The Rise of Christianity

How the Obscure, Marginal Jesus Movement Became the Dominant Religious Force in the Western World in a Few Centuries

by Rodney Stark


Christianity rose because:

Smattering of useful frames here: sect vs. cult movements (sect movements being offshoots and having a base from which to draw from, cult movements being new sprouts and fringe and ostracized in the beginning), not-very-rigorous models that involve a lot of assumptions can be surprisingly accurate (see: Fermi, see: this book’s estimation of travel distance from Jerusalem), martyrdom as central to Christian belief, and Christianity as (in some ways) this weird bastard child of Roman paganism and Jewish monotheism.

Apparently Roman cities were 1.5x-2x as dense as Indian cities are today, without the ability to build upwards. Also apparently, the racial mixing in the Roman empire was as if the entirety of the British empire was squashed together with freedom of movement. Strangely ancap?

It won because it was the better tech. Jesus was the ultimate startup founder