Third Lecture – Ancient History
Instructor, Andy Schlafly
|This week we cover the great ancient empires in the East: India and China. This requires learning about many new religions, including Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism. Then we conclude by discussing the rise of Christianity.||
This should be an interesting section, and offer plenty of golden opportunities to slap Schlafly based not on his abominable grasp of history, but his abysmal logic and complete inability to stick to the point. Raking Andy over the coals is so much more fun when there's lots of topics on which to do it.|
|Ask yourself at the outset: why learn about any religion other than Christianity? That is a good question to ask. Many Christians could conclude that, having found their faith, they see no reason to study non-Christian religions.||
Isn't this supposed to be a "World History" lecture? Why the sudden emphasis on learning new religions? Andy's meant to be teaching history, not Religious Education. Although in fairness, he does neither of them particularly well.|
|There are some valid reasons to studying other religions, however. Christian missionaries, for example, need to understand the religions of the peoples they are attempting to convert. World leaders and travelers should understand the different religious views of peoples they encounter, even if they are not trying to convert them. In business it is important to know the values and beliefs of people with whom you deal.||
That's right. Don't bother learning about other religions due to a desire to understand the forces and movements of our infinitely complex world, out of personal interest, or even out of general intellectual curiosity. Only study other religions in order to tell people that they are going to burn in Hell. The purpose of Religious Education, arguably, is not to cram clumsy Christian propaganda machine down peoples' throats but instead to teach the history, principles, beliefs, and practices of all the major religions in the world - extant and extinct - along with less organised belief-systems like Animism and ancestor-worship. Schlafly's perception that religious education is just a crash-course in inquisitorial brainwashing, is not only stupid. It's dangerous. He may or may not realise that such an attitude not only doesn't help, it in fact makes things a whole lot worse and results in such merry little events as the Crusades, the Holocaust, and 9/11. And this man has the temerity to tell people to "open their minds"? Insert expletive here.|
|It is possible that learning about other religions, and how they differ from Christianity, can strengthen one’s appreciation of Christianity. It is also fascinating to see how distant peoples struggled with religious issues without the benefit of Christianity and came to certain conclusions about life, morals, and unseen truth.||
Again with the political approach to education. The purpose of education is not to indoctrinate people in a particular belief system, but to expose them to a variety of theories, events, and explanations from our infintely diverse species. Except in Andy's world.|
|So let us proceed:||
...with clunky, awkward descriptions of modern religions liberally peppered with Republican propaganda and references to contemporary United States social issues. This "Lecture" provides virtually nothing in the way of history. But hey, let's give it a go...|
|The history of ancient India is sketchy, but we do know that there was a massive immigration into the country around 3000 B.C. by people who called themselves “Aryans” or “nobles”. They spoke an Indo-European language which formed the basis for Sanskrit, which is the standard ancient language of India just as Latin is the standard ancient language of Europe. Yet while Latin is a dead language today, Sanskrit is still an official language in India and the scriptures of Hinduism (the most sacred are the Vedas) were written in Sanskrit.||
All ancient history is sketchy. Given that so little was written down, that writing was often inscribed upon materials which have not survived the tumultuous passage of time, and that written documents are vulnerable to nefarious types doctoring or destroying them for various reasons, it's remarkable that we have anything at all. The immense increase in historical knowledge over the last couple of centuries is due not only to more rigorous methodology and the discovery of previously unknown or untranslated documents, but the sheer hard work of archaeologists; whose findings have enabled major revisions of history. One such revision has been the rejection of the "Migrations Hypothesis" of Victorian scholarship, whereby history was explained as the consequence of major population movements causing clashes and conflicts. This is what Andy is referring to here, and it's wrong. Mass migrations are very rare, and the reality is that population movements are almost always slower, more localised, and involve far more co-operation and assimilation than conflict between fixed and mobile groups.
There is no such thing as a "standard ancient language". There were, and are, dominant languages, but the concept of a "standard language" is utterly alien to pre-industrial societies in which a bewildering array of dialects, daughter tongues, and pidgins were (and are) spoken in separate communities. Andy's definition of "Aryan" is wrong on both the historical and logical levels. "Aryan" was a word vaguely approximate to "noble", but is more a word which we apply, than one spoken at the time. And logically, the entire population couldn't have been noblemen.
|The roots of ancient India were settlements in the fertile Indus River Valley in what is now Pakistan and northwest India. This was one of the most fertile region in the world at the time, with plentiful farm products and animals. The region was surrounded in the north by the Himalaya mountains, protected to the west by the Indu Kush mountains, and insulated from the east by the Great Indian Desert. Like Egypt, this region had unique geographic protections against invasion by foreign enemies. Two cities have been discovered there: Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa (huh-ROP-uh). Other small towns have also been unearthed. This ancient civilization existed from about 3000 B.C. to 1300 B.C., and its peak was 2600 to 1900 B.C. It is known as the Indus Valley Civilization or Harappan Civilization, named after its big city. These early settlements were long before classical Indian civilization, which was from 300 B.C. to A.D. 500.||
The grammar here is really bad. What are "plentiful farm product [sic]"? Couldn't Andy have just said "crops"? Geographical determinism - another debunked Victorian theory that societies are shaped by their physical habitats - appears yet again. Andy gets the name of the mountain range wrong - it's "Hindu Kush", not Indu Kush.|
|Writings have been found from ancient India, but no one has been able to decipher them yet. These ancient peoples did have advanced use of water: pipes, drains and indoor bathrooms. The people survived on agriculture and traded with Mesopotamia.||
This is simply wrong. Undecipherable languages are very, very rare - especially since the advent of computers, which are a godsend to cryptographers and paleolinguists. Even "Linear A", a writing system from Bronze Age Crete and a language popularly held to be undecipherable, can be partially read. The problem is not that linguists have no idea, but that in writing systems which use few symbols, we can't be sure exactly what is meant by the script. There's a difference between having no idea at all, and having a vague idea but being unsure. Andy's sudden gearshift from writing to indoor plumbing is strange. It's also hard to tell whether he means an indoor room for washing the body (a bathroom), or is just using a polite euphemism for a lavatory. Quaint.|
|The Sarasvati River was the largest in ancient India, flowing west of Delhi and providing water to a fertile region as described in the Rig Veda, which is the most fundamental of the sacred Vedic Hindu texts. (The river has since completely dried up, but was proven to have existed by looking at satellite photographs of India.) Food and commerce was based on barley (yava), copper (ayas) and cattle. By 2600 B.C., the Indus-Sarasvati civilization became the largest civilization in the ancient world, spreading from Pakistan to many areas of India today. It had links to Mesopotamia, Afghanistan, Central Asia and elsewhere. Its population is estimated to have been 100,000.||
By what criteria does Andy determine "largest civilization in the world"? Population numbers? Territorial control? Economic production? It would be helpful if he said.|
|By 2000 B.C., the world’s population was 27 million, 22% of which lived in India. Today India has 16% or so of the world’s population. Three of the world’s ten most populated cities today are in India: Bombay, Calcutta and Delhi.||
Ooh. Points for trying, Andy, but determining human population levels is hard enough for even the Renaissance, never mind the Bronze Age. Bear in mind that we're not exactly sure what the human population is right now. Estimates vary only in the thousands rather than the hundreds of millions; but if we, with all of our Digital-Age technology and vast interlinked state bureaucracies, can't agree on the current population, what chance is there that we can make anything more than even a vague estimate of population levels before reliable censuses? In these matters, historians (at least the good ones) gracefully step aside and let archaeologists, anthropologists, and geneticists present their evidence and draw conclusions. But unsurprisingly, they don't always agree. But, this is all inconsequential next to the opportunity to shove into a discussion on Bronze-Age India, a half-arsed collection of unsourced, modern-day Schlafly Statistics.|
|Around 1500 B.C., nomads known as “Aryans” invaded through the Bolan and Khyber passes in the Hindu Kush mountain range. The Aryans spoke Sanskrit, an Indo-European language. They conquered the Dravidians and others fled south into India. Religious literature describes these struggles in the “Rig Veda” and two long poems known as the “Mahabharata” and the “Ramayana”. By 900 B.C. iron smelting was discovered and became useful in making weapons and tools to clear fields and the jungle for agriculture. The Aryans produced much agriculture in the Ganges River Valley, aided by winds known as monsoons that brought rain from the Indian Ocean. Rice was the most popular crop, and remains the world’s leading crop today.||
You've already said this Andy, and you got it wrong first time. Oh, and rice isn't the world's leading crop - maize is, as it is used for most livestock feed. And like most ancient Eurasian societies, Ancient India was reliant on wheat; which is hardier, and much less labour- and water-intensive, than rice.
We should at least be impressed not only at the amount of space Schlafly devotes to non-white, non-Christian history (considering how in the previous lecture, Asia Minor, Europe, Africa, and the Americas were reduced to a couple of hundred words of trite text tacked on at the end), but that he also does it in a vaguely acceptable style. Following his god-awful hatchet-jobs on the Mesopotamians, Egyptians, and Greeks, this section on Ancient India is at least not riddled with "it's amazing how they did this without Christianity". However, I have glanced ahead to his other lectures and in those, the style once again becomes a clunky, awkward prose for disseminating crass Republican propaganda and random, irrelevant factoids. So perhaps Schlafly didn't actually write this section. If he had, it's doubtful that he could have resisted the urge to wander off on a tangent about the "Mahabharata" and its references to highly advanced aerial and chemical technologies - which would have made Schlafly soil himself in glee to see his "people were smarter back then" thesis gain some mythical credence. Or maybe he did in fact come across those, but decided not to mention them for fear it would make contemporary Europe look shoddy in comparison. It's still over-reliant on the Migrations Hypothesis, but at least he has shut up for a while about alphabets and pyramids. Thank Christ.
|By 975 B.C., the King Hiram of Phoenicia encouraged trade between India and King Solomon of Israel. In 950 B.C., Jewish people arrived in India in King Solomon’s merchant fleet, and later established colonies there. Around the same time, perhaps due to increased trade, Sanskrit began to decline as the spoken language of India. Priestly Sanskrit was later refined between 750 and 250 B.C.||
"The" King Hiram. Points off for using the Old Testament as an historical source, Andy. It's admittedly true that some of the Old Testament coincides with actual history, but the early books are just collections of mythology, and it's hard to know where to draw the line between the two.|
|Perhaps the people migrated southeast to what is India today. The Vedic (pronounced VAYD-ik) civilization existed from about 1500 to 500 B.C., and is credited with developing the religion and culture of Hinduism (explained further below). But the “classical” civilization of India came later, after this foundation had been laid. Classical India consisted of two major empires: the Mauryan Empire (322-185 B.C.) and the Gupta Empire (A.D. 320-467). Before, during and after these empires there was very little in the way of a central government, and India is best understood by studying its major religion, Hinduism. This is one of the oldest and most durable religions in the history of the world, thriving to this day. India is also the origin of two other major religions, Buddhism and Jainism. One of Jesus’ Apostles (Thomas) went to India and established a Christian community there that thrives to this day.||
Really? This isn't in the New Testament. Is Mr Schlafly relying on The Apocraypha - a collection of writings deemed unsuitable for the Bible by the Council of Nicea - for this information? That's a little heretical. Again, someone please ring up the Spanish Inquisition. Can't hurt to at least have them on standby.
This section is a bit heavy on the "maybes" and "perhaps"(es?). These are good words in history, but their usage must be supported with evidence. Without evidence, "maybe X happened" is tantamount to saying "I made X up". A handy hint, Andy - treat history like a courtroom case. You need proof before you present an argument. Hearsay and conjecture count for nothing.
Classical Indian Civilization
|The beginning of classical India was when the Achaemenid Persians invaded the Indus Valley region in 572 B.C. Aryans led by Magadha joined together to repel the Persians, but internal religious conflict prevented unity. Later Alexander the Great invaded in 327 B.C., spreading Greek influence in the region, but he was unable to completely conquer India and did not stay long. Afterwards, in 322 B.C., Chandragupta Mauryan defeated the Greek general Seleucus and became king, creating the largest Indian empire in its history. He built an elaborate capital city at Pataliputra, surpassing even the splendor of the great Persian cities. He built a massive army of 500,000 soldiers and his advisor, Kautilya, wrote a book how to maintain political power called the Arthashastra, in which he wrote that punishment was the key to government. In other words, Chandragupta was a tough dictator. But his name is revered, as many Indians to this day bear the last name of “Chandra” or “Gupta”.||
Setting a precise date for the start of a new era is rarely a good idea. Historians prefer to stress continuity insitead of change, especially in the Ancient world where political changes had practically no impact on the ordinary people. There of course would be wars, but on a general level, political changes at the top just meant that the ordinary people paid their taxes to Faraway Person "X" instead of Faraway Person "Y". Language, religion, social structure, technology, administrative control - all of these things did change, but only very, very slowly.|
|His grandson, Ashoka, underwent a religious conversion from Hinduism to Buddhism while he held power (268-232 B.C.). Buddhism emphasizes non-violence and Ashoka’s conversion caused him to rule as a benevolent dictator, stressing compassion and apologizing for his role in killing 150,000 Indians! He displayed tolerance towards all religions and helped erect shrines to Hinduism and Jainism, another religion of India. He elevated the status of women, who were already highly respected under the Hindu culture. In Buddhism women could become monks. He also promoted trade with the expanding Roman empire to his West, and the growing Han dynasty in China to his East. After Ashoka died, the empire fell into civil war, and became vulnerable to outside invaders, such as the Bactrian Greeks in the second century B.C. and the Buddhist Kushan in 100 B.C. A council of Buddhist monks was convened under Kanishka to regulate Buddhism, and the result was Mahayana Buddhism.||
Andy tosses a bone to the lib'ruls by praising multiculturalism, and simultaneously shoots himself in the foot by commenting on the tolerance of faiths other than right-wing Fundamentalist "Christianity" (which bears little, if any, resemblance to the teachings of Jesus).|
|The other major Indian empire was the Gupta empire, from A.D. 320 to 467. In A.D. 320 Chandra Gupta I, who had no connection to the prior ruling Chandragupta Mauryan, rose to power and conquered the Ganges Valley, and established a new Hindu dynasty. Trade flourished under his regime with the rest of the world. He had a policy of religious tolerance. Intellectual and economic achievement was high. One famous poet and playwriter was Kalidasa, who wrote plays that were more upbeat and happy than the dreary Greek tragedies. The Indian number system, known as “Arabic numerals,” were developed and are now used worldwide. A Buddhist monastery at Nalanda established a university that attracted thousands of students. A great Indian doctor named Caraka developed a code of medical ethics, and the practice of medicine flourished. The Indians also developed a form of iron that could withstand rust, and it was used in buildings.||
Now now, Andy. In the previous lecture you took the trouble to inform us that the Greeks wrote both tragedies AND comedies. Politely refrain from passing off your opinion of Greek literature as fact. There are people, for instance, who found the movie Avatar predictable and boring, but their opinions are insignificant next to the box office income. Similarly, you finding Oedipus Rex and Antigione (neither of which you have actually read) dreary is inconsequential next to their historical importance. Perhaps if the Christians hadn't incinerated the Library of Alexandria, some more cheerful plays would have survived to the modern age. So really, religiously speaking, it's your own fault that Greek plays are dreary. Oh, and on another note - you might want to play down the social integrationism, closer gender equality, religious tolerance and commercial advancements of a non-Christian civilisation. Remember, according to you, they're all burning in Hell right now. You don't want to go join them, do you...?|
|The key to understanding India is its ancient religion of Hinduism, an initially polytheistic religion using multiple gods who were ultimately understood to be part of one god: Brahma, the supreme god of life. The name “Hindu” comes from the word Hindustan, the word for riverland, and the birth of Hinduism was the merger of the Upanishadic and Vedic religious traditions in ancient India. Moslem invaders of the A.D. 11th and 13th centuries started using the term to describe Indians who were not Buddhists and refused to convert to Islam. In the A.D. 16th century European merchants and missionaries started using the term also. But while Hinduism is not limited to one set of clear beliefs, it does represent a common belief system and today there are 1.05 billion adherents to Hinduism in the world, nearly all of whom live in India. (There is also a significant Christian population in India today, and Mother Theresa won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1980 for her Christian charity work there.)||
Amazingly, Andy has actually bothered to do some research! But again, this is a discussion of contemporary religious affairs rather than history - which he is meant to be focusing on.|
|Hinduism focuses on “The Eternal Way,” which means that certain spiritual principles are true for eternity, transcending what is man-made. This is like a science of consciousness. The advancement of knowledge is emphasized by Hinduism, and today many Indians can be found obtaining PhDs or medical degrees. Hindus in the United States are predominantly Republican.||
Thankfully, can be rather sure that these are REAL degrees, as the number of unaccredited correspondence-course rural institutes of Hindu theology are, compared to their Christian brethren, rather thin on the ground. So again, points off to Andy for speaking well of non-Christians. And does it matter that most American Hindus are Republican? According to Schlafly, anyone who isn't his own particular brand of fundamentalist imbecile is a lib'rul; including Hindus.|
|The practice of Hinduism is through meditation using yoga. Historically, Hindus believe in reincarnation, a belief that spread even to the Greek philosopher Pythagoras in 560 B.C. Visitors to India are impressed seeing by cows wandering about, disrupting traffic and commerce. The expression “sacred cow” comes from the belief in reincarnation, and the view that a cow may be the reincarnation of one of your distant ancestors.||
"The expression 'sacred cow'"? What is this, the campy 1960s Batman? "Sacred Cow, Batman! That dapper devil The Penguin is worshipping Ganesh!" And cattle disrupting traffic is more likely something to annoy people, not impress them. Historically, cattle have been considered sacred in many cultures around the world - in Hinduism, cattle are sacred because of the milk they provide. The goddess Shiva also rides on the back of a bull. Seeing as this is easy to find when researching Hinduism, and that Andy clearly has done some research, it's curious why he didn't mention the reason for the high status of cattle in Hindu beliefs.|
|The basic belief of Hinduism is in a cycle of life often represented by a dancing woman in a ring of fire, who is the god “Shiva” representing creation and destruction. Other symbols are the god Brahma representing creation and the god Vishnu representing preservation or continuance of life. In Hindu statutes a flat palm facing the onlooker represents peace, while a drum symbolizes creation.|
|In 1966, the Supreme Court of India defined what Hinduism is for legal purposes:
1. Belief in the authority of the Vedas (an ancient hymns to the gods, written in Sanskrit). The oldest collection of hymns in the Vedas is the Rig Veda, which was written between 1800 and 1300 B.C. The greatest Veda hymn is the “Bhagavad Gita,” a section in the Mahabharata concerning life’s never-ending spiritual journey towards perfection, to be attained by adhering to a code of conduct. The Bhagavad Gita is a spiritual guide to life’s problems, like the parable in Christianity.
2. Spirit of tolerance and willingness to understand and respect an opponent’s view.
3. Belief in world rhythms: long periods of creation, maintenance and dissolution follow each other in endless succession.
4. Belief in reincarnation (rebirth) and pre-existence.
5. Belief that there are many ways to salvation.
6. Belief that the number of gods to be worshiped may be large, although some Hindus reject the worship of idols.
7. Unlike most other religions, Hinduism is not defined by a specific set of philosophical concepts.
Nice addition, Andy, but you're meant to be talking about the history of ancient India - not teaching Religious Education. We're not interested in modern Hinduism here, but rather its historical roots. And what happened to the actual history of India? Andy seems to have given up on that in favour of copy-and-pasting from a pamphlet on modern world religions.|
|Hidden from this modern legal definition is the caste system set forth in the Code of Manu, whereby the accumulation of a person’s good deeds (or evil acts) in his prior lives (his “karma”) determine whether he is born into a family at a higher or lower caste level, or even lower as an animal or plant. Upon full compliance with the Hindu moral code, the person is released from the “wheel of life” and attains unity with Brahma (universal all). This belief is known as “Moksha”.||
Ah yes, the caste system. Given Andy's love of unfettered free-market commercial capitalism, which inevitably stratifies society into rigid classes in which top-hatted capitalists, button-down bourgeois, and grubby, depressed proletarians are supposed to know and accept their place; it's not surprising to see such a starry-eyed description of a rigid and hierarchical social structure.|
|The highest caste is the “Brahmans” (priests and scholars), a term used today in English to describe wealthy, aloof New England families, like John Kerry’s. (The English non-religious term is spelled “Brahmins”.) The traditional goal of Hindus is to reach Brahma, or spiritual perfection, by observing dharma (DER-muh) (moral or religious duties of your caste). Below the Brahmans in the Hindu case system are the Kshatriya (rulers), the Vaishya (peasants), and then the serfs (Shudra). Below the lowest caste level are the “untouchables” or Harijans, who are slaves and outcasts.||
Oh, so Schlafly wrote this during the run-up to the 2004 US elections. Hence the abominably clumsy reference to John Kerry. And why is he swiping at rich New Englanders? According to Andy's own philosophy, rich people are inevitably Republicans or Tea-Baggers. There goes some of HIS financial backing. Isn't the (very wealthy) Bush family - along with most of their acolytes - from New England?|
|A woman was generally treated like a dependent, to be taken care of and supervised by her father, husband or brother. Government was by a local prince or “raja”, also spelled as rajah. The English word “raj” means reign.||
Andy reminds us of his views on gender relations. At least he said "dependent" rather than "property".|
|The omission of the traditional caste system from the Indian Supreme Court’s modern definition illustrates how Hinduism adapts to changing times, which has helped it survive for thousands of years. For example, Hinduism survived the threat posed by the rival religion Buddhism simply by treating the founder of Buddhism like a god. Today India is 82% Hindu.||
Again, Andy. This is meant to be a discussion of the political, social, economic, environmental, military, cultural, and whatever other categories you want, history of India. Not a polemic on twenty-first century Indian religions. No amount of statistics are going to blind people to the fact that you've veered hopelessly off in the wrong direction...|
|Hinduism holds a special reverence for all living creatures, and violence against life is prohibited. Abortion has historically been very rare in India. The attitude towards women in Hinduism is of special respect in the family structure. Women obeyed their husbands under Hinduism. A much-criticized and rare practice in India was for a wife, after her husband’s death, to throw herself on her husband’s funeral pyre to die as a way of honoring him. This is known as “sati” or “suttee” (suh-TEE).||
The practice of sati was rare and generally only occured in ceremonial deaths for the wives and concubines of very high political leaders. After all, it doesn't do to have thousands of women tossing themselves onto fires every time there's a battle or food shortage. The British abolished the practice in the mid-nineteenth century, but by then it had become exceedingly rare and, in an anticipation of Schlafly propaganda, was hugely misrepresented in order to give the British something to crow over. Another mention of how women should, in Andy's world,m be cringeing slaves, and a crowbarred-in reference to abortion. Bravo, Andy. This rigorous discussion of Bronze-Age India is just getting better by the moment.|
|If you go to a doctor in this country of Indian descent you may find the “Oath of the Hindu Physician” hanging on his wall: “... Speak the truth; Not eat met; Care for the good of all living beings; ... Be simply clothed and drink no intoxicant; ... Consider time and place; Always seek to grow in knowledge; ... Never take a present from a woman without her husband’s consent; ... What happens in the house [of the patient] must not be mentioned outside ....”||
If Andy loves Hinduism so much, why doesn't he just convert and emigrate? That would make a lot of Americans very happy. But it would make a lot of Indians very miserable. And they've been through enough already. Extra marks off for the grammatical monstrosity "If you go to a doctor in this country of Indian descent...". Just awful. Also, is Schlafly advocating vegetarianism and teetotalism? Hmm. It's be fun to see him try and advocate that at his next Republican convention.|
|Hinduism has been the backbone of Indian culture for thousands of years. The religion enabled Indians to survive countless invasions, such as by Alexander the Great in 327 B.C. when he conquered most of the Indus valley. But he could not change the Indian culture much. Hinduism has also withstood both Islam and communism. The Hindu faith is extremely resilient to foreign beliefs, and the survival of Hinduism protected the Indian culture and way of life.||
Let's ignore the fact that earlier on, Andy claimed that Alexander the Great only conquered a tiny portion of India. Now he's saying it was substantial. Neither, by the way, is accurate. Instead, we shall inquire why he has shoehorned in a reference to communism. Again, this is meant to be a discussion of ancient India. Communism is a philosophy from nineteenth-century Europe, not ancien... ohh, why bother...
Communism never had a strong following in India, precisely because traditional communism is so atheistic. For example; during the Second World War there were a series of immense movements by Indians, to get the British out of India. These movements ranged from peaceful mass civil disobedience in the style of Mahatma Ghandi, all the way up to forming violent paramilitary groups allied with Hitler, who launched isolated attacks on British military and civilian targets throughout the 1940s. Subhas Chandra Bose went one step further and actually took his followers to Germany to join the Wehrmacht, where they fought against the allies at D-Day. But in this broad spectrum, communism was practically non-existent. Even Stalin was aware of this. When the Politburo was urging Stalin to make a military push into India in 1945 (which he could easily have done with no more resistance than a tiny handful of isolated British infantry units), he refused precisely because he knew the Indian people would not accept atheistic communism. Communism can be reconciled, to some degree, with Buddhism (both are closer to philosophies of self-improvement, than religious dogma), Christianity (Jesus' preachings and practices were a lot more communist than most Christians like to admit), and even Islam - to a limited degree. But Hinduism, as he has correctly pointed out, has a very strict caste system that is no longer enshrined in secular law, but is still a strong element of the faith. A class system and communism are the complete antithesis of each other. So, a big fail there for Andy. But at this stage, we're growing used to that.
|Jainism is a branch of Hinduism that emphasizes the principle of non-violence towards all life. Jainism requires strict vegetarianism, for example. Jainism was founded by Mahavira (540-468 B.C.), who taught self-denial and non-violence against any form of life. Jainism’s strict requirements of self-denial caused it to lose popularity, but the religion remained strong and today has over 4 million adherents worldwide (including 7000 in the U.S.). It influenced Gandhi later in India, and Ralph Waldo Emerson in the United States. Jainism strictly prohibits abortion.
Jainism rejects the authority of the Vedas, the sacred scriptures of Hinduism.||
Unsurprisingly, Andy tells us nothing about the historical impact of Jainism in Ancient India, instead opting for a vague description and more unnecessary references to contemporary America. Oh, and abortion. Mustn't forget abortion. Any historical account of Bronze Age India, after all, is useless unless Republican propaganda is hammered in every couple of sentences.|
|Siddhartha Gautama was a royal Hindu prince who lived from 563 to 483 B.C. As a young prince he was disturbed by seeing suffering in old people, sick people and, on one occasion, he saw a dead body (corpse). As a Hindu, Prince Siddhartha believed in reincarnation and the possibility of repeated suffering in many lives disturbed him further. He meditated for a long time under a tree and emerged from it as the “Enlightened One” who founded a new religion of Buddhism. Once he became the Buddha, his followers referred to him as “Buddha Shakyamuni” (“Shakya” is the name of his royal family and “Muni” means “Able One.”), or “the Buddha” for short. The term “Buddha” today can also apply to any “Awakened One” in the religion of Buddhism.||
"dead body (corpse)". Bravo. Andy is getting good at object recognition.|
|Siddhartha declared that happiness is found not by improving one’s “karma” under Hinduism, but by embracing Four Noble Truths: (1) suffering is universal, (2) craving or desire causes it, (3) the cure is to eliminate the craving or desire, and (4) following the Eightfold Path helps eliminate this desire and attain “nirvana”. Nirvana is a release from suffering to attain inner peace and complete contentment. The Eightfold Path is a multifaceted guide to nirvana that relies on wisdom (right view and intention); ethics (right speech, action & livelihood); and mind (right effort, mindfulness & concentration). In other words, the Eightfold Path is a system of meditation that can be followed by anyone at any social or caste level.||
Andy at least gets the central tenets of Buddhism correct, but fails to place them in an appropriate historical framework. Yet again, he forgets that this is meant to be history, not religious education.|
|Forty-nine (49) days after the Buddha’s enlightenment, he began teaching. He taught the first Wheel of “Dharma” (one’s duty or nature) to achieve protection from suffering. The Buddha also taught the Hinayana, or Lesser Vehicle, of Buddhism. Later, the Buddha taught the second and third Wheels of Dharma. Together these teachings became the source of the Mahayana, or Great Vehicle, of Buddhism. The Hinayana teaching describes how to attain freedom from suffering for oneself alone. The Mahayana teaching describes how to attain full enlightenment (“Buddhahood”) for the sake of others. The Buddha encouraged everyone to practice Dharma to improve inner peace and happiness, and improve the quality of life. Inner peace is considered under Buddhism to be the key to outward peace.||
Why does forty-nine appear in both words and numerals? Maybe it's a vestigial trait from whatever page Andy cut-and-pasted this segment from...|
|What is the practice of Buddhism like? Buddhists seek a moral life that emphasizes meditation. The goal of the meditation is to end cravings and desires and attain a release from suffering, or “nirvana”. Buddhism encourages increased wisdom and understanding. Buddhists tend not to proselytize aggressively, but fully accept converts. There are Buddhists in most countries today.||
Another reference to the modern world. These short, choppy biographies of major religions are vaguely right, but inconsistent. And they are irrelevant to a discussion of Indian histor because they are not linked to themes of historical events. This Lecture is rapidly getting boring...|
|Founded in India, Buddhism has grown to become the fourth largest world religion (behind Christianity, Islam and Hinduism, in that order). A strict version of Buddhism spread in Southeast Asia (e.g., Cambodia and Vietnam). A more liberal (less strict) version spread into China, Japan and Korea. Buddhism has a larger following in the U.S. today than Hinduism, but Hinduism is much stronger in India.
There are many statutes of the Buddha, and they vary from country to county to show the Buddha as an inhabitant of the local country. The hand position (mudras) in the statute shows whether the Buddha is teaching, giving a blessing, or meditating.||
In this dull, rambling narrative of religion and current events, Andy could at least have mentioned the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas - two enormous statues of Buddha from the 6th century - by the Taliban. This was in 2001 before the war; the Taliban had determined that the statues were "idols", and obliterated these magnificent, ancient monuments in a hail of artillery fire and dynamiting. Andy could have had a field day with that. But then, he doesn't do research...|
Comparison of Hinduism with Buddhism
|The biggest difference between Hinduism and Buddhism is that Buddhism is less moral, and welcomes all. Hinduism is highly moral but based on castes and reincarnation.
But there are many similarities between the two religions. Buddha himself was a Hindu. Here is a list of what Hinduism and Buddhism have in common:
1. Both religions promote meditation or other forms of spiritual practice.
2. Both religions preach non-violence towards all forms of life.
3. Both religions believe in karma in binding people to this world, and believe in a cycle of births and deaths (reincarnation).
4. Both religions believe in multiple hells and heavens.
5. Both religions emphasize detachment and renunciation of materialism, and treat desire as the major cause of suffering.
There are also many important differences between the two religions:
1. Buddhism does not believe in the existence of souls or “first cause” (God). For this reason many do not consider Buddhism to be a true religion, but merely a belief system. Hinduism believes that Brahman is the Supreme Creator and that the soul (Atman) does exist.
2. Buddhism views the world as filled with sorrow, and the highest goal of human life is to end sorrow. Hinduism has four major goals for everyone to pursue: religious duty (dharma), wealth (artha), desires (kama) and salvation (moksha).
3. Hinduism believes in four stages in life (ashramas), while Buddhism rejects this.
4. Hinduism is a religion of the individual and thus has no monks. Buddhism has many monks.
5. Hinduism does not have any prophets, while the Buddha founded Buddhism.
6. Buddhism rejects the sacred scriptures of Hinduism, the Vedas.
The Hindu response to the competition presented by Buddhism was to treat the Buddha as another god of Hinduism (the incarnation of Mahavishnu, one of the gods of the Hindu trinity). This enabled Hinduism to remain far more popular than Buddhism in India, but not outside India.
Oh, superb. "Buddhism is less moral". In what way, by any stretch of the imagination, can Buddhism be called "less moral"? And in comparison to another religion? I know Schlafly is frightened of the concept of cultural relativity, but he really needs to Open His Mind and at least consider that you can't use the morals and norms of one group of one society at one point in time, to pass judgement on an entire civilisation which is separated from you by thousands of miles, thousands of years of history, and a completely different set of cultural factors. Accepting all doesn't even sound particularly immoral, nor even at odds with Jesus' teachings (remember to distinguish between what Jesus actually says in the Bible, and what the fundamentalist megachurches preach today. They rarely match). Jesu' teachings stress inclusiveness and compassion. Regardless of whether Jesus was, or at least represented, that petty twat who dominates the Old Testament, his moral philosophy preachesa very different discourse to that propagated by Andy and his "you're going to burn forever" minions.
|What can we thank ancient India for? Our Arabic numerals, which are derived from Hindu numbers. Also, the game of chess was apparently invented in India, but maybe not until A.D. 500. The original game lacked the powerful “queen”, and Muslim versions of the game lack the queen to this day. Vedic mathematics, which is an ancient math system found in the Hindu scriptures the Vedas, is taught to this day. It enables solving complex math problems orally. India first discovered the concept of “zero” around the sixth century, which remarkably was not part of mathematics before then and has been essential ever since.||
Arabic numerals, as the name suggests, are partly Arabic. They're not Hindu. The proper terminology is "Arabic-Hindu numerals", as our current numerals evolved from a combination of the two in the Middle Ages. Thank god Andy didn't wander off into discussing numerology. After all of that starry-eyed worship of the Phoenician alphabet, it would have been too much. It's doubtful whether Andy has ever played a game of chess in his life (and if he has, he's making god angry. There's something in Deuteronomy 7 about how playing games pisses god off).|
|Indian religion adds a transcendental quality that has found popularity worldwide in the form of meditation, and in the mid-1800s American writers such as Ralph Waldo Emerson began citing Indian practices after abandoning Christianity. Emerson wrote, “I owed a magnificent day to the Bhagavat-Gita. It was the first of books; it was as if an empire spake to us, nothing small or unworthy, but large, serene, consistent, the voice of an old intelligence which in another age and climate had pondered and thus disposed of the same questions that exercise us.”||
Why is he talking about Ralph Waldo Emmerson again? This is meant to be about ANCIENT INDIA, for crying out loud!! Points off for not bothering to cite the quote.|
|Today, the popularity of the English language in India, its low cost of living, and its intelligent workforce make it an attractive place for large American companies to relocate their jobs.||
All historical lectures must include a commercial polemic on how India is ripe for neo-colonialism. Yet Andy seems to have written this in a style which implies American companies SHOULD relocate to India. After all, they're capitalists, and capitalists always seek the highest profits in exchange for their investments. According to Schlafly, who gives a damn if Americans lose their jobs? So long as American companies make more money (and funnel it the GOP, of course)! All of those disgruntled unemployed Americans, instead of blaming Obama, should round up on Andy. That would be fun.|
|Today India is more than a country. It is a subcontinent. It is vast in size: two-fifths the area of all of Europe. 150 different languages are spoken there today. In this century India will surpass China as the most populous country in the world. Even though it has traditionally been a poor country, for decades it has produced more food than it can consume. The highly religious people of India are advancing the frontiers of medicine, mathematics and many other fields today.||
Andy ends with something that should have gone in at the start - geography - and spoils it by squeezing in Schlafly Statistics and irrelevant factoids. How in-keeping with the theme.|
|China, like India, is significant because it has so many people. But there the similarities end. There is no Hinduism in China. There is very little ethnic diversity in China, in contrast to India and many Western countries today. Christianity has struggled to convert the country, and only about 1 out of 9 Chinese are Christian. That number is due to courageous efforts in the face of much governmental persecution of religion.||
So? Luxembourg has a lot of people. So do the Sentinelese Islands. So does Bismarck, North Dakota. That's a pretty poor comparative basis, Andy. There is Hinduism in China, by the way. There are more than a billion humans in the Peoples' Republic; at least SOME of them are Hindus. And why do I get the sinking feeling that it's only a matter of time before Andy wanders off onto a discussion of the John Birch Society? Sigh...|
|China has always been isolated by geographic protections. The highest mountains in the world separate it from India; vast amounts of semi-desert land separated it from Mesopotamia. In the south flowed the Yangtze river for 3000 miles, navigable from the sea for half of its course. In the north was the Yellow river, known for its disastrous tendency to flood.||
Oh for pity's sake, enough with the geographical determinism! At what point do we say a place no longer has "geographic protections"? Yes, China is isolated by the Himalayas and the Gobi Desert. But China is a BIG place, and all of the people living within those "geographic protections" weren't the same political unit. Andy might as well say that Asia has always been isolated by geography, or Earth, or the solar system. This is the problem with geographical determinism. There's no definitive agreement on scale.|
|The earliest archaeological evidence in China is of the Shang dynasty, 1766-1122 B.C. By folklore it began when the virtuous and wise man named T’ang overthrew the decadent emperor Chieh of the Hsia dynasty. The Shang dynasty was ultimately overthrown and replaced by the Chou dynasty.||
Sure. There's no archaeological evidence of human inhabitation of East Asia before 1766 BC, whereupon a whole empire just popped up out of nowhere (evolution doesn't exist, remember). Notice that Andy fails to explain how people got to China so quickly after Noah's Flood.|
|The Shang dynasty built cities in northern China, along the eastern banks of the Yellow River. It did not control all of what is China today. Sometimes called the Yellow River civilization, the Shang dynasty benefited from bronze that had been introduced to China around 2000 B.C. from Mesopotamia. (It had been invented in Mesopotamia around 3000 B.C.)||
This is all over the place. First he talks about urbanisation, then physical geography, then metallurgy, and throws in references to the Peoples' Republic. At least try to stick to one topic, Andy.|
|The Shang dynasty had writing in the form of oracle bones: questions and answers inscribed on actual bone. The empire consisted of city-states, with much war between the various cities but particularly against the non-urbanized populations in the rural areas. The capital cities would shift as the power did. The Shang dynasty perfected the wheel and used chariots in warfare.||
The bones themselves are not the writing form, Andy. The bones are just the carriers for the writing. That's like saying "The Commonwealth of Canada had writing in the form of paper: questions and answers inscribed on actual paper". And if all of these city-states were always at war with one another, what allows you to corral them all together into an "empire"? Just because people look, speak, dress, and behave in vaguely similar ways does not qualify them to be considered as part of a single geopolitical entity. That's a bit... simplistic.|
|China used a pictographic form of writing that remains to this day. Often the word looked like its meaning, though today the characters are more complex.||Oh no, no, please god, no. Not the alphabets again. I'll tell you anything you want to know. I'll sign any confession you put in front of me. I'll even dance a merry jig all the way into Room 101. Just...please... no more crap about alphabets...|
|The Zhou or Chou dynasty replaced the Shang dynasty in 1027 B.C., and benefited from the Iron Age. The Iron Age is the period of human history characterized the smelting of iron and its use in industry in western Asia and Egypt. The Zhou dynasty lasted longer than any other one in Chinese history, ruling until 221 B.C. (ruling only in the east for the last few hundred years). The multiplication tables developed during this dynasty.||
So far this seems to be Andy's sole reference to the Iron Age. And he gets it wrong. Egypt didn't go through its own Iron Age; iron was brought by Greek and Roman conquerors. Again, he jumps all over the place - historical epochs, dynasties, mathematics.... Stick to the topic!!!|
|Early Chinese religion consisted of worshiping a supreme god called “Shang Ti,” or “Lord on High.” It ruled over the lesser gods of the sun, moon, wind, rain and other aspects of nature. Sacrifices were made of humans to these gods. When a king died, for example, hundreds of slaves and prisoners would be sacrificed in his honor. There would also be sacrifices on a smaller scale when a temple or palace was constructed.||
After the admittedly decently-researched segments on Hinduism, why has Andy suddenly abandoned his work in favour of vague and short references to religion? By the way, human sacrifices occur in the Bible. Jephthah sacrifices his daughter to god in Judges 11:31-40. Yep, god demands a human sacrifice, and actually gets one. Just one more reason to dislike the petty, bumbling ****wit of the Bible.|
|The great figure in ancient China was Confucius, who lived from 551 to 478 B.C. He lived around the same time as the early Greek philosophers, and taught social ethics to the people. His real name was Kung Fu-tze, or Master Kung; it was Latin that converted his name to Confucius. His disciples wrote down his teachings in a book called the Analects, which focused on man’s duties to obey a universal natural law. Moderation in conduct, or “li”, was emphasized, and filial piety (respecting the older members of one’s family) was the goal. Age itself is greatly honored in Chinese culture, unlike Christianity: the older a person was, the wiser he must be. Confucius taught rulers to be just, and said those being ruled should be loyal to their rulers.||
So the Chinese culture honor age but doesn't honor Christianity, eh, okay. Why Andy thinks that it's relevant to shove in a remark about the Chinese not honoring Christianity is anyone's guess - especially when discussing Confucius, who, as Andy has just told us, lived centuries before Jesus. Curiously, Andy doesn't tell his audience that Buddhism isn't honored in European culture, or that Shintoism isn't honored in U.S. culture, wonder why...|
|Confucius wrote little himself, but his disciples recorded his teachings in the Analects, a classic having enormous influence over Chinese history. He emphasized rational analysis with a tough of flexibility. He disavowed any original insight or knowledge, and opposed anything egotistical. He once said, “I for my part am not one of those who have innate knowledge. I am simply one who loves the past and who is diligent in investigating it.”||
"with a tough of flexibility"? What the hell does that even mean? And the unsourced, uncited quote (proof that Andy hasn't actually read The Annalects) is far from profound, even for a clumsy Wade-Giles transliteration. Poor Confucius. He must be spinning in his grave.|
|After Confucius died there was an era of the Warring States, from 481-221 B.C. During that time several teachers emerged with their own interpretations of Confucian thought. The two leading ones were Mencius (371-289 B.C.) and Hsun-tzu (298-230 B.C.). Mencius felt that mankind was essential good and that philosophers like himself should run the country. Hsun Tzu, in contrast, fell that man was intrinsically evil and that a wise and powerful ruler was necessary to maintain order. This laid the intellectual groundwork for the brutal Chinese dictatorships that followed: the Chi’in or Qin state (221-206 B.C.).||
Great. Andy's only onto the second paragraph and he's already shoehorned in a reference to "brutal dictatorships" in China. Just go ahead and start talking about Mao Zedong. There's a difference between dictators and kings, Andy.|
|Ch’in was the first unified Chinese empire, and its king was Shih huang-ti. It lasted until the Han dynasty rose to power in 206 B.C. The Han dynasty then lasted 400 years until A.D. 220, and its name is still used to describe the ethnicity of 93% of Chinese today.||
So at the beginning of this segment, Andy told us that the first Chinese empire popped out of the ground in 1766 BC. Now all of a sudden it's 221 BC. Make up your mind, Andy.|
|Taoism (also known as Daoism) eventually caught on in China and Southeast Asia (e.g., Vietnam) more than other religions, probably due to its greater compatibility with the Confucian foundation. Taoism is more philosophical than the world’s largest religions of Christianity, Islam and Hinduism. The symbol for Taoism, for example, is the Taijitu or “Yin and Yang,” in which a curved half of a circle divides a shaded from a clear region to represent a constant interaction in nature between two forces having opposite qualities:||
"world's largest religions of". The bad grammar continues. Presumably the Conservapedian version of this diatribe has a picture of the Taijuitu. But no other symbols have been referred to. Why this one, all of a sudden?|
|The Yin (darker side) is passive or negative or feminine; the Yang (lighter side) is active or positive or masculine. While western philosophy views this dualism as a struggle, in China the goal is to harmonize these complementary forces. Taoism and Confucianism strive to obtain harmony, though in Taoism is the focus is on nature while in Confucianism the focus is on men.||
Schlafly's gender dichotomy returns with men, predictably, on top. It'd be interesting to know whether Andy is married...|
|The basic differences between Confucianism, Taoism and a third philosophy in China called “Legalism” were the following. Confucianism emphasized education, tradition, reference for elders and ancestors, and a strong government. Taiosm emphasized harmony with nature, and preferred the least amount of government. Legalism, the forerunner to modern communist China, held that a strong government was essential to control the people.||
"Reverence", Andy. Not "reference". Try to sound a bit less bumbling. Although, that's hard to do when you attempt to explain Confucianism and Taoism using clumsy analogies based on twenty-first century American bipartisan democracy. And remember - all twentieth-century political movements are immediate successors to Iron Age philosophies. Environmentalism is clearly an immediate descendant of Mithraism, and everyone knows that the Zulu religion gave birth to free-market globalisation. Really, Andy. Even for you, this is crap.|
|Buddhism emphasizes personal salvation more than Taoism. It makes little difference today in China, where the communist dictators impose atheism as the official religion (lack of religion). But in ancient China, before communism, these religions competed with each other for followers. Taoism advanced at the expense of Confucianism, which lost ground until northern rulers reestablished the Mandate of Heaven, the theory that heaven blessed good rulers but overthrew bad ones, which was first used by the Zhou Dynasty to justify overthrowing the Shang Dynasty. These northern rulers obtained control in A.D. 589 under the Sui and Tang Dynasties.||
This meme seems to keep cropping up among right-wing circles; the idea that atheism is a religion. If atheism is a rejection of religion, how does it qualify as a religion? To paraphrase a popular YouTube vlogger, NonStampCollector, that's equivalent to saying that not bodybuilding is a competitive sport, or not painting model soldiers is a hobby. Also note, for comic value, Andy's implicit claim that Ancient China segued immediately into modern, communist China. So according to Andy, "Ancient China" lasted from 1766 BC to AD 1930-something. Remember to put that on your college application forms, homeschoolers! Academics have a lot of very boring material to plod through each day, and gems like this are often just the sort of comedy boost they need to get them through the afternoon.
On a serious note, if you, or your child, or a friend of yours, or whatever, is a homeschooler - ring your local state school RIGHT NOW and ask how soon said child can enrol. You only get one life on this little planet. Don't waste the first eighteen years being hopelessly misled by bumbling charlatans like Andrew Schlafly.
|The first imperial or national Chinese dynasty was the Qin or Ch’in dynasty (221-206 B.C.), which was founded by the ruler of the Zhou vassal state Qin, Prince Zheng. The Qin dynasty was superb in battle, using chariots and iron weaponry, and that enabled Prince Zheng to conquer all the Chinese states and unify the country. The Qin dynasty built many internal improvements, such as roads, canals and irrigation, using iron and bronze tools. It was the Qin dynasty that began to construct the Great Wall, which stretches today for 1,400 miles. China has always feared and been threatened by foreign invaders, and the wall was a way to defend itself. It is from “Qin” that the name “China” is derived. But the Qin dynasty’s highly legal approach led to rebellion.||
Note how Andy is tacitly praising government-sponsored public works programmes like infrastructure creation. The "Great Wall", by the way, is not a single wall. It refers to a series of short walls built over thousands of years, for various purposes. The one that we see in so many pictures - the one that happens to be close to Beijing so all those tourists can go and get fleeced by wily souvenir-sellers - is a rather short and modern segment. Combined, they stretch for a lot further than 1,400 miles. Like Hadrian's Wall, or indeed any static fortification belt, the Great Walls of China were built largely to keep peacetime soldiers busy, and to act as a way of managing and taxing trade. The wall - even the famous brick wall we are familiar with - was never even remotely useful as a military fortification. Like all such walls, it is MUCH too long to defend, much too low to stop anyone with a simple ten-rung ladder, and is built in an area so sparsely populated that it just wasn't worth the bother of building a huge wall to keep a few nomads out. As said, it was built for other, economically-motivated, reasons.
By the way, it isn't visible from the moon (or even Low-Earth Orbit). Just a fun factoid to toss in there, in case Andy claims as much later on. Nor is the Great Wall massive enough to distort spacetime (e.g. in the manner of a black hole) which is what Andy's clumsy grammar (presumably inadvertently) suggests by claiming that it "stretches today for 1,400 miles" (apparently turning time into space in some way).
|The Han empire or dynasty (206 B.C. to A.D 220, with only a brief interruption from A.D. 6-23) built on the foundation of the Qin dynasty, extending the walls and roads. Liu Bang was the first Han ruler, and imposed a centralized government that was stable for many years. Empress Lu was a woman who seized power from 195-180 B.C. and then installed her sons as emperors while they were still infants. Han Wudi (141-87 B.C.) was the longest serving Han ruler. He was known for appointing efficient provincial administrators.||
Andy neglects to tell us why there was an interregnum of seventeen years. The reason was the short Xin Dynasty, which split away to form a significant faction which was swiftly crushed. More praise for central government from everyone's favourite libertarian. Odd.|
|The Han dynasty expanded the territory of China into Vietnam and Korea, and administered the country from a centralized and organized civil service. This was the most significant of all Chinese dynasties, and is compared by historians to the Pax Romana period in the Roman empire. The Han dynasty valued education highly, and even created a scholar class of people known as “shi”. Historians criticize the Han dynasty, however, for treating women in an inferior manner.||
That's rich, coming from a man whose record of crass misogyny makes a smarmy, cravat-wearing 1920's lounge lizard look like a paragon of feminism in comparison.|
|The Han dynasty developed the famous Silk Road: 5,000 miles of interconnected roads linking China to the Mediterranean region, which enabled trade in silk and fine goods to greatly increase. Buddhism spread widely along the Silk Road, promoted both by traders and Buddhist monks, and reached China in A.D. 100. A new religion designed to appeal to merchants, Manichaeism (named after its founder Mani (A.D. 216-272)), also spread to Turkish nomads by teaching self-denial and acceptance of both Buddha and Jesus as prophets.||
Andy mentions the Silk Road, but doesn't say what it is. And he veers dangerously close to heresy - again. It seems to be a recurring theme.|
|Trade flourished on the Silk Road, which China used to transport silk, spices gems, wine, cosmetics and even grain to the Mediterranean. By land the traders carrying the goods included all groups in the Middle East; by sea the Malay sailors mastered the tricky monsoon wind patterns. The Silk Road was influential from 150 B.C. to A.D. 900. Perhaps one might compare its enormous influence to the internet today!||
No, we might not compare the Silk Road to the internet. USB ports generally don't dispense grain and silk, while ethernet cables, sadly, don't decant foreign wine (and did they really carry grain along the Silk Road? Seems doubtful, considering the low price and high bulk/weight for grain, especially over that sort of distance). We know that the Silk Road was hugely important in establishing trade from one end of Eurasia to another, but the civilisations at either end knew almost nothing about one another. Interestingly enough, the Roman Empire and Han Chinese actually exchanged ambassadors in the second century AD. Gan Ying travelled into the Persian Empire, encountered a Roman delegation there, and intended to continue westwards into the actual Empire but was dissuaded by the time it would take. Sixty years later, Rome sent a fleet all the way to China with gifts for the Han leader. Contact was very occassionally made over the next few centuries. But aside from these fleetings moments, the political elites of East and West remained only vaguely aware that there was a mythical civilisation at the other end of the Eurasian landmass.
So in fact, perhaps Andy was actually right. Perhaps the Silk Road was indeed like the internet - in that Conservapedians are only vaguely aware that there is a mythical civilisation beyond their narrow little realm. But said civilisation - if it does truly exist - are barbarians who don't follow the autocratic diktats of the God-Emperor, Schlalfy the Marvelous, and are therefore unenlightened savages, what with their "welfare" and "books" and other legendary devices of apostasy. Maybe they should cut the link and retreat into isolationism before their civilisation becomes contaminated...
|The state philosophy of the Han dynasty was Confucianism. Technology advanced during this time, as did the arts. Paper, porcelain, the compass, the rudder, the seismograph and possibly acupuncture were all invented under the Han dynasty. Detailed historical records were maintained. Most Chinese were farmers, but China’s discovery of iron enabled it to do some highly profitable manufacturing.||
Describing ancient Chinese inventions using capitalist terminology is not a good idea. At least Andy is right in pointing out the state of Chinese technology. Until the invention of early scientific instruments in the European Renaissance, and early European industrialisation in the late eighteenth century, Chinese technology was superior to Western inventions on every level.|
|The Han dynasty declined similar to the decline and fall of the Roman empire, though a bit earlier. Historians cite the same reasons for the decline of both empires: too vast an empire to administer and keep together, invasions by barbarians, hardship caused by the spread of disease and poor harvests, and overall economic failure. In both cases, leaders of the armies gained power as the empires declined, but the generals could not save the empires.||
Oh, wonderful. "The Decline and Fall of the Chinese Empire", by Andrew Schlafly. This hundred-word polemic is really going to give Edward Gibbon a run for his money. For Andy's information, historians have spent the better part of 1,600 years asking why the Roman Empire fell - or indeed if it did "collapse" at all. There are so many theories on the decline of the Roman Empire that it would take years to read through them all. Indeed, the decline of the Empire is a classic case-study for students of history being taught historiography - how the concerns, fears, theories, and beliefs of the current age are imposed upon the past in order to explain history. There'll be more of this in Andy's lecture on the Roman Empire, so for now it will suffice to say that trying to construct grand narratives of history, positing the same theory to explain social change across the entire Eurasian landmass, is a technique that was ridiculed as far back as the eighteenth century. Andy could really do with advancing a couple of hundred years.|
|But historians credit both the Han dynasty and the Roman empire with lasting contributions to the world: roads and, for a while, peace and prosperity. The Han dynasty left us with paper, a greater emphasis on education, and the marvelous Silk Road. The Roman empire left us with a system of laws, a powerful language (Latin), and the spread of Christianity.||
Who is "us", in this segment? The Han Dynasty had an impact in East Asia, but had no impact whatsoever on Europe. Similarly, the Romans had no impact in China. Points off, too, for wandering off onto a discussion of the Roman Empire in a section about China.|
|But just as the West fell into disorganization once Rome fell, so did China when the Han dynasty collapsed. China was ruled by regional governments known as the Three Kingdoms (A.D. 220-280). Many legends arose during this period, as described in a Chinese literature classic entitled, “The Romance of the Three Kingdoms.”||
Andy could have told us a little about what this book is about, who wrote it, when it appeared, etc. Apparently he couldn't be bothered to find out.|
|It was not until A.D. 589 that the Sui Dynasty arose to reestablish centralized government. Subsequently the longer Tang and Song Dynasties ruled China also.|
|What inventions do we owe to ancient China? A great deal: gunpowder (not until A.D. 850), paper, fireworks, the compass, the umbrella, the fan, spaghetti, acupuncture, bamboo, harvesting silk, and perhaps the first planetarium. English philosopher Francis Bacon said this about three Chinese inventions: “Printing, gunpowder and the compass: These three have changed the whole face and state of things throughout the world; the first in literature, the second in warfare, the third in navigation; whence have followed innumerable changes, in so much that no empire, no sect, no star seems to have exerted greater power and influence in human affairs than these mechanical discoveries.”||
It's regrettable that Western history syllabuses (syllabi?) are yet to credit Asian civilisations in the way they deserve. We've come a long, long way from nationalistic history, but the Western public is still largely ignorant of the sheer sophistication of East Asian civilisations in history (although in fairness, Joe Public across the planet is generally ignorant of his own country's history). From the Iron Age to the Victorian Era, China was by far the most advanced civilisation in military, commercial, and (mostly) technological terms. But in some ways China was markedly different, particularly as Chinese society became static. Their politics, philosophy, and social structures remained largely unchanged for centuries while those of Europe diversified and enrichened from the Renaissance onwards, but nevertheless, China remained excpetionally powerful. Testament to this is the famous diplomatic incident of 1818, when King George III of Britain sent a delegation to the Emperor of China, requesting a trade agreement. The delegation took, as gifts for the Emperor, products which represented the cutting edge of Western technology and art - steam engines, telescopes, chronometers, tinned food, paintings and sculptures, munitions, maps, and all sorts of pretty bric-a-brac which would have sold for a fortune in Europe. The Emperor's response was a flat refusal with the statement that China had no interest in barbarian trinkets, but he softened the blow with a polite invitation that if King George wanted to renounce his sovereignty and become a vassal of the Chinese Emperor, the Emperor would oh-so-graciously accept him under the Imperial wing. Within fifty years, China had degenerated into a country wracked by gargantuan civil wars and constant European invasions, but at the time, the Emperor's snub says a lot about just how powerful China was. It was nice of Andy to include this segment, but regrettably and predictably, he did a half-arsed job.|
The Rise of Christianity
|The ancient world had several founders of great religions, but only one performed miracles: Jesus of Nazareth. His resurrection is the single greatest event in the history of the world. Do we know when it occurred?||
This section sounds ominous; "The Rise of Christianity". For full effect, draw the curtains and start playing "The Imperial March", or the theme tune from Jaws, before reading.
Now that Andy has tried to fob off his detractors by referencing the non-Christian ancient world, he is now free to spew forth a torrent of political propaganda and religious crap. To make this even more fun, let's apply an academic technique. Like natural scientists, social scientists often make use of the null hypothesis and alternate hypothesis. The null hypothesis, basically, is the assumption you start with. You then examine the evidence, and based on that examination, you either confirm that the null hypothesis was correct, or conclude that it was wrong and instead posit an alternate hypothesis. So in this case, the null hypothesis is that this section will be filled with an unimaginable amount of crummy logic and "evidence" gleaned from popular rumours and shitty pseudo-archaeology, along with god-awful analogies to Conservapedian lore and a healthy dose of over-the-top Republican propaganda. Let's begin the experiment.
|It is easy to calculate the date of His crucifixion because we know it was during the reign of Pontius Pilate, who served from A.D. 26 to 36, thereby encompassing the entire period of ministry of John the Baptist and Jesus himself. A Roman historian named Philo described Pilate as inflexible, obstinate and merciless, and Pilate was hated by the Jewish people under his rule. The Gospels describe the savage retaliation by Pilate against Galileans as follows: “Now on the same occasion there were some present who reported to Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices.” Luke 13:1 (NAS). Eventually the Romans removed Pilate from power for being too cruel.||
Well we're off to a good start. Andy is using apocryphal religion and dubious chronicles written many years after the events in question. Even for a fundamentalist Christian, that's bad. I REALLY wish the Spanish Inquisition was on hand. These heresies are multiplying at an exponential rate. Before you know it, Andy'll be rewriting the Bible...
So, we now move on to some real history. Pontius Pilate was indeed a real man, and did indeed serve as Prefect of Judea between 26-36 AD under Emperor Tiberius. Archaeological evidence of a Roman house suggests, from discovered inscriptions, that Pilate was born on the extreme frontier of the Empire in southern Scotland. Andy is completely wrong in asserting that the Romans sacked Pilate for cruelty. The Romans were known for cruelty, and there is no evidence for his being sacked. It is possible that he fell out of favour with the new Emperor Caligula, was exiled to Gaul, and committed suicide. However this is based on apocryphal tals - the real evidence for Pilate's existence is the aforementioned house in Scotland, an insciption from Judea confirming a Prefect named "Pilate" in Tiberius' reign, and a brief mention of the dates of his office by the Roman historian Tacitus. However, beyond that, we have to rely on questionable chronicles from the Judean chroniclers Philo and Josephus; both of whom we have to take with a grain of salt as they have a record of getting things mixed up, and weren't exactly fans of the Roman occupation of their homeland. And they were writing some time after the purported trial of Jesus. We won't even bother examining the rest of the Apocrypha of Eusebius, which is largely a collection of made-up lore. So, how about instead of looking at unreliable sources, we look at what the Bible has to say about Pilate?
The Gosepl of Mark portrays Pilate as a decent and reasonable man who goes out of his way to win the favour of the Judeans, who were constantly rebelling against Rome. And contrary to Andy's version, Pilate clearly refused to condemn Jesus for claiming he is "King of the Jews". After all, Pilate was charged with managing a highly politically unstable province with limited military forces and practically no bureaucratic apparatus (as was the case with most Prefects in the Empire at that time), and had better things to worry about than some random man claiming he was a Jewish leader. He actually sent them away, prompting Caiphas and Annas to bring Jesus back before Pilate on the trumped-up charge that he was inciting civil disobedience based on not paying taxes to the Roman state (despite Jesus's response to "Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's, and render unto the Lord what is the Lord's" - a nugget of wisdom which fundamentalists really should pay more attention to when they start bitching about the government). This put Pilate in the awkward position of having to prosecute Jesus even though (as documented in Mark 15:5) he didn't believe Jesus was guilty of anything more than claiming an inflated and politically impotent title. And what was Pilate's reaction? Well, according to His Holiness Andrew Schlafly, Pilate responded with "savage retaliation". Yet according to the Bible itself, Pilate washed his hands of the whole affair and turned him over to the Judean authorities, then the Judean masses, and it was they who condemned him. So thanks, Andy for such a gross misreading of the Bible. If and when you do go up to the Pearly Gates, be sure to apologise to poor Pontius Pilate for such a gross character assassination, before you get hurled down into The Pit for knowlingly preaching lies.
|A detailed analysis of the Gospel and historical sources places the date of the Crucifixion at Friday, April 3, A.D. 33, although some historians think it occurred in A.D. 29. You can review the evidence yourself at:
This is the best that Andy could come up with? Some crappy, amateurish website? Why not the hundred, indeed thousands, of reputable studies by church scholars and theologians from the second century to the present day? Oh right, they're "experts". And we all know what Andy "Best of the Public" Schlafly thinks of "experts"....|
|From these dates come the traditional view that Jesus was 33 years old when He rose from the dead. However, the Gospels do not specify His age and it is not clear exactly when Jesus was born. We do know from the Gospels that He was less than 50. Many historians place his birth between 6 and 4 B.C. The description of Jesus’ birth in the Gospel of Luke refers to King Herod, whose brutal reign was from 37 to 4 B.C.||
After his previous assertions, Andy now comes clean and says we can't be sure about Jesus' date of borth, or age at death. Why did Andy bother with the previous paragraphs, then?|
|Here is where a slight mistake in the dating of our calendar from Christ’s birth may have been introduced. In the sixth century A.D., the Roman monk Dionysis the Little changed the calendar to recognize the birth of Christ. He calculated that Jesus was born the year that King Herod died, and modern historians agree. However, the monk thought that Herod died 753 years after the founding of Rome, instead of the correct 749 years after the founding of Rome. (King Herod is the ruler who ordered all babies in Bethlehem younger than 2 to be killed in his unsuccessful attempt to murder Jesus, whose family fled to Egypt to escape this.) Thus the monk estimated that Jesus was born four years later than He probably was. What was intended to be A.D. 1 was actually 4 B.C. Note that there is no year “0”, as the concept of “0” was unknown to the Greeks and not even discovered until the seventh century by mathematicians in India. The year that follows 1 B.C. is A.D. 1.||
A rambling, off-topic digression gives us snippets about a medieval monk, King Herod, a calendar mishap, and ends with a reference back to India. "Consistency" is a great word, Andy.|
|The teachings of Jesus are well-known to all of us, and were recorded in the Gospels (Greek for “good news”) by two of His apostles (Matthew and John) and two disciples (Mark and Luke). The Gospels were originally written in Greek, the common lingua franca (common or commercial language among diverse peoples) of the Roman Orient. No original Gospels have been found in Aramaic; the only discovered Aramaic Gospels are translations from Greek versions. The general consensus is that the Gospel according to Matthew was written particularly for Jews; the Gospel according to Mark was written particularly for Romans; the Gospel according to Luke was written particularly for Greeks; and the Gospel according to John was written for everyone. Jesus had emphasized that scribes were part of those He sent forth to proselytize the world. “I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes ….” (Matt 23:34 (NAS)).||
We might well ask why there were twelve apostles, but only four gospels. What happened to the other eight? You'd think they would have written their accounts, or at least dictated their memoirs to a scribe in order to spread Jesus' word as quickly as possible? Well, they did. But like so much material, they were excluded from the New Testament by the Council of Nicea. When Emperor Constantine finally made Christianity the official state religion of the Empire, he couldn't include all the writings, for political purposes. So he and his bishops picked and chose which bits to put in, and which bits to keep out. This is evident due to some contradictions in the Gospels, and references in the Old Testament to books which aren't included. Most interesting is the so-called "Q document", a proposed account written shortly after (or even during) Jesus' lifetime, and which three of the four Gospel writers used as a source. It no longer exists, but Biblical hermeneuticians (people who analyse the Bible based in linguistics and interpretation) point out that due to the structure of two of the Gospels and possibl a third, they must have been working from a common document which was replicated, in part, in each of them. What happened to the Q document is a mystery, and testament to the political wranglings of the early Church. So remember, Conservapedians. The Bible that you revere so much is the product not of god's will, but of humans. How ironic, that Schlafly is emulating Constantine by re-censoring the Bible with his digital scissors. All Hail Emperor Schlafly the Apostate!
Yes, the teachings of Jesus are indeed well-known, and followed, by real Christians. Teachings like "do unto others as you would have them do unto you"; "judge not lest ye be judged"; "only he who is without sin may cast the first stone". And of course, not forgetting such gems as "love thine enemy"; "turn the other cheek"; "bless those who insult you"; and "sell all your possessions and give to the poor; then ye shall surely be blessed". We don't have to be Christians to acknowledge that these are good codes for life. It's a shame that Fundamentalists don't actually follow these codes (instead making up their own version of "Christianity" which has little or no resemblance to Christ) and of course, they no longer appear in Andrew Schlafly's "translation" of the Bible. By the way Andy, Revelations 22:8, 18 clearly state that anyone who adds to, or removes from, the Bible will receive the full brunt of god's wrath. There's a lot of wrath in the Bible, and apparently it's all coming your way. Have fun with that!
|Luke was a Greek physician (see Col 4:14) who accompanied Paul and also wrote the Acts of the Apostles describing the arrival of the Holy Spirit. Unlike the firsthand Gospels of Matthew and John, the Gospel of Luke records eyewitness accounts of others, much as a doctor asks a patient for his medical history and then writes it down in the medical file. Due to Luke’s professional nature, his Gospel is very comprehensive about Jesus’ life and resurrection, and it also conveys the great sense of joy that Jesus’ family, friends and followers felt. In the Battle of the Bulge in World War II (the surprise Nazi counterattack in Dec. 1944), which was one of the worst military defeats in American history, a minister’s son who had memorized Luke’s description of the Nativity recited it for his fellow soldiers on Christmas Eve while together in the trenches. Many of them died soon afterwards in battle.||
What? This is meant to be a discussion of the early Christian Church (although it's still unclear why it is tacked on after Ancient India and China rather than being included in the lecture on the Romans), and Andy has wandered off onto some half-arsed story about the Battle of the bloody Bulge. What the HELL has this got to do with anything?? If Andy wanted an uplifting, inspiring story about Luke couldn't he have, oh I don't know, actually written about the Gospel itself? But no, instead he goes for some crappy story in which no names or citations are given, and even manages to confuse World War Two with World War One (the Allies didn't fight in trenches at the Bulge precisely because - as Andy himself acknowledges - it was a surprise counterattack and neither side had predicted the need for entrenchments). Also, the Allies WON the Battle of the Bulge, not lost it. This is... this... this is just... ugh.|
|The greatest writing in the history of the world is the Gospel of John, the Apostle whom Jesus loved the most. John likely revised and perfected this Gospel for decades before releasing it to others. As was typical for many of the greatest authors in history, such as Copernicus, John’s work was probably not released to the public until he passed away. Isaac Newton, to take another example, delayed publication of his great mathematical discoveries for decades. As long as something can be improved and developed further, there may not be any reason to publish it prematurely.||
Points off for speculating about what John did before disseminating his gospel. Unless Andy has a ouija board, he can't peer into John's mind. Also note - as Andy does - "the Apostle whom Jesus loved". Nobody's saying that Jesus was gay, but bear in mind he never married, and spent his whole life hanging round with twelve bachelors. Maybe one of the missing gospels recounts their missionary positions in Mykonos or Fire Island. More points off for equating John with Copernicus - whose books were actually prohibited by the church for daring to suggest that Earth was not the centre of the universe. Even more points off for Andy shooting himself in the foot by saying that things should be perfected before they are disseminated (publishing is entirely different), considering that he has disseminated this crap. Although in fairness, this could never be perfected. It could only be purified by fire.|
|American soldiers in World Wars I and II would carry copies of the Gospel of John with them as they journeyed to faraway battles. This single book has done more to shape human thought and behavior than any other work. Our uniquely American First Amendment right of free speech is based on ministers preaching of the “Word” of God as described in the first few verses of the Gospel of John.||
Again with the references to the twentieth century. Reading this is like repeatedly dropping a history book on the floor and re-opening it at a completely new chapter. There is nothing "unique" about the precepts enshrined in the American First Amendment. There is a world outside the USA - a big one - and the previous two lectures were liberally peppered with references to toleration of different religions and dissemination of novel speech and writings in historical civilisations. At least TRY for consistency, Andy, instead of patting yourself on the back over legal articles drafted ten generations before you were born. Oh, and finally, the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States has NOTHING to do with the Gospel of John. If Schlafly and his acolytes want to prattle on about how the USA was founded on Christian principles, they should first read the Treaty of Tripoli (1797), specifically Article 11. It's easy to find. It's on Wikipedia, and even has a photo of the original document. Go on, Andy. Look it up. We can wait.|
|Archaeological discoveries in Jerusalem confirm, to the dismay of skeptics, many references in the Gospels about Jesus’ work. The Pool of Bethesda has been discovered (John 5:1f). The Pavement has been found (John 19:13). The setting of Jacob’s well has been discovered (John 4). Because Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans in A.D. 70 (see discussion below), it would have been impossible for a writer after A.D. 70 to make up any of these details.||
"To the dismay of skeptics". Yeah, sure. So archaeologists have found a pool, a pavement, and a well, and this apparently proves the Bible completely right. Uh-huh. Of course, nobody could make up a story based on architecture which was destroyed before they were born. The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World no longer exist (except the Great Pyramid), yet people still write about them. Incredible insight there, Andy. Oh, and a final thought. Aren't these archaeologists the same people who find dinosaur bones, use radiometric dating, and deploy all sorts of other heinous, evil lies to push the lib'rul agenda? Why does Andy suddenly trust them in this case?|
|Paul of Taurus (now southern Turkey) was Jewish and converted to Christianity within a year or two of the Crucifixion while on the road to Damascus (now located in Syria), and afterwards spread the Good News far and wide within the Roman empire. He was both a prolific writer and scholar, and a prodigious missionary who traveled on three great missions throughout the Roman empire before being executed by a beheading in Rome in A.D. 62 (as a Roman citizen, Paul could not be scourged or crucified). Several of Paul’s letters are included in the New Testament, and often quoted to this day. (For example, in Paul’s letter to the Romans, he condemns homosexuality. Romans 1:27.) Peter, who was not a Roman citizen, likewise spread the faith before being crucified in Rome, by his choice upside down out of the utmost respect to Jesus’ own Crucifixion.||
Tarsus. Andy. Paul of Tarsus. "Taurus" is a constellation in the Zodiac (and therefore evil). He really should know this. Paul wasn't the nicest man - he spends the first half of Acts killing Christians, then has an epiphany, and spend the rest of the New Testament writing letters on how god hates just about everybody. Great choice of example by Andy here. If you're going to pick ONE thing to say about Paul, Andy the Apostate, say how he hates the gays. Great. In fairness, we're not the only ones Paul picks on. The way he talks about women is even worse. On a fun note, Acts 20:7-11 and Romans 7:16-25 tell a story ins which Paul is haraunging an audience in such a boring manner, and for so long, that one of the listeners dozes off, falls out the window, and dies. Says a lot about the man's public speaking abilities. Do an internet search for "The Brick Testament", and look it up. It has pictures, and is therefore fun.|
|Many misconceptions about early Christians persist to this day. Americans are often taught that all the disciples were ignorant fishermen who could not read or write. This is plainly false, as several communicated by letter while held in jail by Roman authorities. Many of the insights and truths revealed in the Gospels by the Apostles could only have been understood and taught by people of tremendous intelligence and faith.||
Well that's not a very good way to propagate a faith. In a society in which perhaps 10% of the population can read - most of those being Jewish religious leaders or officers of the Roman occupation forces, who have their own religions anyway and look down on you like they've just stepped in dog shit - and the vast bulk of the populace are susbsistence farmers who spend sixteen hours a day toiling in the fields, what better way to convert people than by lecturing them ad nauseum on concepts which need a philosophy degree to understand? It's becoming clear why the Romans viewed early Christian preachers as just unimportant and really, really annoying men howling into the wilderness.|
|Christianity was taken by the early Christians as far and wide as possible. The religious celebrations consisted of a communal meal, called “communion” today but given the Greek name for “love feat” then: “agape”. This reenacted the Last Supper of Christ as described in the Gospels. The concept of Christian love had a profound effect on the world and forever changed it for the better.||
So the early Christians engaged in secret "love feats", did they? Good to see that Jesus' all-male love-based bachelor parties carried on after his death. No wonder it caught on so quickly in occupied Greece. They loved a bit of that.|
|Mark founded a church in Egypt under the reign of the Roman emperor Nero, first converting Alexandrian Jews such as Theophilus and also converting many native Egyptians who were neither Greek nor Jewish. It was for Theophilus and the Egyptian community that Luke wrote his Gospel and Acts of the Apostles, addressing Theophilus in the beginning of each. Luke 1:3 and Acts 1:1. The local language in Egypt was Coptic, and translations of the Gospels into that language have been discovered which date from the first half of the second century. Coptic Christianity remains in Egypt to this day, although Islam has become the most popular religion there. Some cite the acceptance of Arabic as a liturgical language by the Pope of Alexandria as aiding the rise to dominance of Islam there. Coptic Christians celebrate Christmas each year on January 7th, which is a national holiday in Egypt.||
Actually the language was demotic - a descendant of the original Ancient Egyptian spoken language, mixed with a bit of Greek. And for CHRIST'S SAKE, enough with the linguistic determinism!|
|The Apostle Thomas, known as the “Doubting Thomas” traveled as far as India and established a Christian community that remains there to this day, although the country is still majority Hindu.||
Is Andy now going to recount every single missionary in human history? Better put some coffee on. A lot of coffee. This could take a long time...|
|Christianity differs from other major religions in its peaceful evangelism, spreading its truths through freedom of speech. Christianity is unlike religions that lack an evangelical component, such as Judaism and Hinduism, and Christianity also differs from Islam in the manner in which force is used.||
Oh thank god, he's changed the subject. Yes, Christianity differs in the manner and scale at which force is used. Both Muslims and Christians (and adherents of every religion) have committed - and continue to commit - terrible violence. The difference is that Christians have far, far more blood on their hands than any other religion.
Well Andy, that's a cheerful note on which to end your rambling, off-topic digressions about early Christianity. Now, for the conclusion.
Was the null hypothesis correct? Well there wasn't quite as much Republican propaganda crowbarred in as expected, and there were far more weird tangents than anticipated. The rest was pretty much as predicted. Therefore, in the face of the evidence, we are forced to conclude that the null hypothesis was inadequate and instead posit an alternative hypothesis - that Andy's vision of the early church is even worse than might be imagined. Let's see if similar results emerge in the next round: Andrew Schlafly versus the Roman Empire. Should be fun! If only we could pit them together in the Colosseum...