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The Dark Side of Christian History Paperback – July, 1995
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Over a period of nearly two millennia, the Christian Church has oppressed and brutalized millions of individuals. Meticulously researched and courageously written, "The Dark Side of Christian History" by Helen Ellerbe examines the Church's devastating impact upon human freedom, dignity and spirituality. Written for the lay reader, this controversial book is especially relevant today as the religious right is attempting to assert greater influence in American politics and society. "The Dark Side of Christian History presents a compelling argument that the Church's desire to control and contain spiritually motivated its persecution of heretics, its burning of libraries, the Crusades, the Inquisition, and the witch-hunts. This dark Christianity ahs left a legacy, a world view, which permeates every aspect of Western society. It is a legacy which fosters sexism, racism, the intolerance of difference and the desecration of the natural environment. Helen Ellerbe is a researcher, writer, and public speaker living in the San Francisco bay area. -- Midwest Book Review
Top Customer Reviews
This is not a pretty book, but it is a coherent one. Each chapter is an essay on a different time in Christianity, how it evolved, and its affects on Western (and other) civilizations. A consistent history is shown from the early days of Roman Christiandom to current attitudes that is informative and unsettling. Quite simply, current problems and attitudes today can be traced back hundreds, or even thousands of years, and the history of the Church is not as simple as some make it sound.
Quotes from various sources paint the picture reasonably well, though this book could have easily been twice its size. If read with an open, critical mind, you'll find flaws, but you WON'T be the same. It's an excellent jumping-off point to study the parts of Church history people don't want to talk about.
Many individuals have no knowledge of the atrocities committed by the church. Without understanding these events, we can never progress beyond them. The era of the Inquisition and the Witch Hunt is over, but religious intolerance is still with us, rearing its ugly head. With the help of provocative books such as this, I believe we can move past religious intolerance - once and for all.
On a final note, I am Wiccan, and although I believe that present-day Christians should not be held responsible for the Church's brutality of the past, I would like to see our Christian brothers, sisters and leaders acknowledge, accept and learn from these events.