LEADER TIMES WEEKEND RELIGION ARTICLE FOR
May 10, 2014 by William H. Scarle, Jr. 813-835-0129
In an attempt to bring some integrity to the historical accounts of the era of Western colonialism (c. 1800 – 1900) Rodney Stark makes the following observation.
“To embrace the fundamental message of cultural imperialism requires that one be comfortable with such crimes against women as foot binding, female circumcision, the custom of sati (which causes widows to be burned to death, tied to their husbands’ funeral pyres, and the stoning to death of rape victims on the grounds of their adultery. It also requires one to agree that tyranny is every bit as desirable as democracy and that slavery should be tolerated if it is in accord with local customs. Similarly, one must classify high infant mortality rates, toothlessness in early adulthood and the castration of young boys as valid parts of local cultures, to be cherished along with illiteracy. For it was especially on these aspects of non-Western cultures that modernity was “imposed” both by missionaries and by other colonialists.”
I finished reading Rodney Stark’s “HOW THE WEST WON” this past week. I recommended it last week, and I promise this will be my last plug for the book, for which I receive no compensation, except the satisfaction that I may interest some of you in reading this much needed correction to the present trend to rewrite the history of the Christian west.
I want to include another extensive quotation from the last chapter.
“Nearly all modern accounts stress greed and racism as the basis for Europe’s colonial expansion. Granted, both were significant factors, but so too were idealism and charity, especially on the part of Christian missionaries, who were often at least as concerned to educate and modernize foreign lands as to convert the world to Christ. For example, by 1910 British and American overseas mission organizations had established 86 colleges and universities, 522 teachers colleges (often referred to as normal schools), and thousands of elementary schools in Asia and Africa. Nor were missionaries the only idealists involved. The earliest British military intrusions into Africa were devoted mainly to stamping out the slave trade. During 1840 alone the British navy intercepted 425 slave ships off the West African coast, hanged the slavers, returned the slaves to Sierra Leone, and set them free.”
When I was half way through this book according to my indicator at the bottom of the page on my Kindle reader I was rejoicing that I had a full half of the book to go. Then the book concluded, and I realized that a full half the book was dedicated to footnotes and a listing of the sources for the information in the book. Not only has Stark given us a needed correction for all the false historical information pumped out by a culture intent on showing that truth does not exist and all truth claims and cultures are relative, but he has documented his offering so thoroughly that it is beyond contradiction.
The need for this kind of information is the danger that we forget the religious foundations of Western civilization. If we lose the foundations the structure collapses. I still wear a sweat shirt created by the young people at Franklin Union Baptist Church which reads, “The Wise Man Built His House Upon The Rock,” Matt. 8:24.”
(Bill Scarle can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.) END-whs