The writer Tom Holland reflects on how christianity governs everything (even his detractors) in the Domain, his last work


“Hello, Tom, what’s up? I am at your side, I’m going to turn on the tape recorder.” “Yes, of course. I just hope I won’t get infected”. Tom Holland threw this pullita tongue-in-cheek to this journalist, the past march 3 in the cafeteria of madrid, Hotel Riu, in a scenario radically different from the one in which you write these lines and, probably, the one that will be read.

The writer has come to present Domain (Attic books), essay in which places christianity as a vertebral axis of the western culture, that today, against all odds, it would be affected by a biblical plague. People enter and exit the hotel, laughing and drinking coffee, oblivious to the carnage that is coming. The confining world come slowly a few days after, but for Holland today is a day to chat and stroll.

This Tuesday also has his own surprises. The first, when Holland declares christian and, at the same time, fan broken of the ancient Greek and roman: “Contemporary christianity has always seemed to me a bit boring. They are much more charismatic and attractive to the Roman Empire and the Greek deities. I started this book as a study on christian Romebut as we go deep to see the world through their eyes, I realized that some traits of yours at first sight to be saved like this was misleading. There was a haze that prevented me from understanding how they think and behaved like those of the romans, and the mist came out of christianity, shaping my assessment of their ethics, their family structures, their sexuality or their leisure activities, which are completely different from those of today. So I decided to track how it has come to that change, and if, as some historians believe, christianity had been the main agent in transformer. And I have concluded that this is so”.

It is risky to ask a believer what you think of the saying that “the religions are the cancer of humanity”, but the journalistic ethics rules. “Those who think they do, in fact, for religious reasons. Criticism western to christianity part of christianity itselfthat today , it is devouring itself because a part of him wants to impose its own rules. Since the Enlightenment confronted the idea of light, which is identified with reason, and the darkness, that related with religion and superstition. Wanted to eradicate the superstitiona principle that today no one questions. What many do not know is that the origin of those ideas is the protestant Reformation. For Luther, the superstition was the roman Church, and advocated for an end to the idolatry of the santoral, and by filling the heart of the spiritual light”.

The connection does not end here. “In turn, the protestants looked on the christians of ancient Romeand these are in the Hebrew prophets, that they wanted an end to the superstition of egypt. Essentially, in the XXI century, who apostatan of christianity do so for the same reasons that embraced by the first christians. In Hitchhiker’s guidepublished in 1979, Douglas Adams told us a spacecraft whose fuel was the paradox. Historically, christianity is precisely that.”

“The historical evolution of christianity is crossed by the paradox. Today, it is devouring itself because a part of him wants to impose its own rules”

Of The life of Brian to the cartoonists of Mohammed in Charlie Hebdo, question is a must what is the role of satire in the religionswhose common bond is its essence dogmatic. “After the attacks against Charlie Hebdo, some voices said, ‘why you have killed muslims on these comedians if christians did not kill the Monty Python?’ It is not that christians are more tolerant”.

What then? “What happens is that the satire of christianity is very deeply rootedespecially from the Enlightenment and the French Revolution. And that impulse to drink, again, in protestantism, that revile the icons catholics throwing crucifixes into the river or burying statues of the Virgin Mary in the brothels, quite a bit more aggressive than what they did Monty Python. In all cases, the purpose is the same: to destroy idolatry. On the contrary, in islam there is a tradition of mockery, so that for his faithful aggression to their symbols is much more shocking. The movement of ‘Je suis Charlie’, which sought to universalize the values of Charlie Hebdo after the attack, is very culturally conditioned, because The west is the fruit of a christian tradition, which itself has taken on that mock. Blasphemy should never be punished, neither legally nor by any other means, it forms part of the freedom of expression”.

For the sociologist, ethnocentrism is the main sin of christianity: “They have convinced the world that their values are universal, especially in the last two centuries. The Declaration of Human Rights emerges from the canon law. Bartolomé de las Casas defended the rights of native americans as christian, but those ideas were the basis for the abolition of slavery. In the NINETEENTH century, the international law absorbs all that christian traditionalthough the enlightened europeans because they did not recognize its origins. The western values are so conditioned by his culture as the rest of them.”

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