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Sethomas Sethomas is offline
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Old Jul 11th, 2010, 03:53 PM       
Gus, I'm not sure what you mean about that second sentence. However, I do strongly agree that the same phenomenon happens with the Victorians. But while modern folk have a lot of patronizing views of Victorians, there is simply too much cultural vestige of that period thriving right now for them to get the same sort of whitewash as the medievals.

Zhukov- Maybe I should have more clearly articulated my exclusion of "non-religious or agnostics". Look, even if a child is raised in a predominantly (religious inclination) background by parents who don't actively pull him into that religious tradition and so he has neither an informed view of religion nor of atheism, it's dishonest to call him anything other than "non-religious". As popular as the term "atheism" is, I think it should be reserved for people who make a conscious decision to not believe in a god.

Well, it's hard to imagine large society developing without religion, but it's not the church that sets the West apart from Africa, it's agriculture, and a staple food in wheat that Sub-Saharan Africa just doesn't have.

I was saying that the medieval Church was a force that maintained social cohesion in resistance to the outside forces on Europe that would otherwise turn it into a bunch of disjointed Hobbesian states. The Church sponsored science and art and all that, sure, but it was most critical in arbitrating the formation of the nation states as we know them today. My comparison to Africa was in reference to the fact that it's virtually one giant civil war where the maps have to change every year.

"but would you say that Russia and Eastern Europe is doing worse after the break up of the USSR than all of Europe after Rome?"

Too early to tell, honestly. To me the big difference is that when Rome fell Byzantium stood to the side and laughed, although this later turned out to be a myopic disaster for them. While the USSR wasn't gifted with anything like The Marshall Plan when it collapsed, it still shared the world with another superpower and a plethora of large economies that each had a vested interest in not letting the Soviet states become a economic black hole. If you factor in the arms trade to Africa when the Soviet army no longer had use for its arsenal, you could certainly argue that the immediate fallout of the Soviet Union was far bloodier than the fall of Rome.
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