Have you ever heard people say that Christianity is evil? I have. People who say that have to have a very poor sense of history and all the amazing advances the world now enjoys because of the spread of Christianity.
It is safe to say that the vast majority of the great scientists in history were Bible believing Christians. They believed that to study nature and science was merely to “think God’s thoughts after Him.” Whether they looked through the microscope or the telescope; whether the field was human biology, astronomy, physics, oceanography or zoology, these men believed they were merely discovering more about the world and universe God had made.
The first hospitals were built by Christians because they believed that each individual mattered (each person is made in the image of God) and because Jesus taught us to love our neighbor and He defined our neighbor as the one we find in need (remember the story of the Good Samaritan?). There’s actually a hospital here in Phoenix called “Good Samaritan Hospital.”
The first schools were built by Christians because they believed God had given us His word in the Bible and every child should have an education in order to read it and understand it. In society today the question is asked, “should the Bible be taught in schools?” Yet when school education was first introduced, the Bible was the only reason for the school’s existence. On and on we could go…
Just this evening I was reading a transcript of a sermon by Pastor Mark Driscoll (from a series called “Christ on the Cross”). I thought one section in particular contained some very good insight and thought I would post a small portion of it here.
“Now, some of you have been told that Christianity is the worst thing that ever happened on the earth. The Christians have ruined everything. I’m gonna take odds with that. And I will say Christians have done some terrible things in the history of the world. We don’t want to neglect those. We don’t want to dismiss those. We don’t want to excuse those wars and killings and things of that nature. You know, if it’s contrary to Jesus in the Bible, those people may not even be Christians, or at best, they’re hypocrites.
But Christianity has been the greatest force of good in the history of the world – give you some examples.
First is in the view of human dignity and value. See, Christians believe, based upon the teachings of the Bible, that we were made in the image of likeness of God, male and female. That’s why we’re equal. Nobody’s trying to argue for equality. If they read the Bible, they’d know that men and women are equal.
And also we believe as Christians that we are superior to other animals, and we’re not just highly-evolved, educable animals. That people have dignity, value, and worth, and that human life is sacred. That’s why when people are killed by murderers, and there is unjust war that takes innocent life, and people are starving to death, and people don’t get medical coverage because they’re poor and they die, we say, “That’s wrong. Human beings have dignity, value, and worth.” Well, we only believe that because of the spread of Christian thought. Go to a place where Christian thought hasn’t spread, and the dignity for human life isn’t the same. The respect is not the same.
See, after church tonight you will go home and you will eat chicken, not human, because of the spread of Christianity. You think I’m kidding, go to a country that hasn’t had the spread of Christianity. They’re having human for dinner. The Bible says, “Love your neighbor,” not, “Barbeque your neighbor,” right? But if you believe that all we are is evolutionary time and chance, and that all we are is just highly-evolved animals, then eating a chicken and eating a neighbor is essentially the same thing. It’s just two hunks of meat that have evolved into different forms. And we say, “That’s crazy!” Well, it’s only crazy here because we have been greatly influenced by Christian thinking. The respect for human life is different. Doesn’t mean we’re a Christian nation. It doesn’t mean that, you know, everybody is a Christian. But it does mean that Christian thought has seeped into our minds.
Second point: charity. If you are exclusively a naturalist and an evolutionist, that believes in the survival of the fittest and natural selection, what you believe is that if a strong guy murders a young kid, you go, “Well, that’s the survival of the fittest. Only the fit survive. Big deal.” If somebody gets a gun, and he’s a dictator, and he murders those who oppose him in his small country, you shouldn’t protest. You should say, “Well, the fittest survive. I’m a consistent Darwinian. Human life is no different than animal life, and might makes right, and it’s not rule of law, it’s rule of force. Big deal.” But see, we say, “No, no, no, no. Human life and charity and kindness and law matter.” That’s because we’re influenced by Christian thinking.
Brings me to our third point; that is, the rule of law. The reason that you and I believe in rule of law instead of rule of force – and the truth is you only get one or the other. Either the law rules so that there’s equality under the law, or might rules and might makes right, and the weak overpower the strong, and Darwinianism wins, which means if you’re old, or you’re young, or you’re small, or you’re poor, or you’re weak, you lose. See, we don’t believe that. We believe in rule of law because of the influence of Christianity. Christianity is a law-based religion. The Bible is filled with laws. Law brings justice to those who would otherwise be overcome by those who were more powerful, or more affluent, or more educated. Because of that, you and I believe in law. And we hate it when we watch the news and we realize that there are nations that are run by dictators who rule through gun, not law. And they bring power. And they bring the natural outworkings of Darwinian’s survival of the fittest, not love, grace, mercy, compassion. They’re starving citizens to death instead of feeding them because they don’t have dignity of human life. They don’t believe in charity. They don’t believe in the rule of law. We hate that – not because we’re Christians, but because we’re influenced by Christianity.
I’ll give you two more ways. One is through private property rights. The reason we own our homes is in large part because of the influence of the Bible. In the Ten Commandments, God says, “Don’t steal your neighbor’s land.” Well, that assumes that’s your neighbor’s land. That’s private property rights. Go to some atheistic countries and you will find that the government owns all the land. There is no private property.
And lastly, education is the result of widespread Christian influence. It has continually been beneficial for those who are in power to take those that are subjugated under their authority and to maintain for them a position of illiteracy. Because if they can’t read, can’t write, can’t think, can’t organize, can’t go to school, and can’t testify in court, and can’t even vote, then they really don’t have any power. So it’s advantageous to keep people illiterate and uneducated. But Christians, because we’re people of the Bible, we believe that everybody should be able to read the Bible. We are people of literacy. And so wherever Christianity has spread, literacy has spread. Education has spread. For over half of the first years of our nation’s history, the schools were Christian because Christians were the only ones doing education. And the majority of the first universities that were founded, now known as the Ivy League, they were all Christian schools.
So I find it interesting when people say, “Christians are the worst thing that ever happened.” Well, why is that? “Well, I was in my house reading the newspaper, and I realized that they were doing bad things and not treating people with dignity, value, and respect, or being charitable.” Well, you hypocrite. Those are our ideas. You stole them. (Laughter) You stole them. If it wasn’t for the influence of Christianity, you couldn’t read. You wouldn’t own a house. You wouldn’t believe in the rule of law. You wouldn’t have a concept of charity.
I mean, think with me about other countries that believe in the rule of karma and not charity. You do something bad, you reincarnate, and then you suffer to pay back your negative karmic debt. What that doesn’t lead to is benevolence and charity because I don’t want to ruin your karma by ending your suffering, because that’ll mean you’ve gotta reincarnate again and then pay double. I have been to India. I’ve been in the Hindu context where people are literally going to the bathroom in the sewer, and eating out of the dumpster, and homeless kids are everywhere.
And you say, “Why doesn’t somebody do something?” Oh, we don’t want to ruin their karma. As Christians we go, “No way. We feed people. We house people. We clean up the water. We build them houses. That’s what – that’s the right thing to do.” Not if you believe logically consistent in the doctrine of karma. They’re suffering because of some past evil, and if we interfere with their suffering we will prolong their suffering. The most humane thing to do is to let them suffer. So when the tsunami hits, we don’t send food and water and shelter for those that remain. We let them suffer because obviously they’re paying God back…”