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'We are all twenty-first century people,' Richard Dawkins has said, 'and we subscribe to a pretty widespread consensus of what is right and wrong.' Yet what are the origins of this consensus? It has not remotely been a given, across the reaches of space and time, that humans should believe it nobler to suffer than to inflict suffering, or that people are all of equal value. These are convictions which instead bear witness to the most enduring and influential legacy of the ancient world, a revolution in values that has proven transformative like nothing else in history: Christianity.
Dominion tells the epic story of how those in the West came to be what they are, and why they think the way they do. Ranging from Moses to Merkel, from Babylon to Beverley Hills, from the emergence of secularism to the abolition of slavery, it explores why, in a society that has become increasingly doubtful of religion's claims, so many of its instincts remain irredeemably Christian. It demonstrates just how novel and uncanny Christian teachings were when they first appeared in the world; and why the West, and all that today it takes for granted, is similarly strange in consequence. Even the increasing numbers in the West today who have abandoned the faith of their forebears, and dismiss all religion as pointless superstition, remain recognisably its heirs. Christianity's enduring impact is not confined to churches. It can be seen everywhere in the West: in science, in secularism, in gay rights, even in atheism.
It is - to coin a phrase - the greatest story ever told.