The Rise Of Christianity

Author: Rodney Stark
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 0060677015
Size: 37.63 MB
Format: PDF
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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 Rise Of Christianity

Author: Rodney Stark
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9780691027494
Size: 73.57 MB
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Rodney Stark, a sociologist by training, has written a book that should end much of the Christian-bashing occuring in academia. Stark demonstrates that Christianity became popular very quickly because it offered its adherents a better faith than competing religions and treated those believers better both physically and spiritually.

Cities Of God

Author: Rodney Stark
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 0061739979
Size: 39.18 MB
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How did the preaching of a peasant carpenter from Galilee spark a movement that would grow to include over two billion followers? Who listened to this "good news," and who ignored it? Where did Christianity spread, and how? Based on quantitative data and the latest scholarship, preeminent scholar and journalist Rodney Stark presents new and startling information about the rise of the early church, overturning many prevailing views of how Christianity grew through time to become the largest religion in the world. Drawing on both archaeological and historical evidence, Stark is able to provide hard statistical evidence on the religious life of the Roman Empire to discover the following facts that set conventional history on its head: Contrary to fictions such as The Da Vinci Code and the claims of some prominent scholars, Gnosticism was not a more sophisticated, more authentic form of Christianity, but really an unsuccessful effort to paganize Christianity. Paul was called the apostle to the Gentiles, but mostly he converted Jews. Paganism was not rapidly stamped out by state repression following the vision and conversion of the Roman Emperor Constantine in 312 AD, but gradually disappeared as people abandoned the temples in response to the superior appeal of Christianity. The "oriental" faiths—such as those devoted to Isis, the Egyptian goddess of love and magic, and to Cybele, the fertility goddess of Asia Minor—actually prepared the way for the rapid spread of Christianity across the Roman Empire. Contrary to generations of historians, the Roman mystery cult of Mithraism posed no challenge to Christianity to become the new faith of the empire— it allowed no female members and attracted only soldiers. By analyzing concrete data, Stark is able to challenge the conventional wisdom about early Christianity offering the clearest picture ever of how this religion grew from its humble beginnings into the faith of more than one-third of the earth's population.

How The West Won

Author: Rodney Stark
Publisher: Open Road Media
ISBN: 1497603250
Size: 20.83 MB
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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.

Sub Merge

Author: John B. Hayes
Publisher: Baker Books
ISBN: 1441266321
Size: 65.19 MB
Format: PDF, Mobi
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It's time to change the face of poverty, to live our faith authentically, and to get involved with the people who need help. It's time to sub-merge ourselves, to go deep--beneath the surface of shallow living--and make a difference in our world! Follow author John Hayes as he lives out his faith on some of the toughest streets and poorest ghettos in the world. Learn what real compassion looks like in the trenches. Discover why people of faith cannot ignore the poor and how the St. Francis model of compassion can help alleviate suffering today. You'll also be energized to action through an inside look at the workings of InnerCHANGE, a mission organization that seeks to work among the poor, rather than just offering aid and handouts. Readers will come away with practical ways they can work for justice and find significance in the process.

The Triumph Of Christianity

Author: Rodney Stark
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 0062098705
Size: 43.50 MB
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Celebrated religious and social historian Rodney Starktraces the extraordinary rise of Christianity through its most pivotal andcontroversial moments to offer fresh perspective on the history of the world’slargest religion. In The Triumph of Christianity, the author of God’sBattalions and The Rise of Christianity gathers and refines decadesof powerful research and discovery into one concentrated, concise, and highlyreadable volume that explores Christianity’s most crucial episodes. The uniqueformat of Triumph of Christianity allows Stark to avoid densechronologies and difficult back stories, bringing readers right to the heart ofChristian history’s most vital controversies and enduring lessons.

Bearing False Witness

Author: Rodney Stark
Publisher: Templeton Foundation Press
ISBN: 1599475006
Size: 11.92 MB
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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.

The Human Christ

Author: Charlotte Allen
Publisher: Lion Books
ISBN: 9780745942353
Size: 19.11 MB
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Jesus the historical figure has intrigued some of the most interesting figures of modernity; such as Newton and Norman Mailer. In this revealing history and critique, the author enters the complex mental worlds of these researchers to show how our understanding of Jesus has influenced our culture

The Victory Of Reason

Author: Rodney Stark
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 9781588365002
Size: 75.95 MB
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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 Triumph Of Faith

Author: Rodney Stark
Publisher: Open Road Media
ISBN: 1504028260
Size: 22.55 MB
Format: PDF
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TheTriumph of Faith explodes the myth that people around the world are abandoning religion. Stark marshals an incredible amount of data—surveys of more than a million people in 163 nations—to paint the full picture that both scholars and popular commentators have missed. He explains why the astonishing growth of religion is happening, and what it means for our future. Stark’s lively, eye-opening book is full of insights that defy the conventional wisdom. He reveals: • Why Islam is not overtaking Christianity • 81 percent of people around the world claim to belong to an organized religious faith • Half of the people around the world attended a worship service in the past week • Despite all the attention paid to the “New Atheists,” atheists remain few, anywhere • Latin America has never been so Catholic—and that’s because there are now so many Protestants there • Of all the great world religions, only Buddhism may not be growing As Stark shows, secularists have been predicting the imminent demise of religion for centuries. It is their unshakeable faith in secularization that may be the most “irrational” of all.