CHRISTIANITY BUILT WESTERN CIVILIZATION
AND THE MODERN WORLD
This is the first five episodes of The Catholic Church Builder of Civilization, from EWTN, with Dr. Thomas Woods. The author dispels the myth that the Catholic Church interfered with building civilization and scientific advancement.
In fact, he makes an airtight case that the Church was directly responsible for the foundation of modern civilization and science.
Christianity itself was a radical departure from almost all previous theology and ideologies. So-called pagan faiths viewed the world as dark and the world as dangerous and primordial.
Christianity taught God's creation, including mankind, was good. Priests counseled kings and lords to explore the world and build libraries, sponsor science, and plan cities.
Christ was bringing a new world to replace the old.
Christians had (and have) the duty to hope for a better world and to build that new world, with Providence as their beacon.
Christ's Church, nearly alone, valued and promoted literacy, learning, building and exploring the world and the Universe.
Christianity promoted the robust development of all disciplines, from mathematics to global navigation.
Priests themselves became scientific pioneers. The Church invented and sponsored the trades and the university system.
The great legacy of Christian Western Civilization belongs to all Christians, no matter what their denomination, if any, since it is a gift from the Holy Spirit.
All music from the 5 episodes has been disabled due to soundtrack copyright notices.The entire 13 video series can be found here.
The collapse of the Roman Empire left most of Europe in the Dark Ages in illiteracy and ravaged by pagan savagery. Between 400-800 AD, 5th century AD Roman 'Britannia' was plunged into chaos by the arrival of Anglo-Saxon invaders.
As Roman civilization disappeared from Britain, a new civilization emerged in one of the most unlikely places - Ireland. The Romans called it "Hibernia" or the land of winter. Starting with Saint Patrick, Christian monks changed everything, in Ireland, England, Wales and Scotland.
Within a few generations, Christianity transformed a backward, barbarian country into the cultural powerhouse of early medieval Europe. The BBC video is a visually and intellectually stimulating journey through one of the least known chapters of British and Irish history.
Painting of French Bishop blessing Joan of Arc's Battle Banner
IRISH MONKS SAVED LITERACY
Author Thomas Cahill discusses his books from his Hinges of History series. Cahill focuses on the monks, priests, and other unheralded builders of modern Western civilization.
Historic revisionists will define the 'Dark Ages' as an era of ignorance lead by oppressive Catholic clergy who rejected literacy and culture. This is scandalous nonsense.
In fact, pagan barbarians swept over the Roman empire in the fifth and sixth centuries, destroying Roman political structure. As Rome figuratively burned, their limited centers of learning and education disappeared.
In his work How the Irish Saved Civilization, author Thomas Cahill explains how the Irish scribes and monks artfully and joyfully copied the great literature of the world. The monks prevented the loss of literature which was rapidly disappearing in the mostly illiterate globe.
When the monks spread Christianity throughout the world of early medieval Europe, they brought their books and replanted the seeds of learning and scholarship in lands barren of these since the fall of the Roman Empire.
The Viking invasions and plunder of the Irish monasteries in the 9th and 10th centuries did not prevent the seeds of literacy and culture the Irish monks had already planted throughout Europe to begin to develop.
Myth of the Golden Age of Islam
If you spend any time talking about Islam you will hear: “What about the greatness of the Islāmic Golden Age? Why, the West got all of its real learning from the Muslims. They preserved the Greek philosophers, invented algebra, chemistry, the algorithm and laid the basis of our learning.” Or: “The high point of human civilization occurred in Baghdad and Moorish Spain. It was all peace and harmony with Christians, Jews and Muslims living in multi-cultural compatibility.”
“When Europe was mired in the Dark Ages, Islam was a shining light on the hill. “
Hmmm. Let’s go over the data. Notice that the best of Islam is compared with the worst of the West. First, there never was a “Dark Age”. This prejudicial naming came from the time of the Renaissance when they looked back at the dogmatic approach to knowledge in medieval times and wanted to separate themselves from it. It is just like new rich wanting to shed their poor ancestry.
Let’s examine the Middle Ages for a moment and see how they came about. The collapse of Greek and Roman civilization came about from internal problems of too much wealth for too long. The ravages of the bubonic plague wiped out an estimated 30 to 60 percent of the European population, making it vulnerable to invasion. The annihilation of the centers of learning came from the jihad of Islam. So even if you want to use the term Dark Ages, at least recognize the influence of jihad.
And let’s look at how “un-dark” the “Dark Ages” were. Everyone agrees that the Renaissance was one of humanity’s great moments. But how did all of that greatness spring from the “Dark Ages”? You don’t get a champion racehorse from a plug mare. The Middle Ages were a time when the European man was created. The collapse of Roman central government allowed a new culture to emerge that was a fusion of Roman, Greek, Celtic and Germanic culture. Part of this culture was mechanical genius.
Europe was creating a new mind, the mind that would change the world by producing practical machines such as water mills and a thousand small improvements in daily life. The cathedrals were a stunning tribute to humanity and works of great beauty.
Without the Middle Ages there could not have been a Europe or a Renaissance.
Now look at the Golden Age of Islam in Baghdad. Where did it come from? Not from Islam. The Koran was the first book written in Arabia. Architecture in Arabia consisted of mud huts. Mohammed’s house was made from mud bricks; a man could touch the ceiling and a curtain served as a door. Arabic culture was barely iron age with its only art being poetry.
So where did the learning come from? Islam crushed the Christian, Zoroastrian, Buddhist and Hindu cultures and brought them all together in one culture. The scholars of these cultures were brought together and created an intellectual surge called the Islamic Golden Age. It was Kafirs who created this so-called Golden Age while Islam took the credit. As an example, we call our numbers Arabic numerals. But the Arabs got them from the Hindus and took credit. We should call our numbers Hindu numerals.
It was Christian dhimmis who translated all of the Greek and Roman literature for their masters. Later, when this material was translated back into Greek and Latin, the Muslims got the credit for the work. In short, Islam got its knowledge just like it got its wealth— from theft and violence.
Islam cannot sustain any intellectual effort. Their own scholars cannot do the work due to the limitations of the dogma of Islāmic thought.
And what were the Muslims able to do with this knowledge? Not much. What did they do with glass? Make pretty windows for the mosque. Europeans took glass and made microscopes and telescopes as well as stained glass. What did the Muslims do with mathematics? Not much. They
combined the mathematics of the Greeks and Hindus and created algebra. And what did they do with algebra? Nothing. When it came back to Europe, the Europeans created calculus and physics.
A list of the great Arabic scholars reveals that many on the list were Christians with Arabic names. And the best of the Muslim scholars turned out not to be very Muslim and their works were later demolished by Muslims who were true to the real knowledge of Islam, the Koran.
Now let’s look at the great Moorish Spain. It was supposed to be a great center of multiculturalism. Of course, there was that day in Cordoba when the Muslims killed 8,000 Jews, but ignore that. What did Islam do as soon as it came to Spain? Shipped a thousand blondes off to be slaves in North Africa. But ignore that. Then there was the day when, after a battle against the Christian knights, they beheaded all the corpses and all the prisoners to build a hill of skulls. A Muslim then mounted the hill of skulls and issued the call to prayer. But ignore that.
How can any culture that makes slaves and dhimmis of all Kafirs be called great? Simple. It served the needs of the groups that pushed the idea. It was Voltaire and Jewish scholars who created the idea of the Golden Age in Moorish Spain. Why? As an intellectual counterweight to the hated Catholic church. That propaganda attack survives today. It is the intellectuals who hate Christianity today, who push the same ideas.
If Islāmic learning was so great, then where are the great Muslim scholars of today? No Islāmic nation has ever had a Nobel prize in science. Not one. There have been eight Muslims who shared Nobel prizes in science, but it occurred in working in kafir nations and with kafir partners.
Excerpt from Common Myths of Islam, author Bill Warner