Has Christianity made a positive impact on Western civilization? That was a question I posed a few months ago in a commentary, and in it I provided a short list of atheists who would agree with that statement. Now, there are more atheists coming to that conclusion.
Jonathon Van Maren writes about a number of atheists who he calls “King Agrippa Christians.” After the Apostle Paul gave his testimony and the gospel, the king said he was nearly persuaded. None of the atheists Van Maren mentions have become Christians, but they do acknowledge the important contribution of Christianity to our world.
One example is the historian Tom Holland, who often writes about the ancient world. His new book, Dominion: How the Christian Revolution Remade the World, makes a convincing case for Christianity. Christian writers who have read the book praise it because it provides examples that various Christian historians have documented.
The ancient world was cruel. Spartans, for example, routinely killed off “imperfect” children. The bodies of slaves were treated like outlets for physical pleasure. Only a few citizens had rights.
Holland explains that Christianity changed the prevailing views about sex and marriage. It demanded that men control themselves. It placed sex within marriage and within monogamy. And Christianity elevated the status of women. To put it simply, Christianity transformed the world.
Without Christianity, the Western world as we know it would not exist. If the West had not become Christian, Holland writes, “no one would have gotten woke.”