Why Gods Should Matter in Social Science

From: Alexanian, Moorad (alexanian@uncw.edu)
Date: Tue Jun 03 2003 - 10:52:52 EDT

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    Interesting article with ends with:
    So then, let us finally be done with the claim that religion is all about ritual. Gods are the fundamental feature of religions. That holds even for Godless religions, their lack of Gods explaining the inability of such faiths to attract substantial followings. Moreover, it was not the "wisdom of the East" that gave rise to science, nor did Zen meditation turn people's hearts against slavery. By the same token, science was not the work of Western secularists or even deists; it was entirely the work of devout believers in an active, conscious, creator God. And it was faith in the goodness of that same God and in the mission of Jesus that led other devout Christians to end slavery, first in medieval Europe and then again in the New World.

    In those ways at least, Western civilization really was God-given.

    Rodney Stark is a professor of sociology and comparative religion at the University of Washington. This article is adapted from For the Glory of God: How Monotheism Led to Reformations, Science, Witch-Hunts, and the End of Slavery, to be published this month by Princeton University Press. Copyright © 2003 by Rodney Stark.

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