I just finished watching Agora, the story of the famous female philosopher (and possibly Atheist) Hypatia of Alexandria.
In case you don’t know about Hypatia of Alexandria, here’s a quick bio: Born sometime between 350 and 370 CE, was a Greek woman living in Roman Egypt, was one of the first notable women in mathematics, also taught philosophy and astronomy. She was also a neoplatonist.
In March of 415 CE, a mob of angry christians attacked Hypatia and dragged her to their new Caesareum church. There they took tiles and broken clay pots and proceeded to cut the skin off her body. When she was completely flayed they burned her alive.
This was all condoned and encouraged by “Saint” Cyril of Alexandria. Under his reign all non-christians were persecuted, murdered, and imprisoned. The great bastion on knowledge, the Library of Alexandria, was pillaged and burned. The murder of Hypatia is considered by some to mark the end of classical antiquity.
Why is it that so often throughout history mobs of religious fanatics feel they have to burn books and destroy art?
I know why, but it just makes me sick. When I see art being destroyed, any kind of art, I just want to vomit. When people do it for religious reasons it makes me want to kill them. For instance, in the movie Agora, when the christian mobs go running through the library burning and destroying the greatest collection of knowledge in the world, all in the name of religious ignorance, nothing would give me more pleasure than to walk around them with a chain saw and calmly disembowel them all. Same is true for anyone who destroys art or books.
What is with this urge to make life as shitty as possible? Just watching those mobs sack the library, they’re like mindless insects infected with a virus. They scurry around killing and burning, compelled by this bullshit they’re infected with. They must destroy all that is good a beautiful in the world because it does not fit with the truth they have decided upon. How I wish I could kill them all.
It’s a power thing really. There is a reason why whenever a dictator takes over the first thing he does is persecute the intellectuals. Uneducated people are easily controlled. They don’t question, they don’t think, the dogma of religion suits them perfectly. Books and art are a threat to those in power. They compel people to think. When you are certain beyond all doubt that you, and only you, have knowledge of absolute truth, destroying art that disagrees with you is no shame. It just shows your insecurities and lack of faith by destroying art. What do you have to fear from a book or painting if you have the truth? Shouldn’t your truth be strong enough to stand on it’s own without the help of book burnings? It’s true that religion hardens hearts and enslaves minds.