The West Owes a Debt to Christianity

It’s a rock-solid Western conviction: All men—and women—are created equal. But where does it come from? Well, not the Enlightenment.

Few modern historians have done more to educate the public about the ancient and classical world than Tom Holland. His 2004 book, “Rubicon: The Last Years of the Roman Republic,” won the prestigious Hessell-Tiltman prize, which is awarded to history books of “high literary merit.”

Subsequent books about the rise of the Persian Empire and the rise of Islam have received similar accolades. Put simply, when it comes to the ancient world, Holland knows his stuff, and no one doubts it.

That’s why it’s wise to pay attention to what he has to say about how the coming of Christianity, and in particular the writings of St. Paul, shaped our world.

Writing in the storied British literary and political journal, the New Statesman, Holland told readers how the Christianity of his childhood gave way to an obsession with ancient empires. “When I read the Bible,” Holland wrote, “the focus of my fascination was less the children of Israel or Jesus and his disciples than their adversaries: the Egyptians, the Assyrians, the Romans.”

While he “vaguely continued to believe in God, [Holland] found Him infinitely less charismatic than [his] favourite Olympians: Apollo, Athena, Dionysus.”

Like many historians, Edward Gibbons and other Enlightenment writers convinced Holland “that the triumph of Christianity had ushered in an ‘age of superstition and credulity.’ and that modernity was founded on the dusting down of long-forgotten classical values.”

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Eric Metaxas And Roberto Rivera