Have you ever stopped to consider what the world would look like if Jesus had never been born? Would we really be better off like some atheists imply?
Consider what the world was like before Jesus came: it was a barbaric place, with many major religions sacrificing their children and practicing cannibalism. A world where many kings claimed to be gods and demanded to be worshiped. A world where abusive slavery was a universally-accepted practice.
The world looks a bit different 2,000 years after Jesus doesn’t it? For example:
Where is the king ruling today who claims to be god? There are none, except Jesus – the King of kings and Lord of lords. Perhaps this is from Christians declaring that ONLY Jesus is LORD and deserving of worship?
Where is the major religion that practices child sacrifice today? There are none. Every nation where Christ’s followers have brought His message, child sacrifice has ended.
Although there are countless more ways that Jesus has changed the world, here’s seven:
1. Charity: Prior to Christ, organized charity as we know it today did not exist. Although organized charity abounds today, it is but a reminder of the influence Christ has had on this earth through His followers. One scholar, Dr. Martineau, “exhaustively searched through historical documents and concluded that antiquity has left no trace of any organized charitable effort.” (1)
2. Hospitals: Christians following Jesus’ command to “love thy neighbor” have also had a profound impact on the rise of modern hospitals and medical care. A look at the major encyclopedias finds that Christians were essential to bringing about modern hospitals. An article on PubMed.gov also admits, “It is to the Christians that one must turn for the origin of the modern hospital.” (2)
3. Music: The influence on music from those who have been impacted by Jesus Christ is immense. A notable atheist professor at Harvard had to admit that the world of music would be “infinitely weakened” without Christ. (3) Just thinking of works like Handel’s “Messiah” and the beautiful, historic Christmas carol’s should remind us of this truth.
4. Science: Christians like Louis Pasteur, Isaac Newton, Robert Boyle and countless others impacted this world with major discoveries in chemistry, biology, medicine, etc. But they weren’t just scientists who happened to be Christians. Instead, their conviction that universe was created by God led them to study it more to learn more about God, and harness the full potential of His creation. (4)
5. America & Religious Liberty: If Jesus had never been born, America would not exist as we know it. Why? Because in 1620, around 100 Christians boarded a ship to America and blessed us with a government that protects religious freedom. In the Declaration of Independence they also acknowledged God as the source of liberty, giving man no right to take away what God had given: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men”. (5)
6. Literacy & Education: Harvard, Yale and Princeton were all founded by Christians for the purpose of equipping believers for service in every part of life. Harvard’s stated purpose was:“Let every Student be plainly instructed, and earnestly pressed to consider well, the main end of his life and studies is, to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life, and therefore to lay Christ in the bottom, as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and Learning.” This statement is still posted as an archive on their website! (6)
The Christian emphasis on literacy for the purpose of personal Bible study led to an almost universal literacy rate in America. As Columbia University Professor Lawrence A. Cremin found, “‘At a time when estimates of adult male literacy in England ran from 48 percent in the rural western midlands to 74 percent in the towns . . . adult male literacy in the American colonies seems to have run from 70 percent to virtually 100 percent …” (7)
7.Status of Women: Christian missionaries have regularly taught people to read, in order for them to be able to study the Bible for themselves. In India, however, missionaries were found teaching women to read the Bible and were asked by the natives: “Why are you teaching girls? You may as well teach cows to read!” This demeaning view of women was also seen in the practice of “Sati”, where a widow was expected to be burned alive when her husband died.
After first witnessing this horrific practice in 1799, Missionary William Carey launched a strong protest of the practice. 30 years later, widow-burning officially came to an end when Governor-General William Bentinck, an active Christian, “had the stern and unalterable determination… that this atrocious rite should cease absolutely and immediately. (8)
So whether it be abolishing slavery, ending cannibalism, stopping child sacrifice, organizing charity, or founding modern hospitals – all these things happened as the Gospel of Jesus Christ has transformed lives. And there can be no Gospel, without Jesus having come to this world.
If you think this world is a scary place now, imagine it infinitely worse without the profound influence of Christ’s life. Put your trust in Him today, and seek to use your gifts to affect every area of life for His glory!
—-End notes—1. James Kennedy and Jerry Newcombe, What If Jesus Had Never Been Born? (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1994) 29. 2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14509111 3. What if Jesus had never been born? Dir. D. James Kennedy. Truth in Action, 2011 4. http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/arj/v1/n1/louis-pasteurs-views 5. http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration_transcript.html 6. http://www.hcs.harvard.edu/~gsascf/shield.html 7. Lawrence A. Cremin, American Education: The Colonial Experience, (NY: Harper & Row, 1970) 546. 8. http://www.christianitytoday.com/ch/1992/issue36/3635.html