Goodreads helps you follow your favorite authors. Be the first to learn about new releases!
Start by following Rodney Stark.

Rodney Stark Rodney Stark > Quotes


Rodney Stark quotes (showing 1-30 of 138)

“Not only were science and religion compatible, they were inseparable--the rise of science was achieved by deeply religious Christian scholars. ”
Rodney Stark
“Because God is perfect, his handiwork functions in accord with immutable principles. By the full use of our God-given powers of reason and observation, it ought to be possible to discover these principles.

These were the crucial ideas that explain why science arose in Christian Europe and no where else.”
Rodney Stark
“Slavery ended in medieval Europe only because the church extended its sacraments to all slaves and then managed to impose a ban on the enslavement of Christians (and of Jews). Within the context of medieval Europe, that prohibition was effectively a rule of universal abolition. ”
Rodney Stark
“Many critics of the Crusades would seem to suppose that after the Muslims had overrun a major portion of Christendom, they should have been ignored or forgiven; suggestions have been made about turning the other cheek. This outlook is certainly unrealistic and probably insincere. Not only had the Byzantines lost most of their empire; the enemy was at their gates. And the loss of Spain, Sicily, and southern Italy, as well as a host of Mediterranean islands, was bitterly resented in Europe. Hence, as British historian Derek Lomax (1933-1992) explained, 'The popes, like most Christians, believed war against the Muslims to be justified partly because the latter had usurped by force lands which once belonged to Christians and partly because they abused the Christians over whom they ruled and such Christian lands as they could raid for slaves, plunder and the joys of destruction.' It was time to strike back.”
Rodney Stark, God's Battalions: The Case for the Crusades
“Imagine a society’s discovering a vaccine against a deadly disease that has been ravaging its people and continues to ravage people in neighboring societies, where the cause of the disease is incorrectly attributed to improper diet. What would be the judgment on such a society if it withheld its vaccine on the grounds that it would be ethnocentric to try to instruct members of another culture that their medical ideas are incorrect, and to induce them to adopt the effective treatment? If one accepts that one has the good fortune to be in possession of the true religion and thereby has access to the most valuable possible rewards, is one not similarly obligated to spread this blessing to those less fortunate?”
Rodney Stark
“In fact, all known societies above the very primitive level have been slave societies—even many of the Northwest American Indian tribes had slaves long before Columbus’s voyage.46 Amid this universal slavery, only one civilization ever rejected human bondage: Christendom. And it did it twice!”
Rodney Stark, The Triumph of Christianity: How the Jesus Movement Became the World's Largest Religion
“No doubt Western modernity has its limitations and discontents. Still, it is far better than the known alternatives—not only, or even primarily, because of its advanced technology but because of its fundamental commitment to freedom, reason, and human dignity.”
Rodney Stark, How the West Won: The Neglected Story of the Triumph of Modernity
“That new technologies and techniques would be forthcoming was a fundamental article of Christian faith. Hence, no bishops or theologians denounced clocks or sailing ships--although both were condemned on religious grounds in various non-Western societies. ”
Rodney Stark
“No doubt it was “unenlightened” of the crusaders to have been typical medieval warriors, but it seems even more unenlightened to anachronistically impose the Geneva Conventions on the crusaders while pretending that their Islamic opponents were innocent victims.”
Rodney Stark, How the West Won: The Neglected Story of the Triumph of Modernity
“The Crusades were not unprovoked. They were not the first round of European colonialism. They were not conducted for land, loot, or converts. The crusaders were not barbarians who victimized the cultivated Muslims. They sincerely believed that they served in God's battalions.”
Rodney Stark, God's Battalions: The Case for the Crusades
“...current Muslim memories and anger about the Crusades are a twentieth-century creation, prompted in part by 'post-World War I British and French imperialism and post-World War II creation of the state of Israel.”
Rodney Stark, God's Battalions: The Case for the Crusades
“Christianity revitalized life in Greco-Roman cities by providing new norms and new kinds of social relationships able to cope with many urgent urban problems. To cities filled with the homeless and the impoverished, Christianity offered charity as well as hope. To cities filled with newcomers and strangers, Christianity offered an immediate basis for attachments. To cities filled with orphans and widows, Christianity provided a new and expanded sense of family. To cities torn by violent ethnic strife, Christianity offered a new basis for social solidarity. And to cities faced with epidemics, fires, and earthquakes, Christianity offered effective nursing services.”
Rodney Stark
“IN 1710, THE ENGLISH FREETHINKER Thomas Woolston (1670–1731) expressed his confidence that religion would vanish by 1900.1 Voltaire (1695–1778) thought this much too pessimistic and predicted that religion would be gone from the Western world within the next fifty years—by about 1810.”
Rodney Stark, The Triumph of Christianity: How the Jesus Movement Became the World's Largest Religion
“Because God is a rational being and the universe is his personal creation, it necessarily has a rational, lawful, stable structure, awaiting increased human comprehension. This is the key to many intellectual undertakings, among them, the rise of science. ”
Rodney Stark
“In any event, should you doubt that your knowledge of Western history is distorted by the work of these distinguished bigots, consider whether you believe any of the following statements: The Catholic Church motivated and actively participated in nearly two millennia of anti-Semitic violence, justifying it on grounds that the Jews were responsible for the Crucifixion, until the Vatican II Council was shamed into retracting that doctrine in 1965. But, the Church still has not made amends for the fact that Pope Pius XII is rightfully known as “Hitler’s Pope.” Only recently have we become aware of remarkably enlightened Christian gospels, long ago suppressed by narrow-minded Catholic prelates. 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. These Dark Ages lasted until the Renaissance/Enlightenment, when secular scholars burst through the centuries of Catholic barriers against reason. Initiated by the pope, the Crusades were but the first bloody chapter in the history of unprovoked and brutal European colonialism. The Spanish Inquisition tortured and murdered huge numbers of innocent people for “imaginary” crimes, such as witchcraft and blasphemy. The Catholic Church feared and persecuted scientists, as the case of Galileo makes clear. Therefore, the Scientific “Revolution” occurred mainly in Protestant societies because only there could the Catholic Church not suppress independent thought. ► Being entirely comfortable with slavery, the Catholic Church did nothing to oppose its introduction in the New World nor to make it more humane. Until very recently, the Catholic view of the ideal state was summed up in the phrase, “The divine right of kings.” Consequently, the Church has bitterly resisted all efforts to establish more liberal governments, eagerly supporting dictators. It was the Protestant Reformation that broke the repressive Catholic grip on progress and ushered in capitalism, religious freedom, and the modern world. Each of these statements is part of the common culture, widely accepted and frequently repeated. But, each is false and many are the exact opposite of the truth! A chapter will be devoted to summarizing recent repetitions of each of these statements and to demonstrating that each is most certainly false.”
Rodney Stark, Bearing False Witness: Debunking Centuries of Anti-Catholic History
“It is difficult to know how anyone, even the most bitter anti-Catholic, could truly have believed any of this! By itself, the biography of Moses Maimonides (1135–1204) makes a travesty of all these claims. In 1148, the Maimonides family pretended to convert to Islam when the Jews of Córdoba were told to become Muslims or leave, upon pain of death. Note that when most historians mention that in 1492 Ferdinand and Isabella ordered the Jews of Spain to convert to Christianity or leave, they forget to mention that the Muslims had imposed the same demand in the twelfth century. Nor do they mention that many Jews who opted to leave Moorish Spain rather than pretend to convert settled in the Christian areas of northern Spain. In any event, after eleven years of posing as converts, the Maimonides family became so fearful of discovery that they fled to Morocco where they continued their deception. Thus, throughout his adult life, the most celebrated medieval Jewish thinker posed as a Muslim.64 His story clearly reveals that, as Richard Fletcher has put it so well, “Moorish Spain was not a tolerant and enlightened society even in its most cultivated epoch.”
Rodney Stark, Bearing False Witness: Debunking Centuries of Anti-Catholic History
“Now, shouts of “Dieu li volt!” (God wills it!) began to spread through the crowd, and men began to cut up cloaks and other pieces of cloth to make crosses and sew them against their chests. Everyone agreed that the next year they would set out for the Holy Land. And they did.”
Rodney Stark, God's Battalions
“for many people conversion is simply a matter of aligning their religious life with that of their family, friends, and neighbors who already have joined—thus creating a self-sustaining network of growth. Finally, for many people of privilege and ambition, their abandonment of paganism was a matter of opportunism—many people professed Christianity or were discreet about their paganism in order to gain social and political advantages.”
Rodney Stark, Bearing False Witness: Debunking Centuries of Anti-Catholic History
“The European Middle Ages collected innovations from all over the world, especially from China, and built them into a new unity which formed the basis of our modern civilization.”
Rodney Stark, How the West Won: The Neglected Story of the Triumph of Modernity
“But following these Stone Age discoveries, progress was slow. It is estimated that in terms of the standard of living, things were pretty much the same for the next seven thousand years.1 People ate about the same amount, lived about the same lifespan, and buried about the same high percentage of their children. Even in the West, as recently as the seventeenth century life was hard and short. But then an era of immense and stunningly rapid progress began in Britain, with a wave of inventions and innovations transforming nearly every aspect of life. From 1750 to 1850 the standard of living of the average person in Britain doubled. And that was just the start.”
Rodney Stark, How the West Won: The Neglected Story of the Triumph of Modernity
“In contrast, a number of innovations can plausibly be attributed to the Little Ice Age: glass windowpanes, storm doors, skis, ice skates, sunglasses (first used for preventing snow blindness), distilled liquor, trousers, knitted clothing, buttons, and chimneys.”
Rodney Stark, How the West Won: The Neglected Story of the Triumph of Modernity
“The Greeks were the first people in the world to play, and they played on a great scale. All over Greece there were games, all sorts of games; athletic contests of every description … contests in music, where one side outsung the other; in dancing … games so many that one grows weary with the list of them.… Wretched people, toiling people, do not play. Nothing like the Greek games is conceivable in Egypt or Mesopotamia.… Play died when Greece died and many a century passed before it was resurrected.23”
Rodney Stark, How the West Won: The Neglected Story of the Triumph of Modernity
“The Byzantine governor assembled an army considerably larger than that of the Normans and rebels. He then sent a herald to the opposing camp offering either the Normans’ safe return to Lombard territory or battle. In response, an enormous Norman knight smashed his mailed fist on the head of the Byzantine herald’s horse; the horse fell dead on the spot. (Yes, this actually happened, historians agree.)23 The battle began the next day.”
Rodney Stark, How the West Won: The Neglected Story of the Triumph of Modernity
“only One True God can provide an adequate religious basis for the moral order. Divine essences such as the Tao do not command us to love one another. The “first mover” does not forbid us to covet another’s spouse. Paul Tillich’s conception of God as the “ground of our being” is not a being and therefore is incapable of having, let alone expressing, moral concerns. As for the little “beings” who populate pagan pantheons, they seem to concern themselves only with their own welfare and to ignore what people do to and for one another. Only monotheism serves as a basis for morality, for compelling and significant “thou shalts” and “thou shalt nots.” This certainly is not to suggest that pagan societies lack morality, but to acknowledge that their moral orders are not justified on religious grounds.”
Rodney Stark, Cities of God
“It needs to be emphasized that the Church vigorously advocated and defended democracy in northern Italy. Not only did the Church unequivocally assert moral equality, but it also ventured into the political arena, with bishops and cardinals playing a leading role on behalf of expanding the franchise.”
Rodney Stark, How the West Won: The Neglected Story of the Triumph of Modernity
“Thus it is that the statement on the Jews issued by Vatican II in 1965 was nothing more (or less) than a forceful restatement of the traditional church teachings in language appropriate for the time. Unfortunately, this particular manifestation of anti-Catholic history lives on with renewed venom in recent indictments of Pope Pius XII as Hitler’s collaborator in the Holocaust, which also is said to be quite in keeping with the pope’s support of Franco and the Spanish fascists. Ironically, this historical libel has mainly been propagated by alienated Catholics, while the most compelling support for the pope has come from Jews.”
Rodney Stark, Bearing False Witness: Debunking Centuries of Anti-Catholic History
“Impoverished Spain depended on imports not only for manufactured products but even for sufficient food. Spanish agriculture was hampered by poor soil and by the strange institution known as the Mesta. Spanish sheep grew high-quality fleeces—not as good as those of English sheep but better than could be found elsewhere—and Spain had, in fact, replaced England as the source of wool for the Flemish and Italian cloth industries. The Mesta was an organization of sheep owners who had royal privileges to sustain migratory flocks of millions of sheep. The flocks moved all across Spain—north in the summer, south in the winter—grazing as they went, making it impossible to farm along their routes.42 When conflicts arose with landowners, the crown always sided with the Mesta on grounds that nothing was more important to the economy than the wool exports. The government’s protection of the Mesta discouraged investments in agriculture, so Spain needed to import large shipments of grain and other foodstuffs.”
Rodney Stark, How the West Won: The Neglected Story of the Triumph of Modernity
“In any event, there was no “fall” into “Dark Ages.” Instead, once freed of the bondage of Rome, Europe separated into hundreds of independent “statelets.”16 In many of these societies progress and increased production became profitable, and that ushered in “one of the great innovative eras of mankind,” as technology was developed and put into use “on a scale no civilization had previously known.”
Rodney Stark, The Triumph of Christianity: How the Jesus Movement Became the World's Largest Religion
“For example, at the fall of Rome there was very extensive slavery everywhere in Europe; by the time of the “Renaissance” it was long gone.”
Rodney Stark, The Triumph of Christianity: How the Jesus Movement Became the World's Largest Religion
“SCIENCE AROSE ONLY IN Europe because only medieval Europeans believed that science was possible and desirable. And the basis of their belief was their image of God and his creation. This was dramatically asserted to a distinguished audience of scholars attending the 1925 Lowell Lectures at Harvard by the great philosopher and mathematician Alfred North Whitehead (1861–1947), who explained that science developed in Europe because of the widespread “faith in the possibility of science... derivative from medieval theology.”
Rodney Stark, The Triumph of Christianity: How the Jesus Movement Became the World's Largest Religion

« previous 1 3 4 5

All Quotes | Add A Quote
Play The 'Guess That Quote' Game

The Rise of Christianity: How the Obscure, Marginal Jesus Movement Became the Dominant Religious Force in the Western World in a Few Centuries The Rise of Christianity
1,269 ratings
God's Battalions: The Case for the Crusades God's Battalions
1,041 ratings
Open Preview
The Victory of Reason: How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism, and Western Success The Victory of Reason
552 ratings
Open Preview
How the West Won: The Neglected Story of the Triumph of Modernity How the West Won
418 ratings
Open Preview