My previous post on the neglect of Christian churches elicited a response from a reader named Anonymous (how many of these are there?), in which he stated that he saw nothing wrong with a church becoming a brothel or a bicycle garage, since it didn't affect the architecture. In addition he is distressed to find himself at a "Christian website". I decided to take him seriously and wrote my (inadequate no doubt) reply.
I then happened to move on to Lawrence Auster's VFR, where, serendipitously perhaps, he had just posted a link to Wikipedia's long and exhaustive article on the Battle of Poitiers and on the critical importance of Christian faith in the battle against Islam. If anyone needs or would like to brush up their knowledge of this decisive victory over Islam, this is (despite its length) a relatively quick way to do it, although I fear it will have little effect on anyone so resolutely anti-Christian that he cannot recognize desecration, or perceive its implications for society.
Update August 4, 2006 4:00 a.m. - Lawrence Auster has reminded me of a response he wrote, in May 2005, to a reader who was unable to see the importance of Christianity or to acknowledge its crucial role in the development of the West. Read it here in its entirety and be glad you aren't the one for whom the response was intended. He was, relatively speaking, a well-read person, but not well-rounded. He had completely grasped the impact on the West of classical antiquity, and totally ignored the later impact of the Church that arose on the ashes of that civilization.
In The Penguin Atlas of Ancient History, the author, Colin McEvedy, who succinctly summarizes the major events and upheavels of the ancient world, mentions the birth of Jesus...in a footnote! Many people today regard Christianity either as a nuisance, an illusion, an evil or merely a footnote in human history.
Here are a few samples from Lawrence Auster's response to his reader:
As a result of this slow Christianizing and civilizing process, and the fact that the Catholics of Europe, led by the Carolingians, were able to drive back the Arab Moslem invaders from France in the early 8th century, subdue the gangster realm of the Avars in Eastern Europe, and rescue the Papacy from the barbarian Lombards, and the fact that other barbarian invasions quieted down, Europe by the 11th century emerged as a dynamic, prosperous civilization again, no longer besieged, and the High Middle Ages (1000 to 1300) had begun. That's what made the first Crusade possible. For the first time, the European Catholics, instead of being attacked by the Moslems, were in a position to try to re-take the once-Christian Eastern lands that had been conquered by the Moslems in the 7th century. The High Middle Ages also brought the Norman architecture and then the Gothic architecture--further summits of civilization that nothing modern can match...
Again, it was Christianity, specifically the Roman Catholic Church, which, over centuries, slowly turned the rough Germanic barbarian warriors of Europe into civilized, peaceful, and law-abiding men, turned barbarian tribes into Christian nations, and made possible the later achievements of the Renaissance and modernity...
Our very notion of individualism, of an inviolable individual self, is a product of Judaism and Christianity, in which God is above man and creates man and gives each person a potential value which no human power has the right to violate. This concept did not come from the classical heritage. It came from Judaism and Christianity. John Locke's notion of natural rights was derived directly from the Bible. Because God created man's nature, God wants man to live, therefore man has a natural right to that which will make his life possible, namely life, liberty and property.