Bearing False Witness

Author: Rodney Stark
Publisher: Templeton Foundation Press
ISBN: 1599475006
Format: PDF, Docs
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As we all know and as many of our well established textbooks have argued for decades, the Inquisition was one of the most frightening and bloody chapters in Western history, Pope Pius XII was anti-Semitic and rightfully called “Hitler’s Pope,” the Dark Ages were a stunting of the progress of knowledge to be redeemed only by the secular spirit of the Enlightenment, and the religious Crusades were an early example of the rapacious Western thirst for riches and power. But what if these long held beliefs were all wrong? In this stunning, powerful, and ultimately persuasive book, Rodney Stark, one of the most highly regarded sociologists of religion and bestselling author of The Rise of Christianity (HarperSanFrancisco 1997) argues that some of our most firmly held ideas about history, ideas that paint the Catholic Church in the least positive light are, in fact, fiction. Why have we held these wrongheaded ideas so strongly and for so long? And if our beliefs are wrong, what, in fact, is the truth? In each chapter, Stark takes on a well-established anti-Catholic myth, gives a fascinating history of how each myth became the conventional wisdom, and presents a startling picture of the real truth. For example, Instead of the Spanish Inquisition being an anomaly of torture and murder of innocent people persecuted for “imaginary” crimes such as witchcraft and blasphemy, Stark argues that not only did the Spanish Inquisition spill very little blood, but it was a major force in support of moderation and justice. Instead of Pope Pius XII being apathetic or even helpful to the Nazi movement, such as to merit the title, “Hitler’s Pope,” Stark shows that the campaign to link Pope Pius XII to Hitler was initiated by the Soviet Union, presumably in hopes of neutralizing the Vatican in post-World War II affairs. Pope Pius XII was widely praised for his vigorous and devoted efforts to saving Jewish lives during the war. Instead of the Dark Ages being understood as a millennium of ignorance and backwardness inspired by the Catholic Church’s power, Stark argues that the whole notion of the “Dark Ages” was an act of pride perpetuated by anti-religious intellectuals who were determined to claim that theirs was the era of “Enlightenment.” In the end, readers will not only have a more accurate history of the Catholic Church, they will come to understand why it became unfairly maligned for so long. Bearing False Witness is a compelling and sobering account of how egotism and ideology often work together to give us a false truth.

Bearing False Witness

Author: Rodney Stark
Publisher: SPCK
ISBN: 0281077754
Format: PDF
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The following historical statements all appear in well-established textbooks, and have become part of our common culture. Which of them would you say are true? * The Catholic Church incited and actively colluded in nearly two millennia of anti-Semitic violence, and Pope Pius XII is still rightfully known as ‘Hitler’s Pope’. * Only recently have we become aware of ancient and remarkably enlightened Christian gospels, which narrow-minded Catholic authorities tried to suppress. * Once in power as the official Church of Rome, Christians quickly and brutally persecuted paganism out of existence. * The fall of Rome and the ascendancy of the Church precipitated Europe’s decline into a millennium of ignorance and backwardness, which lasted until the Renaissance. * Initiated by the pope, the Crusades were but the first bloody chapter in the history of unprovoked and brutal Christian colonialism. * The Spanish Inquisition tortured and murdered huge numbers of innocent people for ‘imaginary’ crimes, such as witchcraft and blasphemy. * The Catholic Church persecuted and tried to suppress scientists such as Galileo, and the Scientific ‘Revolution’ therefore occurred mainly in more tolerant Protestant societies. * Being entirely comfortable with slavery, the Catholic Church did nothing to oppose its introduction in the New World, or to make it more humane. * Until very recently, Catholicism’s hierarchical view of the ideal state has resulted in its bitter resistance to all efforts to establish more liberal governments and its eager support for right-wing dictators. * It was the Protestant Reformation that broke the repressive Catholic grip on progress and ushered in capitalism, religious freedom and the modern world. In this powerful and persuasive book Rodney Stark subjects these and other widely-held beliefs to a rigorous historical assessment. He gives a compelling account of how each of them became accepted as the conventional wisdom, how egotism and ideology often worked together to create false or highly distorted pictures of people and events, and how we need to work hard to recover the truth if we’re to undo the cultural damage that centuries of anti-Catholic history has done. Contents: 1. Sins of Anti- Semitism 2. The Suppressed Gospels 3. Persecuting the Tolerant Pagans 4. Imposing the Dark Ages 5. Crusading for Land, Loot, and Converts 6. Monsters of the Inquisition 7. Scientific Heresies 8. Blessed Be Slavery 9. Holy Authoritarianism 10. Protestant Modernity

Bearing False Witness

Author: Rodney Stark
Publisher: Templeton Foundation Press
ISBN: 1599474999
Format: PDF
Download Now
As we all know and as many of our well established textbooks have argued for decades, the Inquisition was one of the most frightening and bloody chapters in Western history, Pope Pius XII was anti-Semitic and rightfully called "Hitler's Pope," the Dark Ages were a stunting of the progress of knowledge to be redeemed only by the secular spirit of the Enlightenment, and the religious Crusades were an early example of the rapacious Western thirst for riches and power. But what if these long held beliefs were all wrong? In this stunning, powerful, and ultimately persuasive book, Rodney Stark, one of the most highly regarded sociologists of religion and bestselling author of The Rise of Christianity (HarperSanFrancisco 1997) argues that some of our most firmly held ideas about history, ideas that paint the Catholic Church in the least positive light are, in fact, fiction. Why have we held these wrongheaded ideas so strongly and for so long? And if our beliefs are wrong, what, in fact, is the truth? In each chapter, Stark takes on a well-established anti-Catholic myth, gives a fascinating history of how each myth became the conventional wisdom, and presents a startling picture of the real truth. For example, Instead of the Spanish Inquisition being an anomaly of torture and murder of innocent people persecuted for "imaginary" crimes such as witchcraft and blasphemy, Stark argues that not only did the Spanish Inquisition spill very little blood, but it was a major force in support of moderation and justice. Instead of Pope Pius XII being apathetic or even helpful to the Nazi movement, such as to merit the title, "Hitler's Pope," Stark shows that the campaign to link Pope Pius XII to Hitler was initiated by the Soviet Union, presumably in hopes of neutralizing the Vatican in post-World War II affairs. Pope Pius XII was widely praised for his vigorous and devoted efforts to saving Jewish lives during the war. Instead of the Dark Ages being understood as a millennium of ignorance and backwardness inspired by the Catholic Church's power, Stark argues that the whole notion of the "Dark Ages" was an act of pride perpetuated by anti-religious intellectuals who were determined to claim that theirs was the era of "Enlightenment." In the end, readers will not only have a more accurate history of the Catholic Church, they will come to understand why it became unfairly maligned for so long. Bearing False Witness is a compelling and sobering account of how egotism and ideology often work together to give us a false truth.

Reformation Myths

Author: Rodney Stark
Publisher: SPCK
ISBN: 0281078289
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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What has the Reformation ever done for us? A lot less than you might think, as Rodney Stark shows in this enlightening and entertaining antidote to recent books about the rise of Protestantism and its legacy. ‘Rodney Stark takes no prisoners as he charges through five hundred years of history, upsetting apple carts left and right. Almost everything you thought you knew about the Reformation turns out to be a false narrative. . . In future, anyone who makes sweeping claims about the benefits of Protestantism ought to check their assumptions against Stark’s research first.’ Clifford Longley, author and journalist ‘Stark brings the insights of a distinguished sociologist of religion to bear on a range of inherited assumptions about the impact of the Reformation . . . The result makes for salutary reading in this year of commemoration and (not always justified) celebration.’ Peter Marshall, Professor of History, University of Warwick ‘Stark changed the way we think about the early Church and this book may change the way you think about Protestantism . . . Reformation Myths cuts through pious certainties and challenges us to think again about our cultural history.’ Linda Woodhead MBE DD, Professor of Sociology of Religion, Lancaster University

How the West Won

Author: Rodney Stark
Publisher: Open Road Media
ISBN: 1497603250
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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Finally the Truth about the Rise of the West Modernity developed only in the West—in Europe and North America. Nowhere else did science and democracy arise; nowhere else was slavery outlawed. Only Westerners invented chimneys, musical scores, telescopes, eyeglasses, pianos, electric lights, aspirin, and soap. The question is, Why? Unfortunately, that question has become so politically incorrect that most scholars avoid it. But acclaimed author Rodney Stark provides the answers in this sweeping new look at Western civilization. How the West Won demonstrates the primacy of uniquely Western ideas—among them the belief in free will, the commitment to the pursuit of knowledge, the notion that the universe functions according to rational rules that can be discovered, and the emphasis on human freedom and secure property rights. Taking readers on a thrilling journey from ancient Greece to the present, Stark challenges much of the received wisdom about Western history. How the West Won shows, for example: · Why the fall of Rome was the single most beneficial event in the rise of Western civilization · Why the “Dark Ages” never happened · Why the Crusades had nothing to do with grabbing loot or attacking the Muslim world unprovoked · Why there was no “Scientific Revolution” · Why scholars’ recent efforts to dismiss the importance of battles are ridiculous: had the Greeks lost at the Battle of Marathon, we probably would never have heard of Plato or Aristotle Stark also debunks absurd fabrications that have flourished in the past few decades: that the Greeks stole their culture from Africa; that the West’s “discoveries” were copied from the Chinese and Muslims; that Europe became rich by plundering the non-Western world. At the same time, he reveals the woeful inadequacy of recent attempts to attribute the rise of the West to purely material causes—favorable climates, abundant natural resources, guns and steel. How the West Won displays Rodney Stark’s gifts for lively narrative history and making the latest scholarship accessible to all readers. This bold, insightful book will force you to rethink your understanding of the West and the birth of modernity—and to recognize that Western civilization really has set itself apart from other cultures.

God s Battalions

Author: Rodney Stark
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 0061582611
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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In God's Battalions, award-winning author Rodney Stark takes on the long-held view that the Crusades were the first round of European colonialism, conducted for land, loot, and converts by barbarian Christians who victimized the cultivated Muslims. To the contrary, Stark argues that the Crusades were the first military response to unwarranted Muslim terrorist aggression. Stark reviews the history of the seven major Crusades from 1095 to 1291, demonstrating that the Crusades were precipitated by Islamic provocations, centuries of bloody attempts to colonize the West, and sudden attacks on Christian pilgrims and holy places. Although the Crusades were initiated by a plea from the pope, Stark argues that this had nothing to do with any elaborate design of the Christian world to convert all Muslims to Christianity by force of arms. Given current tensions in the Middle East and terrorist attacks around the world, Stark's views are a thought-provoking contribution to our understanding and are sure to spark debate.

The Rise of Christianity

Author: Rodney Stark
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 0060677015
Format: PDF, ePub
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This "fresh, blunt, and highly persuasive account of how the West was won—for Jesus" (Newsweek) is now available in paperback. Stark's provocative report challenges conventional wisdom and finds that Christianity's astounding dominance of the Western world arose from its offer of a better, more secure way of life. "Compelling reading" (Library Journal) that is sure to "generate spirited argument" (Publishers Weekly), this account of Christianity's remarkable growth within the Roman Empire is the subject of much fanfare. "Anyone who has puzzled over Christianity's rise to dominance...must read it." says Yale University's Wayne A. Meeks, for The Rise of Christianity makes a compelling case for startling conclusions. Combining his expertise in social science with historical evidence, and his insight into contemporary religion's appeal, Stark finds that early Christianity attracted the privileged rather than the poor, that most early converts were women or marginalized Jews—and ultimately "that Christianity was a success because it proved those who joined it with a more appealing, more assuring, happier, and perhaps longer life" (Andrew M. Greeley, University of Chicago).

The Victory of Reason

Author: Rodney Stark
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 9781588365002
Format: PDF, ePub
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Many books have been written about the success of the West, analyzing why Europe was able to pull ahead of the rest of the world by the end of the Middle Ages. The most common explanations cite the West’s superior geography, commerce, and technology. Completely overlooked is the fact that faith in reason, rooted in Christianity’s commitment to rational theology, made all these developments possible. Simply put, the conventional wisdom that Western success depended upon overcoming religious barriers to progress is utter nonsense. In The Victory of Reason, Rodney Stark advances a revolutionary, controversial, and long overdue idea: that Christianity and its related institutions are, in fact, directly responsible for the most significant intellectual, political, scientific, and economic breakthroughs of the past millennium. In Stark’s view, what has propelled the West is not the tension between secular and nonsecular society, nor the pitting of science and the humanities against religious belief. Christian theology, Stark asserts, is the very font of reason: While the world’s other great belief systems emphasized mystery, obedience, or introspection, Christianity alone embraced logic and reason as the path toward enlightenment, freedom, and progress. That is what made all the difference. In explaining the West’s dominance, Stark convincingly debunks long-accepted “truths.” For instance, by contending that capitalism thrived centuries before there was a Protestant work ethic–or even Protestants–he counters the notion that the Protestant work ethic was responsible for kicking capitalism into overdrive. In the fifth century, Stark notes, Saint Augustine celebrated theological and material progress and the institution of “exuberant invention.” By contrast, long before Augustine, Aristotle had condemned commercial trade as “inconsistent with human virtue”–which helps further underscore that Augustine’s times were not the Dark Ages but the incubator for the West’s future glories. This is a sweeping, multifaceted survey that takes readers from the Old World to the New, from the past to the present, overturning along the way not only centuries of prejudiced scholarship but the antireligious bias of our own time. The Victory of Reason proves that what we most admire about our world–scientific progress, democratic rule, free commerce–is largely due to Christianity, through which we are all inheritors of this grand tradition.

The New Anti Catholicism

Author: Philip Jenkins
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
ISBN: 0195176049
Format: PDF, ePub
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Offers an analysis of prejudice against Catholics, arguing that anti-Catholicism can be seen in all areas of American culture, including movies, television, publishing, the arts, the news media, and academia.

Debating James White Shocking Failures of the Undefeatable Anti Catholic Champion

Author: Dave Armstrong
Publisher: Lulu.com
ISBN: 1304586715
Format: PDF, ePub
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The anti-Catholic is one who thinks that Catholicism is not a Christian system of theology and that to be a good Christian and get saved, one must be a bad Catholic; that is, reject several tenets of Catholicism. James White (Reformed Baptist) is the leading and most influential anti-Catholic today. He specializes in debates, preferring moderated oral debates. I prefer written debate. This book features twelve back-and-forth debates with James White and also critiques or refutations of his writings. For those who agree with me that written, back-and-forth, substantive exchanges are worthy of the name "debate," this book will be a (hopefully helpful) close examination of the flawed theology of James White and his critiques of Catholicism. I'm happy, as always, to present both sides and let the reader judge. This is the beauty of dialogue. Readers may take in the arguments and data of both proponents in a dispute and exercise critical faculties in order to decide where the truth is to be found.