• How Godless Arabs Changed Europe | Newlines Magazine

    In Latin Europe, from the 12th century on, philosophy was considered to be Greek and Arab. But whereas the Greek philosophers were consigned to antiquity, the Arabs were contemporary provocateurs, pushing secularism, unafraid of defending ideas that went against the prevailing theocratic traditions, or deriding them outright. They found holy books replete with myths “proven” to be falsehoods but nonetheless useful for the masses, who were too ill-educated or too stupid to countenance scientific truth. No wonder the Church panicked.

    Even after such heresies were supposedly stamped out, the Islamic world remained for centuries a haven for free-thinking philosophers. In 1737, André-François Bourreau Deslandes published his Critical History of Philosophy in which he described how in the Muslim world foreigners were treated with utmost respect. With much sarcasm, Deslandes observed that Peter Abelard, the heretic of Cluny, would have had an easier time in a Muslim land.

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