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We are living in an Age of Extremism.  It does not matter what religion you are, or what religion you aren’t.  It is an era of political and religious extremism.

If you were fortunate enough to be allowed to study Western Civilization you may remember that when dealing with certain aspects of OUR culture and heritage, there as a philosophical division such as Age of Reason, Age of Faith, etc.

One of the problems we are dealing with is the fact that most historians do not understand the era from about 450AD – 900AD or so and define it as part of a mass historical ignorance.  I don’t mind calling it the “Dark Ages” simply because we lack a better term.  It was a term of “darkness” when one realizes the light of education had been extinguished.   I rather consider the Medieval period as beginning around the 900s or so where a transition takes place between the deprivations of the “Norse” invaders where they were rather rude, crude, and socially unacceptable invaders.  Around 900 or so they became “Normans” – and adopted the snotty attitude of the “extremely” civilized, by assimilating the northern coast of France.  There is this strange demarcation that takes place, where once “barbaric” Norsemen suddenly become “civilized” Normans celebrating their “civilized” achievements that would lead to the birth of the Age of Chivalry.  From that Age of Chivalry comes the evolution of modern Western Civilization.

DARK AGES (a misnomer)

“…The concept of a Dark Age originated with the Italian scholar Petrarch (Francesco Petrarca) in the 1330s, and was originally intended as a sweeping criticism of the character of Late Latin literature. Petrarch regarded the centuries since the fall of Rome as “dark” compared to the light of classical antiquity. Later historians expanded the term to refer to the transitional period between Roman times and the High Middle Ages, including not only the lack of Latin literature, but also a lack of contemporary written history, general demographic decline, limited building activity and material cultural achievements in general. Popular culture has further expanded on the term as a vehicle to depict the Middle Ages as a time of backwardness, extending its pejorative use and expanding its scope…”

AGE OF CHIVALRY

“…Chivalry is a term related to the medieval institution of knighthood. It is usually associated with ideals of knightly virtues, honor and courtly love. The word is derived from the French word “chevalerie”, itself derived from “chevalier”, which means knight, derived from “cheval”, horse (indicating one who rides a horse). Today, the terms chivalry and chivalrous are used to describe courteous behavior, especially that of men towards women…”

“...In the ceremonial of conferring knighthood the Church shared, through the blessing of the sword, and by the virtue of this blessing chivalry assumed a religious character. In early Christianity, although Tertullian’s teaching that Christianity and the profession of arms were incompatible was condemned as heretical, the military career was regarded with little favour. In chivalry, religion and the profession of arms were reconciled. This change in attitude on the part of the Church dates, according to some, from the Crusades, when Christian armies were for the first time devoted to a sacred purpose. Even prior to the Crusades, however, an anticipation of this attitude is found in the custom called the “Truce of God”. It was then that the clergy seized upon the opportunity offered by these truces to exact from the rough warriors of feudal times a religious vow to use their weapons chiefly for the protection of the weak and defenseless, especially women and orphans, and of churches. Chivalry, in the new sense, rested on a vow; it was this vow which dignified the soldier, elevated him in his own esteem, and raised him almost to the level of the monk in medieval society. As if in return for this vow, the Church ordained a special blessing for the knight in the ceremony called in the Pontificale Romanum, “Benedictio novi militis.” At first very simple in its form, this ritual gradually developed into an elaborate ceremony. Before the blessing of the sword on the altar, many preliminaries were required of the aspirant, such as confession, a vigil of prayer, fasting, a symbolical bath, and investiture with a white robe, for the purpose of impressing on the candidate the purity of soul with which he was to enter upon such a noble career. Kneeling, in the presence of the clergy, he pronounced the solemn vow of chivalry, at the same time often renewing the baptismal vow; the one chosen as godfather then struck him lightly on the neck with a sword (the dubbing) in the name of God and St. George, the patron of chivalry….”

MEDIEVAL (the Pink Flamingo’s personal favorite)

“...Medieval philosophy is the philosophy of Europe and the Middle East in the era now known as medieval or the Middle Ages, the period roughly extending from the fall of the Roman Empire in the fifth century A.D. to the Renaissance in the sixteenth century. It is defined partly by the process of rediscovering the ancient culture developed in Greece and Rome in the classical period, and partly by the need to address theological problems and to integrate sacred doctrine with secular learning.

The history of medieval philosophy is traditionally divided into three main periods: the period in the Latin west following the Early Middle Ages until the twelfth century, when the works of Aristotle and Plato were preserved and cultivated; the Islamic period from the seventh to the twelfth century, consisting of translating the ancient philosophers, commenting upon, clarifying, interpreting and developing their work; and the ‘golden age’ of the twelfth, thirteenth and fourteenth centuries in the Latin West, which witnessed the culmination of the recovery of ancient philosophy, and significant developments in the field of Philosophy of religion, Logic and Metaphysics.

The medieval era was disparagingly treated by the Renaissance humanists, who saw it as a barbaric ‘middle’ period between the classical age of Greek and Roman culture, and the ‘rebirth’ or renaissance of classical culture. Yet this period of nearly a thousand years was the longest period of philosophical development in Europe and the Middle East, and possibly the richest. Jorge Gracia has argued that ‘in intensity, sophistication, and achievement, the philosophical flowering in the thirteenth century could be rightly said to rival the golden age of Greek philosophy in the fourth century B.C.’

The problems discussed throughout this period are the relation of faith to reason, the existence and simplicity of God, the purpose of theology and metaphysics, and the problems of knowledge, of universals, and of individuation…”

THE RENAISSANCE

“…Renaissance philosophy was the period of the history of philosophy in Europe that falls roughly between the Middle Ages and the Enlightenment. It includes the 15th century; some scholars extend it to as early as the 1350s or as late as the 16th century or early 17th century, overlapping the Reformation and the early modern era. Among the distinctive elements of Renaissance philosophy are the revival (renaissance means “rebirth”) of classical civilization and learning; a partial return to the authority of Plato over Aristotle, who had come to dominate later medieval philosophy; and, among some philosophers, enthusiasm for the occult and Hermeticism.

As with all periods, there is a wide drift of dates, reasons for categorization and boundaries. In particular, the Renaissance, more than later periods, is thought to begin in Italy with the Italian Renaissance and roll through Europe. The English Renaissance is often thought to include Shakespeare, at a time when Italy had passed through Mannerism and to the Baroque. As importantly the 16th century is split differently (see lumpers and splitters). Some historians see the Reformation and Counter-Reformation as being separated from the Renaissance and more important for philosophy, while others see the entire era as one sweeping period…”

THE AGE OF DISCOVERY

“…The Age of Discovery, also known as the Age of Exploration, was a period in history starting in the 15th century and continuing into the 17th century, during which Europeans and their descendants intensively explored and mapped the world. Historians often refer to the Age of discovery as the period of Portuguese and Spanish pioneer oceanic explorations, between the 15th and 16th centuries, that established links with Africa, Asia and the Americas in search for an alternative trade route to Asia, moved by the trade of gold, silver and spices. These explorations in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans were soon followed by France, England and the Netherlands, who explored the Portuguese and Spanish trade routes into the Pacific Ocean, reaching Australia in 1606 and New Zealand in 1642. European exploration spanned until accomplishing the global mapping of the world, resulting in a new worldview and distant civilizations acknowledging each other, reaching the most remote boundaries much later.

The Age of Discovery marks the passage from the feudal Middle Ages of the 15th century to the Early Modern Period with the rise of European nation-states  in the 16th century. Along with the Renaissance and the rise of humanism, it was an important motor for the start of Modern era, ushering in a new age of scientific and intellectual inquiry. European overseas expansion led to the rise of colonial empires, with the contact between the Old and New Worlds producing the Columbian Exchange, involving the transfer of plants, animals, foods, human populations (including slaves), communicable diseases, and culture between the Eastern and Western hemispheres, in one of the most significant global events concerning ecology, agriculture, and culture in history….”

THE REFORMATION

The Protestant Reformation (1517–1648) was the European Christian reform movement that established Protestantism as a constituent branch of contemporary Christianity; it began in 1517, when Martin Luther published The Ninety-Five Theses, and concluded in 1648, with the Peace of Westphalia that ended one hundred thirty-one years of consequent European religious wars.

AGE OF ENLIGHTENMENT

“…The Enlightenment is a name given by historians to an intellectual movement that was predominant in the Western world during the 18th century. Free from feudal obligations that bound peasants and nobles to the land and to each other, members of the new urban middle class sought to develop their individual potentials. Also of significant influence were the scientific revolution and by the aftermath of the long religious conflict that followed the Reformation.

The thinkers of the Enlightenment were committed to secular views based on reason or human understanding only, which they hoped would provide a basis for beneficial changes affecting every area of life and thought.The more extreme and radical philosophers advocated a philosophical rationalism deriving its methods from science and natural philosophy that would replace religion as the means of understanding nature and destiny of humanity. These individuals were materialists, pantheists, or atheists. Other enlightened thinkers supposed fanaticism, but were either agnostic or left room for some kind of religious faith.

The Enlightenment came to an end in western Europe after the upheavals of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic era revealed the costs of its political program and the lack of commitment in those whose rhetoric was often more liberal than their actions. Nationalism undercut its cosmopolitan values and assumptions about human nature, and the romantics attacked its belief that clear intelligible answers could be found to every question asked by people who sought to be free and happy. The skepticism of the philosophers was swept away in the religious revival of the 1790s and early 1800s, and the cultural leadership of the landed aristocracy and professional men who had supported the

Enlightenment was eroded by the growth of a new wealthy educated class of businessmen, products of the industrial revolution. Only in North and South America, where industry came later and revolution had not led to reaction, did the Enlightenment linger into the 19th century. Its lasting heritage has been its contribution to the literature of human freedom and some institutions in which its values have been embodied….”

AGE OF REASON

“…The Age of Reason was an eighteenth-century movement which followed hard after the mysticism, religion, and superstition of the Middle Ages. The Age of Reason represented a genesis in the way man viewed himself, the pursuit of knowledge, and the universe. In this time period, man’s previously held concepts of conduct and thought could now be challenged verbally and in written form; fears of being labeled a heretic or being burned at the stake were done away with. This was the beginning of an open society where individuals were free to pursue individual happiness and liberty. Politically and socially, the imperial concepts of the medieval world were abandoned. The Age of Reason included the shorter time period described as the Age of Enlightenment; during this time great changes occurred in scientific thought and exploration. New ideas filled the horizon and man was eager to explore these ideas, freely….”

MODERN DAY EXTREMISM

Case in point is the determination that today’s atheist is attempting to call the shots for everything.  They are a small minority. Deal with it.  The majority of people in this nation consider themselves either Christian or Jewish. We have rights.

Modern day extremists are everywhere:  Just watch the news.  The far right is extreme.  The Tea Parties are extreme.  The far left is extreme.  Islam is extreme.

There is no moderation.  In fact, the very word “moderate” is considered almost evil.

Merriam-Webster

There is nothing wrong with being conservative or liberal.  There is something wrong, though, when a person is so extreme that they are incapable of seeing the other side of anything – and that is the age in which we live – EXTREME.

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