Culture Intelligent Design Mind Religion

Historian: Christianity has been the world’s greatest engine for moral reform

Spread the love

Acknowledging church scandals and faithlessness, a Baylor historian writes,

But as Christians reflect on the incarnation and birth of Jesus Christ, it is a good time to remember that Christianity has massively contributed to good in world history as well. Other religions have done so, too, and Christianity’s effects are impossible to disconnect from the Jewish tradition from which it sprang. Christianity, however, is arguably the greatest engine of moral reform and cultural riches that the world has known.

That’s a big claim, but many studies and books back it up. To cite just one, sociologist Robert Woodberry showed in a landmark 2012 article that Christian missionaries were responsible for much of the global spread of cultural values such as “religious liberty, mass education, mass printing, newspapers, voluntary organizations, and colonial reforms” from Latin America to East Asia. For a century, skeptical scholars have lambasted missionaries as tools of the British and American empires. Sometimes those charges were warranted, as significant numbers of mission stations became sites of economic exploitation, or worse.

But Woodberry demonstrated that the enduring effects of Christian missions were overwhelmingly positive for the countries receiving them.

Thomas Kidd, “Christianity is the greatest engine of moral reform and cultural riches the world has known” at Dallas News

The decline of Christianity, among other things, means wars waged against intellectual freedom and freedom of conscience. The progressive has a right, after all, to a world where no one upsets him by having a different opinion.

Hat tip: Philip Cunningham

See also: Dawkins raises an issue without intending to: Can one “outgrow” God without “outgrowing” morality? Rebecca McLaughlin: To Dawkins’s credit, he comes dangerously close to acknowledging that religious belief is correlated with better moral outcomes—though he would like to think humans are better than that (117). He finds it rather patronizing to say, “Of course you and I are too intelligent to believe in God, but we think it would be a good idea if other people did!” (122).

and

David Bentley Hart offers an honest assessment of Richard Dawkins’s new book. The book is Outgrowing God: A Beginner’s Guide. Hart thinks Dawkins has finally found his authorial voice but you had better read the rest.

34 Replies to “Historian: Christianity has been the world’s greatest engine for moral reform

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    21 Positive Contributions Christianity Has Made Through the Centuries By D. James Kennedy (excerpted from “What if Jesus Had Never Been Born?”)
    (1) Hospitals, which essentially began during the Middle Ages.
    (2) Universities, which also began during the Middle Ages. In addition, most of the world’s greatest universities were started for Christian purposes.
    (3) Literacy and education for the masses.
    (4) Capitalism and free enterprise.
    (5) Representative government, particularly as it has been seen in the American experiment.
    (6) The separation of political powers.
    (7) Civil liberties.
    (8) The abolition of slavery, both in antiquity and in more modern times.
    (9) Modern science.
    (10) The discovery of the New World by Columbus.
    (11) The elevation of women.
    (12) Benevolence and charity; the good Samaritan ethic.
    (13) Higher standards of justice.
    (14) The elevation of common man.
    (15) The condemnation of adultery, homosexuality, and other sexual perversions. This has helped to preserve the human race, and it has spared many from heartache.
    (16) High regard for human life.
    (17) The civilizing of many barbarian and primitive cultures.
    (18) The codifying and setting to writing of many of the world’s languages.
    (19) Greater development of art and music. The inspiration for the greatest works of art.
    (20) The countless changed lives transformed from liabilities into assets to society because of the gospel.
    (21) The eternal salvation of countless souls.
    https://verticallivingministries.com/tag/benefits-of-christianity-to-society/

    What If Jesus Had Never Been Born?: The Impact of Jesus in the World – D. James Kennedy – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHLioeL9dYk

    Besides society at large, there are also tremendous personal benefits, not only in the life to come, but in this present temporal life:

    Christians report being much happier than atheists are,

    ‘Believers are happier than atheists’ – Jonathan Petre – 18 Mar 2008
    People who believe in God are happier than agnostics or atheists,
    A report found that religious people were better able to cope with disappointments such as unemployment or divorce than non-believers.
    Moreover, they become even happier the more they pray and go to church, claims the study by Prof Andrew Clark and Dr Orsolya Lelkes.
    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1581994/Believers-are-happier-than-atheists.html

    Christians have significantly fewer suicide attempts than atheists do,

    Of snakebites and suicide – February 18, 2014
    RESULTS: Religiously unaffiliated subjects had significantly more lifetime suicide attempts and more first-degree relatives who committed suicide than subjects who endorsed a religious affiliation.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....d-suicide/

    Christians report having greater life satisfaction than atheists do,

    Associations of Religious Upbringing With Subsequent Health and Well-Being From Adolescence to Young Adulthood: An Outcome-Wide Analysis
    Ying Chen, Tyler J VanderWeele – Sept. 10, 2018
    Excerpt: Compared with no attendance, at least weekly attendance of religious services was associated with greater life satisfaction and positive affect, a number of character strengths, lower probabilities of marijuana use and early sexual initiation, and fewer lifetime sexual partners. Analyses of prayer or meditation yielded similar results. Although decisions about religion are not shaped principally by health, encouraging service attendance and private practices in adolescents who already hold religious beliefs may be meaningful avenues of development and support, possibly leading to better health and well-being.
    https://academic.oup.com/aje/advance-article/doi/10.1093/aje/kwy142/5094534

    Christians having less mental and physical health issues than atheists do,

    “I maintain that whatever else faith may be, it cannot be a delusion.
    The advantageous effect of religious belief and spirituality on mental and physical health is one of the best-kept secrets in psychiatry and medicine generally. If the findings of the huge volume of research on this topic had gone in the opposite direction and it had been found that religion damages your mental health, it would have been front-page news in every newspaper in the land.”
    – Professor Andrew Sims former President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists – Is Faith Delusion?: Why religion is good for your health – preface

    “In the majority of studies, religious involvement is correlated with well-being, happiness and life satisfaction; hope and optimism; purpose and meaning in life; higher self-esteem; better adaptation to bereavement; greater social support and less loneliness; lower rates of depression and faster recovery from depression; lower rates of suicide and fewer positive attitudes towards suicide; less anxiety; less psychosis and fewer psychotic tendencies; lower rates of alcohol and drug use and abuse; less delinquency and criminal activity; greater marital stability and satisfaction… We concluded that for the vast majority of people the apparent benefits of devout belief and practice probably outweigh the risks.”
    – Professor Andrew Sims former President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists – Is Faith Delusion?: Why religion is good for your health – page 100
    https://books.google.com/books?id=PREdCgAAQBAJ&pg=PA100#v=onepage&q&f=false

    Christians live significantly longer than atheists do.

    Can attending church really help you live longer? This study says yes – June 1, 2017
    Excerpt: Specifically, the study says those middle-aged adults who go to church, synagogues, mosques or other houses of worship reduce their mortality risk by 55%. The Plos One journal published the “Church Attendance, Allostatic Load and Mortality in Middle Aged Adults” study May 16.
    “For those who did not attend church at all, they were twice as likely to die prematurely than those who did who attended church at some point over the last year,” Bruce said.
    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/06/02/can-attending-church-really-help-you-live-longer-study-says-yes/364375001/

    Study: Religiously affiliated people live “9.45 and 5.64 years longer…”
    July 1, 2018
    Excerpt: Self-reported religious service attendance has been linked with longevity. However, previous work has largely relied on self-report data and volunteer samples. Here, mention of a religious affiliation in obituaries was analyzed as an alternative measure of religiosity. In two samples (N = 505 from Des Moines, IA, and N = 1,096 from 42 U.S. cities), the religiously affiliated lived 9.45 and 5.64 years longer, respectively, than the nonreligiously affiliated. Additionally, social integration and volunteerism partially mediated the religion–longevity relation.
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/study-religiously-affiliated-people-lived-religiously-affiliated-lived-9-45-and-5-64-years-longer/

    Can Religion Extend Your Life? – By Chuck Dinerstein — June 16, 2018
    Excerpt: The researcher’s regression analysis suggested that the effect of volunteering and participation accounted for 20% or 1 year of the impact, while religious affiliation accounted for the remaining four years or 80%.
    https://www.acsh.org/news/2018/06/16/can-religion-extend-your-life-13092

    On top of all that, Christians are assured eternal life in heaven..

    John 3:16
    For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

  2. 2
    Ed George says:

    BA77

    21 Positive Contributions Christianity Has Made Through the Centuries By D. James Kennedy (excerpted from “What if Jesus Had Never Been Born?”)

    Just a response to a few.

    (1) Hospitals, which essentially began during the Middle Ages.

    Ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, India, Sri Lanka, China…. had hospitals before Christianity existed.

    (2) Universities, which also began during the Middle Ages. In addition, most of the world’s greatest universities were started for Christian purposes.

    Yet there were great houses of learning long before Christianity.

    (4) Capitalism and free enterprise.

    Capitalism and free enterprise existed in various forms long before Christianity existed.

    (5) Representative government, particularly as it has been seen in the American experiment.

    The great American experiment that created a government who’s representation was limited to white land owners. Much like what existed in Rome long before Christianity.

    (8) The abolition of slavery, both in antiquity and in more modern times.

    Yet the bible condones slavery. Yet the height of the African slave trade started well after the start of Christianity, with active participation by countries that were largely Christian.

    (9) Modern science.

    Yes, the modern scientific process was greatly influenced by Christians, but it would be false to say that science didn’t exist long before Christianity.

    (10) The discovery of the New World by Columbus.

    Except that the New World was discovered thousands of years before Christianity.

    (11) The elevation of women.

    Elevation to what? Subservient to their husbands? Second class citizens? Not allowed to be priests or cardinals?

    (12) Benevolence and charity; the good Samaritan ethic.

    Yes, there are great Christian charities. But there are also examples of charity in all other religions as well as in cultures that long pre-date Christianity.

    (13) Higher standards of justice.

    That is certainly debatable.

    (14) The elevation of common man.

    Most examples of the elevation of common man were the result of actions of common men, not the church.

    (15) The condemnation of adultery, homosexuality, and other sexual perversions. This has helped to preserve the human race, and it has spared many from heartache.

    These condemnations and prejudices long predates Christianity.

    (16) High regard for human life.

    Again, not uniquely Christian.

    (17) The civilizing of many barbarian and primitive cultures.

    Civilize, barbarian and primitive are highly subjective, to say nothing of being offensive.

    (18) The codifying and setting to writing of many of the world’s languages.

    Many of which were codified and written long before Christianity.

    (19) Greater development of art and music. The inspiration for the greatest works of art.

    Subjective claim

    (20) The countless changed lives transformed from liabilities into assets to society because of the gospel.

    Like the subjugation of women, persecution of Jews and homosexuals.

    (21) The eternal salvation of countless souls.

    This assumes the existence of an eternal soul.

  3. 3
    BobRyan says:

    Ed George @ 2

    You don’t believe in absolutes, yet give a lot of absolute statements. Without a soul and without God, there can be no morality at all. How can any criticism you gave be sincere without some moral basis? Where did morality come from, since it cannot exist with atheists? Morality does not exist in nature and never has. When an animal kills another animal, there is no charge of murder.

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    Ed George’s unreferenced counterclaims,

    (1) Hospitals, which essentially began during the Middle Ages.

    E.G: Ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, India, Sri Lanka, China…. had hospitals before Christianity existed.

    And yet, (as is usual), the reality of the situation is much different than E.G. would like to portray,

    “Those who quest for the origin of hospital are faced with an inevitable problem of defining hospital. As the different definition can lead to a different outcome, it is important to make a clear definition. In this article, the hospital was defined as an institution in which patients are housed and given medical treatments. According to the definition, the Great Basilius is regarded to have created the first hospital in 369 CE.”

    and

    “In AD 369, St Basil of Caesarea founded a 300-bed hospital. This was the first large-scale hospital for the seriously ill and disabled. It cared for victims of the plague. There were hospices for the poor and aged isolation units, wards for travellers who were sick and a leprosy house. It was the first of many built by the Christian Church.
    In the so-called Dark Ages (476-1000) rulers influenced by Christian principles encouraged building of hospitals. Charlemagne decreed that every cathedral should have a school, monastery and hospital attached.”
    https://cmfblog.org.uk/2017/11/04/the-reformation-and-medicine/

    and,

    “Before Christianity emerged, there were several hospital-like centres in Buddhist regions. The ancient Greeks practised a very simple form of medicine and Greek temples included places where the sick could sleep and receive help. The Romans are believed to have established some military hospitals. However, it was the Christians of the Roman Empire who began to change society’s attitude to the sick, disabled and dying, by their radically different outlook.
    The Graeco-Roman world in which Christianity appeared was often cruel and inhumane. The weak and the sick were despised. Abortion, infanticide and poisoning were widely practised. The doctor was often a sorcerer as well being a healer and the power to heal equally conferred the power to kill. Among the pagans of the classical world only the Hippocratic band of physicians had a different attitude to their fellow human beings. They swore oaths to heal and not to harm and to carry out their duty of care to the sick.
    However, it wasn’t until Constantine granted the first Edict of Toleration in AD 311, that Christians were able to give public expression to their ethical convictions and undertake social reform. From the fourth-century to present times, Christians have been especially prominent in the planning, siting and building of hospitals, as well as fundraising for them. Cities with significant Christian populations had already begun to change prevailing attitudes, and were already beginning to build hospices (guest houses for the sick and chronically disabled).
    Stories of Christian caring had enormous impact, even before Constantine’s decree of toleration. Clement, a Christian leader in Rome at the end of the first century of the Christian era, records how the Christian community was already doing much to relieve the plight of poor widows. In the second century when plague hit the City of Carthage, pagan households threw sufferers onto the streets. The entire Christian community, personally led by their bishop, responded. They were seen on the streets, offering comfort and taking them into their own homes to be cared for. A few decades after Constantine, Julian, who came to power in AD 355, was the last Roman Emperor to try to re-institute paganism. In his Apology, Julian said that if the old religion wanted to succeed, it would need to care for people even better than the way Christians cared.
    As political freedom increased, so did Christian activity. The poor were fed and given free burial. Orphans and widows were protected and provided for. Elderly men and women, prisoners, sick slaves and other outcasts, especially the leprous, were cared for. These acts of generosity and compassion impressed many Roman writers and philosophers.
    In AD 369, St Basil of Caesarea founded a 300 bed hospital. This was the first large-scale hospital for the seriously ill and disabled. It cared for victims of the plague. There were hospices for the poor and aged isolation units, wards for travellers who were sick and a leprosy house. It was the first of many built by the Christian Church.
    In the so-called Dark Ages (476-1000) rulers influenced by Christian principles encouraged building of hospitals.”
    etc.. etc..
    http://godreports.com/2016/02/.....the-world/

    As to:

    (2) Universities, which also began during the Middle Ages. In addition, most of the world’s greatest universities were started for Christian purposes.

    E.G. Yet there were great houses of learning long before Christianity.

    Yet nobody claimed that “great houses of learning” did not exist before Christianity. The claim was that universities, specifically modern universities, arose out of Christianity:

    Another development in the history of Christian education was the founding of universities. The origins of the university can be traced to the 12th century, and by the 13th century the medieval university had reached its mature form. Universities were founded during the rest of the Middle Ages throughout Europe and spread from there to other continents after the 16th century. The earliest universities emerged as associations of masters or students (the Latin universitas means “guild” or “union”) that were dedicated to the pursuit of higher learning. The universities, which superseded the cathedral schools as centres of advanced study, came to have a number of shared traits: the teaching methods of lecture and disputation, the extended communal living in colleges, the periodically changing leadership of an elected dean, the inner structure according to faculties or “nations,” and the European recognition of academic degrees. Universities provided instruction in the liberal arts and advanced study in the disciplines of law, medicine, and, most importantly, theology. Many of the great theologians of the era, notably St. Thomas Aquinas, were associated with the universities.
    https://www.britannica.com/topic/Christianity/Forms-of-Christian-education

    Of related note:

    The History of Christian Education in America
    Excerpt: The first colleges in America were founded by Christians and approximately 106 out of the first 108 colleges were Christian colleges. In fact, Harvard University, which is considered today as one of the leading universities in America and the world was founded by Christians. One of the original precepts of the then Harvard College stated that students should be instructed in knowing God and that Christ is the only foundation of all “sound knowledge and learning.”
    http://www.ehow.com/about_6544.....erica.html
    Only eighteen years after the Pilgrims landed in the New World, Harvard College, the first of the Ivy League schools, was established for the sake of educating the clergy and raising up a Christian academic institution to meet the needs of perpetuating the Christian faith. All of the Ivy League schools were established by Christians for the sake of advancing Christianity and meeting the academic needs of the New World. No better summary of this effort can be offered than the one provided by the founders themselves:,,,
    https://christianheritagefellowship.com/the-christian-founding-of-harvard/

    as to:

    (4) Capitalism and free enterprise.

    E.G. Capitalism and free enterprise existed in various forms long before Christianity existed.

    And yet even wikipedia, hardly a beacon of Christian apologetics, acknowledges that,,

    The history of capitalism is diverse and has many debated roots, but fully fledged capitalism is generally thought by scholars to have emerged in Northwestern Europe, especially in Great Britain and the Netherlands, in the sixteenth to seventeenth centuries.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_capitalism

    Moreover, Professor Rodney Stark has done an in depth analysis and has found,,,

    Stark defines his terms carefully and contends that hypotheses such as geography and technology “are part of what needs to be explained: why did Europeans excel at metallurgy, shipbuilding, or farming? The most convincing answer to these questions attributes Western dominance to the rise of capitalism, which also took place only in Europe.” He traces the origins of capitalism to the belief in reason, which he in turn locates uniquely in Christian theology: “While the other world religions emphasized mystery and intuition, Christianity alone embraced reason and logic as the primary guide to religious truth.”,,,
    Stark then explores the growth of capitalism from northern Italy to Flanders, Amsterdam and England, and presents case studies of early France and Spain where capitalism didn’t take strong root. Along the way Stark finds no evidence for Weber’s idea that Protestantism was essential to the growth of capitalism. He maintains that capitalism began under Catholicism, in the rational management of medieval monastic estates, and flourished in Italy long before Luther nailed his theses to a church door. Finally, Stark tests his theories against New World history, covering well-worn ground on the political and economic differences between North and Latin Americas.
    https://www.sfgate.com/books/article/The-Christian-roots-of-capitalism-2555601.php

    As to:

    (5) Representative government, particularly as it has been seen in the American experiment.

    The great American experiment that created a government who’s representation was limited to white land owners. Much like what existed in Rome long before Christianity.

    And yet, there was an extensive discussion on this just recently on UD, starting here (a discussion which E.G. apparently learned not one thing from since he repeated his lie.)

    Test: If Naturalists Are Right, Totalitarian States Should Be Just As Creative As Free Ones
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/test-if-naturalists-are-right-totalitarian-states-should-be-just-as-creative-as-free-ones/#comment-690045

    For instance, this

    The Catholic Invention of Representative Government
    Jorgen Moller- January 2019
    Modern representative democracy is unthinkable without innovations pioneered by the medieval Catholic Church.
    Excerpt: A long line of research, stretching back to the German sociologist Max Weber’s seminal work, identifies Protestantism as the sledgehammer that broke down autocratic barriers, giving rise to modern liberal societies. A good example is work by American political scientist Robert Woodberry, which demonstrates that Protestants pioneered a series of innovations that eased the advent of modern representative democracy, including religious pluralism, voluntary associations, printing, and mass education. More generally, the Weberian notion of Protestantism as the midwife of modernity received a great deal of attention during the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation in 2017. Often as an accompaniment to these views, writers like Samuel Huntington have portrayed either the Catholic Church itself or aspects of Catholic culture as historical impediments to modern liberalism and modern democratization. But the story about the origins of our political institutions, and the way religious institutions affected it, is much more interesting and complicated than implied by this conventional narrative. In fact, modern representative democracy is well-nigh unthinkable without constitutionalist practices and doctrines pioneered by the medieval Catholic Church.,,,,
    The passing away of conciliarism at the very point in time where modern democratization began has made students of democratization ignore an important historical lesson: Representative democracy is all but inconceivable without the 12th– and 13th-century Catholic practices of representation and consent and the 15th-century conciliar doctrines about representative government. This fascinating story remains relevant not only for those who wish to understand the origins of our political institutions; it also sheds light on current interactions between religion and politics. In that sense, it is a story worth revisiting for those who are interested in the political dynamics of the 21st century.
    https://www.the-american-interest.com/2019/01/24/the-catholic-invention-of-representative-government/

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:

    as to:

    (8) The abolition of slavery, both in antiquity and in more modern times.

    E.G. Yet the bible condones slavery. Yet the height of the African slave trade started well after the start of Christianity, with active participation by countries that were largely Christian.

    E.G. is playing polemics. The undisputable fact of history is that Christianity, and Christianity alone, was the main driving agent that eradicated slavery in the west as well as in much of the rest of the world.

    A secular Jew makes a surprising discovery about Christians and American slavery
    BY JOHN B. CARPENTER • APRIL 17, 2019
    Excerpt: Christians ended slavery. Do you think that’s a conservative simpleton’s mock-worthy bombast, embarrassing the rest of us with his black-and-white, unapologetic caricature of American history? No. It is the considered conclusion of a Nobel laureate, a former communist, a secular Jew, and arguably the foremost scholar on American slavery.
    Robert Fogel (1922-2013), the son of Russian Jewish immigrants,,,
    https://acton.org/pub/commentary/2019/04/17/secular-jew-makes-surprising-discovery-about-christians-and-american

    SLAVERY, CHRISTIANITY, AND ISLAM
    by Robert Spencer – 2008
    https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2008/02/slavery-christianity-and-islam

    as to:

    (9) Modern science.

    Yes, the modern scientific process was greatly influenced by Christians, but it would be false to say that science didn’t exist long before Christianity.

    BS, modern science, the empirical and systematic study of nature, was born directly out of the Christian metaphysics of a rational universe created by a rational God, i.e divine ‘logos’, and the capacity of men, being made in the image of God, to dare understand that rationality:

    Jerry Coyne on the Scientific Method and Religion – Michael Egnor – June 2011
    Excerpt: The scientific method — the empirical systematic theory-based study of nature — has nothing to so with some religious inspirations — Animism, Paganism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Shintoism, Islam, and, well, atheism. The scientific method has everything to do with Christian (and Jewish) inspiration. Judeo-Christian culture is the only culture that has given rise to organized theoretical science. Many cultures (e.g. China) have produced excellent technology and engineering, but only Christian culture has given rise to a conceptual understanding of nature (that enabled the rise of modern science).
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....47431.html

    The War against the War Between Science and Faith Revisited – July 2010
    Excerpt: …as Whitehead pointed out, it is no coincidence that science sprang, not from Ionian metaphysics, not from the Brahmin-Buddhist-Taoist East, not from the Egyptian-Mayan astrological South, but from the heart of the Christian West, that although Galileo fell out with the Church, he would hardly have taken so much trouble studying Jupiter and dropping objects from towers if the reality and value and order of things had not first been conferred by belief in the Incarnation. (Walker Percy, Lost in the Cosmos),,,
    Jaki notes that before Christ the Jews never formed a very large community (priv. comm.). In later times, the Jews lacked the Christian notion that Jesus was the monogenes or unigenitus, the only-begotten of God. Pantheists like the Greeks tended to identify the monogenes or unigenitus with the universe itself, or with the heavens. Jaki writes: Herein lies the tremendous difference between Christian monotheism on the one hand and Jewish and Muslim monotheism on the other. This explains also the fact that it is almost natural for a Jewish or Muslim intellectual to become a pa(n)theist. About the former Spinoza and Einstein are well-known examples. As to the Muslims, it should be enough to think of the Averroists. With this in mind one can also hope to understand why the Muslims, who for five hundred years had studied Aristotle’s works and produced many commentaries on them failed to make a breakthrough. The latter came in medieval Christian context and just about within a hundred years from the availability of Aristotle’s works in Latin,,
    If science suffered only stillbirths in ancient cultures, how did it come to its unique viable birth? The beginning of science as a fully fledged enterprise took place in relation to two important definitions of the Magisterium of the Church. The first was the definition at the Fourth Lateran Council in the year 1215, that the universe was created out of nothing at the beginning of time. The second magisterial statement was at the local level, enunciated by Bishop Stephen Tempier of Paris who, on March 7, 1277, condemned 219 Aristotelian propositions, so outlawing the deterministic and necessitarian views of creation.
    These statements of the teaching authority of the Church expressed an atmosphere in which faith in God had penetrated the medieval culture and given rise to philosophical consequences. The cosmos was seen as contingent in its existence and thus dependent on a divine choice which called it into being; the universe is also contingent in its nature and so God was free to create this particular form of world among an infinity of other possibilities. Thus the cosmos cannot be a necessary form of existence; and so it has to be approached by a posteriori investigation. The universe is also rational and so a coherent discourse can be made about it. Indeed the contingency and rationality of the cosmos are like two pillars supporting the Christian vision of the cosmos.
    http://www.scifiwright.com/201.....revisited/

    No False Gods Before Me: A Review of Rodney Stark’s Work by Terry Scambray (December 2018)
    Excerpt: Informed by Jewish wisdom and Greek reason, the Christian God was “not only eternal and immutable but also conscious, concerned, and rational.” Jesus Christ is the embodiment of this rational principle as “the Word (logos) made flesh,” reason incarnate.,,,
    “The early Christians fully accepted this image of God,” Stark writes and then reasonably deduced “the proposition that our knowledge of God and his creation is progressive.” For example, even though the Bible does not condemn astrology, Augustine reasoned that if human destiny was determined by the stars, humans would lack one of Christianity’s indispensable features, free will; therefore, practicing astrology was sinful. So also slavery was normative in all ancient societies and rationalized even by many Christians; yet slavery clearly violated Jesus’ revolutionary concept that individuals are created in God’s image and thereby possess inherent value of immeasurable worth. As Paul wrote, “All are one in Christ Jesus.”
    From this theocentric faith in reason and progress, Christendom ventured forward to establish freedom and capitalism, organize universities, invent science, abolish slavery while at the same time bestowing virtue on physical labor all of which drove the incomparable advances in Western technology. And finally, Christendom spread these gifts around the world.
    Stark distances this version of progress from the meme of “Enlightenment progress,” sometimes called “Whig history.” With his usual deftness, he calls this claim, as well as other Enlightenment disinformation, “nonsense.” And that’s because progress was inherent in Jewish and Christian millenarianism, the idea that “history has a goal and humanity a destiny,” as the peerless historian, Paul Johnson puts it.,,,
    The basis for much of the antipathy toward Christianity is the image of the medieval Catholic Church fostered by “distinguished bigots,” as Stark calls Edward Gibbon and Voltaire among other Enlightenment notables. Stark, relying on primary source historians like the renowned Marc Bloch, shows, on the contrary, that medieval Catholicism was the breeding ground for modernity.
    Most, if not all, ancient societies believed in fate. However, Yahweh gave humans the wondrous and terrifying attribute of free will, freedom. Individual freedom in the West then merged with the legacy of Athenian democracy and the Roman republican tradition to form “the new democratic experiments in the medieval Italian city-states,” as Stark reminds us.
    These rival polities organized the first universities in a unique tradition of institutional learning and discourse which began at Bologna then spread to Oxford, Paris and elsewhere in Europe. From the medieval university science was born.
    The distinguished philosopher and mathematician, Alfred North Whitehead, astonished a Harvard audience in 1925 when he said that science is a “derivative of medieval theology [since it arose] from the medieval insistence on the rationality of God, conceived as with the personal energy of Jehovah and with the rationality of a Greek philosopher.”
    Whitehead’s thesis was but another bolt from out of the blue because the notion that medieval philosophy, scholasticism, led to the development of science was astonishing!
    Though it should not have been, since scholasticism was complex, diverse, penetrating and devoted to reasoning from the two books that undergird Christianity: the book of God, Scripture, and the book of nature, Creation. As Stark writes, “Not only were science and religion compatible, they were inseparable—the rise of science was achieved by deeply religious, Christian scholars.”,,,
    So Christianity, then and now, never was antithetical to science. And this is because European Christians believed in a rational God whose imprint could be discovered in nature; thus, they confidently looked for and found natural laws. As Johannes Kepler, the venerable 17th century cosmologist, wrote, “The chief aim of all investigations of the external world” is to discover this harmony imposed by God in the language of mathematics.
    Stark concludes, “That the universe had an Intelligent Designer is the most fundamental of all scientific theories and that it has been successfully put to empirical tests again and again. For, as Albert Einstein remarked, the most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible” which Einstein called a “miracle.” And this “miracle” confirms the fact that creation is guided by purpose and reason.
    https://www.newenglishreview.org/custpage.cfm?frm=189497&sec_id=189497

    as to:

    (10) The discovery of the New World by Columbus.

    E.G.: Except that the New World was discovered thousands of years before Christianity.

    E.G. is playing polemics again. Nobody disputes that America was inhabited by Indians “thousands of years before Christianity.” The claim is that Christianity was a, if not THE, driving force behind Columbus’ discovery of the new world:

    Why Did Columbus Sail? – 2014
    The textbook answer, as any schoolchild could recite, is that Columbus wanted to find a trade route to the Orient. Writer Robert Hughes expressed the conventional wisdom: “Sometime between 1478 and 1484, the full plan of self-aggrandizement and discovery took shape in his mind. He would win glory, riches, and a title of nobility by opening a trade route to the untapped wealth of the Orient. No reward could be too great for the man who did that. ”
    That’s true, but incomplete—so incomplete it’s misleading. At least later, Columbus saw his voyage in much greater terms: “Who can doubt that this fire was not merely mine, but also the Holy Spirit who encouraged me with a radiance of marvelous illumination from his sacred Scriptures, . . . urging me to press forward? ”
    Columbus felt that Almighty God had directly brought about his journey: “With a hand that could be felt, the Lord opened my mind to the fact that it would be possible . . . and he opened my will to desire to accomplish that project. . . . The Lord purposed that there should be something miraculous in this matter of the voyage to the Indies. ”
    There may be many things we don’t know about history’s most famous mariner. We don’t know exactly what Columbus looked like. We don’t know the precise design of his three ships. And most bizarre of all, we don’t know—and will probably never know—the spot where he came ashore.
    But we know beyond doubt that Columbus sailed, in part, to fulfill a religious quest. Columbus’s voyages were intense religious missions. He saw them as the fulfillment of a divine plan for his life—and for the soon-coming end of the world. As he put it in 1500, “God made me the messenger of the new heaven and the new earth of which he spoke in the Apocalypse of St. John [Rev. 21:1] after having spoken of it through the mouth of Isaiah; and he showed me the spot where to find it. ”
    https://christianhistoryinstitute.org/magazine/article/why-did-columbus-sail

    as to;

    (11) The elevation of women.

    Elevation to what? Subservient to their husbands? Second class citizens? Not allowed to be priests or cardinals?

    And yet, Christianity is the best thing that has ever happened for women

    Christianity: The Best Thing That Ever Happened to Women – 2005
    Excerpt: The Low Status of Women in Jesus’ Day
    Some feminists charge that Christianity, the Bible, and the Church are anti-female and horribly oppressive to women. Does God really hate women? Did the apostle Paul disrespect them in his New Testament writings? In this article we’ll be looking at why Christianity is the best thing that ever happened to women, with insights from Alvin Schmidt’s book How Christianity Changed the World.{1}
    “What would be the status of women in the Western world today had Jesus Christ never entered the human arena? One way to answer this question,” writes Dr. Schmidt, “is to look at the status of women in most present-day Islamic countries. Here women are still denied many rights that are available to men, and when they appear in public, they must be veiled. In Saudi Arabia, for instance, women are even barred from driving an automobile. Whether in Saudi Arabia or in many other Arab countries where the Islamic religion is adhered to strongly, a man has the right to beat and sexually desert his wife, all with the full support of the Koran. . . .{2} This command is the polar opposite of what the New Testament says regarding a man’s relationship with his wife. Paul told the Christians in Ephesus, ‘Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.’ And he added, ‘He who loves his wife loves himself.’{3}
    Jesus loved women and treated them with great respect and dignity. The New Testament’s teaching on women developed His perspective even more. The value of women that permeates the New Testament isn’t found in the Greco-Roman culture or the cultures of other societies.
    In ancient Greece, a respectable woman was not allowed to leave the house unless she was accompanied by a trustworthy male escort. A wife was not permitted to eat or interact with male guests in her husband’s home; she had to retire to her woman’s quarters. Men kept their wives under lock and key, and women had the social status of a slave. Girls were not allowed to go to school, and when they grew up they were not allowed to speak in public. Women were considered inferior to men. The Greek poets equated women with evil. Remember Pandora and her box? Woman was responsible for unleashing evil on the world.{4}
    The status of Roman women was also very low. Roman law placed a wife under the absolute control of her husband, who had ownership of her and all her possessions. He could divorce her if she went out in public without a veil. A husband had the power of life and death over his wife, just as he did his children. As with the Greeks, women were not allowed to speak in public.{5}
    Jewish women, as well, were barred from public speaking. The oral law prohibited women from reading the Torah out loud. Synagogue worship was segregated, with women never allowed to be heard.
    Jesus and Women
    Jesus’ treatment of women was very different:,,,
    etc.. etc…
    https://bible.org/article/christianity-best-thing-ever-happened-women

    Moreover, so called Democratic ‘progressives’ have been anything but ‘progressive’ on women’s rights:

    Dinesh D’Souza: The secret history of the Democratic Party – 2016
    Excerpt: Contrary to what we learn from progressives in education and the media, the history of the Democratic Party well into the twentieth century is a virtually uninterrupted history of thievery, corruption and bigotry. American history is the story of Democratic malefactors and Republican heroes. Yes, it’s true.,,,
    Interestingly enough the GOP is not merely the party of minority rights but also of women’s rights. Republicans included women’s suffrage in the party’s platform as early as 1896. The first woman elected to Congress was Republican Jeanette Rankin in 1916. That year represented a major GOP push for suffrage, and after the GOP regained control of Congress, the Nineteenth Amendment granting women’s suffrage was finally approved in 1919 and ratified by the states the following year.
    The inclusion of women in the 1964 Civil Rights Act was, oddly enough, the work of group of racist, chauvinist Democrats. Led by Democratic Congressman Howard Smith of Virginia, this group was looking to defeat the Civil Rights Act. Smith proposed to amend the legislation and add “sex” to “race” as a category protected against discrimination.
    Smith’s Democratic buddies roared with laughter when he offered his one-word amendment. They thought it would make the whole civil rights thing so ridiculous that no sane person would go along with it. One scholar noted that Smith’s amendment “stimulated several hours of humorous debate” among racist, chauvinist Democrats. But to their amazement, the amended version of the bill passed. It bears repeating that Republicans provided the margin of victory that extended civil rights protection both to minorities and to women.
    https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/dinesh-dsouza-the-secret-history-of-the-democratic-party

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    As to:

    (12) Benevolence and charity; the good Samaritan ethic.

    Yes, there are great Christian charities. But there are also examples of charity in all other religions as well as in cultures that long pre-date Christianity.

    And yet, charitable giving by individual American Christians alone could, “easily finance the entire gross domestic product of Sam Harris’s more “atheistic” nations, Sweden, Norway, or Denmark.4”

    Who really cares? The fallacy of charitable secularism – Dec 18, 2017
    Excerpt: “Charitable”? “Giving”? Really?
    Excerpt: If, however, Sam (Harris) means “devote” and “give” in the true sense of “charity,” then his claim is so embarrassingly bogus that not even a third-world tax bureau would accept his tax returns. Unfortunately for Sam, he wrote this nonsense in his Letter to a Christian Nation just a few months before the actual science was done on charitable giving. November 2006 saw the release of the definitive in-depth study on the subject of charitable giving: Who Really Cares? by Syracuse professor Arthur Brooks. Results? Across the board, in every category, accounting for every variable, no matter how you slice the pie, the single biggest factor behind charitable giving is . . . religious faith.3 The amount of private charitable giving from American individuals alone (not including foundations, corporations, etc.) could easily finance the entire gross domestic product of Sam’s more “atheistic” nations, Sweden, Norway, or Denmark.4
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/15HKskY90jyF9jNTmxROdX0rTxeYRgmbD3X5PBgG9YPg/edit

    Who Gives Most to Charity?
    Excerpt: And among individual givers in the U.S., while the wealthy do their part (as you’ll see later in this essay), the vast predominance of offerings come from average citizens of moderate income. Six out of ten U.S. households donate to charity in a given year, and the typical household’s annual gifts add up to between two and three thousand dollars.
    This is different from the patterns in any other country. Per capita, ­Americans voluntarily donate about seven times as much as continental ­Europeans. Even our cousins the Canadians give to charity at substantially lower rates, and at half the total volume of an American household.
    There are many reasons for this American distinction. Foremost is the fact that ours is the most religious nation in the industrial world. Religion motivates giving more than any other factor.
    https://www.philanthropyroundtable.org/almanac/statistics/who-gives

    Moreover,

    Atheist Myth: “No One Has Ever Killed in the Name of Atheism” – Nov. 2016
    Excerpt “”where are the army of atheists humanitarian traipsing about Africa and Asia giving hope to the poor and disadvantaged? Certainly none of the famous atheist polemicists have ever done so. Christopher Hitchens was asked on multiple occasions if he or other atheists who similarly had a poor opinion of St. Mother Teresa have actually gone to India and rolled up their sleeves to bathe lepers. I’ve asked many atheists including P.Z. Myers, Patricia Churchland and Christopher Hitchens and none have responded in the positive. Madalyn O’Hair never mentioned having done so. Mao and Stalin were busy killing tens of millions of their compatriots by engineering famines in their respective countries so it’s hard to imagine they also helped poor people. When I volunteered at Mother Teresa’s street clinics in Calcutta, I never met an atheist doing the same work but I routinely met Catholics doing so.”
    http://www.ncregister.com/blog.....of-atheism

    As to

    (13) Higher standards of justice.

    E.G.: That is certainly debatable.

    Funny that you offer no ‘debate’ other than your personal opinion that it is debatable. Whereas on the other hand,

    Magna Carta
    The Church and the Charter: the forgotten roots of Magna Carta
    Thomas Andrew
    Excerpt: The popular story of the Magna Carta – of rebel barons forcing the hand of the tyrannical King John – is well known. But what is often lost in the tale of Bad King John is the crucial role played by Christianity in the formation and preservation of ‘The Great Charter of the Liberties of England’.
    Despite their importance to the history of the Magna Carta, neither the practical contribution of the church, nor the principled contribution of Christian theology, have received much attention beyond relatively small academic circles. The Church and the Charter puts these forgotten Christian contributions right back at the heart of the Magna Carta’s story. In exploring the difficult historical relationship between the religious and secular authorities in England, it assesses how and why the church helped place certain limits on the powers of the English monarch. In practical terms, it demonstrates the role played by the ‘new Becket’, Archbishop Stephen Langton, who was so crucial to both the emergence and the survival of the 1215 Magna Carta. More significantly, however, it explores the ideological relationship between Christian theology and the most celebrated of the ideas that came to be enshrined in the Magna Carta – ideas about the importance of due process, the legitimation of arbitration in the affairs of the king, and the extension of rights language to all free men. It argues that these were notions rooted, not in secular thought, but in a medieval theology that had been profoundly affected by the development of canon law.
    https://www.bethinking.org/culture/forgotten-roots-of-magna-carta

    As to,

    (14) The elevation of common man.

    Most examples of the elevation of common man were the result of actions of common men, not the church.

    Talk about E.G. missing the forest for the trees,,, Those men, especially in the American revolution, were fighting for principles of equality for the common man that find there basis in Christianity,,,,

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
    THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE

    The Radical Equality of Christianity
    By Bradley J. Birzer – October 19th, 2019
    Excerpt: In our world of recriminating hatreds—in which we desire more to label those we don’t like as sexist, imperialist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, and, simultaneously, mark ourselves as victims—we often forget some important historical truths. Here’s one we conveniently ignore, dismiss, or mock: Nothing in the world has brought about more equality and justice than has the Christian religion.
    To be sure, various paganisms—such as the Heraclitan Logos, Socratic ethics, and Stoic philosophy—had sought the universal as well. Each, however, hit understandable walls of resistance and fierce competition from non-egalitarian Gnostic systems.
    Christianity, however, was the first to achieve a proper, just, and serious equality in any radical and meaningful way.,,,
    ,,, 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.,,,
    In the current world, one might translate these verses as neither Black nor White, neither male nor female. . .
    One can find an equally profound statement of equality in the final chapter of Matthew’s gospel and Jesus’ issuing of the Great Commission:,,,
    https://theimaginativeconservative.org/2019/10/radical-equality-christianity-bradley-birzer.html

    Life and Dignity of the Human Person
    The Catholic Church proclaims that human life is sacred and that the dignity of the human person is the foundation of a moral vision for society. This belief is the foundation of all the principles of our social teaching. In our society, human life is under direct attack from abortion and euthanasia.
    http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-a.....person.cfm

    As to:

    (15) The condemnation of adultery, homosexuality, and other sexual perversions. This has helped to preserve the human race, and it has spared many from heartache.

    E.G. These condemnations and prejudices long predates Christianity.

    Actually, in the ancient world Christianity offered a radical, (family, women, children), oriented, view of sexuality that was apparently unheard of,

    The First Sexual Revolution: The Triumph of Christian Morality in the Roman Empire
    SEPTEMBER 9, 2019 | Kevin DeYoung
    Excerpt: Second, Christianity went from cult to culture in part because the sexual ethic was considered better and safer and more freeing for more people. Obviously, not everyone found Christian morality to be an improvement on traditional Roman standards. But Christian ethics meant a profoundly improved lot in life for women, children, the enslaved, and the poor. The changes came slowly—over centuries, not over years and decades—but changes did come. Virginity, for example, became a loud advertisement for the Christian religion, and women in particular took notice.
    Third, we should expect conflict over sex. If Christians in late antiquity had made peace with the world over sex, Christianity would not have been true to itself. The same can be said today. Profoundly different versions of sexual morality cannot be wished away by civil discourse (though civility is good), nor washed away by theological compromise (that would be bad). “Because the problem of sex is inevitably tied to the problem of Christianity’s relation to the world, it is a tension that will surface during any great readjustment in the relationship between Christianity and the world” (160). In other words, the problem is not going away. Let’s hope the church’s winsome commitment to beauty and truth doesn’t either.
    https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevin-deyoung/first-sexual-revolution-triumph-christian-morality-roman-empire/

    As to:

    (16) High regard for human life.

    E.G.: Again, not uniquely Christian.

    This ancient historian disagrees with E.G.’s uneducated personal opinion: “most of us who live in post-Christian societies still take for granted that it is nobler to suffer than to inflict suffering. It is why we generally assume that every human life is of equal value. In my morals and ethics, I have learned to accept that I am not Greek or Roman at all, but thoroughly and proudly Christian.”

    Tom Holland: Why I was wrong about Christianity – 2016
    It took me a long time to realise my morals are not Greek or Roman, but thoroughly, and proudly, Christian.
    Excerpt: The longer I spent immersed in the study of classical antiquity, the more alien and unsettling I came to find it. The values of Leonidas, whose people had practised a peculiarly murderous form of eugenics, and trained their young to kill uppity Untermenschen by night, were nothing that I recognised as my own; nor were those of Caesar, who was reported to have killed a million Gauls and enslaved a million more. It was not just the extremes of callousness that I came to find shocking, but the lack of a sense that the poor or the weak might have any intrinsic value. As such, the founding conviction of the Enlightenment – that it owed nothing to the faith into which most of its greatest figures had been born – increasingly came to seem to me unsustainable.
    “Every sensible man,” Voltaire wrote, “every honourable man, must hold the Christian sect in horror.” Rather than acknowledge that his ethical principles might owe anything to Christianity, he preferred to derive them from a range of other sources – not just classical literature, but Chinese philosophy and his own powers of reason. Yet Voltaire, in his concern for the weak and ­oppressed, was marked more enduringly by the stamp of biblical ethics than he cared to admit. His defiance of the Christian God, in a paradox that was certainly not unique to him, drew on motivations that were, in part at least, recognisably Christian.
    “We preach Christ crucified,” St Paul declared, “unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness.” He was right. Nothing could have run more counter to the most profoundly held assumptions of Paul’s contemporaries – Jews, or Greeks, or Romans. The notion that a god might have suffered torture and death on a cross was so shocking as to appear repulsive. Familiarity with the biblical narrative of the Crucifixion has dulled our sense of just how completely novel a deity Christ was. In the ancient world, it was the role of gods who laid claim to ruling the universe to uphold its order by inflicting punishment – not to suffer it themselves.
    Today, even as belief in God fades across the West, the countries that were once collectively known as Christendom continue to bear the stamp of the two-millennia-old revolution that Christianity represents. It is the principal reason why, by and large, most of us who live in post-Christian societies still take for granted that it is nobler to suffer than to inflict suffering. It is why we generally assume that every human life is of equal value. In my morals and ethics, I have learned to accept that I am not Greek or Roman at all, but thoroughly and proudly Christian.
    https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/religion/2016/09/tom-holland-why-i-was-wrong-about-christianity?fbclid=IwAR0QqBmBxdpkHh_iiXlJX-UbwShtej-wnB721Z1eULApM6fuxSUzSjnBJA8

  7. 7
    jstanley01 says:

    One of the remarkable but nowadays little noticed consequences of Christianity was the demise of the old gods. For the vast majority of human history, you couldn’t fling a cat across the room in any dwelling on earth without knocking over four or five idols. Now, two short millennia later, they have apparently and for the most part vacated the premises entirely, worldwide. To my Protestant fellow-travelers: veneration of the saints was a poor, and it turns out, temporary substitute for The Great Symbiosis that ruled the world for so long.

  8. 8
    jstanley01 says:

    Speaking of David Bentley Hart, in 2017 he wrote interestingly on the subject of the difference — specifically the moral and, I’d say, psychological and political differences also (at least in effect) — that Christianity has made in the world:

    …We speak today very easily, if not always sincerely, of the intrinsic dignity of every human person. For us, this is merely a received piety, and one of immemorial authority. And yet, if we take the time to wonder just how old a moral intuition it is, there is a good chance that our historical imagination will carry us only as far back as the “Age of Enlightenment” and the epoch of the “Rights of Man.” But our modern notion that there is such a thing as innate human worth, residing in every individual of every class and culture, is at best the very late consequence of a cultural, conceptual, and moral revolution that erupted many centuries earlier, and in the middle of a world that was anything but hospitable to its principles…

    Human Dignity Was a Rarity Before Christianity

  9. 9
    bornagain77 says:

    as to:

    (17) The civilizing of many barbarian and primitive cultures.

    E.G. Civilize, barbarian and primitive are highly subjective, to say nothing of being offensive.

    I don’t know, perhaps E.G. considers infanticide and cannibalism as somehow ‘unbarbarian’? How else can he possibly claim that it is offensive to say such an obvious truth?

    Early Christian Opposition to Infanticide
    Excerpt: “Infanticide was common in all well studied ancient cultures, including those of ancient Greece, Rome, India, China, and Japan.”(It even led to the collapse of some ancient cultures),,, From its earliest creeds, Christians “absolutely prohibited” infanticide as “murder.” Stark, op. cit., page 124. To Christians, the infant had value. Whereas pagans placed no value on infant life, Christians treated them as human beings. They viewed infanticide as the murder of a human being, not a convenient tool to rid society of excess females and perceived weaklings. The baby, whether male, female, perfect, or imperfect, was created in the image of God and therefore had value.
    http://christiancadre.org/memb.....icide.html

    How did cannibalism end?
    Christian missionaries began arriving in the Pacific from the 1830s. Many were horrified to witness acts of cannibalism, and some recorded their eye-witness accounts. As Christianity spread, Fijians began to turn away from this practice and to worship the Christian God, not the old Fijian gods.
    https://theculturetrip.com/pacific/fiji/articles/a-brief-history-of-cannibalism-in-fiji/

    as to:

    (18) The codifying and setting to writing of many of the world’s languages.

    E.G. Many of which were codified and written long before Christianity.

    E.G. is missing the forest for the trees again

    Christianity and Education
    Excerpt: Throughout the centuries, as Christian missionaries carried the gospel to various people of different languages, they found that many were illiterate. It wasn’t just that people had not learned as individuals to read and write. In many cases, the language itself had no writing at all. Missionaries worked hard to change this. Reading the Bible was a vital part of knowing Christ and hearing the Holy Spirit’s message, so missionaries learned the spoken languages of these tribes and set the languages to writing so that the people could have the Bible in their own language and be able to read it for themselves. In tribe after tribe, in language after language, literacy and education came as a by product of Bible translation. Many missionaries also established schools which not only taught the Bible but also helped people learn more about the world. This process began in the early centuries of the church, and still today missionaries bring literacy and learning to tribes that were previously unable to read and write.
    https://banneroftruth.org/us/resources/articles/2002/christianity-and-education/

    as to:

    (19) Greater development of art and music. The inspiration for the greatest works of art.

    E.G.: Subjective claim

    Hmm, the fact that devoutly Christian men (and women) produced exceedingly great works of art is beyond dispute. That E.G. a Darwinian materialist would appeal to his own ‘subjective’ experience of beauty is laughable. According to E.G.’s Darwinian presupposition, E.G.’s subjective experience of himself is an ‘illusion’, i.e. E.G. is nothing but a ‘meat robot’ according to Darwinian metaphysics, Moreover, beauty itself is also an illusion in E.G.’s Darwinian worldview.

    75 Masterpieces Every Christian Should Know: The Fascinating Stories Behind Great Works of Art, Literature, Music, and Film
    by Terry Glaspey
    http://www.lighthousechristian.....index=2285

    The Brain: The Mystery of Consciousness – STEVEN PINKER – Monday, Jan. 29, 2007
    Part II THE ILLUSION OF CONTROL
    Another startling conclusion from the science of consciousness is that the intuitive feeling we have that there’s an executive “I” that sits in a control room of our brain, scanning the screens of the senses and pushing the buttons of the muscles, is an illusion.
    http://www.academia.edu/279485.....sciousness

    “You are robots made out of meat. Which is what I am going to try to convince you of today”
    Jerry Coyne – No, You’re Not a Robot Made Out of Meat (Science Uprising 02) – video
    https://youtu.be/rQo6SWjwQIk?list=PLR8eQzfCOiS1OmYcqv_yQSpje4p7rAE7-&t=20

    “The foregoing remarks lead me to say a few words on the protest lately made by some naturalists, against the utilitarian doctrine that every detail of structure has been produced for the good of its possessor. They believe that very many structures have been created for beauty in the eyes of man, or for mere variety. This doctrine, if true, would be absolutely fatal to my theory.”
    (Charles Darwin – 1859, p. 199)

    BEAUTY, DARWIN & DESIGN – video – 2019
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ax-lkRoES8

    as to:

    (20) The countless changed lives transformed from liabilities into assets to society because of the gospel.

    E.G. Like the subjugation of women, persecution of Jews and homosexuals.

    What is the world is E.G. talking about? I could give countless examples of radically transformed lives, but let this one example suffice:

    Hardened Criminals ‘Radically Transformed’ in this Maximum Security Lockup
    10-21-2016
    https://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2016/october/hardened-criminals-radically-transformed-in-this-maximum-security-lockup

    as to

    (21) The eternal salvation of countless souls.

    E.G. This assumes the existence of an eternal soul.

    Well actually, this is no longer just a very reasonable assumption, (i.e. what holds the body together for precisely a lifetime if not the soul?), but the claim that we have an eternal soul now finds very strong empirical support from quantum biology:

    Darwinian Materialism vs. Quantum Biology – Part II – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSig2CsjKbg
    The implication of finding ‘non-local’, beyond space and time, and ‘conserved’, quantum information in molecular biology on such a massive scale, in every important biomolecule in our bodies, is fairly, and pleasantly, obvious.
    That pleasant implication, of course, being the fact that we now have very strong empirical evidence suggesting that we do indeed have an eternal soul that is capable of living beyond the death of our material bodies. As Stuart Hameroff states in the following article, the quantum information,,, isn’t destroyed. It can’t be destroyed.,,, it’s possible that this quantum information can exist outside the body. Perhaps indefinitely as a soul.”

    Leading Scientists Say Consciousness Cannot Die It Goes Back To The Universe – Oct. 19, 2017 – Spiritual
    Excerpt: “Let’s say the heart stops beating. The blood stops flowing. The microtubules lose their quantum state. But the quantum information, which is in the microtubules, isn’t destroyed. It can’t be destroyed. It just distributes and dissipates to the universe at large. If a patient is resuscitated, revived, this quantum information can go back into the microtubules and the patient says, “I had a near death experience. I saw a white light. I saw a tunnel. I saw my dead relatives.,,” Now if they’re not revived and the patient dies, then it’s possible that this quantum information can exist outside the body. Perhaps indefinitely as a soul.”
    – Stuart Hameroff – Quantum Entangled Consciousness – Life After Death –

    Verse:

    Mark 8:37
    Is anything worth more than your soul?

    In conclusion, E.G.’s responses were terrible, even uneducated, ‘knee jerk’ reactions that were easily refuted by simple google searches. Moreover, his ‘knee jerk’ reactions reveal that his is much more interested in advancing his atheistic ‘agenda’ than he ever is in pursuing the actual truth of the matter.

    If E.G. had an ounce of integrity in his being he would acknowledge his mistakes. But alas, I (and a few others on UD) have given up all hope of E.G. ever being honest towards any evidence that refutes his atheistic belief.

  10. 10
    Ed George says:

    BR

    You don’t believe in absolutes, yet give a lot of absolute statements.

    I never said that I don’t believe in absolutes. The “absolute” statements I provided are facts and can be easily verified.

    Without a soul and without God, there can be no morality at all.

    Now who is dealing in absolutes. Our morality is nothing more than an assemblage of judgement values that we have developed over years of indoctrination, teaching, repetition, feedback, experience and the ability to predict likely outcomes of our actions. All gauged against the continued ability for us to live harmoniously within society. I don’t need God to tell me that killing, stealing, lying, persecuting others, racism, etc. are not conducive to a functioning society.

    I also don’t need God to tell me that homosexuality and same sex marriage cause to harm to a functioning society.

    And because of my desire to continue to live in a functioning, stable society, I feel justified in making every efforts to ensure that others follow these rules as well. The proverbial IS OUGHT nonsense often mentioned here to support objective morality. Now, of course, there may be some values that I think are necessary for a stable functioning society that, in fact, are not necessary. That is the nature of human fallibility. Conversely, there may be values you hold that are not important for a stable functioning society. Things like prohibitions against homosexuality, blasphemy, premarital sex, abortion, divorce, women priests, birth control, etc.

    About the only thing that we can say with certainty is that we each hold values that are not necessary for the stable functioning of society.

  11. 11
    jstanley01 says:

    BA77 @9
    Phillip E. Johnson, in either Darwin on Trial or Reason in the Balance or maybe both, discusses the similarity in strategy that Freudians, Marxists, and Darwinists share in argumentation. He demonstrates how literally anything can be explicated — in QED fashion to the faithful — when the facts are viewed through a prism of the Oedipus Complex, or one cut to Dialectical Materialism specifications, or one whose angles match Natural Selection — take you pick!

    I don’t know how many, who parrot the pet theory — so postmodern! — that history and politics revolve wholly around the overcoming of the oppressor by the oppressed, realize that they’re following the sightless zombie of that same old Karl Marx, newly raised undead from the grave, straight back into the same old ditch, where the stench of the tens of millions that it murdered last century still fills the nostrils of the sane.

    All that I am willing do for them is say, “Good luck with that!” Bless you for your heroic attempts to engage them. Sometimes it works, I guess. (Jude 22-23.)

  12. 12
    bornagain77 says:

    Jstanley01 at 11,

    same old Karl Marx, newly raised undead from the grave, straight back into the same old ditch, where the stench of the tens of millions that it murdered last century still fills the nostrils of the sane.

    that was tragically poetic.

  13. 13
    Seversky says:

    Bornagain77 @
    Ed George has already done a fine job of answering Kennedy’s hubris but I couldn’t resist adding my own.

    …D. James Kennedy…

    …was a pastor and Christian evangelist, not an historian, who had a somewhat tenuous relationship with the Ninth Commandment.

    (1) Hospitals, which essentially began during the Middle Ages.

    The precursors of modern hospitals can be traced back to ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome, for example, well before the Middle Ages.

    (2) Universities, which also began during the Middle Ages. In addition, most of the world’s greatest universities were started for Christian purposes.

    Yes, what we now regard as modern universities originated in medieval Christian Europe, the University of Bologna being recognized as the first such but there were centers of learning in other non-Christian cultures.

    (3) Literacy and education for the masses.

    When the printing press was invented, the church authorities of the time strongly objected to the Bible being translated into vernacular and printed so that any peasant could read it.

    (4) Capitalism and free enterprise.

    Jesus threw the money-changers out of the temple. The Bible gives the chances of a rich man entering heaven as being equivalent to a camel passing through the eye of a needle and the love of money is castigated as being the root of all evil. Hardly an endorsement of capitalism and free enterprise.

    (5) Representative government, particularly as it has been seen in the American experiment.

    Both ancient Greece and Rome tried limited forms of representative government with varying degrees of success. In Christianity, God is the supreme legislative authority and He most certainly does not delegate that authority to any elected body of representatives of His people.

    (6) The separation of political powers.

    In Christianity, the only separation of political powers is that God has the supreme power and the rest don’t. God’s decisions cannot be put to the vote in some legislature nor can they be challenged in any court.

    (7) Civil liberties.

    At least seven of the Ten Commandments violate the rights and liberties set out in the Bill of Rights set out in the US Constitution.

    (8) The abolition of slavery, both in antiquity and in more modern times.

    The Biblical accounts show that early Christianity was prepared to accommodate slavery. Some Christians certainly led the campaign for the abolition of slavery. Other opposed abolition on Biblical grounds and it cannot be denied that slavery was built up into a very profitable industry by European nations which regarded themselves as Christian.

    (9) Modern science.

    Yes, modern science was fostered in Christian Europe but what we now regard as science was also practiced in non-Christian cultures in China, India, ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome and under Islam.

    (10) The discovery of the New World by Columbus.

    The Americas were originally populated by peoples from eastern Asia and there is evidence they were visited by European explorers long before Columbus got there.

    (11) The elevation of women.

    Treating women as chattel, forbidding them to speak in church and regarding them as unclean when they are having their periods doe snot sound like they are being elevated.

    (12) Benevolence and charity; the good Samaritan ethic.

    Christ certainly urged benevolence and charity but I doubt the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah, the Amalekites, Midianites or Canaanites would have described their treatment at the hands of God and His chosen people as benevolent or charitable.

    (13) Higher standards of justice.

    Where is the justice in God as judge, jury and executioner? Where is the justice in punishing the descendants of Adam and Eve in perpetuity for a relatively minor offense by the unfortunate couple.

    (14) The elevation of common man.

    Only in so far as he was elevated over women.

    (15) The condemnation of adultery, homosexuality, and other sexual perversions. This has helped to preserve the human race, and it has spared many from heartache.

    Other non-Christian cultures have had similar prohibitions although a God, having created this vast Universe, becoming obsessed with what consenting adults do in the privacy of their own bedrooms on one minor planet sound somewhat petty to say the least.

    (16) High regard for human life.

    Tell that to the Amalekites, Midianites etc, or almost the entire human population of the antediluvian planet.

    (17) The civilizing of many barbarian and primitive cultures.

    Meaning either subjugating or exterminating them basically.

    (18) The codifying and setting to writing of many of the world’s languages.

    Christianity did not invent writing,

    (19) Greater development of art and music. The inspiration for the greatest works of art.

    Christianity is one of the sources of great art and music but not the only nor original one.

    (20) The countless changed lives transformed from liabilities into assets to society because of the gospel.

    Yes, the charity practiced by Christians who actually live by the faith’s ideals rather than just paying lip-service to it have helped many and should be recognized but they are not the only people who do such good work.

    (21) The eternal salvation of countless souls.

    Which might be good of there were any evidence of such an immaterial entity which survives the death of the physical body and is thereby immortal.

  14. 14
    bornagain77 says:

    Seversky apparently did not bother to read my responses to Ed George.

    1-5
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/historian-christianity-has-been-the-worlds-greatest-engine-for-moral-reform/#comment-690247
    8-11
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/historian-christianity-has-been-the-worlds-greatest-engine-for-moral-reform/#comment-690251
    12-16
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/historian-christianity-has-been-the-worlds-greatest-engine-for-moral-reform/#comment-690252
    17-21
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/historian-christianity-has-been-the-worlds-greatest-engine-for-moral-reform/#comment-690256

    That Seversky would blatantly ignore the evidence that directly refuted his claims directly prior to him even making them, (besides being extremely embarrassing for Seversky), is par for the course. Seversky is an atheistic troll who could care less for the truth and will repeat the same old tired lies over and over again no matter how many times he is corrected on his errors.

  15. 15
    Ed George says:

    BA77

    December 30, 2019 at 4:00 pm
    Seversky apparently did not bother to read my responses to Ed George.

    Did anybody? The scroll ball is the ultimate “read more” button.

    If you want to discuss any of these, I will be willing to do so. But not if you provide a Gish Gallop of word salad.

  16. 16
    Axel says:

    As a matter of fact, God told the Hebrews that he detested slavery, and that they were not to enslave any of their own people.

    God’s tolerance of the enslavement of foreigners would surely have been a concession to the evolution – sorry ! I had to say it ! – of our moral growth, rather than a dramatic overthrowing of the old order ; as is reflected in the injunction that the early Christians were to ‘honour’ the emperor …. so that they could live in peace. Abjuring the possession of slaves under Roman rule would presumably have been regarded by the Emperor and his establishment as a dangerous example for others.

    Moreover, their slavery, often a result of the changing fortunes of war, which could affect any people, of course, was much more benign than the ‘chattel’ slavery by the vile, nominal European and American Christians of the Christian era.

  17. 17
    Ed George says:

    Axel

    As a matter of fact, God told the Hebrews that he detested slavery, and that they were not to enslave any of their own people.

    But enslaving others was OK. And beating them as long as they didn’t die within a couple days was OK.

    God’s tolerance of the enslavement of foreigners would surely have been a concession to the evolution – sorry ! I had to say it ! – of our moral growth, rather than a dramatic overthrowing of the old order

    Since when does God have to give concessions? Just admit it. God, as described in the bible, condoned slavery. There are only two options available to rehabilitate God’s reputation. One, the Bible is not an accurate representation of reality or, two, God changed his mind about slavery. But the latter would imply that God is not infallible.

  18. 18
    Axel says:

    Pay attention, Edward, there’s a good chap. Gosh, you atheists are not even sufficiently morally evolved to accept the self-denying love required by Christianity, and you’re cribbing about God ‘cutting some slack’ for mankind, in terms of the evil consequences of the Fall … for which we, not God, are to blame, admittedly in some strange inherited kind of way.

    But make no mistake, there is a very significant element of our own volition with regard to what we choose to believe, so abstruse and paradoxical are the deepest truths – not only in terms of religion, but also, of course, of physics ; quantum mechanics being a permanent embarassment to you. Otherwise, only the worldly wise brain-boxes would get to heaven – and those welcomed into the courts of eternity might first be greeted by Mengele and Pinochet. All right, I’ll throw in Stalin.

  19. 19
    bornagain77 says:

    Ed George, dismissing my references to your unreferenced personal opinions as ‘Gish Gallop’ is a favorite tactic of atheistic trolls who refuse to engage in honest debate., It is, to put it mildly, disingenuous and borders on straight up ad hominem.

    I have no time for such childish antics and, make no mistake, I will seek to have you banned if you continue to engage me in such fashion.

  20. 20
    Ed George says:

    Axel

    Pay attention, Edward, there’s a good chap. Gosh, you atheists are not even sufficiently morally evolved to accept the self-denying love required by Christianity, and you’re cribbing about God ‘cutting some slack’ for mankind, in terms of the evil consequences of the Fall … for which we, not God, are to blame, admittedly in some strange inherited kind of way.

    I’m sorry. God gives us slack for acting on the free will that he gave us (for thousands of generations), and we are to blame? Sorry, but I don’t accept culpability for what Adam and Eve did, or for what more recent ancestors did, or even for what my parents did.

    If God didn’t want us to act in certain ways it would be a trivial act for him to prevent this. But rather than do this, he blames us for using the free will he gave us and then punished us for acting against his will. Slaves never lost free will, they just got punished for using it if it was counter to what their masters wanted. The only difference between the slave owners and God is that slave owners never deceived their slaves into believe that they truly had free will.

  21. 21
    ET says:

    Ed George:

    Sorry, but I don’t accept culpability for what Adam and Eve did, or for what more recent ancestors did, or even for what my parents did.

    That’s that, then. LoL! It isn’t about accepting anything beyond the situation you were born into.

    If God didn’t want us to act in certain ways it would be a trivial act for him to prevent this.

    That would go against the very point.

    But rather than do this, he blames us for using the free will he gave us and then punished us for acting against his will.

    You can have both- free will and acting within His will.

    And back in Biblical times slaves were a means of reparations of war. That you keep ignoring that fact speaks volumes about your willful ignorance and unwillingness to participate in good faith.

  22. 22
    Ed George says:

    Joe

    You can have both- free will and acting within His will.

    Of course. Do what I say or else. Sounds more like slavery than free will.

    And back in Biblical times slaves were a means of reparations of war.

    What’s your point? According to Joe logic, it would have been morally acceptable for us to have enslaved the Japanese and Germans. Or for the Vietnamese to enslave us. This sort of nonsense is the reason that nobody interacts with you. Advice that I will adopt again. Have fun screaming at the wind.

  23. 23
    kairosfocus says:

    H’mm:

    BA77 At 9:

    [BA77?:] (18) The codifying and setting to writing of many of the world’s languages.

    E.G. Many of which were codified and written long before Christianity.

    [BA77:] E.G. is missing the forest for the trees again

    BA77 is correct. Who gets the headlines and who doesn’t, leads to a distorted view.

    In recent times, Wycliffe Bible Translators . . . . now, “Global Alliance” . . . and associated linguistics institutes have in fact led a very long campaign of reducing languages to text, usually based on alphabetic scripts. They have therefore opened up literacy for many cultures. Note, Wiki:

    Wycliffe Global Alliance is an alliance of organisations with the common objective of translating the Bible for every language group that needs it. Wycliffe was founded in 1942[1] by William Cameron Townsend. It was known as Camp Wycliffe, and it became Wycliffe Bible Translators in 1942. The organisation is named after John Wycliffe, who was responsible for the first complete English translation of the whole Bible into Middle English.[2]

    Up until 1991, Wycliffe was a single organisation with divisions in various countries. It has been restructured, so that the Wycliffe organisations in each country became fully independent, causing Wycliffe International to become an association of organisations. In February 2011, Wycliffe International took on a new “doing business as” name, Wycliffe Global Alliance, with current headquarters in Singapore.[3] Kirk Frankin is currently the Executive Director for the Wycliffe Global Alliance.

    Wycliffe is most often associated with the Protestant section of Christianity. There are currently over 100 Wycliffe member organisations from over 60 countries.[4] Wycliffe Global Alliance is also a member of the Forum of Bible Agencies International.

    As of October 2018, translations of either portions of the Bible, the New Testament, or the whole Bible exist in over 3,350 of the 7,350 languages used on Earth, including 245 sign languages.[5]

    Historically, translation of the Bible into the vernacular and the Protestant Reformation helped trigger widespread literacy, often riding on the back of Gutenberg’s great innovations with movable type printing. In turn that fostered the rise of a significant public opinion thence modern democratisation and linked civil rights movements. I have noted previously how this cluster reached critical mass in Britain (and Holland etc) by about mid to late 1600’s leading to the first modern republic of significantly democratic character based on principles of naturally evident, creation order anchored rights and justice, the USA. The success of the USA triggered developments around the world that attained critical mass across C20. However, currently, the agendas to dechristianise, secularise and radicalise our civilisation make the sustainability of such, doubtful. The USA, for example has been in bleeding Kansas-lite, agit prop, media lynch mob and lawfare driven 4th generation civil war for quite a few years now. At the heart of this is the mass blood guilt of 63 million slaughtered unborn, with cultural marxism, radical atheism [often dressed up in lab coats] and linked phenomena adding to a toxic brew.

    Going back further, Cyrillic text is named after the Monk who pioneered translation involving reduction of languages to writing. Wiki:

    The Glagolitic script is the oldest known Slavic alphabet. It is generally agreed to have been created in the 9th century by Saint Cyril, a Byzantine monk from Thessaloniki. He and his brother, Saint Methodius, were sent by the Byzantine Emperor Michael III in 863 to Great Moravia to spread Christianity among the West Slavs in the area. The brothers decided to translate liturgical books into the then current Slavic language understandable to the general population (now known as Old Slavic language). As the words of that language could not be easily written by using either the Greek or Latin alphabets, Cyril decided to invent a new script, Glagolitic, which he based on the local dialect of the Slavic tribes from the Byzantine theme of Thessalonica.

    After the deaths of Cyril and Methodius, the Glagolitic alphabet ceased to be used in Moravia, but their students continued to propagate it in the First Bulgarian Empire, where it was subsequently also displaced by the Cyrillic alphabet developed at the Preslav Literary School. The Glagolitic alphabet was preserved only by the clergy of Croatia to write Church Slavonic until the early 19th century.

    . . . and:

    The Cyrillic script (/s??r?l?k/) is a writing system used for various languages across Eurasia and is used as the national script in various Slavic-, Turkic- and Persian-speaking countries in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, Central Asia, and Northern Asia.

    In the 9th century AD the Bulgarian Tsar Simeon I the Great, following the cultural and political course of his father Boris I, commissioned a new Bulgarian script, the Early Cyrillic alphabet, to be made at the Preslav Literary School in the First Bulgarian Empire, which would replace the Glagolitic script, produced earlier by Saints Cyril and Methodius and the same disciples that created the new Slavic script in Bulgaria. The usage of the Cyrillic script in Bulgaria was made official in 893.[3][4][5] The new script became the basis of alphabets used in various languages, especially those of Orthodox Slavic origin, and non-Slavic languages influenced by Russian. As of 2019, around 250 million people in Eurasia use it as the official alphabet for their national languages, with Russia accounting for about half of them.[6] With the accession of Bulgaria to the European Union on 1 January 2007, Cyrillic became the third official script of the European Union, following Latin and Greek.[7]

    Cyrillic is derived from the Greek uncial script, augmented by letters from the older Glagolitic alphabet, including some ligatures. These additional letters were used for Old Church Slavonic sounds not found in Greek. The script is named in honor of the two Byzantine brothers,[8] Saints Cyril and Methodius, who created the Glagolitic alphabet earlier on. Modern scholars believe that Cyrillic was developed and formalized by the early disciples of Cyril and Methodius, particularly by Clement of Ohrid.

    In the early 18th century, the Cyrillic script used in Russia was heavily reformed by Peter the Great, who had recently returned from his Grand Embassy in western Europe. The new letterforms became closer to those of the Latin alphabet; several archaic letters were removed and several letters were personally designed by Peter the Great. West European typography culture was also adopted.[9]

    Going back much further, some argue that miners in Sinai adapted and radically simplified Egyptian hieroglyphics, creating alphabetic script — the very name reflects the Levantine source region, aleph and beth. From the Levant, such spread far and wide.

    Alphabetic script, in turn, has been pivotal to our modern digital age, especially when joined to the place value notation numeral system.

    Going much further back, to our astonishment, we find digitally coded text in the heart of the living cell.

    A signature, of language using intelligence.

    KF

  24. 24
    kairosfocus says:

    EG,

    I suggest, you would be well advised to study the principles of liberty expressed in say, Websters 1828:

    LIB’ERTY, noun [Latin libertas, from liber, free.]

    1. Freedom from restraint, in a general sense, and applicable to the body, or to the will or mind. The body is at liberty when not confined; the will or mind is at liberty when not checked or controlled. A man enjoys liberty when no physical force operates to restrain his actions or volitions.

    2. Natural liberty consists in the power of acting as one thinks fit, without any restraint or control, except from the laws of nature. It is a state of exemption from the control of others, and from positive laws and the institutions of social life. This liberty is abridged by the establishment of government.

    3. Civil liberty is the liberty of men in a state of society, or natural liberty so far only abridged and restrained, as is necessary and expedient for the safety and interest of the society, state or nation. A restraint of natural liberty not necessary or expedient for the public, is tyranny or oppression. civil liberty is an exemption from the arbitrary will of others, which exemption is secured by established laws, which restrain every man from injuring or controlling another. Hence the restraints of law are essential to civil liberty.

    The liberty of one depends not so much on the removal of all restraint from him, as on the due restraint upon the liberty of others.

    In this sentence, the latter word liberty denotes natural liberty.

    4. Political liberty is sometimes used as synonymous with civil liberty But it more properly designates the liberty of a nation, the freedom of a nation or state from all unjust abridgment of its rights and independence by another nation. Hence we often speak of the political liberties of Europe, or the nations of Europe.

    5. Religious liberty is the free right of adopting and enjoying opinions on religious subjects, and of worshiping the Supreme Being according to the dictates of conscience, without external control.

    6. Liberty in metaphysics, as opposed to necessity, is the power of an agent to do or forbear any particular action, according to the determination or thought of the mind, by which either is preferred to the other.

    Freedom of the will; exemption from compulsion or restraint in willing or volition.

    7. Privilege; exemption; immunity enjoyed by prescription or by grant; with a plural. Thus we speak of the liberties of the commercial cities of Europe.

    8. Leave; permission granted. The witness obtained liberty to leave the court.

    9. A space in which one is permitted to pass without restraint, and beyond which he may not lawfully pass; with a plural; as the liberties of a prison.

    10. Freedom of action or speech beyond the ordinary bounds of civility or decorum. Females should repel all improper liberties.

    To take the liberty to do or say any thing, to use freedom not specially granted.

    To set at liberty to deliver from confinement; to release from restraint.

    To be at liberty to be free from restraint.

    Liberty of the press, is freedom from any restriction on the power to publish books; the free power of publishing what one pleases, subject only to punishment for abusing the privilege, or publishing what is mischievous to the public or injurious to individuals.

    First occurrence in the Bible(KJV): Leviticus 25:10

    Freedom, is not licence or anarchy or nihilistic will to power. I know, you were very resistant when earlier the point that there are inescapable first principles and first duties of reason were on the table. It is refusal to accept that there are manifest, inescapable first moral truths constituting a conscience attested corpus of built in law of our morally governed nature that now proceeds to nihilistic chaos. Where, by definition, moral government pivots, equally on built in freedom, so we can choose responsibly or irresponsibly.

    That freedom, is foundational to the credibility of reasoning, arguing, warranting knowledge and more. It also leads to the IS-OUGHT gap, thus the need for something else you have resisted. Namely, a reality root that bridges is and ought inherently, thus one that is of awesome power to be creator or source and sustainer of worlds and in so doing, is inherently good and utterly wise.

    Turning from this, we can see again and again, ends in patent absurdities involving undermining of responsible reason. Including, self-referential incoherence that leaves the objector without a leg to stand on.

    So, no, suggesting that the premise that we are responsibly and rationally free under moral government reflects “slavery” is self-defeating rhetoric. Rhetoric that seems to be motivated in key part, by rebellion against God as reality root.

    Plato warned, c 360 BC:

    Ath [in The Laws, Bk X 2,350+ ya]. . . .[The avant garde philosophers and poets, c. 360 BC] say that fire and water, and earth and air [i.e the classical “material” elements of the cosmos], all exist by nature and chance, and none of them by art . . . [such that] all that is in the heaven, as well as animals and all plants, and all the seasons come from these elements, not by the action of mind, as they say, or of any God, or from art, but as I was saying, by nature and chance only [ –> that is, evolutionary materialism is ancient and would trace all things to blind chance and mechanical necessity] . . . .

    [Thus, they hold] that the principles of justice have no existence at all in nature, but that mankind are always disputing about them and altering them; and that the alterations which are made by art and by law have no basis in nature, but are of authority for the moment and at the time at which they are made.-

    [ –> Relativism, too, is not new; complete with its radical amorality rooted in a worldview that has no foundational IS that can ground OUGHT, leading to an effectively arbitrary foundation only for morality, ethics and law: accident of personal preference, the ebbs and flows of power politics, accidents of history and and the shifting sands of manipulated community opinion driven by “winds and waves of doctrine and the cunning craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming . . . ” cf a video on Plato’s parable of the cave; from the perspective of pondering who set up the manipulative shadow-shows, why.]

    These, my friends, are the sayings of wise men, poets and prose writers, which find a way into the minds of youth. They are told by them that the highest right is might,

    [ –> Evolutionary materialism — having no IS that can properly ground OUGHT — leads to the promotion of amorality on which the only basis for “OUGHT” is seen to be might (and manipulation: might in “spin”) . . . ]

    and in this way the young fall into impieties, under the idea that the Gods are not such as the law bids them imagine; and hence arise factions [ –> Evolutionary materialism-motivated amorality “naturally” leads to continual contentions and power struggles influenced by that amorality at the hands of ruthless power hungry nihilistic agendas], these philosophers inviting them to lead a true life according to nature, that is,to live in real dominion over others [ –> such amoral and/or nihilistic factions, if they gain power, “naturally” tend towards ruthless abuse and arbitrariness . . . they have not learned the habits nor accepted the principles of mutual respect, justice, fairness and keeping the civil peace of justice, so they will want to deceive, manipulate and crush — as the consistent history of radical revolutions over the past 250 years so plainly shows again and again], and not in legal subjection to them [–> nihilistic will to power not the spirit of justice and lawfulness].

    We would be well advised to heed him.

    KF

  25. 25
    kairosfocus says:

    Sev:

    [BA77?] (21) The eternal salvation of countless souls.

    [Sev:] Which might be good of there were any evidence of such an immaterial entity which survives the death of the physical body and is thereby immortal.

    Try to account for responsible rational freedom on blind chance, mechanical necessity and computational substrates: ________ You cannot, without self-referential absurdities succinctly highlighted by Haldane so long ago now:

    “It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms. In order to escape from this necessity of sawing away the branch on which I am sitting, so to speak, I am compelled to believe that mind is not wholly conditioned by matter.” [“When I am dead,” in Possible Worlds: And Other Essays [1927], Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209. Cf. here on (and esp here) on the self-refutation by self-falsifying self referential incoherence and on linked amorality.]

    You argue, you demand warrant on our part, you pose on atheistical, skeptical defaults dressed up in lab coats. But all along, you depend on just what cannot be the product of blind chance and/or mechanical necessity. Namely, responsible rational freedom, a signature of the soul.

    Ironically, you are the very evidence you demand of us.

    KF

  26. 26
    Axel says:

    Ed, I understand your thinking, as I used to share it, but you could get no more fundamental and, perforce, seminal, error than to think you know better than God ; each inference you draw takes you further and further away from the truth – leading, as Keynes said of one of Hayek’s oeuvres, to the madhouse ; indeed, the more flawless the filigree of the ensuing arguments, the more certain the catatonia..

  27. 27
    bornagain77 says:

    kf states to Seversky,

    Ironically, you are the very evidence (for a soul) you demand of us.

    Very well put!

    Both Seversky and Ed George have claimed that there is ZERO evidence for an immaterial soul that survives death. Yet Seversky and Ed George are both dependent on rational reasoning to try to prove their claim that we have no soul. Yet, if Seversky and Ed George did not have immaterial minds and/or souls, then any coherent foundation for rational reasoning is lost.

    (1) rationality implies a thinker in control of thoughts.
    (2) under materialism a thinker is an effect caused by processes in the brain.
    (3) in order for materialism to ground rationality a thinker (an effect) must control processes in the brain (a cause). (1)&(2)
    (4) no effect can control its cause.
    Therefore materialism cannot ground rationality.
    per Box UD

    As C.S. Lewis noted,

    “Supposing there was no intelligence behind the universe, no creative mind. In that case, nobody designed my brain for the purpose of thinking. It is merely that when the atoms inside my skull happen, for physical or chemical reasons, to arrange themselves in a certain way, this gives me, as a by-product, the sensation I call thought. But, if so, how can I trust my own thinking to be true? It’s like upsetting a milk jug and hoping that the way it splashes itself will give you a map of London. But if I can’t trust my own thinking, of course I can’t trust the arguments leading to Atheism, and therefore have no reason to be an Atheist, or anything else. Unless I believe in God, I cannot believe in thought: so I can never use thought to disbelieve in God”
    – C.S. Lewis (from, The Case for Christianity)

    As C.S. Lewis (and many others) have succinctly put it in the ‘argument from reason’, our ability to reason in a coherent fashion in the first place proves the existence of God as well as the existence of our immaterial mind and/or soul.

    The Argument From Reason – resource page
    http://www.reasonsforgod.org/t.....om-reason/

    “Atheists can give no reason why they should value reason, and Christians can show how anyone who believes in reason must also believe in God.”
    Cogito; Ergo Deus Est by Charles Edward White
    Philosophy Still Lives Because God Isn’t Dead

    Only Theism, and Christian Theism in particular, gives us a coherent foundation for rational reasoning:

    John 1:1
    “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”

    of note: ‘the Word’ in John1:1 is translated from ‘Logos’ in Greek. Logos also happens to be the root word from which we derive our modern word logic
    http://etymonline.com/?term=logic

    What is the Logos?
    Logos is a Greek word literally translated as “word, speech, or utterance.” However, in Greek philosophy, Logos refers to divine reason or the power that puts sense into the world making order instead of chaos.,,,
    In the Gospel of John, John writes “In the beginning was the Word (Logos), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). John appealed to his readers by saying in essence, “You’ve been thinking, talking, and writing about the Word (divine reason) for centuries and now I will tell you who He is.”
    https://www.compellingtruth.org/what-is-the-Logos.html

    To clarify all this a little better, as Dr. Egnor points out in the following article, Logic (and mathematics) are immaterial,

    Naturalism and Self-Refutation – Michael Egnor – January 31, 2018
    Excerpt: Mathematics is certainly something we do. Is mathematics “included in the space-time continuum [with] basic elements … described by physics”?,,,
    What is the physics behind the Pythagorean theorem? After all, no actual triangle is perfect, and thus no actual triangle in nature has sides such that the Pythagorean theorem holds. There is no real triangle in which the sum of the squares of the sides exactly equals the square of the hypotenuse. That holds true for all of geometry. Geometry is about concepts, not about anything in the natural world or about anything that can be described by physics. What is the “physics” of the fact that the area of a circle is pi multiplied by the square of the radius? And of course what is natural and physical about imaginary numbers, infinite series, irrational numbers, and the mathematics of more than three spatial dimensions? Mathematics is entirely about concepts, which have no precise instantiation in nature as described by physics.,,,
    Furthermore, the very framework of Clark’s argument — logic — is neither material nor natural. Logic, after all, doesn’t exist “in the space-time continuum” and isn’t described by physics. What is the location of modus ponens? How much does Gödel’s incompleteness theorem weigh? What is the physics of non-contradiction? How many millimeters long is Clark’s argument for naturalism? Ironically the very logic that Clark employs to argue for naturalism is outside of any naturalistic frame.
    The strength of Clark’s defense of naturalism is that it is an attempt to present naturalism’s tenets clearly and logically. That is its weakness as well, because it exposes naturalism to scrutiny, and naturalism cannot withstand even minimal scrutiny. Even to define naturalism is to refute it.

    https://evolutionnews.org/2018/01/naturalism-and-self-refutation/

    And the very fact that we can access, via our ability to reason, this immaterial realm of logic and mathematics proves that we must have immaterial minds and/or souls that, at the very least, have the inherent potential of living beyond the death of our material bodies. As Alfred Russel Wallace himself pointed out in 1910, mathematics itself proves the existence of the soul:

    “Nothing in evolution can account for the soul of man. The difference between man and the other animals is unbridgeable. Mathematics is alone sufficient to prove in man the possession of a faculty unexistent in other creatures. Then you have music and the artistic faculty. No, the soul was a separate creation.”
    – Alfred Russel Wallace

    Thus in conclusion, in Severky’s and Ed George’s claim that there is no evidence for a soul, the fact of the matter is that, in their ability to reason in a coherent fashion in the first place, and as kf so clearly put it,,,

    Ironically, you are the very evidence you demand of us.

    Verse:

    Isaiah 1:18
    “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”

  28. 28
    ET says:

    Acartia Eddie:

    Do what I say or else.

    You have to be demented to come up with that response. Nice own goal

    According to Joe logic, it would have been morally acceptable for us to have enslaved the Japanese and Germans

    Except for the fact that Japan and Germany made reparations for the war. Acartia eddie’s ignorance is not an argument.

    This sort of nonsense is the reason that nobody interacts with you.

    So I force you to post the nonsense that you post? Really? How does that work?

    It is very telling that several others have pointed out Acartia eddie’s nonsense and delusions

  29. 29
    ET says:

    And back in Biblical times slaves were a means of reparations of war.

    In. Biblical. Times. So what does Acartia Eddie do? Bring up Japan’s and Germany’s involvement in WWII. Yet even in WWII PoWs were used for slave labor.

    But that is moot as the CONTEXT of the discussion was God condoning slavery In. Biblical. Times. And in Biblical times slavery came about via warfare.

  30. 30
    Silver Asiatic says:

    BA77

    But we know beyond doubt that Columbus sailed, in part, to fulfill a religious quest. Columbus’s voyages were intense religious missions. He saw them as the fulfillment of a divine plan for his life …

    His efforts and achievements were heroic and worthy of being honored. He was the prime catalyst for the conversion of the Americas to Christianity.

    How did cannibalism end?
    Christian missionaries began arriving in the Pacific from the 1830s.

    Christian missionaries found widespread cannibalism, human sacrifice and slavery in Central and South America when they arrived.
    They put an end to this and raised the people to a higher moral level, and ultimately the Christian Faith replaced paganism.

  31. 31
    GCS says:

    Ed,

    I wish to make two observations about your claim in Comment #20 above. You make the claim that you are not culpable for your parents sins and faults.

    1 – I agree with you. That is exactly what our Judeo-Christian heritage teaches. Up to the point when God revealed to the Jews that a child could not be punished for his father’s sins there was an understanding of group guilt and punishment. Even in Jesus’ time people still assumed that people were punished because of their parent’s sins. Culpability, a moral claim, is an individual responsibility. Therefore, you make that moral claim of non-culpability standing on the shoulders of three thousand years of Jewish and Christian teaching.

    2 – I think you confuse culpability, which is a moral state, with consequences. We are all subject to the consequences of all of our ancestors actions. The good and the bad we face is the consequence of literally billions of individual choices in the past. They all matter and they all affect us.

    So you are not culpable for Adam’s and Eve’s decision. They refused a gift they had been offered. A gift of infinite value, I might dare to say. No longer possessing the gift they could not give it to you as an inheritance. You live the consequence of their action. Now however, you have been offered the gift of eternal life. Will you accept this offer?

    God Bless and Happy New Year

  32. 32
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Seversky

    Which might be good of there were any evidence of such an immaterial entity which survives the death of the physical body and is thereby immortal.

    Anyone who affirms atheism would have no incentive to discover if there was eternal salvation of souls, since atheism would remove that possibility.
    Atheism, by it’s own principles, will never permit that God can reveal what happens after death, or even that mysteries of the universe, unknowable to human intelligence (without the help of God) will be shown and revealed.
    Christianity allows for a greater scope and access for knowledge, since God can reveal much to human beings that we could never know otherwise.
    The existence of souls, the judgement of God, the existence of eternal realities beyond earth – are well known by human beings through the centuries.
    It only requires that one of these people be correct about what they’ve encountered from the presence and communication from God, for atheism to be falsified.
    For atheism to be correct, every religious experience of the human race must be devoid of true content. All must be considered illusory, with no evidence for that conclusion. If one experience with God, one of the spiritual encounters from the Prophets or of the Saints, Mystics, Fathers, Doctors, Stigmatics, Confessors of the Church — only one of those experiences is true, then atheism is falsified. Even if one of the documented miracles is true (Lourdes, Fatima, Guadalupe, shrines of the world, etc,), then atheism is false.

    But atheism does not explore or search out such things, for reasons which are understandable, but ultimately dishonest.

  33. 33
    kairosfocus says:

    EG,

    I just cautioned you in another thread as follows, when you tried to put up the issue of holocaust medical experiments:

    FYI, 40 years ago, lessons derived from said atrocities were embedded in medicine and it was said that more lives were saved than had been unjustly taken through mass murder. In parallel with that, a programme of ethical research was undertaken to recreate the same knowledge soundly and succeeded in the end some years ago. The evil did not justify needless further sacrifice of lives but the wound on the soul of medicine had to be healed. And again, this illustrates the reality of the mixed character of a civilisation. If we disqualify what is good because the vessel that carried it is imperfect or even evil, we would disqualify almost every step of progress or knowledge. In fact, what is done is that cultural marxists target those they oppose through the oppression thesis to poison the well we need to drink from, in a variety of selective hyperskepticism. They want us to throw the baby out with the bath water, the better to introduce a deadly asp that we are expected to coddle. This shows them to be misanthropes. It is time to turn from such ruthless manipulation and suicidal folly.

    The same holds for your repeated red herring led away to a strawman caricature soaked in ad hominems and set alight to cloud, confuse, polarise and poison the atmosphere, alleged “condoning” of slavery etc. It has repeatedly been pointed out that there is a world of difference between ameliorative regulation of what is longstanding and tied to the hardness of men’s hearts and establishment of evil. The classic case from Matt 19 is divorce, where in Malachi 2:16 we see the Lord’s attitude to such evils: I hate divorce.

    But until men are touched by the gift of repentance and are transformed by renewal in sufficient numbers to reach cultural critical mass, transformative, sustainable reform is not possible if human freedom is to be respected. As I have noted many times, that point was reached, largely in Britain, about the mid to late 1600’s. From then, revivals, renewal and reforms flowed in increasing power, with the Wesley-Whitefield revivals a critical component. We saw democratisation, a civil rights initiative against the kidnapping based slave trade then the institution, reforms of law, work, governance, courts and much more. A wave that is now being subverted by those who undermine the core principle of moral transformation. Namely, that we are inescapably morally governed creatures with built in law of justice that governments can only recognise, they neither establish nor can they repeal.

    I suggest, you would be well advised to ponder the consequences of evolutionary materialism warned against by Plato long since:

    Ath [in The Laws, Bk X 2,350+ ya]. . . .[The avant garde philosophers and poets, c. 360 BC] say that fire and water, and earth and air [i.e the classical “material” elements of the cosmos], all exist by nature and chance, and none of them by art . . . [such that] all that is in the heaven, as well as animals and all plants, and all the seasons come from these elements, not by the action of mind, as they say, or of any God, or from art, but as I was saying, by nature and chance only [ –> that is, evolutionary materialism is ancient and would trace all things to blind chance and mechanical necessity] . . . .

    [Thus, they hold] that the principles of justice have no existence at all in nature, but that mankind are always disputing about them and altering them; and that the alterations which are made by art and by law have no basis in nature, but are of authority for the moment and at the time at which they are made.-

    [ –> Relativism, too, is not new; complete with its radical amorality rooted in a worldview that has no foundational IS that can ground OUGHT, leading to an effectively arbitrary foundation only for morality, ethics and law: accident of personal preference, the ebbs and flows of power politics, accidents of history and and the shifting sands of manipulated community opinion driven by “winds and waves of doctrine and the cunning craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming . . . ” cf a video on Plato’s parable of the cave; from the perspective of pondering who set up the manipulative shadow-shows, why.]

    These, my friends, are the sayings of wise men, poets and prose writers, which find a way into the minds of youth. They are told by them that the highest right is might,

    [ –> Evolutionary materialism — having no IS that can properly ground OUGHT — leads to the promotion of amorality on which the only basis for “OUGHT” is seen to be might (and manipulation: might in “spin”) . . . ]

    and in this way the young fall into impieties, under the idea that the Gods are not such as the law bids them imagine; and hence arise factions [ –> Evolutionary materialism-motivated amorality “naturally” leads to continual contentions and power struggles influenced by that amorality at the hands of ruthless power hungry nihilistic agendas], these philosophers inviting them to lead a true life according to nature, that is,to live in real dominion over others [ –> such amoral and/or nihilistic factions, if they gain power, “naturally” tend towards ruthless abuse and arbitrariness . . . they have not learned the habits nor accepted the principles of mutual respect, justice, fairness and keeping the civil peace of justice, so they will want to deceive, manipulate and crush — as the consistent history of radical revolutions over the past 250 years so plainly shows again and again], and not in legal subjection to them [–> nihilistic will to power not the spirit of justice and lawfulness].

    When you do so, you can then begin to understand the impact of Paul’s letter to Philemon, which provided the motto of the anti slavery society: am I not a man and a brother?

    Philemon Amplified Bible (AMP)
    Salutation

    1 Paul, a prisoner [for the sake] of Christ Jesus (the Messiah, the Anointed), and our brother Timothy,

    To Philemon our dearly beloved friend and fellow worker, 2 and to [your wife] Apphia our sister, and to [a]Archippus our fellow soldier [in ministry], and to the [b]church that meets in your [c]house: 3 Grace to you and peace [inner calm and spiritual well-being] from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

    Philemon’s Love and Faith

    4 I thank my God always, making mention of you in my prayers, 5 because I hear of your love and of your faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the [d]saints (God’s people). 6 I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective and powerful because of your accurate knowledge of every good thing which is ours in Christ. 7 For I have had great joy and comfort and encouragement from your love, because the hearts of the saints (God’s people) have been refreshed through you, my brother.

    8 Therefore [on the basis of these facts], though I have enough confidence in Christ to order you to do what is appropriate, 9 yet for love’s sake I prefer to appeal to you—since I am such a person as Paul, an old man, and now also a prisoner [for the sake] of Christ Jesus—

    A Plea for Onesimus to be Freed

    10 I appeal to you for my [own spiritual] child Onesimus, whom I have fathered [in the faith] while a captive in these chains. 11 Once he was useless to you, but now he is indeed [e]useful to you as well as to me. 12 I have sent him back to you in person, that is, like sending my very heart. 13 I would have chosen to keep him with me, so that he might minister to me on your behalf during my imprisonment for the gospel; 14 but I did not want to do anything without first getting your consent, so that your goodness would not be, in effect, by compulsion but of your own free will. 15 Perhaps it was for this reason that he was separated from you for a while, so that you would have him back forever, 16 no longer as a slave, but [as someone] more than a slave, as a brother [in Christ], especially dear to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh [as a servant] and in the Lord [as a fellow believer].

    17 So if you consider me a partner, welcome and accept him as you would me. 18 But if he has wronged you in any way or owes you anything, charge that to my account; 19 I, Paul, write this with my [f]own hand, I will repay it in full (not to mention to you that you [g]owe to me even your own self as well). 20 Yes, brother, let me have some benefit and joy from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in Christ.

    21 I write to you [perfectly] confident of your obedient compliance, [h]since I know that you will do even more than I ask.

    22 At the same time also prepare a guest room for me [in expectation of a visit], for I hope that through your prayers I will be [granted the gracious privilege of] coming to you [at Colossae].

    23 Greetings to you from Epaphras, my fellow prisoner here in [the cause of] Christ Jesus, 24 and from Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers.

    25 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

    The point should be clear, as should the impact of this letter in fostering reforms fuelled by gospel ethics.

    Let’s see some serious reckoning with pivotal issues for kairos in this new year.

    KF

  34. 34
    Axel says:

    At your #30, Silver Asiatic :

    ‘Christian missionaries found widespread cannibalism, human sacrifice and slavery in Central and South America when they arrived.
    They put an end to this and raised the people to a higher moral level, and ultimately the Christian Faith replaced paganism.’ – SA

    Not unlike Charlemagne conquering much of Europe for Christendom. One of the first questions put to the Pope by a newly-installed Christian bishop concerned what he was to do as regards the sale of a slave for a human sacrifice. The Ppe’s answer was that it was to be viewed simply as murder.

    I don’t recall any tributes from Ed George, Seversky et al to Christianity, for raising the level of morality routinely shown by the pagan world by way of their human sacrifices. Those pagans remind me of eugenicists : ‘Lead the way, McDuff!’

Leave a Reply