36 of 46 people found the following review helpful
Liberal minded defense of Christianity
, February 4, 2006
This review is from: The Victory of Reason: How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism, and Western Success (Hardcover)
Rodney Stark's book is a spirited, thought provoking and cogently argued defense of the historical role Christianity has played in shaping the values and ideas which have been central to the Western idenity from the fall of the Roman Empire to the present day. It is also a great read.
Most interestingly perhaps is the fact that, quite contrary to the remarks of some of Stark's more critical reviewers, the book is NOT written from the perspective of a "conservative" or dogmatic Christian. Stark, himself a secular sociologist and self described agnostic, grounds his argument that Christianity was essential to the formation of modern science and all that flows from it in the perspective of Alfred North Whitehead. Whitehead, who first made this case in the 1920s, was clearly one of the greatest thinkers of the 20th century and far from a traditional "conservative" Christian. It seems that those reviewers who have mischaracterized this book as merely being biased in favor of conservative Christianity have done little more than reveal their own bias and agenda instead. Either that or they have simply misread and thus mischaracterized Stark and his Victory of Reason.
For those who are interested in a very readable yet academically sound book (some of Stark's previous books have been published by Princeton University) on the role of Christianity in shaping Western Civilization I highly recommend this book. Ignore those reviewers who are more interested in advancing their own agenda then they are in fairly reviewing and critiquing Starks's work. The book is a great intellectual adventure for the fair and open-minded reader.
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