A couple of years ago, Jeremiah Johnston and his wife binge-watched the HBO series “The Man in the High Castle.” The series is set in a world where Nazi Germany and Japan won World War II and now occupy the United States.
It’s a world where euthanasia is mandatory, and the ashes of victims fall on passersby. In other words, it’s a world without Christianity, not to mention Judaism.
After watching the series, Johnston’s wife told him that he needed to write about what they had just watched. He did, and the result is his outstanding book, “Unimaginable: What the World Would Be Like Without Christianity.”
But Johnston’s book is not about a fictional world like the “The Man in the High Castle.” His book is straight out of history, about the real world that Christianity replaced—a pagan world that is showing signs of a comeback in this post-Christian age.
Johnston introduces us to the world in which Christianity was born, and eventually transformed. He tells the story of Hilarion, an otherwise-unremarkable Roman citizen who had traveled to Egypt. He writes to his pregnant wife that he may not make it home in time for the birth. So he wishes her “good luck” and then tells her what to do when the child is born: “If it is a boy, keep it; if it is a girl, throw it out.”
As I said, there was nothing remarkable about Hilarion or his attitude towards his soon-to-be-born child. As Johnston tells us, “…in the first-century Roman world . . . killing an unwanted child was no big deal.” He quotes the philosopher Seneca, who wrote: “Unnatural progeny we destroy; we drown even children who at birth are weak or abnormal.”
Into this world came Christianity, whose teaching and practice was 180 degrees from that of the surrounding societies. The early second century Christian document known as “the “Didache” told Christians, “Do not murder a child by abortion, nor kill it at birth.” The Epistle of Barnabas, which dates from a few decades later, similarly said, “Do not murder a child by abortion, nor, again, destroy that which is born.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, John Stonestreet and Roberto Rivera