Hart: Introduction

Before I get to the first chapter, from the introduction, Hart tells us the main concern of his book:

This book chiefly—or at least centrally—concerns the history of the early church, of roughly the first four or five centuries, and the story of how Christendom was born out of the culture of late antiquity. My chief ambition in writing it is to call attention to the peculiar and radical nature of the new faith in that setting: how enormous a transformation of thought, sensibility, culture, morality, and spiritual imagination Christianity constituted in the age of pagan Rome; the liberation it offered from fatalism, cosmic despair, and the terror of occult agencies; the immense dignity it conferred upon the human person; its subversion of the cruelest aspects of pagan society; its (alas, only partial) demystification of political power; its ability to create moral community where none had existed before; and its elevation of active charity above all other virtues. Stated in its most elementary and most buoyantly positive form, my argument is, first of all, that among all the many transitions that have marked the evolution Western civilization, whether convulsive or gradual, there has been only one—the triumph of Christianity—that can be called in the fullest sense a “revolution”: a truly massive and epochal revision of humanity’s prevailing vision or reality, so pervasive in its influence and so vast in its consequences as actually to have created a new conception of the world, of history, of human nature, of time, and of the moral good.

This goes to the point I’ve thrown out there many times and is noted here, which is that the new atheists expound and pontificate from the safety of a world they had nothing to do with as far as creating and eat the produce of fields they never cultivated or planted. They are the spoiled children of millionaire fathers who complain all day long how their parents are simple, backward, even evil and uncaring, as they sip champagne beside the pool and contemplate the balances of their trust accounts, all filled and created from past Christian conceptions and efforts.

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4 Responses to Hart: Introduction

  1. Burk Braun says:

    You’ll be interested in a slightly more reality-based < HREF="http://www.salon.com/env/atoms_eden/2009/04/03/jesus_interrupted/" REL="nofollow">approach<> to these issues.


  2. Darrell says:

    There is not a single item in the Salon article/interview that speaks to (let alone against) what Hart writes. I have no idea what you are getting at. Hart is not a fundamentalist (like you are in a secular way). Only modern evangelical/fundamentalists are frightened by people like Ehrman. He has nothing to say to Hart’s critique or anything to Protestant/Catholic/Orthodox Christians for that matter. Ehrman has never discovered or written anything that orthodox Christian scholars (and many lay persons) haven’t known for centuries. That is the reality. Your point?


  3. Burk Braun says:

    This revolution of the moral good, that you and Hart speak of? This banquet of goodness that Christianity has provided? That was what Ehrman was speaking of at the end of the interview. He says it is a load of bunk- that people will and have found ways to rationalize their bad behavior, theology or no. And the empirical record is completely clear on that front.I would add that this moral righteousness is the basest propaganda- narcissistic, unreflective, and damaging to society in general, in the best tradition of Christian intolerance. It is purely an expression of group-think, just as any other group thinks that its precepts and example is the finest and greatest. Like all the utopian visions of the last century. The most secular countries (counting communism, Juche, and other ideologies as religions, as I think you do) are the ones with the highest moral standards, as it turns out. That should be food for thought.


  4. Darrell says:

    Actually, I don’t think Ehrman was making a historical analysis; he was not saying anything about the historical impact of Christianity upon the west-the point of the post. He was merely giving his personal opinion that he didn’t think people need Christianity or religion to be moral–now. Of course, that simply goes to my point. It is easy after 2000 years of enculturation of the Christian ethic to now say it is not necessary. All such an observation requires is mountains of historical ignorance.


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