Atheists and Islamic extremists have something in common – they want a world without Christianity. These strange bedfellows believe that the world would be a better place if it was devoid of this religion started by Jesus Christ two millennia ago and counts a third of the world’s population as followers.
But they don’t have to imagine what a ‘grand’ world it would be without Christianity, they just have to look at history during the Greco-Roman period and more recently during the 20th century.
“What was the world like before Jesus? Was that a great world?” asks Dr. Jeremiah J. Johnston, president of Christian Thinkers Society, in an interview with ChristianWeek. “There is nothing new about the ‘New Atheism’. … They are going to take us back to a pre-Christian, pagan, racist world of inequality because without God there is no humanity. Without God there are no morals.”
Johnston is the author of the new book Unimaginable: What Our World Would Be Like Without Christianity (Bethany House, December 2017), which has an astounding 31 pages of citation notes for 200 pages of reading. The professional researcher, who also serves as professor of Early Christianity at Houston Baptist University, begins the book by looking at the world before Christianity. He cites ancient letters and historical records by non-Christian civilians and historians to paint a world where Greco-Roman gods often were seen as the source of harm and suffering, a fourth of the population was sick at any given time, a quarter of the population were slaves and sold naked like animals in markets, life expectancy was only 20 years of age, and infant girls and babies born with abnormalities were routinely “exposed” to the elements and wild animals to their deaths, as normal practice.
“By today’s standards, it was hell on earth. Poverty, sickness, premature death, domestic violence, economic injustice, slavery, and political corruption were the given of life,” Johnston writes.
The concise book, written with the busy mom in mind, is divided into three parts: The World Before Christianity, The World Without Christianity, and The World with Christianity.
Before Christianity, the idea of human dignity and value were arguably non-existent. One in four people in the Roman Empire was a slave, and the ancient Greek philosopher and scientist Aristotle writes in Ethica nicomachea 8.11: “The slave is a living tool and the tool a lifeless slave.” Slaves were property and therefore owners could sexually exploit female, male and child slaves with impunity.
Aristotle also writes in Politica, “Slaves are subhuman or lesser men, while masters are superior.”
Also the Roman Law of the Twelve Tables (Leges Duodecim Tabularum), dated as far back as fifth century BC, commanded fathers to put to death their child if he/she is deformed, with a law in Table IV.1 reading: “A notably deformed child shall be killed immediately.”
For women, every point in her life during the Greco-Roman era was fraught with danger. A girl baby was more likely to be abandoned or killed, young girls or teenagers were likely to face sexual abuse or forced prostitution, adult women were under the control of their husbands who had the right to abuse or abandon them, and widows faced poverty.
“Some of it is simply terrifying. Today’s atheists and nihilists do not know that they are playing with fire, a fire that could destroy our civilization. What ended racism? What ended slavery? What ended systemic abuse of children and women? What ended gross ignorance and superstition?” asks Dr. Craig A. Evans, the John Bisagno Distinguished Professor of Christian Origins at Houston Baptist University, in his review.
What ended the prevalent practice of slavery during the Greco-Roman era was the revolutionary Christian message about equality among humankind as declared by Apostle Paul in Galatians 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Gentle, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” This radical Christian idea took hold of the Roman world and the West, and for the next millennium, no influential philosopher advocated slavery, infanticide or eugenics.
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Source: Christian Post