If You Love Liberal Democracy, Thank the Church

Interesting study about how we became what we are:


In September 506 C.E., the fathers of what would later become the Roman Catholic Church gathered in southern France to draw up dozens of new laws. Some forbade clergy from visiting unrelated women. Others forbade Christians from marrying anyone more closely related than their third cousin. The authors of a sweeping new study say that last, seemingly trivial prohibition may have given birth to Western civilization as we know it.

“If the authors are right, or even in the vicinity of being right, it couldn’t be bigger,” says Stephen Stich, a philosopher and cognitive scientist at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, who wasn’t involved in the work. “What they are offering to explain is the emergence of democratic institutions, of individualism in the West.”

This in not a new theory — iirc Jonathan Haidt discussed it years ago, as well as Steven Pinker — though they glossed over the importance of church policy.

Also it’s a good example of how odd history can be.



Very interesting article ThatoneGuy, It makes very good sense and I was not aware of this piece of church history but as one of the last comments suggested,“There are a lot of open questions.” Western civilization has deeper roots than the Roman Catholic Church. Rome had the greatest influence on Western Civilization in my opinion. The Roman Catholic church and Christianity itself would not have flourished in the way they have if Rome had not provided the sweeping historical backdrop for their emergence. Thank you for a great article.

I suppose that makes sense. The whole 3/5 of a person thing and all MEN (literally meaning men only) are created equal do sound very church-like.