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The Triumph of Christianity: How the Jesus Movement Became the World's Largest Religion The Triumph of Christianity: How the Jesus Movement Became the World's Largest Religion by Rodney Stark
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“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
“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
“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
“Although many sociologists still echo Max Weber’s (1864–1920) claim that capitalism originated in the Protestant Reformation, capitalism actually originated in the “depths” of the “Dark Ages.”
Rodney Stark, The Triumph of Christianity: How the Jesus Movement Became the World's Largest Religion
“The truth is that not only did Christianity not impede the rise of science; it was essential to it, which is why science arose only in the Christian West!”
Rodney Stark, The Triumph of Christianity: How the Jesus Movement Became the World's Largest Religion
“Masoretic”
Rodney Stark, The Triumph of Christianity: How the Jesus Movement Became the World's Largest Religion
“In addition, local authorities were ordered to seize each Christian man, to pluck out his beard and to tattoo a black mark on his shoulder. When few Christians defected in response to these measures, the Khān then ordered that all Christian men be castrated and have one eye put out—which caused many deaths in this era before antibiotics, but did lead to many conversions.37”
Rodney Stark, The Triumph of Christianity: How the Jesus Movement Became the World's Largest Religion
“Christianity became a European faith because Europe was the only “continent where it was not destroyed.”44”
Rodney Stark, The Triumph of Christianity: How the Jesus Movement Became the World's Largest Religion
“By the seventh century, Christianity probably was far stronger and more sophisticated in North Africa and Asia than in Europe.”
Rodney Stark, The Triumph of Christianity: How the Jesus Movement Became the World's Largest Religion
“As the distinguished medievalist Warren Hollister (1930–1997) put it in his presidential address to the Pacific Historical Association, “to my mind, anyone who believes that the era that witnessed the building of Chartres Cathedral and the invention of parliament and the university was ‘dark’ must be mentally retarded—or at best, deeply, deeply, ignorant.”60”
Rodney Stark, The Triumph of Christianity: How the Jesus Movement Became the World's Largest Religion
“As Augustine pointed out in his Confessions, the basic Christian message is so simple that it can easily be grasped by children, while its theological ramifications are sufficient to challenge the most powerful intellects.”
Rodney Stark, The Triumph of Christianity: How the Jesus Movement Became the World's Largest Religion
“paganism was “no more than a spongy mass of tolerance and tradition.”3”
Rodney Stark, The Triumph of Christianity: How the Jesus Movement Became the World's Largest Religion
“As one of China’s leading economists put it, “in the past twenty years, we have realized that the heart of your culture is your religion: Christianity. That is why the West is so powerful. The Christian moral foundation of social and cultural life was what made possible the emergence of capitalism and then the successful transition to democratic politics. We don’t have any doubt about this.”42 Neither do I.”
Rodney Stark, The Triumph of Christianity: How the Jesus Movement Became the World's Largest Religion
“To sum up: Western history consists of four major eras: 1) classical antiquity, then 2) the Dark Ages when the church dominated, followed by 3) the Renaissance-Enlightenment which led the way to 4) modern times. For several centuries that has been the fundamental organizing scheme for every textbook devoted to Western history,9 despite the fact that serious historians have known for decades that this scheme is a complete fraud—“an indestructible fossil of self-congratulatory Renaissance humanism.”10”
Rodney Stark, The Triumph of Christianity: How the Jesus Movement Became the World's Largest Religion
“The frequent claims that empty churches and low levels of religious activity in Europe today reflect a steep decline in piety are wrong—it was always thus.”
Rodney Stark, The Triumph of Christianity: How the Jesus Movement Became the World's Largest Religion
“As the distinguished medievalist Warren Hollister (1930–1997) put it in his presidential address to the Pacific Historical Association, “to my mind, anyone who believes that the era that witnessed the building of Chartres Cathedral and the invention of parliament and the university was ‘dark’ must be mentally retarded—or at best, deeply, deeply, ignorant.”
Rodney Stark, The Triumph of Christianity: How the Jesus Movement Became the World's Largest Religion
“the truly fundamental basis for the rise of the West was an extraordinary faith in reason and progress that was firmly rooted in Christian theology, in the belief that God is the rational creator of a rational universe.”
Rodney Stark, The Triumph of Christianity: How the Jesus Movement Became the World's Largest Religion
“Women were especially drawn to Christianity because it offered them a life that was so greatly superior to the life they otherwise would have led.”
Rodney Stark, The Triumph of Christianity: How the Jesus Movement Became the World's Largest Religion
“DURING THE SUMMER OF THE year 64, the emperor Nero sometimes lit up his garden at night by setting fire to a few fully conscious Christians who had been covered with wax and then impaled high on poles forced up their rectums. Nero also had Christians killed by wild animals in the arena, and he even crucified a few.”
Rodney Stark, The Triumph of Christianity: How the Jesus Movement Became the World's Largest Religion
“The great British philosopher concluded his remarks by noting that the images of God and creation found in the non-European faiths, especially those in Asia, are too impersonal or too irrational to have sustained science.”
Rodney Stark, The Triumph of Christianity: How the Jesus Movement Became the World's Largest Religion