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Bearing False Witness

Debunking Centuries of Anti-Catholic History
Narrated by: Paul Boehmer
Length: 8 hrs and 20 mins
4.7 out of 5 stars (3 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

As we all know, and as many of our well-established textbooks have argued for decades, the Inquisition was one of the most frightening and bloody chapters in Western history, Pope Pius XII was anti-Semitic and rightfully called "Hitler's Pope", the Dark Ages were a stunting of the progress of knowledge to be redeemed only by the secular spirit of the Enlightenment, and the religious Crusades were an early example of the rapacious Western thirst for riches and power. But what if these long-held beliefs were all wrong?

In this stunning, powerful, and ultimately persuasive book, Rodney Stark, one of the most highly regarded sociologists of religion and the best-selling author of The Rise of Christianity, argues that some of our most firmly held ideas about history, ideas that paint the Catholic Church in the least positive light, are in fact fiction. Why have we held these wrongheaded ideas so strongly and for so long? And if our beliefs are wrong, what is the truth? In each chapter Stark takes on a well-established anti-Catholic myth, gives a fascinating history of how it became the conventional wisdom, and presents a startling picture of the real truth.

©2016 Rodney Stark (P)2016 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"A majestically argued, gorgeously written, and essential book by one of the truly indispensable minds of our time. Bearing False Witness is one more gift to history from Rodney Stark. It should in turn be given to and read by students and professors everywhere, whatever their beliefs." (Mary Eberstadt, author of How the West Really Lost God)

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  • jjdoctor
  • 10-12-2016

Enlightening

Very well done. Learned things I wish I'd learned years ago. Nothing like understanding history to give meaning to today.

8 people found this helpful

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  • bgdade
  • 12-01-2017

Historical Accuracy needed in modern world

As a former protestant and now a new convert to the Catholic faith, I found the information very valuable in explaining some of the prejudices I have encountered since becoming a Catholic

16 people found this helpful

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  • Craig E. Campell
  • 03-02-2017

Excellent and much-needed history.

This book is very much in line with other books by Rodney Stark. It addresses many very important misconceptions still commonly believed in our world today. As an amateur historian, and as someone who cares about the truth, I highly recommend this book.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-08-2017

Fixing propagandist history

Stark does a good job fixing propagandist history about the Roman Catholic Church. Eye opening for those open minded enough to see past enlightenment propaganda.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Michael
  • 17-05-2017

This book is very exacting and informative

this book as much detail what is necessary to clearly illustrate what and how the biases affect history

3 people found this helpful

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  • M Hansen
  • 18-01-2017

Great book about historical lies. The performance, not so much.

This would be a 5 star book, except for the narrator. I think this book would sound only slightly worse if read by a computer. His phrases are choppy and his tone doesn't flow. Think a computerized reading. It's hard to follow the narrative of the author because of this reading.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 24-02-2018

A Mostly-Compelling Work to Restore History

The audiobook quality itself is excellent. Great narrator. For those who cannot trust Roman Catholics scholarly works themselves, this Protestant-minded work does much to undo the rampant exaggerations and lies that have cropped up against the Roman Catholic Church in the past few centuries. Some of you will need to hear this sitting down... As a Catholic who has read much on many of these topics, I was disappointed that at times the author seemed to fall back upon Protestant myths in order to paint what he thought was a complete picture of the Catholic Church at various points in history. At other times, like with his explanation of the issue involving Galileo and the church, it seemed that he had not read much more comprehensive, contemporary works on the subject. Perhaps he was just being cautious. Or avoiding Catholic scholarship. However, the overwhelming majority of this book seems to be good secular/protestant scholarship with credible sources to back his often shocking claims (especially if one was raised protestant and/or attended secular schools). His writing on some of the most controversial topics is his best. There are better books on the topic, but if you can't bring yourself to read Catholic scholars yet, start here. This book might blow your mind. And help you better understand the history of the west. And, I hope, help you to see that Catholocism isn't the wicked institution that so many still make it out to be.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Howard Jung
  • 06-08-2017

Great read to balance out stereotypical views

this is a great book to balance out the stereotypical views of the catholic church

2 people found this helpful

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  • Erik Nelson
  • 20-01-2019

2 sides to every story and this is the other side.

Much needed counterpoint To the usual monologue. The real history of the Catholic Church is not as. Simplistic and single sided as some would say.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Joseph Albanese
  • 16-01-2019

Outstanding

Cuts through 500 years of B.S. I gave thus book to a friend before reading it myself. He sees Catholics as fellow believers whereas before he spoke all manner of calumny against them. Rodney Stark does a much need service to Christendom.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Silenced by Amazon
  • 12-11-2017

Explains the vicious lies directed at Catholicism

Rodney Stark debunks anti-Catholic lies and propaganda. The so-called "Enlightenment" was a bigoted and anti-intellectal cult which itself hindered progress and contributed nothing positive.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 18-10-2020

Challenges long-held beliefs

Like lots of books that challenge long-held beliefs, this was pretty jaw-dropping. I got a little confused about what was being presented as the mistaken beliefs and what was the alternative story. The Spanish Inquisition chapter was a real eye-opener.

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  • Adrian Clark
  • 27-09-2020

Smashing Secular Orthodoxy

Reading this book shone the light on a hidden world. A world of endeavour, enterprise, nobility, and faith. Never have the lies of Edward Gibbon been so comprehensively refutes. The falsehoods of Voltaire so carefully exposed. The narrative of Protestantism so easily confounded. A marvellous insight to the enlightened medieval age.

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  • Elon Jepsen
  • 02-09-2017

extremely eye opening

so much information that was completely new to me, but a very serious and convincing case was presented. A must read!!!

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  • Phil D
  • 26-05-2017

Not a history buff but...

this book changed my outlook on church history. An amazingly accessible and readable book which clarifies and demolishes anti church biases that many take for granted.