Is a Christian Society a Better One?

Christians who argue that no society can be a good society without Christianity need a history lesson. They need to study some of the great societies of the past, like Greece during the golden ages, or The Roman Empire, or several of the dynasties in ancient China, or the Islamic Empire under Muhammad, or the historic Japanese culture. None of these societies were Christian ones, but they were great societies by all standards of history. And yes, there was corruption in every one of these societies too, just like any ancient or modern society, even Biblical Judaism and Christian America.


If Christians want to maintain that a Christian society is a better society, then just let them volunteer to go back in time to medieval Christianity and see if they like it. Probably all Christians today would be branded as heretics and persecuted or burned to death. And if today’s Christians will say that medieval Christianity doesn’t represent true Christianity, then which Christian society does truly represent true Christianity? Even in the first few years of the early church there was corruption. There was sin in the camp (Acts 5); grumbling about food (Acts 6); and a major dispute that threatened to split the church (Acts 10-11, 15; Galatians 2). Then there were the constant disputes among these Christians over a very wide assortment of issues (I & II Corinthians). I could go on and talk of Calvin’s Geneva, the Crusades, the Inquisitions, witch trials, or any period in the history of America too, with black slavery, the Salem witchcraft trials, Manifest Destiny, and our treatment of women and minorities, to mention just a few.

Christian inclusivist scholar, Charles Kimball, argues that certain tendencies within religions cause evil. “Religious structures and doctrines can be used almost like weapons.” (p. 32). Religion becomes evil, according to Kimball, whenever religion: 1) has absolute truth claims; 2) demands blind obedience; 3) tries to establish the ideal society; 4) utilizes the end justifies any means when defending their group identity; or 5) when they see themselves in a holy war. He says, “A strong case can be made that the history of Christianity contains considerably more violence and destruction than that of most other major religions.” (p. 27) [When Religion Becomes Evil (Harper, 2002)].

Richard Dawkins, a world-renowned evolutionary biologist, has released a two-part video series in 2006, called “The Root of All Evil?: The God Delusion.” Dawkins describes God as the most unpleasant fictional character of all and he attacks religion as the cause for much of the pain and suffering in the world.

I just don’t see where a Christian society is a better one. And even if Christianity was the main motivator in starting most all early American universities, most all of our hospitals and many food kitchens, and the like, these things still would have been started anyway, if for no reason other than necessity. It just so happened that Christianity has reigned in America for a couple of centuries, that’s all.

7 comments:

mathyo said...

And even if Christianity was the main motivator in starting most all early American universities, most all of our hospitals and many food kitchens, and the like, these things still would have been started anyway, if for no reason other than necessity. It just so happened that Christianity has reigned in America for a couple of centuries, that’s all.

Actually, I'd say that universities, hospitals, and charities started by Christian churches were not started out of altruism or any desire for a better society, but as a way for those churches to convert people. Who are the most vulnerable people? The sick (hospitals), the poor (food kitchens) and young people leaving home for the first time to enter the world as adults (universities).

Hallq said...

Christianity has demonstrably been a bane on civilization. What do you expect from a religion which declares, in one of its most oft-quoted passages, that those with correct beliefs get eternal life and those with incorrect ones are condemned? Thomas Aquinas saw the clear implication: heretics become more dangerous than murderers, and must be killed. It may be the case that the majority of early Americans were Christian, but I do not think it would be an exageration to say that rejection of orthodox Christianity is written into our Constitution in the form of the 1st amendment.

The Jewish Freak said...

All you have to do is study the historyof the Jews in christian Europe to thoroughly debunk any idea of christian society being a better society.

Edward T. Babinski said...

RELIGION CORRELATES STATISTICALLY WITH HIGHER DEGREES OF SOCIAL DYSFUNCTION IN WESTERN CIVILIZED NATIONS

A study in the Journal of Religion and Society (volume 7, 2005) by Gregory S. Paul finds religiosity correlated with higher degrees of social dysfunction.

The author tested the popular assumption that religiosity is socially beneficial. Paul writes that the United States is the "only significant exception" to the extensive secularism occurring in western nations. His study cites theistic claims that evolutionary science leads to moral decay, papal decrees that secular material leads to "cultures of death," and media coverage of assertions that humans are "hardwired" to believe in a divine creator.

Ranking societies based on the percentage of the population expressing absolute belief in God, frequency of prayer, and frequency of reported church attendance, Paul correlated this data with rates of homicide, sexually transmitted diseases, teen pregnancy, abortion and child mortality.

Of nations studied, Paul found the United States--with the largest group of bible literalists and the lowest percentage of atheists and agnostics--has the highest levels of homicide, teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases and abortion.

Japan, Scandinavia and France, the most secularized western nations, have far lower rates. The United States is the only prosperous first world nation to exhibit rates of religiosity otherwise limited to second and third worlds.

"When it comes to 'values,' if you look at facts rather than mere rhetoric, the substantially more secular blue states routinely leave the Bible Belt red states in the dust," analyzed Rosa Brooks about the study (Los Angeles Times, Oct. 1, 2005).

Six of the seven states with the highest 2003 homicide rates were "red" (supposedly influenced by fundamentalist turnout) in last year's elections: Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, Arizona, Georgia, and South Carolina. Infant mortality is highest in the South and Southwest, yet lowest in New England ("blue" state), ditto divorce rates, and teen pregnancy.

"We shouldn't shy away from the possibility that too much religiosity may be socially dangerous. Religious faith is inherently nonrational. . . historically, societies run into trouble when powerful religions become imperial and absolutist," Brooks muses. "The claim that religion can have a dark side should not be news," she added.

"The widely held fear that a Godless citizenry must experience societal disaster is therefore refuted," Paul concluded in his study.

Edward T. Babinski said...

Christianity Doesn't Work as Advertised

by Mark Smith at jcnot4me.com

[A collection of recent news articles on the above topic, including the results of data collected by the renowned Christian pollster, Barna.]

http://www.jcnot4me.com/Items/evangelical_ath/Christianity_Does_Not_Work_as_Advertised.htm

Mark Plus said...

I find it deliciously ironic that the more secular Western European countries tend to value human life more than than the Jesus-loving U.S. For example, they offer universal healthcare, abolished the death penalty, restrict firearms ownership, regulate workplace safety and environmental pollution more strictly, try to use armed force sparingly, etc. Even the "droogs" in Europe tend to behave themselves better than the ones in the U.S. The Muslim youths who rioted in France a few months back killed only a handful of people, whereas similar disorders in the U.S., like L.A.'s Rodney King riot in 1992, can rack up scores of murder victims.

Josh (joshster@epals.com) said...
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