The Victory of Reason

The Victory of Reason

How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism, and Western Success

Book - 2005
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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. InThe 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 Reasonproves 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. From the Hardcover edition.
Publisher: New York : Random House, 2005
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9781400062287
1400062284
Branch Call Number: Philosophy & Religion 270 Sta

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DebAK Nov 27, 2015

maggymaude, our friend naturalist has nothing original to write, hence the need for websites.

Some of the "facts" are pretty flimsy and easily disputed.

m
maggymaude
Sep 24, 2015

I notice you have rated quite a few books in this genre and rather than reviewing the content of the book, you post websites with seemingly opposing articles. Have you actually read any of the books that you are rating or are you just reading the synopsis and rating the book on that? I'm just curious.

n
naturalist
Sep 23, 2015

“Rodney Stark’s idiotic history”
by John S. Wilkins, posted September 6, 2008, at Science Blogs
http://scienceblogs.com/evolvingthoughts/2008/09/06/rodney-starks-idiotic-history/
and,
“The Tragedy of Theology: How Religion Caused and Extended the Dark Age”
by Andrew Bernstein
https://www.theobjectivestandard.com/issues/2006-winter/tragedy-of-theology/ . . .
and . . .
"A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom" by Andrew Dickson White 1832-1918
and . . .
“The Myth of Christianity Founding Modern Science and Medicine”
by Jim Walker 2007, 2010
http://nobeliefs.com/comments10.htm
and,
“Let’s make the South stop lying: The right’s war on our history — and truth — must be defeated now”
by Bill Curry, posted July 14, 2015, at Salon
http://www.salon.com/2015/07/14/lets_make_the_south_stop_lying_the_rights_war_on_our_history_and_truth_must_be_defeated_now/

c
charab
Mar 25, 2007

Surprise, the Middle Ages were innovative rather than "dark."

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