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Christian philosophy brought peace to Europe and America

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Jenny
1283699.  Wed May 09, 2018 4:20 pm Reply with quote

We're getting awfully woolly here, Cele. I think you're in danger of defining your thesis in such vague terms that it's hard to pin it down.

To go back on ourselves - your thesis is that it is the overarching influence of Christian beliefs that enabled 'peace' to blossom in Europe and America.

There are so many things wrong with that thesis in my opinion that I hardly know where to start with it, and dr.bob has already raised a good number of points that I don't think you have refuted.

'Peace' is vague for a start - and the limited definition of peace that has operated over the years since WW2 was brought about by a joining together of nations in the UN, of which many were not of a Christian tendency, so one can't attribute it to that. Many of the nations that have fought each other since then both claim to be Christian, so that hasn't worked as a modifying influence. Many of the rights that we take for granted nowadays - the equality of women, marriage equality and reproductive choice to name but three - have been done in the teeth of determined opposition from Christians, as the current referendum in Ireland proves very plainly.

If I had to formulate a thesis, it would be that human progress has largely been made by people who departed from the tenets of various religions.

 
Celebaelin
1283711.  Thu May 10, 2018 2:25 am Reply with quote

Jenny wrote:
To go back on ourselves - your thesis is that it is the overarching influence of Christian beliefs that enabled 'peace' to blossom in Europe and America.

Let's not re-define my assertion - what I said in the OP ('cos it was too long for the thread title) was

Christian philosophy is directly or indirectly responsible for the transformation from a warlike to an agrarian/industrial culture in Europe and the Americas

I didn't mention belief, which is a matter of faith.

Jenny wrote:
There are so many things wrong with that thesis in my opinion that I hardly know where to start with it, and dr.bob has already raised a good number of points that I don't think you have refuted.


I have attempted to address points as they have arisen; if you would care to be specific about the points you think I have not adequately responded to then I will look at them anew and try to satisfy your demands. If you choose to do this then it would be helpful if you provided links to the relevant post or posts.

Jenny wrote:
'Peace' is vague for a start - and the limited definition of peace that has operated over the years since WW2 was brought about by a joining together of nations in the UN, of which many were not of a Christian tendency, so one can't attribute it to that. Many of the nations that have fought each other since then both claim to be Christian, so that hasn't worked as a modifying influence.

As I've said once or twice the area of state warfare wasn't really part of my original intention but rather the emergence of nations which were not in a constant state of tribal warfare. The graphs I linked to towards the end of post 1242344 were included to refute the notion of increased warfare raised by dr.bob.

Jenny wrote:
Many of the rights that we take for granted nowadays - the equality of women, marriage equality and reproductive choice to name but three - have been done in the teeth of determined opposition from Christians, as the current referendum in Ireland proves very plainly.

As are all reforms - I've said before that organised religions are by nature conservative.

Jenny wrote:
If I had to formulate a thesis, it would be that human progress has largely been made by people who departed from the tenets of various religions.

And yet if Christian worship was not important to them they would simply ignore the status quo and go their own way. The most recent example of this that springs to mind is the desire for same sex couples to be allowed church weddings. As I say these are reforms; political reforms occur as well in the maturation of a free and tolerant society but religious reforms are a part of that process which is of great importance to a (decreasingly large) section of the population. This thread is not about the relevance of organised religion in a modern society however it is about the historical influence of Christian philosophy in the evolution of such societies.

 
bobwilson
1283875.  Sat May 12, 2018 7:54 pm Reply with quote

Quote:
Christian philosophy is directly or indirectly responsible for ……..

I didn't mention belief, which is a matter of faith.


In which case you have a fundamental problem. If you are defining Christian philosophy as being (effectively) “all those things which in normal discourse we would define as being ‘Christian’ – for example, charity, meekness, tolerance etc – OTHER THAN the belief in a supernatural deit(y/ies) as described in a particular religious text or tradition” –

then you are simply abrogating to Christianity all the “nice” bits of the human experience.

Put more prosaically, those two statements together define “Christian philosophy” as “those bits of Western culture (even if exactly similar to other cultures in other parts of the world) which are generally accepted as the mark of civilisation”

 
Celebaelin
1283917.  Sun May 13, 2018 6:30 am Reply with quote

Abrogating?

You mean allocating don't you?

That is beside the point however; I didn't include reference to belief because it adds another point of attack. People might argue, and have argued on this thread, that even in espousing Christian beliefs they do not actually believe what they are saying. My response is to cite authorial intent but that does not in fact deny that the author may not have believed what (s)he was professing but rather suggests that we must assume that they did because to assume that they meant something other than their words convey is madness.

Belief may even mean belief in an ethical approach rather than a deistic or spiritual one but, to re-iterate, I do not reference the concept because the difficulty of interpretation of intent complicates matters.

bobwilson wrote:
then you are simply abrogating (sic) to Christianity all the “nice” bits of the human experience.

That is what Christian philosophy/ethics dictate 'God is love' and all that; other approaches are available.

bobwilson wrote:
(even if exactly similar to other cultures in other parts of the world)

But they were not treated as being 'exactly similar' though were they? Quite apart from anything else the demarcation between cultural influences (ie political boundaries) dictates that the various teachings were not considered in any way equivalent or exchangeable. This was of course a multi-partite viewpoint held on all sides of any divides which existed for the purposes of retaining and delineating spheres of control. There were different shades of opinion and interpretation not only between religions with common origins but also between spiritual and secular philosophies but this was secondary to the political aspects of the divides.

I would remind you of the

Celebaelin wrote:
...in Europe and the Americas

part of my assertion.

 
dr.bob
1284214.  Wed May 16, 2018 8:45 am Reply with quote

Right, I'm back. What have I missed? Oh, quite a lot, it seems. OK, lots of stuff to deal with here. Apologies in advance for what will almost certainly be a very long post.

Celebaelin wrote:
So what evidence might I present that would demonstrate causation?


To answer this properly, I feel I first need to clarify one point. Your initial assertion states that:

"Christian philosophy is directly or indirectly responsible for the transformation from a warlike to an agrarian/industrial culture in Europe and the Americas"

My question is: Are you asserting that the experience in Europe and the Americas is broadly any different from any other part of the world? Or are you saying: "Christian philosophy is directly or indirectly responsible for the transformation from a warlike to an agrarian/industrial culture in Europe and the Americas just as Islamic philosophy is responsible for the same transformation in the Middle East, and Confucianism is responsible for the same transformation in China"? You touch on this briefly in post 1283689, but I think the point could do with clarifying so we don't end up arguing at cross-purposes.

If you're saying that Christian philosophy has had an influence which is in some way different from those other parts of the world, then the evidence you ask about would be examples of how Europe and the Americas differs from other parts of the world. If, however, you're saying Christian philosophy has had the same kind of influence that other religions have had in other parts of the world, then the evidence becomes harder to find, since we don't have a "control sample" to compare society against what it would've been like without religious doctrine.

Celebaelin wrote:
I claim that Christian philosophy has influenced the peaceful development of Europe and America so it follows, does it not, that first hand citation of Christian motivation by the 'movers and shakers' who instigated changes towards peaceful advances would constitute documented causation.


No it doesn't, for two reasons.

Firstly, for much of the last 2,000 years of European history, being Christian was pretty much obligatory. In the Middle Ages, organisations such as the Inquisition would happily put to death anyone convicted of heresy. Even Christians who argued that Christian philosophy should be ever so slightly different from what the church said it was were put to death, so you can imagine what would happen to anyone who said "God doesn't exist." Even during Renaissance times, characters like Étienne Dolet, Kazimierz Łyszczyński, and François-Jean de la Barre were horribly put to death for not following the Church's teachings.

So quoting the religious beliefs of pretty much anyone before the mid-19th century (like all those quotes you trotted out from the likes of Cromwell, Newton, etc.) is facile since, in those days, everyone had to be a Christian whether they wanted to or not.

Secondly, and more importantly, you have failed to properly address my criticism that many supposedly Christian people throughout history have behaved in decidedly un-Christian ways. You yourself have acknowledged that this is true, but you have failed to address the problem.

It would be a bit like if I stated "driving cars save lives!" and went on to point out lots of examples where safety features like crumple zones and seat belts have saved people from potentially deadly situations. You might quite rightly point out that cars are responsible for the deaths of thousands of people every year. However, if I were to ignore this statistic by simply saying "That doesn't count! These people were clearly not using their cars properly." you would probably get a bit frustrated with my tendency to deliberately and obtusely blind myself to any evidence which disproved my assertion.

Whenever I have pointed out that Christian people have persecuted innocent people, or gone to war, you have simply dismissed this by saying "That doesn't count, because they weren't following Christian philosophy." As bobwilson points out later, you seem to be defining "Christian philosophy"as "being nice" rather than "being a church-going, bible-reading Christian." That's an argument that so loosely defined and woolly that it's impossible to have any kind of sensible discussion about it.

If you want to provide docuemted evidence of causation, it would probably help if you defined precisely what you mean by "Christian philosophy", because on the evidence so far it seems to be only a very small subset of the tenets of the Christian church.

Celebaelin wrote:
A papal bull might be considered fair evidence but as you have pointed out via Cum nimis absurdum and I have referenced by citing Urban II (specifically the document would be Urban's letter to the Flemish granting "remission of all their sins") not all such documents are exactly unremittingly morally Christian in effect.


Celebaelin wrote:
Papal bulls are a mixed bag but there's a lot of stuff in there specifically protecting Jews and some other clearly benevolent and unificatory stuff


You see? There you go. Effectively you're saying "I'm only going to choose the Papal Bulls that fit with my idea of 'Christian philosophy' and ignore any that contradict my assertion, even though the Pope is clearly a Christian."

If you're going to wilfully ignore evidence that contradicts you then it will be impossible to have any meaningful discussion about the topic.

Celebaelin wrote:
Many would disagree that her premiership was an indication of progress per se (although she and her followers obviously thought it was) but if I can link change with citations of Christian philosophy will that suffice?


I'd be interested to see how you're going to link the changes of the Thatcher government to her belief in Christian philosophy and not, say, her faith in the Monetarist teachings of Milton Friedman. 'Cos if all you've got is one soundbite from 1979, then that's pretty scant evidence.

Celebaelin wrote:
This fluidity of interpretation is the source of the development, the evolution if you will, of church moral stance and influence. From my point of view it is accompanied by a wider acceptance of the new dogma amongst believers and, in the event that the new dogma is a mellowing of dictatorial church conservatism, as it often is, this in turn leads to a more tolerant and peaceful society.


Personally I think you have this completely arse about face.

As an example, I would offer the case of gay marriage. The Christian church has a long and noble history of hating gay people. The attitude of the population at large, however, has changed over time. This has lead to many legal statutes in this country, from the decriminalization of homosexuality in 1967 to the legalisation of gay marriage in 2013 (2014 in Scotland).

During this time, the church has been extremely reluctant to change. Indeed, despite being approved in most of the EU, gay marriage is still not legal in Italy due to direct and sustained political pressure coming straight from the Vatican. Some churches are currently debating whether gay marriage should be allowed, with no success so far.

You say above that the church's moral stance evolves, is accepted by believers and in turn leads to a more tolerant society. However, all the evidence suggests that it is society that becomes more tolerant, while the church is dragged kicking and screaming into the modern age by the opinions of its congregations, not the other way round.

 
Brock
1284237.  Wed May 16, 2018 4:11 pm Reply with quote

dr.bob wrote:

As an example, I would offer the case of gay marriage. The Christian church has a long and noble history of hating gay people. The attitude of the population at large, however, has changed over time. This has lead to many legal statutes in this country, from the decriminalization of homosexuality in 1967 to the legalisation of gay marriage in 2013 (2014 in Scotland).


Are you suggesting that illegal gay marriages took place in England and Wales before the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) 2013 Act was passed? I thought that the Act introduced same-sex marriage, a concept which hadn't existed previously.

 
dr.bob
1284298.  Thu May 17, 2018 9:34 am Reply with quote

Yeah, that was a dumb way that I put it. I probably should've said something like "legislation to introduce gay marriage."

 
Jenny
1284307.  Thu May 17, 2018 10:29 am Reply with quote

dr.bob wrote:
You say above that the church's moral stance evolves, is accepted by believers and in turn leads to a more tolerant society. However, all the evidence suggests that it is society that becomes more tolerant, while the church is dragged kicking and screaming into the modern age by the opinions of its congregations, not the other way round.


^ This.

 
'yorz
1284314.  Thu May 17, 2018 11:59 am Reply with quote


Tolerant society


Shurely this sign is tongue-in-cheek? *severe lip tremble*

 
barbados
1284323.  Thu May 17, 2018 1:22 pm Reply with quote

Jenny wrote:
dr.bob wrote:
You say above that the church's moral stance evolves, is accepted by believers and in turn leads to a more tolerant society. However, all the evidence suggests that it is society that becomes more tolerant, while the church is dragged kicking and screaming into the modern age by the opinions of its congregations, not the other way round.


^ This.


That assumes that both "the church" and "society" are two seperate things, where in reality it is a subset of society.

In truth the seperated church is so far buried in history that the foundations of "society" may well have been sat in the church, now they both affect each other

 
Alfred E Neuman
1284330.  Thu May 17, 2018 2:10 pm Reply with quote

'yorz wrote:
Tolerant society


Shurely this sign is tongue-in-cheek? *severe lip tremble*


I scored 22.

 
'yorz
1284333.  Thu May 17, 2018 2:53 pm Reply with quote

:-D

 
suze
1284334.  Thu May 17, 2018 4:14 pm Reply with quote

Alfred E Neuman wrote:
I scored 22.


Damn, I need to raise my game. I only scored 18 ...

 
crissdee
1284341.  Thu May 17, 2018 5:22 pm Reply with quote

I could only lay claim to ten of them, I'm practically a monk!

 
Spud McLaren
1284342.  Thu May 17, 2018 5:23 pm Reply with quote

16. Or possibly 17, if I'm a sin-friendly heresy teacher - what are the qualifications?

 

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