So, this author says that the more enlightened aspects of our culture (such as the abolition of slavery) come from Christian ideas. I haven't read the book and my library is closed indefinitely, but I was wondering, are there any historians here who would like to weigh in? Didn't we get any good ideas from other cultures or religions too? (I have not read Dr. Carrier's rebuttal or watched the debate with A.C. Grayling.)
Abolition issues aside, all religions adopt many of the principals of former religions.
The golden rule theme is present in almost every major religion because it has been proven to be an Intelligent and effective way to organize society.
I think regardless of the religion or the current mores of a society you will find people with empathy and people without it. Both kinds of people will use whatever is available to prove it is right to do what they want to do.
@altschmerz I will. Maybe you'll let me know what you think of your book. I must see what it is said about it online.
I'm about 100 pages in to it so I can't really say anything about the book. I think the mythic Jesus was an archetype made of all the best features of the spiritual zeitgeist. If that's true, then we can say we enjoy the best parts of Greek and Christian culture. History, of course, is a different matter. Religion turned out to be both a driving force in philosophy and also the suppression of mental freedom for the masses at the same time.
Everything, and I do mean Everything, will receive the churches "treatment" about 2 generations after it happens. It is deemed acceptable (popular among the masses and threatening to its membership) after they have sufficiently tweaked the narrative to their satisfaction.
Reading and understanding history is tricky.....it's written by the winners (powerful) after all
The whitewashing of the King James bible translation where the term slave was changed to servant, and the constant defense used by christian publications saying that the bible mostly said take good care of your "servants" is evidence that they are trying to rewrite history. There is no condemnation of slavery in the bible at all, neither in the old nor the new testament. So any attempt to say that christianity promoted the abolition of slavery is as ridiculous as saying that none of the Klu Klux Klan people were christian, which indeed they were all.
Just finished reading "The underground Railway" by Colson Whitehead. Great description of slavery in the southern states. On the contrary I would say that whites used christianity to justify slavery. Black Africans were descendants of Ham. A baddie from the bible and should therefore be seen and treated as inferior beings.
agree and the bible was written (and repeated editted) to justify almost any point of view . . . pretty much what the Evangelicals are still doing today
"The Internet is your friend".
More seriously though, it seems William Wilberforce, having earlier become an evangelical Christian, was a driving force for the abolition of slavery. See [bbc.co.uk] for more details.
I would not conclude too much from the assumption made by the author of your post, because you could also summize that he was an abolitionist because he was obviously gay, or because he was influenced by that Clapham sect he joined or because he was influenced by that abolitionist Thomas Clarkson. All are either implied or mentioned but they clearly attribute the only influence literally mentioned as being his conversion to evangelical, this is the typical christian slant most authors have.
@altschmerz Thanks for that. If I get time today I will look into it. Your question interests me also.
@altschmerz As an immediate response, I would offer Buddhism and Confucianism, both of which were seen as enlightening systems of thought in the Far East both at the times at which they came into being and in later centuries. From memory, there is (or was until recently?) a lively debate in China about returning to Confucian values.
@altschmerz The book starts in 479 B.C. to show the world and the thinking that led up to Christianity.