By Rodney Stark
during this lovely, robust, and finally persuasive ebook, Rodney Stark, probably the most very hot sociologists of faith and bestselling writer of The upward push of Christianity (HarperSanFrancisco 1997) argues that a few of our such a lot firmly held rules approximately background, rules that paint the Catholic Church the least bit optimistic gentle are, in reality, fiction. Why have we held those wrongheaded principles so strongly and for thus lengthy? And if our ideals are mistaken, what, actually, is the truth?
In every one bankruptcy, Stark takes on a well-established anti-Catholic fantasy, offers a desirable background of ways each one fantasy 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 reminiscent of witchcraft and blasphemy, Stark argues that not just did the Spanish Inquisition spill little or no blood, however it was once a huge strength in help of moderation and justice.
- Instead of Pope Pius XII being apathetic or maybe beneficial to the Nazi move, resembling to advantage the identify, “Hitler’s Pope,” Stark exhibits that the crusade to hyperlink Pope Pius XII to Hitler was once initiated through the Soviet Union, most likely in hopes of neutralizing the Vatican in post-World struggle II affairs. Pope Pius XII used to be broadly praised for his lively and dedicated efforts to saving Jewish lives throughout the war.
- Instead of the darkish a while being understood as a millennium of lack of understanding and backwardness encouraged by means of the Catholic Church’s energy, Stark argues that the total suggestion of the “Dark a long time” used to be an act of satisfaction perpetuated by way of anti-religious intellectuals who have been decided to assert that theirs was once the period of “Enlightenment.”
In the top, readers won't in basic terms have a extra exact background of the Catholic Church, they're going to come to appreciate why it turned unfairly maligned for therefore lengthy. Bearing fake Witness is a compelling and sobering account of ways egotism and beliefs frequently interact to provide us a fake truth.
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Additional resources for Bearing False Witness: Debunking Centuries of Anti-Catholic History
But several years ago, it started all over again with a spate of new books. Even though these books display remarkable ignorance as well as self-indulgence, they mostly received very positive reviews in the popular press and sold very well, thus stimulating and justifying a great deal of “informed” anti-Catholicism. As so often happens, many qualified historians have written scathing reviews that reveal the extreme biases and scholarly incompetence of these authors,84 but these reviews have not been widely circulated.
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.
Nor did anyone challenge the celebrated Jewish historian Heinrich Hirsh Graetz when he asserted, “Judaism ever strove towards the light, whilst monastic Christianity remained in darkness. ”63 It is difficult to know how anyone, even the most bitter anti-Catholic, could truly have believed any of this! By itself, the biography of Moses Maimonides (1135–1204) makes a travesty of all these claims. In 1148, the Maimonides family pretended to convert to Islam when the Jews of Córdoba were told to become Muslims or leave, upon pain of death.
Bearing False Witness: Debunking Centuries of Anti-Catholic History by Rodney Stark