Quote: Originally Posted by Dexter Sinister
They were once, and when they were, Christianity behaved just as badly as Islam does. Islam is about 600 years younger than Christianity, and it's behaving about as Christianity did at the same age, except that it has better weapons. Modern western civilization exists in spite of religion, not because of it. Religion has resisted progress in science, the arts, and philosophy, at every turn, and it's still trying.
It's not that long ago that people like Daniel Dennett, Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, Victor Stenger, et al, and me (not that I consider myself part of that distinguished company) would have been tortured and executed for what they've said and written. Read Barbara Tuchman's A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century, to get a feel for how the Christian church wielded its secular power 600 years ago.
I beg to disagree - Islam changed around the 12th or 13th century - Became regressive. As Europe changed during the Reformation and thru the following centuries it lead to dramatic changes througout Europe.
Lecture 18: Islamic Civilization (external - login to view)
In the 8th and 9th centuries, under the Abbasid caliphs, Islamic civilization entered a golden age. Arabic, Byzantine, Persian and Indian cultural traditions were integrated. And while in Europe, learning seemed to be at its lowest point, the Muslims created what I suppose could be called a "high civilization." Thanks to Muslim scholars, ancient Greek learning, acquired from their contact with Byzantine scholars, was kept alive and was eventually transferred to the West in the 12th century and after (see Lecture 26). But not only did Muslim scholars preserve the heritage of Greek science and philosophy, they added to it by writing commentaries and glosses, thus adding to what eventually became the western intellectual tradition. Throughout the Qur'an one can find a strong emphasis on the value of knowledge in the Islamic faith. The Qur'an encourages Muslims to learn and acquire knowledge, stemming from, but not limited to, the Muslim emphasis on knowing the unity of God. Because Muslims believe that Allah is all-knowing, they also believe that the human world's quest for knowledge leads to further knowing of Allah.
Lecture 26: The 12th Century Renaissance (external - login to view)
Looking at the context in which Ibn 'Ata' Allah wrote Miftah al-Falah, the Islamic civilization of the Middle Ages was phenomenal in its successes in art and knowledge. The culture had the foremost doctors and scientists of their day, Danner-Fadae says. Its scholars were advanced in grammar and poetry, sciences, medicine, math, and astronomy. At a time when London and Paris had mud streets, Islamic civilization had paved streets, sewer systems, public baths, and other elaborate architecture. "Western Europeans learned Arabic to learn from Islamic civilization, especially to study their medical texts," she says. "A tradition could not flourish 1,400 years without some significance to it. It could not be superficial to have lasted these centuries and create such a tremendous civilization and such devoted followers."
Islamic Golden Age - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (external - login to view)
There is little agreement on the precise causes of the decline, but in addition to invasion by the Mongols and crusaders and the destruction of libraries and madrasahs, it has also been suggested that political mismanagement and the stifling of ijtihad (independent reasoning) in the 12th century in favor of institutionalised taqleed (imitation) thinking played a part. Ahmad Y Hassan has rejected the thesis that lack of creative thinking was a cause, arguing that science was always kept separate from religious argument; he instead analyses the decline in terms of economic and political factors, drawing on the work of the 14th Century writer Ibn Khaldun.
Decline Of Islamic Civilizations - Causes - Time For A New Paradigm By Mirza A. Beg (external - login to view)
The great Muslim tradition of scholarship in philosophy and sciences were in decline by the dawn of the 13th century. About this time the Europeans had started translations of the knowledge accrued and built upon by the Muslim scholars. Though in the 15th and 16th centuries Europe was still in religious straight-jacket, it had started a gradual pushing back against the stranglehold of the unitary Catholic Church. The freedom of thought gradually gained ground in the 18th century, and has come to be known as the ‘Age of Reason’. With this came the unleashing of sciences, leading to better technology and the start of colonial expansion. By the mid 19th century the ‘Industrial Revolution’ had taken hold, particularly the war technology and exploration leading to world dominance and colonialism. The colonialism and the ascendance of the West were in part caused by the weakness in Islamic societies.
Though Islam unequivocally preaches egalitarianism, the powerful elite could not let go of the trappings of power base in tribes and ethnic dominion of conquerors. Though legally and ideally the Islamic justice system guarantied equality, the egalitarian ethos of Islam was greatly damaged. Early on, the conquering Arabs were accorded higher status leading to a class system. By the time Islam reached India the lower casts converts were shunned in social intercourse, in effect creating racism. They could have accepted Islam in droves, but they found that although the egalitarianism was preached, it was practiced with limitations. After fourteen centuries of Islam, tribalism continues in many Middle-Eastern countries to this day.