Download Bearing False Witness: Debunking Centuries of Anti-Catholic by Rodney Stark PDF

By Rodney Stark

As we know and as lots of our good demonstrated textbooks have argued for many years, the Inquisition used to be the most scary and bloody chapters in Western historical past, Pope Pius XII used to be anti-Semitic and rightfully referred to as “Hitler’s Pope,” the darkish a long time have been a stunting of the development of information to be redeemed merely by way of the secular spirit of the Enlightenment, and the non secular Crusades have been an early instance of the rapacious Western thirst for riches and gear. yet what if those lengthy held ideals have been all wrong?
during this lovely, strong, and finally persuasive publication, 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 historical past, rules that paint the Catholic Church the least bit confident mild are, actually, fiction. Why have we held those wrongheaded rules so strongly and for therefore lengthy? And if our ideals are incorrect, what, actually, is the truth?
In every one bankruptcy, Stark takes on a well-established anti-Catholic delusion, offers a desirable background of the way each one fantasy turned the traditional knowledge, and offers a startling photo 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 big strength in help of moderation and justice.
  • Instead of Pope Pius XII being apathetic or maybe valuable to the Nazi flow, akin to to advantage the name, “Hitler’s Pope,” Stark exhibits that the crusade to hyperlink Pope Pius XII to Hitler used to be initiated by way of the Soviet Union, most likely in hopes of neutralizing the Vatican in post-World struggle II affairs. Pope Pius XII used to be generally praised for his full of life and committed efforts to saving Jewish lives in the course of the war.
  • Instead of the darkish a while being understood as a millennium of lack of expertise and backwardness encouraged through the Catholic Church’s energy, Stark argues that the full suggestion of the “Dark a long time” was once an act of satisfaction perpetuated via anti-religious intellectuals who have been decided to say that theirs used to be the period of “Enlightenment.”

In the tip, readers won't in basic terms have a extra actual heritage of the Catholic Church, they'll come to appreciate why it grew to become unfairly maligned for therefore lengthy. Bearing fake Witness is a compelling and sobering account of the way egotism and beliefs frequently interact to provide us a fake truth.    
 

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Extra resources for Bearing False Witness: Debunking Centuries of Anti-Catholic History

Example text

But just as Christian intolerance was greatly heightened by the conflicts with Islam involving the Crusades, so, too, did these conflicts result in similar outbursts in Islam. In Grenada alone, thousands of Jews were massacred late in the eleventh century,69 a fact that goes unmentioned in the many historical accounts of “glorious” Grenada. 70 The Eleventh Commandment When all is said and done, the most compelling question about the Church and anti-Semitism may not be why Christians sometimes attacked the Jews, but why they tolerated them at all.

No Jews were permitted to reside in these areas again until the middle of the nineteenth century! The eviction of the Rhineland Jews was not the doing of the Church as is evident in the fact that large Jewish communities remained scattered across the rest of Germany. Keep in mind, too, that when Jews were expelled elsewhere, as from England (1290), France (1306), and Spain (1492), this was done as the work of secular authorities, not at the urging of the Church. But if the Church stood as a barrier to attacks on the Jews of Europe, it did collaborate in many forms of discrimination against them.

In part because they are so mutually reinforcing and deeply embedded in our common culture that it seems impossible for them not to be true. One easily assumes that in our “enlightened” times, surely these claims would have been rejected long ago if they were false. I confess that when I first encountered the claim that not only did the Spanish Inquisition spill very little blood but that it mainly was a major force in support of moderation and justice, I dismissed it as another exercise in outlandish, attention-seeking revisionism.

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