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

Corvidius

Ad Honorem
Jul 2017
2,036
Crows nest
#51
Then what did you exactly mean with “And there is the Antikythera mechanism, long before Christianity, and not surpassed until long after Christianity had become the only religion in Europe.”?

It sounded like you were saying that despite Christianity ruled so long it did not surpass it until “long after”. Even the Pagan Romans did not surpass it despite they were there 500 years before Constantine the Great.

Try to pick your words carefully.




That nonsense is pure speculation and is called “counterfactual history” which has nothing to do with actual history.

The facts remain that Christianity emerged in a Greco-Roman environment, and it adopted to its environment, and did IN NO WAY fight the science. In contrary it adopted classical learning and encouraged science and the Christian hemisphere is that part of the world which have contributed most to science. Especially taking into consideration of The Scientific Revolution which gave birth to the modern science and the Industrial Revolution which affected humanity in way not seeing since the Neolithic Revolution.

Christianity has never ever fought against science nor has it inhibited it. And if you don’t disagree then try to pick your words more carefully onwards.
I think you need to read my posts again, and this time more carefully as you seem to have misunderstood all of them. Perhaps you should also notice that it is argued by some in this thread that because Europe became Christian, then all scientific advances were the direct result of Christianity. This is total nonsense and is what I am arguing against. And what is this nonsense about "counterfactual history". I am posing the question that if no advances had been made from us being hunter gathers to the time of Christ, what advances would then have taken place due to Christianity. That is a perfectly reasonable question to ask, and one I have posed several times now without reasonable answer. The purpose is to point out that were we are today, all the advances since AD, are built on the advances BC and are a natural progression, not the result of belief in the supernatural, specifically in the context of the OP, Christianity. If you had read my posts more carefully you would have seen that I apply the same criteria to pre Christian advances when we were all "pagans", and I have not once wrote that Christianity actively opposed science, and I don't know why you are trying to say that I have. It's not me that should "pick my words more carefully", it is you who should read them more carefully.
 
Mar 2013
1,341
Escandinavia y Mesopotamia
#52
Perhaps you should also notice that it is argued by some in this thread that because Europe became Christian, then all scientific advances were the direct result of Christianity. This is total nonsense and is what I am arguing against.
Then you need to quote a sentence directly from that debater you think made that assertion and respond to it instead of just spouting out randomly that: "And there is the Antikythera mechanism, long before Christianity, and not surpassed until long after Christianity had become the only religion in Europe" which I perceived as an insinuation that the medieval Christians's technological knowledge was inferior to Pagans. What clearly was NEVER the case.


And what is this nonsense about "counterfactual history". I am posing the question that if no advances had been made from us being hunter gathers to the time of Christ, what advances would then have taken place due to Christianity. That is a perfectly reasonable question to ask(...)
No, that is nonsense and it obviously becomes clear that you don't know how the historical methods work today in the academia. Counterfactual history, and not "counterfactual history", is actually a concept that is refuted by the historians for obvious reason.

When an event has found place there are written and archeological sources. From them the historians can try to construct a lucid interpretation of the past as best as possible.

A "what if"-scenario has not found place, and there are no written nor archeological sources. For that reason the historians cannot construct any lucid interpretation of it. It is pure speculation.

You like to speculate what would happen if Jesus and Christians lived in Stone Age, and speculate what would had happen after that and how the world be today? Fine. I don't. And almost all trained historians don't do that.


If you had read my posts more carefully you would have seen that I apply the same criteria to pre Christian advances when we were all "pagans", and I have not once wrote that Christianity actively opposed science, and I don't know why you are trying to say that I have. It's not me that should "pick my words more carefully", it is you who should read them more carefully.
If I have misrepresented your opinons then I apologise. Perhaps it will help if you qoute directly instead of posting randomly about that Antikythera mechanism not being "surpassed until long after Christianity had become the only religion in Europe". Because I took it as a respond to me and something that questioned the technological skills of Medieval Christians.
 

Corvidius

Ad Honorem
Jul 2017
2,036
Crows nest
#53
Then you need to quote a sentence directly from that debater you think made that assertion and respond to it instead of just spouting out randomly that: "And there is the Antikythera mechanism, long before Christianity, and not surpassed until long after Christianity had become the only religion in Europe" which I perceived as an insinuation that the medieval Christians's technological knowledge was inferior to Pagans. What clearly was NEVER the case.




No, that is nonsense and it obviously becomes clear that you don't know how the historical methods work today in the academia. Counterfactual history, and not "counterfactual history", is actually a concept that is refuted by the historians for obvious reason.

When an event has found place there are written and archeological sources. From them the historians can try to construct a lucid interpretation of the past as best as possible.

A "what if"-scenario has not found place, and there are no written nor archeological sources. For that reason the historians cannot construct any lucid interpretation of it. It is pure speculation.

You like to speculate what would happen if Jesus and Christians lived in Stone Age, and speculate what would had happen after that and how the world be today? Fine. I don't. And almost all trained historians don't do that.




If I have misrepresented your opinons then I apologise. Perhaps it will help if you qoute directly instead of posting randomly about that Antikythera mechanism not being "surpassed until long after Christianity had become the only religion in Europe". Because I took it as a respond to me and something that questioned the technological skills of Medieval Christians.
I'll take the apology, but the rest of your post is arrogant stuff and nonsense.
 
Mar 2013
1,341
Escandinavia y Mesopotamia
#54
...but the rest of your post is arrogant stuff and nonsense.
...says the user who admittedly like to speculate what would happen if Jesus and the Christians lived in Stone Ages.

It becomes quite clear I have not misunderstood any of your nonsense.
 

Corvidius

Ad Honorem
Jul 2017
2,036
Crows nest
#55
...says the user who admittedly like to speculate what would happen if Jesus and the Christians lived in Stone Ages.

It becomes quite clear I have not misunderstood any of your nonsense.
You have deliberately misunderstood the point I have been making, that religion is not the driver of scientific advance. I have not speculated about Jesus and Christians living in the Stone Age in the way you have deliberately contorted my posts, I have speculated if any scientific advances would take place if Christianity appeared in a world in which we were still hunter gatherers. This is to show that we would not be where we are today without the advances that did of course take place before Christianity, but that Christianity was not the driver of further advances, as "paganism" was not the driver of advances before Christianity. This is a pertinent point and directly addresses the OP.

Do you really not understand what I am saying. Do you really need to try and make a post about the antikythera mechanism seem a "random" post when it was directly under, and clearly related to the post on the sundial calendar. Did you really not understand the context of that post at all. I think know, you are playing games, and you can play with yourself.
 
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Feb 2011
5,694
#56
Christianity is only a part of a society's culture. "Ancient culture" includes not only "Ancient religions", but nearly all aspects of that culture from philosophy to government to spending habits. I don't think it's a fair comparison because one side encompasses way more than that of the other, so it's easier for "Ancient culture" to take credit for an accomplishment committed in ancient times, whereas it's harder for Christianity to take credit for an accomplishment committed in a Christian dominated culture.

This leads me to the second point. I'm seeing a lot of "evidence" being used that I simply don't think is good enough. Just because something was invented in a Christian society doesn't mean the invention was directly caused by Christianity. Just because a Christian invented something doesn't mean his faith was the direct cause of his achievement. I'll be more convinced to see quoted evidence about how, say, the Church funded universities which allowed a particular someone in said university to invent something important. This is contrary to "Ancient culture", in which the term encompasses so much of everything that if one part of "ancient culture" wasn't to take credit for a particular ancient invention, some other part of said "ancient culture" probably would. Hence why I think it's an unfair comparison.

I think this graph sums up a lot of what I said:

 
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Jun 2017
2,237
Connecticut
#57
Not really. The historians of science would refute your post as nonsense.

It was actually PAGAN areas in Europe that were in “Dark Ages”-mentality and completely backward and primitive. Once they converted into Christianity they gained access to classical learning which were preserved, studied and improved by Christian societies. And throughout the Middle Ages it was mainly Christian states there were the utterly superior to pagan areas in Europe.

And Byzantine Empire never ever entered any “Dark Ages”.

These two threads may improve your historical knowledge:

The primitive Pagan barbarians and Christianization: a detour?

Byzantine science and cultural contribution to the world:


And here the esteemed professor of history of science: Ronald L. Numbers:


I guess pagan was too broad a term to say what I meant. I meant the classical pagan civilizations in the Middle East, Greece and Italy. Wasn't referring to Pagans in Germany and the far reaches of Eastern Europe. Yes they were backwards relative to the Christians. I think OP is pretty clear what we are discussing and I was not bringing the areas that were still pagan by the dark ages into this at all .
Made by mistake. Mods please delete.
 

Bart Dale

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
6,469
#58
It took me one Google search to find this. Did you think I made it up? Plucked it out of thin air? This is Historum, for goodness sake. Note that the medical school is based on archaeologic "evidence" as opposed to a written historic reference:
"2700 BCE. Merit-Ptah is the first female doctor known by name in world history, but evidence suggests a medical school at the Temple of Neith in Sais (a cityin Lower Egypt) run by a woman whose name is unknown c. 3000 BCE. ... Pesehet (c. 2500 BCE) was known as 'Lady Overseer of Female Physicians' and may have been associated with the temple-school at Sais. ... it does establish Pesehet as a medical practitioner and also makes clear there were other female physicians practicing at the time whom she supervised or trained. "
Female Physicians in Ancient Egypt
Your link doesn't provide the ancient texts that are the source for its claims. What is the ancient source of knowledge for its claims of ancient female Egyptian physicians. And the article only talked about a woman head of a medical school, which isn't the same as proving a an entire school of female physcians as you claim. The article does dismiss the statements of female Egyptologist Barbara Wattson that female Egyptian physcians were very rare, but does not actually provide sources to prove her wrong. Like you, the article merely makes assertion.

Some of the arguments the article made are laughable. That a goddess was associated with medicine doesn't say much about whether that female Egyptian physcians were common. Athena was the goddess of wisdom, yet the Greeks were extremely patriarchal and there were extremely few female ancient Greek scientist and philisophers


One more search for this. Wasn't that your exact point? Creation of new knowledge?
"In ancient Egyptian writings and architecture, the House of Life is an institution aligned with kingship, preserving and creating knowledge in written and pictorial form. "
Museum: House of Life

...and again
"The House of Life was more than a library and a scriptorium. It contained a community of educated men and occasionally, when no answers to a question could be found in the existing literature, discussions must have arisen which might then lead to the composition of completely new texts "
The House of Life.
Those references do not support your claims. That do not provide evidence of The House of Life invovled in legal their, or in the study of mathematics, nor do the references provide examples of famous scientist, mathematicians, or philosophers and the discoveries they made. In short, you haven't done what I asked or proven your point.

I almost had to use up one of my JStor books to get this one. Almost. This is in reference to a House of Life text in hieroglyphs on a monument at the Vatican.
View attachment 12841
The House of Life on JSTOR
It does not answer any of the questions I raised. "All their crafts", is not the samething as "all crafts", and your quote gives no idea of what those particular crafts consisted of. Did it include mathematics? It doesn't say. Did it include the science of metallurgy? It didn't say. The properties of antimony hardening lead was unknown to the ancient Egyptians. Telescopes and microscopes were unknown to the ancient Egyptia.

I don't understand why the concept of organized education pre-Christianity is anathema to you.
I never said that there was no concept of organized of organized education pre,dating Christianity, so it would be appreciated if you stop making or implying false claims. I do say that rhese earlier concepts did not match the creation of Christiabity, and I stand by those claims. Despite several opportunities you had, you haven't shown that these anxient creations cover d the same scope of fields of knowledge as universities, or were involved in the same kind of science tific and philosophical debate. There is no evidence these institutions were involved in expanding knowledge. We see a tremosous advament in knowledge in all kinds of fields from the 13th to 19th century, while we see little overall advancement in knolwdge from the 2000 BC to 1000 BC in Egypt, certainly no where near the same advancement we see in Europe.

Ancient people weren't "like" us, they "were" us ... just different technology, same brains. Christianity can't make a claim to curiosity or experimentation. You saw my reference to Dr. Nierenstein's reproduction of a 45 BCE black water fever experiment, correct? You missed the Euclid reference? The Museo was established to allow the brightest minds in the world to "think" ... for pay. It was exactly like a university with everyone working on research projects ... except they didn't have to worry about pesky undergrads.
Ther was not the same systematic experimentation as we find modern times. Ancient technology was nowhere near as advanced as modern technology. Did the ancient Egytpians have reading glasses, telescopes, and microscopes? No, there is no edivence for it, and no discoveries were made by them. Did the ancient Romans, Greeks and Egyptians have mariner magnetic compasses? No. Did the ancient Greeks, Romans, Eqyptians figure out the earth revolves around the sun, or realize the planets move ellispes and calcate the actual orbits of the planets? Caculate the orbit of Halley's comet, and when it would return, or the samething of any other comet? All Nos.

There's nothing new here. This isn't hidden knowledge or Graham Hancock wild fantasy. It's well known, old, boring archaeology.
Yes, boring technology demonstratss that overall, the ancient were technologically inferior. Even the simplest things we take for granted they lacked. They lacked the simple theaded fasterner the screw, or the threaded nut and botl. They lacked the simple.windmill. As you got older, you were just out of luck when you could no longer read without assistance. If you didn't have the money to buy/build a house or buy a farm or a piece of technological machinery, you couldn't go to the bank and get a 15 to 30 year loan to buy it. Even if the machine would generate for you a lot more money, like a mechanical reaper, so you could make more in one year with it than you could in in 4 years without, you were still just out of luck. Governments couldn't borrow money for a long term to compensate them for the consequenfes and the loss of tax revenue due to some disaster like a massive flood or drought, or detruction caused by war, so either they either not paid theirntroops (leading to mutinies) or increased the tax burdens on those still able to pay or debased the money supply, a which had negative consequences.
 

Bart Dale

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
6,469
#59
Christianity is only a part of a society's culture. "Ancient culture" includes not only "Ancient religions", but nearly all aspects of that culture from philosophy to government to spending habits. I don't think it's a fair comparison because one side encompasses way more than that of the other, so it's easier for "Ancient culture" to take credit for an accomplishment committed in ancient times, whereas it's harder for Christianity to take credit for an accomplishment committed in a Christian dominated culture.
In the case of Europe, the spread of classical civilization was a direct byproduct of Christin missionary activities. Anglo-Saxon scholars played a major role in the Carolingisn Revival. Would the Anglo-Saxons have played a duch significant role if they had remained pagans? There is every reason to think the answer would be no. The pagan Scandinavians played no role in European intellectual life until after their adoption of Christianity. The same thing for the Irish. It was not until the Irish adopted Christianity that they acquired writing, and played a major role in the preservation of classical civilization - read "How the Irish Saved Civilization" by Thomas Cahill. We have no evidence to suggest the pagan Europeans, Celts, Germans, Slavs, would have become part of an advance literate civilization had they remained pagans as they did after they converted. Within a century and half after they coverted, the Anglo Saxons produced one of the leading scholars of medieval Europe, the Venerable Bede. 300 years after the Germans had contact with the Romans at the time of Caesar, the pagan Germans still had not produced a scholar of any note. Christianity is what made the difference.

Buddhism played a similar role in the East as Christianity did in the West. Ancient centers of learning like Nalanda in India were created by Buddhist, and there disappearance occurred at the same time Buddhism declined in India. Buddhism as brought writing to Japan.

This leads me to the second point. I'm seeing a lot of "evidence" being used that I simply don't think is good enough. Just because something was invented in a Christian society doesn't mean the invention was directly caused by Christianity. Just because a Christian invented something doesn't mean his faith was the direct cause of his achievement. I'll be more convinced to see quoted evidence about how, say, the Church funded universities which allowed a particular someone in said university to invent something important. This is contrary to "Ancient culture", in which the term encompasses so much of everything that if one part of "ancient culture" wasn't to take credit for a particular ancient invention, some other part of said "ancient culture" probably would. Hence why I think it's an unfair comparison.
The shape of a society can be determined by religion. Important elements such a marriage, inheritance, what is legal and illegal can be determined by religion. Christianity made divorce difficult for both men and women, even for kings, which meant that the rich and powerful were more likely to have a daughter as their only heir, creating wealthy heiresses, or wind up with a ruling Queens, like Elizabeth

I think this graph sums up a lot of what I said:

[/QUOTE]
 
Feb 2011
5,694
#60
In the case of Europe, the spread of classical civilization was a direct byproduct of Christin missionary activities. Anglo-Saxon scholars played a major role in the Carolingisn Revival. Would the Anglo-Saxons have played a duch significant role if they had remained pagans? There is every reason to think the answer would be no. The pagan Scandinavians played no role in European intellectual life until after their adoption of Christianity. The same thing for the Irish. It was not until the Irish adopted Christianity that they acquired writing, and played a major role in the preservation of classical civilization - read "How the Irish Saved Civilization" by Thomas Cahill. We have no evidence to suggest the pagan Europeans, Celts, Germans, Slavs, would have become part of an advance literate civilization had they remained pagans as they did after they converted. Within a century and half after they coverted, the Anglo Saxons produced one of the leading scholars of medieval Europe, the Venerable Bede. 300 years after the Germans had contact with the Romans at the time of Caesar, the pagan Germans still had not produced a scholar of any note. Christianity is what made the difference.

Buddhism played a similar role in the East as Christianity did in the West. Ancient centers of learning like Nalanda in India were created by Buddhist, and there disappearance occurred at the same time Buddhism declined in India. Buddhism as brought writing to Japan.
I made a post about how correlation doesn't mean causation and you responded with a paragraph that relies on the assumption of "correlation means causation".

1. You say : "The pagan Scandinavians played no role in European intellectual life until after their adoption of Christianity. The same thing for the Irish."
Now prove Christianity played a role in helping Scandinavians play a role in European intellectual life. Just showing that Christianity was present isn't enough. Just because Christianity was present when something happened, doesn't mean it's the cause. A lot of things can be present when anything happens. I could be eating an ice cream when a tornado hit, doesn't mean me eating said ice cream was what caused the tornado.

2. You say "The same thing for the Irish. It was not until the Irish adopted Christianity that they acquired writing, and played a major role in the preservation of classical civilization - read "How the Irish Saved Civilization" by Thomas Cahill"
Now prove how Christianity helped the Irish acquire writing and how Christianity helped the Irish play a major role in the preservation of classical civilization. And no, I'm not reading an entire book because you told me to. You should quote from "How the Irish Saved Civilization" in order to better your argument, instead of just giving me the book title and telling me to read it.

3. You say "Within a century and half after they coverted, the Anglo Saxons produced one of the leading scholars of medieval Europe, the Venerable Bede."
Now prove how Christianity is what allowed Anglo Saxons to produce leading scholars of Medieval Europe, rather than some other factor. Merely saying Christianity was present doesn't mean Christianity was the cause, that's not evidence.

4. You say "300 years after the Germans had contact with the Romans at the time of Caesar, the pagan Germans still had not produced a scholar of any note. Christianity is what made the difference."
Show how Christianity helped the Germans to produce their first "scholar of any note", don't just say that Christianity was present when it happened. That's not proof. I think I can safely say that a lot of things was present when it happened, but that doesn't mean causation.

Remember, I'm neither agreeing nor disagreeing with your conclusion, I'm trying to improve your argument tactics. Quotes help too. If you improve your argument tactics and prove the points I gave above, I'm more than happy to agree. Lastly, when you say how Germans/Irish/Anglo Saxons haven't produced "leading scholars" or "writing", or whatever.... what about all the non-Christian Romans and Greeks who did produce these things? If it's simply because the Germans/Irish lacked Christianity, then why didn't ALL non-Christians lack "leading scholars" or "writing" or whatever?

The shape of a society can be determined by religion. Important elements such a marriage, inheritance, what is legal and illegal can be determined by religion. Christianity made divorce difficult for both men and women, even for kings, which meant that the rich and powerful were more likely to have a daughter as their only heir, creating wealthy heiresses, or wind up with a ruling Queens, like Elizabeth
A difficult divorce (legally) wouldn't be something I describe as an attribute for modern western civilization. You did show Christianity played a role in affecting divorce for Medieval Western civilization. But at least your argument in this case don't rely on "correlation = causation".
 
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