by The Lord knows those who are His | In 31ad Jesus Christ founded His Church, which was to take His teachings and His message of the coming Kingdom of God to the world (Matthew 28:19-20). Those who were a part of this movement began to be called “Christians” (Acts 11:26).
Christianity Impact on Modern World
Still, the impact of that religion continues to be visible in Western civilization today. Historians of professing Christianity have noted that “by the Middle Ages, Christianity had shaped Western culture, and it would continue to influence culture wherever [its teachings] spread” (Seven Revolutions, Aquilina & Papandrea, pp. 6–7). The charity encouraged by biblical teachings (e.g., Luke 10:30-37) eventually blossomed into hospitals, orphanages, homes for the elderly and care for the poor, the hungry and the homeless (Schmidt, pp. 147–148). Even many of the greatest and most prominent universities of our day were originally founded for “Christian” purposes (Kennedy, p. 40).
And while critics claim the Christian religion impeded the growth of science, history says otherwise. Dr. Rodney Stark, a professor of sociology and comparative religion, states, “the leading scientific figures in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries overwhelmingly were devout Christians who believed it was their duty to comprehend God’s handiwork” (For the Glory of God, p. 123).
Unlike the godless religions of Asia and the capricious gods of other faiths, the God of the Bible was a rational Being whose creation operated on laws that were discoverable and could be applied to solving problems for the benefit of mankind (Psalm 19:1; Proverbs 25:2)—an understanding “essential for the rise of science” (Stark, p. 123).
Modern, atheistic critics can scoff at the beliefs of the Bible and the superstitions of professing Christianity, but they do so while benefitting from living in a culture built on many of the beliefs they detest.
While in many ways it seems on the wane for the moment, the Bible prophesies that this apostate, professing Christianity will once again rise in power, not merely to influence the world, but to conquer it (Revelation 6:1-2), on a path that will take it into conflict with the true Christianity it has sought to leave behind (Revelation 13:11-17).And in a very real way, the turning point in history that the spread of professing Christianity represented may presage a greater turning point to come.
In The Victory of Reason, Rodney Stark advances a revolutionary, controversial, and long overdue idea: that Christianity and its related institutions are, in fact, directly responsible for the most significant intellectual, political, scientific, and economic breakthroughs of the past millennium. In Stark s view, what has propelled the West is not the tension between secular and nonsecular society, nor the pitting of science and the humanities against religious belief. Christian theology, Stark asserts, is the very font of reason: While the world s other great belief systems emphasized mystery, obedience, or introspection, Christianity alone embraced logic and reason as the path toward enlightenment, freedom, and progress.
Western civilization is becoming increasingly pluralistic, secularized, and biblically illiterate. Many people today have little sense of how their lives have benefited from Christianity’s influence, often viewing the church with hostility or resentment. How Christianity Changed the World is a topically arranged Christian history for Christians and non- Christians. Grounded in solid research and written in a popular style, this book is both a helpful apologetic tool in talking with unbelievers and a source of evidence for why Christianity deserves credit for many of the humane, social, scientific, and cultural advances in the Western world in the last two thousand years. Photographs, timelines, and charts enhance each chapter. This edition features questions for reflection and discussion for each chapter.
QUICK OVERVIEW: A survey of the various ways–often unrecognized and overlooked–whereby Christianity has impacted the world, making the world a better place and enriching our everyday living. Formerly titled Under the Influence.
The Rise of Christianity
This – fresh, blunt, and highly persuasive account of how the West was won for Jesus – (Newsweek) is now available in paperback. Stark’s provocative report challenges conventional wisdom and finds that Christianity’s astounding dominance of the Western world arose from its offer of a better, more secure way of life. – Compelling reading – (Library Journal) that is sure to – generate spirited argument – (Publishers Weekly), this account of Christianity’s remarkable growth within the Roman Empire is the subject of much fanfare. – Anyone who has puzzled over Christianity’s rise to dominance…must read it. – says Yale University’s Wayne A. Meeks, for The Rise of Christianity makes a compelling case for startling conclusions. Combining his expertise in social science with historical evidence, and his insight into contemporary religion’s appeal, Stark finds that early Christianity attracted the privileged rather than the poor, that most early converts were women or marginalized Jews and ultimately – that Christianity was a success because it proved those who joined it with a more appealing, more assuring, happier, and perhaps longer life – (Andrew M. Greeley, University of Chicago).
The Lord knows those who are His
Weekly scholarly contribution by anonymous author. You can reach the anonymous author via email at sj77333[at]gmail.com.