Ad Orientem wrote: ↑
Sun Oct 06, 2019 10:53 pm
sophie wrote: ↑
Fri Oct 04, 2019 6:21 am
Ad, I'm curious...What were the problems with the Enlightenment? I hadn't heard that described negatively before.
Also, you could make a case that the history of the Roman Church's dominion prior to the Reformation was no better than what you described post-Reformation: it effectively shut down scientific and economic progress in Europe for centuries, spawned the Crusades and the Inquisition, and in no small part contributed to a never-ending series of plagues among which was the Black Death. Living conditions at that time, if you weren't a member of the aristocracy, were possibly worse than they have been in any era in Europe's history. How exactly was post-Reformation worse?
The Counter Enlightenment...
The Roman Church's record on science is decidedly mixed. Often it was excellent. The modern civil calendar, also known as the Gregorian Calendar, is an example of their contributions. At other times they were stubbornly stuck in the past. The Inquisition was a horror. But the crusades were just a natural reaction to the militant expansionism of Islam which set out to convert the world at sword point, and very nearly succeeded. The Reformation also had the effect of dividing Christianity in its hour of greatest peril. The newly Protestant states of Northern Europe generally refused to send military aid to the Catholic states in Southern Europe that were the front line in resistance to the Islamic invasions of Europe. I don't think the Roman Church can be blamed for the various outbreaks of plague.
Still doesn't really answer my question...the Enlightment included things like Newtonian mechanics, the US Constitution, the concept of separation of church and state, individual liberties, and reason being the main path to knowledge. Of course there would be people who didn't like this at the time, but that doesn't mean they were negative developments. If you have an argument that they were I'd be interested to hear it.
Also yes, I do blame the Church indirectly for the outbreaks of plague. No, they didn't develop the bacteria in a secret lab or bring in the rats and fleas. But the feudal system with an aristocracy claiming legitimacy via the Church, that the serfs were not to question lest they be accused of heresy.
The degeneration of living conditions for non-aristocrats that resulted most certainly created the perfect conditions for an epidemic.
The US Constitution's explicit exclusion of religion as a basis for government is something we take for granted now, but it was a highly novel idea at the time. Contrast the preamble starting with"We the People..." to the Magna Carta: "John, by the grace of God King of England..."
See the difference? You as an ordinary person can question a secular government, but if you question John's authority you're acting against God. I personally see this as progress.