Mr Stark’s for-some inflammatory thesis makes distorted claims that miss the point. It is true, for example, that ‘Christianity’ was involved in the birth of democracy: consider the Quakers in the English Civil War. But the term ‘Christian’ is a bit ambiguous, and Stark’s brand is so toxic and offensive to many that he would do well to consider his stance. Them’s are fighting words, and the Civil War among Xtians at the dawn of postcapitalism will be stark. Stark as the ware between two Christianities in the Age of Luther. Which one is Stark talking about. The term ‘Christianity’ is ambiguous, to say the least. It was the ‘spirit of modernity’ that animated a Protestant contribution of democracy, or ‘so to speak’, and not the other way around.
It is false to put the Christian signature on all the achievements of modernity. This is the kind of obscurantism that keeps people confused, as they drift, or are pushed, into reactionary muddles. The inconsistency here must be faced. The standard mainline of Christianity did NOT support modernity or freedom, and the question arises then, what do we mean by ‘Christianity’.
Again, one must consider that the emergence of the political Reformation shows two candidates in parallel: the Lutherian and other mainstream churches that rapidly declined into conservative denominations, and the Munzerian parallel start. That great beginning was destroyed by the the Luther factions, with their allegiances to the Princes, and the rising commercial classes. It thus essential to remind people like Stark that a primordial (since the 1500’s) strain of the vine of Christianity was a revolutionary, ‘Christian’, end-times testimonial prophetic church, and its political theme as ‘communism’, or ‘ur-communism’. It is essential to see the confusion here and the baseless claims about Christianity and capitalism.
So the response to the ‘fighting words’ of Stark is…fighting words. Nota bene. The civil war at the dawn of postcapitalism demands some hard thinking by all sides.