Odifreddi, atheist and mathematician, claimed to give to Pope Ratzinger, theologian and philosopher, a theology lesson and religious history. On that occasion, the Pope’s response was a long letter, complete with a series of notes and scientific comments, calling on the mathematician, that he used to be outside of their field of study, to gather information on a whole series of books that obviously had never even opened. This attitude, made of a sort of presumption by some decent and respectable living trying to teach how to sell ice to Eskimos, is widespread today.
Who rewrites history, you know, often does so with some specific interest . At other times, however, it does so simply out of ignorance or superficiality, but the effects, in terms of cultural decline and restriction of freedom of scientific research, are still harmful. And since today’s ever certain cultural clichés inherent in the genesis and development of the Christian Western civilization tends to show itself as definitively established.
If in other cultural contexts, such as Japan, the debate on some thorny issues of the country’s history can still be alive in the Western. Like a kind of invisible censorship preventing anyone, even in academia or journalism, by trying to examine in impartial certain historical events, for example by placing them in a broader framework, also in the light of subsequent events, so as to contribute to a fruitful historical research, which is primarily free from preconceptions.
Yet, a certain culture gradually asserted itself in bourgeois salons, in closed circles, in gatherings of amateur conformists who, all of a sudden, you have historians rediscovered, jurists, theologians and philosophers, now seems to have replaced, and replaced that, far more serious than a method of research and sources, academies, schools of thought, the Cathedrals. Amateurism, at times, can be a great resource, but not when it comes to ‘ arbitrary historical reconstruction of key hubs of Western culture and Christian, who in one way or another informed for centuries a special type of civilization, which presents it is the direct heir.
And so, just to cite a famous example, the Crusades has developed a cultural movement that, apart from historical sources and the actual research done in his time in academia, presented the facts as the aggressive war crimes by the West to the detriment of the peaceful Muslim world, not without practical consequences. Today, in fact, not a day goes by that our civilization does not apologize for the “crimes” committed during the era of the Crusades, developing a misleading sense of guilt that, centuries later, still shows to make people feel an overwhelming moral weight to a civilizations already dramatically devoid of identity.
This historical reconstruction, however, is not based on authoritative texts or equally authoritative authors, such as the medievalist Franco Cardini (certainly not a conservative Catholic) who in his many books, such as The Crusades between myth and history, Rome, Nova Civitas, 1971 or crusader movement, the following year, just to name two, shows how the Crusades were the first “armed pilgrimage”, and not the apocalyptic wars waged by Christianity to impose their religion fascinating East. Besides Cardini also Steven Runciman, Robert Spencer, Geoffrey Hindley, Thomas Asbridge, the same Mons. Luigi Negri, and the list is still long.
If you would document a certain culture of texts from scientific rigor, he would know for example that the term Crusade, with the black legend that comes, has been introduced in the eighteenth century, that is several centuries after the events. Would know, again, that the Crusades were primarily of the armed movements of defense of places occupied by force from the Muslim world, places where the Christian population was almost zero from the Islamic conquest campaign. Let’s leave out the legal status of participants in these armed pilgrimages, on a voluntary basis, because we recognize that in the absence of a sound historical preparation would serve to deepen the theme.
A certain culture of living, however, seems more to have documented on film as “Kingdom of Heaven” by Ridley Scott, where the full-bodied volumes academic rigor (that professionals of the media today have no amateurism certainly want to read) is replaced the charismatic role of Orlando Bloom, and where is painted a corrupt Christendom, aggressive and superficial that attacks a peaceful Muslim world led by a wise Saladin. The consequences, in terms of victimhood and meaculpismo and especially the misrepresentation of historical facts, are well known.
Again, to quote another example, you can speak of the Inquisition, where authoritative texts like those of Edward Peters (Inquisition, New York 1988) and Henry Kamen (The Spanish Inquisition: A Historical Revision, London 1997), are preferred movies and TV series, completely ignoring even the archival material and thus the documentation of processes and the number of convictions. You know, of course, that studying is challenging, but for some the temptation to sit in judgment of the world and of the people, even as judges of God, after seeing some Hollywood production is too strong, and so it is thought that, maybe, those thousands of pages of studies and research are not all that important, just rather blame their own civilization of any sort of crime for the purpose of instilling embarrassment in the consciousness of its subsidiaries, as well as to feel morally superior. A sort of collaborationist attitude in cialtroneria, we could say.
Still, we could also speak of colonialism, another thorny issue in which the West, in the form of a rich and wealthy intellectual elite, ignorant and-nothing, accuses himself, this time in the form of age-old civilization, to be responsible for extensive campaigns extermination against the “noble savages”, to borrow the terminology at the time known. Beautiful living rooms, once again, could for example deal with texts by Rodney Stark, as the West’s victory, published in Italy by Lindau, instead inquire about the company and on talk shows.
But deep down we know: who just wants to show himself superior bury the memory of their civilization and culture. They are people who prefer to love the people from afar, from a terrace with a spritz in hand, he wants the reception at the home of others, and the revolution.