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The Real Story About The So-called 'Dark Ages"
History in general is an often manipulated tool since most of us find it boring we easily believe the popular portrayal. For example, the so-called "Dark-Ages" was a period we think of as...well..."dark" or not too enLIGHTened. We think of superstitious religious beliefs holding back advancement in the arts and sciences. Much of this is blamed on Christianity.
To hear the popular portrayal, Christianity held back advancements by suppressing intellectual pursuit. But is this the real story?
Let's look at history with a little more citation. Christianity, no matter what one thinks of it otherwise has been an uniting force. By 313AD Christianity technically became the official religion of the Roman Empire, and effectively of the world. (source) With the domination of Christianity over the world; the great centers of learning, such as Alexandria Egypt were greatly enhanced by Christian scholarship that preserved much of the Greek philosophies. Also, Constantinople, the new capital of the Christian Roman Empire not only was a remarkable feat in architecture, but it too housed libraries. (source) As a matter of fact, it was Constantine that pushed for ancient texts to be copied from papyrus to parchment, a much more durable format. Much of the preserved texts were not necessarily Christian religious works. The man tasked with preservation of these works was Themistius, himself not a Christian. However, such a tolerance and actually a love for knowledge in general is a Christian attribute. (source) The point is, because of the rise of Christianity, knowledge has been pursued and preserved unlike it has ever been before.
Which brings us to the notion of the "Dark Ages". Again this is supposedly a time roughly between the years 475 to 1453 and interestedly enough is marked by the decline of the Christian Roman Empire. (source) As the Christian Roman Empire deteriorated, the concern for the protection, preservation and advancement of knowledge also deteriorated.
The concept of "Dark Ages" was coined, coincidentally by a Christian writer named Petrarch in the 1330s. But as we look at history we can see there was even a more distinct cause for the "Dark Ages", especially as it engulfed Europe.
With the rise of Islam, and the eventual destruction of the remaining Alexandria and Constantinople libraries by the Muslims, advancement in knowledge ceased to expand. Europe was more concerned with fighting off the encroachment by the Moors (Muslims). As a matter of fact, the entire history we Americans learned in school, about the explorers trying to find a passage to the East and thus stumbling upon America came about because the Muslims cut off the land route and the route via the Mediterranean. It wasn't like the Europeans (formerly Roman provinces) suddenly forgot how to travel east. Thus Islam, is in a large part responsible for the decline in advancement and for the European "Dark Ages".
Quoting from the Wikipedia source:
Further, the Islamic link to intellectual decline is found in this quote from the same source:
The Golden Age of Islam happened only AFTER Islam took over the Christian strongholds and plundered Greco-Roman-Christian knowledge and withheld it from future Greco-Roman-Christians. The idea that Islam has "contributed" scientifically is yet another false history (see here).
Especially telling is this quote:
So, to conclude if there is blame for the so-called Dark Ages, it is squarely with Islam as it has been shown to supplant the more tolerant and knowledge-loving Christianity. To this day, Islam is more like a 7th century tribal cult whereas Christianity has always best advanced through dialogue and debate where Islam seeks to advance through violence and hostility. Christianity has brought "light" where Islam brought "darkness" and Islam continues to bring "darkness" as it attempts to thrust the world into its 7th century Arabian tribal cult mentality.
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