The premise of this book is: He uses the information which we possess to demonstrate that the growth of Christianity occurred quite naturally, did not require any mass public conversions, and that Emperor Constantine's Edict of Toleration and death-bed conversion were Stark continues to impress; he's like Jenkins without the weird and often-irrelevant anti-Mormon bias. He uses the information which we possess to demonstrate that the growth of Christianity occurred quite naturally, did not require any mass public conversions, and that Emperor Constantine's Edict of Toleration and death-bed conversion were responses TO rather than causes OF the Christianization of the Empire.
How did Christianity dislodge classical paganism and become the dominant faith of Western civilization? Christianity did not grow because of miracle working in the marketplaces although there may have been much of that going onor because Constantine said it should, or even because the martyrs gave it such credibility.
Let me state my thesis: Central doctrines of Christianity prompted and sustained attractive, liberating, and effective social relations and organizations. And it was the way these doctrines took on actual flesh, the way they directed organizational actions and individual behavior, that led to the rise of Christianity.
Christianity radically and attractively redefined the God-to-man and man-to-man relationships. Christianity teaches that God is a God of universal and self-giving love, and that obligates us to love not just those who belong to our family, country, or religion, but all people, even if that means disadvantaging ourselves.
Something distinctive did come into the world with the development of Judeo-Christian thought: There was nothing new in the idea that the supernatural makes behavioral demands upon humans—the gods have always wanted sacrifices and worship.
Nor was there anything new in the notion that the supernatural will respond to offerings—that the gods can be induced to exchange services for sacrifices. What was new was the notion that more than self-interested exchange relations were possible between humans and the supernatural.
The Christian teaching that God loves those who love him was alien to pagan beliefs. Indeed, as God demonstrates his love through sacrifice, humans must demonstrate their love through sacrifice on behalf of one another. These were revolutionary ideas.
The beauty of these virtues is in part what attracted new converts to the faith. One implication of the above is that Christianity provided social services that the government did not.
At a time when welfare and social security and health care plans did not exist, the church was essential in providing such aid. They looked after not only their own, but those outside their community as well.
The Roman emperors recognized, however reluctantly, that Christians filled a role that they were not effectively filling. And individuals were attracted to the security the church afforded and likely curious about what it was that inspired such generosity.
In the fourth century, the emperor Julian launched a campaign to institute pagan charities in an effort to match the Christians. The bishop Dionysius wrote that this was a form of martyrdom. Whereas pagan elites and their priests simply fled the affected cities, some even leaving family members behind, Christian presbyters, deacons, and laymen stayed to provide food, water, and friendship to their neighbors.
So after consecutive epidemics had swept through a city, a disproportionate number of those remaining would either have been Christians or pagans who had been ministered to by Christians.
Christianity treated women better than all the other religions did. Those contemporary voices who denounce Christianity as patriarchal and sexist may be surprised to know that within the early Christian subculture, women enjoyed far higher status than did women in the Greco-Roman world at large.
They served, for example, as deacons, teachers, church planters, and evangelists, and were given much more honor and respect than were the women in pagan subcultures. Stark quotes several historians of the early church as well as biblical scholars on this issue to demonstrate the consensus that women held positions of honor and authority within early Christianity.
Here are just a few: This text teaches with the authority of the Apostle that. Both in terms of their position in the larger society and in terms of their participation in the Christian communities, then, a number of women broke through the normal expectations of female roles.
Christians condemned promiscuity in men as well as in women and stressed the obligations of husbands toward wives as well as those of wives toward husbands.Buy a cheap copy of The Rise of Christianity: How the book by Rodney Stark.
The idea that Christianity started as a clandestine movement among the poor is a widely accepted notion. Yet it is one of many myths that must be discarded if we Free shipping over $ The Rise of Christianity: A Sociologist Reconsiders History [Rodney Stark] on kaja-net.com *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers.
The idea that Christianity started as a clandestine movement among the poor is a widely accepted kaja-net.coms: t Direct all carresponince to Rodney Stark, Universiry of Washington DK40, Seattle, WA And if the rise of Christianity can be explained only by resort to miracles, then social science would seem to have little to contribute.
Fortunately, the "facts" justifying the miraculous assumption were wrong. Christianity was probably heavily driven by proletariat/upper class conversion. Chapter 2 New religious movements do best in places where there is the greatest amount of apparent secularization.
Rodney Stark’s The Rise of Christianity offers an insightful look through a sociological lens at the historical rise of Christianity. While Stark lacks a critical approach to the ancient sources he analyzes, his book nonetheless is a valuable tool for thinking about how Christianity spread in the Roman Empire as a new religious movement.4/5.
Rodney Stark grew up in Jamestown, North Dakota, and began his career as a newspaper reporter. Following a tour of duty in the U.S.
Army, he received his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, where he held appointments as a research sociologist at the Survey Research Center and at the Center for the Study of Law and Society.4/5().