I have read this quote by Ruth Hurmence Green many times, shared with fervor among atheists:

"When Religion ruled the world it was know as the Dark Ages"

Ruth Hurmence Green gained notability within the atheist community with the publication of her book "The Born Again Skeptic’s Guide to the Bible" in 1979. This book has since been the best selling publication from the Freedom From Religion Foundation. Green underwent a radical mastectomy in 1960. She was treated for skin cancer several years later and in 1975 was diagnosed with throat cancer. It was during recovery from her first round of cancer treatments during the early 70s that Ruth, “a half-hearted Methodist” decided to read the Bible cover to cover. This project took two years and made her a confirmed atheist. When the throat cancer returned several years later in 1981 she kept the diagnosis to herself, knowing that this time the disease would be terminal. On July 7, 1981 Green ingested a fatal dose of painkillers. In her last letter to friend Annie Laurie Gaylor, dated July 4, 1981 Green wrote, "Freedom from religion must grow and prosper... freedom depends upon freethinkers."

The quote is a clever sound bite, witty, memorable and seems to be fairly popular among atheists. But is it true?

Both our technological and our scientific movements got their start, acquired their character, and achieved world dominance in the Middle Ages, largely from Christian thinkers and visionaries. The consistency with which scientists during the long formative centuries of Western science said that the task and the reward of the scientist was “to think God’s thoughts after him” leads one to believe that this was their real motivation. If so, then modern Western science was cast in a matrix of Christian theology. The dynamism of religious devotion shaped by the Judeo-Christian dogma of creation, gave it impetus. Interestingly the end result of the long gestation period of Christian ‘dominance’ during the Dark Ages was the birth of science, the scepter that the atheists now hold high as the predominant meaning of their existence.

Therefore the ‘Dark Ages’ were not really that dark after all. Rather than religion being the cause of stagnation, barbarism and regress, it was Christianity throughout these ‘Dark Ages’ which gave the intellectual impetus and foundation to enormously successful progress, technological advance and modern science. Just the historical facts