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    Introduction

    W.E.H. Lecky has commented on the Enlightenment that “The greatest religious change in the history of mankind” took place “under the eyes of a brilliant galaxy of philosophers and historians who disregarded as contemptible an Agency (Christianity) which all men must now admit to have been . . . the most powerful moral lever that has ever been applied to the affairs of men.”{1}

    And yet, the West is in the process of abandoning its Judeo-Christian base which was the very source of this social development (Is this good or bad? Can we even ask such questions of history?).

    The Negative Charge:
    Christianity has been a repressive force against the advancement of civilization.

    A. Karl Marx termed Christianity an opiate of the masses, a tool of exploitation.

    B. Sigmund Freud called Christianity an illusion, a crutch, a source of guilt and pathologies.

    C. Bertrand Russell: “I say quite deliberately that the Christian religion, as organized in its churches, has been and still is the principal enemy of the moral progress in the world.”{2}

    D. Arnold Toynbee: “When the Greco-Roman world was converted to Christianity, the divinity was drained out of nature and concentrated in a single, transcendent God. Man’s greedy impulse to exploit nature used to be held in check by his awe, his pious worship of nature. Now monotheism, as enunciated in Genesis, has removed the age-old restraint.”{3}

    E. Gloria Steinem observed that human potential must replace God by the year 2000.

    F. Lyn White: “Christians, in absolute contrast to ancient paganism and Asia’s religions, not only established a dualism of man and nature, but also insisted that it is God’s will that man exploit nature for his proper ends.”{4} “The crisis will not abate until we reject the Christian axiom that nature has no reason for existence save to serve man.”{5}

    Summary: Christianity. . .
    1. Is a crutch
    2. Impedes science
    3. Is a source of bigotry
    4. Causes wars
    5. Causes pollution and animal extinction
    6. Contributes to the population explosion
    7. Causes inflation.

    Analysis of the Charges

    (Unfortunately, some of the charges are true.)

    A. The church, as an institution, has not always been a positive influence for social change.

    1. Two major errors:
    Platonism — The spiritual sphere is the real world. Matter is evil. Thus, the body is the prison of the soul. This sacred/secular distinction has resulted in the “pie in the sky” religion which has at times not been concerned about social reform.
    Humanism — Views the physical and social needs of man as the only importance. The institutional church has, at times, failed at preaching regeneration.{6}
    2. Jesus was concerned for the total man. Should we put a “new suit” on the man, or a “new man” in a suit? Jesus would have done both—put a new suit on a new man! (See the Gospels).
    B. When the church is assimilated by the culture in which it finds itself, it loses its cutting edge. Example: Under Constantine in the 4th century, “The church became a little worldly and the world became a little churchy.”

    C. The institutional church and true Christianity are not always synonymous. Professing Christians many not live up to the ideals and practices of its Founder (“Faith without works is dead,” Jas. 2:26).

    1. Renaissance popes are not Christianity; St. Francis of Assisi is.
    2. Pizarro and Cortez are not Christianity, Bartolome de Las Casas is.
    3. Captain Ball, a Yankee slave captain, is not Christianity, Wilburforce is.
    D. Jesus Himself foretold that “tares” would be won among the “wheat.” (Matt. 13:25-39 ff).

    Christianity’s Positive Impact

    A. The Rise of Modern Science

    1. Science rose in the West, not in the East. Why?
    2. Whitehead and Oppenheimer insisted that modern science could not have been born except in a Christian milieu.
    3. Many pioneering scientists were not only theists, but Christians: Newton, Pasteur, Kepler, Paschal, Fleming, Edwards.
    4. Concepts conducive to scientific inquiry were expressly Christian:
    a. Positive attitude toward the world.
    b. Awareness of order (i.e. cause/effect, cf. Rom. 1:20).
    c. Views of man as a superintendent of nature.
    d. Positive attitude toward progress (“Have dominion . . .” [Gen. 1:28ff])
    B. The Development of Higher Education

    1. The Puritans were 95 per cent literate.
    2. The University movement and the quest for knowledge (Berkeley, Descartes, the British Empiricists, Locke & Reid).
    3. 100 of the first 110 universities in America were founded for the express purpose of propagating the Christian religion.
    4. The American university emerged from American Seminaries (Witherspoon, Princeton; Timothy Dwight, Yale).
    C. Christianity and the Arts: the influence has been so broad as to be inestimable.

    D. Social Change

    1. Means of Social Change
    a. Reform—moderately effective, but slow. Not always good.
    b. Revolution—more rapid, but usually bloody.
    c. Reneneration—Changing persons changes society. Jesus said, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. . .That which is born of flesh is flesh: that which is born of spirit is spirit” (John 3:3,6). Paul spoke of the Christian rebirth in this way, “Do not be conformed to this world-system, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind . . .” (Romans 12:2).
    d. There is a difference between professing Christianity and possessing a personal relationship with Christ.

    2. Examples in the Early Church
    a. In 252 A.D., the Christians of Corinth saved the city from the plague by responding to the needs of those who were simply dragged into the street.
    b. In 312 A.D., half of the Roman Empire came under the political and social influence of Christianity under the rule of Constantine.
    c. Early Christians stood in opposition to infanticide, degradation of women, gladiatorial combats, slavery, etc.
    3. Examples in the Middle Ages (Consider the Monks, not the knights.)
    a. Monasteries served as hospitals, places of refuge.
    b. Monastic schools trained scribes to preserve manuscripts.
    c. Monasteries also developed agricultural skills and knowledge.
    d. The Scholastics remain a pivotal period of intellectual growth.
    e. A time of major artistic development: architecture, music, literature.

    4. Examples during the Reformation
    a. A myriad of forces were at work in the vast social and religious shift known as the Reformation (i.e. Luther, printing, Gutenburg Bible).
    b. Calvin and the other reformers must not be ignored. Says Fred Graham in The Constructive Revolutionary, “Economic, scientific, and political historians . . . generally know little about Calvin’s own secular ideas. They assume that it was simply the rupture with tradition made by Calvinists which produced certain changes of life-styles which, in turn, affected society in Protestant countries in later centuries. But the heart of this study shows clearly that Calvin himself was aware of the epochal character of his own (social and economic) teaching and of the transforming implications of the Genevan pattern which he had a hand in forming” (11).
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    contd.

    5. Examples in Colonial America.
    a. The First Great Awakening (1725-75) raised up many American universities. 100 of the first 110 American universities were founded expressly founded for the purpose of training men to propagate the Christian faith.

    b. American educational and political systems, Christian influences.
    1) Colonial education was classical and Christian, with the Bible and its principles primary to all learning. The New England Primer appeared about 1690 and was almost universally adopted. It was the chief beginning reading book for American schools for over 100 years. The contents clearly show its religious character and purpose which included forty pages containing the Westminster Shorter Catechism.
    2) Framers of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence. The vast majority at the Constitutional Convention (55 delegates) were members of Protestant churches: 28 Episcopalians, eight Presbyterians, seven Congregationalists, two Lutherans, two Dutch Reformed, two Methodists, two Roman Catholics, three Deists, one unknown.

    c. The Wesley-Whitefield revivals resulted in millions of Christian conversions. Wesley, the founder of Methodism, was converted after hearing the preface of Luther’s commentary on Romans read at Aldersgate: “About a quarter before nine, which they were describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, and Christ alone, for my salvation, and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine.”

    d. Wesley preached the social responsibilities of Christian piety:
    1772 – Slavery was judicially excluded from England, 14,000 freed
    1792 – Conditions aboard slave ships were regulated by law
    1808 – The English slave trade was abolished.
    1831 – All European slave trade abolished. England spent 15 million pounds for enforcement, even making payments to Spain and Portugal to stop the trade.
    1833 – Slavery abolished in British Empire: 45 million pounds paid in compensation to free 780,933 slaves. Wilburforce, along with Buxton, Macaulay, and Clark . . . all evangelicals who were converted under Wesley’s ministry, were the top leaders in ending slavery (This British action in the 1830’s profoundly affected American attitudes which resulted in the Civil War).

    e. Prison reform: John Howard, Elizabeth Fry (England); Fliedner (Germany). Florence Nightingale, the mother of modern nursing, was trained in one of Fliedner’s schools in Kaiserswerth.

    f. Labor reform: Anthony Ashley Cooper (Earl of Shaftesbury, self-described “Evangelical of the Evangelicals” pioneered child-labor laws, prohibited women working in the mines, established mental health sanitarium, built parts and libraries).

    g. Harriett Beecher Stowe. Daughter of a preacher, married to a preacher; all her brothers were preachers. Her book, Uncle Tom’s Cabin ignited the minds and imaginations of people in both North and South. “So this is the little lady who made this big war,” said Abraham Lincoln upon meeting her for the first time. Her book was the first great American bestseller. (Initial print run was 300,000 copies. Sold three million copies in America, then 40 million worldwide in 40 languages).

    h. The Third Great Awakening (1858-59) produced a rash of missionary and philanthropic organizations in the U. S. and England:
    • Barnardo’s Homes (world’s largest orphanage system)
    • William Booth’s Salvation Army
    • Henri Dunant, a student evangelist in Geneva, founded the Red Cross in 1865
    • YMCA was founded in 1844 and grew greatly
    • The missionaries from William Carey on:
    —CMS (Christian Missionary Society) taught 200,000 to read in East Africa in one generation
    —Secured the abolition of widow-burning and child sacrifice
    —Brought medicine to the world
    —Actually founded the educational systems in China, Japan, and Korea.

    i. Today: World Vision, Wycliffe Bible Translators, Mission agencies, Parachurch groups, Denominational missionaries, medical personnel, teachers, and volunteers.
  3. SubscriberFMF
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    22 Aug '16 07:39
    Christianity has had considerable social and historical impacts.
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    22 Aug '16 07:531 edit
    Originally posted by FMF
    Christianity has had considerable social and historical impacts.
    yes but its being supplanted by humanism.

    Humanist weddings have become increasingly popular in Scotland, and they may outnumber Church of Scotland weddings if current trends continue, says the Humanist Society Scotland.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/0/22271809
  5. SubscriberSuzianne
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    22 Aug '16 08:32
    Originally posted by robbie carrobie
    contd.

    5. Examples in Colonial America.
    a. The First Great Awakening (1725-75) raised up many American universities. 100 of the first 110 American universities were founded expressly founded for the purpose of training men to propagate the Christian faith.

    b. American educational and political systems, Christian influences.
    1) Colonial educa ...[text shortened]... es, Parachurch groups, Denominational missionaries, medical personnel, teachers, and volunteers.
    Is this your own work, or is this the work of someone else?

    I'd like to see just who it is that you listen to.
  6. SubscriberFMF
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    22 Aug '16 08:38
    Originally posted by Suzianne
    Is this your own work, or is this the work of someone else?

    I'd like to see just who it is that you listen to.
    It's plagiarized. If you Google it, there are a handful of places he could have copy pasted it from.
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    22 Aug '16 10:39
    Originally posted by FMF
    It's plagiarized. If you Google it, there are a handful of places he could have copy pasted it from.
    I noticed that earlier but couldn't be bother to call him on his intellectual dishonesty, despite the site he got it all from stating that they much be cited in all reproductions of the text.
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    22 Aug '16 11:03
    Originally posted by Suzianne
    Is this your own work, or is this the work of someone else?

    I'd like to see just who it is that you listen to.
    I'll post the link when I get home. Its not my work just something I read on the internet.
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    22 Aug '16 11:08
    Originally posted by divegeester
    I noticed that earlier but couldn't be bother to call him on his intellectual dishonesty, despite the site he got it all from stating that they much be cited in all reproductions of the text.
    I have not claimed that its my work and if you have no interest other than the usual intellectualy stifling and anti Christian petty finger pointing that seems to mar your entire posting history then I suggest that maybe this is not the thread for you and your time might be better spent practicing chess tactical exercises.
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    22 Aug '16 12:08
    Originally posted by robbie carrobie
    I have not claimed that its my work and if you have no interest other than the usual intellectualy stifling and anti Christian petty finger pointing that seems to mar your entire posting history then I suggest that maybe this is not the thread for you and your time might be better spent practicing chess tactical exercises.
    You will see from my post that initially decided not to bring it up, but since two other posters now have, I just added my comments to theirs. you have been called out over your plagiarism in the forum many many times so it's hardly new yeas, so to speak.
  11. SubscriberFMF
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    22 Aug '16 13:01
    Originally posted by robbie carrobie
    I have not claimed that its my work and if you have no interest other than the usual intellectualy stifling and anti Christian petty finger pointing that seems to mar your entire posting history then I suggest that maybe this is not the thread for you and your time might be better spent practicing chess tactical exercises.
    A flurry of your hackneyed catchphrases with only your third not-plagiarized post of the thread. 😛
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    22 Aug '16 15:08
    Originally posted by FMF
    A flurry of your hackneyed catchphrases with only your third not-plagiarized post of the thread. 😛
    must you reduce the thread to your usual dreary fingerpointing?
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    22 Aug '16 15:08
    Originally posted by divegeester
    You will see from my post that initially decided not to bring it up, but since two other posters now have, I just added my comments to theirs. you have been called out over your plagiarism in the forum many many times so it's hardly new yeas, so to speak.
    Lapdog jeester, the faithful hound, reduced to scrimping about for scraps. Say it aint so.
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    22 Aug '16 15:111 edit
    Originally posted by robbie carrobie
    I'll post the link when I get home. Its not my work just something I read on the internet.
    Here is the link as promised. I know nothing about the organisation, I am not affiliated with it in any way and only thought the article was interesting as it provided a fairly concise summation of the social and historical impact of Christianity, now being supplanted by humanism.

    https://www.probe.org/the-social-and-historical-impact-of-christianity/
  15. Standard memberHandyAndy
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    23 Aug '16 01:47
    Originally posted by robbie carrobie
    I'll post the link when I get home. Its not my work just something I read on the internet.
    You stole it? But that's no big deal for you, is it?
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