Saturday, October 31, 2015

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In praise of the Monks, the creators of modern Europe

Mentioned in 'A Short History of Medieval Europe" by Oliver Thatcher

by Ferdinand III

Without Christianity the German takeover of the decrepit, irrelevant, despotic and bankrupted Western Roman Empire, would have resulted in a permanent destruction of civilization. We owe nothing to Islam for civilization, medieval Europe having to endure and somehow survive the endless moon cult Jihad which would have effaced all progress, as much as it did everywhere the green and black flags of Islam are raised. The myth of the Islamic golden age, is seemingly only held by politicians and academics.

It was the Church which swept up the pieces of Greco-Roman culture and merged them into the Christian. Out of this synthesis, epitomized in the writings of various Christian sages such as Augustine [who Christianizes Plato]; or Aquinas [who Christianizes Aristotle]; we see civilization advance forward. There is no corollary within Islam, which accepted either Koranic supremacism [the merger of church and state]; or ancient Greek philosophy in-toto, essentially unchanged [Averroes, Avicenna].

Thatcher's book is in the main a very good one about the Medieval era. The exception being the usual academic homage to the non-existent, or at the very least, the grotesquely exaggerated Moslem 'golden age'. The usual exotic and quite purblind Oriental attractions suffuse Thatcher's mythical account of Islam. Nary a word about Jihad, rape, sex slavery, the destruction of 30.000 churches, the endless pirating, raiding or intolerance toward Jews and Christians. There is a chapter – apocryphal – about Muhammad and Islam. Just skip it, lest it infect your common sense.

Thatcher does not know much about Islam. Kindi for example who was not a scientist [as declared by Islamophiles], scorned the Meccan moon cult, and his tepid observations and critique of the Koran made his works harem, or forbidden for Moslems to read. So much for free will and inquiry, the linchpins of reason and progress. Fascisms do not create, they destroy.

Beyond that, the book is of interest. He does know a lot about medieval Europe. One area that he emphasizes which is clearly of import to anyone who wonders 'how did Europe advance so quickly, and so far', is his description of the utility of monasteries, the religious orders and the base fact, that they not only saved the world from barbarism, but created much in the way of secular technology, including practical industry and agriculture, education and hospitals and medicine. Homeopathy for example was a medieval monkish creation, long before the current modern fad of using natural ingredients.


Monasticism furnished the missionaries who Christianized western and northern Europe. The monks were also the civilizers. Every monastery founded by them became a centre of life and learning, and hence a light to the surrounding country. They cleared the lands and brought them under cultivation. They were the farmers and taught by their example the dignity of labor in an age when the soldier was the world’s hero. They preserved and transmitted much of the civilization of Rome to the Barbarians. They were the teachers of the west. Literature and learning found a refuge with them in times of violence.

There are no monks within Islam. There are no centers of work, culture, learning, education and care for the sick. There is no separation within the Meccan moon cult, of the church and state. There are no religious orders dedicated to work, worship, helping others and self-denial. None. Thatcher:

Their monasteries were the hotels of the Middle Age and they cared for the poor and the sick. They were the greatest builders of the Middle Age, many of the great churches of Europe being their work. Monasticism was an excellent thing for the world in those days. It was fitted to do a great work.

Quite true.

Monasticism radiated out from the British Isles, and in particular Ireland and Saxon England to cover the Continent. Pope Gregory the Great's signal contribution to the Western world was the conversion in the early 6th century of the Anglo-Saxons to the Roman Church. Ireland, converted by St. Patrick and others in the 5th century was also firmly in the vanguard of the faith. It fell to the Irish and English monks to re-colonize the Continent with their faith and works.

Monasticism soon gained a reputation for learning, labor, intelligence, honesty and charity, in a violent age, full of civil and secular strife. The rich placed their sons into the care of the monks, along with land and money. The movement spread, the centers grew and their influence was a prime reason why Europe by 1000 AD was on the path to world mastery.