Bearing False Witness: Debunking Centuries of Anti-Catholic History

Rodney Stark


Bearing False Witness: Debunking Centuries of Anti-Catholic History

Bearing False Witness: Debunking Centuries of Anti-Catholic History

  • Title: Bearing False Witness: Debunking Centuries of Anti-Catholic History
  • Author: Rodney Stark
  • ISBN: 9781599474991
  • Page: 480
  • Format: Hardcover



As we all know and as many of our well established textbooks have argued for decades, the Inquisition was one of the most frightening and bloody chapters in Western history, Pope Pius XII was anti Semitic and rightfully called Hitler s Pope, the Dark Ages were a stunting of the progress of knowledge to be redeemed only by the secular spirit of the Enlightenment, and theAs we all know and as many of our well established textbooks have argued for decades, the Inquisition was one of the most frightening and bloody chapters in Western history, Pope Pius XII was anti Semitic and rightfully called Hitler s Pope, the Dark Ages were a stunting of the progress of knowledge to be redeemed only by the secular spirit of the Enlightenment, and the religious Crusades were an early example of the rapacious Western thirst for riches and power But what if these long held beliefs were all wrong In this stunning, powerful, and ultimately persuasive book, Rodney Stark, one of the most highly regarded sociologists of religion and bestselling author of The Rise of Christianity HarperSanFrancisco 1997 argues that some of our most firmly held ideas about history, ideas that paint the Catholic Church in the least positive light are, in fact, fiction Why have we held these wrongheaded ideas so strongly and for so long And if our beliefs are wrong, what, in fact, is the truth In each chapter, Stark takes on a well established anti Catholic myth, gives a fascinating history of how each myth became the conventional wisdom, and presents a startling picture of the real truth For example,Instead of the Spanish Inquisition being an anomaly of torture and murder of innocent people persecuted for imaginary crimes such as witchcraft and blasphemy, Stark argues that not only did the Spanish Inquisition spill very little blood, but it was a major force in support of moderation and justice.Instead of Pope Pius XII being apathetic or even helpful to the Nazi movement, such as to merit the title, Hitler s Pope, Stark shows that the campaign to link Pope Pius XII to Hitler was initiated by the Soviet Union, presumably in hopes of neutralizing the Vatican in post World War II affairs Pope Pius XII was widely praised for his vigorous and devoted efforts to saving Jewish lives during the war.Instead of the Dark Ages being understood as a millennium of ignorance and backwardness inspired by the Catholic Church s power, Stark argues that the whole notion of the Dark Ages was an act of pride perpetuated by anti religious intellectuals who were determined to claim that theirs was the era of Enlightenment In the end, readers will not only have a accurate history of the Catholic Church, they will come to understand why it became unfairly maligned for so long Bearing False Witness is a compelling and sobering account of how egotism and ideology often work together to give us a false truth.


Recent Comments "Bearing False Witness: Debunking Centuries of Anti-Catholic History"

I have long been aware of Rodney Stark's excellent work using facts and statistics to set the historical record straight.This might be the best part of the book, at the end of the introduction:Finally, I am not a Roman Catholic, and I did not write this book in defense of the Church. I wrote it in defense of history.And we thank you.The fact that Stark isn't Catholic matters because it means he doesn't have a dog in this fight. Except, of course, as a historian who loves truth more than "what ev [...]

As always, please give me a helpful vote on - amazon/review/R1I372DRBearing False Witness by Rodney StarkI’ve been addressing anti-Catholic tropes on the internet for the last twenty years. When I started, I honestly believed that these accusations were supported by fact, or, even, if not totally accurate, were substantially accurate. My particular forte of late has been the slander that the Catholic Church supported Hitler and the Nazis. By going past the books that everyone is reading into [...]

O único defeito deste livro é não ser mais longo! Pois tenho certeza de que havia mais centenas de mentiras a serem denunciadas. O que mais me deixou pasmado foram os requintes de estupidez e crueldade praticados durante a Revolução Francesa, que aliás é um dos eventos mais lamentáveis da história da humanidade.

America would benefit if all Americans read this book. I was raised as an anti-Catholic Southern Baptist in the 1950's and am now Catholic. This book disrupts the ant-Catholic bias in my understanding of history just as others have upended my understanding of Christian theology. I recommend it even for people who are agnostic or atheistic because the book addresses many of the historical distortions underlying those positions.

Amazing defense of the Church by an atheist no less!Covers all of the common tropes brought out to attack the church based or spurious historical lies. Written by an atheist this is a fantastic book clearly designed to tell the truth rather than take a side.Wonderfully written and excellent to read.

A very comprehensive review of anti-catholic myths in history and the popular mind, by a non-catholic, which gives the book further credibility. Although a few references could have been improved, in general the book was very good.

Eu daria 3.5 estrelas, na real, porque meu problema foi que é muito curto, muito rápido, muito resumão, muito introdução. Faltou um pouco falar, por exemplo, da questão do desenvolvimento da ideia de julgamento e Direito na Inquisição (e não só "nem foi tão ruim assim ow"; Stark planta a semente comparando a Inquisição a tribunais seculares muito mais carniceiros mas não desenvolve) no fim das contas, gostei das ideias dele de que o cristianismo permitiu a fixação da ideia de pro [...]

What do the Inquisition, Slavery, Anti-Semitism, and Hatred of Science have in common? If you said "The Catholic Church", you're in for a surprise.Rodney Stark (Sociologist, Baylor) reviews the current state of the historical science, and thoroughly debunks the commonly held beliefs (rejected by the vast majority of historians) regarding the Catholic Churches scandalous historical behavior.Chapter 1 looks at anti-semitism in general, and in particular thoroughly debunks the myth of Catholic sile [...]

"Nor does it matter at all to the dead whether they receive justice at the hands of succeeding generations. But to the living, to do justice, however belatedly, should matter."--Garrett MattinglyThis book is a welcome corrective to a number of false narratives, stories that most people accept as common knowledge even though historians have long known them to be anti-Catholic myths. So, for example, centuries before Christopher Columbus was even born, all educated people knew that the earth was a [...]

The only reason I did not give this 5 stars is because there were some subjects that did not interest me as much. A very good read that helps to set history straight on a lot of subjects concerning the Church and historical revisionism.It is significant that the author is not a Catholic, but an ex-Baptist who has no axe to grind.I am presenting the chapter titles and some of the sub-headings. Anything after a colon is my summary of what is covered.Sins of Anti-Semitism A review of how the Church [...]

If you are an anti-Catholic or anti-Christian bigot, this is a book you should read. If you are just someone with a low opinion of religion, this is also for you. If you are Catholic and take the charge to defend the faith seriously, again read this book.Did you know that less than four thousand people were killed by the Spanish Inquisition in over two hundred years? In contrast, the Spanish Republic, darling of the Left, killed over five thousand Catholic Clerics in less than six months. Did yo [...]

I really loved this book! You can just sense author Rodney Starks annoyance in having to write this book in the first place. And I'm especially glad that he is a protestant just so that nobody claims him to have selective researching skills. I am a revert to the Catholic faith and I always wondered about certain topics. I think one tiny flaw was Starks Constantine and pagan chapters. I think there is still so much more that can be debunked with those topics! Overall, I was impressed by his findi [...]

Well documented and very thorough, Stark takes the most commonly spread, lurid tales about Catholic wrongdoings and sheds some much needed light on them.This include the usual suspects, the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, Church vs. Science, the so-called Dark Ages and 6 others.Probably the most interesting was the examination of the "Copernican Revolution" and how it was no revolution at all. Over a few centuries, great Catholic intellectuals built the groundwork for Copernicus who made the [...]

Chapters on gnostic gospels, pagan persecution, dark ages, and inquisition are good, but some of the later chapters on authoritarianism and capitalism seem suspect. Why is the idea of the Protestant work ethic anti-catholic history? Stark gets mired in fighting imaginary dragons, making this book ultimately less than I thought it would be.

Very informative and written by a Protestant. So it's not one of those apologies for Catholicism.Stark covers slavery, rise of science, the Dark Ages, the Inquisition and lots more, describing the Christian roots of our culture and dispelling the oft repeated exaggerations and myths.

This book is a great myth-shattering collection of succinct chapters, each of which could be it's own book. The chapters on the Crusades (Stark has a separate book on this subject), relations between pagans and Christians and the so called alternative Gospels fall a bit short because of the book's overall length but the chapters on the Inquisition and slavery will certainly have a huge impact on any reader who is used to hear only the mainstream anti-church rhetoric. The fact that slavery essent [...]

Accessible, fast, to-the-point read, and one whose importance, in this accessible form, cannot be overstated. Those with more than casual knowledge of history will likely already be familiar with much of it, and those familiar with Mr. Stark's work will know that he covered much of the same ground in more depth in his earlier releases, but I reckon that many a Christian whose knowledge of past is informed only by pop history will find much of it potentially eye opening to say the least. For them [...]

I did not read this book yet, but got it and will, but I wanted to say a few things. I, like practically all brazilians were brought up as catholics. In our former constitution, the first item was that Brazil was a roman catholic country!. Anyway I was not up to it, do not care about it, and am excommunicated. So I am not at all interested in the religious point of view. I do not give a damn about religion, but I like history and am upset at injustices.It galls me all this racism - that is the w [...]

Impressive number of referencesWhat most impressed me about the book is the amount of sources he author uses (both primary and secondary) which make the book's claims much more convincing and distant to the author's personal opinion. Stark manages to mix a sophisticated language, historical accounts and his expert insight into an easy and pleasant to read book.On the downside a few passages seem to tell only one side of the truth, in my opinion, to compensate for the false or biased ideas the re [...]

Though parts of it are reasonable, throughout there is a chip-on-shouler feeling that I don't care for as much. Probably I could have been forewarned by the "debunking" part of the title. The Church is so big that it could not possibly be as saturated-ly bad as some have said in the past, but neither is it such a lily as Stark would have us believe. I need to look for something more neutral and balanced. Still, parts are of interest.

This was an informative and enlightening read. Rodney Stark provides a comprehensive view of the ignorance and deception that has prejudiced minds against the Catholic Church, during the past centuries. Drawing upon prime sources and credible research, he was able to explain how this anti-Catholic bias has become generally accepted as fact, in our times. That the book was written by a non-Catholic historian added to its credibility.

What could have been an excellent work of polemic became, on occasion, rhetorically imbalanced and somewhat overstated. Stark's triumphalist tone is abrasive at times. Some chapters were stronger than others, but Stark's singular thesis, that anti-Catholic prejudice has distorted both popular and scholarly historical imagination, was well substantiated and defended. Particularly interesting chapters include those on anti-Semitism, the Spanish Inquisition, and slavery.

Shocking, Stark takes a renewed look at many anti-catholic spins on history and shows the damage that has been done by protestant, atheist, and communist historians. He certainly doesn't clear the name of the Catholic Church, but he demonstrates how we are living in a twisted narrative. Very helpful book that makes reading GOOD history a much more valuable task.

An accessible and easy to read book that doesn't defend the church from the truthful charges against it but dismantles the lies and twisted history that society has assumed to be true. Think you know about church involvement in anti-semetism, crusades, inquisition, witch hunts, slavery, dark ages and anti-scientific rulings? You are most probably wrong.

An easy to read guide through the anti-Catholic bigotry and propaganda throughout Western Civ. A good introduction to the distortions, and where they came from. A history lesson even more timely, living in times when stagecraft is more important than truth, repetition instead of inquiry.

An excellent look at the history of the Catholic church, featuring credible sources. Honestly, I wouldn't have known this book existed, however it was required reading for my History of Religions class. Could not have been happier to have been assigned it.

I like it better than his earlier books, but sometimes I felt his "conclusion" sections didn't quite match what he'd previously said. Perhaps I wasn't paying close enough attention, since I was often interrupted whilst reading, though.

For me, start continues to help me to see through some of the lies that I have been fed through my childhood. With careful research start demonstrates so many ways in which the historical line we've been fed has biased us against Jesus Christ and his people.

Really good- exclamation points aside.

Excellent review of myths about Christianity with a solid basis in fact. A must-read for anyone with difficulties finding out what really happened in the history of the Church.


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    Published :2018-09-19T04:06:31+00:00