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Tag: Dark Ages

Review – Catherine Nixey “The Darkening Age”

Review – Catherine Nixey “The Darkening Age”

Catherine Nixey, The Darkening Age: The Christian Destruction of the Classical World, (Macmillan, 2017) 305 pp. Her publisher’s blurb informs us that Nixey’s book tells “the largely unknown – and deeply shocking – story” of how a militant Christianity “extinguished the teachings of the Classical world” and was “violent, ruthless and intolerant” in an orgy of destruction and oppression that was “an annihilation”. On the other hand, no less an authority than the esteemed historian of Late Antiquity, Dame Averil…

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An Islamic “Reformation”? – Pseudo History meets Politics

An Islamic “Reformation”? – Pseudo History meets Politics

New Atheists generally acknowledge that it was the 9/11 attacks that gave their anti-theistic movement its initial impetus. Not surprisingly, several of their leading lights, led by Dawkins, Harris and comedian Bill Maher, have become trenchant critics of Islam as a key example of the toxicity of unfettered religion. These critics therefore lionise the ex-Muslim atheist Ayaan Hirsi Ali and support her calls for an Islamic equivalent to the Protestant Reformation. But is this based on good history? Ayaan Hirsi…

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The Lost Books of Photios’ Bibliotheca

The Lost Books of Photios’ Bibliotheca

If New Atheists know anything about ancient Greek and Roman learning, they know that Christians destroyed it. They will grudgingly admit that at least some ancient works of wisdom, science and rationalism were preserved in the “Dark Ages”, but generally this is quickly followed by laments that these represent only a fraction of the storied wealth of ancient learning and thundering condemnations of the Christian destruction, suppression and neglect that led to this learning’s ultimate loss. But is this accurate?…

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The Great Myths 5: The Destruction of the Great Library of Alexandria

The Great Myths 5: The Destruction of the Great Library of Alexandria

If there is a story that forms the heart of New Atheist bad history, it’s the tale of the Great Library of Alexandria and its destruction by a Christian mob.  It’s the central moral fable of the Draper-White Thesis, where wise and rational Greeks and Romans store up all the wisdom of the pre-Christian ancient world in a single library, treasuring science and reason and bringing western civilisation to the brink of a technological and industrial revolution.  But then a…

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Cats, the Black Death and a Pope

Cats, the Black Death and a Pope

New Atheists really love their internet memes.  There are whole Facebook groups that seem devoted to nothing more than the posting and exchange of snappy quotes and pithy mockery of religion, all served as an easy-to-share GIF or JPEG, each accompanied by a chorus of approval and agreement in the comments.  These are often quotes from leading atheists or expressions of disbelief at stupid things said or accepted by religious believers, which forms a rich seam of material to be…

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