Can Someone Be Glad for God’s Non-Existence?

  • May I say that as our country was more religious, free speech was always understood well. Today, as society becomes more secular/atheistic… students need safe spaces to have a place to display their infantilization and routinely shut down dissenting ideas/speech. Religion (esp. the Judeo-Christian faith) creates courage in character expressed in community… secularism/atheism creates selfish ideals of a reality lived in a bubble. Even Richard Dawkins (famed atheist) said this of Christianity: “I have mixed feelings about the decline of Christianity, in so far as Christianity might be a bulwark against something worse.” 

After someone posted this meme, a person said:

  • “Amen! There is no God!”

(He meant no Christian God specifically as it is a predominately Christian Facebook group).

Now, I realize the original poster of the meme was not aware that this cuts both ways… and the atheist was merely pointing this out humorously. But this serves as a lesson EVEN FOR ATHEISTS.

So I replied:

I don’t know how someone could say “amen” to there not being a Judeo-Christian God? When comparing it to other worldview (say, pantheism, panentheism, finite godism, polytheism, etc), they have done almost zip for their respective societies.

Healthcare (nurses, hospitals, and is still the largest healthcare provider in the world), tackling the illiteracy problems as well as drunkeness (for instance the YMCA and Salvation ARMY and AA), education (all the leading universities like: Harvard, Yale, William and Mary, Princeton, Cambridge, and Westminster, etc… were founded as seminaries — so-to-speak — same goes for the medieval universities: University of Bologna, Oxford, University of Paris, etc.), languages unified in many nations across the globe by missionaries (Bengali is one example, other indigenous languages were preserved by [one example] William Carey, who because he unified the languages in India… the government formed for the first time a language that could include the general population in being involved), Historian Alvin Schmidt points out how the spread of Christianity and Christian influence on government was primarily responsible for outlawing infanticide, child abandonment, and abortion in the Roman Empire (in AD 374); outlawing the brutal battles-to-the-death in which thousands of gladiators had died (in 404); outlawing the cruel punishment of branding the faces of criminals (in 315); instituting prison reforms such as the segregating of male and female prisoners (by 361); stopping the practice of human sacrifice among the Irish, the Prussians, and the Lithuanians as well as among other nations; outlawing pedophilia; granting of property rights and other protections to women; banning polygamy (which is still practiced in some Muslim nations today); prohibiting the burning alive of widows in India (in 1829); outlawing the painful and crippling practice of binding young women’s feet in China (in 1912); persuading government officials to begin a system of public schools in Germany (in the sixteenth century); and advancing the idea of compulsory education of all children in a number of European countries.

Etc., etc., etc….

There was also strong influence from Christian ideas and influential Christians in the formulation of the Magna Carta in England (1215) and of the Declaration of Independence (1776) and the Constitution (1787) in the United States. These are three of the most significant documents in the history of governments on the earth, and all three show the marks of significant Christian influence in the foundational ideas of how governments should function.

This is important because….

The World Forum on Democracy reports that in 1950 there were 22 democracies accounting for 31% of the world population and a further 21 states with restricted democratic practices, accounting for 11.9% of the globe’s population. Since the turn of the century, electoral democracies now represent 120 of the 192 existing countries and constitute 58.2% of the world’s population.

The impact of this Christian founded nation and Christians on Democracy and the ending of slavery for the first time in world history is nothing short of miraculous.

What have non-God [atheistic worldview] type governments done????????

They have done in one century what all of the worlds religions could not accomplish in the previous 19-centuries… kill a record number of people.

[Yes, that includes the newest and most deadly religion in the stats — Islam. Out of all the religious wars in written world history… Islam claims almost 2/3rds of them. But this can be expected from it’s founder who slit the throats of men, women, and children.]

THREE Books To Read:

✦ How the West Won: The Neglected Story of the Triumph of Modernity, by Rodney Stark;
✦ How Christianity Changed the World, by Alvin Schmidt;
✦ The Book that Made Your World: How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization, by Vishal Mangalwadi.

The above was my quick response on Facebook… here is another great short list from Life Coach for Coach:

  1. Hospitals, which essentially began during the Middle Ages.
  2. Universities, which also began during the Middle Ages. In addition, most of the world’s greatest universities were started for Christian purposes.
  3. Literacy and education for the masses.
  4. Capitalism and free enterprise.
  5. Representative government, particularly as it has been seen in the American experiment.
  6. The separation of political powers.
  7. Civil liberties.
  8. The abolition of slavery, both in antiquity and in more modern times.
  9. Modern science.
  10. The discovery of the New World by Columbus.
  11. The elevation of women.
  12. Benevolence and charity; the good Samaritan ethic.
  13. Higher standards of justice.
  14. The elevation of common man.
  15. The condemnation of adultery, homosexuality, and other sexual perversions. This has helped to preserve the human race, and it has spared many from heartache.
  16. High regard for human life.
  17. The civilizing of many barbarian and primitive cultures.
  18. The codifying and setting to writing of many of the world’s languages.
  19. Greater development of art and music. The inspiration for the greatest works of art.
  20. The countless changed lives transformed from liabilities into assets to society because of the gospel.

[And Twenty-One:]

The eternal salvation of countless souls.

The last one mentioned, the salvation of souls, is the primary goal of the spread of Christianity. All the other benefits listed are basically just by-products of what Christianity has often brought when applied to daily living.

When Jesus Christ took upon Himself the form of a man, He imbued mankind with dignity and inherent value that had never been dreamed of before. Whatever Jesus touched or whatever He did transformed that aspect of human life.

Many are familiar with the 1946 film classic It’s a Wonderful Life, wherein the character played by Jimmy Stewart gets a chance to see what life would be like had he never been born. The main point of the film is that each person’s life has an impact on everybody else’s life. Had they never been born, there would be gaping holes left by their absence. Jesus has had an enormous impact—more than anybody else—in history. Had he never come, the hole would be a canyon about the size of a continent.

Another great (downloadable in PDF or .DOC) can be found at Journey of Cross and Quill. Here is one paragraph as an example of the excellent post:

Schmidt quotes Lynn White, historian of medieval science, as saying “From the thirteenth century onward into the eighteenth every major scientist, in effect, explained his motivations in religious terms” (222). William Occam (1280-1349) had a great influence on the development of modern science. His concept known as “Occam’s Razor” was the scientific principle that states that what can be done or explained with the fewest assumptions should be used. It is the principle of parsimony. As was common with almost all medieval natural philosophers, Occam did not confine himself to scientific matters and wrote two theological treatises, one dealing with the Lord’s Supper and the other with the body of Christ, both of which had a tremendous impact on Martin Luther’s thinking (Schmidt 222). Leonardo Da Vinci (1452-1519), while a great artist and painter was also a scientific genius who analyzed and theorized in the areas of botany, optics, physics, hydraulics, and aeronautics. However, his greatest benefit to science was in the study of physiology in which he produced meticulous drawings of the human body (Schmidt 223). Andreas Vesalius (1514-64) followed in Da Vinci’s footsteps. In his famous work, De humani corpis fabrica (Fabric of the Human Body), published in 1543, he corrects over two hundred errors in Galen’s physiological writings. (Galen was a Greek physician of the second century) The errors were largely found by dissecting cadavers (Schmidt 223). The branch of genetics flourished under the work of Gregor Johann Mendel (1822-1884), an Augustinian monk, who after studying Darwin’s theory of evolution rejected it (Schmidt 224). In the field of astronomy great advances were made under devout Christian men Copernicus, Brahe, Kepler, and Galileo. In physics we encounter Isaac Newton (1642-1727), Gottfried Leibniz (1646-1716), Blaise Pascal (1623-62), Alessandro Volta (1745-1827), Georg Simon Ohm (1787-1854), Andre Ampere (1775-1836), Michael Faraday (1791-1867), and William Thompson Kelvin (1824-1907). These men held to a strong Christian faith as evidenced by their writings. Before he died, Kepler was asked by an attending Lutheran pastor where he placed his faith. Kepler replied, “Solely and alone in the work of our redeemer Jesus Christ.” Kepler, who only tried “thinking God’s thoughts after him,” died with the Christian faith planted firmly in his mind and heart. His epitaph, penned four months before his death stated:

I used to measure the heavens,

Now I must measure the earth.

Though sky-bound was my spirit,

My earthly body rests here (Schmidt 230).


A Few Lectures


Rodney Stark on the Dennis Prager Show:

A LONG lecture by historian Alvin Schmidt:

Vishal Mangalwadi on the Bible’s Influence of India (1st video) and the West (2nd):

Co-Founder of “Darwinism” Embraced Intelligent Design (Updated)

One of the most renowned biologists of the nineteenth century, Alfred Russel Wallace shares credit with Charles Darwin for developing the theory of evolution by natural selection. Yet one part of Wallace’s remarkable life and career has been completely ignored: His embrace of intelligent design. “Darwin’s Heretic” is a 21-minute documentary that explores Wallace’s fascinating intellectual journey and how it sheds light on current debates. The documentary features University of Alabama at Birmingham Professor Michael Flannery, author of the acclaimed biography, “Alfred Russel Wallace: A Rediscovered Life.” You can purchase a DVD of this video plus more than 30 minutes of bonus material at http://www.darwinsheretic.com.

Here is an excellent article by David Klinghoffer at Evolution News noting that in today’s vernacular, Wallace would be considered a creationist:

At the inception of the theory of evolution, Darwin and co-discoverer Alfred Russel Wallace represented two paths forward, one headed in the end to nihilism, atheism, and despair — basically, today’s ascendant culture — the other to a wondrous and hope-giving recognition that material stuff is not all there is in the universe. As Wallace argued, a source of intelligent agency lies behind the changing façade of nature:

Wallace expounded his views at length in two scientific books near the end of his life: Man’s Place in the Universe (1903) and The World of Life (1910). He saw evidence of purpose in the functional complexity of the cell, the exquisite design of biological structures, and the rare constellation of physical factors that allows life to exist on the earth in the first place. “Everywhere, not here and there, but everywhere, and in the very smallest operations of nature to which human observation has penetrated, there is Purpose and a continual Guidance and Control.”

In our own day, Lehigh University biochemist Michael Behe and geneticist Michael Denton are prime examples of scientists who, like Wallace, see evolution as a fundamentally purposeful process. That they are regarded as beyond the pale by most current evolutionary biologists reflects the triumph of the metaphysics of Darwinism enforced by academic pressures of conformity that oppress dissent rather than consider evidence. The Church of Darwin is so narrow today that even the cofounder of the theory would have to be declared a heretic.

Let that sink in. If the co-discoverer of evolutionary theory were alive today, he would be attacked by the National Center for Science Education as a “creationist.”

[….]

It’s a sign of the times, an indication of the intellectual impoverishment of journalism and academia, that Darwin advocates are currently triumphant in convincing so many thoughtful people that evolution means Darwin, period, that Darwin is the only alternative to that ill-defined scare word, “creationism.” First Things deserves applause and thanks for reminding its readers that there is another way.

(Read it all)

As an aside,

  • First Things ran an article that was God Awful… apparently trying to give the other side of the issue a chance. The other side showed it’s true colors for believing in evolution: straw-men, red herrings, and supposition.

See more resources at Evolution News & Views, as well as the books, “The Heretic in Darwin’s Court: The Life of Alfred Russel Wallace” and “Alfred Russel Wallace: A Rediscovered Life,” ~ and especially the site, Alfred Russel Wallace.

I will end with this quote from a non-creationist/non-ID’er that deals with the history of the background of the suppositions involved in modern evolutionary theory that still cause “brooding” to this day:

The third reason why most naturalists around 1835 were slow to admit the fact of evolution was neither a religious nor a moral ob­jection. It was a purely intellectual one. By now it has been almost completely forgotten, no doubt because we labor under the hand­icap of hindsight. But it was a well-founded objection at the time.

If someone says a certain thing has happened, and it is of a kind which has never been actually witnessed by anyone, it is reasonable to doubt what he says, if no one can think of any ex­planation of what he says has happened. It is on this principle that you would doubt my word, if I were to tell you (for ex­ample) that electrical storms follow me wherever I go. Now this was exactly how matters stood with evolutionism around i835.

No naturalist claimed, of course, to have ever seen a new species evolve out of an older one. Yet the evolutionists said that, whenever new species do come into existence, that is the way they do it. But what could be the explanation of one species’ giving rise to another? What causes or forces are there, already known to exist in nature, which would make one kind of grass or fish or mammal evolve into a different kind? Where is the vera causa, as they used to say, or (as we would say), where is the mechanism, which could drive this alleged process of evolution?

It should go without saying that this was not only a purely in­tellectual objection, but a good objection, to evolutionism. The main evidence for evolution was the fossil record, which reveals in countless instances the arrival of a new species which is closely re­lated to an earlier one. In 1835 most naturalists regarded these new species as brought about by exercises of God’s creative power; whereas the evolutionists regarded them as developments or evolutions of the older species in question. No one had ever wit­nessed any of these exercises of Divine power, of course, but then exactly the same was true of evolutions of one species into another; no one had ever witnessed an instance of that, either. And then, to ascribe new species to God’s creative power is at least an explanation of a kind, though doubtless not of a very satisfactory kind. But the evolutionists, for their part, had no explanation of any kind to suggest for their alleged process of evolution.

Darwin, being a rational man, naturally felt the force of this objection, just as strongly as did his fellow naturalists who were not evolutionists. For several years around 1836, it weighed heavily on his mind. These were the very same years when the reality of evolution was being constantly impressed upon him, by the multitude of facts which would be explained if it were true. But the trouble, and a very big trouble, was that he could not think of anything which would explain evolution. That was the rub, and it seemed to Darwin that he was staring at a blank wall.

Given the intellectual circumstances of the time, it is not surprising that, just a few years later, another young naturalist found himself brought to a standstill by exactly the same blank wall. This was Alfred Wallace. Though neither of them knew it, his early intellectual career had been exactly the same as Dar­win’s. On the one hand, he had become convinced of the reality of evolution; but on the other, he was altogether at a loss as to how to explain it.

Why should there be any evolution at all? Why should not the species which exist at a given time exist forever, without any new ones ever being added, or old ones subtracted? But it is not the subtractions which are the problem: presumably climatic or topographical changes, and general wear and tear, will sometimes bring about the extinction of a species. The problem is the new additions. Why should any new species ever come into existence at all? That is the mystery of the origin of species, which both Darwin and Wallace long brooded over in vain.

To ordinary observation, of course, it does not look as though new species ever do come into existence. But it is clear from the fossil record that the reality is very different. In countless thousands of instances, new species of organisms have appeared on earth. Organic nature is in fact, whatever else it is, a gigantic species-generating engine. Now, why in the world would it be that? What force can it possibly be, which drives this gigantic engine? It might reasonably be thought to be some Divine force, in view of the irresistibility of its operations, and the length of time that those operations have been going on all over the earth. But if it is not a Divine force, what force is it?

David Stove, Darwinian Fairytales: Selfish Genes, Errors of Heredity, and Other Fables of Evolution (New York, NY: Encounter Books, 1995), 24-26. (Emphasis Added)

Islam’s Golden Age vs. Christian Medieval Science

Here is the excerpt from Dr. Chapman’s book:

Christianities Advancement vs. Islam’s Stalling

…But what I would argue is that science entered early Christian and medieval Europe by a process of cultural osmosis. For one of the formative and enduring features of Christianity, from the AD 30s and 40s onwards, was its social and cultural flexibility. One did not have to belong to any given racial or cultural group, wear any approved style of clothing, cut one’s beard in a prescribed way, speak a special holy language, or follow essential rituals to be a Christian. Women in particular, amazingly, considering their limited social role in antiquity, were drawn to Christianity in large numbers, as the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles make clear, where they are shown as openly expressing their views. They were even the original witnesses of the resurrection, while St Paul’s first European convert was Lydia of Thyatira, a Greek merchant woman.

In fact Christianity moved into the pre-existing social, legal and administrative structures of Greco-Roman paganism, as Greek civic virtue became infused with Judeo-Christian charity. Roman legal objectivity absorbed key aspects of the teachings of the Sermon on the Mount and the Beatitudes to create a concept of social justice; even the modes of dress of late Roman officials became the vestments of Christian priests; while words like “bishop” and “diocese” derived from classical administrative sources. Christianity, instead of overthrowing the genius of Greece and Rome, simply absorbed its best practical components, and allied them with the teachings of Jesus. The law codes of Christendom, moreover, came to develop non-theological components. The circuit judge system set up by King Henry II in the twelfth century, for instance, might have carried resonances of the assistant judges of Israel appointed by Moses in Exodus, or the judgment towns visited by the prophet Samuel in 1 Samuel, but in practice it administered a new, practical English “Common Law”, and the judges often sat with that innovation of the age, a twelve-man lay jury.

This is how medieval students in Oxford, Paris, Bologna, or Salamanca came to study the pagan philosophies of Plato and Aristotle, the classical Latin poetry of Virgil, and the humane ethics of Cicero along with the Gospels. And very important for the rise of a civil society in which there was an acknowledged saeculum or non-theological exclusivity, the law students at the medieval Inns of Court in London, then as today, learned a pragmatic, case-based evolving civil law that was not especially theological in its foundation. For medieval Christendom was open to non-Christian ideas, provided that they could be reconciled in their broader principles with Christianity.

Exactly the same thing happened with science. The astronomy of Ptolemy, the physics of Aristotle, and the medicine of Hippocrates became part of the curriculum in Europe’s great new universities by 1250. Indeed, it was generally accepted that many honest pagans had glimpsed key truths of God’s creation, and who could blame the wise Socrates and Aristotle if they happened to have been born 400 years before Jesus, for their wisdom and honest contributions to learning were beyond question. This is how ancient science came to slide effortlessly into the Christian world, for it was useful for making calendars, treating diseases, and explaining the physical nature of things from the facts then available.

But, you might ask, when talking about science and Christendom, what happened in monotheistic Islam? It is an evident fact of history that, after its initial military conquests in the century after AD 622, Muslim scholars in Baghdad, Cairo, and southern Spain encountered the scientific and medical writings of the Greeks, which they translated into Arabic. And amidst a galaxy of figures such as Ibn Jabir in chemistry, Ibn Sina (Avicenna) in medicine, Ibn Tusi in astronomy, and Al-Haythem (Alhazen) in optics, Arabic science took the Greek scientific tradition further, research-wise, than anyone in Europe over the centuries AD 800-1200. But then, due to a variety of factors embedded within Islamic culture, it stalled and came to a standstill, especially after their last great scientist, the astronomer Ulugh Beigh of Samarkand, was murdered, it was said, by one of his own sons in 1449.

There has been much discussion among scholars as to why Islamic science declined as an intellectual and technical force, and why Christian Europe after 1200 developed a momentum which absorbed — with full acknowledgment — the achievements of the great Muslim scholars and scientists, and accelerated in an unbroken line of development down to the present day. For Islam, just like Judaism and Christianity, is a monotheistic faith, seeing the God of Abraham as the original and only creative force behind the universe. So why did the Islamic monotheistic tradition stall scientifically, while the Judeo-Christian tradition flourished? I think much has to do with a broader receptivity to classical Greco-Roman culture.

As was shown above, Christianity grew directly out of a combination of Judaism and wider Greco-Roman culture. Jesus the man was incarnated as a Jewish rabbi who preached in vernacular Aramaic and could read Hebrew, yet whose teachings, not to mention the commentaries of his disciples, were committed to posterity in Greek and, somewhat later, in Latin. The Jesus of the Gospels, moreover, respected Caesar, the Roman state and its officials; and his disciples even held an election to decide whether Barnabas or Matthias should be co-opted into the Twelve after Judas’s treachery; while St Paul, a Jewish native of the Hellenized “university town” of Tarsus in Cilicia (now Turkey), argued like a Socratic philosopher in his letters and was deeply proud of being a hereditary Roman citizen. Islam, on the other hand, came about in a very different way. The Prophet Mohammed’s roots lay in the essentially tribal society of the seventh-century-AD Arabian peninsula, east of the Red Sea. Tribal custom and not Greco-Roman “civic virtue” moulded its social and cultural practices, and Islam’s lack of a theology of free grace and atonement gave emphasis to an internal legalism that could all too easily generate centuries long sectarian disputes, such as those between the Shi’ites and the Sunnis. And while I fully admit that Christendom has had its own spasms of internal violent reprisal, most recently witnessed in the Troubles in Northern Ireland, I would suggest that Christendom’s classically derived constitutional, negotiated, approach to politics has always provided mechanisms for containment and reconciliation. This has been seen most notably in the active cooperation between the Roman Catholic and Protestant mainstreams, often on an overtly religious level, although splinter groups can remain active until changes in public attitudes eventually render them obsolete.

Islam took from Greco-Roman culture what it found useful in the territories it conquered. These included Greek astronomy, optics, medicine, chemistry, and technology, each of which it amplified and expanded, producing major treatises, often based upon freshly accumulated and carefully classified observational data. Chemistry came to owe an enormous debt to Arabic researchers, as would astronomical, medical, and botanical nomenclature. Indeed, well over a dozen major Arabic works made their way into Europe, where they were translated into Latin, influencing figures like Bishop Robert Grosseteste and Friar Roger Bacon of Oxford, and began to be widely studied in detail in the post-1100 European universities. (On the other hand, I am not aware of the foundational works of European science, such as those of Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Vesalius, or Harvey, being translated into Arabic until recent times.) And among other things, that astronomical computing instrument known as the astrolabe, upon which the poet Geoffrey Chaucer wrote the first technical “workshop manual” in the English language around 1381, was a sophisticated Arabic development of a device first outlined by Ptolemy in the second century AD.

Yet while Greek ideas were profoundly formative upon Arabic concepts of the natural world, Islam did not absorb other key ideas of Greek and Roman culture which would become formative to Christian Europe. Greek democratic political ideals, “civic virtue”, and legal monogamy (divorce and mistresses notwithstanding) never became an integral part of Islam as they did of Christendom. Nor did the descent of kingship through holy anointing, which began with Samuel, Saul, and David in 1 Samuel in the Old Testament and entered early Christian kingship practices as the act of coronation, and is still enshrined in the person of HM Queen Elizabeth II.

It is for these reasons, I would argue, that modern science is a child of Judeo-Christian, Greco-Roman parentage, and why I speak of Western science as becoming the dominant style of thinking about the natural world and humanity’s inquisitive relationship with it. Indeed, it is not just about the science and technology, but about the social, intellectual, and cultural assumptions and practices in which modern science is embedded. The very institutions within which science has grown up over the last 900 years, moreover, testify to this inheritance: universities with enduring corporate structures borrowed from Greek and Roman linguistic and civic practice; learned societies — such as the Royal Society of London after 1660 — which were self-electing, self-governing bodies modelled on the “collegiate”, “civic virtue” style Oxford and Cambridge colleges; and rich, free-trading merchant-driven cities such as London, Florence, Venice, Nuremberg, Amsterdam, Antwerp, and Hamburg.

As will be shown in more detail in the following chapters, historical Christianity has never been rigidly literalistic in its interpretation of the physical world of Scripture, and it is that very flexibility that has made the faith so versatile and adaptive in its social expression over 2,000 years. A faith that made its first utterance among Aramaic-speaking fishermen and farmers around Galilee (occupying a land surface area no bigger than modern Birmingham), quickly went on to enchant Greek-writing scholars, led to the conversion of the Roman Empire, encompassed people between Mesopotamia, Spain, Britannia, and Ethiopia by AD 600, would inspire the new Latin-speaking universities of Europe by 1200, would engraft onto itself the science, philosophy, legal and social practices of the high classical Mediterranean, would explore possible connections between the teachings of Jesus and the writings of Plato and Virgil, and whose Scriptures would be translated into the vernacular languages of Europe by 1550. Christianity would then go on to inspire the natural theology of the Royal Society Fellows, be the driving force behind the abolition of slavery, supply the moral and spiritual tools that constitute the best and noblest aspects of what we now call “human rights” — and become the prime target for some of the bitterest abuse that many twenty-first-century sceptics feel compelled to heap upon religious belief (and I have heard a good deal of that at first hand!).

Indeed, considering the magnitude of Christianity’s moulding influence upon Western civilization, and its provision of that rich soil in which post-classical science could flourish and grow, it is hardly surprising that, in this imperfect world, it has detractors…

Allan Chapman, Slaying the Dragons: Destroying the Myths in the History of Science and Faith (Oxford, England: Lion Publishing, 2013), 18-23.

ISLAM’s “Golden Age” revisited

The Golden Age of Islam – A Second Look

…Victor Davis Hanson has taken down Obama’s version of the Golden age of Islam:

In his speech last week in Cairo, President Obama proclaimed he was a “student of history.” But despite Mr. Obama’s image as an Ivy League-educated intellectual, he lacks historical competency in both facts and interpretation. … Obama … claimed that “Islam . . . carried the light of learning through so many centuries, paving the way for Europe’s Renaissance and Enlightenment.” [In fact] medieval Islamic culture … had little to do with the European rediscovery of classical Greek and Latin values. Europeans, Chinese, and Hindus, not Muslims, invented most of the breakthroughs Obama credited to Islamic innovation. … Much of the Renaissance, in fact, was more predicated on the centuries-long flight of Greek-speaking Byzantine scholars from Constantinople to Western Europe to escape the aggression of Islamic Turks. Many romantic thinkers of the Enlightenment sought to extend freedom to oppressed subjects of Muslim fundamentalist rule in eastern and southern Europe.

Andrew Bostom has skewered the myth that Cordoba was a model of ecumenism:

Expanding upon Jane Gerber’s thesis about the “garish” myth of a “Golden Age,” the late Richard Fletcher (in his Moorish Spain) offered a fair assessment of interfaith relationships in Muslim Spain and his view of additional contemporary currents responsible for obfuscating that history:

The witness of those who lived through the horrors of the Berber conquest, of the Andalusian fitnah [ordeal] in the early eleventh century, of the Almoravid invasion — to mention only a few disruptive episodes — must give it [i.e.: the roseate view of Muslim Spain] the lie.

The simple and verifiable historical truth is that Moorish Spain was more often a land of turmoil than it was of tranquility. … Tolerance? Ask the Jews of Granada who were massacred in 1066, or the Christians who were deported by the Almoravids to Morocco in 1126 (like the Moriscos five centuries later). … In the second half of the twentieth century a new agent of obfuscation makes its appearance: the guilt of the liberal conscience, which sees the evils of colonialism — assumed rather than demonstrated — foreshadowed in the Christian conquest of al-Andalus and the persecution of the Moriscos (but not, oddly, in the Moorish conquest and colonization). Stir the mix well and issue it free to credulous academics and media persons throughout the Western world. Then pour it generously over the truth … in the cultural conditions that prevail in the West today, the past has to be marketed, and to be successfully marketed, it has to be attractively packaged. Medieval Spain in a state of nature lacks wide appeal. Self-indulgent fantasies of glamour … do wonders for sharpening its image. But Moorish Spain was not a tolerant and enlightened society even in its most cultivated epoch.

Serge Trifkovic also has a general take-down of the overblown account of the accomplishments and comity of the Islamic Golden Age in his FrontPage article, The Golden Age of Islam is a Myth.

And now we have Emmet Scott, in a soon to be released study, Mohammed & Charlemagne Revisited: An Introduction to the History of a Controversy, advancing the thesis that Rather than preserving the Classical heritage, the expanding Islamic empire destroyed it and brought about the Dark Ages.

Armed with new archaeological evidence, Scott makes the compelling case, originally put forward in 1920 by Henri Pirenne, a Belgian historian, that Classical civilization did not collapse after the fall of the Roman empire but was gradually attrited by the onslaught of Arab armies and raiders. The Islamic Golden Age came close to permanently destroying the classical humanistic culture of the West.

Hanson has pointed out the factual errors in Obama’s paean to Islam’s Golden Age. Andrew Bostom has skewered the myth that Cordoba was a model of ecumenism Trikovic has shown that the continuation of learning, science, technology of the “Golden age of Islam” prospered in spite of Islam and not because of Islam and now we have Emmet Scott skewering the myth that the Golden Age of Islam saved Classical humanistic Western culture. What is next? The glory of Sharia?

…read it all…

See also my past posts on the topic: