Andrea Yates, a fervent Christian who was not prone to psychological problems.
Yeah, I know, one crazy religious person does not disprove that, but I just couldn't help myself!
Stark goes on though, stating that "the more educated they are, the more likely people are to attend church, and among university faculty, those in the physical and natural sciences are more religious than are their colleagues in other fields." Yet in a recent Harris Poll, it was found that those "with no college education (82%) are more likely to believe in God than those with postgraduate education (73%)." And a Nature survey of the members of the National Academy of Scientists in 1998, found that only 7% believed in a personal god! Maybe the polls that Stark looked at were taken from the faculty of Liberty and Regent Universities!His bitch session ended, Professor Stark recovers his moorings and gets on with his survey of religious pluralism in the Roman Empire. In examining why new faiths, including Christianity, succeeded in spreading within the empire, Stark offers five reasons for their success. First, these religions appealed to the senses because their ceremonies had a high emotional content. Second, the new religions appealed to the individual rather than the group. Third, "they satisfied the intellect" because they possessed written scriptures. The holy texts of Judaism and Christianity in particular contained descriptions of real places and were grounded, at least in part, in history. Fourth, many of the new faiths were more inclusive towards women. Fifth, the churches and temples of these religions were not just places where people went to worship at set times, they also provided their adherents with a sense of community. In contrast to Greco-Roman religions, "the new faiths stressed celebration, joy, ecstasy and passion. Music played a leading role in their services - not only flutes and horns, but an abundance of group singing and dancing."
And here is where Rodney Stark is right in a way that can be uncomfortable for atheists to admit, Christianity succeeded in the Roman Empire because its message was attractive! This will be examined more when I get to Chapter 7, which looks more in depth at the rise and spread of Christianity in the Roman Empire, resulting in the faith becoming the state religion of the empire in the 4th century C.E.
Ironically though, when Stark describes the shortcomings of the Greco-Roman gods, he points to their lack of morals and manners, and describes them as being "afflicted with jealousy, greed, pride, and lust." Evidently Stark forgets that in Exodus, the god of the Bible tells Moses that he is "a jealous god", and throughout the Old Testament, the god of the Bible at best is psychopathic, genocidal, and controlling. Of course, the story of the birth, ministry, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus is meant to humanize the god of the Bible and make him, well, less of a dick.