I'll toss in my 2 cents' worth, then.
Originally posted by OldThinker
OT asks, “WHAT IF JESUS OF NAZARETH HAD NEVER BEEN BORN? I mean seriously…what would the world we live in look like?”
We can, of course, start with the state of the world up until the time that Christianity became one of the major religions of the world -- 300 AD.
How would slaves fare? Well, it might have ended in many areas of the world before this. Your picture of slavery may be based on the fate of the
slaves under US Christian slaveowners before the Civil War, but in Rome and Greece the slaves had a pretty good life. You were protected by law,
could actually keep some of the money that you earned, were allowed to own some property, could marry, and could buy your freedom. Slaves were
sometimes adopted by the head of the household. They did have some rights to sue the master in court:
In those days, slavery was not based on skin color.
They fared even better in ancient Greece, where manumission was encouraged and where the philosophers often argued (400 BC and onward) that all men
were born free and slavery was wrong en.wikipedia.org...
How would women fair? Not Good!
Well, in Ancient Egypt they fared better than they did in Ancient Israel:
Pagan widows lost all control of their husband's estate when they remarried but the church allowed widows to maintain their husband's estate.
Not entirely true. When a country became a Christian empire, then yes... but before that, Christians lived under the law of whatever land. And as
time went on, that principle changed somewhat so that elder male relatives often controlled a widow's properties unless special arrangements were
made in the wills.
Also, the pagan double standard of allowing married men to have extramarital sex and mistresses was forbidden.
Three things here:
* Christian men were every bit as prone to stray as "pagans." Read the Canterbury Tales and other old literature and folktales for tons and tons of
examples. You might also want to note the striking number of mixed-race Blacks (plantation slaves) in the South from the Civil War and before and
reconsider some of the above comments.
* In many "pagan" countries (Rome, for example), there were very strict laws about divorce and marriage (as well as formal marriage ceremonies) and
mistresses were not encouraged where there was a formal type of marriage.
* Extramarital sex and cohabitation was common among Christians in areas where preachers visited infrequently (so they couldn't get married
The gospel spreaders/missionaries saw to it this practice stopped.
Moghul (Islamic) rulers in the 1500's began banning it:
Would there be true compassion and mercy?
You might want to delve deeper into ancient literature -- the very ancient manuscript of Ptahotep talks about this as the correct way to behave.
Thousands of other examples exist -- in particular, Buddha, who lived some 550 years before Jesus was born.
And the Greeks were famous for teachings on ethics.
It was the early Christian church that ultimately brought an end to infanticide.
In some cultures. In others, it was already illegal.
What about Education? Would be way behind! Remember Judeo/Christian tradition certainly put an emphasis on the written word. The phenomenon of
education for the masses has its roots in the Protestant Reformation. Please do a little research here.
Well, education was probably at its peak in the ancient world in Ancient Greece. If you recall your history, education and the sciences did not
flourish under the Christians (remember the Dark Ages) but did well in non-Christian areas. Women never fared well under this system, being forced to
follow Paul's instructions on what made a "good wife."
The first women physicians in the US were very cruelly treated by their Christian fellows. Women who got advanced degrees were consdered "unfit" --
and a bias against women scholars still lingers somewhat here in America.
Remember before Madelyn Marie O’hare, children's reading texts emphasized biblical literacy.
It's Madeline Murray O'Hare, and before her, childrens' reading texts did NOT emphasize biblical literacy. I was taught to read back before she
appeared on the scene (as was my husband, my parents, etc)... I have some of our old textbooks. No Biblical emphasis. None at all.
This was so prevalent in colonial America, that John Quincy Adams said in the early 1800's that the illiteracy rate was only 4/10th of 1
percent. By comparison, it has been estimated that in America today, 40 million people are functionally illiterate.
JQA (if the quote was accurate) was only counting white male landowners. Women of that time were fairly illiterate (with some exceptions), and so
were most apprentices and farmers and slaves. Most of the Native Americans couldn't read or write.
What about the arts? Non-existent!
You mean, like the cave paintings at Lascaux, the rock art around the United States, the songs and stores of the Norse, the lengthy poem cycles of the
Irish bards, the sculptures of Greece, Rome, India, China, the elaborate temples and carvings at Ankor Wat, the tombs and statues of the Ancient
Egyptians, the elaborate and delicate mosques of the Islamic people? The paintings of the Hindu people? The scrolls and paintings of the Chinese and
That's not art?
I would disagree.
What about freedom? Government of the People?
Not Biblically or Christian based. The Greeks had the first Democracy (the US is a Republic which isn't quite as much a "government of the people"
as a democracy is -- and the first Republic was Rome, not the US.)
The Constitution is based not on the Bible but on English laws and the constitution of the Iriquois ("pagans".)
Free Enterprise and the "Protestant work ethic?” Nope! We have two chooses…biblical capitalism and evolutionary capitalism.
"Evolutionary capitalism"? Care to define this other than "any capitalism not practiced by people who declare themselves Christian?" Capitalism
has always existed throughout the world no matter what the religion.
...and early Christianity practiced a form of communism (communal ownership of things.)