A world with no Christianity

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jonthecatholic's picture
A world with no Christianity

I'd like to ask what people here would think that a world where Christianity doesn't exist look like? In my thought experiment (as I am a theist), I'm considering that Christianity is yet to be founded (Jesus Christ will come in 20 years).

A bunch of things are obvious. No crusades, no inquisition, no popes, no Jesuits, no Martin Luther (reformation), etc. But I'm saying what if everything that Christianity has contributed to civilization was also gone.

For example, the study of genetics started when Gregor Mendel was an Augustinian friar and while he was living that life. So we'd probably get the study of genetics much later. Galileo's heliocentric model had many Jesuit scholars help him with the calculations. Maybe Galileo couldn't have finished his model.

On another note, would monotheistic religions have been widespread? With the exception of Judaism and Zoroastrianism, other religions would've been polytheistic. Would Islam have been founded? Maybe.

Would there actually be less wars or would people still find things to fight about? How different do you think our world would be today if Christianity is yet to be founded in the future.

Note: needless to say, you can include both positive and negative effects of this.

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chimp3's picture
Did Mendel use prayer or

Did Mendel use prayer or scriptural guidance to study the colors and textures of peas, or did he use science? If he used science and not prayer what the hell does his mediocre performance as a monk have to do with anything?

jonthecatholic's picture
Mendel wouldn’t have been

Mendel wouldn’t have been studying pea plants if he didn’t join the Augustinian order. He actually conducted his experiments in the monastary. He was able to finish schoolingn because he joined the monastery. Something he couldn’t do if Christianity didn’t exist yet.

chimp3's picture
Not my question. No doubt

Not my question. No doubt Mendel was provided room and board by the church. But did he use theology or science to discover patterns of heredity?

jonthecatholic's picture
He used science. But do you

He used science. But do you know what I’m driving at here? The monastary and the monastic life directly influenced his studies.

chimp3's picture
All religions are man made.

All religions are man made. Everything inspirational created by humans is available to all! The scientific method allows us to see beyond what religion or philosophy reveals. Did you ever notice that no god ever knows more than its human creators? All knowledge gained by humans was gained through intellectual struggle often in spite of religion! To this day Christianity wars against science.

jonthecatholic's picture
Did you ever notice that no

Did you ever notice that no god ever knows more than its human creators?
- How do you know this for a fact? Could it be possible as well that God revealed things, that's why humans know them?

All knowledge gained by humans was gained through intellectual struggle often in spite of religion!
- I can agree to some extent. But it's also true for some that it's because of their love of God and their religion that they seek answers through science?

To this day Christianity wars against science.
- Not all, mind you. Look at most of the schools. and even the first schools. Taught by priests, run by the church mostly.

Jared Alesi's picture
School is just indoctrination

School is just indoctrination, which aligns perfectly with religion. School has nothing to do with inquiry and discovery, and actually works against its furtherance. A school is a training camp for wayward minds so they may be guided gently to sober, complacent thought. The ones who make a difference are the ones who don't learn their lessons, and instead breach the barriers put in place by schools and churches.

Dennis Reilly's picture
No, I don't think monotheism

No, I don't think monotheism would be wide spread. Science would have advanced with or without religion. With science having advanced to this point, Christianity would never be founded. There is a reason it caught on when people knew nothing, because that's what is necessary for such nonsense that obviously isn't true to be taken as truth. My point about the monotheism is that Judaism itself has its roots in Sumer. "El" refers to the 70 dieties or so that made up the religion. El eventually became "Elohim" as you see in the Jewish book that you refer to as the "old testiment." In all seriousness, there isn't a single good thing that Christianity has ever done for the world, that a secular person couldn't or wouldn't have. That was a great point that Hitch made in every debate. Christianity contributed merely because the people just so happened to be Christians, not because they were Christian.

mykcob4's picture
@ LivingNow

@ LivingNow
that was the most comprehensive and correct reply anyone could have ever given. thank you.

jonthecatholic's picture
I agree. Science would

I agree. Science would develop apart from Christianity. My question though is how much would it develop. In the past you had monks who transcribed old literature and old records. Without them, you’d have a harder time preserving ancient knowledge.

Tin-Man's picture
My guess is that science

My guess is that science would have progressed considerably FASTER if it hadn't been for religion and superstitious beliefs denouncing early scientists and burning people at the stake for heresy and witchcraft when they attempted to present and explain scientific concepts and theories that went against religious dogma at the times. But, hey, what do I know? It could have been that the Dark Ages, along with the days of the Inquisition, were an absolutely FABULOUS time to enjoy life.

chimp3's picture
Yes TinMan! Science would

Yes TinMan! Science would have progressed much faster without the torture and burnings!

algebe's picture


You talk about the work of Galileo and Mendel and the preservation of ancient knowledge as if these things happened because of some integral feature of Christianity. They didn't. They are incidental side-effects of the control that Christianity exercised in the Western world until quite recently.

For centuries, the churches used their ill-gotten wealth to build monasteries and cathedrals and wield power in partnership with monarchs and aristocrats. They became the only path to upward mobility for talented but poor young people. For every Mendel, I'm sure there were a thousand Newton-class geniuses who wasted their talents copying manuscripts or arguing theology.

jonthecatholic's picture
I’m talking about those side

I’m talking about those side effects actually. I thought that would be clear from the OP. You assert that for every Mendel there would’ve been a thousand newton class geniuses. Where are you getting this idea? These people would’ve still been born and would’ve still had the knowledge to pursue whatever study they wanted. The chhurch doesn’t force people into the priesthood

algebe's picture
JoC: "The chhurch doesn’t

JoC: "The chhurch doesn’t force people into the priesthood"

No. But its accumulated wealth and power made it the sole path to upward mobility for talented people who weren't aristocrats. It was also the biggest sponsor of art. Why do you think the Renaissance Masters painted so many religious themes?

jonthecatholic's picture
You have still to make a

You have still to make a point. That’s what this exercise is for. Without such a church which (accdg to you was filthy rich), what would these talented people you speak of be doing? If you say they’d be making scientific discoveries, I ask, on whose coin? Today we fully support and see the importance of scientific research. Back then however, not so much.

Christian scientists at the very least had the motivation to know what mechanisms God put in place to create the world we know today.

You’ve just mentioned one thing that would’ve not existed as well. The art. My guess though is we’d have a lot more art of kings and their conquests. Problem would be, what happens when the kings lose their kingdoms? The art would be destroyed as well. So maybe not as much art would survive?

algebe's picture
JoC: "If you say they’d be

JoC: "If you say they’d be making scientific discoveries, I ask, on whose coin?"

On whose coin did science and technology progress in non-Christian cultures, like Rome, China, India?
Why did the Protestant West get a surge of advances in science and technology after the power of church started to weaken following the Reformation?

There are other ways to finance science and technology. One is the joint stock company invented by the English and the Dutch. That mechanism wasn't possible while rapacious churches were tithing everyone to build grandiose churches and monasteries.

Art has survived and prospered since the decline of the church. China, India, Japan, etc., all have their own rich artistic heritages dating back many centuries through repeated rises and falls of kings and empires.

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
In truth the church DID force

In truth the church DID force people into the priesthood. Even until the mid twentieth century of three sons one inherited, one went to military and one to the church.Considered a "charming tradition" in the mid twentieth century in England it was a ruthlessly enforced social custom in Victorian and earlier times. In Chaucer's times orphans were sent to seminaries at very early ages and that persisted in Ireland until the early twentieth century. Christianity is littered with stories of abductions, forced entries into convents and monasteries, orphans forced into seminaries at unsuitable ages. Read your history before you read any more apologetics. Christianity has much to apologise for in its treatment of the poor, the disadvantaged, the "different", ethnic minorities and the original inhabitants of the lands it proselytised.

jonthecatholic's picture
You seem to equate the church

You seem to equate the church being responsible for these people entering the priesthood. You mention this "charming tradition" as a social custom. And ophans forced into seminaries. It seems to me that these are all forced by situation. And even if orphans are forced into seminaries, I can't find a single instance of the church forcing these children to the priesthood. A little FYI, a lot of men leave the seminary.

I'll agree with you though that many Christians do have to apologize for their treatment of the poor, disadvantaged, the "different", ethnic minorities, etc. And yet so do any other group of people. Does Atheism have to apologize for communism? These people have to apologize. Try separating the church and the religion from its members. Now if the Church or the religion says the poor don't deserve to live in official teachings, then I'd agree with you.

algebe's picture
@JoC: "Does Atheism have to

@JoC: "Does Atheism have to apologize for communism?"

No. That patch of blood is definitely on Christian hands.

In Tsarist Russia, the church worked hand in glove with the ruling class to keep the peasants in line by offering them a better life after death. The priests are represented by Moses the crow in "Animal Farm." Religion was the opiate that kept the masses quiet until one day the combination of grinding poverty with the horrors of World War I brought the whole mess to boiling point. Tragically communism was not the solution but just another form of tyranny. The atheism of communist Russia, like the anti-church measures that followed the French Revolution, was a reaction to church abuses before the revolution.

Tin-Man's picture
@Algebe Re: Animal Farm

@Algebe Re: Animal Farm

Crap. Gotta go back and read it again with that new perspective about the crow. I always did wonder about the crow and his role in the whole thing.

algebe's picture


Moses offered the oppressed overworked animals the prospect of paradise after death in a place called "Sugar Candy Mountain." Sound familiar? When the workers' paradise promised by the pigs turned out to be even worse than life under human control, the pigs allowed Moses to come back and start preaching again.

Despite the Who song, people do get fooled again, and again, and again.

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
The Church IS responsible,

The Church IS responsible, and the Church created and sustained the very society and order that produced the orphans. Read a little more; many Jesuits were taken at a young age and, in short,l have you ever heard of the Stockholm Syndrome? They were crushed in spirit and ended up embracing their abusers. This is true by the Church's own admissions and records, The truly recalcitrant were cast out, died, or were sent off to "worlds end" missions. I have not had a chance to research much of the other orders but it is certainly true by repute of the Cistercians and Dominicans.I will be looking at Abbey and Monastery records if they aren't being shredded or locked away as we speak...
The Church has not changed, at the winding up of the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse here in Australia...even though the Catholic Church has been found to be largest abuser and cover up of 8000+ cases in total heard...NOT ONE clergy, not an Archbishop, Bishop or even priest was to be seen at the last day of the Commission where other organisations came to respect the victims and to apologise.. The Church (es) always have to be dragged kicking and screaming to admit their behaviour. Its not "a few bad apples" it is, was and always has been systemic abuse of the different, defenceless and vulnerable that is the underlying characteristic of Christianity in the Roman form and latterly in the plethora of Evangelical sects. The authoritarian model of the Church denies its members any sort of say, denies free thought and ultimately, if you disagree casts you out and into hell. Hard to separate the church from its members in that case. It took a Luther and one hundred years of blood to reform it even partially.
No; atheists do not have to apologise for or to anyone for not accepting undemonstratable gods. Your argument here is peculiar, its like saying if Henry Ford was an atheist I should apologise because you have a shit car? Purely because we share a world outlook?

Sapporo's picture
Christianity ideology

Christianity ideology dehumanises non-Christians, saying they deserve eternal torture. The Christian god never outright forbade the killing of non-Christians.

Atheism simply represents a lack of belief in god/s. It says nothing about how people should be treated.

chimp3's picture
Mendel was a failure at the

Mendel was a failure at the priesthood. He was relegated to the monastic life style because he could not preach or teach. If he had succeeded as a priest he would not have had the time to conduct his quiet, methodical studies. The church did not appoint him to study heredity in peas! Science succeeds in spite of religion! Science is a truly human invention and struggle!

jonthecatholic's picture
You miss the fact that he

You miss the fact that he couldn’t have finished his studies if he hadn’t gone into the monastery. Also that he performed his experiments in the monastery

chimp3's picture
My point is that Mendel was a

My point is that Mendel was a flunkie of a priest. Darwin was doing his thing at the same time. Mendel did not use religion to obtain his data. It is obvious that christianity had little to do with genetics. Religion to this day has little to do with the advancement of knowledge. Mostly, christianity attempts to retain bronze aged superstitions like using magical incantations to cure disease, or the belief that the dead can become alive again.

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
Humans always have found a

Humans always have found a reason to fight. Without christianity mayhap the Roman Empire would have continued in its Roman form and continued to rule most of Europe at least for another 2 or 3 hundred years. Maybe Mithraism would have continued its growth unaduleterated by judaic messaniac claptrap and it would have become dominant in the pantheon of religions accepted by Rome. In any case scientific advancement would have happened at a pace depending on the levels of external conflict without the slavish and backward reliance on verses in a book that has hindered social advancement for centuries. Maybe a Galileo type figure would have appeared in the second or third century, maybe a Leonardo in the 5th and have been celebrated..where would we be now? Probably a damn sight better off without the Constantinian state religion in ascendance.

jonthecatholic's picture
I sort of agreed with you

I sort of agreed with you until you make the claim that we’d be better off without Christianity. But I’ll give you that. In what way would we be better off now?

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
I recommend you take a read

I recommend you take a read of "Pavane" by Keith Roberts to get a taste of the opposite side of the coin if the roman church had continued its authority into the 20th century.

Anything is better than than a theocracy, a wide statement , but arguable. As I premised, should there never have been a christian church adopted then I posit that the Pax Romana would have continued, as threats became evident only they had the technological base to develop new weapons and steal any innovations from their enemies. Eventually their early republican ideals would have reasserted I think, after much bloody revolution and rebellion, certainly by the 16th century CE we would be where the Western World is now technologically. Most towns would contain many shrines, temples etc to the pantheon with a largely indifferent population. Much like modern day Japan. That in my view would be a vast improvement on what I see in the anglosphere today.


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