the Glory of God: How Monotheism Led to Reformations

For the Glory of God: How Monotheism Led to Reformations, Science, Witch-Hunts, and the End of Sl…


Rodney Stark’s provocative new book argues that, whether we like it or not, people acting for the glory of God have formed our modern culture. Continuing his project of identifying the widespread consequences of monotheism, Stark shows that the Christian conception of God resulted–almost inevitably and for the same reasons–in the Protestant Reformation, the rise of modern science, the European witch-hunts, and the Western abolition of slavery. In the process, he explains why Christian an…

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How many of you guys believe that the stuff in the bible actually happened?(r/Christianity)

It is dependent on genre. Poetry is taken as poetry, history as history, etc. For example, no one believes God has feathers (Psalm 91:4). It’s poetry!

The problem is the genre is sometimes hard to define. For example, personally, I find it compelling to see Genesis 1 as poetry– a sort of exaltation poem glorifying the creator– while Genesis 2 has more of a “natural” account which differs from Genesis 1. This said, Natural selection probably played a huge role in the origin of species but I do believe all people came from Adam and Eve and God did make a garden for them.

I do believe the Gospel account example and think that the Christian, from the most liberal to the most conservative should at least believe in Christ’s death, burial and Resurrection. It’s in Christianities most basic and agreed upon creeds and– importantly– in scripture.

But why do we trust this scripture as historical truth and not necessarily some other parts? Well, sometimes it’s a dead-giveaway the author intended the work to be historical. Consider the very first chapter of Luke:

> 1 Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. 3 With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

That said, I also believe Moses and the prophets existed and the Exodus occurred. Part of this, of course, is faith. But there are extra-biblical Exodus accounts (most of which are disturbingly anti-Jewish blaming the Jews for all sorts of things!).

What about the parting of the sea thing: 1) Is believing God, the creator of nature, can intervene in nature. That is a supposition of miracles– that God can intervene in the order he created. 2) Well, part of it may have been a “natural miracle”– WIND, overnight, not instantly like you see in the “Prince of Egypt” did this.

Exodus 20:21 says: Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the LORD drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.

It took ALL night for that to happen. It wasn’t an instantaneous thing. The BBC even has a computer generated graphic of how a strong wind could do this.

Now, of course, there’s much more in the Bible than Moses and Jesus. Part of it is learning to be patient with the text and actually learn about it without throwing the whole faith out just because you find something which you don’t understand or get at first. The second part is faith. The third is seeing how Christ is not just words on the page but a living being active in our world.

For example, Denmark, like much of Europe is secularized but its roots are Christian– including much of its moral assumptions. I would suggest reading Rodney Stark’s “For the Glory of God” to show how religious thought really lead to some huge breakthroughs in Western society the philosophical foundations of Christianity helped make our modern world possible (though its abuses made some bad things possible too– no Christian should deny our faith has been abused).

To go back to the Resurrection of Christ, that is the most important thing for a Christian to believe that what Christ did actually mattered– not as a moral teacher or a philosopher or healer– but that it actually happened and has eternal significance. As Paul wrote to the Corinthians:

>12Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.

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Rodney Stark

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Princeton University Press

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For the Glory of God: How Monotheism Led to Reformations, Science, Witch-Hunts, and the End of Sl…

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How many of you guys believe that the stuff in the bible actually happened?

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