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Did Christianity cause the Dark Ages?
January 5, 2022
Christianity did contribute heavily to Europe’s fall into the roughly thousand year long period of societal stagnation known as the Dark Ages. Particularly, corruption within the church and the resulting demoralized population. The Dark Ages (500-1500 CE) 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 proceeded to exert control upon practically every aspect of daily life.
The Dark Ages happened because, with the almost overnight evaporation of the Roman Empire, common peoples lost their primary source for protection from evasion and law and order. The 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 own protection. They were giving their own lives, including those of their children and grandchildren, while nobles within the church waged war on a whim. Sound familiar?
Referring to the period as “Middle Ages” is Christianity writing history in a less glaring light and, thus, 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 cannot make itself the central controlling authority on everything, including research, knowledge, education, and then claim to have not caused the ensuing Dark Ages.
Mistakes do happen but the most tragic aspect is it took a thousand years for the church to, for practical purposes, admit its mistake. The loss of technological, social, and political advancement is profound. A price humanity is still paying today.
The authoritarian control exerted by the church continued long after the supposed end of the Dark Ages and, although greatly diminished, still exists today in the form of directives on social issues like abortion, LGBTQ rights, brith control, etc. Christianity is and always has been sexually repressed. In the area of exploration, ask Galileo Galilei (research) what he thought of the church’s authority during his day.
As for the differences of opinion on this topic, if you present this question to a Christian you will get a Christian, and often long-winded, roundabout, explanation. Ask someone else and you will get something that is perhaps more accurate.
J Alan Jones