Rodney Stark's new book, How the West Won: The Neglected Story of the Triumph of Modernity, relates history that most Westerners have never heard
The impressive book by Baylor University social scientist Rodney Stark, How the West Won: The Neglected Story of the Triumph of Modernity, continues the prolific scholar's fascinating project of bringing social-science rigor (a phrase that is not contradictory in Stark’s meticulous hands) to watershed historical events and epochs.
As with such earlier and well-received works as The Victory of Reason: How Christianity Let to Freedom, Capitalism, and Western Success (2005) and The Triumph of Christianity: How the Jesus Movement Became the World’s Largest Religion (2011), Stark’s lively and absorbing new work beheads the academy’s dictatorship of relativism and enthrones in its place concrete and fact-based understanding in order here to give Western civilization the credit it richly deserves.
Modernity – the centerpiece of this project that Stark defines as “that fundamental store of scientific knowledge and procedures, powerful technologies, artistic achievements, political freedoms, economic arrangements, moral sensibilities, and improved standards of living that characterize Western nations and are now revolutionizing life in the rest of the world” – and its unique development in the West is Stark’s emphasis. That is to say, this book is an investigation of why it happened here and not the Islamic world or anywhere else.
Of course, the advent and astonishing spread and influence of Christianity is at the core of Stark’s analysis.