Alvin Schmidt has written what may be one of the definitive books on the positive influence of Christianity in history, entitled How Christianity Changed the World.
Others, like Rodney Stark, have written similar ‘revisions’ of history, needed to correct the anti-Christian and anti-Catholic misinformation of enlightenment and liberal historians. While us Protestants are glad to discuss the historic errors of Catholicism, and to a lesser extend our own, liberals tend to overblow these mistakes and misrepresent them in their retelling of history.
For example, they refer to the Crusades as a religious pogrom against Islam and Judaism, rather than a response to 400 years of Muslim aggression and brutality, which unfortunately digressed in some cases to anti-Semitic behaviors due to an “if you are not with us you are against us” mentality which was condemned by the Church.
However, I just came upon a fantastic multi-part interview with Schmidt regarding his book on Issues Etc, the great Lutheran podcast (see Best Podcasts for Thinking Christians). And so I’m gonna do a series explaining the amazingly positive impact of Christianity on history.
For starters, here’s the table of contents:
Introduction: Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due
- People Transformed by Jesus Christ
- the Sanctification of Human Life
- Christianity Elevates Sexual Morality
- Women Receive Freedom and Dignity
- Charity and Compassion: Their Christian Connection
- Hospitals and Healthy Care: Their Christian Roots
- Christianity’s Imprint on Education
- Labor and Economic Freedom Dignified
- Science: Its Christian Connections
- Liberty and Justice for All
- Slavery Abolished: A Christian Achievement
- Christianity’s Stamp on Art and Architecture
- The Sound of Music: It’s Christian Resonance
- Hallmarks of Literature: Their Christian Imprint
- Additional Influence: Holidays, Words, Symbols, and Expressions
As we’ll see, Christianity’s modern detractors not only confuse Christianity with the comparatively poor and negative impacts of other religions (some quite evil, in fact), they miss the forest for the trees, missing the overwhelming good by focusing on the negative, some of which is merely a mistelling of history.