Western Civilization: A Christian Stronghold
Christianity was born into a world full of sin and suffering, pain and death. Ancient Rome was a pagan stronghold, and into this hostile world, Christ came to give the Good News, now passed down to us in the four Gospels. The world responded by killing him and thousands upon thousands of his followers; still, following their Savior, the Christian church was victorious, and “turned the world upside down,” laying the groundwork for the future Reformation.
Now, Christianity, the force that has turned this world right-side up, was faced with a society that had many values that were opposite to that of Christ’s teachings. The Roman Empire subsisted off of conquest, and conquest is never carried out without bloodshed. Thousands of civilians and soldiers of both sides, the oppressor and the oppressed, gave their lives to give prosperity to the Roman Empire, and the slaves captured in these conquests gave a public display of the bloodshed continually in the many arenas spread across the Empire, fighting men and wild beasts to the death.
Christianity represented and required a 180 degree change from the very principles that made the foundation of the long-lived bloodthirsty Empires of the past. Someone once said, “Culture is religion externalized,” and its true. Everything that we see; the buildings, what we call a Christian burial, our way of life, marriage, the way we treat each other, and the fact that for hundreds of years we’ve dated history around the birth of Christ; they all have been undeniably influenced by Christianity. Burial of a body intact into the ground was an acknowledgement that Christ would come back and put our bodies back together “like unto his glorious body” and that we’d spend eternity in them. However, many are turning away from the practice just as fast as they turn away from the glorious promise, and thus the pagan practices of burial are coming back into society. I am not saying that Western Civilization is or was perfect; far from it! I am just saying that Western Civilization has many Christian themes; that Christianity is the foundation of many of our societies institutions.
But, today, as we see many depart from Christianity, the only alternative is what the sinning, destructive, greedy populaces of ancient times called prosperity; death and suffering, beautiful architecture paid for and built by the blood and sweat of an enslaved populace. As modern and increasingly less Christian countries attempt to build an Empire overseas to “promote democracy”, we are faced with the inevitable death of civilians who are just as human as we are. Christians of the First Century could see that the barbarian on the frontier was just as deserving of life as a Roman citizen; why can’t we? Perhaps some are blinded by a hate and fear; a hate or dislike of people who are different from us because they’re different, a dislike that we insist we don’t have, and a fear of what they might do to us. Thus, we lose our own liberty in the pursuit of “national security”, by giving the “right” to the state to kill for us, not realizing that eventually the arm that was strengthened in the slaughter and subjugation of others will be turned against we the people, as did Nero and many other tyrants over the centuries have done, along with Hitler, Mao, Stalin, and other mass murderers. We must either return to Christianity, the great principle that founded Western Civilization, or suffer the fate of the pagan societies and empires before us; our leaders to die infamous, and our creations to rot and crumble with the passage of time.
There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. (Proverbs 16:25)