Book Reviews

The Dark Side of Christian History by Helen Ellerbe

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List Price: £9.94

 

Paperback: 223 Pages.

Published: 01 July 1995 by Morningstar Books

ISBN: 0964487349

EAN: 9780964487345

By denying evil we do harm. By denying darkness we obscure the light. Over a period of almost two millennia, the Christian Church has oppressed and brutalized millions of individuals in an attempt to control and contain spirituality. The Dark Side of Christian History reveals in painstaking detail the tragedies, sorrows and injustices inflicted upon humanity by the Church. This expose is a compelling and passionate cry for human dignity and spiritual freedom.

Reviews

2.0 Stars2.0 Stars  by Anne

More than slightly bonkers

The author has written this book to reveal the evil things done by the church throughout the ages and the effect that this has had on our society. She states that many people are unaware of these facts. She probably needs to mix with some different people because there are absolutely no surprises in her description of the history of the church for anyone with a basic knowledge of European history. Unfortunately she puts none of this in context and blames the church and the church alone for slavery, torture, sexism, racism, intolerance and war. As far as she is concerned the church (which she assumes is one body with a consistent purpose through the past 2000 years) has no redeeming features and is solely responsible for the Dark Ages (a period in history which re-evaluation has recently shown is nowhere near as dark as she supposes) and also for what she sees as hierarchical governments (with the sole exception of the USA) and mechanistic views of science. She sees pre-Christian history as a time of equality and cooperation and without war which was destroyed by the paternalistic and hierarchical Christian church.

Although the church and people in the name of Christianity have been responsible for many evil things over the centuries other religions and states without or with different religion have been responsible for a few too - she never mentions these. She also does not mention the church's role in education, medicine, the arts and the abolition of slavery. A little more reading in history will show that the pre-historic idyll she protrays never existed and that non-Christian cultures have developed independently hierarchical structures and indulge in their fair share of torture, slavery, racism, sexism, etc. She knows very little about science and it shows, especially in her adoption of the now discredited Gaia theory.

This book gets two stars for a couple of reasons, firstly it is very easy to read and secondly it has acted as a basis for considerable thinking and debate in the past few days. But please, if you do read it, read some other history as well.

 
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