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What replaces the Christian faith?

 

 

Many reject the Christian faith in society, but other options are worse in both moral and economic terms

 

 

When it comes to modern time in the West, it is characterized by questioning the Christian faith. The existence of God has been questioned, His creation work has been questioned, the possibility of revelation has been questioned, and Christian absolute values ​​have been questioned. Developments in that direction have taken place all the time. For example, a few decades ago, reverence for God, the teaching of the Christian faith, and reverence for Christian values ​​were much more prevalent and powerful. Now they are increasingly being abandoned.

   Indeed, this writing discusses about the significance of giving up the Christian faith. What does it mean to attack against God and Jesus Christ and when the Christian faith is not accepted? We study the consequences of such a mindset and its rationality. Let's start with the worldview.

                                                            

WHICH MORAL SYSTEM REPLACES CHRISTIAN MORALITY? When many have rejected the Christian faith, it also means the rejection of Christian morality. They don’t think its morality is topical. They do not believe that the teachings of Jesus and the apostles are meant for all people in all eras. They consider these views outdated, thinking that they are no longer worth believing. According to them, the wise modern man can form his own moral conceptions. In this area, however, it is worth paying attention to the following points:

 

What is wrong with Christian morality? When starting to address this issue, it is good to understand that the Christian faith is or should be oriented in two directions: God and man.

   The first area includes areas such as prayer, Bible reading, and all matters related to a relationship with God. They make the biggest difference to people who consider themselves naturalists and atheists. Naturalists and atheists do not pray, usually do not read the Bible, and do not care about their relationship with God, but in the Christian faith they are important factors.

   What about another area? It has to do with relationships and how we should treat our neighbor. There are numerous instructions on this on the New Testament side. One of the most obvious of these is the double commandment of love that Jesus brought forth. According to him, the greatest commandment is to love God and his neighbor. Other verses continue on the same subject. They show that if the teachings of the Christian faith are followed in practice, it should also be directed at people, not just God. Beliefe should positively influence our behavior:

 

- (Matt 22:36-40) Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

37 Jesus said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.

38 This is the first and great commandment.

39 And the second is like to it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

 

- (Rom 13:8-10) Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loves another has fulfilled the law.

9 For this, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, You shall not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

10 Love works no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

 

- (1 John 3:17,18) But whoever has this world's good, and sees his brother have need, and shuts up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwells the love of God in him?

18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

 

- (1 Cor 13:1-13) Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profits me nothing.

4 Charity suffers long, and is kind; charity envies not; charity braggs not itself, is not puffed up,

5 Does not behave itself unseemly, seeks not her own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil;

6 Rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;

7 Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8 Charity never fails: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.

10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

13 And now stays faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

 

When some people, like atheists, want to replace the Christian faith, then what is wrong with the previous verses? What is it about them that they want to replace or what is the moral system they themselves believe in and want to join? Is it atheistic morality in China or is it morality in European communist countries? Does this atheistic morality increase the overall happiness and well-being of society? Does it make people better than previous verses? Many suggestions can be made, but hardly very many disagree on the usefulness of previous teachings. The only problem is that we are reluctant to follow them. Several deficiencies show our shortcomings:

 

- (Rom 3:23) For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God

 

- (1 John 1:8) If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

 

Who defines morality? Secondly, it is worth paying attention to moral perceptions that have a great deal in common. When a visitor on a radio program said he had little to do with Christian morality, that was hardly true. On the contrary, moral perceptions are very much the same in all cultures. There are very few differences. In general, the same things are considered reprehensible in all cultures. It includes murders, thefts, rape, child abuse and other similar things. C.S. Lewis, who has researched the subject, says:

 

And what of the second modern objection – that the ethical standards of different cultures differ so widely that there is no common tradition at all? The answer is that this is a lie – a good, solid, resounding lie. If a man will go into a library and spend a few days with the Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics he will soon discover the massive unanimity of the practical reason in man. From the Babylonian Hymn to Samos, from the Laws of Manu, the Book of the Dead, the Analects, the Stoics, the Platonists, from Australian aborigines and Redskins, he will collect the same triumphantly monotonous denunciations of oppression, murder, treachery and falsehood, the same injunctions of kindness to the aged, the young, and the weak, of almsgiving and impartiality and honesty. He may be a little surprised (I certainly was) to find that precepts of mercy are more frequent than precepts of justice; (...) It means that there is substantial similarity, even though there are considerable local differences of emphasis and, perhaps, no one moral code that includes everything. (1)

 

Today, however, there are a few things in which many disagree with Christian morality, that is, with the material that arises from the teachings of Jesus and the apostles and the principles of the Ten Commandments. These things are:

 

• Non-marital relationships (You shall not commit adultery)

• Practicing homosexuality. Many defend this issue in the name of equality and human rights and because they believe it is a congenital matter (although several homosexuals themselves deny it). They do not believe that it is a matter of sin and lust and of eternity.

 

• Abortion (You shall not kill!) Is the third thing on which one can disagree. Those advocating for this have been less likely to have seen photographs or videos of aborted fetuses. They show the hands, feet, eyes, mouth, and exactly the same body members as adults or newborns. Only the size is smaller.

 

Thus, when the Christian morality has been questioned in modern times, it is mainly concerned with the preceding things. Until a few decades ago, all of them were generally considered wrong, but now it has been begun to teach otherwise. This may have been done e.g. in the name of love, equality, and similar, good-sounding reasons. Developments in this direction have taken place all the time.

   Who then definitively defines morality? Two options can be presented, ie morality based solely on people's perspectives, or God defines morality:

 

• The first option is that the origin of morality is entirely of man. In this view, it is generally assumed that morality has evolved as a result of the process of evolution, and man has gradually become aware of what is right and sensible use. This option is supported by many, but there is a big problem. If morality is about man, who definitively defines morality? Are it done by people like Mother Teresa or Hitler, humanly good or evil? The scale of variation is too large if one assumes the source of morality is man. This view rests on an unstable background.

 

• Another option is that morality comes from God, that is, He definitively defines what is right and wrong.

 

Needless to say, the latter represents a Christian view. God, who created man, is once also condemning everyone. This is evident in several Bible verses. We are responsible for how we live this life. So consider this option! Perhaps it is the case that the revelation that came through Jesus and the apostles he ordained contains the revelation and truth of God to us. In that case, we should turn to God in time before it is too late.

 

- (Hebr 9:27) And as it is appointed to men once to die, but after this the judgment:

 

- (Rom 14:12) So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

 

What we get instead of it? Some people may criticize the Christian belief that it has no practical significance or benefit to society. They think that the Christian faith is only focused on things after this life, but in no way affects current society.

   However, this perception does not coincide with the facts. The opposite is true. If the Christian faith is genuine, it should also have a social impact. We look at this issue from the point of view of private people and rulers.

 

Private people. When criticizing the Christian belief that it has no practical effect on society, it is not true. For example, the principles of the Ten Commandments, which are in the double commandment of love, are one indication of this. If we love our neighbor and follow the principles of these commandments, they will have a positive effect. They can also be summed up in Jesus' words "Therefore all things whatever you would that men should do to you, do you even so to them: for this is the law and the Prophets." (Matthew 7:12)

 

- (Rom 13:8-10) Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loves another has fulfilled the law.

9 For this, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, You shall not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

10 Love works no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

 

1. I am the LORD your God (…) You shall have none other gods before me.

2. You shall not make you any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters beneath the earth: You shall not bow down yourself to them, nor serve them (…)

3. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain. (…)

4. Keep the sabbath day to sanctify it (…)

5. Honor your father and your mother (…)

6. You shall not kill.

7. Neither shall you commit adultery.

8. Neither shall you steal.

9. Neither shall you bear false witness against your neighbor.

10.  Neither shall you desire your neighbor's wife, neither shall you covet your neighbor's house, his field, or his manservant, or his maidservant, his ox, or his ass, or any thing that is your neighbor's. (Deut 5:6-21)

 

What, then, happens if the principles of the Ten Commandments are followed? The direct answer is that then there will be less crime, Anarchy and lawlessness, which is a nuisance for many societies. Thefts, Murders and rapes are reduced. On the other hand, if these Commandments are not obeyed, then there will be more Anarchy, lawlessness, and crime. (Crime becomes costly to society. For example, in the book Kallis rikollisuus, järkevät vastatoimet rikollisuudelle/ Matti Viren, Matti Wiberg/ is explained on page nine: "Crime costs Finland up to about FIM 10 billion a year in direct damage and in the salary and other costs of the authorities.") Developments can go in either direction.

   One indication of how the Christian faith affects society is in the following quote. The description is from the 19th century and shows how crime fell proportionately to one-ninth of what it had been before. This is especially the case if criminals and the marginalized turn to God. For example, here in Finland, the President set up a working group to look at how exclusion could be reduced, but did not consider this option. However, when people become touched by God, it can reduce both exclusion and crime. The reduction in both things also reduces the costs to society. (Eg Etelä-Suomen sanomat reports on 31.10.2010: Almost billion euros used in institutional care for children and youth, Problems with children experienced a strong rise since the early 1990s ... The institutional care of one child can cost up to EUR 100,000 per year ... / Similarly, Aamulehti reports on March 3, 2013: A marginalized young person pays 1.8 million. If even one is brought back into society, the result is a plus.)

 

I have told that the moral situation changed greatly through this revival. The city was new, economically prosperous and enterprising but full of sin. The population was especially intelligent and ambitious but as the revival swept through the city by bringing large crowds of its most remarkable people, men and women, to conversion, there happened a very miraculous change concerning the order, peacefulness and morality.

   I had a talk with a lawyer many years later. He had been converted in this revival and was a general prosecutor in criminal cases. Because of this office, the criminal statistics were thoroughly familiar to him. He said about the time of this revival, “I have examined documents of criminal law and noticed a surprising fact: while our city has grown three times larger after the times of the revival, there has not been even a third of the indictments than there were before. So miraculous an effect did the revival have on our society…(2)

 

Respect for authority is related to the same subject. When there are laws in society, one should strive to obey them. Crime, anarchy, lawlessness and rebellion lead to the chaos of society. However, this does not mean that commandments that destroy or harm people should be obeyed (Acts 4: 18,19). In Nazi Germany, for example, many argued that they just obeyed their superiors. They shifted the responsibility for what they did to others and ignored the fact that they would once be before the highest possible judge, God, after this life.

 

- (Ex 22:28) You shall not revile the gods, nor curse the ruler of your people.

 

- (Prov 24:21) My son, fear you the LORD and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change

 

- (Matt 26:52) Then said Jesus to him, Put up again your sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.

 

- (1 Tim 2:1,2) I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;

2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

 

- (1 Peter 2:13,14) Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme;

14 Or to governors, as to them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.

 

- (Rom 13:1-7) Let every soul be subject to the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

2 Whoever therefore resists the power, resists the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.

3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Will you then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and you shall have praise of the same:

4 For he is the minister of God to you for good. But if you do that which is evil, be afraid; for he bears not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath on him that does evil.

5 Why you must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.

6 For for this cause pay you tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually on this very thing.

7 Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.

 

Leaders. It was stated above how the Christian faith - if it is genuine - should reduce crime, anarchy and lawlessness from society. This is especially the case if criminals and other wrongdoers become touched by God. They get rid of exclusion and harmful lifestyles.

   However, not all problems arise from the lower strata of society, but can also come from the leaders and administrators of societies. In fact, a society in which the leaders acts wrong is much worse for its citizens because they have power in their hands. There have been many such societies throughout history. Nazi Germany, for example, with the Gestapo police terror was one. The communist regime in the Soviet Union, especially during Stalin, was a similar example. In addition, in the so-called third countries there have been numerous examples how the leaders have made themselves guilty of corruption, greed and injustice. In general, societies in which the influence of the Christian faith has been diluted or has not existed at all are such.

   So leaders matter. If they are prone to greed, corruption and injustice, it can lead to the misery of society. Rich states can sink into poverty in a few generations, or unjust and greedy rulers can keep the state in misery, even if there is good chance for success. Loren Cunningham, who has visited every country in the world, gives a dramatic example:

 

There are many nations in the world that are in poverty because of the evil trinity: greed, corruption, and injustice.

   I visited Congo a few years ago, which at the time was still called Zaire. The country was ruled and plundered by dictator Mobutu, who had seized enormous wealth through corruption. Mobutu had so much money in a Swiss bank that he would have been able to personally pay off the debts of all African countries and would still have been the richest man on the continent ever since. During my visit, Congolese banks collapsed, and when I tried to withdraw money, the bank clerk was unable to help because the money was simply out of stock. Huge amounts of gold, silver, diamonds, copper, oil and other valuable natural resources are found in Congolese soil. Yet the country is one of the poorest in the world. The history of Congo is tragic. The land was plundered by colonial powers for years, after which it has been plundered by greedy dictators and warlords.

   Corruption has begun to spread to Western countries. We have seen examples of this in Western governments, the United Nations and the business world. Many employees of multinational companies have to face corruption in the so-called new markets, in cultures, where bribery and lubrication are common. They are justified in saying that it is just a “price of business”. (3)

 

As stated, the Christian faith is or should be related to this subject as well. In practice, it means that people who practice greed, corruption and injustice should repent. Unless they give up their selfishness, they will pay God for it after this life.

    Numerous Bible verses are related to the subject. That is what the proclamation of the prophets on the Old Testament side aimed at, but also the New Testament repeatedly speaks of greed and wrong attitudes. If these verses are taken seriously, it should reduce greed, corruption and injustice.

 

- (Isaiah 1:15-17,21-26) And when you spread forth your hands, I will hide my eyes from you: yes, when you make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.

16 Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil;

17 Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.

21 How is the faithful city become an harlot! it was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers.

22 Your silver is become dross, your wine mixed with water:

23 Your princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves: every one loves gifts, and follows after rewards: they judge not the fatherless, neither does the cause of the widow come to them.

24 Therefore said the LORD, the LORD of hosts, the mighty One of Israel, Ah, I will ease me of my adversaries, and avenge me of my enemies:

25 And I will turn my hand on you, and purely purge away your dross, and take away all your tin:

26 And I will restore your judges as at the first, and your counsellors as at the beginning: afterward you shall be called, The city of righteousness, the faithful city.

 

- (Isaiah 5:20-23) Woe to them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

21 Woe to them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!

22 Woe to them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink:

23 Which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him!

 

- (Isaiah 58:6-10) Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke?

7 Is it not to deal your bread to the hungry, and that you bring the poor that are cast out to your house? when you see the naked, that you cover him; and that you hide not yourself from your own flesh?

8 Then shall your light break forth as the morning, and your health shall spring forth speedily: and your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.

9 Then shall you call, and the LORD shall answer; you shall cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If you take away from the middle of you the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity;

10 And if you draw out your soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall your light rise in obscurity, and your darkness be as the noon day:

 

- (Zec 7:8-10) And the word of the LORD came to Zechariah, saying,

9 Thus speaks the LORD of hosts, saying, Execute true judgment, and show mercy and compassions every man to his brother:

10 And oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart.

 

- (Luke 3:12-14) Then came also publicans to be baptized, and said to him, Master, what shall we do?

13 And he said to them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you.

14 And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said to them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.

      

- (Luke 12:15) And he said to them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consists not in the abundance of the things which he possesses.

 

- (1 Tim 6:17-19) Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy;

18 That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;

19 Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.

 

- (James 5:1-4) Go to now, you rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come on you.

2 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten.

3 Your gold and silver is corroded; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. You have heaped treasure together for the last days.

4 Behold, the hire of the laborers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, cries: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth.

 

A good example of a change of mind is Zacchaeus, who was the head of the publicans and who had acquired part of his wealth by injustice. When he encountered Jesus, he was motivated to change the direction of his life. When there is injustice and greed in many countries, many officials are like Zacchaeus. They too can change and receive grace as they turn to God:

 

- (Luke 19:1-10) And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho.

2 And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich.

3 And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature.

4 And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way.

5 And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said to him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at your house.

6 And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully.

7 And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner.

8 And Zacchaeus stood, and said to the Lord: Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.

9 And Jesus said to him, This day is salvation come to this house, as much as he also is a son of Abraham.

10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

 

FINANCIAL AFFAIRS. As stated, many want to abandon the Christian faith. They think it has no practical significance for people’s lives and society. They see it as an outdated and false notion not to be believed. Modern man seeks the building blocks of his life from other worldviews and views.

   However, the Christian faith, if genuine, is relevant in several areas, including economic affairs. If the principles of the Ten Commandments are followed, it will affect the economic sector and other areas. Here are a few examples.

 

False beliefs have an impact on the economy. Countries that have experienced idolatry and witchcraft for centuries have lagged behind in their development. False beliefs have kept nations in poverty. Such have been e.g. India and numerous African countries, including Europe before the gospel spread here.

   A small example shows how wrong beliefs can hinder development in society. It is a question of Hinduism and the associated idolatry, that is, of keeping rats as more valuable than people. It does matter what we think about our origin, the status of man and nature. The wrong order of values ​​can hinder development and keep people in poverty:

 

A few years ago, I spoke to the CEO of a successful American company. He had just returned from India. The leader wanted to do something to help the Indian people, but he said, “I couldn’t figure out how we could ever help them.” Why was he so desperate? The reason was a worldview based on Hinduism.

   When I first visited Calcutta, I was amazed to hear that people don’t kill rats. Pest control patrols captured the rats alive and then released them a few miles away. In their worldview, these pests are on an equal with humans, even though rats spread disease and increase human suffering by destroying the crop that would be needed to feed humans.

   In fact, some Hindus seem to consider rats more important than humans. The Karni Mata Temple in Deshnok is dedicated to rat worship. People drop bowls full of sugar and coconut on the floors of the temple. The delicacies are distributed to rats instead of hungry people. Are there many more blatant examples of wrong order of importance in the world?

   Hindus also consider the cow a sacred animal and call it “mother”. A friend of mine from India said that in his city, a driving school exam asks the following question: “If you had to choose whether you would run into a cow or a human, which one would you choose?” Those who respond that they prefer to run into a cow will not receive a driver’s license from that city. (4)

  

What is Bible counsel in this area? The first two commandments out of ten relate to the subject. According to them, we should not keep other gods alongside the one true God. Second, we should not make idols. When these are followed, many false beliefs are avoided:

 

- (Ex 20:3,4) You shall have no other gods before me.

4 You shall not make to you any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

 

Getting out of poverty. With regard to measurements of well-being and happiness, it has been noted that those societies with a Christian background and a history based on Christianity have fared well. They have repeatedly been at the forefront when it is compared happiness and well-being. Switzerland, the Nordic countries, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, among others, have been such countries. These are also the states that people most like to move to.

   However, the situation is changing. Western societies have drifted further and further away from the Christian faith and values. They have increasingly rejected the value base that arises from the teachings of Jesus and the apostles. It has been replaced by the theory of evolution and the religion of humanism, where man is the measure of everything. The idea of ​​God has been set aside.

   Instead, those countries where the influence of the Christian faith used to be the smallest have experienced spiritual revivals. Tens or even hundreds of millions have come into contact with God in these countries. It includes numerous countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. A small newspaper article sheds light on the subject:

 

The center of Christianity has moved to the south

 

There is a widespread conception in Europe about Christianity as a religion that is gradually wasting away. However, worldwide statistics tell us quite the opposite: Christianity seems to be growing powerfully outside the Western countries.

  The current stage of Christianity can be compared to such turning points in church history as the spreading of Christianity to the Hellenistic world, ‘Christianizing of Europe’ or to the beginning of new era of missionary work in the 1500s and 1600s. Also, in our times the geographical center of Christianity is moving to new areas, this time to Africa, Asia and Latin America. (…)

  The next figures illustrate the situation: on average about 23,000 members join African Christian churches every day. Nowadays, there are about 383 million Christians in Africa, the same amount of people as the population of the EU... (Helsingin sanomat 21.2.2004 / Risto A. Ahonen)

 

While there have been spiritual revivals in many countries, which were former repellant to the Christian faith, it has also had a positive impact on the economy. Countries that have been in poverty and saturated with corruption have begun to recover economically. Wealth and economic well-being have increased. Such countries in Asia include South Korea, China (according to some estimates, 70-80 million people in China have become Christians in the last 20-30 years) and India, but other countries have also begun to break out of poverty where they have been for centuries.

 

There is a clear link between a high standard of living and revival. Those parts of the world where there have been widespread revivals - North America, Western Europe and Australia - have long been the most prosperous. The nations whose economic growth is now fastest in Latin America and Southeast Asia - Brazil, Chile, South Korea, etc. - are all characterized by strong revivals.
World-renowned sociologist Max Weber coined the term “Protestant work ethic” in an attempt to explain the rapid economic growth that took place in North America and Western Europe in the early 20th century. This ethic emphasized discipline and restraint, hard work, honesty, saving rather than consumption and foresighted planning. Religion also gave people hope that they could change their situation for the better, that human destiny was not predetermined but that their own contribution mattered.
In an extensive study published by Professor Peter Berger of Boston University in 1994, Berger explained the rapid economic growth of Central and South America by the phenomenal Pentecostal revival that is advancing in this part of the world… (5)

 

A quote from a newspaper article continues on the same topic. It shows how sub-Saharan Africa in particular is experiencing economic growth: in the 21st century, Africa has been the fastest growing economic area in the world. Societies saturated with witchcraft, idolatry and corruption have begun to recover economically. An important reason has certainly been the strong spread of the gospel as tens of millions in Africa have turned to God through Jesus Christ. In contrast, in North Africa, where the Islamic religion prevails and where the gospel has not been able to spread to the same extent, growth has been slower:

 

Light visible in Africa

Developing countries: sub-Saharan growth. Environmental technology is also needed.

 

Bad news from Africa: wars are raging, HIV is spreading, population growth is beating economic growth and development aid is flowing into the sand.

   Good news for Africa: the growth rate of many countries is among the highest in the world. Finland's exports to the continent have doubled in ten years.

   Both perspectives are true. There are many countries in Africa and many different speed of development.

   - Africa is the new Asia. After the Asian tiger, it is the turn of the African lion, at least officially Foreign Trade Minister Alexander Stubb believes. He expressed his views in November on an export promotion trip organized by the Ministry in South Africa.

   - In sub-Saharan Africa, economic growth is over 5% per year. The economies of these countries are not linked to the economic crisis in the Western world.

   Until recently, the letter combination BRIC meant sources of growth: Brasil, Russia, India, China.

   - These are partly yesterday's story… (Etelä-Suomen Sanomat, 22 January 2013)

 

Another newspaper article tells of a similar development. Crisis situations in Africa have decreased significantly over the last twenty years and there have been positive developments for a long time. The article does not know how to combine this with the simultaneous spiritual awakening and the powerful spread of the gospel:

 

What went better in the world this year?

Experts: Flickers of light in Africa and international trade

 

Tommi Koivula, a specialist researcher at the National Defense University, raises the stabilization of sub-Saharan Africa as the most positive development of the year.

    - 2013 has seen gratifying developments in strengthening African security structures. The African Union has been more active than ever in its security efforts, so the UN, the EU and the United States, for example, have been able to reduce their interventions.

    According to Koivula, developments in crisis management are particularly visible in Somalia and Mali.

    - African self-confidence and ability to act have taken a big leap forward.

    Koivula points out that the crisis situation in sub-Saharan Africa has alleviated significantly over the last twenty years and that positive developments have been going on for a long time.

    - It is well known that security promotes development, well-being and economic growth… (Etelä-Suomen Sanomat, 30 December 2013)

 

As for Africa, Matthew Parris, a well-known British politician, author and journalist, has written on the same subject in The Times entitled “As an Atheist, I really believe Africa needs God”, and under the subheading “Missionaries, not financial assistance, are the solution to Africa’s biggest problem - people's crushing passive way of thinking."

    Parris had come to this conclusion after living as a child in various African countries and after doing an extensive journey across the continent. He himself is an atheist, but noted that missionary work has positive effects. Mere social work or the sharing of technical knowledge is unlikely to succeed, but it will leave the continent at the mercy of a malevolent combination of Nike, a witch doctor, a cell phone, and a jungle knife. He noted:

 

It inspired me to renew my died down faith in charity for developing countries. Walking around in Malawi also reinforced another opinion, that kind of opinion that I have tried to get rid of my whole life, but it is an observation that I have not been able to avoid since my time growing up in Africa. It confuses my ideological opinions, tenaciously denies agreeing with my world view and has led my growing faith in God’s nonexistence into confusion.

Now as a stained atheist I am convinced of the immense impact that the spreading of Christian gospel achieves in Africa – completely standing out from secular national organizations, government projects and national aid. These alone are not enough. Education and teaching on their own is not enough. Christianity changes people’s hearts in Africa. It brings a spiritual change. Rebirth is real. Change is good.

…I would say that it’s a shame that salvation is part of the package, but white Christians as well as black Christians working in Africa take care of the sick ones, teach people how to read and write; and only the strongest of the secular kind people could look at a missionary hospital or a school and say that the world would be better without it… Removing the spreading of Christian gospel from the Africa-equation would leave the continent at the mercy of a malevolent combination of Nike, a witch doctor, a cell phone and a jungle knife. (6)

 

A couple of other quotes show how the Christian faith has affected nursing and other areas through missionary work. Most hospitals in Africa and India have been born through Christian missionary work and from desire to help. Many of Europe's first hospitals also originated under the influence of the Christian faith. God can heal man directly, but many have been helped through medicine and hospitals. In it, the Christian faith has played an important part.

 

Even though the Christian church has been criticized a lot throughout its history, it has still been the forerunner in medical care for the poor, helping captives, homeless or the dying ones and improving working environments. In India the best hospitals and educational institutions connected to it are the result of Christian missionary work, even to that extent that many Hindus use these hospitals more than the hospitals maintained by the government, because they know that they are going to receive better care over there. It is estimated that when the Second World War began, 90% of nurses in India were Christians, and that 80% of them received their education from missionary hospitals. (7)

 

In church the affairs of this life were as much taken care of as were the affairs of the future life; it seemed that everything that the Africans accomplished, originated from the missionary work of the church. (Nelson Mandela omaelämäkerrassaan Pitkä tie vapauteen [Nelson Mandela in his autobiography Long Walk to Freedom])

 

  

References:

 

1. C.S. Lewis: Entisen ateistin kristillisiä esseitä (Christian Reflections), p. 100, 101

2. Charles G. Finney: Ihmeellisiä herätyksiä, p. 245, 246

3. Loren Cunningham / Janice Rogers: Kirja joka muuttaa kansat (The Book that Transforms Nations), p. 136,137

4. Loren Cunningham / Janice Rogers: Kirja joka muuttaa kansat (The Book that Transforms Nations), p. 127

5. Jan Gunnar Eurell & Per-Olof Eurell: Raamatun talous (Kan man tjäna pengar och tjäna Gud?), p. 264

6. Parris, M., As an atheist, I truly believe Africa needs God, The Times Online, www.timesonline.co.uk, 27 December 2008

7. Lennart Saari: Haavoittunut planeetta, p. 104

 

 

More on this topic:

Read how the Bible and the Christian faith have affected literacy, health care, and other positive ways. Many are blind to this fact

Read how the Christian faith has improved human rights and conditions of people 

 

Impact of the Bible on economy. Wrong lifestyles increase society's unnecessary costs by millions of euros, but adherence to biblical principles reduces them 

 

The worldview and goals of modern value liberals are very similar to those of the early communists and Nazis

 

Read how  people defend injustice, one's own selfish lifestyle and increase children's suffering in the name of equality and human rights

 

Does politics lead to well-being or disorder? The lessons of history are worth noting that the same mistakes are not repeated

 

Learn how abandoning the Christian faith leads to a loss of dignity. It is a return to time before the birth of the Christian faith
 

Many reject the Christian faith in society, but other options are worse in both moral and economic terms

The Ten Commandments under analysis. The Ten Commandments are a good foundation for conduct. By following them, crime and most of the problems will remove from society

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jesus is the way, the truth and the life

 

 

  

 

Grap to eternal life!

 

More on this topic:

Read how the Bible and the Christian faith have affected literacy, health care, and other positive ways. Many are blind to this fact

Read how the Christian faith has improved human rights and conditions of people 

 

Impact of the Bible on economy. Wrong lifestyles increase society's unnecessary costs by millions of euros, but adherence to biblical principles reduces them 

 

The worldview and goals of modern value liberals are very similar to those of the early communists and Nazis

 

Read how  people defend injustice, one's own selfish lifestyle and increase children's suffering in the name of equality and human rights

 

Does politics lead to well-being or disorder? The lessons of history are worth noting that the same mistakes are not repeated

 

Learn how abandoning the Christian faith leads to a loss of dignity. It is a return to time before the birth of the Christian faith
 

Many reject the Christian faith in society, but other options are worse in both moral and economic terms

The Ten Commandments under analysis. The Ten Commandments are a good foundation for conduct. By following them, crime and most of the problems will remove from society