Chronological Snobbery

I was sitting at my local near someone who is, in fact, a college professor. He happened to bring up how ancient literature is filled with barbaric practices such as crucifixion and stoning, and how "We've advanced past that" today.

"Boy, we sure have!" I thought. Today, we don't mess around taking hours to kill three people by hanging them on crosses! No, we wipe out 100,000 or more with a couple of button pushes, or tens of thousands in a single night, or use efficient, high-tech means to kill 6 million over the course of a few years.

We certainly have "advanced past" those primitive times when books like the Bible and the Bhagavad Gita were being written: today, we can kill thousands using science in the time it took the ancients to kill dozens! Thank God we are not as primitive as they were.


  1. And don't forget that pre-historic humans practised cannibalism, whereas modern humans waste all the human meat they create, most of which is just as edible as pork or beef. Eating German POWs would have been more civilised than bombing their cities.

    1. Is there a point to this comment?

    2. There is a moral difference between a necessary evil (which may be the lesser of two evils) and an unnecessary one.

    3. How in the world is that distinction (which I don't buy, by the way: is something is necessary, it is not evil!) relevant to this post?! Are you trying to claim that crucifixions were unnecessary evils, while the Holocaust was a necessary one?!

  2. We used to kill people over religion. Now we're more advanced. We kill people for other reasons.


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