The most serious wars being fought in the world today don’t involve military hardware. In the battles that will shape the course of human history the weapons are ideas. The combatants are aligned by worldview, not geography or nationality. These epic contests will determine what value system humanity will embrace.
California-based radio talk show host Dennis Prager, one of the truly thoughtful conservative radio commentators, says there are essentially three competitors in this battle for men’s hearts and minds: European secularism, American Judeo-Christianity, and Islam. To that list I would add a fourth—Eastern Mysticism. (Having spent some time last year in Beijing, I learned that as the communists have sought to minimize religion, traditional spiritism and superstition are rampant. It has the people in virtual spiritual and emotional bondage).
Prager, a Jew, is beginning a series in his weekly column that will seek to make the case for Judeo-Christian values. Prager says in the first column in the series: “I believe [biblical values] are the finest set of values to guide the lives of both individuals and societies. Unfortunately, they are rarely rationally explained – even among Jewish and Christian believers, let alone to nonbelievers and members of other faiths.”
In the January 4 column, Prager begins by citing the civilizing effect of Christianity. He writes:
Chesterton was right. The collapse of Christianity in Europe led to the horrors of Nazism and communism. And to the moral confusions of the present – such as the moral equation of the free United States with the totalitarian Soviet Union, or of life-loving Israel with its death-loving enemies.
The oft-cited charge that religion has led to more wars and evil than anything else is a widely believed lie. Secular successors to Christianity have slaughtered and enslaved more people than all religions in history (though significant elements within a non-Judeo-Christian religion – Islam – slaughter and enslave today, and if not stopped in Sudan and elsewhere could match Nazism or communism).
It will be worthwhile to follow the series. Those of us in the Christian community can lose site of the contributions and historic accomplishments of those whose lives have been guided by the teachings of Jesus and by the record of God’s dealings with His people, Israel.
On the Apostle Paul’s first visit to Europe, his opponents feared “these men who have turned the world upside down” (Acts 17:6). Throughout history, the followers of Christ have been world changing, but although feared even to this day, it has been a transformation of immense, and often unrecognized, value.