Christian influences on the modern world
Despite its numerous branches, Christianity as a whole is the religion practiced by majority of world’s population.
Ever since its beginnings in the first century AD, it grew exponentially. Massive numbers of its followers have caused it to have considerable influence on the world culture. Since the majority of its followers were from what is considered the western world, the influence of Christianity on it was greater than elsewhere. The impact of Christian philosophy in the areas of politics, economy, business, law, education, science and human relations will be discussed in this report.While the issues discussed are contemporary, the historical aspects are also presented. The educational system of countries under theocratic governance is influenced to a greater extent by it than any other institution. The reason for this is simply that the process of educating requires the presentation of ideas and theories whose validity is established by the governing authority.
Where other institutions concerning business, health, etc… already have an established infrastructure, the educational institution can be completely remodeled and molded into any shape that is desired. Those countries that practice extreme forms of theocracies generally concentrate in providing religious education and ignoring other subject areas. Some of the subject matter may be considered extravagant resulting in its exclusion from the curriculum. At the same time, through religious influence, young minds can be channeled into maintaining the cultural aspects of the nation that themselves could have been shaped by the religion. Christianity has played an influential role affecting western societies throughout history. The command of Christianity was greater in the past centuries and has gradually decreased.Today its influence is very low and constantly fading.
In the 18th and 19th century, Christian education was extremely important to the education of a child. More so than any other subject matter, the moral aspect of life was given more importance. However as time passed and knowledge grew, especially in the field of science, other subject matter grew in their precedence. Nevertheless, religious education was not neglected. However, in the early 20th century, the education of the origin of life contradicted the religious education concerning that matter. This issue was taken to court and the court decided in favor of the religious side. Half a century later, when opponents questioned the constitutionality of prayers in public schools, the matter went to the Supreme Court and the decision this time resulted in the abolishment of prayers from schools.
This was the turning point in the influence of Christianity on education. From this point on, the influence of Christianity on education has been minimal and public school education has been completely secularized. Christianity’s influence on business is not easy to perceive. The effect of other religions on business, such as Islam’s effect on the business practices in the Middle East is easily observable.Some of the many influences of Islam on business in a country practicing Islam include closing and opening shops at only certain periods of the day, having certain religious holidays, donating certain amount of the profit to the local Muslim charity and so on. Likewise, the effect of Judaism on business is easily observed when those practicing Judaism don’t open their places of business on Saturdays in order to keep Sabbath and not buying or selling of any “non-kosher” food items. Looking at all these practices, it seems that Christianity stands out because it does not seem to have any influence on the business practices of our current world.
This may seem true because those nations that had practiced Christianity in the past have for the most part separated religion from social aspects of life. Nevertheless, the current business practices of the western world have been influenced by Christianity in complex and subtle ways. One of the effects of Christianity is the very existence of the capitalist nature of the businesses in countries that had been influenced by Christianity. In the past when capitalism was under attack by communism, one of the chief aspects of anti-communism propaganda was claiming communism to be an anti-Christian ideology.This idea is not as far-fetched as it seems. The idea that hard working people should be rich and idle people should be poor originated from biblical passages which say that a man who does not work shall not eat. There are other biblical passages which advocate that hard work is blessed by God.
Thus the idea of a capitalist country where every individual tries his/her best to gain wealth and is not hindered from doing so originated in many ways from the Christian culture. This idea also reveals how communism stood in the opposite position since the wages of every worker would be fixed regardless of the work put in.Apart from the above mentioned influences, similar influences are hard to pinpoint. However, they still do exist. As an example, the keeping of business places closed on Sunday is the direct result of the dedication of Sunday as a day of rest as it was established by the Catholic Church. In the current period, Christianity did attempt to make an influence in the business practices of the western world when credit cards were gaining fame and becoming part of the society. Christian influence attempted to oppose the trend because Bible passages indicated that a person should never borrow money but live by what he/she owns.
Thus a hurdle was setup by this concept but it did not have much effect and credit cards became part of society. However, this indicates that Christianity is not as influential as it used to be and its power is fading. It has always been supposed and portrayed that science and Christianity stand on opposite sides. The proponents of each side for the most part believe that they will be at war with each other. And this is not an unfounded belief either because the Christian account of creation has always conflicted with the account of evolution which is accepted by the majority of scientists.The Supreme Court of the United States had upheld the scientists’ right to teach the theory of evolution in public schools and the struggle by the Christians to abolish that right has faded, since the Christians have understood that no court is going to rule in their favor. However, this loss of Christianity was a major one because not only did it affect other scientific areas but it also affected aspects of culture, education, morality, etc… If the very claim that God made everything could be contested and the new ideology is going to take dominance then all aspects of lifestyles will change for those who accept the new belief.
And this change has already taken place and it is advancing further. The modern gay rights movement and the abortion movement though seem not to have any roots in this science VS Christianity battle, but it is only logical to perceive that the opponents of these movements are backed up by their religious belief which holds an opposing view of morality than those that the proponents of these movements hold. Regardless of the past defeats, the Christian movement has been putting up a fight against the popular claims of science in the field of biology.While the explanation for the origin of life has been attributed to the theory of evolution by its proponents, the lack of major fossil evidence as highly supposed by the early founders of this belief as well as the mostly unexplainable aspects of the complexity of life has brought into question the validity of this entire belief system. While the proponents of the theory of evolution have no answers to these new confounding problems, the lack of any supporting evidence to the original Christian belief has hindered its success into its own reestablishment.Nevertheless, the Christian side did wage a war and has attempted to take the matter of teaching their view to public school students through the idea of “Intelligent Design” to the Supreme Court. Even though the Christian side lost, their opposition is still strong and only time can determine the ultimate fate of this issue.
While the influence of Christianity on most aspects of life in America has resulted in its weakening ability to maintain its power, its influence on politics stands out. Politics is the only field where Christian views regardless of the class of voters has mostly prevailed. In fact, a presidential candidate is not likely to be elected to the White House unless he reveals Christian upbringing or at least Christian views. Not only is politics inconsistent with the rest of the social structures, it is the only field that stands in utter contradiction since it had officially separated itself from all religious influences through the concept of “separation of Church and State” first presented through the Constitution of America.While in other structures of society, Christianity stands in opposition to the trends and aspirations of the culture which for the most part picks liberal views over the conservative ones, in the case of politics, it is only the candidate running for his/her seat whose views are considered. The voters seem to hold the view that a candidate from a Christian background is moral and thus necessary to maintain a stable structure of the American way of life. This is not to say that the voters choose an anti-abortion or anti-gay candidate as their elected official.
But the voters pick a candidate who describes his choices as being motivated by Christian views even though his interpretations of Christian morality may completely oppose Christian teachings. Thus in light of all these events and opinions, Christianity still holds its power in the field of politics although the other institutions have mostly rejected and ousted it. Christianity has played a crucial role in relationships, be it marital, single or family relations. Christianity teaches its followers to live with morality, and has set out a series of rules and regulations.These rules include abstinence and the legal binding of two individuals through marriage. Christianity strictly forbids sex before marriage. Whether practicing Christians follow this trend is in question due to a lack of reliable statistical data.
However, many Christians choose to interpret these rules to fit their own needs and desired views. Such is the case where Christian children are taught to “respect their elders” and parents are encouraged to “discipline their children”. Whether “discipline” is meant as a corporal form of punishment or limiting the child’s recreational activities is left to the user’s interpretation. However, the teachings of the Bible/Christianity have often been used as justification or an excuse to abuse children This form (corporal punishment) of abuse is detrimental to a child’s physical and mental health and thus Christianity is often labeled the culprit and seen in bad light due to the fact that many infer that Christianity condones the abuse of children. From 1970 to 2000 the majority of U. S. tates voted to ban corporal punishment on a child the only exception being Ohio.
Christianity had influenced the modern world ever since its conception. Since the west has influenced the rest of the world dramatically, it can be said that Christianity itself has influenced the entire world. However, despite being a major religion of the world, the influence of Christianity has been fading in the past few centuries. For a majority of its existence it was the primary dictator of various ideologies. Drastic turn- around from this practice as witnessed in the contemporary orld will no doubt create a fundamentally different society. Whether for good or for worse, the effects of our presently upheld ideologies will only be known in its time.
- http://worldblog.msnbc. msn. com/archive/2007/10/26/433457. aspx
- http://news. bbc. co. uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/1874471. stm
- http://www.msnbc. msn. com/id/10545387/