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Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Rationalist naivete

One of my great disappointments this year has been reading JB Bury's History of Freedom of Thought. Bury was the editor of my much-beloved Cambridge Medieval History series, which is excellent, and so I was looking forward to reading his thoughts on a matter that is of more than a little interest to me.

But while the book is as erudite and well-sourced as one would expect, it is little more than a one-sided anti-Christian rationalist polemic, with little insight and absolutely no foresight whatsoever. It's High Church Atheist in a manner that is about as proto-"I Fucking Love Science" as it is possible for a book published in 1913 to be.

One wishes one could bring Bury forward in time to see what passes for reason hath wrought; a thought police more authoritarian, more delusional, and more in conflict with reality than any of the religious opponents of the freedom of thought ever were. Bury's unjustified faith in the power of reason is a fascinating precursor to the complete inability of the modern irreligious to grasp the connection between Christianity and many of the aspects of Western civilization that they value, as well as their willingness to blithely saw off the branches of the tree on which they are sitting.
The struggle of reason against authority has ended in what appears now to be a decisive and permanent victory for liberty. In the most civilized and progressive countries, freedom of discussion is recognized as a fundamental principle. In fact, we may say it is accepted as a test of enlightenment, and the man in the street is forward in acknowledging that countries like Russia and Spain, where opinion is more or less fettered, must on that account be considered less civilized than their neighbours. All intellectual people who count take it for granted that there is no subject in heaven or earth which ought not to be investigated without any deference or reference to theological assumptions. No man of science has any fear of publishing his researches, whatever consequences they may involve for current beliefs. Criticism of religious doctrines and of political and social institutions is free. Hopeful people may feel confident that the victory is permanent; that intellectual freedom is now assured to mankind as a possession for ever; that the future will see the collapse of those forces which still work against it and its gradual diffusion in the more backward parts of the earth. Yet history may suggest that this prospect is not assured. Can we be certain that there may not come a great set-back? For freedom of discussion and speculation was, as we saw, fully realized in the Greek and Roman world, and then an unforeseen force, in the shape of Christianity, came in and laid chains upon the human mind and suppressed freedom and imposed upon man a weary struggle to recover the freedom which he had lost. Is it not conceivable that something of the same kind may occur again? that some new force, emerging from the unknown, may surprise the world and cause a similar set-back?

The possibility cannot be denied, but there are some considerations which render it improbable (apart from a catastrophe sweeping away European culture). There are certain radical differences between the intellectual situation now and in antiquity. The facts known to the Greeks about the nature of the physical universe were few. Much that was taught was not proved. Compare what they knew and what we know about astronomy and geography—to take the two branches in which (besides mathematics) they made most progress. When there were so few demonstrated facts to work upon, there was the widest room for speculation. Now to suppress a number of rival theories in favour of one is a very different thing from suppressing whole systems of established facts. If one school of astronomers holds that the earth goes round the sun, another that the sun goes round the earth, but neither is able to demonstrate its proposition, it is easy for an authority, which has coercive power, to suppress one of them successfully. But once it is agreed by all astronomers that the earth goes round the sun, it is a hopeless task for any authority to compel men to accept a false view. In short, because she is in possession of a vast mass of ascertained facts about the nature of the universe, reason holds a much stronger position now than at the time when Christian theology led her captive.

All these facts are her fortifications. Again, it is difficult to see what can arrest the continuous progress of knowledge in the future. In ancient times this progress depended on a few; nowadays, many nations take part in the work. A general conviction of the importance of science prevails to-day, which did not prevail in Greece. And the circumstance that the advance of material civilization depends on science is perhaps a practical guarantee that scientific research will not come to an abrupt halt. In fact science is now a social institution, as much as religion.
I wonder if Bury would revise his conclusions in light of the "social construct" school of denial, which has produced everything from the "science" of anthropogenic global warming to multiplying sexes. Considering how ready the SJWs are to deny that a man is, in fact, a man, it is not at all hard to imagine that they would be every bit as willing to compel men to accept a false view of the sun rotating around the earth.

SJWism is the revival of the blasphemy concept, but it is far more dangerous than the religious laws ever were because it lacks a textual anchor. At least with religion, you always knew what blasphemy was and could readily avoid committing it. With the current thought police, they will inform you of your offenses after you have committed them, and neither ignorance of the law nor its previous nonexistence will provide you with any defense.

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87 Comments:

Blogger JACIII September 09, 2015 7:06 AM  

I wonder if Bury would revise his conclusions in light of the "social construct" school of denial, which has produced everything from the "science" of anthropogenic global warming to multiplying sexes.

Oh, hell no. The man has an axe to grind against the church as most atheists do. Were he to do a Marty McFly he would land right in Dicky Dawkin's lap. (pardon the imagery)

Anonymous Mike M. September 09, 2015 7:07 AM  

I think that for SJWs, the lack of an anchor is a feature, not a bug. Their interest is in power, and the rationale for an attack merely a convenient pretext.

Blogger The Original Hermit September 09, 2015 7:09 AM  

"In fact science is now a social institution, as much as religion."

As with all social institutions, the common weakness is the fallibility of man. SJWs can't even claim a coherent philosophy, unless they want to own "Shit all over everything that is Good" publicly.

Blogger Josh September 09, 2015 7:11 AM  

For freedom of discussion and speculation was, as we saw, fully realized in the Greek and Roman world

Unless you're Socrates or Seneca.

Did bury have any unusual sexual inclinations?

Blogger jay c September 09, 2015 7:12 AM  

I suspect that Bury would be just fine with today's insanity. People who hate God sufficiently are capable of rationalizing anything.

Anonymous FriarBob September 09, 2015 7:13 AM  

What I find amusing (and sad) is that he blames Christianity for the collapse of Western Civilization. Well he was part right. A religion was a strong part of the blame. And Catholics screwed up a lot of things. But they didn't cause the "full" collapse. Islam did that... at least far more than Catholicism.

Blogger W.LindsayWheeler September 09, 2015 7:14 AM  

Actually, reason supports authority. God set up a Church to be His authority on earth. Did God do that for "shits-grins-n-giggles"? No. It was God's Wisdom. What the ancients went on was Wisdom, not reason. Wisdom trumps reason. Wisdom teaches authority. Wisdom is found in the Old and therefore, they are an authority to be followed. "Reason" doesn't trump Wisdom. That is the biggest mistake of the modern world. Life is not about Reason, but Wisdom. "God loveth none but who dwelleth in Wisdom".

Second, this idea of "intellectual freedom" is disingenious. All this talk of science. The Church was not against science which is defined as to know "the condition of that which is". But what is sneaked into science. Much thought these days is gnosticism which is about building a 2nd reality made up by the human mind. SJWism is this gnosticism, not based on science or facts but on feelings. In Brown's book, Heresies, he quotes an ancient author who notes that Gnosticism is a collection of Jewish heresies. This resurged in the Renaissance. Gnosticism is a disease. To give this "freedom" and liberty of thought, is what......Foolishness. To say, the Age of Reason that every body has "intellectual freedom" is just assinine. How does "reason" promote foolishness?

No, the whole "Enlightenment" got it wrong. What they did was label foolishness as "reason". No. The world operates, life is gained, by Wisdom, not reason. God created this world ON Wisdom, not reason.

Anonymous Strange Aeons September 09, 2015 7:18 AM  

JAC111
What happens in Atheist Camp stays in Atheist Camp

Blogger Steveo #238 September 09, 2015 7:24 AM  

I thought you weren't ever supposed to talk about atheist camp?

Blogger JACIII September 09, 2015 7:26 AM  

@8 butt....er, uh... But, context!

Blogger William Smith September 09, 2015 7:29 AM  

I periodically pick various classics on philosophy of science at half-price books. It's quite common (as you know) for this trope to appear. It's the hydra of atheist tropes. If somebody refutes it, is appears in several other places.Hell, there was a version of it in a recent debate between Michael Shermer and Rupert Sheldrake (Shermer couldn't stay on topic).

Blogger Nate September 09, 2015 7:35 AM  

"It's High Church Atheist in a manner that is about as proto-"I Fucking Love Science" as it is possible for a book published in 1913 to be."

The early 1900s may have been the most arrogant time in human history. men believed science and reason could literally do anything... and not only that... they believed they had already done it.

Mankind thought he could control everything and literally nothing was beyond his power or grasp.

That's attitude is what helped Keynes sell his snake oil... and it even helped bolster communism into a hugely popular idea in america. It was the new scientific way to run a nation.

No... I'm not the least bit surprised. In fact I would've been shocked you had found anything else.

Anonymous old man in a villa September 09, 2015 7:39 AM  

The longer I live the more obvious it becomes that the vast majority of humanity hasn't the intellectual, the spiritual or the emotional intelligence to participate in civilization. People who write like Bury assume that they are communicating with mankind as if it were- the mass of it- able to grasp the meaning of his words when most wouldn't be able to make it through the first paragraph without giving up completely.

Those who opine about the death of the west are the only ones concerned with it- a larger number capitalize upon it, a larger number still live in it unaware of its existence beyond the ready availability of goods and services it makes available. The there are those who simply wish to tear it down and dance in the ashes.

It is what it is- all the well written words aside- cultures like humans are born, grow and then die. This one is no exception.

Blogger Brenden September 09, 2015 7:42 AM  

This atheistic line of reasoning is pretty obviously a consequence of Protestantism. The Catholic Church had to be portrayed as the evilest of evils, oppressive, stifling Truth, etc, otherwise Protestantism would have no intellectual basis. That was really the start of the mainstream intellectual movement of shitting on Europe's Christian heritage; only at the time it was only the Catholic heritage. As the Catholic Church was the cornerstone of European civilization, it's the natural consequence that what Protestants started by tearing it down progressed to High Church Atheism and the degeneracy we have today, where Europeans in large numbers despise their people and their heritage. But, Protestants are the ones that first really started the large scale hatred of their heritage.

Blogger Josh September 09, 2015 7:42 AM  

The early 1900s may have been the most arrogant time in human history. men believed science and reason could literally do anything... and not only that... they believed they had already done it.

Mankind thought he could control everything and literally nothing was beyond his power or grasp.


Yup. It was the absolute zenith of Western Civilization, there had been a generation (1870-1914) of relative peace in Europe, and technology had progressed to a point where there was arguably more difference between our time and Napoleon's than between Napoleon's and Caesar's.

Blogger Josh September 09, 2015 7:43 AM  

That passage doesn't sound any different than something a George Bernard Shaw or HG Wells might have written.

Blogger Brenden September 09, 2015 7:44 AM  

And you can see this logical progression in things like the view of the Crusades and Inquisitions. Protestants portrayed these as horribly evil things in order to attack the Catholic Church, and atheists just ran with the idea and extended it to religion in general.

Blogger James Dixon September 09, 2015 7:49 AM  

> For freedom of discussion and speculation was, as we saw, fully realized in the Greek and Roman world, and then an unforeseen force, in the shape of Christianity,

As FriarBob notes, this is a flat out fabrication. Christianity had almost nothing to do with those collapses.

> It is what it is- all the well written words aside- cultures like humans are born, grow and then die. This one is no exception.

Agreed completely. We're well into the downward cycle, and the process seems to be accelerating.

Blogger Josh September 09, 2015 7:50 AM  

Protestants portrayed these as horribly evil things in order to attack the Catholic Church

Can you provide examples of this?

Blogger Josh September 09, 2015 7:51 AM  

I mean, come on, Team Catholic, not even 20 comments in?

For shame, sir. For shame!

Blogger Daniel September 09, 2015 7:52 AM  

1913? Just a bit before "He Kept Us Out of War" was Woodrow Wilson's winning campaign slogan.

Blogger JACIII September 09, 2015 7:53 AM  

It is understandable in that age that people got a bit carried away. The really big stuff, concepts we are still refining, was being discovered at a rapid pace. But there is no excuse for modern science to not view itself through a jaundiced eye; there has been far too much sanctioned fraud, deceit, dishonesty, and ignored bumbling error since that golden age (which also had it's share of snake oil).

Blogger Nate September 09, 2015 7:57 AM  

"Protestants portrayed these as horribly evil things in order to attack the Catholic Church, and atheists just ran with the idea and extended it to religion in general."

Shut up.

Anonymous Menelaus September 09, 2015 8:01 AM  

What is the end state for this type of insanity? With flattering pix for illustration.

Anonymous anonymous coward September 09, 2015 8:01 AM  

SJWs can't even claim a coherent philosophy

Of course, they can. They're secular gnostics, and airtight and clearly-defined religious philosophy.

The problem is that when stripped of all its dissembling and deflections, gnosticism is quite literally a suicide cult. If gnostic dogma was spoken of plainly, people would start burning SJW's at the stake like it's 1209 again.

Blogger VD September 09, 2015 8:05 AM  

That passage doesn't sound any different than something a George Bernard Shaw or HG Wells might have written.

No, it doesn't. But I expected better out of a historian, the editor of an excellent history, no less.

Blogger Josh September 09, 2015 8:06 AM  

No, it doesn't. But I expected better out of a historian, the editor of an excellent history, no less.

Even historians have blind spots. See Will Durant.

Anonymous ZhukovG September 09, 2015 8:11 AM  

I can see that some are trying to start up the Catholic vs Protestant fight.

Nate is spot on about that time in history. It was the height of Western Secular arrogance. What we see today is more of a perversion of New England Puritanism.

The solid faith taught by the great preachers, like Jonathan Edwards, has been replaced by dependence, not on rationality, but on what feels good.

I find that many atheists I encounter are just as disdainful of SJW's, and their religion of the passions, as we are.

Blogger dc.sunsets September 09, 2015 8:18 AM  

The system under which we live in the USA is clearly a theocracy based on the Gnostic Heresy (a merger of church and state in the service of creating Heaven on Earth.)

That it is going Full Totalitarian here is hardly surprising. Thought Policing people in every aspect of their minds is natural for those whose faith is in the morality of their crusade. Whether they are jailing innocents or torturing infidels, theirs is always the moral high ground because they look to their own minds for theological rationale rather than the precepts of the Christianity they claim to observe.

What is interesting is that Fabian Utopianism is the secular mirror image of Progressivism. This suggests to me that the merger of church and state experienced a revival possibly as a consequence of the Industrial Revolution. Does that make today's doubling-down on Thought Policing a consequence of the microprocessor revolution?

Blogger Daniel September 09, 2015 8:20 AM  

I would have expected a lot more too. It is confirmation that the heart is impossible: he spent his life sifting through the evidence of Light, and found only the certainty of the shadows that tremble from it. The history of man can provide a deceptive, bitter balm to the cynic.

Blogger dc.sunsets September 09, 2015 8:22 AM  

Progressivism & Fabianism are mutual suicide pacts when you follow their paths of inevitability to logical conclusions. The mechanism was in question until recently. Now, it is apparent that fomenting war abroad while opening both the welfare-state sluice and the borders promises the utter destruction of Western Civilization.

A fish rots from the head. The destruction of the institutions of the West required a means of installing rot-prone rulers....and look how successful at this was "democracy."

Blogger Nate September 09, 2015 8:27 AM  

"No, it doesn't. But I expected better out of a historian, the editor of an excellent history, no less."

You shouldn't. Not from that time period. everything had changed so much. even historians only viewed history as an irrelevant ladder to people who could suddenly fly.

Blogger dc.sunsets September 09, 2015 8:29 AM  

I find that many atheists I encounter are just as disdainful of SJW's, and their religion of the passions, as we are.

A man can attempt to live a philosophically libertarian life while recognizing that his personal choice cannot and will not be universalized to his society. So, too, can a man reject the religious dogma surrounding him while recognizing that certain aspects of it are as necessary to a peaceful civilization as is a largely monopolistic organization of Authority in his society.

In both cases, what he can personally exist without in theory, society cannot do with out, ever.

Anonymous Steve, The Dark Ninja of Mockery September 09, 2015 8:31 AM  

Josh - Did bury have any unusual sexual inclinations?

Probably.

For freedom of discussion and speculation was, as we saw, fully realized in the Greek and Roman world

I bet that was of great comfort to their slaves.

and then an unforeseen force, in the shape of Christianity, came in and laid chains upon the human mind and suppressed freedom and imposed upon man a weary struggle to recover the freedom which he had lost.

This view of Christianity, that it was something done to people, and that it stifled science and freedom of thought, is bollocks.

Indeed, the opposite is true. For many centuries in Europe the embers of scholarship, of scientific inquiry, of literacy itself, were kept aglow by monks and doctors of the Church. The Church wasn't roaming the landscape, looking for Science to destroy.

You could get in trouble with the authorities for blasphemy or heresy. Generally, people were given every opportunity to recant and you'd have to work hard to convince people to torture or burn you as a witch.

For example, the terrible punishment Galileo received for repeatedly trolling the Church IRL was... house arrest.

That wasn't the most edifying incident in the history of Christianity, but let's put it into some perspective: try publishing something a bit racist in modern Europe and see if you get away with mere house arrest. Try selling some untaxed cigarettes in the USA and see what the cops do to you.

The supposed intellectual freedom of the classical era, when people attributed every natural phenomenon to gods or monsters, and a large percentage of the population were slaves who could be raped, beaten or killed at their master's whim, wasn't all that free.

Anonymous PhillipGeorge©2015 September 09, 2015 8:31 AM  

how many historians got sucked into thinking they were modern?

we stand on the shoulder's of giants only if we stand on the shoulders of giants,

if you don't you are trying to re-invent wheels and believe me I've tried to make the rounder wheel. God, Eden, Jesus, Godel, Popper, Fitch, God.
If it doesn't end with God you've lost the plot completely.

It works like this. No-one knows enough to make an informed decision. What I mean by no-one is no-one, ie. Only God - infinite plurality in being. All in all. cheers

Anonymous RedJack #22 September 09, 2015 8:35 AM  

Which is while I love Mr Bury, I prefer Tonyebee for my grand history.

The Durants were also brilliant, but had the same hatred of Christianity, and in the end, the West.

Thank you for posting about this. I have been meaning to pick it up, but haven't yet. I will pass on this and get back to reading Lord Acton.

Blogger Hermit September 09, 2015 9:17 AM  

Childlike and naive faith in reason and enlightenment was excusable one century ago in a period of positivism and science worship.
It was a weird age to be honest, where people from the academia believed that mechanic laws could be discovered in nature and also in societies. Marxism itself with his dialectical materialism is a product of that age.
However already two centuries ago truly enlightened people (aka reactionaries) understood very well that the distance between temples to the Goddess Reason and guillotines was very small.

Since I used to be a victim of reductionist rationalism I know precisely the error.
In the mind of supposed leftist freethinkers the belief to be a rational genius who is always right can live hand to hand with the inability to discuss without name-calling and demonization.
Narcissism of their "genius" together with impotent rage (thanks GTA V) for their costant failures. This was true for me and for other middle class arrogant leftists but also observable in some of my educated intellectual professors.


To me looking back today to science fetishism, enlightenment relgion of reason and the way this ideology developed in the modern world it's both laughable and tragic.

I find incredibly ironic that the outcome of the reign of reason is incredibly close to beasts.
After two centuries of reason enthroned we have SJW, we have destruction of natural roles and even biological sexes, sexual depravity without limit.

They say religion is a crutch for weak souls but what was, after two centuries, the answer their society gave to man in front of death? Hedonism: eat, drink, fuck and don't think of it until you die.
The answer of reason in front of death is be an hedonistic beast and don't think about it.
God truly has a sense of humor.

Blogger automatthew September 09, 2015 9:20 AM  

Even historians have blind spots. See Will Durant.

I can't. He's in my blind spot.

Blogger Josh September 09, 2015 9:27 AM  

Considering how ready the SJWs are to deny that a man is, in fact, a man, it is not at all hard to imagine that they would be every bit as willing to compel men to accept a false view of the sun rotating around the earth.

Anyone who says it's a false view is clearly a geocentriphobe.

Anonymous a_peraspera September 09, 2015 9:31 AM  

"apart from a catastrophe sweeping away European culture..."

LOL. Well, the "setback" is here.

Anonymous Krul September 09, 2015 9:40 AM  

1913: "apart from a catastrophe sweeping away European culture"
1914: Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand

Anonymous Whitey McWhite September 09, 2015 9:41 AM  

34. Steve, The Dark Ninja of Mockery: "For example, the terrible punishment Galileo received for repeatedly trolling the Church IRL was... house arrest."

And not a stiff prison sentence? The kind you can get for denying or minimizing the Holocaust.

Blogger Josh September 09, 2015 9:42 AM  

And not a stiff prison sentence? The kind you can get for denying or minimizing the Holocaust.

Shut up

Blogger darkdoc September 09, 2015 9:48 AM  

But I expected better out of a historian, the editor of an excellent history, no less.

I am not sure why you say this. He has neither the intelligence, understanding, insight, or logic that you display in a blog. He is simplistic and assuming with no clear reason for his statements.

Blogger Josh September 09, 2015 9:49 AM  

I am not sure why you say this.

Because of his previous excellent work.

Anonymous Mr. Rational September 09, 2015 9:54 AM  

@5 People who hate God sufficiently are capable of rationalizing anything.

That is a common falsehood coming from those who claim to speak for God in His absence... IOW arrogating power to themselves by charging their interlocutors with "hating God" (the analogue to SJW witch hunts).  I'd have to go back to the book to see if it was Orbur or Wilville who said this, but... "I believe in magic, it's Shoogar I don't believe in!"

If God truly created the universe and everything in it, any and all questions related to its origins and nature are properly answered by examination of the subject matter... unless, that is, you postulate that God is a pathological liar and e.g. created thousands of feet of sedimentary rock containing what look like fossils of creatures that never existed.  The universe is a much bigger and more detailed and precise work than any book can be.

@28 I find that many atheists I encounter are just as disdainful of SJW's, and their religion of the passions, as we are.

And I am one of them.  The constantly-shifting goalposts of "justice" are as anti-reason as anything can be; to try to find consistent principles in them is to try to find solidity in fog, and the only conclusions left are that SJWs are psychopaths, insane or both.

@35 No-one knows enough to make an informed decision. What I mean by no-one is no-one, ie. Only God

We're back to those who claim the authority to speak for God.

Anonymous Whitey McWhite September 09, 2015 10:00 AM  

@43. Josh: "Shut up"

...they explained.

Blogger Josh September 09, 2015 10:05 AM  

...they explained.

They?

Blogger njartist September 09, 2015 10:08 AM  

14. Brenden September 09, 2015 7:42 AM

This atheistic line of reasoning is pretty obviously a consequence of Protestantism.

Do you even have a clue?

Blogger njartist September 09, 2015 10:17 AM  

@26. VD September 09, 2015 8:05 AM
That passage doesn't sound any different than something a George Bernard Shaw or HG Wells might have written.
No, it doesn't. But I expected better out of a historian, the editor of an excellent history, no less.


I was a fan of Jacob Bronowski who wrote The Seeing Eye; but I picked up a used copy of his book The Western Intellectual Tradition and I experienced the same disappointment: he made humanism and reason his idols.


Oh, BTW, 14. Brenden, Bronowsk writes paeans to the Catholic humanists who preceded Protestantism by decades. You might want to file that bit of information away.

Anonymous Athor Pel September 09, 2015 10:30 AM  

If you study late Roman, medieval or early renaissance European history you will be using texts written by men of the Church almost exclusively. It's always funny to see how that fact sticks in the craw of certain historians. Even historians that study earlier eras are forced to acknowledge their debt to those bibliophilic monks who preserved what ancient texts they could.

Anonymous Full-Fledged Fiasco September 09, 2015 10:38 AM  

"I mean, come on, Team Catholic, not even 20 comments in?"

See the 6th comment, dummy.

Anonymous Whitey McWhite September 09, 2015 10:41 AM  

@50. Athor Pel

It makes a brilliant contrast with what Islam does with pre-Islamic culture.

Blogger Quadko September 09, 2015 11:11 AM  

I'm reading Thomas Sowell's "A Conflict of Visions", and the view that one rational person can decide for a society (and economy, etc.) the best path with easily perfectible humans over the idea that the wisdom of crowds extends to the crowds of the past is evident in that quote of Bury's.

And what a lovely bait and switch on the word 'reason' just in the second to last quoted paragraph! "In possession of a vast mass of ascertained facts"... but such "reason" is apparently unable to distinguish facts from wishful thinking or political consensus, so is easily lead astray into newspeak.

Blogger rcocean September 09, 2015 11:16 AM  

What were Will Durant's blind spot? Did he really "hate the west"? How so?

Just curious.

Blogger rcocean September 09, 2015 11:20 AM  

English Historian Gibbon was well know for his hatred of Christianity.

However, it seems that Bury was able to hide his disdain for Christianity in the writing Medieval history.

Anonymous liljoe September 09, 2015 11:24 AM  

the sex scandals involving Catholic priests and the pathetic attempt to cover them up was devastating to the credibility and whatever remained of Catholic authority, already weakened by Enlightenment and to use Vox terminology, scientistry.

Anonymous MikeM September 09, 2015 11:25 AM  

I agree with your arguments concerning the rationalistic views. The only comment I have is that no one has proven the earth orbits the sun. In fact, the one experiment that attempted to prove it failed. It is known as Airy's failure. Google it sometime and see.

Anonymous The Millennial Falcon September 09, 2015 11:40 AM  

I'll echo rcocean's question re: Durant.

I'm about a third of the way through his Age of Faith and I haven't encountered any hatred of Christianity.

Blogger BoysMom September 09, 2015 11:53 AM  

@48 Now, Josh, don't you know that 'they' is the currently acceptable singular for one of unknown sex?

Or at least it was a few days ago.

Blogger automatthew September 09, 2015 12:08 PM  

Josh and the Holocaust,
In a tree,
K I S S I N G

Blogger CM September 09, 2015 12:13 PM  

the sex scandals involving Catholic priests and the pathetic attempt to cover them up was devastating to the credibility and whatever remained of Catholic authority, already weakened by Enlightenment and to use Vox terminology, scientistry.

And I don't think the current Pope is winning any Western Civ points by encouraging the western nations to welcome the hoards with open arms.

Friar Bob's statement was more correct than Brendan's anti-prot screed... and a lot more graceful.

Its generally viewed as a flaw in protestant churches that we aren't very unified under one authority, but this is the noose that can hang the catholic church - there is an authoritarian head of it that claims to speak for God and he's doin a bang up job of it.

Blogger David-093 September 09, 2015 12:16 PM  

"Josh and the Holocaust,
In a tree,
K I S S I N G"

LOVE WINS, BIGOTS!

Blogger ScuzzaMan September 09, 2015 12:47 PM  

Not to forget that he is wrong on the facts. It was not Christianity that led reason captive but Churchianity.

It was the arrogance and corruption of humans holding power they had not earned nor deserved who promulgated a persecuting religion as a means of maintaining and enlarging that power.

Christianity may have been their vehicle, but it had nothing really to do with their behaviour. Indeed, to behave as they did they had to abandon its precepts.

So, other than being wrong on the facts and wrong in his predictions, he had a great theory ...

Anonymous Mudsack8 September 09, 2015 1:03 PM  

"...a catastrophe sweeping away European culture..."

Which happened the year after his book was published.

Blogger Danby September 09, 2015 1:07 PM  

And I don't think the current Pope is winning any Western Civ points by encouraging the western nations to welcome the hoards with open arms.

Well, he's not winning any Catholic points, either. That sort of thing can end badly for popes. At this point, I don't expect him to survive 2016.

Blogger Hermit September 09, 2015 3:05 PM  

I am Catholic, I find all this fighting between christians in 2015 absurd.
It's evident that today, with the current modernist Pope, the Catholic Church is helping the subversion of our white european civilization.
Like the dying church of England they think to be accepted by our modern anti-christian society if they act progressive. They are wrong, we know.

But protestantism, especially calvinism has its share of fault.
Modern destructive Bible criticism is a secularized spawn of protestant studies and so many heterodox sects with absurd beliefs (Jeohva witness etc...).
Plus the more secularized parts of Europe and America were calvinists once.
I'm note into neoreaction but I recall a few articles identifiying the gene of modern progressism in secularized calvinist christianity. I agree with those articles.

However it's absurd we're still arguing like we are in a dispute of the XVI century.
We may find ourselves hidden into the catacombs soon, we may find ourselves into a pit with feral beastsin a few decades.
Will we argue between us about petty differences while waiting for martyrodm?

Or maybe there will be a reaction, maybe people will wake up and fight restore our christian tradition and our civilization before its too late.
Will we argue between us about petty differences while fighting on the same side to save our civilization?

Anonymous Quartermaster September 09, 2015 3:55 PM  

@67

The Jehovah's Witnesses are not heterodox, they are heretical as they Arians.

Most of Protestant Germany was Lutheran. France is about secularized as Germany and it was Roman Catholic. Most of western Europe is secularized these days.

Blogger darkdoc September 09, 2015 4:01 PM  

Or maybe there will be a reaction, maybe people will wake up and fight restore our christian tradition and our civilization before its too late.

So critical of the Calvinists, yet you admit they were a large part of this tradition you lament has passed. They were a very large part of the tradiion, along with the Catholics.

But then, it it so much easier attacking and criticising your own than going after the true enemy. Very "moderate" it is.

Will we argue between us about petty differences

Sort of like you are arguing, though I'll imagine that the Calvinists differences aren't petty to you. I will agree that progressivism has infiltrated ALL branches of modern Christianity, hardly just Calvinism.

Blogger Hermit September 09, 2015 5:42 PM  

Most of Protestant Germany was Lutheran. France is about secularized as Germany and it was Roman Catholic. Most of western Europe is secularized these days.
Oh yes Cattholic areas are not better than protestant areas, except the one who were under communism. Ironically communism protected them from hedonistic secularization.
However the difference between the level of spiritual decadence in Lutheran, Calvinist and Catholic areas was much more evident a century ago. Now Catholics are not one bit better.

But then, it it so much easier attacking and criticising your own than going after the true enemy. Very "moderate" it is.
I don't understand, my entire post was "

I'll imagine that the Calvinists differences aren't petty to you. I will agree that progressivism has infiltrated ALL branches of modern Christianity, hardly just Calvinism
I think you are missing the point of my post, I blame it on my english.
The point I was trying to make is that both Catholics and other christians have faults for our current situations but blaming is useless.
I mentioned the current Pope, post-calvinists progressives and Bible criticism just as examples, the point of my post was to not focus on those mistakes.

When you are fighting for survival or waiting for martyrdom those differences are petty, yes also the differences from calvinism.


btw I see a huge correlation between the evolution of the current mental illness of progressism and their secularized heaven on Earth and the areas who were once calvinists (Scotland, New England, Netherlands). This does not mean that those calvinists of 300 years ago actually wanted this, only that their environment was favourable to create nasty ideologies.
They weren't progressives, their descendant however...

Also in calling me "moderate" you are misusing Vox's critic against moderates.
A moderate is someone who blames his side to appease the enemy, I'm blaming my sides because of its weakness against the enemy and not because it's too radical.
I'm not advocating appeasement at all, I'm pointing what we're doing or what we did wrong.

Blogger Desiderius September 09, 2015 5:42 PM  

Contrast Macaulay, who likewise is a rationalist, liberal, progressive (in the traditional senses of the words the modern facsimiles parasitically mimic) at heart but nonetheless knows Where all that bread is ultimately buttered. He also takes (sometimes contrarian*) pains to fairly portray all sides, if for no other reason than to avoid giving offense to, and thus losing, a reader partial to one side or another of whichever debate.

* - a good way to avoid the mealy-mouthed overly-abstract dreariness of contemporary attempt to write for a broad audience.

Blogger Desiderius September 09, 2015 5:45 PM  

"A moderate is someone who blames his side to appease the enemy, I'm blaming my sides because of its weakness against the enemy and not because it's too radical."

The ability to do this with clear-eyed rigor was once the killer app of the West.

Anonymous DavidKathome September 09, 2015 5:58 PM  

Its generally viewed as a flaw in protestant churches that we aren't very unified under one authority,

The flaw isn't that you aren't unified under one authority, it is that you aren't unified on what Scripture means and what is essential. There is no unanimity.

Blogger traderdoc September 09, 2015 6:53 PM  

I think you are missing the point of my post, I blame it on my english.

I appreciate your defense of yourself, especially if English is not your first language. We welcome your views.

Anonymous PhillipGeorge©2015 September 09, 2015 7:14 PM  

Hermit,
thanks for that,
beautifully written synopsis/ commentary

mr Rational.
100 feet of laminated sedimentary rock can be deposited in a few hours. see articles and videos on hydrodynamic sorting.
get a life, evolution didn't and doesn't happened.

adaptation, acclimatization, speciation and some genetic drift entropy increase do happen. it's not the same. not even nearly

science fetish will do you in. stone dead.

Anonymous redsash September 09, 2015 8:19 PM  

So, freedom of discussion was fully realized in the Roman world when Christianity came in and laid chains upon the human mind and suppressed freedom.

VD, you wonder if Bury would revise his conclusions in light of the "social construct" school of denial.....
I wonder if he has ever pondered the Coleseum, Christian martyrs, and human Christian torches lighting the way for these enlightened Romans.

Your answer is that Bury would be a cheerleader for the East Anglia pseudoscientists buried in Satan's self delusion. One either comprehends that Jesus frees men from being slaves of their mind as well as their flesh, or they are doomed to fall prey to all and any manner of deception.

Blogger Derek Kite September 09, 2015 10:45 PM  

>the sex scandals involving Catholic priests and the pathetic attempt to cover them up was devastating to the credibility and whatever remained of Catholic authority, already weakened by Enlightenment and to use Vox terminology, scientistry.

I would describe those events and the reaction as the last act in a long play. I lived in Quebec for a decade during the quiet revolution where the Catholic church was gradually removed from the politico religious power structures in society. It was ugly, structured to keep people stupid and poor, an enforced ignorance and isolation. It led to a corrupt small minded society where immorality was the norm and child sexual abuse was endemic. We lived in a northern town isolated by distance and economically self contained; the closer to the cosmopolitan cities the less the influence.

Where this type of system existed was ripe for the siren song of Marxism, conservatism was simply the coalition of church and state.

The Catholicism in the US, the church schools and the social structures were quite different in the competitive religious environment, as well as the distance from power.

What is fascinating is how the sjw's have adopted the strategies and techniques of the old religious structures. Exclusion, self righteous preening, down to the mob action doing the dirty work. I remember the political battles to bring outside TV stations. They recognized that access to information as the threat it proved to be.

The islamists saw the religious power structures and influence of Christendom fade away, and are intent on not letting it happen. This time the political religious movement doesn't have the left as a political opponent, but rather as an ally just as the old conservatives were an ally and supporter of the old regime.

Anonymous Wyrd September 10, 2015 1:25 AM  

@75
get a life, evolution didn't and doesn't happened.

Do not equate evolution with the theory of evolution via natural (modernly interpreted as random) selection. To do so only causes unnecessary confusion and contention. Who are we to say how God created from the viewpoint of eternity?

Blogger Brenden September 10, 2015 2:40 AM  

@Josh
>Can you provide examples of this?

It's no secret. From Wikipedia:
"By around 1550, the Dutch "printing press and propaganda turned to the service of political reform, with The Inquisition as a major focus, on…a wide scale and with…devastating effects".[48][c] ... Popular literature, circulating pamphlets, and other images painted the picture of a widespread, awful "Spanish Inquisition." Eventually, "The Inquisition" became viewed as the primary instrument of Catholic tyranny, not only of Protestants, but also of freedom of thought and religion in general."

Peters, Edward (1988). Inquisition. ISBN 9780029249802

>I mean, come on, Team Catholic, not even 20 comments in?

>For shame, sir. For shame!

I'm not Catholic, nor am I any more "Team Catholic" than Vox. The Catholic Church had plenty of corruption and horrid practices that spawned the Reformation. Naturally, such a split in the church caused a lot of vitriol to be thrown both ways. However, the Catholic Church didn't attack it's own foundations, Protestants attacked the authority of the Church, and along with it, much of Western History.



@Nate

>Shut up.

Quiet, boy, the adults are talking.

@ZhukovG

>I can see that some are trying to start up the Catholic vs Protestant fight.

Not really, I have no dog in the fight. Some Protestants here are just so reflexively defensive that they can't accept a valid argument. The Protestant movement OBVIOUSLY made a huge push to tear down the validity of the Catholic Church's authority, and were quite successful at that. I'm simply pointing out that in doing so they also paved the way to the tearing down of Christianity as the authority.

@njartist

>Do you even have a clue?

Peter Harrison touches upon this in "The Bible, Protestantism, and the Rise of Natural Science". You may disagree, but as I have a respected historian on my side of the argument, you'll need to do more than post some gamma snark to counter it.

>Oh, BTW, 14. Brenden, Bronowsk writes paeans to the Catholic humanists who >preceded Protestantism by decades. You might want to file that bit of information >away.

Various Catholics have had all sorts of zany ideas, so that's hardly surprising. But you seem to be under the impression that I'm Catholic, hence the jab. I'm not.

@CM

>Friar Bob's statement was more correct than Brendan's anti-prot screed... and a lot >more graceful.

A paragraph is hardly a screed. Perhaps not the most tactful paragraph, but then again, I sometimes forget that people are so sensitive to criticism

Regardless, I notice that nobody has even tried to counter the assertion that at the time of the Reformation;

1. Roman Catholicism was the foundation of Western Civilization.

2a. Protestantism adamantly fought to tear down the Catholic Church by portraying them as corrupt, unchristian, etc.

2b. That because of 1, Protestants, in the process of justifying their separation from the Catholic Church, of necessity also advocated both a rejection of the European heritage as well as a disdain for what their forefathers did and believed.

3. Protestantism was the first mainstream successful challenge to Catholic Supremacy in the West.

4. That the Protestant rejection of heritage, tradition, authority is ideologically in line with atheistic rejection of these same things. Furthermore, that many of the same attacks against the Catholics by the Protestants were/are made by Atheists against Christianity as a whole. (e.g. Catholicism->Christianity uses religion as a way to get money/power, keeps people ignorant, is not the truth).


Like I mentioned, I'm not Catholic and the Catholic Church clearly had a lot of problems that got so bad that people revolted. I think Protestants had a lot of justification for leaving Catholicism. However, the way in which they did so had unintended consequences which I assert gave rise to much of the atheistic line of reasoning Bury displays.

Anonymous Quartermaster September 10, 2015 7:42 AM  

@79
It wouldn't have mattered how the split took place. The RCC had reduced itself to a shadow of the Old Catholic Church had been and in so doing made destroyed it's credibility as a steward of Western Christianity. The Reformation did something that was going to happen regardless. The difference is only in the details.

The Protestant Reformers only had to tell the truth about the RCC. They didn't have to make anything up.

Blogger Desiderius September 10, 2015 8:14 AM  

"I assert gave rise to much of the atheistic line of reasoning Bury displays"

On that narrow point you are mistaken.

It is a common line of thought among intellectuals in decadent civilizations once great, including several predating the Reformation.

Anonymous DavidKathome September 10, 2015 11:27 AM  

It wouldn't have mattered how the split took place. The RCC had reduced itself to a shadow of the Old Catholic Church had been and in so doing made destroyed it's credibility as a steward of Western Christianity.

It has? Has the RCC allowed women priests?

I just checked, no, it hasn't. So your analysis and conclusion are premature.

Anonymous redsash September 10, 2015 11:54 AM  

The apostate catholic church tore away it's own validity every time they martyred someone whose only crime was wanting their family to understand the gospel in their native mothers tongue. The catholic hierarchy concealed the gospel. They didn't preach the Word. The fatal flaw of ALL catholics is that they mistakenly believe that a hierarchy of a selected few believers takes precedence over the Word of God.

Now be obedient little cult followers and bitch to your wealth distribution communistic peronist, gay is as valid as straight, pope.

Anonymous DavidKathome September 10, 2015 5:50 PM  

@83 Does Quartermaster always need you to fight his battles for him?

The apostate catholic church tore away it's own validity every time they martyred someone whose only crime was wanting their family to understand the gospel in their native mothers tongue.

Got it, so let's count those times up. I got zero times. How many do you have?

The catholic hierarchy concealed the gospel.

When did this happen?

They didn't preach the Word.

Last I checked, which was when I checked to see if they allowed women priests, they were still preaching the Gospel at every Mass which is said every day around the world at some point in time and that streak has continued for as long as anyone can trace the historical record which goes back into the foggy mists of time to 1800-2000 years ago. So if the Catholic Church stopped preaching the Word, it must have happened today sometime. I can't find anything about it in the news though.

Now be obedient little cult followers

Your rhetorical attempts have failed. Perhaps you should try dialectic next?

Anonymous redsash September 11, 2015 5:04 AM  

William Tyndale, not to mention poor John Wycliffe who was so hated that the catholics disinterred him from his burial site so that they could burn him at the stake, and Fox's Book of Martyrs. Their crimes being trying to preach the Word in their native tongue and live out New Testament Christianity as taught by the Bible and not a biblically illiterate hierarchy of apostate glory seekers. DO LEARN TO COUNT.

The catholics conceal and deny the gospel every time they pray to Mary, every infant they sprinkle, equating a priest with Jesus in the power to forgive sins, following the doctrine of demons and prohibiting priests to marry, and denying Paul's instructions regarding the governing of the church through the selection of elders for each church. From the Word of God neither by commandment, example, or inference does a rational mind even find reason for the existence of the catholic church. When the Ethiopian and Phillip came up out of the water, the Ethiopian was a Christian and not a catholic. They were not first called catholics at Antioch.

Do the catholics preach the gospel? NO. In Acts 2:38 when the Jews were convinced that they had murdered Jesus, the Son of God, and asked Peter what they must do to be saved, Peter replied that they must repent and be baptized so that their sins could be forgiven and they would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Again, in Mark 16:16 Jesus tells us that he who believes AND is baptized shall be saved. How does your truly true catholic church stand up to examination? You have a building with a majority of pew sitters who were sprinkled, not baptized, and did NOT believe in Jesus before your adulterated form of baptism being taught by priests following the doctrine of demons who are afraid that if you read the Word of God you just might see the Truth and be set free.

Also, you catholics even got the shape of the Cross wrong. Go ask a Russian Orthodox priest. As for dialectic, you don't know dialectic from dildo.

Blogger Aeoli Pera September 11, 2015 11:08 AM  

Unfettered intellectual inquiry is hard-coded into Christianity by Jesus' claim to be the truth. If Jesus is the truth, then no inquiry or knowledge of truth can be sinful per itself.

Anonymous DavidKathome September 11, 2015 1:31 PM  

@85 Let's review what you claimed. they martyred someone whose only crime was wanting their family to understand the gospel in their native mothers tongue.

That John Wycliff and William Tyndale were put to death merely because they translated the Bible is a lie made by some Protestant historians. They were not executed for wanting their family to understand the Gospel in their native mothers tongue. There were already a good number of English versions of Scripture that were in circulation before Wycliff, and they were authorized and perfectly legal. So people could already understand the Bible in their native mothers tongue(aka English) and that was not a crime to begin with. What John Tynedale did was edit the Gospel to give us the Gospel according to John Tynedale, not Mathew, Mark, Luke or John. So he was executed for heresy, meaning he lied about what Jesus said, and he passed those lies off as truth. Some of us Catholics take it very seriously when people lie about what Jesus said.

DO LEARN TO COUNT. I already do, and your count is the same as mine. Zero.

catholics conceal and deny the gospel every time they pray to Mary,

Tell that to Marin Luther, who taught that people should pray to Mary.

every infant they sprinkle,

Matthew 19:14 Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."

equating a priest with Jesus in the power to forgive sins,

John 20:23 If you forgive anyone's sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven."

following the doctrine of demons and prohibiting priests to marry,

Corinthians 7:8 Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do.

and denying Paul's instructions regarding the governing of the church through the selection of elders for each church.

This is your most bizarre accusation, how many young bishops do you think the Catholic Church has?

When the Ethiopian and Phillip came up out of the water, the Ethiopian was a Christian and not a catholic. They were not first called catholics at Antioch.

You should check where the word catholic comes from.

Do the catholics preach the gospel? NO.

You capitalizing the word no does not change the fact the Catholic Church has been preaching the Gospel every day for the past 1800 years. Not even a little bit.

Again, in Mark 16:16 Jesus tells us that he who believes AND is baptized shall be saved. How does your truly true catholic church stand up to examination? You have a building with a majority of pew sitters who were sprinkled, not baptized,

noun: baptism
(in the Christian Church) the religious rite of sprinkling water onto a person's forehead or of immersion in water, symbolizing purification or regeneration and admission to the Christian Church.
Middle English: from Old French baptesme, via ecclesiastical Latin from ecclesiastical Greek baptismos ‘ceremonial washing,’

if you read the Word of God

I already do, which is why I know you have no clue what you are talking about.

Also, you catholics even got the shape of the Cross wrong.

Save the pedantic nit-picking for someone who cares.

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