Christianity vs Ancient culture: who contributed more to the Western Civilization?

Bart Dale

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
7,095
What I actually said about Egyptian medicine was that 50% of the medicine they used back then is still in use today, without any implication that their medicine was better than ours, so why distort what I wrote?
Then why bring it up at all? What revelance was there in the fact 50% of the Egyptian medicines are still being used to the debate? Without context, it is a meaningless comment which leaves a false impression.

In Egypt the temples served as places of learning, so Christianity has nothing to brag about in that regard.
There I'd no comparison. Egyptian temples were not places of learning for all the different fields of knowledge, in legal, as well as science in addition to mathemstics, philosophy, medicine, and philosophy. Nor were the Egyptian sources of creation of new knowledge and ideas as Christian universities. Many of the greatest scientist and philosophers in history were associated with universities, but that is not true for Egyptian temples.

It's possible to point to Egypt and say that only a few were educated. On the other hand, it's possible to point to, for instance, Britain, and shw that there was no universal education until about 1870. Before then education was paid for.
The literacy rate even in late medieval Europe was far higher than ancient Egypt, and far higher in early modern Europe.

As for schools, even on colonial New England had public schools in the he 17th century. And contrary to what you most certainly impliedz the there many free grammar schools starting in Tudor times, and charity and parish schools are that did no require fees before 1870. Before that time, education was largely beint handle by religion. 1870 is merely the date when education became universal and mandatory, but long before that there were free local parish schools providing education to a far far higher percentage of the population in than in ancient Greek, Rome, and Egypt. Most parishes egen in 18th century had some school, but most local Egyptian and Roman, Greek villages did not. Even fee paying, a school would be cheaper than having to hire a private tudor as you had to do in Ancient Greece, Rome, Egypt.

Infanticide was never practiced in Egypt.
True, but the ancient Greeks and Romans did. The Old Testament indicates as strong Egyptian influence, and the Judeo-Christian opposition to infaticise and human sacrifice may have been due to Egyptian influence. Howeger, the rest of the ancient classical Greco-Roman world.did practice infanticide, and Egyptian influence was confined to Egypt, while Christians stopped the practiced.

As for scientific advances, you may think it is due to belief in superstition, I know it is simply the consequences of a progression that has taken place since we stopped being hunter gatherers. At various times tipping points are reached and things advance at a greater pace,for instance in modern times the invention of electronics, an invention of man, not a supernatural being.
Apparently, you haven't studied history very much or paid any attention to what I wrote either. Classical Greco-Roman and ancient Egypt was technologically stagnant. There was little major technological advancement in the Roman Empire, and after a brief burst, it had largely stalled in anfient Greece as well. As I said, you could take a 1000 year period, from 300 BC to 300 AD, and overall, most technology didn't see any major advancement - ship building remained the same, farming remained the same, weapons and armor did not see much advancement, iron production methods the same. Take just 500 years in Christian Europe, and you see radical changes in ship design, navigation, iron production, book production, weapons and armor. Such advances are still continuing today.

All previous civilizations would have periods of rapid advances, followed by periods of technological stagnation in innovation. Ancient Summerian civilization wasn't much more advanced than it was 2000 years earlier. Anxient Roman civilization wasn't technologically tundamentally more advance in 300 CE than was in 300 BC. And when the Romans conquered Ptolemaic Egypt, it wasn't fundamentally more advanced than it had been at its founding hundreds of years earlier.

To make a statement about Ma'at not ending slavery when slavery by Christians countries existed well into the 19th century AD is, well, not a valid point.
Yes it is. Ma'at was around as long as Christianity, and did nothing to end that social ill. Christianity did.

And you complain that Ma'at did not encourage "International charity", really, thousands of years ago. So if an earthquake occurred in China in 2000 BC the Egyptians should have sent aid? So, how long has Christianity existed, and how long has the concept of "International aid" existed. Also, are only Christians charitable? are only Christians decent humane people?
Before I he rise of Christianity, there was no concept of an international charity, or at least no one was doing it. That many are now created by secural people, many probably athiest, doesn't take away the concept of international aid didn't arise with them. Christian international aid began with the first Christisns, where St. Paul collected aid from the Gentile churches to help out the poor in Jerusalem.

The 42 "negative confessions" makes the Ten Commandments looks very inadequate, particularly when four of them are specific to the belief and worship of the Abrahamic god, leaving only six to use as a moral code. Of the 42 "Negative confessions", four are about the gods, but that leaves 38 as a basis for a moral code, not a paltry six. Then there are the other 40 "negative confessions".
As you.usual, you ignore the positive commands that are through out the Bible. Commands about decent treatment of foreigners and orphans and widows, about not judging others, of examples of helping others in need (Good Samaritan). Your insinuation that the Bible only has negative commands is not true. (By failing to mention any positive you are implying just that.)
 

VHS

Ad Honorem
Dec 2015
4,862
Florania
Then why bring it up at all? What revelance was there in the fact 50% of the Egyptian medicines are still being used to the debate? Without context, it is a meaningless comment which leaves a false impression.



There I'd no comparison. Egyptian temples were not places of learning for all the different fields of knowledge, in legal, as well as science in addition to mathemstics, philosophy, medicine, and philosophy. Nor were the Egyptian sources of creation of new knowledge and ideas as Christian universities. Many of the greatest scientist and philosophers in history were associated with universities, but that is not true for Egyptian temples.



The literacy rate even in late medieval Europe was far higher than ancient Egypt, and far higher in early modern Europe.

As for schools, even on colonial New England had public schools in the he 17th century. And contrary to what you most certainly impliedz the there many free grammar schools starting in Tudor times, and charity and parish schools are that did no require fees before 1870. Before that time, education was largely beint handle by religion. 1870 is merely the date when education became universal and mandatory, but long before that there were free local parish schools providing education to a far far higher percentage of the population in than in ancient Greek, Rome, and Egypt. Most parishes egen in 18th century had some school, but most local Egyptian and Roman, Greek villages did not. Even fee paying, a school would be cheaper than having to hire a private tudor as you had to do in Ancient Greece, Rome, Egypt.



True, but the ancient Greeks and Romans did. The Old Testament indicates as strong Egyptian influence, and the Judeo-Christian opposition to infaticise and human sacrifice may have been due to Egyptian influence. Howeger, the rest of the ancient classical Greco-Roman world.did practice infanticide, and Egyptian influence was confined to Egypt, while Christians stopped the practiced.



Apparently, you haven't studied history very much or paid any attention to what I wrote either. Classical Greco-Roman and ancient Egypt was technologically stagnant. There was little major technological advancement in the Roman Empire, and after a brief burst, it had largely stalled in anfient Greece as well. As I said, you could take a 1000 year period, from 300 BC to 300 AD, and overall, most technology didn't see any major advancement - ship building remained the same, farming remained the same, weapons and armor did not see much advancement, iron production methods the same. Take just 500 years in Christian Europe, and you see radical changes in ship design, navigation, iron production, book production, weapons and armor. Such advances are still continuing today.

All previous civilizations would have periods of rapid advances, followed by periods of technological stagnation in innovation. Ancient Summerian civilization wasn't much more advanced than it was 2000 years earlier. Anxient Roman civilization wasn't technologically tundamentally more advance in 300 CE than was in 300 BC. And when the Romans conquered Ptolemaic Egypt, it wasn't fundamentally more advanced than it had been at its founding hundreds of years earlier.



Yes it is. Ma'at was around as long as Christianity, and did nothing to end that social ill. Christianity did.



Before I he rise of Christianity, there was no concept of an international charity, or at least no one was doing it. That many are now created by secural people, many probably athiest, doesn't take away the concept of international aid didn't arise with them. Christian international aid began with the first Christisns, where St. Paul collected aid from the Gentile churches to help out the poor in Jerusalem.



As you.usual, you ignore the positive commands that are through out the Bible. Commands about decent treatment of foreigners and orphans and widows, about not judging others, of examples of helping others in need (Good Samaritan). Your insinuation that the Bible only has negative commands is not true. (By failing to mention any positive you are implying just that.)
Since your post is filled with typos (and this is the era with automatic spellcheckers), I may suspect the quality of this post.
Ironically, the Renaissance and the Enlightenment both included major secularization and rejections of "a fettering of the free intelligence by the words uttered long ago by ignorant men" (from Why I am not a Christian by Bertrand Russell).
Works by the ancients may contain words of wisdom or utterly outdated views of the world; in spite of the criticisms against fortune telling and certain mythology, the work of Lunheng (论衡) includes outdated ideas, such as flat earth.
Should we treat the Christian Bible just like any other classics? We can cherish its positive sides; then, we must not overlook its outdated ideas or even inhumane suggestions.
Let's quit calling it the Holy Bible; it is not sacred nor beyond criticism.
 
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Corvidius

Ad Honorem
Jul 2017
3,047
Crows nest
As you.usual, you ignore the positive commands that are through out the Bible. Commands about decent treatment of foreigners and orphans and widows, about not judging others, of examples of helping others in need (Good Samaritan). Your insinuation that the Bible only has negative commands is not true. (By failing to mention any positive you are implying just that.)
Your entire post is a mix of being wrong and muddled and I'm only going to deal with the part quoted.

Saying that I ignore the positive aspects of the Bible is ridiculous, for a start I am not going to do a believers job for them and make a list of "Biblical niceness", and besides, a long list of "Biblical atrocities" could also be made.

I am comparing the 42 [82] "negative confessions" to the Ten Commandments" as they do make a rather obvious choice for comparison. There is no Egyptian equivalent of the Bible, the "negative confessions" are not a bible, so if you want a comparison between the Bible and Egypt life, then the totality of all Egyptian writings applicable to the context in what you are saying would be needed. This could be done, but would be a huge task and I doubt anybody has ever even considered taking it on. You, btw, seem to be implying that "Biblical people" are more moral than those who are not "Biblical". Do you really think that the Egyptians had no concept of treating people decently and of being charitable, and that would go for all "pagans".

I wonder, did you actually read any of the 17 "confessions" I posted, or perhaps found all 42 and read them? Perhaps not, as if you did you would have seen that there is a confession about not judging hastily. Not judging at all is ridiculous, for what then becomes of the law. But just like "Though shalt not kill", it is in the end result just words to be ignored or used for whatever purpose needed by Man, and this goes for any "holy book" and "holy words".

So, I still content that the 42 [82] "Negative confessions" make the Ten Commandments look not just inadequate as a basis for a moral code, but, as I have already stated, to a large part just a way of imposing a new monotheist religion.
 
Mar 2017
878
Colorado
I am absolutely bewildered that an attempt has been made to tie technology to Christianity. One has nothing to do with the other. I'm astounded I even have to defend this thesis.

The Antikythera mechanism wasn't a one shot. "Oh! That was fun. What shall we do next? Let's build axes out of stone..."
In order to develop that single example, a depth of knowledge of astronomy and mechanics developed over at least decades was required. The youngest date for it is 60 BCE, based on the shipwreck it was found in (but obviously had been built at a previous time).

The geometry you learned in highschool comes directly from Euclid of Alexandria. You can WWW-up Medieval copies of his manuscripts at the Vatican and understand them, even if you can't read Greek. No Christianity required.

Brilliant men were racing the Manhattan Project to completion, while German scientists were attempting to do the same thing. This was a direct result of Christianity?

Albert Einstein was Jewish. This makes relativity a Christian accomplishment ... somehow?

Roman concrete can last for 2000 yrs. Modern concrete rebar lasts 100. Good Christian concrete, I imagine.
 
Last edited:
Mar 2017
878
Colorado
"Egyptian temples were not places of learning for all the different fields of knowledge "

Google "Egyptian House of Life" and you will see the error of this statement. There's been quite a bit of study about it.

There seemed to be a bit of variation. The Temple of Sais was known for training female physicians. Other temples seemed to have operated as universities, libraries, clinics, scribe schools, etc ... generally on the "teaching" end of things.

That blanket statement simply isn't true.
 

Bart Dale

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
7,095
Your entire post is a mix of being wrong and muddled and I'm only going to deal with the part quoted.

Saying that I ignore the positive aspects of the Bible is ridiculous, for a start I am not going to do a believers job for them and make a list of "Biblical niceness", and besides, a long list of "Biblical atrocities" could also be made.
As I pointed out, religion played an important role in inspiring social reform and improvement. Not uniquely, to be sure, but an important role just the same.

I am comparing the 42 [82] "negative confessions" to the Ten Commandments" as they do make a rather obvious choice for comparison. There is no Egyptian equivalent of the Bible, the "negative confessions" are not a bible, so if you want a comparison between the Bible and Egypt life, then the totality of all Egyptian writings applicable to the context in what you are saying would be needed. This could be done, but would be a huge task and I doubt anybody has ever even considered taking it on. You, btw, seem to be implying that "Biblical people" are more moral than those who are not "Biblical". Do you really think that the Egyptians had no concept of treating people decently and of being charitable, and that would go for all "pagans". ,
I did not say that Biblical people are better. Rather that Christisnity created institutions and encouraged corporate action in a way we didn't seem to find in the paga religions. Temples did treat the sick, but were the temples part of an international organization, with that had structure and resources beyond just the local temple?

I wonder, did you actually read any of the 17 "confessions" I posted, or perhaps found all 42 and read them? Perhaps not, as if you did you would have seen that there is a confession about not judging hastily. Not judging at all is ridiculous, for what then becomes of the law. But just like "Though shalt not kill", it is in the end result just words to be ignored or used for whatever purpose needed by Man, and this goes for any "holy book" and "holy words".

So, I still content that the 42 [82] "Negative confessions" make the Ten Commandments look not just inadequate as a basis for a moral code, but, as I have already stated, to a large part just a way of imposing a new monotheist religion.
I will have go back and read the specifics. But it is not just about a list of social do's and don't, but s social structure that is being created.

The Ma'at religion for all its good points did not seek to improve the world from what I can see, or seek to chsnge or improve the morals outside of Egypt. The ancient Egyptian religion rejected infanticide, but what did it do to try to persuade others in the ancient world to stop the practice?

The world is a vastly different place, and better place today than ancient Egypt.

As for the truths and and falsehoods of religion and Christianity, that is the a matter for a religious debate, which this isn't. I am pointing out the historical influence, which is the purpose of this thread, not Christianity bashing which is what you have made it.

You have made wrong statements, such as the Egyptian temples were equal as sources of knowledge to universities, which is not true. In the breadth of fields covered and role in generating new ideas, the Egyptian temples.

Nor did the ancient pagan religions like the Egyptian play a major role in reducing illiteracy and promoting reading. Christisnit, and Buddhism did. Having sacred writings that they wanted all their followers to know caused them to promote literacy in not just the elite but in ordinary person's as well in a way the pagan societies did. Tyndale translated the Bible into English and priced it so even a common worker could afford it. The high literacy rates of colonial New England were a direct result of colonist religion.

And it was a byproduct of Christian missionary work that spread Greco-Romsn culture far beyond the borders of the classical world, and created unified culture in Europe. You seem to think that such cultural advance was inevitable, but there is no evidence that is the case. In the centuries thatvthe Roman empire lasted, there is no evidence the German tribes beyond their borders began writing books, or partaking of Greco-Roman high cultural.

And while you seem to think that the Scientific Revolution would have occurred regardless, but there is no evidence that the Greco-Roman, or Egyptian world would have come up with it. In a 1000 years the pagan Greeks and Romans did not come with the Scientific and Industrial Revolutions,s, and they were technologically stagnant during thebpeak of their prosperity, so why should we assume another 1000 years to make a difference?

Note the achievements of the enlightenment were built on the society that medieval church created. The thinkers of the enlightenment depended on a common cultural identity that was the creation of religion. That such common cultural identity has outgrown the religion that created it and no longer need it is very possible. But it is not at all certain it would have existed in the first place without it.
 

Bart Dale

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
7,095
"Egyptian temples were not places of learning for all the different fields of knowledge "

Google "Egyptian House of Life" and you will see the error of this statement. There's been quite a bit of study about it. [/Quote@]

Where did these places study law? Which one of them were conducting scientific experiements? Name me the famous ancient scientist, philosophers, and mathematicians that were members of the temples?

There seemed to be a bit of variation. The Temple of Sais was known for training female physicians. Other temples seemed to have operated as universities, libraries, clinics, scribe schools, etc ... generally on the "teaching" end of things.
That is not addressing the points I made. I said, of whch contary to your claims, that these temples did not cover all the topics that an university covered, nor were they involved in the creation of new knowledge and ideas. You haven't done anything to show that statement is wrong.

And please provide the contemporary sources for the women physicians of the Temple.of Said. What ancient writer documents this, what ancient manuscript supports this?

Your insinuation that these temples were.the equal of an university is not true.
 
Feb 2017
221
Canada
Neither. Western Civilization is the result of technical change/evolution. Ancient philosophy and Christianity are artifacts of civilization, not drivers of it. Although one could say that the rise of philosophy had a synergistic effect, once in place.

For instance, consider that most of the world's major philosophical systems arose during roughly the same period. This wasn't coincidence, it was the result of environmental/technical conditions (abundant food / agriculture). In other words civilization and complex social systems / theories are the direct result of energy abundance.
 
Feb 2017
221
Canada
But if we're going to directly compare the two systems I'd say that both basically had a negligible effect, when compared with other forces, mainly being technical and political change.
 

Bart Dale

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
7,095
I am absolutely bewildered that an attempt has been made to tie technology to Christianity. One has nothing to do with the other. I'm astounded I even have to defend this thesis.
I would like to say I am astounded you could say otherwise, but I not. Your bias is quite clear.

As I explained, Christianity played a role in promoting literacy and learning, and it helped create a common culture that could exchange ideas. For example, the Copernicus Theory was created by a Pole, promoted by an Italian, and used by a German to show the true orbit of the planets.

Cistercian monastaries were active in iron production and its evolution, and in the promoting and diffusion of other technologies as well. Medieval, monastaries often had an interest in labor saving machines to free up the brothers to spend more time in prayer and devotion. The all mechanical clock likely arose out of the need for time clocks in northern monastaries that did not freeze, and the monks prayers at various hours that did not follow the sun. And there was the copying and preservation of ancient manuscript by medieval monks.

The Antikythera mechanism wasn't a one shot. "Oh! That was fun. What shall we do next? Let's build axes out of stone..."and
It was impressive achievement, but it was less important than the invention of the mechanical escapement in the middle ages, which made portable all mechanical clocks possible, and led directly to the chronometer that enabled calculation of longitude at sea. The principles used by the medieval escapement is the basis of all modern times keepers, using oscillation to regulate time.

The geometry you learned in highschool comes directly from Euclid of Alexandria. You can WWW-up Medieval copies of his manuscripts at the Vatican and understand them, even if you can't read Greek. No Christianity required.
And the Greeks did not invent calculus, linear algerbra and a slew of other fields of math. Nor did the Greeks ever think up Non Euclidean Geometry, and their system of number notation was crap, and the concept of irrational numbers was beyond their comprehension. Our modern math is better than the Greeks, important though their work was.

Brilliant men were racing the Manhattan Project to completion, while German scientists were attempting to do the same thing. This was a direct result of Christianity?

Albert Einstein was Jewish. This makes relativity a Christian accomplishment ... somehow?
Did not say it was. But Christianity did help create and shape the world that did master atomic energy. Pagan Greeks did not come even close.

And the achievements of Nweton or Einstein however great, are not as important as the process and society that made them possible. If Newton or Einstein hadn't made their discoveries, somebody else would have a little while later.

The world of the ancient Greeks had thousands of years to come up with those theories, and there is no evidence they would have. They were not making steady progress, but had flatten out.

Roman concrete can last for 2000 yrs. Modern concrete rebar lasts 100. Good Christian concrete, I imagine.
Nobody makes concrete as good as the Romans, not Chinese Japanese Indian.

But even in the medieval times. Romans lacked something as simple as eyeglasses, magnetic mariner compass, or windmill. Yes, the Roman tecnology was impressive, but our modern technology is orders more impressive. A Saturn V rocket was taller than any Roman building, not to compare modern skyscrapers. Roman concrete is great, but simple reading glasses and magnetic compasses can be more important. You can always build out of brick and stone, but there is no substitute for a good pair of glasses as your eyes fail when you get old.

Since your post is filled with typos (and this is the era with automatic spellcheckers), I may suspect the quality of this post.
Ironically, the Renaissance and the Enlightenment both included major secularization and rejections of "a fettering of the free intelligence by the words uttered long ago by ignorant men" (from Why I am not a Christian by Bertrand Russell).
The cultural these men of the enlightenment depended on was the creation of religion. It was religion that first created a common high culture that allowed the person's of the enlightenment to exchange thoughts and idea.

And while there was major secularization, there was also a lot of religious devotion too. Many of the key figures of the Industrial and Scientific Revolution were Non Conformist, men like Michael Faraday, which required an above average religious convictions and others like Maxwell and Pascal had deep religious beliefs.

But yes, there were just as many philosophers and scientist who athiest. But the society they arose from, while maybe novlonger religious, still was shaped by it. We maybe athiest now, but we still live by a 7 day week that had a religious origin.


Works by the ancients may contain words of wisdom or utterly outdated views of the world; in spite of the criticisms against fortune telling and certain mythology, the work of Lunheng (论衡) includes outdated ideas, such as flat earth.
Should we treat the Christian Bible just like any other classics? We can cherish its positive sides; then, we must not overlook its outdated ideas or even inhumane suggestions.
Let's quit calling it the Holy Bible; it is not sacred nor beyond criticism.
That I agree with. Like other ancient works, it has its outdated and erroneous ideas. But even if we don't adhere to any of its beliefs, we can acknowlege its historical and literary significance and influence, just as we can do for the works of Homer. We may reject the ideas and attitudes expressed in Homer, but we need to acknowledge his influence on ancient send even modern society.