I just finished reading Catherine Nixey’s book The Darkening Age: The Christian Destruction of the Classical World. The book’s leitmotif is that the early Christians destroyed pagan religion, art and culture, and also obliterated a significant part of the knowledge developed by pagan societies of Ancient Greece and the Middle East.
Catherine Nixey is a left-leaning atheist journalist. Ideologically, she is against all religions and traditions. There is a surfeit of exaggeration and half-truths in The Darkening Age. The book fails to acknowledge that the best pagan societies were located not in Europe but in the Middle East and they were destroyed by early Islam (not early Christians).
However, a part of what Nixey says in the book is correct.
The conflict between the pagans and the early Christians began in the Roman age and went on till the 18th century when the last pagan communities were assimilated and digested by the European Christians. The conflict between Christianity and pagans was intense, though not as violent as the conflict between Christianity and Islam which goes on till this day.
Nixey fails to inform her readers that the conflict between the pagans and Islamic movements was always very violent. Zoroastrianism, a very sophisticated pagan culture of the Middle East, was destroyed by the early Islamic forces, not by the early Christians.
Another important aspect of Christian-pagan history that Nixey does not cover in her book is the impact of pagan philosophy, literature and art on European culture and politics. She does not honestly cover the extensive efforts that the European Christian establishment made to collate, digest and reinterpret pagan knowledge.
European historians have tried to prove that the philosophy of Ancient Greece is the fountainhead of modern Western culture. This is a myth. Ancient Greece was polytheistic, skeptic and it followed a city-state model—it could not have served as an inspiration for the monotheistic, materialistic and world-empire model of European Christianity.