Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

No Roman Church

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • No Roman Church

    I had an intriguing thought;

    "What if Constantin had not converted?" What if there's never been a "Church of Rome"?

    European history would have been tremendously different. For instance, who would have stood against the Moors (why would they)? Lots of wars would not have been fought (at least not for the historical reasons). How much European knowledge would have survived the dark ages? Meanwhile, the library at Alexandria would not have been burned (at least, not in the time and for the reason it happened). Does Islam become the religion of Europe? Does Christianity spread throuout Europe anyway (it DOES have almost 700 years' head-start)?

    What do others think?

  • #2
    Originally posted by bubblehead View Post
    I had an intriguing thought;

    "What if Constantin had not converted?" What if there's never been a "Church of Rome"?

    European history would have been tremendously different. For instance, who would have stood against the Moors (why would they)? Lots of wars would not have been fought (at least not for the historical reasons). How much European knowledge would have survived the dark ages? Meanwhile, the library at Alexandria would not have been burned (at least, not in the time and for the reason it happened). Does Islam become the religion of Europe? Does Christianity spread throuout Europe anyway (it DOES have almost 700 years' head-start)?

    What do others think?
    Great idea for a thread.

    Europe and thus the world would have been very different indeed. Had Constantine not converted (but more importantly for the world, not issued the Edict of Milan), I think someone else would have filled the same function. My reasoning is that Christianity was a very dynamic and growing force within the empire. It was going to have it's day regardless of Constantine.

    In the spirit of 'what if' though, if the Church had not been united, Europe would not have been united (that is relative, of course). Without a strong centralized church in Rome, I do believe that Islam would have prevailed in Europe.
    Beware the man of one book.
    --Thomas Aquinas

    http://www.clementsmb.com

    Comment


    • #3
      Islam may not have emerged at all if not for the Roman state church. Islam is all that was bad about 7th century Christianity made worse and codified. Without heretic versions of that fith all around Arabia, Muhamed my have never have learned the CONCEPT of monotheism, and Islam would be still born.

      If you beleive Islam is the vehicle of the Antichirst, as some do (I don't although it would not surprise me) then all bets are off...

      I do not see Chritianity as the unifying force it is claimed to be. If all the Partiarchs and bishops disapear, the whole Chalcedonan vs. Monosophite thing goes away and the Syrians and Egpytians would not be so glad to be rent from the Empire. Furthermore, and I hate to say it, it was France that kept the moors in Spain, not Rome.

      I say that Byzantium survives because no Pope = no crusade. Without the Crusades, particularly the fourth, Alexius Commenos doesn't have to deal with dirty knights threatening his kingdom and he might have been able to take back more of Anatolia assuming there is an Islam and the Turks convert.

      Paganism in the Med was more than Paganism in Germany. It was not tied to trees and had a very philosophical outlook, like the one promoted in our world by Julian the Apostate. Like Hinduism, I beleive the pagan tradition could survive and coalese into an anti-Islamic force to be rekoned with.

      And Christianity would survive, in all of this, perhaps a better form without the temptations of earthly power.
      How many Allied tanks it would take to destroy a Maus?
      275. Because that's how many shells there are in the Maus. Then it could probably crush some more until it ran out of gas. - Surfinbird

      Comment


      • #4
        Europe and thus the world would have been very different indeed. Had Constantine not converted (but more importantly for the world, not issued the Edict of Milan), I think someone else would have filled the same function. My reasoning is that Christianity was a very dynamic and growing force within the empire. It was going to have it's day regardless of Constantine.
        In point of fact, this is what happened. The Edict of Milan was nothing more than a proclamation of toleration (which in itself was very significant following Diocletian's persecution of Christians). Christianity did not become the official "state" religion until Theodosius I 70 years later.

        Islam may not have emerged at all if not for the Roman state church. Islam is all that was bad about 7th century Christianity made worse and codified. Without heretic versions of that fith all around Arabia, Muhamed my have never have learned the CONCEPT of monotheism, and Islam would be still born.
        Presumably this is merely a flight of hyperbole. Monotheism was hardly "invented" by Christians. Judaism and Zoroastrianism long predated Christianity and were both, incidentally, very popular in Asia Minor. Furthermore it was Islam that was the refuge of enlightened thought during the "Dark Ages" in Europe. Averroes and Avecinna were the great thinkers of the age in philosophy and science when nothing, apparently, was being thought in Europe. Moses Maimonides was a great Jewish philosopher who studied and served at various Islamic courts during this time. His work is still studied by Talmudic scholars.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Dakooch View Post
          Presumably this is merely a flight of hyperbole. Monotheism was hardly "invented" by Christians. Judaism and Zoroastrianism long predated Christianity and were both, incidentally, very popular in Asia Minor. Furthermore it was Islam that was the refuge of enlightened thought during the "Dark Ages" in Europe. Averroes and Avecinna were the great thinkers of the age in philosophy and science when nothing, apparently, was being thought in Europe. Moses Maimonides was a great Jewish philosopher who studied and served at various Islamic courts during this time. His work is still studied by Talmudic scholars.
          Islam was not the great center of learning you claim it to be. There were great thinkers in the Islamic world, and the Jews got better treatment in the Caliphate, but in the end the Islamic clergy stamped out this relativly open space because they felt any form of rationality was dangerous to their understanding of the Koran. As far as the Meditereanan sea area, you would be right about their not being much learning. Except in Byzantium, which was the big center for Greek learning. Now Byzantium had a very conservative social structure which killed any of the nifty inovations you see in the Caliphate. This might have had something to the fact there wasn't a safe place in Byzantium except Constantinople, and the Emoeror's armies has to fight off slave raids for almost 150 consecutive years, not counting the the major military actions.

          But my point is that Islam, while not a Christian heresy as some have claimed, was pretty damn close. And what's more, in Muhammed's neck of the woods, polytheism was the norm in OUR world, where Christianity had stamped out paganism in Egypt, Palestine and Syria. If Muhammed's Koran was a self made fraud (I don't rule it out, but then again, maybe it is demonic,) then yes Islam could come about. But it would probably be far closer to Zoroastrianism than Christianity.

          I do tend to think had Constantine not been at their version of Nicea, Arius would have prevailed, but this would have simply broken the church in two, instead of a totaly Arian church.
          How many Allied tanks it would take to destroy a Maus?
          275. Because that's how many shells there are in the Maus. Then it could probably crush some more until it ran out of gas. - Surfinbird

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Wolery
            Islam was not the great center of learning you claim it to be. There were great thinkers in the Islamic world, and the Jews got better treatment in the Caliphate, but in the end the Islamic clergy stamped out this relativly open space because they felt any form of rationality was dangerous to their understanding of the Koran.
            But my point is that Islam, while not a Christian heresy as some have claimed, was pretty damn close. And what's more, in Muhammed's neck of the woods, polytheism was the norm in OUR world, where Christianity had stamped out paganism in Egypt, Palestine and Syria. If Muhammed's Koran was a self made fraud (I don't rule it out, but then again, maybe it is demonic,)
            I don't like to use such language, but much of the above post is not only nonsense, but appoaches, if not is, bigotry. And I say this as a history major in college (including an M.A.) and fan of Western Civ. in general, for all its flaws by far the most open and progressive civilization yet to emerge.
            Even ole' Wikipedia has a pretty good thumbnail appreciation of some of the plusses of islamic Civilization- and yes, there are in it, as in all cultures, glaring instances of bigotry and oppression towards others.

            The Islamic Golden Age or the Islamic Renaissance,[1] is traditionally dated from the 9th to 13th centuries A.D., for 400 years [2][3] but has been extended to the 15th[4] century by recent scholarship. During this period, artists, engineers, scholars, poets, philosophers, geographers and traders in the Islamic world contributed to the arts, agriculture, economics, industry, law, literature, navigation, philosophy, sciences, sociology, and technology, both by preserving earlier traditions and by adding inventions and innovations of their own.[5] Howard R. Turner writes: "Muslim artists and scientists, princes and laborers together made a unique culture that has directly and indirectly influenced societies on every continent."[

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Tuor View Post
              I don't like to use such language, but much of the above post is not only nonsense, but appoaches, if not is, bigotry. And I say this as a history major in college (including an M.A.) and fan of Western Civ. in general, for all its flaws by far the most open and progressive civilization yet to emerge.
              Even ole' Wikipedia has a pretty good thumbnail appreciation of some of the plusses of islamic Civilization- and yes, there are in it, as in all cultures, glaring instances of bigotry and oppression towards others.
              But how much of this is attributable to the previous Hellenistic period?

              Why did technology and learning in moslem countries stagnate in the later Medieval period?

              For my part I am not out to condemn all things Islamic, on the other hand, I do not believe the contemporary refrain that Islam was just so darned learned, tolerant and just plain superior to Christian Europe, stuck in the 'Dark Ages' as they were.

              I believe my questions are quite valid.
              Beware the man of one book.
              --Thomas Aquinas

              http://www.clementsmb.com

              Comment


              • #8
                But how much of this is attributable to the previous Hellenistic period?

                Why did technology and learning in moslem countries stagnate in the later Medieval period?
                Certainly a valid question,but perhaps tangential to the original post and involving an exceedingly lengthy essay on the relative influences of economics, geography, culture, the perpetual wax and wane of local power centers as well as the accidents of history. Incidentally, although hardly an expert on Middle East history, I should think the Muslims under the Ottoman Turks were still a pretty vibrant society in the 16th Century at least.

                For my part I am not out to condemn all things Islamic, on the other hand, I do not believe the contemporary refrain that Islam was just so darned learned, tolerant and just plain superior to Christian Europe, stuck in the 'Dark Ages' as they were.
                I'm not sure how "contemporary" that "refrain" is. I learned that in "Western Civilization to 1660", a freshman intro course in 1967 - and at a (not the) Catholic University no less.
                Last edited by Dakooch; 17 Dec 09, 01:12.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by bubblehead View Post
                  I had an intriguing thought;

                  "What if Constantin had not converted?" What if there's never been a "Church of Rome"?

                  European history would have been tremendously different. For instance, who would have stood against the Moors (why would they)? Lots of wars would not have been fought (at least not for the historical reasons). How much European knowledge would have survived the dark ages? Meanwhile, the library at Alexandria would not have been burned (at least, not in the time and for the reason it happened). Does Islam become the religion of Europe? Does Christianity spread throuout Europe anyway (it DOES have almost 700 years' head-start)?

                  What do others think?
                  This is such a big "what if" I won't dare to try and guess... The world would be so massively diferent for all I know we might have ended up living under the ocean and fighting mechanic dinosaurs.
                  No Roman Church, that makes for an entirely diferent Europe, and since Europe is the continent that influenced humanity the most from that point on at a global scale... Very diferent world indeed. Could very well be one of the most dramatic "what is" points of divergence.
                  Although, as previously mentioned, many European traits were already well underway.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Tuor View Post
                    I don't like to use such language, but much of the above post is not only nonsense, but appoaches, if not is, bigotry. And I say this as a history major in college (including an M.A.) and fan of Western Civ. in general, for all its flaws by far the most open and progressive civilization yet to emerge.
                    Even ole' Wikipedia has a pretty good thumbnail appreciation of some of the plusses of islamic Civilization- and yes, there are in it, as in all cultures, glaring instances of bigotry and oppression towards others.
                    Glaring instances is a vast understatement. I believe it was when the Turks (not the western ones, Ghazvanid I think) were about to invade northern India, they choose to follow the most liberal of the four schools of Sunni Islam. This was because it was the only school that said Hindus should be treated as a people of the book, and not be genocided for being polytheists. Mind you this doctrine of exterminating non-monotheistic kaffirs comes directly from the Koran. And their reason for doing this was not humanitarians: is was so they could extort protection money in the form of dhimmi taxes.

                    Yes I hate the religion of Islam. It is without doubt the most evil faith among the major religions, with little to no possibility of reform. But more to that, the closing of the Islamic mind was WELL in place in the 9th century. Innovators, especially philosophers, were on the lunatic fringe of Islamic thought. Averroes was jailed three times and exiled at least once in Andalusian Spain, the most tolerant Islamic state of the day, because the Caliph was protecting him from Mullah inspired lynch mobs. There was a Turkish astronomer in the Ottoman court who got the Sultan to build him a grand observatory. Astronomy was not foreign to Islam, in fact the Timurids in their decline built the finest observatory of the middle ages in Samarkand. But the clerics in the Sharia Office (the institution most blamed for Ottoman decline) could not grasp the difference between astronomy and astrology. And the observatory was torn down. Science and the Church did clash in the Renaissance. But in the Catholics defence, this was a very rare phenomenon, that only took root in the Reformation period, and ended after the 30 years war. Islam's anti-intellectualism continues unabaited.

                    Islam was bound to have great scholars because it was digesting the thinking parts of the known world: North Africa, Egypt, Mesopotamia, Iran, post Roman Spain, and eventually Anatolia. The only thinking parts Christianity had were Anatolia, Greece and Italy (barely). The great traditions of Western Thought had to be completely rebuilt in areas that were totally illiterate before Roman came, and was almost as bad when it fell. All things considered, that the Western world caught up and surpassed the Muslims in a common miracle.
                    How many Allied tanks it would take to destroy a Maus?
                    275. Because that's how many shells there are in the Maus. Then it could probably crush some more until it ran out of gas. - Surfinbird

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I hate the religion of Islam. It is without doubt the most evil faith among the major religions, with little to no possibility of reform
                      Wolery, sometimes such candor is self-defeating.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        With out the RCC what would Europe have done with out the Thirty Years War? With out religions would we have a world of peace?

                        In my less than humble opinion the answer is YES.
                        "Ask not what your country can do for you"

                        Left wing, Right Wing same bird that they are killing.

                        you’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          People are always going to have their religions. All too often, they want their government to be their religion (communism, the Roman church, etc). So, I don't think it is a question of having NO religion and, therefore no conflict (a flawed argument IMHO). Rather, it is a question of what sorts of social props come along instead and how they impact European history. I think we need to recognize that it is not so much what the leadership believes so much as it is what the masses believe and how the leadership expolits those beliefs.

                          Given that Roman polytheism was already declining before the time of Christ, I project that it would not be the "official" theology of any governing entities. There was a lot of animism and "nature worship" in Europe and it was very strong. However, most peoples had similar theologies (with differing names and stories), so religion was not something to fight over. That doesn't mean people won't fight; it means they will fight over territory, resources and the other usual causus belli.

                          So, given the fractious nature of the native inhabitants of Europe, I do not see any unifying force emerging in this proposed environment. Europe needed some kind of outside unifying influence or they were not likely to progress much beyond the tribalism already prevalent there. The Romans contained it and used it, but they never changed it.

                          Without this unifying force, Europe is defenseless against the Huns, Mongols, Moors, Muslims (similar, but different) and anyone else who wanted to take it! So who takes it and when? And the 64 dollar question; what happens next?

                          As I mull over these points, I realize that the root question is whether the Roman Church, with all its' flaws was a net positive or negative influence on the development of civilization in Europe. (WARNING! Hot potato incoming!)

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Organized Religion in general is a bad thing. Even if your faith is true theologically, (I beleive this is the case in Christianity) there are always those who will bend the truth to their liking for better or worse, almost always worse. (Moderate Islam is a positive use of this).

                            But religion is like a sewer; lots of good complaints, but entirely nessessary to the functioning of both society and the human mind. Even the nominally irreligious carve out their own faiths in aethism, environmentalism, socialism, whatever, and can be as bad as any theological based fanatics, and if you doubt that I advise learning about Robespierre or Vladimir Lenin.

                            That said Bubblehead, have you looked in to Mithralism (popular among the legioners) or the cult of Sol Invictus? While not nesseasrily monothesitic, they were competitors with Christianity. Constantine was a Sol Invictus guy before he became Christian. Also, look at what Julian the Apostate did with paganism: mostly it was a social reform of how the pagan clergy acted in society, but there was also the beginning or theological reform. I beleive it would be entirely possible, with a Jesus figure, to bring about a neo-pagan movement, where the core of Greco-Roman beleifs and Gods were codified and rationalized. I say this because without 'prophets' the Greeks (and I'd assume Romans) depended on poets to enlighten them about the various aspects of the Gods. Not the best system, but one that could work. And when I say Jesus figure I do not mean a Christ figure, I mean a wise, pithy, rabblerouser, who's takes on everything about the Gods would be taken absolutely. This new paganism would be at odds with the olf paganism, but the old paganism would go anyway, in one form or another. It was by Augustus' day a large tent filled with too many local Gods to be rationaly explained.
                            How many Allied tanks it would take to destroy a Maus?
                            275. Because that's how many shells there are in the Maus. Then it could probably crush some more until it ran out of gas. - Surfinbird

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by bubblehead View Post
                              People are always going to have their religions. All too often, they want their government to be their religion (communism, the Roman church, etc). So, I don't think it is a question of having NO religion and, therefore no conflict (a flawed argument IMHO). Rather, it is a question of what sorts of social props come along instead and how they impact European history. I think we need to recognize that it is not so much what the leadership believes so much as it is what the masses believe and how the leadership expolits those beliefs.

                              Given that Roman polytheism was already declining before the time of Christ, I project that it would not be the "official" theology of any governing entities. There was a lot of animism and "nature worship" in Europe and it was very strong. However, most peoples had similar theologies (with differing names and stories), so religion was not something to fight over. That doesn't mean people won't fight; it means they will fight over territory, resources and the other usual causus belli.

                              So, given the fractious nature of the native inhabitants of Europe, I do not see any unifying force emerging in this proposed environment. Europe needed some kind of outside unifying influence or they were not likely to progress much beyond the tribalism already prevalent there. The Romans contained it and used it, but they never changed it.

                              Without this unifying force, Europe is defenseless against the Huns, Mongols, Moors, Muslims (similar, but different) and anyone else who wanted to take it! So who takes it and when? And the 64 dollar question; what happens next?

                              As I mull over these points, I realize that the root question is whether the Roman Church, with all its' flaws was a net positive or negative influence on the development of civilization in Europe. (WARNING! Hot potato incoming!)
                              For a fascinating read on this period I would recommend Gore Vidal's "Julian". He's very good at using the "novel-as-history" although he's an incurable iconoclast. Julian "The Apostate" was the emperor between Constantine and Theodosius I.

                              There has always been a complex interplay between religion and government and in more traditional societies the two have often been interdependent.

                              I would have to say that ANY religion during this period would have provided a positive influence to the extent that it could provide a broader cultural identity than what the Roman Empire had already achieved through its civic and military accomplishments. The empire was already suffering from administrative difficulties due to its size and the diversity of ethnic groups incorporated. What was needed was either some sort of "broader appeal" or a new form of legitimacy. Christianity, which had already achieved a great deal of popularity on its own, was an easy fit. It is very difficult to say how "successful" Christianity actually was in "unifying" Europe. From 380 when it became the official "state" religion to 1054 when the Eastern and Western Churches separated comprises essentially the "Dark Ages" and describing European civilization at this time as being "vibrant" would be something of a stretch to say the least. Nonetheless, it is certainly arguable whether Roman civilization (which was, at the time, essentially European civilization) declined as a result of Christianity (as Gibbon famously claimed) or from internal difficulties which Christianity was unable to fully ameliorate is one of the great topics of history.

                              To the extent that Europe was unified during this period was the result of barbarian invasions from the periphery of the empire from cultures that were deemed more alien than some of the barbarian cultures within.

                              Comment

                              Latest Topics

                              Collapse

                              Working...
                              X