Referencing my initial post on Stark’s Triumph of Christianity, https://gottadobetterthanthis.wordpress.com/2016/06/11/summer-reading/, a little more.
I didn’t double check it, but wikipedia summarizes Stark’s earlier Rise of Christianity. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Rise_of_Christianity
My summary of the summary is that Christians were legit, and they proved it by sticking around and helping, and by preferring martyrdom to armed revolt. Christianity was also mostly strong among the working middle and upper class. The same can be said today. Like most religion, Christianity appeals to the downtrodden masses, but the poor can only take religion so seriously. Bread and health first. The soul second.
To lend credence to his view that Christianity grew only through one-to-one conversions dependent upon family bonds and social circles, he points to modern Mormonism. I think it is a valid point. From the perspective of sociology, it sure seems a sound comparison and good explanation.
I think it is worth mentioning the wikipage for Stark; again, I didn’t run the references. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rodney_Stark I found it interesting.
Changing subject, working from memory without rereading, Stark shows various aspects of Jewish history before and during the Roman era. He points out the armed rebellions, revolts, and simple acts of terrorism conducted throughout those centuries.
I couldn’t help but notice this is another similarity between the Roman Empire and the modern world, particularly similar to the USA. The Jewish people have become almost entirely peace-loving, though they are determined to defend themselves, and terrorism arises from a different source, though the root-causes look almost identical. It is quite legitimate to call for the complete withdrawal of the West from the region. Let them work out what they must. Frankly, it isn’t likely to be worse than what we are doing there.
We really don’t have the problem with oil now. We need to leave.
Here is the stark reality: Rome finally had enough of radical terrorism after the midpoint of the first century. Rome utterly destroyed all that was Jewish in Palestine, including Jerusalem and most of the region. Stark concludes chapter 2 thus, “This was the Jewish world into which Jesus was born and raised, conducted his ministry, and was crucified. It was a society of monotheists dedicated to the importance of holy scripture. In addition to sustaining a remarkable number of scholars and teachers, it was also a world prolific in prophets and terrorists. Hence, this tiny society of Jews at the edge of the empire caused Rome far more trouble than did any other province. It even might be said that in the end, despite having been reduced to rubble by Titus in 70 CE, Jerusalem conquered Rome.”
His point is consistent with the intent of his book. My point is that history is repeating itself.
I really don’t want to be part of a society that is responsible for the destruction of another, no matter how bad terrorism might get. If we leave, and it doesn’t get better, perhaps it will come down to survival. Perhaps the West will have to utterly destroy all that the current terrorists fight for. However, I really don’t see people as that suicidal. The radicals are self-destroying. The extremists die or wise up.
We need to leave. All of the West needs to get out of all of the Middle East. Let them sort out their religions and their politics. It doesn’t really matter if it takes centuries. History always takes centuries. Besides, I think if we let them alone and treat them as equals and as fair trading partners, well, I bet they start acting like equals and fair trading partners.
The alternative is written in the world of the followers of Jesus in the First Century. We need to at least determine to not repeat that history. Let us learn its lessons and live.