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Is this fair?

Also: Here's the movie version of this idea:
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But it has left off the other repressive cultures which fight progress...
well, true up to a point - but the Islamic world, China and Japan were not so blighted.
I believe it is biased. :-) If people would have really embraced Jesus' teachings, there's no telling how far we would have gone by now. This chart represents the misapplication of Christianity. Just look at other parts of the world that never accepted Jesus' teachings and tell me how they are doing.
Would like to see the data. But it's undoubtedly true, religion holds us back in many ways every day.
Definitely not - it leaves out advances in the Muslim world in that period. Plus, the "dark ages" were the result of the collapse of the Roman Empire, not Christianity per se. But people love charts.
Those damn pagans and their science... :P
It's unfair in two respects to me:

1) it's a bogus y-axis
2) This is limited to Christianity, it happened in Islam too and probably others too
Science only advanced because people believed in God. Today's science is so inward and depressed by egos and greed.
Where would we have been if the Romans had not have burnt the Great Library of Alexandria?
This is very unfair. Most of the major educational achievements were by Christians. The first PhD. program? Theology. The Reformation was a huge catalyst for education, and the Classical Education since that time till the 20th Century was based upon models expanded by Christians.
So true! What if the library of Alexandia did not burn down, and if the roman empire did not had crumbled down, and and and.... yes, and if religion did not made people stupid....
There may be hidden peaks to the left of the graph too!
Not true at all. To blame anything on a single factor is laughable on its face.
Carl Sagan, years ago, estimated that we lost from 10 to 20 centuries of progress.
+David D. Stanton There was a fire involving the Romans, but a Christian mob destroyed it for good. That's what "Agora" is about.
bish s
just one question: where is the data behind this "graph"?
+Mike Elgan yes, I saw it. It made some points, but was very unfair to Christians in some ugly way. On example every christian was wearing only black, dirty clothes, and every pagan was wearing clean, white, shiny clothes ;)
But it's true that christians made a lot of damage though.
+Louis Gagliardi actually has it right. Even during the medieval period, the Muslims were pursuing algebra and astronomy. Science and philosophy continued to grow during that same time.

And are we placing the responsibility for scientific development squarely on the shoulders of Europe? Where was the rest of the world?
So sad. Imagine how far we'd be without religion holding us back!
Christianity didn't cause the regression of civilization: the early Church did.
Sure this is fair, but don't blame Christianity... just those in charge of it for all that time!
Hm, no, not really, it's not very fair. Christian church wasn't opposed to science until something like 300 to 400 years ago. In fact, it was science back then. Of course, since 1700, they have been working really hard on becoming an incarnation of backwardness. In fact, they are.
I first came across that picture a LOONG time ago offline, it struck me as very very thought provoking but true.
No, it is not fair to limit to blame just to Christianity. All religions should share the blame.
This has nothing to do with religion, per se, but rather the effect on science of Christianity as a political and cultural force.
The medieval period is frequently caricatured as supposedly a "time of ignorance and superstition" which placed "the word of religious authorities over personal experience and rational activity."[41]However, rationality was increasingly held in high regard as the Middle Ages progressed. The historian of science Edward Grant, writes that "If revolutionary rational thoughts were expressed [in the 18th century], they were only made possible because of the long medieval tradition that established the use of reason as one of the most important of human activities".[42] Furthermore, David Lindberg says that, contrary to common belief, "the late medieval scholar rarely experienced the coercive power of the church and would have regarded himself as free (particularly in the natural sciences) to follow reason and observation wherever they led".[43]The caricature of the period is also reflected in a number of more specific notions. For instance, a claim that was first propagated in the 19th century[44][45] and is still very common in popular culture is the supposition that all people in the Middle Ages believed that the Earth was flat. This claim is mistaken.[45][46] In fact, lecturers in the medieval universities commonly advanced evidence in favor of the idea that the Earth was a sphere.[47] Lindberg and Numbers write: "There was scarcely a Christian scholar of the Middle Ages who did not acknowledge [Earth's] sphericity and even know its approximate circumference".[48]Other misconceptions such as: "the Church prohibited autopsies and dissections during the Middle Ages", "the rise of Christianity killed off ancient science", and "the medieval Christian church suppressed the growth of natural philosophy", are all cited by Ronald Numbers as examples of widely popular myths that still pass as historical truth, although they are not supported by current historical research.[49] They help maintain the idea of a "Dark Age" spanning through the medieval period.
It looks like just a infographic someone made up. I agree with the general idea, but it is not a real graph of anything.
burning books and killing people who argued with the "science facts" is not good. It sure is a good method to keep everyone like brainless zombies. Amen
"There are three kinds of lies: Lies, damned lies, and statistics" - Mark Twain
This isn't an argument for atheism. The Egyptians, Greeks and Romans were all religious, and so was the European Renaissance. (There is an argument to be made for atheism, but this isn't it.)
Pretty funny, but not fair by a long shot. There was definite advancement in that period lol
By the way each time you post a topic like Religion you will receive tons of comments... ;)
Corruption always leads to trouble...
I get the point here, but made up data for a chart simply to express a point of view is hardly credible.
Than Christianity brought us also science... Hmmm, as far as I remember they only repressed scientific progress. The Islam, but that was far before the middle ages, brought us much science... Algebra and Algorithms to name two.
Even if Christianity repressed scientific thought during that time, it did so only in Europe. Asia and Africa had the chance to make a scientific impact during that time, free from the Dark Ages, but, for whatever reason, did not. Perhaps religion can be blamed for not advancing science in Europe, but it cannot be blamed for not advancing science everywhere else.
Let's not forget what the Romans, Greeks, etc. did to their people culturally and to other groups. I think that plays a critical role in interpreting this... or at least trying to make some sense of it.

Louis Pasteur (Catholic), Alexander Fleming (penicillin, also Catholic), Copernicus (Catholic Priest), Lemaître - proposed the Big Bang Theory (that's Monsignor Lemaître, Catholic), Kircher - Egyptology (Catholic Priest), Boscovich - founder of modern atomic theory (Catholic Priest), Gregor Mendel - Genetics (Catholic Monk and Abbot), and on and on.

Yeah, religion has held us back so much...
That chart assumes no progress was made in any civilization during that period. Maybe in Western civs, but I believe the lack of progress can't be attributed to any one religion.
Genetics: Started by a monk
Theories on Light: Monks
Just to name two more.
Actually while there were many reasons for the dark ages the main one was the collapse of the Roman Empire not Christianity.
Totally. I get it. I could actually use this in my anthropology class. It's provocative! Thanks for inadvertenly helping me with my final paper for the semester, +Mike Elgan !!
The people willing to believe this chart are doing so absent of any facts to back it up, much less any evidence of even correlation to religion. This, ironically, is what they accuse religions of doing, believing something without having any facts to back it up.
+Dan Deluis If you're referring to Gregor Mendel, that was waaaaaaay after the Christian dark ages were long gone.
As I always say, it's not religion's fault, I think all Religions have great things to teach and performed a good function at some point, it is the institutions that use the religion to serve their purposes that caused all of this - such as the inquisition in Spain.

I think this why science took off in countries that departed from the Catholic reign.
This isn't fair. The Dark Ages weren't caused by Christianity. They were caused by the fall of the Roman Empire to pagans like the Visigoths. The Church was the next thing big enough to fill the power vacuum once Rome disappeared, so it bears a close association with the Dark Ages. Yes, the Church wasn't fond of discovering new things through science, but the more important thing is that the middle class disappeared due to oppression by royals and landowners (many of whom, admittedly, had ties to the church). Plus there was the Plague.
I'd personally trace it more to the climate changes that occurred around the same time as the fall of the Roman Empire. Egypt had been the bread basket, then it wasn't. I recall reading something similar happened in Asia.

Food insecurity on the population as a whole is what killed off "progress".
Very fair imo. What religions gets right about reality is the same thing that a broken clock gets right about telling time. Although the broken clock is right twice a day, you still would be well advised NOT to use it as a clock.

Religion guards their inaccurate claims about reality. In our modern times, science ascendant as it is, religion can only mutter in the back row and attempt to thwart progress in the courts and in the voting booth. In the dark ages they were much more powerful.
Any halfway decent medievalist will take issue with this characterization of the so-called dark ages. It's a bad caricature of history.
It may not be fair to blame Christianity entirely, but it's a pretty decent representation of religion in general.
Just stirring the pot up eh Mike. Really?

Overall rating
I think it's still a factor today. In my state of Oklahoma they actually voted against educational spending while voting for items on the ballet which were there purely for show like voting against health care reform and voting to make English the state language.
Alex M
The Roman Empire conquered the Greeks who had made scientific advances, but was Imperial Roman culture conducive to science?

Maybe Dark Ages was brought about by a backlash or payback against what the Romans had done to others - there was no civilization to pick up the pieces after Rome fell. Christianity was just getting started and was only a religion, not a civilization or culture.
No, this isn't fair, and this is coming from a non-believer. The dark Ages were not a result of Christianity, and in truth, Europe can thank Christianity for preserving what works existed before the fall. Blaming Christianity (be it as a political entity or spiritual one) for the vacuum of thought that took place during the Dark Ages is missing a lot of the picture.
No idea what this chart is actually saying. Can someone explain to me, what this is about? Sorry I am too tired today and not really willing to have hours of senseless discussions again. What has Christ to do with the sh*** the #church has done? Why do christians until now pay the price for things mankind has done in the "name of #christianity untill today"?

It makes me sad to discuss and discuss day after day after day the same nonsense. Sorry - please #forgive my #tiredness tonight. I am sad to see how much asswholes run around saying, that Jesus loves you. I am sad how many people claim they have th truth and do not live in this truth and pay higher taxes. I am sad to pay the #price for all this christians.

I am #sad and ashamed.

Forgive, what christians do to you and will always do. There is no greater #hinderance for the world and people to find #Jesus, than christians. And sometimes I am ashamed about myselve too. Where I do not live as Jesus has told me to live in faith, love and as he has said in his word.

Please do no blame Jesus for us #asshole #christians. Even if he changes me, I will alwys fail and the unwillingness to pay #higher #taxes is as #shamefull as the unwillingness from christians is, to clean up their own lifes to work and live for Christ alone.

Read the word of #Christ, the bible and stop blaming christianity.
Check out what Jesus wanted not wehre #church has failed.
This is one of the most dynamic posts I have ever seen...
This chart demonstrates clearly that evangelical atheists are as ignorant as their religious counterparts.
And if you do it, you are responsable. Repent, turn around and change. So what? Do christians blame the devil for sin they do? Was not Jesus idea that some do. +marie ackerman-young
+Mike Elgan Nothing to do with religion? Give me a break. This has everything to do with bigotry.
Evangelical atheists? Err, are you sure you understand what atheism is? That doesn't make any sense...
"Christianity and Islam kept math, science, etc alive." Except when a scientist was correct, at which point they were executed or imprisoned.
@Klaus-Dieter Hinck Because the church is the face of Christianity. People here saying that Christianity didn't and still isn't holding back science is living in a serious bubble of denial.
So again +David Bockman - why do we discuss this? Christians did evil. Church did. People in that church mistake the bible. We now blame faith for it? Christ for it? Free and get rid of religion? We do not do better than. It is mankinds evil nature doing evil. In the name of whwatever. Science here, science there. Faith and the bible, Jesus loving christians are not our problem. Some are, ok. But please do not blame Jesus for the things people made out of his church and "body".
Their oppression didn't end with the dark ages, ever heard of the Spanish Inquisition?
And what the hell is an evangelical atheist?
There's only 4 possible theories to explain the existence of the universe. Only 1 is scientific and it's found in the book of Genesis. Isaac Newton was a Christian and so are many other brilliant scientists.
+Mike Elgan I think it is unfair as it ascribes to Christianity what can be explained through a major loss in population due to disease and the fall of the centralized government of the Romans. I am assuming that the graph only shows development in Europe as other have pointed out the rest of the world was doing some great things.
Well - let the church change. +Brian Locke - they do not care if I ask, ok. But as I am responsable to tell them where the bible says opposite of what they tell, did or do - well that is what I do. And if without success, I leave that church, whatelse can I do and it makes me sad, more than an atheist who tells me, science would have done better with all of us, which is completely nonsense. Which I know as germans are the living proof that the argument is totally nonsense.

Many things are more rational and science is a good thing, do not get me wrong. Cu.
"Only 1 is scientific and it's found in the book of Genesis." - That might be the funniest thing I've ever read. God wishing the world into existence is scientific?
Don't ask the church to change. Change your self.
Creationism is a burden to scientific progress.
But not all flavors of religious beliefs are.

I personally think all religions are wrong, but not all are as dogmatic as the worst of them.
+Damon Barth Well, he didn't wish it, he spoke it into existence. There was no material to start w/ - nothing can't turn into everything. Someone had to produce the material first and that someone was God.
There's a certain irony in the attempt to make an argument about science with a completely unscientific graph. Seriously - scientific advances? Moreover, if you can't distinguish between the Dark Ages (a pejorative term) and the Middle Ages, you need to go back to school.
I wonder how many people commenting on this thread have actually done serious academic research on the subject of the 'Dark Ages' (enough to realize that the academic use of the terminology today is generally applied to the least Christianized areas of Europe, and primarily on account of a paucity of historical records), beyond watching films on the subject, that is. I also wonder how many people have actually paused to consider how on earth we would arrive at such a graph in the first place. How exactly do we measure 'scientific progress'? Is scientific progress something that naturally increases exponentially? All I can say is that I am thankful that the scientific progress of Western civilization hasn't been left in the hands of such people as have the credulity to accept such a ridiculous graph for a moment.

It is interesting that the Dark Ages are called the 'Christian' Dark Ages. Why not focus on the fact that Europe was on its knees being overrun by pagan barbarian tribes, and by expansionist Islam? In many respects it was the Christianization of the tribes and the regaining of the Mediterranean through the Crusades that enabled Europe to get back on its feet. During the period following the collapse of the Roman Empire, the Church did a darn sight more than any other group to preserve Western civilization when it was under greatest threat.

It seems to me that the real 'Dark Ages' here are those periods of history where the vacuum formed by the graph-maker's historical ignorance was swiftly filled in by uninformed prejudice.
LOL, the "I'm totally not a Christian, but Christianity is awesome and full of science and you're all being way way too mean to Christianity" concern trolling already started.
To those who think this is inaccurate and Christianity embraced advancement, two words: Reformation & Inquisition. Learn your history kids.
So for my aggressive style. Have just done what I described above and if I would no know that Jesus is real, I would totally agree with all of you. But I can not go and do and belive different. As Jesus is real besides all rubbish christians do - I do my best to get them not doing this rubbish but - well as it is good to do so it sometimes is good toleave ome in their churches alone.

If Mathew 18, 17 and Galatiens 6, 1 does not help.
Shows difference between rule of reason and science versus rule of faith and religion. Religion is tied to a fixed world-view that determines progress of its people. Science has no such restraints. 
Two things about Islam's contribution to science: (1) it ripped off the Greeks; (2) its tendency to obliterate all preceding cultures meant that once they had finished ripping off the Greeks there wasn't much they could contribute. And they still don't.

Exhibit A: Steve Jobs. Nothing wrong with the DNA, but if he grows up in Syria instead of where he did... well, you can't read this on your iPad.

It's sad, really.
There have been many advancements by many different people. I am intrigued to think about the cost of these advancements. During those times and in some cases, during these times, I could imagine an individual interested in science would have to risk dieing if they did not become a scientist under the one true god. I would easily change religion, not only to pursue my scientific intellectual expansion, but also my self preservation. Perhaps we could say that things picked up again when killing in the name of god stopped?
Johnny I wish I could give you a +2
You have to remember a lot of those who claimed to be Christian in those times were not, but had to say they were for fear of persecution. Some things never change it seems.
doesn't matter the age, they still want to tell you what 's best for you....
The labelling of this graph is interesting. One could just change the labelling to say 'Fall of Roman Empire', 'Europe overrun by barbarian tribes', 'Christianization of Europe', and it would make exactly the opposite point of that which was originally intended (it would still be ridiculous, but that is because just about everything about the graph is confused).
There are no escaping the fact that medieval Christianity delayed our scientific development considerably. And relgion limits still to some extent the development.
I think that chart shows the effects of plague and barbarism, moreso than any sort of religious involvement.

It is the fault of religion that literacy returned to Europe, thanks to Irish monks and Charlemagne.
The sheer arrogance of the atheists on here is astonishing. What cracks me up is that - as a worldview - atheism requires every bit as much "faith" as Christianity. Nope, I can't scientifically prove to you that there's a God, despite abundant evidence of a creator. And nope, you can't scientifically prove that there isn't. What really cracked me up was the person babbling about "evolution is science." Really? Last I checked, science required observation and experimentation to test theories. Now, evolution might be exactly how things unfolded, but it has never been proven and could never be proven, at least within scientific methods currently available to us. Nothing that supposedly takes millions of years to unfold can be observed and tested by experiment. So let's at least be honest about it. It is an indisputable fact that many aspects of evolution are not agreed upon by many scientists with real PhD's after their names. So, you don't wish to believe you made by a creator? Fine. Don't act like people who do come to that conclusion are stupider than you. They're not. In fact - someday, they may just turn out to be right. How stupid will you feel then? Heh.
+Jon Hoagboon A ridiculous post like this can serve its purposes. If the discussion that follows gets at least a few people to go beyond relying on their blind prejudices to fill in the gaps of the lacunae in their historical education, that can't be a bad thing. It always amuses me to see the way that people who most vociferously denounce faith-based prejudice, will pronounce so definitively on periods of history that they obviously know little or nothing about, merely on the basis of an atheistic prejudice. Just because someone is an atheist doesn't automatically make them enlightened, nor does it compensate for the fact the fact that their failure to do their historical homework leaves them looking stupid. Life and history are seldom as tidy as our - religious, agnostic, or atheistic - prejudices would have them to be.
May be repeating something here (too many comments, too little time). My view is that any system of belief which doesn't allow for criticism, revision based on data and/or new experience, skepticism of authority and/or recognition that all knowledge is fallible will create a roadblock to advancing humanity. Nullius in verba.
@Alastair Roberts I wonder how many people claiming to be Christians have done any research on it all besides just repeating what their parents and the church has told them over and over again? Once you start learning it's history you'll find that everything that you believe in has been done over and over again by other religions and pagans.It all starts to fall apart quickly when you actually see it for what it is.
+Jon Hoagboon I don't know what other posts you're referring to, but this particular post is not biased, flawed, deceptive or an act of trolling. I posted a picture of a silly "motivational poster" that makes an interesting point, and I asked "is this fair?"

The transition from Classical Antiquity in Europe to the so-called "Dark Ages" involved both the (sometimes violent) rise of Christianity and the lamentable decline in learning and scientific progress.

The Christian and predominate version of these events is that decadent, orgiastic Roman "pagans" were overthrown by truth-bearing Christians.

The victors write history, so that's the history that's been handed to us.

But that's not really true, is it? In reality, some of the Christians of that early era were similar to, say, the Taliban, where they burned down schools and promoted the idea of getting all knowledge from the holy book, in both places using ignorance and the destruction of learning as a source of political power.

Of course, it's possible that there really was no causal relationship here. If so, let's hear that argument.
I am a Christian I agree it is fair.
Can agree that religions to some extent helped science by the University system, the Library and so on. And Islam had many talented scientists. But many of the scientists at that time was working against the Church. We still have many scientists who do not receive funding or may not work with important research because religious belief. I´m from Sweden and we had a dark period of religious repression, when thousands of women got killed as witches. Science was virtually banned, and we had laws that were based on the Bible. Then we became more secular and the development was substantially increasing.
Not at all fair.
The dark ages, and the loss of knowledge that came with them, were caused by the complete breakdown and destruction of the Roman Empire. Christianity really had nothing to do with that. The truth is, you could argue that without the Catholic church much more would have been lost. The tribes who invaded Western Europe did not understand most of the tech that the Romans used. And the complex trade links from across the empire that supported that tech were wiped out. So even in places where the knowledge could have been preserved, it often wasn't simply because it relied on trade with places that could no longer be reached.
The feudal system of government may have been a necessary evil in the chaos that followed the collapse of the empire, but it didn't leave a lot of resources for anything that wasn't basic survival. At least not at the beginning.
Now, that said, you could certainly say that Christianity (in the form of the Catholic church) attempted to suppress certain knowledge once society got organized enough to begin trading and building again. But that had less to do with Christianity than it did with local leaders (both church and feudal) attempting to hold on to their power.
+Brian Locke Actually, the issue here isn't whether Christians have done research (surely an enlightened atheist wouldn't commit the logical fallacy of a tu quoque argument...): the issue is whether those attacking Christians with this ridiculous graph have done any research. I have actually studied rather a lot of the Church's history, and it really isn't as tidy as anyone's prejudices would like it to be. Most importantly, however, we are not dealing in some supposed universal patterns of history (the silly science vs religion trope - yawn!), but with a number of specific claims made about a specific period of history. You are being invited to prove that you have actually done your homework on that specific period of history, and that you can substantiate the rather glib claims of this graph. To this point little has been said on this front, although several people have made vague generalizations about Christianity's hostility to science.
Scientists that discovered things that countered christian teachings were executed. It's fair.
Sure christianity held society together after the Roman Empire fell. But the question is whether or not it would have been better if a secular movement had held society together. A movement of thinkers who did not buy all that the priests said, without trying to form their own ideas about how the world should work and how it works.
+Brian Locke +Joe Lancaster You can combine definitions as well as the next person right?
Evangelism - refers to the practice of relaying information about a particular set of beliefs to others who do not hold those beliefs.
Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities

So I get from that, if one was prone to jump into threads and seek to convince others there's no such thing as deities, they might be labeled an Evangelical Atheist.

The verb Evangelize might commonly be used in the context of Christianity but they don't own it. The verb plays out with all manner of Theists and non-Theists alike.
Seriously the yawn was reading your reply trying to be condescending and walking the high road at the same time. If you had done any research has you have claimed you would know it is that tidy.
First nobody can tell what would have happened without Christianity and second the cause of this gap is not only due to Christianity, finally what is the unit of measure ? The approach is not scientific (and you may say unfair).
+Craig Bowers Ahhh. I see what you are saying. I would never try to make someone not believe in something they hold to be true regardless how I feel about it.
All that needs to be done is change "Christianity" to "Religion" and half of these comments would either be rendered moot or would not have been posted n the first place...
so the chinese are flying to the moon for more than 500 years?
(ignoring all posts before me) Mike, might be true, but I wonder how long it would have taken the Romans to switch from blind faith to "Enlightenment". It's a myth to believe that they were closer to science than the monotheist fanatics who overwhelmed them...
As +Louis Gagliardi and others have stated, the "dark ages" never really happened. The term is still popular among the mainstream but generally scholars don't use it anymore.
Other religions have also stopped the scientific developments, but during that period Christianity was the worst in Europe. During the same period so flourishing science in several other regions. But you can see religion stops development these days, too.
Dunno Thomas, the US seems to lead the way in development and it's been pretty "christian" for its whole history. Even today 83% of Americans claim to be religious, 76% claim to be Christians, and 58% claim to pray at least weekly.

Are you suggesting the U.S. has yet to leave the dark ages?
You need to claim that to get good positions in the community. For example do you think that an nonbeliver could be president? The answer is no. And if you take a closer look on what they belive then you often se that they dont belive in most of that the bible says.

But you have a lot of "dark ages" in modern us. For ex the denial of evolution. stop of stem cell research and so on
I would agree with +Alastair Roberts that the history is simply more complex than something like this simplistic graph would have you believe. Really liked the book Atheist Delusions (by David Bentley Hart) for a completely different reading of the early church history than the simplistic 'Christians/religions hate science and tried to squash it when they got power' which dominates this thread and public opinion today.
+Craig Bowers ... good question ... ;-) ... in the dark ages stronger parties (countries, shires. duchies, etc.) invaded and occupied weaker parties for no other reason than their own gain without being held accountable by anybody ... in those days the rich almost completely abolished the middle class until there was only poor and rich left ... the powers to be (the ruling class and the super rich) rooked the general populace openly without even pretending to be honest ... see any similarities? ... the US of A does not yet have to leave the dark ages ... they went back to it! ...
Well said. Also trying to separate the church form the religion is foolish. The church was the religion in those days. It still is for the most part, but the fastest growing segment of Christianity these days seems to be religious but non denominational or not affiliated with a church at all. That's not scientific,. Just a personal observation. (Your mileage may vary)
There is pretty consistent evidence that there was a diversion from true christianity that helped contribute to the dark ages. This is what led to the reformation and subsequent Enlightenment. I don't think that there is any coincidence there.
I also happen to agree with the concept of people trying or testing their faith. It doesn't seem to me that faith is a powerful principle unless the agent understands its worth.
I also think that generalized statements should be spoken with the understanding that they can be wrong in many specific instances.
+Thomas Andersson by president you mean POTUS. Remember G+ is a wide readership. There presumably are lots of non-christian presidents (elsewhere). But the US as well has had and will continue to have non-christian presidents. There's a couple mormons on the GOP slate in the running as we speak.
I'm not a history major but as a starting point of discovery, these ones seem to have had no denominational affiliation:

Thomas Jefferson
Abraham Lincoln (atheist)
Andrew Johnson
Ulysses Grant
Rutherford Hayes

Many skeptics claim a longer list.
So true. And how many more scientists and brilliant minds have we wasted fighting wars all in the name of religion?
+Pedro Gelabert In the name of the science you apparently hold so high could you please name the "other parts of the world that never accepted Jesus' teachings" that are not doing so well and provide reference to the peer-reviewed papers that directly links the non-Christian-ness of these place to them not doing well?
It's perhaps convenient to suggest that early scientists just said they were christians because they had to (reference again to +Dennis Alcover starting list above) . But I find it compelling to note not just how they lived, and how they advanced scientific discoveries and knowledge, but that they believed so strongly in both science and their faith, that they were willing to die for it. Recounting neither.

It's easy to post in a thread. It should be hard to look at such a list of scientists having have done more for our worlds discovery than any of us have yet to do (sorry if I missed a recent thread joiner to the contrary) and suggest to them that their findings in faith were any less valid than their findings in science.

I'm suggesting not to try to take either away from them.
Rarely will one die for something they don't believe in.
Oh and +Pedro Gelabert could you explain to my why the Chinese, who to the best of my knowledge have never accepted Jesus' teaching accept for a very tiny minority, are doing pretty well - and by pretty well I mean they could foreclose on the USA in an instant if it suited them.
A society can only advance when the cultural consciousness (social reality, perceptual context, etc.) of a critical minority of its people is elevated to a higher level. Development is hierarchical - each advance is built on previous advances - there are no shortcuts. Religion, philosophy, science, technology, and material growth are all tied to cultural advancement - to single out just one area of development is to misunderstand the process. A similar chart to this one could be made for economics (private ownership of capital and mutually voluntary contracts; productive contributions of minorities and women), politics (natural rights, individualism), or technology.

This is an old argument, based on non-hierarchical, hyper-rationalist assumptions about human nature and social development. But without the moral restrictions and restraint of appetites preached by Christianity and its fellow major religions, the advance from an age of Might Makes Right to the Age of Reason and modern science would have been impossible. Clearly, we still have a long way to go.
Major bias here and anyone with any objectivity at all could see it.
This is complete balderdash. Barbarian tribes and vandals (among other factors) were at the root of the division of the Roman Empire. Christianity only fueled development and progress and installed a sense of morality and virtue into society. Unless of course you'd prefer still going to stadiums to watch humans being slaughtered for your entertainment.
+Brett Thomas I call cite! I hear the sentiment but lets not hide behind a convenient target. People are people. They go to war over far more base drives than "religion" which is merely one of the window dressing put up. Power, greed, corruption, oil, water, land. It's a long list. Neither you or I can prove it, but my flag goes in the camp that if you waved a magic historical wand and removed religion from the list of variables, the list of wars would be no shorter. They'd just be pitched under different banners.

And it could be argued that without any of the positive effect that religion being honest, integrous, and true to its ideals has had on mankind that there's a risk that some strife that was averted, would instead play out.
United States has had presidents with other faiths. But would a person who does not believe in any god have a chance to be president? the answer is no. And it is as for other positions. It pays to be believers. Therefore, one can assume that many call themselves Christians because it promotes their social status in society. Also there are many who have not thought through what they believe. Besides, so do Mormons believe in much the same God as Christians. They only have a different interpretation.

Besides, it is difficult to reconcile faith with science. How should believers handle such things in the Bible, contrary to what we know through science? How can one believe in genetics, while believing that we are descended from two pairs of people. How can one believe in dinosaurs and so on
war might not have disappeared without religion but it is easier to get the people to fight or do other things if you make use of religion.
+Thomas Andersson you seem to take exception to the notion that a non-believer would have a chance as president. Despite my point that you've had more than one, I don't see any great problem with the fact. It's nothing more than democracy. If 70%+ claim to be christian, and 83% claim to have faith in a god, shouldn't they have the right to elect someone they feel would best represent their interests? Would a non-believer be as qualified to represent such an over-all majority?

I also think it would be unlikely for a Romney to be electable in a Muslim country, or a Rick Perry in China. No surprises all around.

To be fair I also take issue with far-right, typically GOP personalities who would like to pretend that the other 15%-30% doesn't exist once they get their mandate. That's also democracy distorted.

It's perhaps comparatively easy to govern to your base. It takes real leadership and wisdom to fairly govern the entire constituency. Perhaps that lost art is another log in the current partisan log jam. At least Obama attempted (or started to attempt - though one/many/most may fault the execution).
jajaja nice!!!! finally someone with understanding jaja
I might suggest then Thomas that what you desire then is more not less religion in history. Be it honest and true faith, or even simple rigid moral construct. Both preclude, "making use of religion to get people to fight or do other things". People do as people are. Remove the moral compass and they'll do and say anything to accomplish their ends.

The faults of mankind were the faults of people, either by omission or co-mission, not the faults of labels. Especially labels that espouse the opposite of the deed accused.

Christianity does not condone many of the historical wrongs done by power hungry dudes, in the name of conquest, any more than mainstream Islam condones the warped extremism and convenient banner mis-labeling and ulterior motive that produced 9/11.

We more accurately judge mankind by its actions not it's labels. Failing to do so is just another form of prejudice.
I guess the burning of the Library of Alexandria had a much more impact in our civilization.
How do you measure scientific advance?
I would also say its inaccurate, from a non-believer perspective as well. Although the Church might have been more repressive to some areas of knowledge I think even Kurzweil would agree that at worst it caused a momentary blip in slow exponential growth of technology at that age of human history. That's not to deny well-known episodes of scientific intolerance to its dogma (e.g. Galileo), but I think the graph is exaggerated in that regard. Especially if we view it through the lens of how rapidly we deal with change today where we can make the same number of major discoveries in a year that would surpass the number discovered in any given century prior to the 20th.
The fall of the Roman empire caused this. The entire western world's economy was decimated and everyone was starving. I'm sure the importance of math, science, and literature didn't seem so important. 
Mike stick with posts on tech and current events. Your leanings about matters such as religion or politics is a turn off.

Truth is that there were more scientific advancements during the so-called dark ages than at any other time prior in history.
Scientific advancements came because of, not in spite of, Christianity. Wikipedia has a good primer on prominent Christian thinkers in science:
Mike, I would love to hear tech talk from you. Not controversial issues. 
Stick to tech, Mike. No politics or religion.
I find it hard to believe that Christianity has ever been good for science. There may have been Christians that have helped, but it wasn't because they were Christians. And I would categorize all religions under this, not just Christianity: an unwavering belief in something that can't be proven is bad practice for science and scientists.
Christianity has embraced and accepted science more so that any other religion and indeed this has been a key reason as to why Christian countries have become dominant. Islamic faith rejected the principles of science way back in the 12C and have been falling back ever since. Christianity accepted the premise of "I think therefore I am" and the results of that - i.e. everything is extensible and mathamatical by nature led directly to Newton and Einstien, Eddison and Jobs. Prior to the 16th Century I would say that the foundations of Science were flawed and religion had every right to cast doubt on its validity
suspect it may be quite true. but i wonder what the unit of scientific advance is? :-)
I could hardly stop myself from crying.
This chart reflects Western European projection of history. In the so called dark ages the Roman christian empire still existed in the east in today's Turkey, Greece, North Africa,...And the science still existed there and exchange of the knowledge with Islamic world (how do you think that Islamic mathematicians got the Greek knowledge of astronomy). But through the influence of the Vatican the achievements of this Byzantine empire is highly underestimated.
totally fair. We haven't even invented flying cars running on solar energy and dyson spheres around the sun. We are so backward :)
+Christo Norman Actually the kind of imprisonments or executions that happened due to the earth being called "not flat" never happened with Islam... on the other hand there isnt a single established scientific FACT that goes against the Quran in any way...

To say Islam rejected science is incorrect, Islam encourages science and research

here is a little video that i posted earlier too that talks specifically about the "Dark Ages"

Islam and Science - The Golden Age; known today as the "Dark Ages"
Obvious missing thing. The knowledge from Eastern Civilizations. This completely forgets it.
If only Steve Jobs had been there.
No. Very unfair. What is the point here? I think it is to simply provoke Christians. Fortunately, Christians generally don't fight back. If, however, this were a perceived attack against the gay, feminist, or Muslim community, then I'm certain there would be a huge outcry.

Listen to this very timely podcast for insight into all the Christian scientists.
Useless. Give me data points, or fail.
Instead of "Christianity" it should read "Catholic Papacy"
Er, werent' the DARK ages DARK because the 'civilised' world descended into an ear of witchcraft (the bad kind, before the Wiccans come after me) and a system of feudal warlords who liked to go around trashing villages unless they agreed to become servile? Tons of rape, pillage and burning underpinned by idiotic superstition.

I have no idea why anyone would call that the CHRISTIAN dark ages any more than they would call it the BUDDHIST dark ages, or MUSLIM dark ages. Dumb graph +Mike Elgan . I thought you were more empirical than this stuff.
Wow Fuck religion, I wanted space ships!
Yes and no. Let me explain...

Yes, it is. I say this because everyone is entitled to their own opinions and views, however misguided and wrong those views may be. If someone wishes to blame a religion for a lack of scientific development at one certain point in time, then so be it; you better bring some evidence to back up those claims, though.

Absolutely not. This is not fair whatsoever because the sheer absurdity of the so-called "graph" is off the charts, no pun intended. To blame a religion for a lack of scientific development is like blaming Communism for creating Joseph Stalin. Communism isn't inherently bad; some of the people that have held that political affiliation, however, have been. Basically, don't blame the ideologies for being poorly conveyed by its followers; blame the followers for misrepresenting their ideologies. Christianity didn't cause that scientific stagnancy, the people did.

The Dark Ages were caused by the decline and eventual fall of the Roman Empire in the 6th Century AD. With the most powerful and advanced empire that had ever existed at the time disappearing from the map, science, religion, and the arts all stalled up. People began to regress back into more simplistic lifestyles, such as a farmer or peasant. Quickly thereafter, education diminished into near non-existence. Some of the richer, higher classes still received mediocre academic teaching, however it wasn't sufficient enough to provide Europe with enough intellectual, inquisitive minds to further the sciences of the time.

That vicious cycle ravaged all of Europe (and parts of Asia), not allowing for many scientific gains to be made. Although the Dark Ages weren't really all that "dark" - it was more of a period of progressive dormancy - it was definitely a significant time in European history during the Middle Ages. Christianity became popular during this period because of two reasons:

1. The Church forced its beliefs on many people from many different cultures through fear and the threat of eternal Damnation.
2. Without science or education to inform people on why certain phenomenon occurs, supernatural activity was naturally assumed.

Now, neither of these reasons are grounds for blaming Christianity mainly because the religion didn't hold back the sciences - a lack of order, education, and intelligent minds did. Yes, it can be argued that because of the Church calling most of the scientific gains that were beginning to be made heresy was a hindrance on the scientific community, however remember that fundamentally, the Christian faith does not condemn the sciences that the Church did. The people are why those hindrances occurred, not the religion.

Science attempts to study how and why NATURAL PHENOMENON occurs.
Religion attempts to study how and why SUPERNATURAL PHENOMENON occurs.

They are NOT contradictory. (This, of course, excludes most Fundamentalists.)

Like I said in the beginning of this post, blaming a religion for the actions of its followers is like blaming a political stance for the actions of its affiliates. Just because the Christians were stupid asses, that doesn't mean Christianity was one big wart on the backside of humanity. With that being said, I can confidently say that the "graph" above is a complete fallacy. The y-axis isn't even a logical form of measurement.

Next time, judge people on their actions, NOT on their beliefs. Someone can believe murder is wrong, then go kill an innocent person. The same concept applies to people that act a certain way in spite of their religious, political, or philosophical beliefs.

"I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." ~ Mahatma Gandhi
Mormonism is a sect of Christianity, +Craig Bowers. Thomas Jefferson was a Christian Deist. Abraham Lincoln was an Agnostic Christian. Andrew Johnson was a non-denominational Christian. Ulysses Grant was a Methodist Christian. Rutherford Hayes was an ex-Methodist and a Liberal Christian.

Please tell me you were trolling.
A citation on your comment +David Greene that evolution has been proven in the lab. I have spent years hoping my very irritating dog would turn into a loveable puppy, but to no avail. If someone has a scientific (that sould be independantly, peer-reviwed and repeatable) proof for Darwinian evolution, I am all ears.

and yes, "go search for it yourself" would demote your post. I hope you are able to have a rational discussion and show the evidence for your statements without denegrating someone who asks for a simple explanation.
Evolution proved in a lab. Haha! Funny! Science requires ability to replicate results. Get back to me in a few million years. But hey thanks for the laugh!
Thank you +Diane Schrader Most people do not get the difference between measuring a result and measuring a data set and EXTRAPOLATING the result to a conclusion.
Here is in Israel the government invest more money on Torah study than on General study (at a regular university). I wish it hadn't. :(
wow, its amazing how we are prodded to be so tolerant of other religions yet, Christianity is normally completely ousted. I guess we're not as tolerant as we boast to be...
Christians, this isn't against you personally. It just goes to show that religion as a whole has negative effects on scientific and possibly technological advances. For example I'm sure that most people who are AGAINST stem-cell research and the use of stem-cells are religious. To me that sounds like you're against quality of life, and it sucks that these kinds of things have to a vote. Same for prolifers, but that's a different topic.
First of all, the so called dark ages where not so dark, as a good teacher could tell you. Second: dark ages where something occurring in the ex roman empire, what do they have to do with China or the Arab world, for instance (the west think that it's the center of the world)? Third: if I have to follow your kind of historical analysis, I'd have to say that all that science has achieved is the atomic bomb, the disruption of the natural world with pollution, the overpopulating of the globe with interfering with the natural process of Darwinian selection, etc. In a word, the end of the human race.
LOL. I like how they arbitrarily quantified 'scientific advance' to give this thesis the illusion of objectivity. Hilarious. This is of course a quite pernicious myth which has been thoroughly debunked. See: The Victory of Reason: How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism, and Western Success by Rodney Stark and Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and its Fashionable Enemies by David Bentley Hart for scholarly refutations of the notion.
In terms of acceleration of progress, the period of the Romans should be a drop after the period of the Greeks.
Except that Jesus wasn't real and that he is a copy-pasta of 3 other messiah.




Here's your life-time revelation that the christian figures have been preachin' about ;) the one when you realize youve been bullshitted your whole life.
What about the rest of the world during those times? It kinda makes me think maybe it actually gave stability so science could advance.
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