November 10, 2010


I recommend this blog post, Armarium Magnum: Hypatia and "Agora" Redux. It's a good debunking of the film Agora, which seems to be purely an exercise in anti-Christian propaganda. It is also valuable because the author is not a Christian, and can't be accused of bias.

This post is also good, Agora and the Dangerous Silliness of Really Bad Film History.

Short version: Early Christians were not anti-science or anti-philosophy, they were not "book-burners," Hypatia was not a "proto-Galileo," and was a philosopher respected among Christians and pagans alike, the temple called the Serapeum was destroyed in 391 AD, 24 years before Hypatia was killed, the Library of Alexandria had evaporated centuries earlier.

My question is, why do atheists need to tell lies to support their worldview? Insecurity, I'd guess. The faithful are subject to doubts, including the faith of atheism.

* Update: This seems to fit...

...A deeper and far more unsettling answer, however, is that the popularity of the current counterattack on religion cloaks a renewed and intense anxiety within secular society that it is not the story of religion but rather the story of the Enlightenment that may be more illusory than real.

The Enlightenment story has its own version of Genesis, and the themes are well known: The world woke up from the slumber of the "dark ages," finally got in touch with the truth and became good about 300 years ago in Northern and Western Europe.

As people opened their eyes, religion (equated with ignorance and superstition) gave way to science (equated with fact and reason). Parochialism and tribal allegiances gave way to ecumenism, cosmopolitanism and individualism. Top-down command systems gave way to the separation of church from state, of politics from science. The story provides a blueprint for how to remake and better the world in the image and interests of the West's secular elites.

Unfortunately, as a theory of history, that story has had a predictive utility of approximately zero...(Richard A. Shweder, NYT, November 27, 2006)
Posted by John Weidner at November 10, 2010 9:06 AM
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