As a writer of historicals and a history teacher for many years, I am often irritated by statements about what people in the past believed. "They believed it was unhealthy to sleep with the windows open." or "They thought the stars controlled a person's destiny." My question always is "Who is 'they'?"
If we apply the same generalizations to today, then "we" believe that the everyday actions of someone named Lindsey or Paris or Beyonce are very, very important. "'We' also believe that there are shampoos that can somehow remeld split ends, creams that can erase wrinkles, and pads for the bottoms of your feet that can pull impurities from your body. And of course "we" believe that God won't give you more than you can handle, that the good we do is written down somewhere for later, and therapy will make you a better person.
Here's what I'd bet on: for every person in the Middle Ages who believed that powdered dog feces would cure an eye infection, there was at least one who figured it was smarter to keep the eye clean, rest it, and hope for the best. For every man who blamed the alignment of Gemini and Virgo for his lack of success in business, there were those who decided to change their approach and try something else. And for every one who concluded that beating himself with a whip would make him fit for Heaven, there were others who formed a philosophy of moderation and lived by it.
It's silly to judge a people by what somebody wrote down or what some painting depicts. If people from the future drew conclusions about us based on a picture of Britney on stage, would that be good for you?