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The Victory of Reason: How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism, and Western Success

Average Rating 4.5
( 11 )
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  • Posted February 16, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Re-examining Christianity and Free-Market Enterprise Capitalism

    This book goes a long way in countering long-held academic leftist revisionism which critisizes our (Western, European) religious cultural background and devalues the general population's prosperity brought on by our belief in individualistic free market enterprise. It is well and thoroughly researched and written in an engaging style and non-strident tone. It is an excellent addition to moderate and conservative bookshelves and I strongly recommend it.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2006

    Stark makes persuasive argument that Christianity and reason are not strangers

    I am befuddled by folks who aggressively forward the notion that Christianity is at war with science and reason. They habitually trot out Galileo, or Darwin, or the Pope, to ¿prove¿ this. In a selective review of history they spotlight church miscues and confuse Christianity¿s prudent admonition against making a ¿god¿ of science with full scale animosity towards it. Based on the objective historical data from this fascinating book one could reasonably contend that, at least indirectly, Christianity has actually been more responsible for the advancement of science than any other singular force. Most of the leading private universities in the country were founded by Christian based denominations: Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, etc. to name but a few. Since all these universities have science departments it would seem that many of those who profess Christianity appear to be on board with science as well. In his enlightening book, The Victory of Reason, Dr. Rodney Stark goes further. Citing myriad sources he credibly argues that Christianity has been not only the most progressive educational force throughout Western history but also the major factor in attaining individual liberty, economic prosperity, and technological invention. Those who are more interested in facts than politics should consider reading this interesting book. I give it high marks and would encourage Dr. Stark to give us more in the future. Mark P. Smith

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2014

    Diverse sources, cross cultural historical context

    Like all of Stark's writing, this book shows its bias, making him hard to quote to more moderate or skeptical audiences. However, he never lets his views impede the great demonstration of his best talent: collecting, presenting and analyzing the various sources of our history.

    In this work, like Triumph of Christianity, he leads the reader through the transition of western society from Empirical Rome and Germanic tribes into what we know today. However, he doesn't limit his scope to just western sources for this analysis. He studies the corresponding and contemporary cultures in Africa, Asia and the Middle East to compare and contrast the effects of religion upon societies. He uses sociology, history and theology alongside one another to present little-known facts and alternate view points.

    Great read for anyone who is dissatisfied with the illogical and contradictory claims of popular history. This book is coherent, easily accessible to non-scholars, well-documented and arranged in a sensible progression of ideas. Only his bias stands in the way for this to be one of the best history texts of our time.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2012

    Privicative Provocative

    Stark boldly questions the supposed antagonism between the rise of Christianity and the Age of Reason. By the end of the book, the reader is less sure that Christianity impeded progression more than typical for the world at that time. He or she can even imagine that Christianity's unique relaxation of ridgidity and pliability to emerging capitalism may have made it the most conducive philosophy for progress in the known world.

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  • Posted August 28, 2012

    An excellent history of the era

    The Victory of Reason is a well-documented history of the development of Capitalism. It is well worth reading for anyone interested in the history of financial insitutions, economics or history in general.

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  • Posted February 19, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    A groundbreaking work of reason

    A must read book for those who wish to see the cultural advantages of Christianity not only throughout history as it influenced regions of the world, but also those cultures in the world where Christianity was absent, and the resulting effects that perpetuated their decadence.

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  • Posted June 6, 2009

    Good Material for Discussion

    Stark is an established expert on sociology and religion and this work will not disappoint. His take on the role of Christianity in Western thought will no doubt "stir the pot" when it comes to the recent books on the benefits of a secular society. But Stark does allow his observations get the best of him. Hubris runs through this book. When you can get past that, the work has great merit.

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    Posted April 7, 2011

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    Posted June 13, 2011

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    Posted July 13, 2012

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    Posted December 18, 2013

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