In an article from Christian Today, David Robertson expounds on the many contributions Christianity has made to the world, demonstrating that Christianity turned the ancient world upside down and laid the foundation for much of modern Western society, and that Christianity ushers in numerous positive changes in societies around the globe:
What have the Christians ever done for us? While we can list the faults of those who profess to be Christians who have done great harm, the good done in the name of Christ is quite astonishing. "The gospel not only converts the individual, but it changes society. On every mission field from the days of William Carey, the missionaries carried a real social gospel. They established standards of hygiene and purity, promoted industry, elevated womanhood, restrained anti-social customs, abolished cannibalism, human sacrifice and cruelty, organised famine relief, checked tribal wars, and changed the social structure of society." (Samuel Zwemer, Professor of Missions at Princeton)
Education (every major European university was founded on Christian principles), social reform, medicine, democracy, the arts and modern science all owe much of their current existence to the teaching and ideas of the followers of Jesus Christ. That's a bold claim but one I think that can be substantiated. Take, for example, the question of science. As many have recognised, rather than being suppressed by the Church, modern science stems from a theistic culture and indeed would have been impossible without the understanding that there was an ordered universe created by God. Strangely I find that faith in Christ and science go together, feeding off one another. "Far from belief in God being some sort of irrational leap of faith it is the most rational hypothesis there is; and perhaps it is the only plausible and sure foundation of the rationality of the universe that science presupposes." (Keith Ward)
The gospel not only converts the individual, but it changes society. - Samuel Zwemer, Prof. of Missions, Princeton Click to Tweet
It's not just science. What we consider 'modern' values such as equality, tolerance and freedom are the fruits of Christianity as well. In a fascinating and detailed book, Inventing the Individual, The Origins of Western Liberalism, Larry Siedentop argues that all of these ideals stemmed from the early and medieval Church. Vishnal Mangalwadi is an Indian who has written a compelling account (The Book that Made your World), of how the Bible has been formative in the development of modern Western society. When we ask the question, what did the Christians give to us, modern Western society should recognise that it is the foundation of everything.
Be sure to check out the full article via Christian Today.
May 3, 2016
What Has Christianity Done for Us?
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