A History of Pagan Europe by Prudence Jones and Nigel Pennick
Excerpt from Chapter 11 – Paganism Reaffirmed (p196)
The High Medieval period (950-1350) saw the militant monotheistic religions, Christianity and Islam, imposing their influence on the rulers of Europe, so that the official religions of the emerging kingdoms and empires became monotheistic and in practice androtheistic, referring to their supreme deity only in the masculine gender.
We have also seen Pagan practices and beliefs continuing here and there, unnoticed by official sanctions, and also being incorporated into Christian practice as this developed. In that sense the Pagan outlook and deities remained, shaped in the form of Christian society which overlay them, and were available as a living tradition to be recognised and reclaimed by later investigators in an age of independent thought.
In Islamic areas of Europe, the situation was different. Islamic doctrine did not compromise with Pagan values (indeed, the famous Satanic Verses of the Koran were almost immediately repudiated by Mohammed as an attempt by the Devil to incorporate the three goddesses of Mecca in the celestial hierarchy), and Islam remained militantly anti-polytheist.
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Right on, this book tells it like it is! Yes, Christianity was militant… BUT it made a lot of accommodations for paganism that Islam did not.
There is this myth that Islam was in a golden era during the Middle Ages while Christianity caused Europe to rot. This myth paints Islam as this beautiful, peaceful religion of enlightenment and tolerance, while Europe, saddled with Christianity, is depressing, ignorant, intolerant, and lost in a fog of darkness. It’s not that simple.
As many scholars in their papers, books, and documentaries are showing, there was a lot of intellectual work going on in Europe during the so called Dark Ages. Yes, Islam did preserve a lot of Greco-Roman knowledge and were especially good with mathematics. Bravo, Islam, you get a cookie. But they fervently attacked native neighboring religions with gusto from day one, and continue to do so now.
Was Christianity perfect? Nope. But if it’s a contest on which religion is the biggest asshole…. Islam wins hands down. Don’t get me wrong, they were both assholes. But, Islam takes the cake.
No more false histories and misrepresentations, please. Stick with the truth, even if you have to play hardball. People cling to what they’ve been told and what they want to believe.