Busy at my own work, I was half-listening to two other college professors chatting. Something about Von Daniken and Velikovsky--they both enjoyed them, and took them quite seriously. One was advising the other what books to read next. Then something about the Mayan pyramids in Mexico being identical to the early pyramids in Egypt. But “the Church had destroyed the Mayan writings.” So we’ll never know the connections.
The International Catholic Conspiracy had struck again.
These were very educated people, holders of advanced degrees. These are the people educating our young.
I have been around many ivied water coolers and faculty lounges, and have heard there many such urban legends. This overheard conversation was about par for the course.
How is it that so much of what such well-educated people “know” is superstition and prejudice?
Let’s look at this bit about the Catholic Church suppressing Native American culture.
In fact, what records we have of the Mayans were preserved by Catholic clergy. The Popul Vuh, the Mayan sacred epic, was preserved and translated into Spanish by Father Francisco Ximanez in 1702. Without him, we would perhaps know nothing of the Mayans.
And this is true throughout the Americas. In most places, where the native peoples have a writing system, it was devised for them by missionaries. Where they have any kind of written records of their past or any literature, they were written down and preserved by missionaries. Where the languages have been preserved, it has been through grammars and dictionaries made by missionaries. Where we know the old legends and beliefs, these were recorded by missionaries. Missionaries worked hard to preserve native culture. In Kamloops, BC, for example, Father Jean-Marie Raphael LeJeune founded and published the Kamloops Wawa from 1891 to 1923: a regular newspaper in the Chinook language, reflecting Native concerns.
Native culture was changed forever –one might say it was “destroyed,” but that is debatable--by plagues, alcohol, and the sudden availability of higher quality goods and more efficient technologies from abroad. It was not destroyed by Christianity.
Granted, Christianity was one part of this mix. Christianity replaced the native religions, just as it had earlier replaced native religions across Europe. At the same time, it did what it could to protect the natives from alcohol and plague.
And the change from native to Christian beliefs was hardly by compulsion. I, too, would be pretty eager to embrace a new faith that condemned human sacrifice, slavery and torture, preached the equality of man, and protected me from curses, loss of soul, and demonic possession. Never mind that it was the core of the culture that had produced steel, navigation, and so forth.
Was this a great loss for native culture? Surely, any believing Christian must believe it was a great gain, for the culture and for every native individual. Perhaps we Christians are wrong—but the natives of that day were perfectly free to make up their own minds on that, and their own decision ought to be respected. In any case, if in this Europeans “destroyed” native culture, we must believe equally that the culture of Europe itself was earlier “destroyed” by this same foreign doctrine. Some do believe this.The Nazis did.
But why do two college professors believe something so obviously false?
Whenever occurs a great evil or a great good, whenever right and wrong appear in the world in the raw, a standard process begins. All of us who have a vested interest in concealing the truth—which probably means all of us--start to work, spinning silken threads out of our own guts, to conceal matters under thick cobwebs of disinformation. The guilty are exonerated and rewarded, the good punished and blamed. We do this so we can live with ourselves, for we know we are too often not good and not right.
And so the evils of Fascism and Nazism are now commonly blamed on the Catholic Church, which was at the time almost the only voice against it.
And so pedophilia, which was almost accepted by Kinsey and the Sixties “sexual revolution,” is now commonly blamed on the Catholic Church, which was at the time almost the only voice against it.
And so racism is now commonly blamed uniquely on White Anglo-Saxons, on the British and the Americans; note Andrew Young’s famous claim that the English invented racism. But these were, historically, the people who fought hardest against Hitler, against slavery, against caste in India. These were the people who most promoted the doctrines of human rights and the equality of man.
And so racism now commonly masquerades as “anti-racism.” White Anglo-Saxons are now racially stigmatized themselves, by “anti-racists,” in terms hauntingly similar to those once used against Jews. White men are stigmatized in terms hauntingly similar to those once used against blacks.
And so our universities and colleges, because they have been so successful as the bastions of free inquiry and deep thought, are now where the cobwebs most gather. Where thought must stay safe and shallow, and inquiry be carefully proscribed. Where absurdities and plain lies must be embraced as equally likely as certain truth to be true. Because we are all frightened of truth; we all have something to lose from it.
The truth about pyramids, of course, is they are simply the easiest high structure to build.
Watch any child piling blocks.