How Monotheism Led to Reformations, Science, Witch-Hunts, and the End of Slavery. An engrossing narrative that accounts for the very different histories of the Christian and Muslim worlds. It fundamentally changes the understanding of religion's role in history and the forces behind much of what is pointed to as secular progress. Rodney Stark's provocative book argues that, whether we like it or not, people acting for the glory of God have formed our modern culture. Continuing his project of identifying the widespread consequences of monotheism, Stark shows that the Christian conception of God resulted--almost inevitably and for the same reasons--in the Protestant Reformation, the rise of modern science, the European witch-hunts, and the Western abolition of slavery. In the process, he explains why Christian and Islamic images of God yielded such different cultural results, leading Christians but not Muslims to foster science, burn "witches," but also denounce slavery.
Along the way, Stark debunks many commonly accepted ideas. He interprets the sixteenth-century flowering of science not as a sudden revolution that burst religious barriers, but as the normal, gradual, and direct outgrowth of medieval theology. Stark debunks many historians' dismissive attitude toward the role of religion in producing 'good' things.