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Did Christianity cause the Dark Ages?
March 15, 2021
Christianity did contribute heavily to Europe’s fall into the roughly thousand year period of societal stagnation known as the Dark Ages. A particular cause is corruption within the church and the resulting demoralized population. The Dark Ages is a representation of the decline of Christianity itself as the principles upon which it was founded were largely abandoned, forsaken. Along with its sin of greed, the church used its 'religion' to exert control upon the masses and practically every aspect of daily life. Much like we see in the political efforts of many this day, the intent and purpose was to literally halt all social progress.
The virtual overnight evaporation of the Roman Empire took with it the primary source of law and order and protection from invasion. Populations surrendered ‘everything’ to what they viewed as the next best choice, the Catholic Church. Everything in the way of their wealth, freedom, and the manpower used for their protection. They were giving their own lives, including those of their children and grandchildren, while nobles and clergy waged war on a whim. Sound familiar?
Referring to the period as “Middle Ages” is Christianity writing history in a less glaring light and an admission of guilt and/or responsibility. Although warfare was more frequent early on, there are no significant distinctions or periods such as “Early Middle Ages”. The church made itself the central controlling authority on everything including research, knowledge, and education, and then denies having caused the ensuing Dark Ages.
Mistakes do happen but the most tragic aspect is it took a thousand years for the church to acknowledge the damage caused by its intentional and gratuitous transgressions. The loss of technological, social, and political advancement is profound. A price humanity is still paying today. In the area of exploration, ask Galileo Galilei (research) what he thought of the church’s authority during his day.
The authoritarian control exerted by the church continued long after the supposed end of the Dark Ages and, although diminished, still exists today in all society's influenced by Western ideology. Indeed, I submit the 'Dark Ages' have not ended at all. Ignorance so profound does not flee easily.
Regarding the differences of opinion on this topic, if you present this question to a Christian you will get a long-winded and delicate ‘Christian’ explanation. Ask someone else and you will get something that is perhaps more accurate.
J Alan Jones