thread: 2011-07-11 : Hooray for Religion

On 2011-09-02, cc wrote:

One monastic commentator during the Hundred Years War did remark that there were bandits riding around extorting and robbing and openly proclaiming that "there is no god", i.e. that they were not in fact going to be punished for their sins post mortem after all.

I think the sense that everyone was personally religious in these times and places is basically wrong.  There was neither a language nor a logic of skepticism available, and there was a heavy social premium for at least maintaining the facade of belief, but not everyone was persuaded.  There were repeated outbreaks of anti-clericalism that eventually manifested fully in the French revolution, where the priests were described as "crows" - clad in black and preying on the weak.  So I think there was a real body of tacit resentment that circulated in medieval europe, which manifested in several forms: heresy, reformism, monasticism and simple skepticism.

Thus, it's certainly possible, and we probably underestimate how often it happened, but there were heavy social pressures to do other things than simply outright reject what was after all the only narrative about who we are and where we came from available.


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