If you hold the following three propositions, the massive evidence marshaled in this book asks you to reconsider them: (1) For eleven centuries after the legitimation of Catholicism under Constantine in 323 A.D., the Church kept liberty in chains and progress in check, imposing backwardness on the “Dark” Ages; (2) Only after the overthrow of Catholic unity by the Reformation, the Renaissance, and the Enlightenment did systemic invention, science, and freedom appear, and speedily make the West great; (3) Capitalism originated under the impulse of the Protestant ethic.

Christians introduced into the larger world a perfectionist vocation—to be co-creators, as it were, in making the world a better place—and a vocation of inquiry.

Stark, a sociologist of some fame for his past work, and now a professor at Baylor University, has been led by his own...

 

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