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Christianity’s Role in Shaping the Western World

by | Mon, Oct 2 2023

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Many Christians believe that the following questions are some of the most important things we need to ask. What factors have influenced us to become who we are? What would the world’s landscape look like without Christ’s existence? And how different would it be without our 2000-year history of Christianity?

Bill Muehlenberg from Culture Watch has been reflecting on some of these issues. He recently joined us on 20Twenty to share his thoughts on a few of the books he believes help explain how Christianity has shaped the Western world as we currently understand it today.

Our Origins Traced Back to Jesus

Bill believes that almost every area of life that we enjoy and take for granted today, for the most part, arose out of a Judeo-Christian worldview. Whether it’s health care, universal education, representative government, separation of powers or the rules of law and basic civil rights and liberties.

‘Things like the abolition of slavery,’ says Bill, ‘the elevation of women and children, the rise of modern science, on and on the list goes. And pretty much all of these, in good measure, if not altogether, can be traced back to this man, Jesus Christ, and 2000 years of Christianity.’

Some Christians might be familiar with D. James Kennedy and his 1994 book, What If Jesus Had Never Been Born? While this was one of his earlier works, Bill says it’s a book that compiled and documented the huge benefits we have as individuals, and as societies because of Jesus Christ.

The Benefits of a Christian Society

‘But there’s been all kinds of others who’ve followed up on this,’ says Bill. ‘Sociologist of Religion in the U.S., Rodney Stark, has got a whole bunch of important books on looking at the benefits, and in fact, even tries to quantify what might be a financial benefit.’

It’s nearly impossible to put a price on these things, but in his books, Stark looks at how much society has saved in terms of health care provided by Christian hospitals or education provided by Christian schools. There are plenty of authors continuing to explore different angles on this, some of which are Australian.

‘Two of them are by Greg Sheridan,’ says Bill, ‘and Kevin Donnelly, the education expert just came out with a new book. These have piggybacked on these earlier works, so I’m glad to see Australian Christians finally catching on and making that case.’

Christianity Is Hugely Beneficial

Bill believes the historical truths of the world we live in are a result of Christianity. ‘We’ve got to give that credit where it’s due,’ he says. ‘Ignore the atheists. Religion is not a bad thing, certainly not Christianity.’

‘In fact, it’s been a hugely beneficial and great thing, certainly for the Western world.’

Listen to Bill’s full interview on 20Twenty below: