Comparison of Jared Diamonds Guns Germs and Steal and The Rise of Christianity by Rodney Stark

Essay by popexonUniversity, Bachelor'sB+, December 2002

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Both Guns, Germs, and Steel written by Jared Diamond and The Rise of Christianity written by Rodney Stark stress the importance of epidemic diseases to explain social change. Stark and Diamond explain the importance of epidemics and diseases in their own way. Stark concentrates on the expansion of Christianity and the social structures it creates mainly within the Roman Empire. While Diamond is more concerned with the epidemics that gave an advantage to Europeans during the process of colonization, which allowed Europeans to become dominant over the societies found in the new world.

Christianity according to Stark seemed to rely heavily on the idea that bad things are going to happen to human beings. Christianity according to Stark was built to deal with devastating events such as plagues and epidemics. Without the epidemic Stark argues that Christianity may not have become as strong as it did due to its ability to cope.

Christianity brought people together during and after epidemics, due to the belief that God would not love man without man loving each other. Providing support and helping each other in times of need allowed a higher survival rate within the church. This is showed by the increasing percentage of the population that Christians made up after each epidemic within the Roman Empire. The growth of Christianity was attributed to the strength of their moral character, during epidemics Christians would care for the sick even if they were non-believers. Outsiders of the faith seeing this, would be enticed to join the religion because of the community that the church and the faith of Christianity providing.

Christians saw the epidemic as the "schooling" or "testing" of their faith. While other faiths could only offer fear and doubt. Christianity offered answers and solutions, again leading to an increase in membership. The...