View Full Version : Musing about the course of history
05-03-04, 09:36 PM
What if Christianity never happened? A certain character and I recalled that Christianity helped solidify the lord-vassal relationship and helped make people cooperate; what if that never took place? Something had to happen after Rome fell. Of course that wasn't the only factor, so the absence of that religion might have made a very small difference. Therefore you may take a whole different course of thought. But you must agree this is an interesting possibility!
Fanthasize with me.
05-03-04, 09:48 PM
Well discussing this very same subject with someone whom I shall not state, it is an interesting thought to say the least. What if Xtianity did not happen at all? Surely Rome would be stronger for it, and the empire wouldn't have collapsed so soon, if at all. The Islamic hordes wouldn't have happened; doesn't Islam have to be #3 in the order? I would also imagine that the social structure in society would be much more humanistic then it was under the Xtian overloads. The enlightenment would have happened instead of the dark ages, trade to the Orient would have been more brisk. The Europeans most likely wouldn't have gone to the Americaís; they wouldn't have taken over land and colonized. African empires would have been able to develop at her own pace; the Middle East would have been relatively peaceful. Jews wouldn't have been prosecuted (as much), and today we as a society would have been more advanced, and more respectful of our humanity. The Slavic hordes would have been the greatest threat to the advanced state of Western Europe. They would have come regardless of Xtianity, and today I would imagine that there would be a great divide btwn the Slavic north and more advanced Romanesque south. That would have been the Cold War struggle imo, itís always the Russians.
05-03-04, 10:43 PM
Surely Rome would be stronger for it, and the empire wouldn't have collapsed so soon, if at all.Probably true. It was Rome's penchant for religious tolerance that allowed Christianity to spread so freely.
The Islamic hordes wouldn't have happened; doesn't Islam have to be #3 in the order?I suppose the Butterfly Effect says that if Christianity didn't happen we don't know how the world would have developed. Still, I don't see that the pre-existence of Christianity was a necessary condition for the birth of Islam. Perhaps you're saying that if Rome were stronger and the Pax Romana spread further east, the wars that ravaged Araby would not have happened, and Mohammed's message of peace would not have been so enthusiastically embraced?
The Enlightenment would have happened instead of the Dark Ages.It can be argued that the Enlightenment was a reaction to the Dark Ages. If it weren't for the Dark, people wouldn't have put so much effort into inventing Light. Perhaps we'd still be in the pre-industrial era.
The Europeans most likely wouldn't have gone to the Americas; they wouldn't have taken over land and colonized.That would be more a function of not having invented the technology of the full-rigged sailing ship, rather than not having Jesus. It would have given the Aztec and Inca civilizations a chance to catch up so when they did meet it would have been as equals.
African empires would have been able to develop at her own pace.I think you're getting carried away. The Bronze Age and Iron Age peoples of Europe and Asia Minor (and even Cushitic north Africa) had been raping the Neolithic lands of black Africa for resources and slaves long before Jesus.
The Slavic hordes would have been the greatest threat to the advanced state of Western Europe.It was the Teutonic hordes of the east -- Vandals, Goths, Langobards, etc. -- that burned Rome itself, and the Teutonic hordes of the north and west -- the Angles, Saxons, Jutes, and Norsemen -- who ravaged its colonies of Britannia and Gaul.
Today I would imagine that there would be a great divide between the Slavic north and more advanced Romanesque south. That would have been the Cold War struggle imo, itís always the Russians.Have you forgotten the eight or nine waves of Mongol hordes who periodically carved a swath of blood across Eurasia like rabid locusts? The Tatars, Huns, Magyars, Genghis Khan's geniune Mongols, Moghuls, Ottomans, etc.? Those bad boys conquered China, India, Persia, Arabia, Byzantium, and all of what for most of the 20th Century was the southern USSR, and once made it halfway across Europe before retreating for reasons some of you probably understand better than I do from watching "Highlander." The Slavic nations never fared any better against them than anyone else did.
So much of the history of the second millennium C.E. hinged on particular events and people. If Napoleon hadn't attacked Russia, would it now be weaker for not having had to fight, or stronger for not having been pounded so hard? If feudalism had not morphed into capitalism after the Enlightenment, would Karl Marx have written Das Kapital and would Lenin have read it?
The history of the Jews would indeed have been different. The Christians of the Dark Ages couldn't understand the rather un-subtle difference between "usury" and "interest" so they couldn't allow themselves to be bankers. Yet they needed bankers so the Jews, who were way better able to interpret the intricacies of the bible, stepped in to fill the void. Forever after they were labeled as evil moneygrubbers. Would they have been accepted more graciously by a non-Christian Europe? Without Jews would there be no Hitler, without Hitler would there have been no WWII? Without WWII and without communism, would Stalin have not turned the USSR into a dismal caricature of a worker's paradise? Without communism, would China now be one billion happy capitalist industrialists, one gigantic clone of Taiwan?
Without the full-rigged sailing ship that carried Admiral Perry to Japan, would it still be isolated?
Uh oh. We forgot about the Aztecs. Talk about your Mongols, the Aztecs would have been a match for them. There might very well be a military giant in the Western Hemisphere. The U.S.A.: the United States of AztlŠn!
05-05-04, 04:38 PM
Surely Rome would be stronger for it, and the empire wouldn't have collapsed so soon, if at all.
Refresh my knowledge of history. Provide support for the above. As I remember, the empire was too large and too diverse without the Christian group. The wars wouldn't be because of religious oppression.
. The Europeans most likely wouldn't have gone to the Americaís;
Besides those who were looking for a place to practice their religion, there were also criminals, those who sought adventure, money, land, etc.... So the trips to Americas were inevitable.
The Slavic hordes would have been the greatest threat to the advanced state of Western Europe.
If I remember correctly, the Slavic people got their alphabet precisely due to Christian missionaries. Your beloved Slavs were much behind.... So, support your statement. I don't know much about those hordes anyways.
Still, I don't see that the pre-existence of Christianity was a necessary condition for the birth of Islam.
Ok, so suppose it was necessary in human evolution to get a monotheistic religion. They had Judaism. If they got another one it would be based on Judaism and pagan religions. The mix would be a very different result, it wouldn't be Islam as we know it today.
It can be argued that the Enlightenment was a reaction to the Dark Ages. If it weren't for the Dark, people wouldn't have put so much effort into inventing Light. Perhaps we'd still be in the pre-industrial era.
Well, Rome in those days wasn't clean by today's standards. The variety of thought and exploration would lead further and further, so I don't see why we wouldn't go straight for that Enlightenment. But it wouldn't be called that way, because, as you said, the term Enlightenment results from drastic contrast between the Dark Age and what followed after it; such a contrast wouln't be there if the Dark wouldn't exist.
The USA as the Aztecs, yes, very likely :)
So many crossroads in history, yes. I picked the birth of Christianity because of some a-ha moment and also because its start was so strange. May be doings of Jesus were overexagerated, he just had those telekinesis abilities and other abnormal ones, and his followers interpreted his sayings in some strange way, and then it got translated over and over, etc.... May be he never claimed himself as a god or a messiah. And if Jews' leader at the time was simply fighting for Jews' freedom, not as some god, there would be no Christianity.
05-05-04, 09:19 PM
A little off topic......
May be doings of Jesus were overexagerated, he just had those telekinesis abilities and other abnormal ones, and his followers interpreted his sayings in some strange way, and then it got translated over and over, etc.... May be he never claimed himself as a god or a messiah. And if Jews' leader at the time was simply fighting for Jews' freedom, not as some god, there would be no Christianity.
Many months ago I posted to a thread about The Christ, trying to explain just this point.
From what I understand Jesus was as you describe a rather accidental messiah who for various reasons stumbled upon abilities that in the climate of the times could only be treated in a religious context.
Of course Jesus was the first person to have a messiah complex. ( although not totally true with hindsight)
Jesus unfortnately suffered enourmously for his abilities, the pressure he was under could only lead in the direction they led and that was to his death on a cross. ( do you have any idea how bad the suffering has to be for the body to sweat blood whilst conscious?)
If those same abilities were demonstrated today and the person involved was not, adequately disciplined etc....the same result would be ....except maybe there would be no cross and no new religion.
Jesus committed suicide and his followers made the most of it and turned it into a new religion.....
05-06-04, 11:37 PM
Ok, so suppose it was necessary in human evolution to get a monotheistic religion.Why??? The polytheistic religions are more accurate and more useful models of the human spirit, which is multi-dimensional. In fact the polytheistic religions as well as later motifs resulting from examination of the human spirit such as Shakespeare's dramatis personae and Jung's archetypes all come up with a 23-dimensional model. This business about good-versus-bad, you're either working for god or for the devil, sounds like something a geeky computer programmer would have invented: a binary universe. How neat and convenient, and how totally sterile and useless for understanding how and why people do what they do. Monotheism also conveniently includes patriarchy: if there's only one god then he's got to have a gender and it always happens to be masculine. It sure seems like something that was invented by the priest class in Asia Minor rather than someting universal that resonated with what people felt in their hearts. I think patriarchal monotheism is an aberration rather than something that was destined to happen. It's just our bad luck to be born on the planet where it sprang up.
Maybe the doings of Jesus were overexagerated.Or maybe his very existence was exaggerated. There's another thread on SciForums debating that very topic. There is by no means a consensus among historians that such a person really existed. The earliest "records" of Jesus were written virtually an entire generation after his supposed lifespan. The contemporary accounts of Jesus in the writings of Josephus, which convinced many of us that he was real, have turned out to be forgeries. Jesus is an archetype, or rather a collection of them. The virgin birth, the ignominious death, the resurrection -- these images occur in the legends of dozens of peoples throughout the world and throughout history. See any of my many other postings if you're not familiar with the concept of archetypes. They're hard-wired synapses that all humans share.
And if the Jews' leader at the time was simply fighting for Jews' freedom, not as some god, there would be no Christianity.On the contrary, Christianity may very well have sprung up in spite of no Christ ever actually existing. That's pretty heavy duty.