I have been writing some critical posts recently about the Christian faith, mostly with respect to the sexual realm, but I would like to write a few things about what is positive in other areas. Although there are many things that people do in the name of Christianity that are often negative and harmful, this does not diminish the positive aspects of the faith.
I often wonder, as we see the waning of Christianity in the West, what would the world look like without Christianity? I believe it would be a much darker, more dangerous, more hateful place. Let us never forget the goodness that the message of Christ brought into the world. As much as I enjoy the history, literature, art and culture of antiquity, I would never want to return to the world of pagan Rome. It was a cold, harsh and brutal place. Modern societies without any religious bearing can be as equally harsh. Communist countries are the best example of this in the modern world. They are dull, oppressive societies, where people have no fundamental rights, freedoms or functions, except as wards of an all powerful state. Furthermore, there are the basic concepts of human behavior we tend to take for granted today, but which have not always existed to the degree that they do right now. For instance, do we want to lose compassion? Mercy? The sense of decency towards others? The sense of hope? Or simply the sense of God in our lives? At least for myself, the answer is No, and despite my quarrels with certain aspects of Christian teaching on sexuality, I would not advocated losing this as part of our civilization. There is also the sense of community that Churches bring. In an era of increasing atomization of individuals and families, the sense and need for community becomes even more important than before. We are social creatures whether we like it or not. So we often take for granted many of things that Christianity brought into the world, such as the care for the poor and sick, or our ideas of what it means to be fully human, and human rights. These concepts as we understand them today are heavily influenced by Christian thought.
Then there is the question of pure evil. I believe in the reality of evil in our world, whether individually or collectively. I also believe evil is a spiritual thing. Yes, evil is not simply biological or societal based phenomenon, but something deeper, beyond our material world. A good example is warfare. Wars are unfortunately a part of our fallen world, and sometimes they are necessary. Both individuals and entire societies can go insane and become bloodthirsty, attack others, and they need to be stopped, usually through violent force. For instance, recently I have been reading about some of the atrocities committed in WWII by the Japanese against the Chinese, such as the Rape of Nanking or the infamous, Unit 731, a sort of camber of horrors in Manchuria set up by Japanese scientist in order to experiment with weapons and chemicals on living human subjects. Vivisection on human subjects was a common occurrence there. This was only one of many unspeakable practices. Then there were the well known atrocities committed by Germany in WWII, a country with a long Christian tradition. But the Nazis, in their hatred of Jews and all non-Germans, were anything but Christian. The fire bombings of Dresden and Tokyo by the Allied forces were also horrific acts of cruelty against largely defenseless populations. Wars tend to unleash the worst side of human behavior, often the darkest, most evil part of out natures.
In other social and political situations in the modern world, the Communists inflicted massive suffering on countless people. Countless have been tortured or killed in the name of subservience to the state. Mans inhumanity to man knows no bounds, and there are many other examples I could cite, the horrors unleashed by wars and civil strife, including within our own country and history. The treatment of whites towards blacks throughout most of our history, not to mention the Native American tribes, is just one example.
All of these things, unprovoked wars and societal injustices, are considered sins within Christianity, the overcoming of which is an essential message of the faith. In a world of often ambiguous moral standards in these areas, the clarity of Christianity is powerful bulwark against evil.
Recently in the United States we had a public holiday celebrating the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. Now, I understand for probably many of the readers in the manosphere, a national holiday in honor of King is sacrilegious, but the cruelty inflicted on blacks by whites throughout our history is not something that should be forgotten. The Civil Rights movement was achieved through mostly non-violent means, in part by showing the injustices that an entire society can inflict upon a minority part of that same society. It is one of great witnesses in the modern world of positive and effective change, and King should be honored for his leadership role in that. Many of the methods and concepts that drove the Civil Rights movements were born out of Christian thought and ideals, such as the basic human rights that we all share as children of God. Equality, the basic motivating goal of the Civil Rights movement, as we understand it today is for the most part a Christian notion.
Of course it has to be mentioned that many of the great atrocities in the world have taken place within nominally Christian nations or societies: the struggle between Catholic and Protestant perhaps being the most well known. There really is not a whole lot I can say on that here, except to say that anyone who kills or tortures or even oppresses another person in the name of Christ is clearly lacking in his understanding of Christianity. But these crimes committed by Christians in the name of Christianity do not diminish the eternal goodness that Christ brought into the world. Peace, love, justice, tolerance, a fundamental sense of who we are as creatures of God, there are just a few of the virtues that Christianity developed in a way that did not exist before. This is not even to mention the redemptive message of Christ, which is what it is all about in the end. With so much hatred and evil in the world, as there always has been, we still need these as much as ever.