Recently, Bart Ehrman (New Testament scholar, former fundamentalist and current agnostic) answered an interesting question on his private blog: why would an agnostic be so interested in Christianity and Jesus? He responded that whether or not Jesus was truly God and resurrected, etc., the role that Christianity has played in history is amazing.
Without the spread of Christianity’s message that all are brothers, love, faith, hope, charity, repentance, kindness, etc, we would live in a very different world than we now live in. Without Christianity, there would not have been a uniting force to link people together. There would not have been Jesuits or other order priests to build hospitals and schools.
There would have been no Reformation or Renaissance. People wanted to read the Bible, and so the moveable print type was invented, making books and newspapers affordable. Tyndale would not have been able to make the plow boy know the Bible better than the priest, lifting people out of ignorance. A middle class would not have been created.
A spirit of exploration would not have happened (forged by adventure, riches, and spreading the gospel), so the Americas may not have been discovered by Columbus and Europe. You’ll note that others discovered America earlier than Christian Europe, but none were able to settle it, change it, and prepare the way for the world’s greatest Republic to be established.
Religious freedom, Freedom of Speech, and other freedoms would not exist in a world with no middle class or educated population. There would be no televisions, telephones, computers, IPhones, space travel, medical cures, or pizza. We would see a world akin to North Korea.
The world would likely still be where it was 2000 years ago, with feudal states and wooden plows, with few inventions to make changes.
Regardless of how Christianity has changed the world in so many good ways, the message of Christ is as powerful as it ever was. It is estimated that by the year 2030, China will be the largest Christian nation on earth. Even in the midst of repressions, including Chairman Mao’s 10 year “cultural revolution” that burned down thousands of churches, the Christian religion survived. There are tens of millions of Christians in China now, with the world’s largest mega-church near Shanghai. During this period of growing Christianity, we also see more freedoms in business, trade, etc. China has a burgeoning middle class, thanks to Christian tenets of freedom, hard work, etc.
The fact is, the world’s true hope is Christianity. If people were to learn charity, kindness, patience, longsuffering, and other Christian attributes, there would be no more war, violence, or suffering caused by man. We could create a worldwide Zion.
While there are many good people who are atheists or agnostics (Bart Ehrman’s private blog has all proceeds going to charity), history is filled with millions of dead because of atheists: Mao, Lenin, Stalin, Pol Pot, and many others Such atheists have gained great power and then used their value systems to enslave billions of people. Had you walked through East Berlin in 1985, you would have seen buildings that were still damaged from World War 2. Not until the Berlin Wall came down, was the freedom of the Christian West able to rebuild the old city and the rest of East Germany.
Without Christ, the world we would live in would be a great tragedy.