HOW CHRISTIANITY BUILT MOST MODERN MORALITY AND HUMAN RIGHTS

Probably the 3 most important questions in life that can be asked are:
a) What principles/worldview/ideology can help us to have the best quantity and quality of life now?
b) What
principles/worldview/ideology helped bring about the best quantity and quality of life in the past and
c) Is there any evidence based reason to believe that a life beyond this one, such as eternal life, is possible.

On this page we will look at a few aspects of the first 2 questions (and the resurrection link on your left deals with the 3rd).
1) How Christianity pioneered most human rights in history based on the Bible's moral standards.)
Most modern people have been so deprived of facts about religion (due to it being amputated from education for reasons of church/state separation). This unfortunately creates an enormous bias against it and and a serious ignorance about how much its principles have radically changed the world and influenced all nations around the world in very profound ways, whether they are Christians or not. We'll start off with a simple informative quote that barely touches the surface.

2) Research showing that religion & Christianity greatly improves moral behavior in people these days (Atheists can be moral, but their morality derives from other sources (often Christianity)). Many factors influence morality (media, parents/friends, culture, education, economics, etc.), not just religion. But religion is one of the biggest factors that improves human morals.

WHY PRAGMATIC EVIDENCE IS A VALID WAY TO FIND TRUTH ABOUT REALITY AND GOD
Pragmatic evidence is the most important kind of evidence that exists both because it impacts our lives directly and because it is almost solely because of pragmatic results that we accept the scientific method and other methods of rational analysis as useful and valid. Academics and leading atheists both agree that this is true.

Thunderfoot (a leading atheist online and speaker at atheist conferences), says,
“Beyond ‘I think therefore I am’, you need to start making assumptions. The assumptions that I make are:
1) The universe is real and
2) It is possible to learn something about it.

The primary reason I subscribe to these beliefs is the practical benefits it yields. Personal experience, inductive reasoning and historical examination all point to the method of scientific naturalism as the uncontested winner, without rival as a procedure for progressively understanding the nature of the universe. Our first world civilization is a manifestation of the minds of those who implemented that method.”
(from his video “Rejecting Atheism”, @~5:30+)

He sadly goes on to make completely false statements about religion, which invented the scientific method DIRECTLY due to Bible reasoning (which is discussed in another section of this book), public education, human rights and more that enable him to do the reasoning he does. He’s also completely wrong on the naturalism part (most of the founders of science didn’t reason based on naturalism. They reasoned based on following the evidence wherever it leads, even if that points to supernatural conclusions). But, he does get one thing right. We accept science as useful, valid and an important way to discover truth because of its pragmatic benefit. Since we can do that for science, we can also use that same reasonsing with religion. NO DOUBLE STANDARDS.

William James, the Christian father of American psychology, wrote,
"Truth in our ideas means their power to work.” He he defined truth as a view that proves useful to the believer.

This is not relativism. James supported an epistemological realism position.
“A belief was true, he said, if it worked for all of us, & guided us expeditiously through our semihospitable world. James was anxious to uncover what true beliefs amounted to in human life, what their "Cash Value" was, what consequences they led to…If what was true was what worked, we can scientifically investigate religion's claim to truth in the same manner...James also argued directly that such beliefs were satisfying — they enabled us to lead fuller, richer lives & were more viable than their alternatives. Religious beliefs were expedient in human existence, just as scientific beliefs were.” Bruce Kuklick, professor of American history at the University of Pennsylvania, “Pragmaticism” by William James, the introduction, p.xiv.

Pragmatic value is why we accept the scientific method, presuppositions of science and rationality (such as that our senses are relatively accurate and we can learn about reality, etc.), many concepts in science & more as valid, true, useful, etc. You can’t put the scientific method in a test tube & touch it, taste it, watch it, etc. It’s because of its pragmatic value that it is accepted. Pragmatic evidence is one of many valid ways that provide evidence that God is real as well. But, we also have significant evidence from science, history, personal experience, etc.

If the Bible was actually only made up by ignorant goat herders as atheists claim, it might get a few things right by luck & chance. But, it’s quite absurd to think that it would have gotten all the historical things it did correct & discovered so many beneficial principles for life in science, human rights, etc. centuries and millenia before anyone else understood the importance of those concepts, without supernatural knowledge being involved. This is especially true because it did all this WITHOUT the scientific method and most modern tools that were necessary to figure out these truths. The only rational explanation for this is that God was involved, giving truth simply so that even illiterate people could understand it, but also things challenging to the minds of geniuses.

Some things are possible to learn by trial & error, true. But, if that’s the way the Bible writers, some of whom were only shepherds & blue collar workers with rudimentary education, got their knowledge, then we should see 100s of cultures around the world with much higher levels of longevity, success, scientific knowledge, rationality & all sorts of wisdom than the Judeo-Christian worldview has produced. The fact is that we don’t see this.

INTRO TO THE PRAGMATIC EVIDENCE FOR CHRISTIANITY
Even Plato said,
“Truth is the beginning of every good thing, both in heaven and on earth ... ~Plato

And Jesus said something similar.
"Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32

So, if we find theories and worldviews that have produced much freedom and much good in life, then they must have had some truth that was responsible for bringing about that good.

The question is, which worldview has done the most good. There will of course be some good in all views. If there is a Satan in conflict with God as evidence strongly suggests (cited elsewhere), he would feel most wrongly and unjustly treated if he were not able to include anything good in his rival worldview/theories. But, if God is real, then we should expect to find that the most good for the world has been done by the worldview that he has most strongly influenced. Again, it is important to follow Darwin’s objective principle, including in the area of pragmatic evidence:
“A fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question" Charles Darwin, 1859, Introduction to Origin of Species, p. 2

Kenneth Scott Latourette, Sterling Professor at Yale University, wrote, "Across the centuries Christianity has been the means of reducing more languages to writing than have all other factors combined. It has created more schools, more theories of education, and more systems than has any other one force. More than any other power in history it has impelled men to fight suffering, whether that suffering has come from disease, war or natural disasters. It has built thousands of hospitals, inspired the emergence of the nursing and medical professions, and furthered movement for public health and the relief and prevention of famine. Although explorations and conquests which were in part its outgrowth led to the enslavement of Africans for the plantations of the Americas, men and women whose consciences were awakened by Christianity and whose wills it nerved brought about the abolition of slavery (in England and America). Men and women similarly moved and sustained wrote into the laws of Spain and Portugal provisions to alleviate the ruthless exploitation of the Indians of the New World…By its name and symbol, the most extensive organization ever created for the relief of the suffering caused by war, the Red Cross, bears witness to its Christian origin. The list might go on indefinitely. It includes many another humanitarian projects and movements, ideals in government, the reform of prisons and the emergence of criminology, great art and architecture, and outstanding literature."
[A History of Christianity, Vol. II, pp.1470,1471]. http://www.tektonics.org/scim/sciencemony.htm




The pragmatic evidence listed here and in the works of many historians, strongly supports the claim that there is no rival to the good that Judeo-Christianity has done for the world.


In addition to the information below, I highly recommend that you check out these sources for much more documentation of these facts of history and science:

1) Dr. Alvin Schmidt lists 100s of primary and secondary historical references in this book alone documenting how Biblical and Christian principles radically influenced and changed western civilization in a whole slew of ways that greatly advanced human rights, rights of children and women, education, science, health, literature and the arts and many other things that empowered human beings far more than anything any rivals, esp. atheism have even attempted.

“How Christianity Changed the World” by Dr. Alvin Schmidt:
http://www.amazon.com/Christianity-Changed-World-Alvin-Schmidt/dp/0310264499/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1349800477&sr=8-1&keywords=how+Christianity+changed+the+world#reader_0310264499

2) A Hindu scholar has also written a similar book documenting similar facts:
The Book That Made Your World http://books.google.co.kr/books?id=9RPKxPNYa1UC&printsec=frontcover&dq=the+book+that+made+your+world&hl=en&sa=X&ei=dJtwUYSYGoatkgWFv4H4DA&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=the%20book%20that%20made%20your%20world&f=false


3) Another very good link with over 100 scientific and historical references, many of them peer reviewed is this one:
Why Religion Matters Even More: The Impact of Religious Practice on Social Stability
http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2006/12/why-religion-matters-even-more-the-impact-of-religious-practice-on-social-stability

INTRODUCTION--THINK CRITICALLY ABOUT WHAT THE MEDIA PORTRAYS (it's often not very balanced)
The things you are reading may come as a shock to you and will probably be difficult to accept at first because very little or none of the vast historical evidence to most students in public schools and some pastors don't talk about it or know aobut it.  Most often you hear about Christianity in the news when there is a scandal, or some tragedy of some kind happening. This is a symptom of news that focuses on the sensational and ignores many far more important things that are done. It happens in many areas, not just with religion.

In 1992, I decided to come to Korea. But, at that time, about all I and my family knew of Korea was that there were students throwing molotov cocktails at police and soldiers on a regular basis and a few scenes of hut style houses I had seen from M.A.S.H.  That was all. When I arrived, I was quite surprised to find that Korea was very modern, with all sorts of skyscrapers, subway systems, high quality education (their high school scores ranked #1 in the world a couple years back and they consistently compete at that level), free, cheap and good quality health care for all and more. In addition, I could walk down any street of even the biggest cities with no fear of getting killed and very little chance of even getting mugged while I nearly got killed in LA for just going to the wrong area by mistake one time. Overall, it was quite a bit safer than America due to a lot of reasons such as:
a) the mix of Christian/Bhuddist/Confucian morality, 
b) the type of media they promote which is highly focused on success and progress and perfection, not rebellion/drugs/violence
c) very stringent anti-gun laws (I've never seen a civilian with a gun here in 20 years)
d) being the 2nd most Christian nation in Asia
and other reasons.

The reality vs. what the media showed was quite an eye opener for me, needless to say. My whole opinion had been formed and shaped by the media..but the reality was almost a night and day difference compared to the media's portrayal of it.

The portrayal of Christianity in the media gets very similar treatment. A few rare cases are cherry picked and sensationalized. What would people think if only the mistakes of scientists, teachers or leaders of democracy where picked out and reported? How would they fare?  If consistent principles were used, we would have to get condemn science, education and democracy LONG before we even thought of condemning Christianity (and remember that a lot of the wrongs done by Christians are in violation of Christian morals, due to Christians also being influenced by media and other factors in addition to religion.  Do we blame science for scientists who violate the scientific method? No? Then the same applies to all other organizations as well. It is never fair to blame a philosophy or institution for those who are violating it's principles.)

The wrongs of Christian/religion, scientists, educators, politicians, etc. can NEVER be condoned. But at the same time we need to be fair and look at how much good has been done compared to the mistakes. It may be for this reason that Dawkins says:
“There are no Christians, as far as I know, blowing up buildings. I am not aware of any Christian suicide bombers. I am not aware of any major Christian denomination that believes the penalty for apostasy is death. I have mixed feelings about the decline of Christianity, in so far as Christianity might be a bulwark against something worse.” Ruth Gledhill, Scandal and schism leave Christians praying for a ‘new Reformation’, The Times (UK), 2 April 2010, ibloga.blogspot.com/2010/04/is-collapse-of-christianity-in-britain.html

The fact is that nobody will ever be able to list all the progress that Christianity has contributed to society. The below list is just a small drop in the bucket of how Christianity has changed the world in human rights, health, medical, economic areas and some others.

Some will say that there is no need to be Christian to be moral.  It is for sure true that more and more people from many religions and non-religions are finally joining human campaigns, esp. now that it doesn't require risking your life as it often did in the past, and this is great to see (better late than never).  All should be appreciated for their contributions.

The Judeo-Christian worldview was to put it simply, the father of human rights for all since idea of human rights (esp. for foreigners, women, slaves, etc.) didn’t even exist in other cultures outside the Judeo-Christian one, especially in ancient times. It just was not a part of global or even national consciousness. A very few may have made a few baby steps in that direction, such as Socrates, but they were mocked and in Socrates case probably killed for questioning the established wisdom that might makes right.

While there are definitely some moral atheists and agnostics (some who I know personally and others I respect from afar), the philosophy of atheism simply doesn't have any morals of its own.  They have to borrow whatever morals they have from other worldviews, usually Judeo-Christianity.  Nearly all of the moral and humanitarian values that even most atheists and non-Christians have were pioneered by Christians and without Christians, the recognition of their value and importance simply would not exist.

We will get into some more of the evidence for some of the many moral and human rights benefits Christianity pioneered and how it still makes a very significant difference in morals what a person believes, Christianity or atheism, as even atheist professors biased AGAINST Christianity discovered in the research.  But, before that, let's look a little bit at what the world was like before Judeo-Christianity and in surrounding cultures.

WHAT WERE ANCIENT CIVILIZATIONS LIKE IN HUMAN RIGHTS AREAS?
Let's go back and take a bit of time to get some historical perspective and background about what life was like before Judeo/Christian influences became so pervasive. What was life like for most ancient people?  If we go though the historical records, for most of history, ancient people didn't care hardly at all about human rights for others, especially the the lower classes, women, foreigners, slaves, etc. Here were some of the typical ways they thought (remember only a few of the rich and powerful had any significant education and so you can't just assume that most ancient people think like you do, let alone have the capability to even reason logically and rationally):

1) MIGHT MAKES RIGHT/ LAW OF THE JUNGLE: Whoever was strongest made the rules. Others couldn’t complain about their lot in life. The strong and violent were the heroes and they had the right to do anything they wanted. Even the victims agreed that they had the right to do what they wished. There was no international criminal court to even think of appealing to. The Assyrian King Tiglath-pileser for example writes what his victims said here:

“The nobles [and] elders of the city came out to me to save their lives. They seized my feet and said: ‘If it pleases you, kill! If it pleases you, spare! If it pleases you, do what you will!’”
Albert Kirk Grayson, Assyrian Royal Inscriptions, Part 2: From Tiglath-pileser I to Ashur-nasir-apli II (Wiesbaden, Germ.: Otto Harrassowitz, 1976), p. 124.

2) SUCCESS & JOY COME FROM DEMEANING OTHERS: Many thought that the best way to be successful and happy in life was to cause others pain, loss of pride, defeat, suffering, embarrassment, etc. Genghis Khan for example said,

"The greatest joy a man can know is to conquer his enemies & drive them before him. To ride their horses & take away their possessions. To see the faces of those who were dear to them bedewed with tears, & to clasp their wives & daughters in his arms"

3) STATE GLORY/WAR WAS A DUTY: In ancient times, war was a duty of kings. Spring was considered the season for wars to begin. The king’s main job was to increase state glory & war was one big way to do that. The rights of the victims didn’t matter at all.
“The two principal tasks of an Assyrian king were to engage in military exploits and to erect public buildings. Both of these tasks were regarded as religious duties. They were, in effect, acts of obedience toward the principal gods of Assyria.”
faculty.uml.edu/ethan_spanier/Teaching/documents/CP6.0AssyrianTorture.pdf, p. 3

4) PEOPLE WERE PAWNS: The powerful used the powerless no different from beasts of burden. The great Emperor Chin alone enslaved millions for his projects. It is estimated that up to 1 million laborers died on the Great China Wall alone. Others spent their whole lives far from loved ones and family doing nothing but work for the glory of others. Many of the world’s great ancient edifices, far from being admirable, are actually symbols of nearly unrivaled levels of human rights abuses and enslavement. Many leaders in history ruined thousands end even millions of lives for the glory of the state.

5) KARMA & FATE & DIVINE RIGHT OF KINGS—Whatever happens to people is punishment from gods..so don’t interfere. It’s their Karma. Kings were gods, so the condition of the oppressed couldn’t be questioned.

6) TORTURE/KILLING WAS FUN & A GLORY TO THE CONQUERER: As is well known, gladiator games were sport in ancient Rome. But, many ancient kings and nations not only enjoyed torture, as a show of their strength and a way to boast of their power, they also immortalized the sadistic acts they indulged in for all time in paintings, reliefs, stone slabs, etc. And if this is what they BOASTED about, imagine what they must have done in secret. The thought boggles the mind.

“From the reign of Shalmaneser III, Ashurnasirpal II’s son, we also have some bronze bands that decorated a massive pair of wooden gates of a temple (and possibly a palace) at Balawat, near modern Mosul. These bronze bands display unusually fine examples of bronze repoussé (a relief created by hammering on the opposite side). In a detail, we see an Assyrian soldier grasping the hand and arm of a captured enemy whose other hand and both feet have already been cut off. Dismembered hands and feet fly through the scene. Severed enemy heads hang from the conquered city’s walls. Another captive is impaled on a stake, his hands and feet already having been cut off. In another detail, we see three stakes, each driven through eight severed heads, set up outside the conquered city. A third detail shows a row of impaled captives lined up on stakes set up on a hill outside the captured city. In an inscription from Shalmaneser III’s father, Ashurnasirpal II, the latter tells us, “I captured soldiers alive [and] erected [them] on stakes before their cities.”
                

King Esarhaddon was another example,
“I hung the heads of Sanduarri [king of the cities of Kundi and Sizu] and Abdi-milkutti [king of Sidon] on the shoulders of their nobles and with singing and music I paraded through the public square of Nineveh.” faculty.uml.edu/ethan_spanier/Teaching/documents/CP6.0AssyrianTorture.pdf

Grisly Assyrian Record of Torture and Death, pg. 6, 8.
http://faculty.uml.edu/ethan_spanier/Teaching/documents/CP6.0AssyrianTorture.pdf

See also:
“Torture Practices of the Ancient World” by Matthias Schulz
www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/the-worst-ways-to-die-torture-practices-of-the-ancient-world-a-625172.html

7) THE KING IS THE HIGHEST AUTHORITY: Most cultures considered the king the highest authority, often divine himself & there was nothing higher. So, if you were oppressed & the king did nothing in life, there was nothing else to do but submit to his wise omnipotent judgment.

“In one case when a city resisted as long as possible instead of immediately submitting, Ashurnasirpal proudly records his punishment:

“I flayed as many nobles as had rebelled against me [and] draped their skins over the pile [of corpses]; some I spread out within the pile, some I erected on stakes upon the pile … I flayed many right through my land [and] draped their skins over the walls.”

The account was probably intended not only to describe what had happened, but also to frighten anyone who might dare to resist. To suppress his enemies was the king’s divine task. Supported by the gods, he always had to be victorious in battle and to punish disobedient people…:

“In strife and conflict I besieged [and] conquered the city. I felled 3,000 of their fighting men with the sword … I captured many troops alive: I cut off of some their arms [and] hands; I cut off of others their noses, ears, [and] extremities. I gouged out the eyes of many troops. I made one pile of the living [and] one of heads. I hung their heads on trees around the city.” †

The palace of Ashurnasirpal II at Nimrud is the first, so far as we know, in which carved stone slabs were used in addition to the usual wall paintings. These carvings portray many of the scenes described in words in the annals.”
faculty.uml.edu/ethan_spanier/Teaching/documents/CP6.0AssyrianTorture.pdf

There were laws and morals in ancient cultures to be sure. Most of the laws were designed to protect citizens and those with wealth and power. The disenfranchised groups were often had few human rights at all, and had a status not much different from that of animals. Hammurabi had some moral laws and some not so moral…which applied to those in power, but not those in ostracized groups. Here are just a few of them.

129. If a man's wife be surprised (in flagrante delicto) with another man, both shall be tied and thrown into the water.
130. If a man violate the wife (betrothed or child-wife) of another man, who has never known a man, and still lives in her father's house, and sleep with her and be surprised, this man shall be put to death, but the wife is blameless.

The above are similar to the Bible and give equality to both men and women and considers context.

132. If the "finger is pointed" at a man's wife about another man, but she is not caught sleeping with the other man, she shall jump into the river for her husband.

But here, the Bible never kills someone only on suspicion.

142. If a woman quarrel with her husband, and say: "You are not congenial to me," the reasons for her prejudice must be presented. If she is guiltless, and there is no fault on her part, but he leaves and neglects her, then no guilt attaches to this woman, she shall take her dowry and go back to her father's house.
143. If she is not innocent, but leaves her husband, and ruins her house, neglecting her husband, this woman shall be cast into the water.

Nowhere in the Bible will you find a punishment of death for a person falsely claiming, “You are not congenial to me.”

There might be a very rare few exceptions to the typical level of morals in history among non-Israelis (esp. among some cultures that God revealed himself to through prophets and who were willing to follow those messages...this did NOT happen only to Israel...God spoke to others in many documented cases as well)...but without God's influence, there was very little if any progress in this areas.

It was entirely because Jews and Christians did NOT follow their own opinions and the morals of the nations around them, that humanity made the progress in morality that it did. What may seem logical to a person now (such as understanding that violence and stealing from others will come back on your own head), was not logic that was used in history, esp. in regard to people in other races/nations. The vast majority weren’t even educated and could not even begin to use the logic that modern people have due to education. This is a historical fact. It's easy to invent pleasing fantasies now, based on morals that seem logical now AFTER Christianity gave them to the world...but as they say, hindsight is 20/20 and once someone has invented something, THEN everyone comes along and says…hey, that’s just common sense. But, the fact is that it wasn’t long ago and no one else was pioneering these rights like the Israelis and Christians were back then.

A FEW BIBLE VERSES ON HUMAN RIGHTS--NO GENETIC FALLACY
In stark contrast to the cultures above, the Bible in 1000s of verses gave vast improvements in human rights over other nations.  Ms. Lichtman interviewed John Hulley, a former senior economist with the World Bank in Washington, D.C. Hulley is author of the book, “Comets, Jews, and Christians”, published in 1996. According to Hulley, 86% of Nobel Science prizes from 1901 through 1990 have been won by Jews and Protestants, with Jews taking 22% of the prizes. Jews are also 40 times more likely to win the Science Prize than projected, based on a per capita basis.

Ms. Lichman asked, “Why does the Bible make the difference?"

Mr. Hulley replied,"Scientists and inventors need a favorable social environment, one which is fair. Human relations and standards of behavior make a very big difference -- they must be based on justice. In non-Bible societies', Hulley declared, you can't expect justice. They are organized on power relations. Only in Bible-based societies is there the concept of fairness…Bible-based societies respect the rights of individuals within the framework of law."

Hulley said, “What we are talking about is the social environment. It is the religious people who create the environment and the secular who benefit from it. Fairness is in the backbone of both Jewish and Protestant cultures.".
http://plancksconstant.org/blog/2006/02/Article-19.html
http://www.cuttingedge.org/news/n1076.html

Some will say it is just incidental that the leaders of these human rights movements were Christians (claiming a genetic fallacy). But, there is not the slightest truth in that. Literally 1000s of verses in the Bible speak about the rights of people, including the poor, widows, orphans, foreigners and underclasses of different types that directly challenged the status quo of other cultures. Jesus tells us explicitly that the way we treat the poor is the way we treat God and that it has direct connections to our eternal life in Matthew 25. It's directly because of this and many other biblical reasons that many Christians did the humanitarian work that they did.
  • Jeremiah 32:33 My people have turned their backs on me and have refused to return. Even though I diligently taught them, they would not receive instruction or obey. 34 They have set up their abominable idols right in my own Temple, defiling it. 35 They have built pagan shrines to Baal in the valley of Ben-Hinnom, and there they sacrifice their sons and daughters to Molech. I have never commanded such a horrible deed; it never even crossed my mind to command such a thing. What an incredible evil, causing Judah to sin so greatly!

  • Jeremiah 7: 3 This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: “‘Even now, if you quit your evil ways, I will let you stay in your own land. 4 But don’t be fooled by those who promise you safety simply because the LORD’s Temple is here. They chant, “The LORD’s Temple is here! The LORD’s Temple is here!” 5 But I will be merciful only if you stop your evil thoughts and deeds and start treating each other with justice; 6 only if you stop exploiting foreigners, orphans, and widows; only if you stop your murdering; and only if you stop harming yourselves by worshiping idols. 7 Then I will let you stay in this land that I gave to your ancestors to keep forever.

    8 “‘Don’t be fooled into thinking that you will never suffer because the Temple is here. It’s a lie! 9 Do you really think you can steal, murder, commit adultery, lie, and burn incense to Baal and all those other new gods of yours, 10 and then come here and stand before me in my Temple and chant, “We are safe!”—only to go right back to all those evils again? …12 “‘Go now to the place at Shiloh where I once put the Tabernacle that bore my name. See what I did there because of all the wickedness of my people, the Israelites. 13 While you were doing these wicked things, says the LORD, I spoke to you about it repeatedly, but you would not listen. I called out to you, but you refused to answer.

  • Jeremiah 22:15 “But a beautiful cedar palace does not make a great king! Your father, Josiah, also had plenty to eat and drink. But he was just and right in all his dealings. That is why God blessed him.16 He gave justice and help to the poor and needy, and everything went well for him. Isn’t that what it means to know me?”, says the Lord. 17 “But you! You have eyes only for greed and dishonesty! You murder the innocent, oppress the poor, and reign ruthlessly.

  • Here a godly king is compared to an evil king. Note that the godly king gave justice AND help to the poor. Justice is definitely a government function and it’s associated with helping the poor which also must be understood as a government function. These 2 concepts, justice and helping the needy are both part of a government’s function in the Bible. And they were not only the responsibility of Israel. God also expected other nations to help the poor. If they didn’t, it was sin.

  • “Sodom’s sins were pride, gluttony, and laziness, while the poor and needy suffered outside her door.“ Ezekiel 16:49

  • “King Nebuchadnezzar, please accept my advice. Stop sinning and do what is right. Break from your wicked past and be merciful to the poor. Perhaps then you will continue to prosper.” Daniel 4:27

  • Ezekiel 45:9 “For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Enough, you princes of Israel! Stop all your violence and oppression and do what is just and right. Quit robbing and cheating my people out of their land! Stop expelling them from their homes!

  • Proverbs 29:7 says, “The godly care about the rights of the poor; the wicked don’t care at all.”
How we treat those in trouble and disenfranchised is so important that it is linked to the final judgement.

THE FINAL JUDGEMENT AND MATTHEW 25:
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” (note that "eternal punishment" here does not refer to eternal punishment, but that the effects of the punishment are eternal. See www.helltruth.com for more on why the Bible never teaches an eternal burning of sinners in hell.)

Paul writes in Galatians 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

These and 1000s of other verses directly motivated Christians to think of other people in all classes as equal creations of God deserving of the same human rights. And because Jesus and prophets and apostles emphasized so constantly the importance of helping others with the talents and material things we’ve been blessed with and caring about the quality of their life, Christians more than any other group have done exactly that.


In the next sections there will be listed a few examples and a very short list of some of the many human rights movements pioneered by Christians (see the links I have listed for MANY more). But first, here are 2 leading atheist professors (1 later converted to Christianity) who agree that religion and esp. Christianity have been leaders in pioneering human rights.

WHY TOTALITARIAN REGIMES HATE CHRISTIANITY
Richard Dawkins, Hitchens and most leading atheists love to sensationally claim that Christianity causes immorality and is harmful.But, here's yet another atheist refuting those fallacies that distort the historical facts. He is Walter Block is Harold E. Wirth Eminent Scholar, Endowed Chair of Economics Loyola University, senior fellow of the Mises Institute, and regular columnist for LewRockwell.com:

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For most, it will appear as nothing less than a logical contradiction for an atheist such as myself to be an actual supporter and even admirer of religion. Let me explain.

So, which institution is the greatest enemy of human liberty? There can be only one answer: the state in general, and, in particular, the totalitarian version thereof. Perhaps there is no greater example of such a government than the USSR, and its chief dictators, Lenin and Stalin (although primacy of place in terms of sheer numbers of innocents murdered might belong to Mao’s China). We thus ask, which institutions did these two Russian worthies single out for opprobrium? There can be only one answer: primarily, religion, and, secondarily, the family. It was no accident that the Soviets passed laws rewarding children for turning in their parents for anti-communistic activities. There is surely no better way to break up the family than this diabolical policy. And, how did they treat religion? To ask this is to answer it. Religion was made into public enemy number one, and its practitioners viciously hunted down.

Why pick on religion and the family? Because these are the two great competitors – against the state – for allegiance on the part of the people. The Communists were quite right, from their own evil perspective, to focus on these two institutions. All enemies of the overweening state, then, would do well to embrace religion and the family as their friends, whether they are themselves atheists or not, parents or not.

The main reason religion sticks in the craw of secular leaders is that this institution defines moral authority independently of their power. Every other organization in society (with the possible exception of the family) sees the state as the source of ultimate ethical sanction. Despite the fact that some religious leaders have indeed bowed the knee to government officials, there is a natural and basic enmity between the two sources of authority. The pope and other religious leaders may not have any regiments of soldiers, but they do have something lacking on the part of presidents and prime ministers, greatly to the regret of the latter.

Such is my own position. I reject religion, all religion, since, as an atheist, I am unconvinced of the existence of God. Indeed, I go further. I am no agnostic: I am convinced of His non-existence. However, as a political animal, I warmly embrace this institution. It is a bulwark against totalitarianism. He who wishes to oppose statist depredations cannot do so without the support of religion. Opposition to religion, even if based on intellectual grounds and not intended as a political statement, nevertheless amounts to de facto support of government…This makes it all the more important that the rest of us, atheists or not, support those who worship God. The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

It will at this point be strenuously objected that numerous innocent people have been murdered in the name of religion. True, alas, all too true. However, a little perspective comes not amiss at this juncture. Just how many people were killed by religious excesses, such as the Inquisition? Although estimates vary widely, the best estimates (see here) are that the number of deaths during this sad epoch, which took place over several centuries, was between 3,000 and 10,000; some experts, here, place the number as low as 2,000. Were it not murdered human beings that we are talking about, but considering solely the relative magnitudes, one might fairly say that this pales into utter insignificance compared to the devastation inflicted upon the human race by governments. According to the best estimates (see here, here, here, here, here and here), the victims of statism in the 20th century alone approached the 200 million mark. That is no misprint! To compare a few thousands of unjustified deaths with several hundreds of millions is unreasonable. Yes, even the murder of one victim is an outrage. But in comparing religion and government one must keep in mind these astronomical differences.

It is time, it is long past time, that the Austro-libertarian movement reject the virulent Randian opposition to religion. Yes, Ayn Rand has made contributions to our efforts. We must not throw out the baby with the bathwater. But, surely, anti-religious sentiment belongs in the latter category, not the former.
The views expressed above are consistent with the perspective of my long time mentor, Murray Rothbard. This scholar, who was often called "Mr. Libertarian," was very pro-religion, especially pro-Catholic. He ascribed the concepts of individualism and liberty to Christianity (and almost everything else good in Western civilization), and argued strongly that as long as libertarians made hatred of religion a basic or organizing principle, they would go nowhere, since the vast majority of people in all times and places have always been religious."
www.the-classic-liberal.com/atheist-defense-christianity/

www.the-classic-liberal.com/atheist-defense-christianity/
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Einstein had a similar view. During the reign of the Nazis, nearly the whole nation collaborated with the Nazis, including some Christians. But the one institution that didn't completely buckle and bow to them was Christianity, especially what was called "The Confessing Church".
'Not you, Herr Hitler, but God is my Führer. These defiant words of Pastor Martin Niemoller were echoed by millions of Germans. And Hitler raged: 'It is Niemoller or I.'"
www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,765103,00.html

Many Christians opposed the Nazis and quite a number were directly involved in helping Jews to escape the Nazi death camps. People like
  • Corrie and Betsy Ten Boom,
  • John Weidner (an Adventist who saved ~1000 Jews and others),
  • Maximilian Kolbe (a friar who saved many people, including ~2,000 Jews),
  • Oskar Schindler (of the famous Schindler’s list who saved ~1200 lives),
  • Hugh O'Flaherty (an Irish Catholic priest who saved about 4,000 Allied soldiers and Jews),
  • André and Magda Trocmé (A French pastor and his wife who led the Le Chambon-sur-Lignon village movement that saved 3,000-5,000 Jews)
  • and many others.
After seeing Christians challenge the Nazis and rescue more of his people than anyone else, Einstein wrote of that time,
"Being a lover of freedom...I looked to the universities to defend it, knowing they had always boasted of their devotion to the cause of truth; but, no, the universities immediately were silenced. Then I looked to the great editors of the newspapers whose flaming editorials in days gone by had proclaimed their love of freedom, but they, like the universities, were silenced in a few short weeks. Only the church stood squarely across the path of Hitler's campaign for suppressing the truth. I never had any special interest in the church before, but now I feel a great affection and admiration because the church alone has had the courage and persistence to stand for intellectual truth and moral freedom. I am forced to confess that what I once despised I now praise unreservedly." (Religion: German Martyrs, Time, Dec. 23, 1940 , The Evening News, Baltimore, April 13, 1979.) http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,765103,00.html
See also “The Swastika against the Cross: The Nazi War on Christianity” by Bruce Walker

So Christianity has been a bulwark against totalitarianism many times in history.

PROF. RENE GIRARD (Stanford) ON WHY THE BIBLE INSPIRED HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGNS AND CHANGED HISTORY

RENE GIRARD & GIL BAILIE’S THESIS ON THE BIBLE AND HUMAN RIGHTS

Rene Girard was a professor at Stanford and an atheist. As he analyzed history, he realized that there just wasn't hardly any concern for human rights.  It had grown some during the 1st centuries AD and kept on growing until there was an explosion of human rights concern.  He looked at different factors, but ruled them all out. He found that the very best explanation was that the Bible and Judaism/Christianity that brought a whole new view of human rights into the world based on the injunctions of prophets that people must care about the oppressed and based on Jesus example as the innocent victim who became the conquering hero.  The Bible's attitude towards the underclass was this: The way you treat the people in trouble is the same way you are treating God.  All are equal in Jesus, so you need to care about these people as if they are brothers and sisters and children of God the same as you are. It was because of sentiments like these that Christianity "turned the world upside down (with love)" as one of their critics put it.

The thought provoking Christian author Philip Yancey summarizes professor Rene Girard’s findings on how Christianity changed history:
“Rene Girard was a secularist French philosopher and anthropologist who taught at Stanford for ~14 years until his retirement. He became fascinated with the fact that in modern times disenfranchised people gain a sort of moral authority and noted that in the last couple centuries human rights have increased exponentially. It was surprising because he could find nothing similar in ancient literature. Victors, not the marginalized, wrote history, and the myths from Babylon, Greece and other places celebrated strong heroes, and ignored the rights of the losers/weak if they mentioned them at all. In his research, he traced this phenomenon back to the historical figure of Jesus.

It struck Girard that Jesus’ story was radically different from every heroic story of its time. Jesus chose poverty and disgrace, spent his infancy as a refugee, lived in a minority race under a harsh regime and died as a prisoner. From the very beginning, Jesus took the side of the underdog: the poor, the oppressed, the sick, the “marginalied”. His crucifixion, Girard concluded, introduced a new plot to history: the victim becomes the hero by being a victim which introduced a student of Girard’s called “the most sweeping historical revolution in the world, namely, the emergence of an empathy for victims.”

Girard contends that Jesus’ life and death brought forth a new stream in history, one that undermines injustice. It may take centuries for that stream to erode a hard bank of oppression, as it did with slavery, and sometimes that stream has to confront Christians who have gotten corrupt or comfortable following the morals of the society of their time instead of thinking of how God wants them to advance, but with people like Nightingale, Martin Luther King, Shane Claiborne, Tony Campolo, the founders of Habitat for humanity, Oxfam, Amnesty International, society for prevention of cruelty to animals and 100s and 100s of others, the stream of liberation flows on. To the consternation of his secular colleagues, Girard eventually converted to Christianity for this and other reasons.”
from “What Good is God” by Philip Yancey
See also:
http://fora.tv/2009/12/01/Uncommon_Knowledge_Ren_Girard#fullprogram
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/1999/february8/9t2136.html

Here are 2 examples of this:

JUDAISM/CHRISTIANITY PIONEERED OPPOSING INFANTICIDE & VALUING HUMAN LIFE
Frederic Farrar states that “infanticide was infamously universal among the Greeks and Romans during the early years of Christianity esp if they were deformed or frail. The Early Days of Christianity (New York: A. L. Burt Publishers, 1882), 71.

Plutarch reports that the Carthaginians, “offered up their own children, and those who had no children would buy little ones from poor people and cut their throats as if they were so many lambs or young birds; meanwhile the mother stood by without a tear or moan” (Moralia 2.171D) Cicero justified infanticide (De Legibus 3.glasses. Even Seneca, more admirable than many, said “We drown children who at birth are weakly and abnormal.” (De Ira 1.15) Research shows that infanticide was common around the world in places such as India, China, Japan, among Brazilian jungles, the Eskimos, was common in Africa, among the Indians of North and South America before Europeans came, and others.
Susan C. M. Scrimshaw, “Infanticide in Human Populations: Societal and Individual Concerns, “ in Infanticide: Comparative and Evolutionary Perspectives, ed. Glenn Hausfater and Sarah Hrdy (New York: Aldine Publishing, 1984), 439.
James S. Dennis, Social Evils of the Non-Christian World (New York: Fleming H. Revell, 1898), 69-70.

Oedipus, Ion of Ionia and other Greek heroes were abandoned as infants. You find little if any feelings of guilt among the Romans or Greeks for infanticide.

The Bible in contrast strictly forbade infanticide and sacrificing children:
“The people of Judah have sinned before my very eyes,” says the LORD…. They have built pagan shrines at Topheth, the garbage dump in the valley of Ben-Hinnom, and there they burn their sons and daughters in the fire. I have never commanded such a horrible deed; it never even crossed my mind to command such a thing!” Jeremiah 7:30-31

Christianity’s strong opposition to infanticide resulted in Emperor Valentinian outlawing it in 374 and criminalizing child abandonment (Code of Justinian 8.52.2). This spread eventually to all of Europe and other countries as Christian influence spread.

This same thing happened in other areas of life where Christianity transformed culture by also discouraging abortion, outlawing human sacrifices/gladiator games (390s/early 400s AD) and condemning suicide, (which was even extolled by some Greek poets and philosophers).

Afra of Augsburg (late 3rd century) was a pagan prostitute, but after becoming a Christian, she “developed a ministry to abandoned children of prisoners, thieves, smugglers, pirates, runaway slaves, and brigands.” There are numerous examples in historical writings of Christians adopting throw away children.

JUDAISM/CHRISTIANITY PIONEERED WOMEN’S RIGHTS
Women were oppressed by many cultures and there were many reasons that had nothing to do with religion (the Greek focus on male beauty, homosexuality and pederasty for example denigrated women a lot and lowered their status).

Scholars agree that “the conversion of the Roman world to Christianity [brought] a great change in woman’s status.” (J.P.V.D. Balsdon, Roman Women: Their History and Habits (New York: John Day, 1963), 283) Another scholar wrote that, ‘The birth of Jesus was the turning point in the history of woman.” L. F. Cervantes, “Woman, “ New Catholic Encyclopedia (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1967), 14:991.)

This is very true. But, many people are unaware of this since they have grown up in a civilization mostly built by the Judeo-Christian world view and are not aware of the realities that existed before Christianity changed the world.

In Greek society, most women couldn’t even leave the house without a male escort and couldn’t eat with guests. Men kept their wives “under lock and key” according to Plutarch (Lycurgus 15:8).. The average Athenian woman had the social status of a slave7 and weren’t educated. Sophocles wrote “ ‘O woman, silence is an adornment to woman.” (Ajax 293). Aristotle agreed. Euripides said, “Silence and discretion are most beautiful in woman, and remaining quiet within the house.” (Heraclitus 476)

They also considered women a curse
“Euripides has Hippolytus ask, “Why hast thou given a home beneath the sun, Zeus, unto woman, specious curse to man?”
Aristophanes, writes in his play, “For women are a shameless set, the vilest of creatures going” (Lysistrata 368-69)

For the Greeks, women were "defined as near slaves, or as perpetual minors" in Athenian society (The Greek World, pg. 200). And it’s emphasis on male beauty and pederasty caused many to think like the Greek Poet Propertius who said: "May my enemies fall in love with women and my friends with boys."

The Greek poet Semonides wrote a poem about 10 types of women ranging from a bristly sow to the ugliest and worst evil. Only one is any good, but almost impossible to find. Here are some excerpts
“In different ways god made the mind of woman in the beginning. He made one from the bristly sow through whose house everything, smeared with mud, lies in dishevelment and rolls along the ground. Unclean and in unwashed clothes herself, she sits among the dunghills and grows fat.

Another the god constructed from a mischievous fox, a woman skilled in everything. Nothing evil alludes her, nor anything good. Of them, she often deems the latter bad and the former good. Her temperament is fickle.

Another he made a rogue from a dog, image of her mother, who wants to hear everything and know everything and goes about snooping and wandering everywhere, barking whether she sees anybody or not. Her husband couldn't stop her with his threats, not even if he got mad and knocked her teeth out with a stone or if he charmed her with words, not even if she is sitting beside guests. No, she keeps up her useless yapping constantly.

Another from the dusty-gray, stubborn donkey, who, under force and abuse, toil and trouble, loves the work after all and does the best. Then, she eats in the innermost stall
all night, all day, and she eats at the hearth. Likewise, too, regarding matters of sex, she accepts any companion who comes along.

Another god made from a skunk, wretched, woeful sort. Nothing beautiful, nothing charming about her, nothing pleasant, and nothing sexy, either. But she's mad for the bed and sex, and when he's around, she makes her husband nauseous. She steals from the neighbors and commits every evil. Often she eats sacrifices waiting to be offered.

Another a dainty mare with flowing main bore, who avoids the toil and drudgery of slaves. She makes her husband intimate with Hard Times…for him who has her, she proves to be an evil.

Another from a monkey. This one Zeus bestowed upon men as the worst evil beyond all evils. Her faces is the ugliest…She's got no buttocks but is all legs. Alas, the poor man who takes this evil in his arms. Every scheme and turn she knows, just like a monkey..she wouldn't do anyone any good but {plans } how she will do anybody the greatest evil.

Another from a bee. Anyone getting her is lucky. To her alone cleaves no blame, but livelihood flourishes with her and increases. She loves her husband, and he loves her. She bears him noble and renowned sons. They grow old together. Conspicuous among all women is she, and divine grace surrounds her…”

Zeus made this to be the greatest evil--women. If they seem to be helpful, they prove in the end to be an evil for whoever has them. He never goes the whole day in cheer, that man who has a woman. She will not push away famine from the house, a hostile housemate and harsh god. Whenever a man seems glad at heart, in his home or by god's allotment and men's favor, she finds something to blame and arms for battle…Zeus made this to be the greatest evil and put round us unbreakable fetters from which Hades receives men who have quarreled over a woman.”
from: https://www.msu.edu/~tyrrell/Semonid.htm

The life of Roman women was some better, but not by much. Many things were similar to the above and in both cultures, baby girls were routinely killed. A woman could be divorced for merely could outside the house without a veil according to Plutarch (Romulus 22.3), but had almost no rights to divorce her husband. Women had almost no economic orproperty rights in either Greece or Rome. The above traits were common in cultures around the world in Bible times.


The views of other cultures in some cases did influence both individuals in Judaism and Christianity in wrong ways. But, it can easily be shown from history that the Bible pioneered women’s rights since it gave women rights vastly exceeding any other contemporary cultures. Read Proverbs 31 for example and compare it to the above.

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A FEW BIBLE PRINCIPLES ON THE RIGHTS OF WOMEN
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1. The Bible teaches that women and men were created as full and equal partners. The word “helper” (ezer) used to refer to Eve in Genesis 2:18 also refers to God in most instances of Old Testament usage (e.g. I Sam 7:12; Ps 121:1-2). It does not indicate female subordination or inferiority of any kind.

2. The Bible teaches the full equality of men and women in Creation and in Redemption (Gen 1:26-28, 2:23, 5:1-2; I Cor 11:11-12; Gal. 3:13, 28, 5:1).

3. The Bible teaches that man and woman were co-participants in the Fall: Adam was no less culpable than Eve (Gen 3:6; Rom 5:12-21; I Cor 15:21-22).

4. Women had the right to do business and to work in a number of respected careers in the Bible and to be honored and admired for good work and wisdom. Read Proverbs 31. They could also divorce their husbands if he didn’t provide them with sex, clothing and food…or if he committed adultery. **

5 Jesus and Paul wrote strongly on the equality of all, including both sexes:
• Jesus: “all of you are equal as brothers and sisters” Matthew 23:8
• All are equal--“There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28)
• All are to submit to each other. Men to women, women to men, etc. ( Ephesians 5:20+)

6. The Bible teaches that Jesus Christ came to redeem women as well as men. Through faith in Christ we all become children of God, one in Christ, and heirs to the blessings of salvation without reference to racial, social, or gender distinctives (John 1:12-13; Rom 8:14-17; 2 Cor 5:17; Gal 3:26-28).

7. The Bible teaches that at Pentecost the Holy Spirit came on men and women alike. Without distinction, the Holy Spirit indwells women and men, and sovereignly distributes gifts without preference as to gender (Acts 2:1-21; 1 Cor 12:7, 11, 14:31).

THE BIBLE PIONEERED WOMEN’S RIGHTS:
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The rights of women in the Bible were vastly superior to most other ancient cultures. They were considered an equal partner in Genesis. While nearly all ancient societies were patriarchal and many treated women as having few if any rights, Israel women had rights to food, clothing & sex and if not given these, they had the right to divorce. Women in the Bible were also important in many ways:

  • judges (Deborah). Note that judges were the highest political position in the theocracy of the time. Deborah was an incredible woman who functioned as the “king” of Israel, a prophetess, a judge who decided legal cases and also joined Barak as a women warrior fighting for Israel’s freedom (Read her story in Judges 4-5). Few if any men or women in history have held as many leadership roles as she did and she is highlighted as a godly female hero in the Bible.
  • queens and heroes (Esther, Rahab), See Esther’s story here: “One Night With The King” @ www.youtube.com/watch?v=trvUgCgWrdA or older version here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=tM-cB7xp-uk)
  • prophetesses (Huldah, Anna, Noadiah, Isaiah’s wife),
  • mothers of miracle babies (Sarah and Elizabeth),
  • leaders of nations, (Miriam, Esther, Deborah, many queens, Jezebel & Athaliah (evil)),
  • wise managers of the home with rights to do business in public, manage household affairs. They deserved public praise for their wise dealings (Proverbs 31:10-31),
  • Mary was honored to be the mother of Jesus (He had no human biological father of course. God could have done a miracle with a man if He had really wanted. It’s not that much harder to do that having a virgin give birth.)
  • disciples of Jesus (Luke 8:1-3, 2 Marys, Salome, Joanna, Susanna and other women),
  • women supported Jesus when his disciples abandoned him (Matthew 27:55-56, Mark 15:40-41).
  • Mary Magdalene and other women were privileged to be the first to discover that Jesus had risen from the dead (Matthew 28:1-10, Mark 16:1-7; Luke 24:1-11).
  • Due to the statements by Jesus, Paul and others, all men and women were treated as equals, although there are some differences such as physical. They were allowed to hold positions of responsibility and important in the early church (Mary, Dorcas, Julia, Lydia, Persis, Priscilla, Phoebe, Tryphena and Tryphosa: Acts 1:12-14, 9:36, 16:14, 18:24-26, 21:7-9, Romans 16:1-16). Why?
  • Caring for widows was an important moral issue in both the Old Testament and New Testament (Exodus 22:22, Deuteronomy 14:29, James 1:26-7).
  • All are equal--“There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28)
  • All are to submit to each other. Men to women, women to men, etc. ( Ephesians 5:20+)

See a bit more here about how the New Testament protected and expanded the rights/role of women here. It basically talks about how Jesus was one of the first to have female disciples and how Paul pioneered the role of mutual submission, both men to women and women to men (it does not do justice to the freedoms of the Israeli women compared to other surrounding nations though unfortunately, although Israel at the time of Jesus had been much influenced by the Greeks and Romans and some corrupted due to that):



CHRISTIANS PIONEERED WOMEN’S RIGHTS IN MODERN TIMES
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--Amy Carmichael rescued many girls from being sex slaves in Hindu temples, adopting many of them.
--Many Christians argued strongly against burning widows when their husbands died in the Indian and other cultures.
--Gladys Aylward and many Christians pioneered the fight against binding girls feet.
--Mary Slessor and other Christians fought against killing twins (thought an evil omen) in Africa and throwing away girl babies in many countries.
--Mary Lyon is one of many Christians who pioneered education for blacks, women, etc. She valued socioeconomic diversity and did much to make schools affordable for students of from different economic backgrounds. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Lyon

Many more examples are in the 4th chapter of “How Christianity Changed the World” See from about page 98 here (you can see some for free)
http://www.amazon.com/Christianity-Changed-World-Alvin-Schmidt/dp/0310264499/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1349800477&sr=8-1&keywords=how+Christianity+changed+the+world#reader_0310264499

CHRISTIANITY PIONEERED THE VAST MAJORITY OF HUMAN RIGHTS

• NURSING: Florence Nightingale heard God directly calling her to work to help those in suffering and misery just before her 17th birthday. She empowered women, pioneered statistics, sanitation, opened the first official nurses' training program, the Nightingale School for Nurses & her work has saved millions of lives. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florence_Nightingale

• SOCIAL WORK: Christianity from the beginning was involved in social work (see Acts 2 and 4). Later under Constantine it set up poorhouses, homes for the aged, hospitals, and orphanages, funded partly by grants from the Empire. It continued to be the main agent of social work in the west up through the 18th century. Jane Addams pioneered modern social work. The Salvation Army was started by an evangelist, William Booth, and cares for the poor and downtrodden in many different countries. Mother Teresa & Little Sisters of the Poor / Missionaries of Charity care for the poorest of the poor (which won her the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979) and India's highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna, in 1980.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_social_work, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Almshouse,
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Booth , http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mother_Teresa

• ORPHANAGES: Early Christian nurses picked up children on Roman roads and took care of them. George Mueller pioneered the care and education of orphans for 1000s of children. Amy Carmichael and many missionaries pioneered international orphan care.
http://74.84.206.112/ChurchHistory/11630420/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Muller, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amy_Carmichael

• WOMEN’S RIGHTS: Christians pioneered many rights of women. You must remember that to the Greeks for example, women were "defined as near slaves, or as perpetual minors" in Athenian society (The Greek World, pg. 200). The Greek Poet Propertius said: "May my enemies fall in love with women and my friends with boys." Semonides wrote about 10 types of women which were at best a beautiful evil and at worst a curse for mankind. Hesiod writes wrote, “Whoever trusts women, trusts thieves.” Similar concepts were in many ancient cultures. The rights of women in the Bible was vastly superior to most other ancient cultures. Read Proverbs 31 and compare that to the above. In modern times, Gladys Aylward, Amy Carmichael, Mary Slessor and Christian governments helped stop the binding of feet in girls in China, the burning of widows in India, throwing away girl babies in Africa and many other evils.

• ABOLITION OF SLAVERY: On Sunday 28 October 1787 Wilberforce wrote in his diary: “God Almighty has set before me two great objects: the suppression of the slave trade and the Reformation of society.” Wilberforce was smeared mercilessly, assaulted and even the target of attempted murder. Yet, he never gave up & after nearly 50 years of campaigning, slaves all over the British Empire were freed (with the govt. paying ~20 million pounds to do it). Quakers, Adventists (who almost to a person were against slavery even at the time of the Civil War) and many Christians like Harriet Tubman worked in many ways to free slaves due to biblical principles that forbade oppression of foreigners many times and said that all are equal (watch Amistad).
www.reformationsa.org/articles/William Wilberforce - Campaign to End Slavery.htm

• CHILDREN’S RIGHTS: Save the Children. This large relief agency was founded by Eglantyne Jebb, a Christian, who also campaigned for social reform in this area. The Declaration of the Rights of the Child was adopted by the League of Nations. She also pioneered the Child Sponsorship program. The London Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (London SPCC) was also started by Christians. Josephine Butler was a passionate Christian who campaigned against child abuse and for an age of consent & led in other social reforms. World Vision, is one of the largest relief and development agencies in the US involving child sponsorship. It was founded by the Christian, Dr. Robert Pierce. Mission of Mercy meets the needs of children in poverty stricken areas.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eglantyne_Jebb, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josephine_Butler, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Pierce
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Society_for_the_Prevention_of_Cruelty_to_Children#History
http://missionofmercy.org/home/index.cfm?flash=1

• Compassion International is a Christian child sponsorship organization dedicated to the long-term development of children living in poverty around the world. Compassion International, headquartered in Colorado Springs, functions in 26 countries such as Bolivia, Colombia, Mexico, Haiti, Kenya, and India. They also currently help more than 1,200,000 children.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compassion_International

• Kindernothilfe (KNH) is a charity organization and was founded in 1959 by a group of Christians in Duisburg, Germany, in order to help needy children in India. Over time, it has become one of the largest Christian organizations in Europe for children's aid.Today it supports more than 580,000 children and young people in 28 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe. KNH aims to give needy children in the poorest countries of the world a chance to a good start in life.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kindernothilfe

• END SEX SLAVERY: Tiny Hands International (THI) is a Christian nonprofit organization dedicated to helping orphaned and abandoned children and fighting sex trafficking in South Asia. Tiny Hands operates through national non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Nepal, Bangladesh, and India.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiny_Hands_International

• MEDICAL WORK: There are countless Christians medical missionaries who have given up lucrative careers in their home countries to go and serve abroad…sometimes for a whole lifetime. Dr. Victor C Rambo was a passionate Christian who could have made a lot of money as a doctor in the US. Instead he lived in India where he "worked from dawn 'til dusk" operating on cataracts where little or no other help was available. Some stayed at home though. Dr. C. Everett Koop. Koop performed groundbreaking surgical procedures on conjoined twins and infants, invented techniques which today are commonly used for infant surgery, and saved the lives of countless children who otherwise might have been allowed to die.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C._Everett_Koop#Career amazon.com/Apostle-Sight-Victor-Surgeon-Indias/dp/0915684543

• HUMAN RIGHTS: Amnesty International campaigns for justice for oppressed people all over the world. It was started by 2 Christians Peter Beneson & Eric Baker in 1961. Early Church Fathers advocated against polygamy, abortion, infanticide, child abuse. The Magna Carta is considered one of the most important documents in human history for human rights and western law. Lord Denning described it as "the greatest constitutional document of all times – the foundation of the freedom of the individual against the arbitrary authority of the despot". The man most responsible for writing it was Stephen Langton (Archbishop of Canterbury).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amnesty_International#History
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Role_of_the_Catholic_Church_in_Western_civilization#Roman_Empire
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Langton, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magna_Carta

• CIVIL RIGHTS: Rev.Martin Luther King Jr., a man of great courage and faith who was at the centre of the civil rights movement as were many other pastors. They worked to end racial segregation and racial discrimination through civil disobedience and other nonviolent means (yes, sometimes against other Christians who were in power). MUCH of his effort derived directly from the Bible, including key parts of his “I have a Dream speech”
http://www.biography.com/people/martin-luther-king-jr-9365086, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Luther_King,_Jr.

• ECONOMIC JUSTICE. Christians have long been heavily involved in pioneering economic justice and fair trade for the poor. In the last 25 years, 1.3 billion people have escaped from poverty largely because of campaigns like Jubilee2000, Make Poverty History, Christian Aid, Oxfam, ONE, Tearfund, and 100s of others. Many like these were started by Christians. Oxfam pioneered modern famine relief. It works to address famine and economic injustice on a worldwide scale. It was founded by Quaker Christians in Oxford in 1942.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tearfund, www.makepovertyhistory.org, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxfam

• MICRO-FINANCING: David Bussau AM (born November 10, 1940) is a pioneer of microfinance who founded Opportunity International Australia and co-founded the Opportunity International Network. His efforts have been focused on addressing the roots causes of poverty through responsible wealth creation. According to the World Bank, micro-enterprise has proven to be one of the most effective and sustainable ways to solve poverty. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Bussau

• EDUCATION: Jews and Christians pioneered the concept of public education fueled by the faith's embrace of equality, since we believe all were created in God's image and have a right to knowledge and a decent start in life. Christian influence led to the first universities, in Paris and Bologna, then Oxford and Cambridge along with Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Ewha, Yonsei (in Korea), and numerous others. Out of the initial 110 universities started in the US, 100 had Christian foundations. Ellen White puts it eloquently, “Higher than the highest human thought can reach is God's ideal for His children. Godliness--godlikeness--is the goal to be reached. Before the student there is opened a path of continual progress.” http://www.whiteestate.org/books/ed/ed1.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_education_in_the_United_States

• EDUCATION FOR BLACKS/WOMEN: Mary Lyon is one of many Christians who pioneered education for blacks, women, etc. She valued socioeconomic diversity and did much to make schools affordable for students of from different economic backgrounds. Booker T Washington http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Lyon

• LITERACY CAMPAIGNS: Frank Laubach. Committed Christian and pioneer of world literacy. Known as the "Apostle to the Illiterates" the programs he developed have been used to teach about 60 million people to read their own language. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Laubach

Christianity is the largest single provider of health care and education in the world. http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/the_tls/article6057334.ece

There’s a video on this here:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJ0yjgYyCms&feature=player_embedded

• YMCA/YOUTHWORKD: THE YMCA was founded in 1844 a Christian, John Mott and won him the Nobel Peace Prize. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Mott, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/YMCA

• HOUSES FOR THE POOR: Millard Fuller, a Christian, founded Habitat for Humanity, one of the largest charities in the US which provides housing for the poor internationally. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millard_Fuller

• PRISON REFORM: The Quakers pioneered prison reform during the Victorian age. Women like the Quaker Elizabeth Fry were horrified by prison conditions and formed the Ladies Newgate Committee which started schools for prisoner’s children, suggested basic human rights for prisoners and teaching prisoners a trade etc (she also pioneered setting up homeless shelters). Gladys Aylward pioneered prison reform in China advising the Mandarin to give the prisoners jobs. She was known to the Chinese as 艾偉德 (Ài Dé Wěi -meaning 'Virtuous One'). Today, Prison Fellowship International (amongst other Christian ministries) works around the globe in prisons to help reform and rehabilitate prisoners.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prison_reform#United_Kingdom, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prison_Fellowship_International
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Fry, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gladys_Aylward, http://www.historyswomen.com/womenoffaith/GladysAylward.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prison_reform#United_Kingdom
http://www.pfi.org/media-and-news/news/copy16_of_index_html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prison_Fellowship_International

• WORK REFORM: The 7th Earl of Shaftsbury was inspired by his faith to become a leader of the movement for a multitude of work reforms such as the Factory Acts of 1847 and 1853, the Ten Hour Bill, as well as the Mines and Collieries Act 1842 and the Lunacy Act 1845. He also supported children’s welfare rights and was a chairman of the Ragged Schools Union and a keen supporter of Florence Nightingale.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthony_Ashley-Cooper,_7th_Earl_of_Shaftesbury

• LEPROSARIUMS: Jesus reached out to the ostracized lepers. Christians continue to do this. Dr. Paul Wilson Brand was a pioneer in developing tendon transfer techniques for use in the hands of those with leprosy. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Wilson_Brand

• ADDICTION HELP: Alcoholics Anonymous helps 2 million people. It was inspired by the Christian "Oxford Group" and the co-founder of AA, Dr. Bob Smith, said AA's basic ideas came from their study of the Bible; the Steps, in essence meant "love and service." There are now many 12 step groups. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcoholics_Anonymous#Oxford_Group_beginnings
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_Smith_(doctor)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcotics_Anonymous

• Mercy Ministries is an international, Evangelical, charismatic, Christian, charitable organization that offers a long-term residential program for young women aged 13–28 who struggle with various "life controlling" issues. In 2008, the top issues that Mercy Ministries reported themselves to be dealing with were: eating disorders (69%), self-harm (60%), sexual abuse (55%), emotional/verbal abuse (55%), depression (55%), chemical dependency (49%), physical abuse (37%) and pregnancy (6%)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercy_Ministries

• TEMPERANCE MOVEMENT: Christians led the campaign to address the abuse of alcohol in society. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temperance_movement

• KINDERGARTENS: Friedrich Wilhelm August FrÃbel (or Froebel) (April 21, 1782 - June 21, 1852) laid the foundation for modern education based on the recognition that children have unique needs and capabilities. He developed the concept of the "kindergarten", and also coined the word now used in German and English. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friedrich_Fr%C3%B6bel

• BRAILLE: Louis Braille said, "God was pleased to hold before my eyes the dazzling splendors of eternal hope". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Braille
• HOME CARE: Rose Hawthorne Lathrop created the first homes/treatment centers for cancer patients in the US. St. Rose's Free Home for Incurable Cancer
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rose_Hawthorne_Lathrop

• ANIMAL RIGHTS: The Royal Society for the prevention of cruelty to Animals was founded by Christians like William Wilberforce.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Society_for_the_Prevention_of_Cruelty_to_Animals

• TOTALITARIAN OPPONENTS: Christians like pastor Niemoller, pastor Dietrick Bonhoeffer, John Weidner and 1000s more were the leaders in opposing Hitler’s regime in Germany and saving 1000s of lives from death camps. Controversially, Bonhoeffer was also part of a group planning to assassinate Hitler.

IMPACT ON PERSONAL LIVES
http://christiangoodinsociety.blogspot.com/p/impact-on-individual-lives.html

OTHERS
The church is the largest single provider of health care and education in the world, and in many of the poorest countries where other health care is unavailable, the church is the only hope for countless souls. http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/the_tls/article6057334.ece

• One of the largest international literacy organisations in the world, SIL International, brings literacy to thousands of the world's poorest language communities.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SIL_International

• (UK) Recent research showed that 81% of evangelical Christians do some kind of voluntary work at least once a month. This compares with a much lower figure of 26% for the population at large, obtained in citizenship surveys by the Department for Communities and Local Government, and is consistent with comparable differences identified by researchers in North America.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2011/mar/17/christians-big-society-voluntary-work
Similar results were confirmed through a five-year study by the political scientists David Campbell and Robert Putman.
http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/forum/2010-11-15-column15_ST_N.htm

• Barnardo's homes -- world's largest orphanage system. Founded by Thomas John Barnardo.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_John_Barnardo

• Protection of young people in our society: English Factory reform bill and anti-poor movement,- Richard Oastler
http://www.christianhistorytimeline.com/DAILYF/2002/09/daily-09-29-2002.shtml
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Oastler

• Pioneering free or low cost health care for the terminally ill in our society dying of cancer.
Macmillan nurses. Douglas Macmillan.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_Macmillan
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macmillan_Cancer_Support#History

Rose Hawthorne Lathrop created the first homes/treatment centers for cancer patients in the US. St. Rose's Free Home for Incurable Cancer
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rose_Hawthorne_Lathrop

Leprosy Mission International has over 130 years experience working with people that are considered "untouchable" in some societies. Founded by Wellesley Bailey in the 1860s.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wellesley_Bailey
http://www.leprosymission.org/

• Sight to the blind. Dr. Victor C Rambo was a passionate Christian who could have made a lot of money as a doctor in the US. Instead he lived in India where he "worked from dawn 'til dusk" operating on cataracts where little or no other help was available. Literally thousands of patients were helped through his ministry who would have otherwise been left seriously visually impaired or gone blind.
http://www.philadelphia-reflections.com/blog/695.htm
amazon.com/Apostle-Sight-Victor-Surgeon-Indias/dp/0915684543

• Samaritans Purse. Humanitarian organisation reaching those suffering in war, poverty, famine, disease and disaster. Franklin Graham
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samaritan%27s_Purse

• Education UK. An overwhelming number of early education establishments were Christian before the State took over.
http://www.jstor.org/pss/1050784

• In the UK, faith schools (Christian and Jewish) dominate the league table of performance. Two thirds of the 50 best Âperforming institutions were Church of England, Roman Catholic or Jewish. This comes despite the fact that faith schools account for only one in every three schools.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1338725/Faith-schools-leading-way-dominate-league-tables.html

• Lech Walesa. Devout Christian and charismatic president of Poland 1990-95. World renowned human rights activist. Winner of numerous international awards including the Nobel Peace prize 1983 and awarded over 30 honorary doctorates from universities worldwide. Co-founder of Solidarity, the Soviet bloc's first independent trade union.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lech_Walesa

• Rev. Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, LL.D., (December 10, 1787 – September 10, 1851) was a renowned American pioneer in the education of the deaf. He co-founded and raised funds for the first institution for the education of the deaf in North America. For many years he was principal of that institution. His son Edward Miner Gallaudet (1837–1917) founded in 1864 the first college for the deaf which in 1986 became Gallaudet University.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Hopkins_Gallaudet

• Charles Loring Brace (June 19, 1826 in Litchfield, Connecticut - August 11, 1890) was a contributing philanthropist in the field of social reform. He is considered a father of the modern foster care movement and was most renowned for starting the Orphan Train movement of the mid-19th century, and for founding The Children's Aid Society.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Loring_Brace

• Despite being crippled himself, John Pounds (1766-1839) was the man most responsible for the creation of the concept of "Ragged Schools" (charitable schools dedicated to the free education of destitute children). Working in the poorest districts, teachers initially utilised stables, lofts, and railway arches for their classes. The success of the Ragged Schools definitively demonstrated that there was a demand for education among the poor.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Pounds

• Robert Raikes ("the Younger") (14 September 1736 – 5 April 1811) was an English philanthropist and Anglican layman, noted for his promotion of Sunday schools. Pre-dating state schooling and by 1831 schooling 1,250,000 children, they are seen as the first schools of the English state school system.
The movement started with a school for boys in the slums.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Raikes

• Michael Faraday. Contributed extensively to the fields of Electromagnetism and Electrochemistry.
Known as "one of the most influential scientists in history. Historians of science refer to him as the best experimentalist in the history of science." Discovered Benzene, invented early form of Bunsen Burner.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Faraday

There are 100s more. It’s hard to find an area of human rights that Christians haven’t been involved in, often pioneering them.

CHRISTIANITY GREATLY IMPROVES MORAL BEHAVIOR NOW!
Well, what about now? Does Christianity contribute to positive moral behavior now? First of all, the research is quite comprehensive in support of the idea that religions, especially Christianity, but also others, significantly improves morals these days. This is true for both young people and adults.  While there are certainly some moral people in nearly every view that exists, belief in God produces a significantly higher morality overall. It's even more impressive when you realize that MANY of these studies count people as being Christian just because they attend church (Would you consider someone a scientist, just because they attend a science class once a week?) and they do not compare their lives before and after they believed in God. They also do not consider the fact that religions are constantly recruiting new believers from all sorts of different maturity and moral levels, often those who are down and out and in big trouble with the law and those types.  Their policy of reaching out to the very lowest dregs of society and redeeming them with God's love over time, certainly drags the statistics down quite a bit. The numbers below would be MUCH higher if these and other important aspects were included. 

Belief in God Improves Prosocial Behaviour (moral behaviour) In 186 Societies.
Roes and Raymond (2003) found that across a sample of 186 human societies, belief in watchful, moralizing gods was positively correlated with measures of group cohesion and size. In addition, experimental research reveals that even subtle reminders of God and religion also promote prosocial behavior (e.g., Pichon, Boccato, & Saroglou, 2007; Randolph-Seng & Nielsen, 2007; Shariff & Norenzayan, 2007; see also McKay, Efferson,Whitehouse, & Fehr, 2011).

Belief in God improves moral behavior in adolescents on ~30 behaviors
In one of the largest studies of its kind, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill examined the role of religion in the lives of nearly 2500 adolescents. The adolescents indicated the level of their indoctrination (i.e., frequency of church attendance) and importance of religion, along with a number of activities that they have or have not participated in. The study was called:

Religion and American Adolescent Delinquency, Risk Behaviors and Constructive Social Activities. National Study of Youth and Religion. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Christian Smith and Robert Faris. 2002.
http://www.youthandreligion.org/publications/reports.html http://www.youthandreligion.org/sites/youthandreligion.org/files/imported/publications/docs/RiskReport1.pdf

Listed below are graphs of behaviors that would generally be considered to be unfavorable or favorable and the difference between those who attend church and those who don't. Again, note that the term "indoctrination" refers to how often adolescents are going to church, a term with unfortunate negative connotations that is not accurate for almost all churches.



ATHEIST PROFESSORS AGREE THAT CHRISTIANITY IMPROVED MORALS
Dr. Guenter Lewy professor emeritus of the Univ. of Massachusetts was a secularist who set out to ridicule the claims of Christians that the crisis of the age is a crisis of unbelief and to prove the attack on secular modernity “to be a danger to individual liberty as well as an affront to people of goodwill who happened to be agnostics or atheists.” He intended to write a book “Why America doesn’t need Religion.” But, the research changed his mind and he wrote the book, “Why America Needs Religion.”

“The fifth chapter, “Religiousness and Moral Conduct: Are Believing Christians Different?,” [asks] the question of whether the Christian faith transforms the lives of those who take their religion seriously. In particular, Professor Lewy examines the questions of juvenile delinquency, adult crime, prejudice and intolerance, single parenting, and divorce, and concludes that the vast majority of social science research supports the finding that the minority of Christians who take their religion seriously (as opposed to the nominal Christians of the Christmas-and-Easter variety) have significantly lower rates of moral failure and social ills than any other groups studied.
http://www.acton.org/pub/religion-liberty/volume-7-number-5/why-america-needs-religion

You can read much of this chapter online. Start on about page 95.
http://books.google.com/books?id=KfxJA_7zG7MC&pg=PA89&dq=Why+America+needs+God&hl=en&ei=tD5LTp2iMo_JmAXXqo3jBw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCwQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false


Guenter Lewy again is not religious & meant to write a book against the need for religion. But, many studies reversed the title of his book. Here are just a few.

Lee Ellis reviewed 56 studies dealing with the link between crime & religiousness. There were many factors involved, but he concluded that if by being religious “one means attending church frequently, there is manifestly a strong tendency for religious people to commit fewer crimes.” Ellis, “Religiosity & Criminality: Evidence & Explanations of Complex Relationships,” Sociological Perspectives 28 (1985): 513.

William Bainbridge studied 75 metropolitan areas & found significant negative associations between church memberships & 3 crimes, assault, burglary, & larceny. He controlled for other variables such as age, education, racial composition, & income, & concluded that religion has “an independent power to deter several kinds of deviant behavior in which harm is done to other persons.” Bainbridge, “The Religious Ecology of Deviance,” American Sociological Review 54 (1989): 292.

T. David Evans found that religious activities such as attending church, listening to religious broadcasts, & reading religious materials had a significant negative effect on adult criminality. Evans et all., “Religion & Crime Reexamined: The Impact of Religion, Secular Controls & Social Ecology on Adult Criminality,” Criminology 33 (1995): 195-224.

There is strong evidence that religion can help reduce the out of wedlock teen pregnancy (which nearly all scientists agree has many negative effects). The most comprehensive study on this was done at the Rand Corporation & studied high school sophomore women. The authors found that religiousness was a strong predictor reducing subsequent single parenthood.
Allan, F. Abrahamse, et al., Beyond Sterotypes: Who Becomes a Single Teenage Mother (Santa Monica, Calif: Rand Corporation, 1988), p. 38.
[IMG]http://i1048.photobucket.com/albums/s378/dotoree/Debate-statistics%20and%20research/singleparenthoodbyreligiousness.jpg[/IMG]

Richard Gill writes about the importance of strong biological marriages, “If one had to select the single most important factor responsible for the disturbing condition of many of today’s younger generation….the breakdown of the intact biological parent family would almost certainly be at or near the top of the list” Whether measured in economic terms or in terms of children’s emotional development, behavior, psychological & physical well-being, & school performance, the data strongly support the superiority of the intact family & the high cost of divorce to children.” Gill, “For the Sake of the Children,” Public Interest, no. 108 (summer 1992): 81-82. See also David Popenoe’s Disturbing the Nest: Family Change & Decline in Modern Societies (New York: Aldine de Gruyter, 1988), p. 315.

What reduces divorce? Professor Lewy says on pg. 109 that “Numerous studies…have indicated that religion operates as a powerful deterrent to divorce.” He cites a study by Albrecht where 10 percent of those who never attended church services were divorced, but only 4 percent of those who attended church weekly had divorced (Albrecht et al., Divorce & Remarriage, pp. 51-53, 80-83. A national marriage survey by Gallup in 1988 showed that 75% of spouss who prayed together were very happy in their marriages compared to only 57 percent who did not pray. (Andrew M. Greeley, Faithful Attraction (New York: Tor Books, 1991), discussed by David G. Myers in “ The Pursuit of Happiness: Who is Happy—and Why (New York: William Morrow, 1992), p. 173.

In a study in 1983, 57% of non-religious Americans were still in their first marriage, while 87% of Mormons were (Albrecht et al., Divorce & Remarriage, p. 80.)

CONCLUSION
The above information is only a small part of the evidence for God and how His principles have radically changed the entire world and been directly responsible for many of the freedoms that almost everyone on earth now experiences. Paul wrote this in 1 Timothy 4:8:
“Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.”


The evidence certainly shows that this has been fulfilled overwhelmingly in the areas of human rights and morality in history.  What difference does God have for humanity in the future?  Learn and follow Him and maybe you can contribute to many more improvements in the future and experience many benefits yourself as well! See the link on Jubilee Economics for starters.

God bless and I pray you seriously consider serving Him with your life (this link gives a good overview of the way to do that: http://www.truth-is-life.org/EternalLife.html


Sincerely,
Bryan Bissell