Equality of Human Beings
Social movements that have changed our nation and the world can be traced back to the Christian concept that all human life is worthy and precious. For example, slavery was ended in good measure through the leadership of Christian activists. The civil rights movement was spearheaded by Christian leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The women’s movement has it roots in how Jesus valued and treated the women around Him. The rise of Christianity can be traced to the ending of infanticide, cannibalism and even gladiator fights.
Next time you see a hospital bearing a Christian/Catholic name keep in mind that Christians have been leaders in medicine and the building of hospitals. This effort was influenced by Jesus who healed the sick during his earthly ministry, as well as his early followers who often risked their own lives and health to care for plague and other disease victims abandoned by society.
This is just a small modern example of Jesus’ influence at work in our culture that most people would not connect to Him. The drugstore chain CVS has for 34 years funded an ongoing program called “CVS/Samaritan” providing free roadside assistance in nine major markets. The first time I ever saw one of these vans with “CVS/Samaritan” emblazoned on the side in huge red letters was on the famous (or infamous) Washington D.C. beltway. Since Bible literacy is at an all-time low, upon seeing the van, I wondered if most people still associate the name of this free service with Jesus’ famous parable of the Good Samaritan found in Luke 10:30-37 . Even more revealing was how in 2008 this article celebrating 30 years of “CVS Samaritan” makes no mention of the Bible story from which this free service derives its name.
Writers such as Dante, Chaucer, Dostoevsky, Shakespeare, and Dickens were all Christians and their writing was influenced by their faith. Connected to literature is the printing press, the most transformational technology of its time. It was invented by Johannes Gutenberg in 1440 and the first book he printed was the Gutenberg Bible.
Imagine Christmas without Handel’s Messiah, so beloved it is celebrated even by “flash mobs” as seen in the opening video. Then there is Bach who signed all his work Soli Deo Gloria (“Solely to the glory of God.”) Church hymns also have had an enormous impact on music. Most amusing is when I read about a rock star like Katy Perry, a pastor’s daughter, who got her start singing in church. Even the words to many of our familiar patriotic national songs read like prayers and are included in many church hymnals.
This list could go on and on for there are volumes to be written about how “Jesus is the reason for this season” and every day of the year despite our modern day culture’s attempt to push Him aside. But as I have previously written, Christianity may be on the wane in our nation and Europe but it is surging in Africa, South America, India, and across Asia, especially in China.
Yes, the world’s largest religion is garnering more converts every day and its past and present influence on government, capitalism, law, politics, holidays, history, the calendar, our moral compass and the time line of B.C. and A.D just to name a few more, continues to impact those who are not followers of the faith.
But for those who are, Merry Christ’s Mass to you!
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