Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Christianity, Its Nature and Influence on Civilisation | Charles Watts

Fantastic essay by Charles Watts, written around 1868, but many of the words and themes still ring true today. Loved this quote from the end:

"If Christianity contained any real remedy for existing evils, it would have displayed itself ere now. It has had every advantage in its favour; the influence of the priests, the patronage of kings, the alliance of the great and powerful, the use of untold wealth, the command of the armies, first place among the councillors of nations, the willing subjection of the populace, the command of their affections, and the dominancy of their fears. Science, art, education have humbled and enlisted themselves in its train. The ties of domestic affection, the bonds of the social compact, the political relations of ruler and ruled, all have surrendered themselves to its influence. It has been absolute monarch of the world. Yet with all these advantages it has proved unable to keep pace with a progressive civilisation."

Christianity, its Nature and Influence on Civilisation - Charles Watts 1868

Interesting take on the argument against organized religion. You usually hear about (and I usually discuss) the main objections that 1) it most likely isn't true, 2) would still be morally questionable/morally reprehensible if true, and 3) even if it were true and morally sound, it still would be no reason to force others to believe it. Watts takes a different approach; while lamenting the utter stagnation of society, he notices that the majority of the last 2000 years has been controlled in nearly every aspect at some point by members of the clergy and what has it gotten us? The only advances to society seem to come against the grain of religious belief, through much argument and trial, overcoming fear of torture or death in some cases to further prove a particular field or theory that may go against the current theology of the day. Its a powerful argument that religion, and christianity in this particular case, has had its chance to prove it is the true way that it claims and has utterly failed in almost every aspect. It's high time we realized this as a society and attempt another route, one based on reason and free inquiry, on science and education, on humanity and the general good of all society, regardless of supernatural beliefs and traditions.

Charles Watts - Wikipedia

A Brief History of the Rationalist Association - New Humanist - Watts Literary Guide

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