not in the Mideast as everyone knows but you apparently.

And while the Maccabean did force people into the Jewish faith, the pagan Greek Seleucids had earlier tried to force the Jews to adopt their pagan culture.

This is the decisive difference to Roman (and generally polytheistic) thinking: the Romans had demanded the worship of the Roman gods from the conquered tribes, but had allowed them to continue their cults. Mithraism, by the way, was a tolerant religion, too.
Actually, the Romans demanded sacrifice and worship of their emperor's, not so much their gods.

Romans did suppress some cults they seemed dangerous. For example, the cult of Dionysus was temporarily suppressed.

So in the pre-Christian Roman Empire there was a ´contract´ between state and foreign cults in such a way that these cults were allowed to be practised under the condition that on certain occasions formal sacrifices were made to the Roman gods and the emperor. Such rituals were, by the way, a purely external matter, nobody asked for the inner conviction. What counted - also for the ´gods´- was only the formal act. The deal was advantageous for all foreign, but non-monotheistic cults, since they could enjoy the cultural advantages of the Roman Empire without losing their own ritual substance.
As noted, Romans sometimes would suppress foreign cults. Dionysus was one. And Tiberius temporarily banned the Cult of ISIS after a priest seduced an innocent Roman woman.
 
Dec 2014
557
United States
#10
As a non believer i would be interested to know your opinions regarding Christianity and if it 'civilised' Europe or would we have been better off without it? Maybe we would still be carrying out human and animal ritual sacrifices today and worshipping our Pagan Gods if it wasn't for the introduction of Christianity.
True Christianity gives people a relationship with God, not religion.


https://www.jesus-is-savior.com/False Religions/shintoism.htm

Shinto fosters a pride and a feeling of superiority in the Japanese people. This type of pride is condemned by God, who says, "...There is none righteous, no, not one" (Romans 3:10). The same lesson was learned by the Apostle Peter who concluded: "Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons" (Acts 10:34). Since Shinto teaches the basic goodness and divine origin of its people, there is no need for a personal Savior. This is the natural consequence of assuming one's race is of celestial origin. Christianity teaches that all of us need a savior because our sins need to be punished. God, through Jesus Christ, took that punishment on Himself so that all mankind could be brought back into a proper relationship with Him. Jesus plainly stated in John 14:6, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."

Furthermore, the Kojiki and Nihongi, as the basis of the Shinto myth, are found to be hopelessly unhistorical and totally unverifiable. The stories and legends contained in these works are a far cry from the historically verifiable documents of both the Old and New Testaments. The concept of kami is both polytheistic and crude, surrounded by much superstition. This is in sharp contrast to the God of the Bible, whose ways are righteous and beyond reproach. Immorality abounds in the stories of Shinto; while the Bible is quick to condemn acts of immorality (Matthew 5:28).

Shinto finds little acceptance apart from Japan since everything of Japanese origin is exalted and that which is non-Japanese is abased. Shinto is a textbook example of a religion invented by man to explain his ancestry and environment while taking no consideration of anyone but himself. While Shinto teaches that the kami might commune with those who have made themselves worthy through ritual purification, the God of the Bible promises to be present to anyone who calls upon Him for forgiveness (Romans 10:13). No amount of personal purification (a form of salvation by works) will make a person worthy of the presence of God in his life (Romans 4:5). Only faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the cross can accomplish cleansing from sin and make us acceptable to a holy God... “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” (2nd Corinthians 5:21). What a wonderful Savior!

"Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." -Acts 4:10-12
 
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