By Rodney Stark
during this wonderful, robust, and eventually persuasive ebook, Rodney Stark, the most very hot sociologists of faith and bestselling writer of The upward thrust of Christianity (HarperSanFrancisco 1997) argues that a few of our such a lot firmly held principles approximately historical past, principles that paint the Catholic Church in the slightest degree optimistic gentle are, actually, fiction. Why have we held those wrongheaded principles so strongly and for thus lengthy? And if our ideals are flawed, what, in truth, is the truth?
In each one bankruptcy, Stark takes on a well-established anti-Catholic delusion, provides a desirable heritage of ways each one delusion turned the traditional knowledge, and provides a startling photograph of the genuine fact. For example,
- Instead of the Spanish Inquisition being an anomaly of torture and homicide of blameless humans persecuted for “imaginary” crimes equivalent to witchcraft and blasphemy, Stark argues that not just did the Spanish Inquisition spill little or no blood, however it used to be a tremendous strength in help of moderation and justice.
- Instead of Pope Pius XII being apathetic or maybe beneficial to the Nazi circulate, similar to to advantage the identify, “Hitler’s Pope,” Stark indicates that the crusade to hyperlink Pope Pius XII to Hitler was once initiated by way of the Soviet Union, most likely in hopes of neutralizing the Vatican in post-World warfare II affairs. Pope Pius XII was once generally praised for his energetic and committed efforts to saving Jewish lives in the course of the war.
- Instead of the darkish a long time being understood as a millennium of lack of understanding and backwardness encouraged through the Catholic Church’s strength, Stark argues that the total suggestion of the “Dark a while” was once an act of delight perpetuated through anti-religious intellectuals who have been decided to say that theirs was once the period of “Enlightenment.”
In the tip, readers won't basically have a extra exact heritage of the Catholic Church, they're going to come to appreciate why it grew to become unfairly maligned for thus lengthy. Bearing fake Witness is a compelling and sobering account of the way egotism and beliefs usually interact to provide us a fake truth.
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Additional info for Bearing False Witness: Debunking Centuries of Anti-Catholic History
Crusading for Land, Loot, and Converts 6. Monsters of the Inquisition 7. Scientific Heresies 8. Blessed Be Slavery 9. Holy Authoritarianism 10. Protestant Modernity Postscript Notes Bibliography and Recommended Reading Illustration Credits Index In Memory of Andrew M. Greeley and Richard John Neuhaus The myth of Catholic barbarity: This 1598 engraving, published in Holland, shows a Spanish don feeding Indian children to his dogs. It was typical of the anti-Spanish, anti-Catholic propaganda of the time.
Why did rabid anti-Semitism persist only here and not in other German areas? As noted, probably because elsewhere local elites were sufficiently powerful to have prevented a tradition of Jew-killing from getting started. As to why lethal attacks on local Jews ceased in the Rhineland early in the fifteenth century, there were no Jews there anymore. First came a massive migration of Jews from the Rhine Valley to Eastern Europe. At the same time, many of these notoriously anti-Semitic communities evicted their Jews—Cologne did so in 1424 and most of the rest soon after.
Sometimes I have done basic research needed to overturn one of these spurious anti-Catholic claims, and in those cases I document my findings so fully that anyone can check them. But, in most instances, I am simply reporting the prevailing view among qualified experts. 12 I have undertaken to make the work of these fine scholars widely available, taking care to cite and fully acknowledge their work—short biographies of major contributors will be presented in each chapter. Finally, I am not a Roman Catholic, and I did not write this book in defense of the Church.
Bearing False Witness: Debunking Centuries of Anti-Catholic History by Rodney Stark