Positive Effects of the Christian World View
Religion has been blamed for much that is wrong in this world if you would believe the atheists and agnostics. Christianity has often been criticized as being divisive and the cause of much strife. Barna Research reveals that only 6% of non-Christians between the ages of 16 and 29 have a good impression of the Christian faith and within that same age group only 3% have a favorable view of Evangelicals. While I am not condoning any evil that those people have done that espouse the name of Christ, I would suggest that Christianity has done far more good than most people realize. And if Christ is who He claims to be, we should expect no less.
Contrary to popular belief, Christianity is far from an authoritarian and repressive faith that promotes fanaticism and religious warfare, while trying to stop science and free inquiry. The interesting thing is that the very freedom of speech which allows me to write these words is by and large a by-product of the Christian worldview.
From the earliest days Gods people have had hearts of compassion. The early Jerusalem church appointed deacons to care for the poor, the widows and all those who were in need. (Acts 6:1). Indeed James, in his epistle said that:
"Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in distress, and to keep oneself unstained from the world."
Of course, this is not unique to the New Testament. The God of the Bible revealed many times in the Old Testament that He cared for the widows and orphans, those unable to take care of themselves in the society in which they lived. And God expects his people of all ages to do the same. Indeed, many of His people have taken on the challenge.
I can choose from many areas in order to show how Christianity has literally changed the world for the better. Morality and ethics, human rights, health care, art, music, government, literature, social welfare and reform, families, Science, law, economics, education and the very sanctity of human life itself have been forever affected in every society in which the Christian religion has taken root. I can only comment on a few in this article, or it might become a book.
I. Human Rights
Christ's teachings on love, compassion and doing unto others what you would have others do unto you are central to an understanding of how His people have been such agents for change. Jesus' teachings coupled with the Judeo-Christian belief of man created in the image of God have revolutionized thinking in the world as we know it. For example, infanticide and abortion were common in the Greco-Roman culture and many other ancient cultures. Both of these were condemned by early Christian literature and Bishop Basil of Caesarea outlawed infanticide in 374. Pedophilia was unashamedly practiced by both the Greek and Roman cultures. Today, we call that child molestation, widely due to the influence of Christ's followers.
The Roman gladiatorial games were spectacles of horrible brutality. Most people, whether Christian or not, would recoil at watching them today. That is due to the idea of the sacredness of human life, which lead later emperors to ban these once popular games. Also, the concept of the eating of human flesh and human sacrifice was once widespread in many pagan cultures. Now it is almost completely a thing of the past due to the value that Christianity has placed on human beings created in Gods image.
The status of women has also been elevated because of the Christian worldview. In ancient times, women were little more than property. Wives were not allowed to speak in public in ancient Greece. Baby girls were expendable and often killed or left to die. The New Testament concept of all being one in Christ, as well as the concept of husband and wife being a picture of Christ and His Church, have forever altered man's view of women. Nowhere else, before the Christian Scriptures, would you find the concept of sacrificially loving your wife.
Because of the teachings of Christ and how he treated women with respect, He raised the dignity of women to heights previously not thought of. Christ befriended women and even talked with them in public. This was not acceptable for the Jewish man to do. The early church gave women freedoms unheard of in the Jewish and Roman cultures surrounding them.
II. Charity and Compassion
I have already mentioned the early Jerusalem Church and its giving to the poor, widows and the sick. But that has continued to this day. The Romans thought that helping the sick was a sign of weakness. The early Christians saw it as doing it to Christ Himself. And they saw the saving of lives as another way to save souls as well.
By the 6th century A.D., most of the larger cities of Christendom had hospitals. And they were the first known voluntary charitable institutions. Later in history, the first Protestant hospital was built at Kaiserwerth in Germany. It is at this institution that Florence Nightingale received her training. The story of Florence Nightingale is still, to this day, an inspiration to any person who would pursue the noble profession of nursing.
John Henry Dunant was a Christian, who with four associates, founded the American Red Cross in 1864. Dunant also negotiated the Geneva convention for the care and treatment of wounded soldiers and was the co-winner of the first Nobel Prize for Peace in 1901.
Other Bible-believing Christians in the 18th and 19th centuries were responsible for much good. They tackled a wide variety of social issues such as illiteracy, the abolition of slavery, adult education, treatment of alcoholics and prison reform. It was in 1844 that the Young Men's Christian Association was formed, followed by the YWCA ten years later. And in 1865 a London minister, William Booth left his pastorate to take his message to the streets to reach the poor, the homeless, the destitute and the hungry. Today the Salvation Army is in 106 nations around the world.
Jesus was not discriminatory in who he taught. Both men and women came under his instruction. And later in history, it was bishops who taught things like doctrine, rhetoric, logic, math, geometry, music, grammar and astronomy. During the Reformation men like Luther and Calvin advocated universal state-sponsored education. It was Luther who told authorities that children should be compelled to attend school. Now the Western world has this concept in their laws.
Benedictine monks were the people who started the universities in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. And some of the most respected universities in the world today began as Christian institutions: Harvard and Yale for example. The interesting thing is that all the way up through 1932, out of 182 colleges in the United States, 168 of them were founded by Christian denominations.
It is very interesting that modern Science as we know it today would not be possible if not for the Christian worldview and yet many people who espouse atheistic evolutionary philosophy want to use Science to destroy religion. For 1500 years Aristotle's thinking was dominant among philosophers and Scientists. He believed that true knowledge was only acquired through the deductive process of the mind. He felt that the inductive method, used by Science today, required manual work in a lower realm. It was Christian philosophers that linked rationality with the empirical, inductive method. It was their belief that predictability and order could only be achieved in a universe made and ordered by a rational Being.
Also, if you look at the pagan world, earlier in history, they believed that there were spirits living in and through nature, controlling it. The Christian view is that God created the universe and is separate from it. They also took their understanding from the Genesis account of creation that man was given dominion over creation and were Gods representatives to care for the world.
All of this lead to the distinctively Christian approach to reality that allowed the Scientific community to develop Scientific laws. If the universe is governed rationally and predictably, then there must be laws man can discover.
Thank God for Christianity
As I have stated earlier, these are only a few of the contributions made by the followers of Jesus Christ. There is no getting around the fact that this world is a better place because of Jesus. And that cannot be plausibly denied by the most ardent of atheists or agnostics.
Just check out the 2000 year track record which continues even up to this present day in which we live. There are people out there changing the world because they believe to be true Jesus' claims to be the eternal Son of God, who loved us so much that he was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for us on the cross. And their belief in the risen Lord compels them to acts of service and self-sacrifice.
The world has yet to see the wonderful differences still to come due to the visit of the Son of God to this earth more than two millennia ago. That is because He tells us that He will come again. This indeed will be the greatest change for the better this world has ever known.
© 2011 Jeff Shirley
Jeff Shirley (author) from Hesperia, Michigan on April 23, 2018:
Well said Rodric. Thanks for stopping by!!
Rodric Anthony from Surprise, Arizona on April 23, 2018:
Christianity is a fulfillment of prophecy. In the last days before the coming of Jesus, God promised His spirit would be poured out on all flesh. There is no greater fulfillment of that than the influence of Christianity on the world. God has raised the standard of living for much of the world by the direct and indirect application of principle of Christianity and through advances in science cultivated by people reared in Christian influenced cultures.
Jeff Shirley (author) from Hesperia, Michigan on May 28, 2016:
That is so true! And we don't even have to look at terrorists groups to see it. Examples are in our culture here in America.
M. Victor Kilgore on February 24, 2016:
Great hub! I cringe to think about how dark this world would be without the Light of Jesus Christ and true Christianity in it. In truth, we see many examples of the darkness without Him all around us...ie ISIS, crime, and blatant rejection of His morals.
Jeff Shirley (author) from Hesperia, Michigan on November 26, 2013:
I agree that true Christians are those who have done things in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ that have changed the world. True conversion leads to a changed life and a desire to serve the One who gave that life. Thanks j. Williams for your comments.
j. williams on November 26, 2013:
God did not creat robots. He allows anyone to do whatever they want to. Many have decided to seek and find God with all their heart and soul. Those find God and his son Jesus Christ. After becoming a follower of Jesus, one can still do whatever he wants to but those who have truly found God want to serve this one and only God, still human and make mistakes (commit sin) but confess, repent and move on striving to be like Jesus till we die. It has been those living for Jesus that have so changed this world for the better
Jeff Shirley (author) from Hesperia, Michigan on March 06, 2013:
The point is that the Christian worldview has made an impact on this planet in every culture that it has come into. Because of it's teaching that all people are created in the image of God, it has lead to many movements, including the anti-slavery and equal rights laws of this land. Though cultures sometimes change slowly, the very fact that they change at all comes from a change of thinking about issues that impact the lives of all the people. God bless.
Haha Science on March 04, 2013:
Non of these 'teachings' came into effect after Jesus 'died'. A lot of your points only became effective in the past 100-200 years. I forgot how all the slavery issues came from atheists, and also the fact that women were second class citizens of this planet until they fought for themselves.
Jeff Shirley (author) from Hesperia, Michigan on November 01, 2012:
Thanks for your input.
Bansaw on November 01, 2012:
This is a good site that documents the profound effect on Western society by Christians.
Jeff Shirley (author) from Hesperia, Michigan on October 21, 2012:
While I must admit, I probably don't know the history of the native Americans as much as you do, I'd be willing to bet it is a history which included war, hatred and bigotry just like the history of the rest of the world. Mankind throughout the world is the same. All of us are sinners and capable of the most vile things, which is why Christ had to die.
As far as the rotten things done in the name of Christ, the Lord Himself said that many would call Him Lord and at the end of time He will tell them: "Depart from me for I never knew you." While no Christian is perfect, Jesus said that his true disciples will be known by their fruits and by their love.
Christianity has indeed done more good than harm, but it has done so through the true followers of Jesus Christ. Thanks for the conversation.
Mr. Happy from Toronto, Canada on October 21, 2012:
Greetings again Mr. GodTalk,
"what the world was like before He arrived" - my people were just fine. I am sure, if You ask ANY people of the First Nations here in the Americas, if they were better off without Christianity ... well, just find one Native person and ask them yourself.
Angry? No. Disappointing at the lies and deception, yes.
I value many of the teaching in the Bible but not all (have read it a few times, in a couple of languages) and I value some Christian individuals but overall, I am not for Institutionalized religions. I am not for the collection plate - my Gods do not ask for money ...
There are just so many rotten things about the way Christianity has manifested itself ... I mean, the Bishop's quote says everything. And most Christians defend the doings of their fellow faith believers blindly - that is what I have to speak-out against.
If You were called an infidel, I would speak-out against that. And when You (or your Bible) calls people wicked sinners, I speak-out against that as well. We need to speak-out against injustice, blind-followers, malicious acts (pedophile priests, corruption in the Vatican, etc.) and so on. The time of abuse by the Christian establishment is over. Two thousand years was enough. The same may be said about Islam as well, please do not think that I am targeting Christianity only.
On a last note, I am just curious to know: do You use banks? If You wish to learn more about my question here You can take a look at my article "On Profit: What do Spiritual Books Say?"
Cheers and all the best!
Thank You for the conversation - I enjoyed it.
Jeff Shirley (author) from Hesperia, Michigan on October 20, 2012:
You seem angry Mr. Happy. Jesus Christ and His teachings have become so much a part of our culture that we forget what the world was like before He arrived. What Jesus taught about love and truth were radical for His time, and are still radical today. I don't deny that His followers have done a lot of bad things in His name, but that doesn't make the religion that He started wrong and it doesn't make the thousands of contributions any less astounding. Indeed this world would be a much darker place if the true followers of Jesus Christ had not made such an impact on the cultures of the world. My article only scratched the surface.
And I don't completely agree with the good bishop that you quote. There are still today many followers of Jesus Christ that are not only engaging the world around them, they are helping to transform many lives for the better across the world. Thanks for stopping by. God bless.
Mr. Happy from Toronto, Canada on October 20, 2012:
"There is no going back. You can't sit anymore in churches listening to stogy liturgy. They put you to sleep. Most of these churches are museums with floorshows. They are a caricature of what Jesus intended. Jesus would be turning the money-changing tables in their vestibules. Those in the church may be good-hearted and even well-meaning, but they are ignoring the urgent, beckoning call to engage with the world." - Bishop George Packard.
I agree with this Bishop.
Mr. Happy from Toronto, Canada on October 20, 2012:
"Religion has been blamed for much that is wrong in this world, if you would believe the atheists and agnostics." - I am neither and still think that a good spiritual belief (Christianity) has resulted in way too much pain (killings, torture, etc) , world-wide.
"The interesting thing is that the very freedom of speech which allows me to write these words is by and large a by product of the Christian world view." - I wrote briefly in my comments on your other article that my ancestors, the Dacian people also suffered from the invasion of Christianity into our kingdom. Just like it happened not so long ago with the people of the First Nations in the Americas, my ancestors were killed, our temples were burned down, all written material stolen and some is to this day "lost in the Vatican archives". It's freedom of speech if the Vatican permits it. Haha!! Look at all the corruption issues which have been revealed lately: "corruption at the highest levels", at the Vatican and the Pope's butler had to steal the Pope's documents to reveal the matter - I am sure You have heard about this in the news in the past couple of months.
You wrote about the "sacredness of human life"in respect to the gladiator games but what happened to that sacredness during the Inquisition? I guess it was a lapse of memory on part of Christianity ... or a lapse of memory for today's Christians. Repent.
"Because of the teachings of Christ and how he treated women with respect, he raised the dignity of women to heights previously not thought of." - You must be kidding here. If I am right, Roman Catholics just recently started allowing Bishops to be women (or did they?) and I think if You are a Greek Orthodox and a woman, You can not be a priestesses. The only reason Christianity has relaxed its claws on the freedom of women is because of the Feminist movement in the west.
Thank You for mentioning the Red Cross - I have donated money to them before but because they lost their Christian connotation over the years. And here, let me say that I do not deny that Christianity has done a lot of good in this world but if You need to feed me with one hand and whip me with the other, or feed me while killing other people - no thanks.
About education, as I said earlier: the culture of my ancestors was nearly lost, just like the Native people in the Americas too ... it is true that Christianity promoted education: Its Own propaganda/education, while destroying other cultures.
Science - great topic. Thank You for bringing it up.
You must have heard of Galileo: "He was tried by the Inquisition, found "vehemently suspect of heresy", forced to recant, and spent the rest of his life under house arrest." And all the guy was trying to say was that the world was round and not flat. Haha!!! Geez ... the backwardness, lies and deception which this religion helped create ...
Conclusion: Let's allow everyone to believe what they wish and not insult anyone, kill anyone, etc. Let us be compassionate, loving and respectful human beings, irrespective of our personal beliefs.
All the very best!
Jeff Shirley (author) from Hesperia, Michigan on September 17, 2011:
Thanks for your comments. It is my hope that my writing will encourage the faithful, as well as lead others to a knowledge of the truth.
Deidre Shelden from Texas, USA on September 17, 2011:
A great topic! There is so much out there speaking against Christian faith. Nice to see something like this posted :).
Jeff Shirley (author) from Hesperia, Michigan on January 11, 2011:
Obviously, I differ with you or I would not have written this Hub. And I cannot speak authoritatively about Islam of the 9th to 11th centuries, but I would point out that some adherents to Islam, like some adherents to Christianity have not always been the shining examples that you point out. That says nothing about the belief system and everything about the adherents.
Also, I acknowledged in this Hub that I didn't condone the evils done in the name of Christ. My point was to show that the good far outweighs the bad. You don't have to take my word for it. The record speaks for itself. And remember, this article only touched the surface. There has been at least one whole book written on the subject that I know of. There may be more.
Christianity, or rather the Christians who follow the teachings of Christ have literally changed the world
for the better. For that I don't praise them but God.
Rand Zacharias from Vernon, British Columbia on January 10, 2011:
As much as Jesus may be the answer, Christianity is still a problem.
Polarizing westerners and easterners by not following the words of Jesus, but rather personal interpretations of the bible have caused many wars, martyrdoms and persecutions of, now famous, scientists.
Ask Galileo, Copernicus, and how many more, if you could, why was it so hard to take the "human-centred" ideal of the universe to a different place in thought?
Islam, in its early beginnings sought knowledge and beauty to a much greater degree. Check out the development of Spain, in the 9th to 11th Cent. A C E. Spain, became al Andulas, and the Christian leaders of the time were aghast at the technology, architecture, standard of living, cleanliness, etc, etc.
Christianity hasn't always been the greatest influence on the planet--tho' the words and teachings of Jesus, may well be.