For the Glory of God by Rodney Stark
How Monotheism Led to Reformations, Science, Witch-Hunts, and the End of Slavery

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 1 Critic Review



Rodney Stark's provocative new 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," and denounce slavery.

With his usual clarity and skepticism toward the received wisdom, Stark finds the origins of these disparate phenomena within monotheistic religious organizations. Endemic in such organizations are pressures to maintain religious intensity, which lead to intense conflicts and schisms that have far-reaching social results.

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. He also shows that the very ideas about God that sustained the rise of science led also to intense witch-hunting by otherwise clear-headed Europeans, including some celebrated scientists. This conception of God likewise yielded the Christian denunciation of slavery as an abomination--and some of the fiercest witch-hunters were devoted participants in successful abolitionist movements on both sides of the Atlantic.

For the Glory of God is an engrossing narrative that accounts for the very different histories of the Christian and Muslim worlds. It fundamentally changes our understanding of religion's role in history and the forces behind much of what we point to as secular progress.


About Rodney Stark

See more books from this Author
Rodney Stark is a renowned scholar and researcher, and is recognized as one of the foremost sociologists working in the field of sociology of religion. Professor Stark has published more than 140 articles and 27 scholarly books that have won numerous awards and acknowledgements, including a Pulitzer Prize nomination. He is also known as a pioneer in the technology field. He co-founded the MicroCase Corporation, which is now a part of Thomson Wadsworth. With his background in journalism, it isn't surprising that in addition to receiving praise for his unique approach to sociology, he's received praise for having one of the better-written texts on the market.
Published March 24, 2003 by Princeton University Press. 496 pages
Genres: History, Religion & Spirituality, Education & Reference. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for For the Glory of God

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

In One True God: Historical Consequences of Monotheism, sociologist of religion Stark examined the nature of God, the wrath of God, the kingdom of God, the grace of God and the "chosen" of God.

| Read Full Review of For the Glory of God: How Mon...

Reader Rating for For the Glory of God

An aggregated and normalized score based on 28 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes

Rate this book!

Add Review