Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | October 14, 2009

Why We Should Celebrate Columbus Day

The Discovery to the Civilization That Matters

The Discovery to the Civilization That Matters

Traditional Columbus Day was October 12th.  I read of some untraditional, or, perhaps, new traditional teaching about Columbus Day.  Some public school teachers held mock courts for Christopher Columbus for crimes against humanity, or  taught about the details of his ‘crimes’  against native peoples.  They missed the movement – following Columbus’s discovery of lands and people unknown to Europe – of Western Civilization to civilize two whole continents in just the past 500 years.   I could criticize their perspective of presentism – under the influence of the trinity of race, class and gender(s) and bias against European culture and Western Civilization, but I doubt they would comprehend.

So, dear reader, let’s just consider why Columbus Day counts.  It matters because the rising Civilization from the 1500s – Europe – would expand its Civilization and Christianity to two new continents.   A big deal for history.  A huge deal for every soul saved.   It was a world changer for the better.   Much better.

Did colonization – and civilization – bring war, slavery, oppression, disease, and other terrible things that men do to men – as all humans do?  Yes.  People being people means evil abounds.  But, the Europeans conquering continents can be favorably compared to any indigeneous tribe’s conquest.    Just ask Virginia’s Piankatank Indians.  Oh, oops, that Indian tribe was wiped off the face of the earth by Powhatan and his warriors – in 1608 ( a year after the white, heterosexual, capitalist, Christian, English-speaking Europeans invaded the land and water – now called Virginia.  Consider why Cortes had so many Indians fighting with him AGAINST the Aztec Indians.

If Columbus had not discovered the New World, then most of us Americans would still be peasants in some corner of Europe.   The Americas would be more barbaric that the current Islamic civilizations that are 800 years behind the West today.   Nothing in indigenous native culture showed that progress would follow the path of Europe.  Indians hadn’t built anything like the civilizations that had existed elsewhere – up to 1500.  AD.   Mayans, Aztecs and Incas were interesting civilizations, but they weren’t China or Islam in 1000 AD or Christian Europe in 1500 AD.

Consider how history happened in 500 year increments:

4000 BC to 500 BC: civilizations rise in Egypt, what is now Iraq and then throughout the Middle East and eastern Med,  India and China – and the Americas.   They rise and fall to barbarian invaders – and rise again.

In 500 BC enter the Greeks.   Greek Civilization.   Logos and universal culture.  Democracy.  Rationalism.

500 years later, Rome has conquered Greece.  Rome builds upon, steals if you like – as if it matters, a great culture.  Romans built a civilization that stretches from Scotland to India.

In 500 AD Rome and its remnant cultures fight the mobile barbarian invader.  Castles and heavy armed knights are winners.   From the 620s these barbarians include Muslims.   They fight invaders for 500 years.

In the year 1000 AD , China is the most advanced Civilization on earth.  Europe is getting on its feet and able to defend itself from hordes from the East and Muslims from the South.

Then, for 500 years Europe consolidates its stability, fights among its inhabitants and organizes, engineers, and imagines new horizons.  By 1500, the Italian city states, Holland, Spain, England and France are ready to take off as nation-states.

From 1500, the next 500 years is the Rise of the West.  The civilization – of many countries – that can rule  over any and all of the rest of the world by the time they really get their military act together in the 18th Century.

Muslims conquered Constantinople  and cut off trade to China.  So, in 1492 Columbus sails the ocean blue.  Great opportunity.  Rough go for the native losers – as it always is when there are invasions.  But, ultimately, a great outcome to bring Christ to the New World, save millions of souls, and create new opportunites for a civilization – the West – to become more civilized – for the next 500 years.

Over this last five hundred years two continents get civilized.  Islam goes further in deep decline until Western medicine promotes a population boom, Western countries invite Muslims to invade the culture as refugees and workers, and Western demand for oil brings wealth and weapons to dangerous Islamists.  China becomes backward and disfunctional – until it assumes Western capitalism for its economy and absorbs Western science.   The success of the Renaissance promotes and evolves Europe – and is followed by the Reformation, Capitalism, and the Enlightenment.   The U.S. and the U.K. have three Great Awakenings.

The results are. taken for the whole, much better for all.  Thanks, Admiral Columbus.

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Responses

  1. JAB:
    Well said as usual.
    Frankly, Christianity was the basis for the western rise, despite the flaws of man that you mentioned. In philosophy, science, medicine and industry, the logical results of Christianity led to prosperity and liberty never before experienced in history. Even non-Christian countries have been blessed by the fruit of Christianity, in law, technology, medicine and even military science. Not that Christianity promises prosperity, it doesn’t, yet it led to that rationally not only for the Christian, but also for mankind.

    God often even uses evil for good. Consider slavery, it is interesting that as bad as it was both morally and physically, the results today are astounding. The American slave descendants are far better off than their non-slave contemporaries who remained in Africa. Black Americans of all classes, if counted alone would now constitute the 13th richest country in the world.
    So it is much better to be a black descendant of a slave in Hampton than the descendant of a
    “free” tribal native in Kinshasa.

    On the other hand, Christianity is now dying in the West (except for a remnant, larger here than in Europe) but it is growing in Africa and China. So expect them to be blessed in the future.

  2. Well said on your part, DV. Thanks.

  3. Sorry Jimmy,

    Us Piankatanks are still here, we married into the cherokee to survive. Just like the rest of the powhatan tribe people who left the area or like my family there became farmers. We actually still own land in the area passed down.

    • That’s cool. But, to survive with any oral history of being Piankatanks, your ancestors first survived being forced into Powhatan’s tribes for a generation – wonder how many – before some were able to go to the southwest and marry into the Cherokees. The men Piankatanks were killed. Only small boys would have been kept with their mothers to join the Powhatan tribes. Of course, the mothers could have kept the oral history of the tribe alive through their kids.

  4. Christopher Columbus is a violent axe murderer who enslaved, killed and butchered millions of Indians.

  5. Aishah, your math is way off for Christopher’s personal body count.

    Actually, Indians enslaved, kill and butcher millions of Indians until they were assimilated as Christians.


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