The Closing of the Western Mind by Charles Freeman

Discussion in 'Meditation, Mindfullness, Religion, Spirituality' started by gretchen, Apr 8, 2013.

  1. gretchen

    gretchen Member

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    I have just seen that the Skepticism thread is locked :( . I found a book over the weekend Narouz that I think you would like, The Closing of the Western Mind: The Rise of Faith and the Fall of Reason by Charles Freeman:
    http://www.amazon.com/Closing-Western-M ... 1400033802

    This books explores the rise of Christianity as a state religion and how this led to the destruction of the Greek tradition of inquiry, philosophy and science, which resulted in a thousand years of cultural decline.

    It seems to be a pretty good book; here is the first chapter:
    http://books.google.com/books?id=CwafbU ... &q&f=false

    And a NY Times article:
    https://www.nytimes.com/2004/02/15/book ... urope.html
     
  2. narouz

    narouz Member

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    Yeah...oh well. :D
    I'll take a look at the book.
    I guess the title is a riff on the big bestseller of...what was it?....the '80's?...by Allan Bloom I believe,
    "The Closing of the American Mind."
    That was a cool book.
    Thanks!
     
  3. OP
    gretchen

    gretchen Member

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    It ought to be required reading. Whoops, sorry, that sounds authoritarian. ;)
     
  4. Sextus

    Sextus Member

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    Alternatively, it should be read with great caution, since Freeman is a retired high school teacher with no qualifications in history and his thesis in that book was rejected by actual scholars of western thought.

    See http://armariummagnus.blogspot.com.au/2 ... s.html?m=1 for a detailed critique of its many errors and flaws.
     
  5. j.

    j. Guest

    "Actual scholars"? Are they like "actual doctors" who advise to do the things warns against?

    Arguing from authority is not convincing at all.
     
  6. Sextus

    Sextus Member

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    Luckily for me I didn't "argue from authority". Which is why I also linked to a 3,000+ word critical analysis of Freeman's thesis that goes over the evidence in great detail and shows the key flaws in what he says.

    Did you read that?
     
  7. narouz

    narouz Member

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    Sextus-
    You will have to excuse the poster.
    He has said in the past that he does not feel it necessary
    to read posts upon which he comments.
     
  8. j.

    j. Guest

    People reading, you would have to excuse Narouz. He can't help himself. He must hijack threads.

    He also can't stop himself from lying. He lies when he attributes to me that statement. He has a great imagination, but confuses it with reality.
     
  9. Sextus

    Sextus Member

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    Whatever. You didn't answer my question. Nor did you explain why you accused me of an "argument from authority" when all I did is note that scholars reject Freeman's book as biased polemic and then post a link detailing why. That isn't making an argument from authority, it's making an argument.
     
  10. j.

    j. Guest

    Because of your appeal to "actual scholars". According to whom and why? I took that as one argument, and the link you provided as a different argument. I only objected to the first.
     
  11. Sextus

    Sextus Member

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    Dismissing a thesis on the grounds scholars disagree and making no other argument is an appeal to authority. Simply cautioning that they disagree before noting solid reasons why isn't.

    The critique I linked to details why Freeman's book is regarded as polemical and why it's central thesis doesn't stand up to sustained criticism by those with a well informed and detailed grasp of the relevant history.
     
  12. BingDing

    BingDing Member

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    Well said, Sextus. And thanks for the link.
     
  13. OP
    gretchen

    gretchen Member

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    All good and well, but can you say your mind is not actually closed about religious and spiritual things? What about the Nicene Creed?
    http://www.creeds.net/ancient/nicene.htm

    It expressly states you can only believe in one God and one person (the ONLY person) who manifested Himself in the image of God, Jesus the Christ.

    Do you truly have the freedom to believe in (or petition for help, intercession etc.) other gods, such as the Greek goddess Pallas Athena, or is that taboo?
    Can you actually investigate the Reality or Nonreality of Pallas and find out if she is in fact a heavenly being, or do you have to agree with the NC and say only Jesus is the Only Son?

    As a result of the Nicene Creed, what do you know of your own divinity, if anything?

    Can you relate to Platonic concepts such as a Form of something and know what that means? Do you know how that specifically relates to you and your own Divinity, or can you not explore that because Jesus is the only reflection (Form) of the Godhead?

    Does spiritual awareness/understanding/Truth have any bearing on material life or is it irrelevant? If we don't know the Truth, are we still OK? Life proceeds forward, business as usual, and we go on our merry way?

    Can you explore any of these questions or has the matter been settled?

    How can you say science and intellectual life weren't stifled during the Dark Ages or that the authoritarian Roman regime didn't have something to do with it? Please clairfy.

    (and btw if you google Dark Ages you are quickly corrected and told that that era is referred to as the Middle Ages because the term DA is too pejorative :D lol)
     
  14. Sextus

    Sextus Member

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    I don't know where you got the weird idea that I would believe in the Nicene Creed. I'm not a Christian. I have no belief in any Greek goddesses or any other deities either, since I'm an atheist. And I have no idea what any of that has to do with what we are discussing here, which is history and the evidence of what happened in the past.

    I can say that because it's true. And I "clarified" at some length in the critique of Freeman's book that I linked to. This "stifling" simply didn't happen. If you have ever read a work of Greco-Roman science or philosophy, you have a Christian monk to thank - since they preserved pretty much everything we have, which is thousands of works. As I said, Freeman's book simply ignores this and skips over the evidence that completely undermines his whole thesis.

    I don't need to Google anything - as someone who has studied this period for a quarter of a century, I'm quite aware of that. The term "Dark Ages", however, is still used by historians to refer to the early Medieval Period (c. 500-1000 AD) however, especially in Britain. It is generally not used to refer to the Medieval Period generally (c 500-1500 AD) because historians have long since abandoned the idea that this whole period was "dark" in any genuine sense. Quite the opposite, in fact.
     
  15. OP
    gretchen

    gretchen Member

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    So you believe nothing- Roman regime mission accomplished.

    Freeman says the monks only had a fragment of knowledge that the Greeks had. They may have dutifully preserved the knowledge, but that doesn't mean they understand or agree with any of it.

    They are hoarding quite a bit of info in the Vatican libraries (possibly) but even so- no, I disagree, Christian monks can't hold court with the Greeks- not even remotely.

    There isn't a Christian alive who knows what an I AM Presence is. No one believes in the Greek pantheon of Gods, and can't engage in any discussion of it. Platonic Forms are over most people's heads.

    What you are essentially saying is life has gone on merrily without God- the world is dead and we humans are going through the motions living our lives, doing either good or bad, and that things just happen to turn out however they do, due to human goodness, not according to an overarching plan due Unseen help from other realms, including every speck of science, medicine and technological advancement we have ever had or hope to have. We create the world without God, since we aren't and can't be God, because Jesus is the Only Son.

    There is clearly a tremendous stifling and repression, as well as mystification and abandonment of Truth. I plan to keep calling it the Dark Age; I don't care what agreements highly-studied historians have made about the period in it's so-called "true sense". lol :D
     
  16. OP
    gretchen

    gretchen Member

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    The latest in the ongoing debate on religion versus reason and evidence of the closed Western mind, a film called The Unbelievers which was just released this past week:
    http://unbelieversmovie.com/
     
  17. Dorito Loyalist

    Dorito Loyalist Member

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    I'm sure there are plenty of Christians who are familiar with theosophy and have good reasons for keeping it at a distance.
     
  18. OP
    gretchen

    gretchen Member

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    Why? Have they succeeded in their development with their One God, or have they in fact opened themselves up to the everyday specious argument that "what kind of God would fill-in-the-blank". This is about the best professional atheist Sam Harris can come up with, and he has written a ton of books:
    http://www.samharris.org/

    People dismiss Theosophy because they are afraid of HPB. She was heavy-set, smoked, and does not appear to be sufficiently "religious".
     
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