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Western Civilisation

Join Gab (@StFerdinandIII) Western Civilisation was and is superior to anything Islam has developed.  Islam has not aided in the development of the modern world; in fact civilisation has only been created in spite of Islam.  Raising the alarm about the fascism called Submission since 2000.  

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Friday, October 21, 2011

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'Religion and the Rise of Western Culture' – Christopher Dawson [Kindle Edition]

Christianity not Islam created the modern world.

by Ferdinand III


 

And the importance of these centuries of which I have been writing is not to be found in the external order they created or attempted to create, but in the internal change they brought about in the soul of Western man – a change which can never be entirely undone except by the total negation or destruction of Western man himself.”

Dawson' book is a valuable learning vehicles for anyone interested in the development of Western Civilisation. In fact all of his books are worthwhile to read. His main idea – civilisation does not last when it is unmoored from its roots, or in the case of Europe and North America from its Judeo-Christian-Greco-Romano heritage. This book performs two services by providing proof that; 1) the world of the middle ages was complex, innovative in many ways, brutal surely, but not dark and 2) the development of Christianity fused with Roman-Greco ideals and technology was a long process and one that occurred differently in various parts of Europe but which was absolutely essential to the rise of Europe to world domination. Historians have proven for example that the Roman legacy was strong in southern France, but quickly disappeared in 5th century England, leading England or the Angle-Saxon lands on a far different path of theological-Christian-political-economic development. The complexity and richness of the middle ages [500-1500 AD] which directly led to the Renaissance and our modern world should of interest to anyone who wonders how our society was developed, from where, and by whom.


Dawson's works can also be used to juxtapose Christian development with Islam. One needs to keep in mind that the Moslem invasions of the 7th and 8th centuries, which destroyed Mediterranean trade patterns, raw material sourcing [gold, papyrus, fruit, spices] and which resulted in endless slave-taking, military attacks and the wanton destruction of Christian targets and assets around the Mediterranean; was by the 9th century ossified in comparison to the chaotic and but at times dynamic Christian states of west, central and north-west Europe. Islam was very good at squatting and the Moslem empire which was not unified in any real sense throughout the Mediterranean basin, did bring about [as the Mongols were to do in the 13th century] a vast territory under the control of one culture which occasioned for that area an increase in trade, capital formation and thus prosperity.


Trade patterns were thus changed to benefit the Moslems, with Ummayad Cordoba and the Spanish littoral as prime examples. This forcible redirection of Mediterranean flows in the political-economy is however quite a bit different than saying that the Moselms created the wealth by themselves, or were engaged in 'learning' or inventing all emanating from 'their' theology. Moslems were for the first 4 centuries of their existence minorities in the countries they conquered and everything from hospitals to algebra was already in existence in the occupied territories of the Jews, Greeks, Christians, and Romano-Berbers. Mostly everything in that Islamic world from the 8th to 12th centuries emanated from Jews, Greeks, Christians and Moors who were Christian converts to Islam. A fact rarely mentioned by academics.


Some of Dawson's themes include:

Dynamism:

The other great world cultures realized their own synthesis between religion and life and then maintained their sacred order unchanged for centuries and millennia. But Western civilization has been the great ferment of change in the world, because the changing of the world became an integral part of its cultural ideal. Centuries before the achievements of modern science and technology Western man had conceived the idea of a magna instauratio of the sciences which would open new ways for human understanding and change the fortunes of the human race.” p. 17


Orientalist Theology:

Apart from this single exceptional case [Carolingian Empire], there has never been any unitary organization of Western culture apart from that of the Christian Church, which provided an effective principle of social unity. And even in the Middle Ages the religious unity imposed by the Church never constituted a true theocracy of the Oriental type, since it involved a dualism between the spiritual and the temporal powers, which produced an internal tension in Western society and was a fertile source of criticism and change.” p. 19


Urbanization:

Nor was the medieval city a repetition of anything that had gone before. It was a new creation, unlike the cities of antiquity or those of modern times and differing also, though in a lesser degree, from the types of city which were to be found in the East at the same period.” p. 161

and

Henri Pirenne wrote: 'The medieval urban economy is worthy of the Gothic architecture with which it is contemporary. It created in every detail, and one might say ex nihilo, a system of social legislation more complete than that of any other period of history, including our own.' It was this integration of corporate organization, economic function and civic freedom which makes the medieval city, as Troeltsch remarks, the most complete embodiment of the social ideas of the Middle Ages, as we see them in their most highly developed form in the writings of St. Thomas and his contemporaries.” p. 171


War, disorder, the Moslems, the Inquisition:

The fourteenth century was an age of division and strife, the age of the Great Schism, which saw instead of the Crusades the invasion of Europe by the Turks and the devastation of France by England. And at the same time the intellectual resources of Western society which had been so much strengthened by the extension of the university movement no longer assisted the integration of Christian thought but were used negatively and critically to undo the work of the previous century and undermine the intellectual foundations of which the synthesis of the great thinkers of the previous age had been built.” [sounds like our modern age] p. 198

and

It marked the reappearance [Catharism in southern France in the 13th c.] of an ancient oriental religion as far or farther removed from Christianity than the religion of Islam. Consequently the Papacy used the same methods as it had employed against the Moslems – the method of the Crusade, and of an appeal to Christian princes to use their power in defence of the faith...and finally by a code of repressive legislation which gave birth to the inquisition.” p. 209


The history of the Middle Ages as Dawson relates in such intricate and scholarly detail, are as diverse as the characters and Christians living in Europe during this epoch. It is a complex history with the tension between Church and State always present. Yet the importance of this period which spawned the Renaissance and our own modern world cannot be cheapened or discounted.

And the importance of these centuries of which I have been writing is not to be found in the external order they created or attempted to create, but in the internal change they brought about in the soul of Western man – a change which can never be entirely undone except by the total negation or destruction of Western man himself.”


A process which is now in full train.

 

 


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