Religion as a Blight

Unless they were abused by a priest, raised in Alabama or had some similarly traumatic experience, I don’t know how anyone who has had extensive, real-life experience with Christians can say that Christianity is some scourge that poisons everything. It isn’t. It’s just a thing that’s worked out for better and for worse in a lot of different circumstances.

“Did you know,” someone will say, while munching on take-out food, “that in [such and such a time] they didn’t let you use a fork because they thought it was a sin?”

We’re meant to shake our heads and pity the poor forkless bastards.

What’s not mentioned is how many other things people were ignorant of back then. Modern Internet Boys wants us imagine a bunch of clerics huddled around a small child, trying to spank the demons out of him and discouraging his parents from reading the freshly-pressed books on neuroscience that were sold at the market. But there were no such books. There were no Ionians locked up in the jails, barred from enlightening the public. People were just making due with the explanations they had.

Sure, Christians shushed Galileo. But in this historical instance where the church resisted a scientific discovery, who made the discovery in the first place? A Christian living in a Christian society. A society that produces discoveries, along with religious people who resist the discoveries, still gets more credit than a society that does not discover things.

We were sticking leeches on people as a medical treatment right up until the 19th century. If this had been a religiously-motivated practice, I’m sure the church would never hear the end of it.

You can’t sit at your computer and criticize people throughout history. The fact is that throughout history, most people were ignorant as a matter of circumstance, and most people were religious as a matter of circumstance. Take away their religion, and they’d have been no less ignorant.


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