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The World That Christianity Made

People like to quote movie lines. Who hasn’t had a friend say, “Hasta la vista, baby”? A favorite of many is Mel Gibson’s cry of “Freedom!” at the end of Braveheart. That scene tells us something about ourselves. William Wallace was publicly hung, drawn, and quartered. In the film, he appears to shout “Freedom!” at the moment the executioner is showing him his own entrails. We cannot be sure, however, because the camera does not show us: it is fixed on Wallace’s pained, but defiant face. What 14th-century Londoners watched up close and personal, we cannot even see represented on the silver screen. Why? Are we not an “anything-goes” people, freer than those benighted medieval Londoners?

We do not watch Wallace being drawn, because we do not want to see others humiliated. We are too nice for that.

This is the thesis of Tom Holland’s, Dominion: How the Christian Revolution Remade the World. Holland hosts history programs on British television and is the author of prize-winning books like Rubicon and Persian Fire. He is a historian of the ancient world, so Dominion, a fantastic 500-page read, is a departure for him. It is a sweeping survey of world history, seeking to explain why we are sweeter than those Londoners of the Middle Ages.

Someone might think a clue to the explanation lies in the government buildings of Washington, D.C.: Enlightenment classicism at its grandest. We are better than the medievals, this person may propose, because they were Christians, but we are heirs to the rational clarity and humanity of Greece and Rome. Indeed, such a person might be very assured, for the message that Christianity stunts and twists our sensibility is spread widely abroad. Yuval Noah Harari is author of Sapiens, a book translated into nearly 50 languages, with over 10 million copies in print. President Barack Obama even wrote the blurb on the back. Harari writes:

In the 300 years from the crucifixion of Christ to the conversion of Emperor Constantine, polytheistic Roman emperors initiated no more than four general persecutions of Christians. Local administrators and governors incited some anti-Christian violence of their own. Still, if we combine all the victims of all these persecutions, it turns out that in the three centuries, the polytheistic Romans killed no more than a few thousand Christians. In contrast, over the course of the next 1,500 years, Christians slaughtered Christians by the millions to defend slightly different interpretations of the religion of love and compassion.

This depiction—tolerant polytheists versus maniacal monotheists—owes much to thinkers like Nietzsche and Heidegger, both of whom sought a return to the ancients. About Christian falsity, Nietzsche writes:

Here you can have an unobserved view into this dark workshop. Wait just another moment, my dear Mr. Daredevil Curiosity: your eyes must first get used to this false shimmering light…There! All right! Now tell us! What is going on down there? There is a cautious, sly, soft mumbling and whispering coming from all corners. It seems to me that lies are being told; a sugary sweetness clings to every sound. Weakness is to be transformed into a merit.

For years, Tom Holland preferred the ancients over Christian “virtue.” However, Dominion relates that these last few years, he has become increasingly disturbed and anxious when researching Athens and Rome. He is now disturbed by ancient cruelty and anxious after realizing that his kind-hearted, benevolent humanitarianism (his wokeness, in other words) is a Christian sentiment. Why are we sweeter than medieval Londoners? Not because we are heirs of Athens, but because we are even more Christian than they were.

St. Paul’s Revolution

Having fallen in love with stories of the glory of the ancients as a boy, Holland now recoils from the pervasive cruelty of the age. No longer a Nietzschean, Holland still thinks Nietzsche—who became a professor of classics at age 24—got his history right. Nietzsche:

It appears to me that the delicacy, even more the hypocrisy of tame domestic animals (by this, I mean modern man, I mean us) is loath to envisage to what extent cruelty constituted the great festivity and pleasure of mankind in earlier days, and even an ingredient in almost all of its pleasures.

Holland’s thesis is that those least likely to feel comfortable acknowledging any debt to Christianity—the woke—are, in fact, Christian revolutionaries. Contrary to the commentariat, Dominion arrestingly claims that Christianity is not conservative, but revolutionary—that Western (or even world) history is best viewed as a series of ruptures wrought by Christian revolutions making us all kinder: “to dream of a world transformed by a reformation, or an enlightenment, or a revolution is nothing exclusively modern. Rather, it is to dream as medieval visionaries dreamed: to dream in the manner of a Christian.”

Put differently, history is really a contending with the writings of St. Paul. Paul’s letters, argues Holland, are the most powerful letters ever written. Penned about a decade after the death of Jesus—the Gospels were written years later—Holland likens them to depth-charges sounding down the ages, scrambling settled patterns of life. For Paul, the crucified criminal Jesus is, in fact, a metaphysical, personal love structuring the core of reality. Love dissolves the distinction between Jew and Greek, slave and free, man and woman. Henceforth, citizenship in the real kingdom would be a matter of belief, not social standing. Paul announced a Spirit permeating all people, no matter their status, and permeating the world: “You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts” (2 Corinthians 3:3).

When set against corruption and injustice, this Spirit, by animating human hearts, has shaken dynasties and, in Holland’s telling, still does. As Nietzsche puts it, the carpet-maker Paul defeated the Roman Empire.

Ancient Cruelties

Glory is what first enticed Holland to study the ancients, enamored as he was of their glamour and danger. He observes that there is nothing in ancient sources that recommends caring for the poor and broken. Quite the opposite, in fact. “It was only by putting others in the shade that a man most fully became a man.” To the ancients, the poor, weak, and sick were objects of contempt. Amongst many examples, he notes that women dreaded running into Roman legionnaires as it invariably meant rape. Ancient fascination with the exhibition of power meant a consecration of violence: “Beauty was everywhere—and invariably it hinted at violence. To blaze like a golden flame, and to attain a godlike pitch of strength and valour: this it was, in the Iliad, to be most fully a man. Physical perfection and moral superiority were indissoluble: this was the assumption.”

This sensibility explains the punishment of crucifixion. The book begins with the startling claim that there is scant historical record about the practice. It is as though it were so shameful the ancients themselves could barely bring themselves to discuss it. What evidence there is, however, is clear: crucifixion was a punishment designed, not merely to kill, but to inflict maximum ridicule and humiliation through torture. Likely an innovation of the Athenians, they were keen to fob off its invention on the Persians. Holland points out that Christian art only started depicting Christ crucified around 400 AD and even then, his body is rendered not broken, but as an athlete in the prime of glory.

The great puzzle—which I am not sure Holland actually explains—is how a religion built around the idea of a crucified God-man came to be adopted by Rome’s aristocracy. That the poor, sick, and enslaved turned to Christianity once Paul had assured them of citizenship in the true kingdom makes sense, but why would a man like Constantine? Holland suggests that monotheism made sense to Constantine—one God, one Emperor—but this does not quite get to the problem of the profound change in taste: “No ancient artist would have thought to honour a Caesar by representing him as Caravaggio represented Peter: tortured, humiliated, stripped almost bare.” I wish Holland had documented a bit more how Roman tastes and mores morphed.

Holland’s History

Dominion moves chronologically. After segments on the ancient and medieval worlds, Holland gets to the most provocative claim: modern Western history—and thus, world history—has been a series of Christian revolutions. This thesis clearly owes something to the eminent American legal historian, Harold J. Berman. Law professor at Harvard and Emory, Berman’s seminal work Law and Revolution—cited in the bibliography—argues that Western law took a decisive turn toward the rule of law during the papacy of Gregory VII. This was no mere wave of an administrative wand, however, but a militarily enforced transformation of property and power. Gregory enforced a new establishment on an old Europe. The same was to happen when Luther caught the Spirit. Then, Gregory’s establishment was on the receiving end, and new forms of social and political organization were put in place by the armies of princes loyal to the talented theologian. For the sake of righting wrongs, Paul, Gregory, and Luther shattered ancient, abiding orders.

Holland’s is not exactly a progressive theory of history. He does not say that each Christian revolution is an improvement on the last; just that each sought to correct wrongs and make us milder. He does not shy away from the gory stories of the blood-letting that happened in each revolution. Nonetheless, each revolution had the same moral core, “a desperation to be cleansed of original sin.” He sees this motivation today in the woke, who ask for forgiveness for their white privilege. Likely, such people are avowedly anti-Christian, but the gesture remains Christian. No Greek or Roman would ask for such forgiveness: it can only happen today because the air we breathe is Christian. “Like dust particles so fine as to be invisible to the naked eye, they were breathed in equally by everyone: believers, atheists, and those who never paused so much as to think about religion.”

A similar case is that of Angela Merkel. As Chancellor of Germany, she opened her country’s borders to one million migrants in 2015. She acted, she argued, without regard to religion: she was no Good Samaritan, just doing what any human being would do given the situation. Holland is quite sure this is false. The brutality of the ancients shows there is no natural law making us good. Holland’s is a bleak outlook. The way of the world is brutality and dread. Yours might be too if, like him, you’d gone to the town of Sinjar to make a TV show—a town where ISIS had crucified Yazidis and, like the ancients, had left the bodies to rot in the sun.

Our meekness and gentleness are hard-earned, the product of centuries of intra-Christian conflict. The woke are naïve if they think rights stand on anything other than historical contingency. The idea of human rights was worked out by Pope Gregory’s canon lawyers. They are an historical artefact, like Christianity itself. Holland is not a believer, but he does want the West, and the woke, to acknowledge their on-going reliance on St. Paul’s belief that a crucified criminal was God.

Our commercial civilization was defended by the likes of David Hume as a world of luxury that made us more humane. It would be interesting to know whether Holland thinks capitalism—doux commerce—was also a Christian revolution? Sadly, the business world is barely mentioned.

The book closes with an idea adopted from J. R. R. Tolkien. Christianity is an “audacity,” a proposal that a defeated corpse is the glory of a universe of love. The very strangeness of this idea reminds Holland of Tolkien’s enigmatic claim that some myths are true. Pauline Christianity is an historical phenomenon, it is a myth, but myths are not lies. In this claim rests our thirst for justice, our sweetness battling against the bleakness of the world.

Reader Discussion

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on February 12, 2020 at 08:09:03 am

[…] The World That Christianity Made […]

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Image of Did Jesus make us soft and beautiful? - Veneration & Refinement: The Ethics of Fashion
Did Jesus make us soft and beautiful? - Veneration & Refinement: The Ethics of Fashion
on February 13, 2020 at 08:30:10 am

"It would be interesting to know whether Holland thinks capitalism—doux commerce—was also a Christian revolution? Sadly, the business world is barely mentioned."

MAcArthur said that America needed to send missionaries to Japan after WWII ended. Sadly they did not, and the Land Of The Rising Sun is now practices moralless capitalism as a result

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TheOriginalDonald
on February 13, 2020 at 11:56:27 am

God chose the Jewish people to spread His spirit. We have done that and we continue to do it, the sacrifice of babies on an altar is no longer practiced, the practice of genocide is widely condemned, rights of women have expanded. This effort on the part of God is not yet complete, but humankind is better today than it has ever been, and we are not as good as we will be in the future. Widespread social changes take generations to become apparent, and even more generations to become the norm.

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Dr. Daniel C. Ashley, PhD
on February 13, 2020 at 11:59:50 am

The "sweetness" of Christianity did nothing to end the subjugation of women, racism, intolerance, war, or slavery for all those centuries when it dominated Europe. How different would society have evolved had the ideas of other philosophies and religions been allowed to evolve over the course of that time? Once Christianity became the state religion of the Roman Empire, freedom of belief and freedom of inquiry evaporated. It wasn't until the invention of the printing press that the circulation of ideas was able to reach a critical mass that it broke the hold of the Catholic Church's monopoly on culture. Europe' political and linguistic fragmentation made it impossible for one power to dominate the continent (some tried of course).

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BeamMeUp
on February 13, 2020 at 12:15:02 pm

Capitalism has lifted more people out of poverty than all the other economic systems combined. Everyone decries the greed needed to drive capitalism, yet embraces the world wide rise in living standards and loves the access to better and more plentiful food.

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Daniel C. Ashley
on February 13, 2020 at 12:26:23 pm

I respond to the comments of BeamMeUp.

In his brief comments, BeamMeUp re-writes history and brings an anachronistic perspective to the conversation. He states "the "sweetness" of Christianity did nothing to end the subjugation of women, racism, intolerance, war or slavery for all those centuries when it dominated Europe."

Let's take this broad generalization apart. Sounds like BeamMeUp would tell us that there was no change in Western society in the medieval period associated with the Cult of the Virgin and with chivalry. Guess those cathedrals dedicated to the Virgin were not sign posts of civilization but evidence of the subjugation of women. I missed BeamMeUp's analysis of the status of women in those tribes that we refer to as "barbarian" who lived on the frontiers of the Roman empire, or for that matter, in the Islamic empire during late antiquity and the medieval period. Those must be the "other philosophies and religions" that weren't allowed to evolve over the course of that time.
BeamMeUp left out the part about monasteries preserving the record of Greece and Rome through copying manuscripts. BeamMeUp left out the part about how civilized the Vikings were when they raided the coasts of Northern Europe, bringing their "other philosophies and religions," which may fairly be said to involve both slavery and the subjection of women.
BeamMeUp doesn't seem to understand that, even at the height of the Roman Empire, most of Europe was illiterate, living as subsistence farmers. The idea that there was "freedom of belief and freedom of inquiry" in the later Roman Empire is simply wrong. BeamMeUp, that is why they crucified people.
BeamMeUp should read Peter Brown's The Rise of Western Christendom: Triumph and Diversity 200-1000 AD. But I'm not sure he is interested.

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Polybius
on February 13, 2020 at 13:41:03 pm

Polybius I agree with you. BeamMeUp says the freedom of Rome...really? Does he not know the history of Rome? Without slaves Rome would have never existed. They had slaves to do manual work, they used slaves to do research. "Nomenclatures" was the name of slaves who's only duty was to remember the names of business acquaintances and family members for their masters. They had slaves who's only duty was to sit around and look pretty. As for other religions and philosophies? What about Baal worship? They used to place babies in iron statues of a bull then set a fire beneath the bull basically cooking the baby alive...they did this as the parents watched. Is this the religion BeamMeUp speaks of...really? Middle east religions of that time had temples in which the women were basically prostitutes and you can imagine what what was done and it was considered and act of their religion...is this what he is talking about?

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DJLTX
on February 13, 2020 at 14:39:34 pm

Ummmh!

Best check your history as it appears that Islam far outdid Christianity when it came to slavery. Islam played a very substantial role in the African slave trade with the New World. Indeed, recent research indictaes that the primary "harvesting" sites were those controlled by Muslims.

And let us not forget that the Islamists ALSO took millions of Europeans and North African Berbers into slavery. In fact, the Koran speaks somewhat approvingly of subjugating your enemies / apostates to slavery.

And BTW: While guttenburgs (my own self) press played a significant role in the fragmentation of Europe, it may be more properly attributed to the power ambitions (unsuccessful, of course) and strategies of the Hapsburg Dynasty that assured that no single power would consolidate Europe.

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Guttenburgs Press and Brewery
on February 13, 2020 at 15:22:08 pm

Polybius:

Bravo, good Sir! BeamMeUp may have suffered both temporal and historical disorientation as his molecules were being reassembled.

One may also ask BemMeUp why, Dear God, WHY did the inhabitants of europe abandon the alluvial floodplains of their homelands and retreat to the mountaintops? One must also understand that these same floodplains only became productive as a result of the pioneering work of Christian monks who developed and later taught the inhabitants how to plow, how to provide proper drainage, and YES, even in those ancient days, how to rotate crops. WHY would they abandon these fertile fields, the product of centuries of effort.

Perhaps, it had something to do with Muslim Slave raiders carrying off their comrades into subjugation and slave markets which prospered under the *Golden* Age of Islam.

Then again, even to this day, under Sharia, a woman's evidence is suspect, if even allowed in Sharia Courts. In the case of rape, her evidence is only permitted if it is supported by the testimony of a male. Gee, how does that work out?

No, BeamMeUp apparently has had too much anti-western, politically correct BS beamed into his faculties. I doubt that he would be interested in the book you cite or any of the many other fine books / research on both the social, political and scientific contributions of Christianity.

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gabe
on February 13, 2020 at 18:08:40 pm

Well, this subject has interested me since I was about ten or eleven and began thinking about the things I was thinking about. Is Reality relative as some people were saying? Is there a God and if so who or what would that be? My family was attending a Lutheran church at that time and I was confronted with ideas about God and religion that were challenging to me. I had no problem believing there is a God--I could feel some kind of unseen power when I was out in the field behind our house. I just wasn't sure about the Christian gospel and Christianity.

I was grown up and married before I really came to understand that the Christian Faith is not identical to the Christian religion, and neither are identical to Christendom. The history of the Christian Church is fascinating, multi-faceted because unless you take into account who is doing the writing, you cannot understand some of the points they make. I bought a three-volume set of the "Creeds of Christianity" and read through as much as I could--some of the creeds are not written in English--this reference work is for scholars. But, I could see what happened.

You go from what Jesus Christ himself said in Matthew, and I think Chapters 5, 6 & 7 are a very well-composed discourse on the Ten Commandments. Other commentary is scattered throughout the rest of the book and the other gospels. Jesus' message was for those who are called to the Kingdom of God to come to him. He said only God knew who was being called, but Jesus said those who are being called would hear His voice and so they would know him and he would know them. He established two traditions for us to remember him by: Baptism and the Lord's Supper.

Within 500 years after his crucifixion and resurrection, Christians were divided into numerous rival groups who disagreed on the meaning of the message. Two emerged as rivals for orthodoxy. The Roman Catholics believed Jesus appointed Peter to be the leader, the first Pope. The Greek Orthodox Church does not, and has no Pope; they are lead by five Patriarchs. The Roman Catholics confess the Apostle's Creed and the Nicene Creed. Greek Orthodox believers confess the Nicene Creed. Both believe in infant Baptism. Both require membership in their church before one can partake of the Lord's Supper. When Christianity was declared to be the only legal religion of the Roman Empire, the Emperor assumed the responsibility for appointing bishops, turning the Church into a political plum, ripe for the picking. Neither literacy nor knowledge of Scripture was required, so many priests were appointed by men who did not know how to tell if someone was competent to preach the Gospel.

Meantime, the Roman Empire began to fall and warlords invaded its provinces. For safety, people turned to the owners of the vast estates scattered around Europe and the Mediterranean for protection. In return, they owed allegiance to the owner--for working the land and for defense. The feudal system that resulted became a formula for the relationship between the people and the government. And both had certain rights and privileges, like a contract.

As the Christian Church grew, certain social customs became common among the different realms: justice was dispensed by government officials, not by private citizens seeking to avenge the death of a family member or retrieve stolen property, family bonds were considered sacred which meant greater stability for their members and for society in general. The weekly day of rest meant the whole society got a day off without having to wait for a decree from the civil authority. Respect for God meant respect for the Church, and people generally took the Christian religion seriously even if they were not true believers. Respect for the sanctity of life even extended to much better treatment of animals, especially livestock.

This does not mean there were never any problems. But, Western Society took on its own character distinct from all others. Jesus' teaching of the Golden Rule put pressure on even non-believers to treat other people with greater respect, and this translated into a system of individual rights and equal justice based on the principle that all men are equal in the sight of God. It took a long time for the idea that slavery was against the laws of God to take hold, but even so the practice shrank significantly from the time of the Roman Empire to the time of total abolition of slavery in the 19th Century.

The influence of the Ten Commandments, Golden Rule & Sermon on the Mount on individuals and society was not uniform or steady, but it was apparent. While the Roman Church was a part of the Civil government everyone had to attend church regularly, and that meant being reminded that God is in control of the Universe, not human beings, and each of us has a place in the grand scheme of things. Each of us has duties and obligations to those around us, and they in turn have duties and obligations to us.

During the Reformation, women and children were taught to read and write so they could read Scripture and correspond with others, keep records and so forth. By the time of the American Revolution, Americans were the most literate society in the history of the world. There were more abolitionists than there had ever been, but pro-slavery adherents still had a slight majority in many places. New England was so civilized that women could walk alone, during the day or the night, in safety. People could leave their houses unlocked and return home without worry for their property.

Contrast this to the time of the Roman Empire, which was considered the height of civilization in its time. Western Society eliminated many injustices because of Christianity. Remembering that Jesus was Jewish means that what we have is a long tradition of Judeo-Christian moral and legal principles that make Liberty possible. Because of this tradition:

Human sacrifice is illegal, animal sacrifice is illegal, slavery is illegal, child abuse is illegal, domestic violence is illegal, polygamy is illegal, theft is illegal (still) even if we are suffering from amnesia these days, no restrictions on who can purchase and own land, false advertising is illegal, lying under oath is illegal, persecution for religious faith or matters of conscience is illegal (this is why it makes the headlines when people fail to follow the rules), false weights and measures are illegal, and so forth...the list is long and intense.

When I contemplated whether the Christian faith is true or not, or whether Jesus was the Messiah and died on a cross and rose again from the dead, I thought of what the world would be like if he hadn't. It didn't bear thinking about. When I contemplated whether the God of the Bible is the One True Living God, I thought about what the Universe would be like if He wasn't. Always this thought conjures up a vast eternal dead place, lonely, scary and cold.
When I was almost fifty years old I discovered John Trenchard & Thomas Gordon, two political philosophers of the 18th Century whose popularity in America was widespread and intense.

In one of their Independent Whig essays, published in 1720, they wrote:

"The Decalogue, or the Law of the Ten Commandments, delivered by God Himself from Mt. Sinai with great glory and astonishing circumstances, was little else but the Law of Nature reduced into Tables, and expressed in Words of God's own chusing."

They also said somewhere that the Laws of God and nature are written in Scripture and Nature, and that what is necessary for our salvation is clearly written, and what is not necessary is not clear.

Abraham Lincoln believed in Jesus Christ, and his creed was the Judeo-Christian code that Jesus taught:

"You shall love the Lord with all thy heart,
and with all thy soul and with all they mind,
and your neighbor as yourself."

If you study the Holy Bible, and read the Ten Commandments in the context of Exodus and Deuteronomy, and then read the Sermon on the Mount in the context of the four Gospels, you will find that Jesus was giving us His commentary on Torah. And elsewhere in the Gospels he talks about the two greatest laws and the one great law. Which apply to everyone, not just Jews and Christians.

If you doubt the power of following these commandments to effect good outcomes, give it a test. Read the commandments in their entirety and think about the Cause & Effect relationship of obedience to outcomes. What would happen if nobody obeyed any of them? What would happen if everybody obeyed all of them? This is not rocket science. But it is the Path of Peace, Liberty, Justice, Prosperity, Blessing and Happiness in this world.

I think this is why William Penn said:

"Obedience to God is Liberty."

There is a Psalm about this, translated in the NIV this way:

"I run in the path of your commands,
for you have set my heart free."
Psalm 119:32

Here's how I think it works:
Trust in God and that He gave us His commandments for our own good inspires us to obey out of love for Him.
To the extent we obey, we will be blessed. One reason is we will be free of the unintended consequences of doing things that cause harm to ourselves and others. But, to gain entrance to the Kingdom of God requires perfect obedience. Nobody can ever obey perfectly, even the best of us is a lost sinner, always falling fall short of the goal. Which is why God sent Jesus Christ into this world to show us the Way. John the Apostle called him the Word of God made flesh, the Living Word. And Scripture tells us that God's Word has the power to save.

"I am the Way, the Truth, and the Light."
John 14:6

The psalmist writes:
"Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet,
and a light for my path."
Psalm 119:105

The thing to understand is that although human nature is flawed, God gave each of us the power to choose between right and wrong. We are each responsible for our own decisions and held accountable by the Divine Law (the Ten Commandments) and the laws that govern this world (Cause & Effect). No one is exempt. This is the basis for the Rule of Law Tradition that distinguishes the West from the rest of the world.

When you read Scripture, read for context, lesson and message.

One of the lessons is that although God demands perfection from each of us, if we recognize we are incapable of perfection and humbly ask for forgiveness we will be forgiven. And when we realize we have done wrong, if we sincerely repent of our sinful behavior, God will forgive us. Jesus said:

"In this world you will have trouble.
But, take heart, I have overcome the world."
John 16:33

If we practice the Golden Rule, we will not expect others to believe as we do. We will value the wisdom of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which allows every individual to worship God according to their own Conscience as long as they cause no harm to others. Thomas Jefferson once said that it does us no harm whether our neighbor worships twenty gods, or none. I would add that whatever our neighbor thinks or feels, as long as they observe the second Table of the Law and make a pass at following the Golden Rule, they will not be causing anyone harm.

America was a Christian society that founded a government based on Judeo-Christian Natural Law principles. The founding generation expected God's name to be invoked in public, it was their conviction that Independence was achieved and the Constitution adopted because it was God's Will. To them, that meant that though they had fallen far short of the standard of perfection, they had conducted themselves as if they deserved to be free. They were grateful to God for His blessing and they wished to pass this heritage on to us.

The Western World is where you find Individual Rights, Economic Liberty, Self-Government under the Rule of Law. Like the Laws of God and Nature, the Rule of Law applies to everyone equally. In fact, the founders believed that the laws of man must be consistent with the Laws of God or they are unjust.

And, what would have happened if America had not clung to this conviction into the 1950's? The Nazis would have defeated England because our society would not have had the moral strength or moral courage to face such an evil. America would not have been around to form an alliance with Great Britain and there was no one else who could have stepped into the role we played in WWII.

When I think of the blessings of the Western Tradition, I think of all this and more.

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Standing Fast
on February 14, 2020 at 07:37:20 am

“With soap, baptism [is] a good thing.”

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Dave
on February 14, 2020 at 13:35:05 pm

As it is with rinsing one's mouth.
You may be in need of this treatment as soap is known to cleanse condescension.

Of course, a Wizard such as I may be able to concot some potions to also help you overcome "cognoscenti-itis"

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gargamel rules smurfs
on February 14, 2020 at 14:27:36 pm

DJLTX:
In my reply below to various comments, I forgot to mention that with the fall of the Roman Empire and the rise of Christianity and Christendom, the terrible practices of the pagan world were replaced with the Judeo-Christian moral and legal code which is still largely in place in the West and is becoming more of an influence in certain other places. This is why you can travel safely to free countries.

Also, there is no Judeo-Christian society that practices slavery, subjugation of women, human or animal sacrifice, etc. When we ever begin to apply the Golden Rule to the marketplace and to environmental/land use policy, we'll pretty much have covered all the bases.

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Standing Fast
on February 15, 2020 at 00:31:22 am

The main thesis in Holland's book is self serving nonsense.
Illiberal close minded Christianity was part of the problem with overcoming Old Values not the solution.

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william s etheridge
on February 18, 2020 at 15:54:15 pm

Capitalism (free-markets & freedom) is the most moral system in the world. Socialist fascism killed tens of millions in the 20th century. You need to read some history.

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Bob Anderson

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