Ministry of Christian Television (Crazy Christians and Digital Daring Deeds.)

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Christianity has opposed more science than it has supported. So has Islam , but the enlightenment was basically the west discovering what the Islamic world had written down. In fact, science and knowledge has always flourished despite religion, not because of it. Had as much energy gone into studying science as has gone into praising deities, I've no doubt cancer would have been cured centuries ago. A nice example is the number zero came from Muslim scholars, who in turn got it from India. The modern example of ISIL shows the danger religion poses to science and reason. I've yet to be convinced of the "religious-science" view of history.

Men in turbans pointing sextants to the sky didn't advance astronomy because they were Muslim.

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They'd have done it regardless. I don't see inventions, adaptations or preservations by those in Abbasid Baghdad as being Islamic any more than I'd regard the seed drill or the spinning Jenny as being Christian. I think too many Muslims, in an effort to talk up aspects of their history and culture latch onto these examples. Science is science regardless who figures it out.

Perhaps what should be remembered about that particular empire was that is represents the time when Persians controlled the Islamic world, bringing onion-head hats, flying carpets, poetry and genies to the Arabs. An empire which touched both Europe and India and was surprisingly enlightened for its time and astonishingly enlightened for its place. For mine, that legacy is more important than who invented the guitar. Dear Dove I have to agree, but with a slight addition. Science is not dependent on religion and to claim that something is a "Christian" or "Islamic" discovery is silly.

But science does need a culture that allows questioning. After the period of military expansion and the early fights over power, the Muslim world was remarkable for its freedom of religious questioning and this was reflected in the freedom to query pretty much everything. Unfortunately the religion took a turn towards unquestioning obedience, which led directly to a stultifying of all scientific thought for centuries. The cause of that change is a matter of considerable discussion, at least in the west.

Christianity had a history of questioning. The Byzantines were famous for civil wars based on religion, the Arrian and other heresies flourished for centuries. Despite efforts to set the Church above the secular authorities, it was never really successful. So with the Renaissance, questioning became a way of life.

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Hopefully we will soon see a change in Islam, the abandonment of literal obedience to a ancient text and an adaptation to the modern world. It will be painful for some, but vastly for the benefit not only of Islam but of the world. Tabanus, I think that's certainly true of the middle east where Ottoman political stagnation lead to cultural and religious stagnation.

In scientific, economic and cultural terms they were unaffected by the calcification in Istanbul. But I think in religious terms the effect was wider because of the prestige and moral authority held by whoever controls Mecca and Medina.

Like control of Catholic Rome this gives a political empire an immense moral authority and Muslims around the globe seek to emulate, even ape the customs, beliefs and fashions of Arabia. The Arabification of Islam. There is no reason why Islam should resemble the middle east any more than Christianity should resemble Rome.

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Or the Levant. But it does and people dressing like the Prophet, from the robes to the henna-dyed red beard is about as necessary as a Christian dressing up like Jesus. And I think that over the centuries that it took the Ottoman empire to implode, parts of the religion at best halted, at worst went backwards. Look up Wiki-pedia and you will see around catholic scientists that have contributed by their discoveries to the betterment of humankind.

Most of these are catholic priests.

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The Big Bang theory was put forward by a catholic priest before Einstein spoke about it. Are there Muslim scientists that have contributed to our welfare?

Australia has won twice as many Nobel prizes as China. Either Australia represents a vastly greater contribution to global science and culture than China, or these things are biased. Maybe Wikipedia's list of Catholic scholars might be biased too?

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Just a thought. Pretty well all 'evidence-based medicine' comes to us from the works of Islamic doctors and scholars. And this was at the time that Westerners were all for drilling holes in the head to release 'humors' or slapping a leech on the afflicted part. Even today, the biggest 'discovery' in medical science is that you don't take the goddam disease from Person X and carefully transfer it to Persons Y and Z.

In the 10th Century some guy called Ibn Sina Avicenna described the contagious nature of diseases and arranged for people to be quarantined. That one single observation has been saving lives for years. Not bad? I think there's confusion here as to what Christianity's contribution to history really is. If you mean to laud it as one of the dozen or so faiths that have offered us the Golden Rule, best paraphrased as "do unto others If you mean to simply refer to organised religion then history would have us hope you're wrong for any number of reasons.

Human beings have too often been fallible and more often than not when they have they've cloaked it in religion. To say there are examples of atheist misdeeds only reinforces the case for misused ideology. It doesn't begin to explain why the protestant churches who'd fought some of the bloodiest sectarian battles in European history are now joined under an umbrella with modern evangelicals and mormons to call themselves Christians. If you can't explain your own history maybe you shouldn't expect me to admire it.

But the new pope seems like a nice guy, much as the West seems to love the current Dalai Lama. All I'd say about either is that we're judging them as we see them on their merits, and not at all by their history for if we did then the judgement would be neither kind nor fair. I firmly believe that the demise of Christianity in Europe and Australia and Canada and New Zealand can be planted at the feet of the American Evangelical movement. The American fundamentalist form of Christianity and its offshoots and replication in this country and others and indeed in the United States if deconstructed has very little to do with the teachings and examples of one Jesus Christ.

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Instead I find it a forum that is nothing more than an apologist for a Right wing political movement and a reinforcement for persons of wealth and power to self delude themselves by quoting Christian scripture and repeating over and over again "Praise Jesus" and "In Jesus Name" etal to somehow absolve them of their very materialistic lifestyles and Greed obsessed and power obsessed lives. Quoting from the Bible in such termed Christian based forums has absolutely nothing to do with the examples of Jesus Christ even though en masse these persons continue to delude themselves deliberately and encourage others to join their supposed Christianity.

The basic tenets and enduring tenets of Jesus Christ was of a itinerant preacher who went out of his way to help the poor, the disadvantaged, the destitute, the disenfranchised and the marginalised in society. Not to aggrandise wealth and forgive Greed under the pretext of the "Protestant work ethic" and "Choices" that is an integral part of the American pop culture and Republican form of propaganda and self serving justification of the successful and wealthy persons to be able to with a delousional self belief in themselves as the examples of Good Society and contrast their material gains as a Christian positive to the underprividged.

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  • Pope Francis is correct in alluding to the evils of Capitalisms. Anyone without vested interests of Greed, Power and Materialism can see and experience the wanton destruction of the planet and the ever imposing servitude of peoples to the current extreme Capitalist agenda.

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    I think you may be setting up a false dichotomy between capitalism and Christianity. Not that I think it is necessary to defend capitalism, but it has been known that those who reject religion don't embrace mamon instead of god. Some embrace other religions, others different ideologies. Socialism to name but one of the more prominent contenders, especially in the early through middle parts of the last century. Other than that I struggle to make out whether you're arguing against religious hypocrisy from an apologetic or agnostic standpoint.

    I guess I can agree that there's not much to like about some and in fact most US evangelists, especially those of a creationist or fundamentalist bent who tend to hate others mostly women, gays and foreigners so effortlessly and assiduously.

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    But even when I think of examples and Westbro Baptists come to mind I realise almost immediately what a small minority they are. The truth is that most Americans of faith are much nicer than that, including being nicer to atheists than some of us are to them. I can only speak from personal experience in saying that the two things that most affected my relationship with Christianity having been raised Catholic were firstly realising that I can't believe in God the way I believe science, and later the child abuse scandals because they so offended against any sense I once had of goodness at the core of the faith.

    It's true most big charities are notionally Christian. But if many of them are staffed by people who are only culturally Christian, will they find other places to go when Christianity shrinks? Do we need to plan for a post-Christian charity sector? Charity is a good thing but more to the point is that charity is irrelevant in justifying religious beliefs. That a religious person happens to be charitable in no way demonstrates there is the God in which the religious person believes. The decline of Faith is disturbing Who will we now butcher in the name of the father?

    Who will be able to give old ladies advice on how to sign over there wills to god who happens to drive a BMW and is a friend of the rector?

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    Who will bemoan when the last church is turned into a refugee for abused children? Christianity will never be forgotten. It will continue to inspire and delight the children of our society - in the mythology section of the local libraries. Christian principles will continue so long as mankind expects fairness. People generally accept that the strong need to defend the weak and those with ability help those who are unable to help themselves.