I'm an atheist and I generally agree with what the author argues in the book. However, I do have doubt over the evidence mentioned in the book on how Christianity affects society's progress: (1) many enthusiatic Christian missionaries/helpers in the developing countries help the people there on one hand but discourage them over the use of contraception or even arbotion on the other hand, which actually harms their welfare; and (2) the opposition by the church over the experiment with stem cells. I would like to ask whether there are any way for me to know whether they are common/mainstream among Christian community or just a few episodice events. For (1), my inpression is that while the Chatholics may take a more stringent position, many liberal Christians acutally do not oppose contraception or arbotion. For (2), I've seen news about stem cells experiment conducted in some Chritain European countries. In short, I would like to ask whether the examples quoted by the author are just rare cases.
Rather than simply looking at the particulars of how different groups of contemporary Christians act, you might find it useful to delve into the intellectual roots of Christianity.
Here is an excellent place to start:
Charles Freeman demonstrates that once the Christian Church became a Roman state religion it went about systematically dismantling Pagan science and philosophy. Its success led to the Dark Ages and such well-known crimes against humanity as the trial of Galileo.
To survive Chistianity must replace reason with faith. Otherwise, who would ever swallow that tale about Yahweh knocking up a Galilean peasant girl in order to sacrifice their offspring to save us from the sins of Adam and Eve?
PS: Europe is no longer Christian in any meaningful sense of the word.
I’m a christian who takes conservative views on this stuff. I’m no sociologist but the best I can offer is two things—first- http://www.barna.org. Barna is a statistician and in the tab called barna updates you should be able to find whatever topic you want stats on. Second, from what i know, theres a lot of diversity on contraception and stem cells. For many christians, the starting point for these topics are different than yours, but the end result might be similar.
hope that helps,