You know that when Christianity came into power it destroyed
every statue it could lay its ignorant hands upon. It defaced and
obliterated every painting; it destroyed every beautiful building;
it burned the manuscripts, both Greek and Latin; it destroyed all
the history, all the poetry, all the philosophy it could find, and
reduced to ashes every library that it could reach with its torch.
And the result was, that the night of the Middle Ages fell upon the
human race. But by accident, by chance, by oversight, a few of the
manuscripts escaped the fury of religious zeal; and these
manuscripts became the seed, the fruit of which is our civilization
of to-day. A few statues had been buried; a few forms of beauty
were dug from the earth that had protected them, and now the
civilized world is filled with art, the walls are covered with
paintings, and the niches filled with statuary. A few manuscripts
were found and deciphered. The old languages were learned, and
literature was again born. A new day dawned upon mankind. Every
effort at mental improvement had been opposed by the church, and
yet, the few things saved from the general wreck — a few poems, a
few works of the ancient thinkers, a few forms wrought in stone.
produced a new civilization destined to overthrow and destroy the
fabric of superstition.
Robert Green Ingersoll – “Orthodoxy”(1884)