The Perversity of Thanking Christendom for Modern Progress

Exposing the fallacies and sophistries from Tom Holland’s book “Dominion.”

Benjamin Cain
Teatime History

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AI-generated image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Tom Holland’s book Dominion: The Making of the Western Mind (2019) waded into the battle for ownership of modernity.

Can Christians reasonably take credit for modern progress, that is, for the liberal emphases on human rights and freedoms and the power of technoscience? Or did modernity emerge despite Christendom and, indeed, in explicit opposition to Christian traditions and assumptions?

Judging from later, similar books such as one I discussed elsewhere, what might have made Dominion so influential is that Holland’s an ex-Christian and an atheist, so his case for the ironic ongoing impact of Christianity even on what are supposed to be secular institutions chimed with Christian apologetics. The apologist could say, “See, even an atheist knows we need to thank Christianity for modern progress. America was founded on Christian values, not on pagan ones.”

But Dominion is distinguished by something else besides its author’s seeming objectivity or lack of an outright apologetic motive for interpreting history in that way. The book is thoroughly fallacious, which also speaks to the weakness of the apologetic line.

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Benjamin Cain
Teatime History

Ph.D. in philosophy / Knowledge condemns. Art redeems. / https://ko-fi.com/benjamincain / benjamincain8@gmailDOTcom