Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Why Protestant Christianity Is The Most Viable Pattern For Civilization

The track record is indisputable: Our modern ideas of human rights for all men and women regardless of wealth, status, sex, religion or skin color originate in Protestant Christianity. Only in Christian countries that allow Protestants have these ideas worked; and they've worked brilliantly. The Charter of the United Nations, signed by every nation in the world, ratifies these ideas. Our Founders were all sympathetic to Protestantism even if they wavered in their belief in a pro-active God.

Why do these ideas work so well? Protestants genuinely believe in the intrinsic worth of the individual, free markets, economic freedom, equality of the sexes, eliminating racism, and technological advancement. The idea that slavery should be outlawed originated with Protestants in England and America. Great Britain acted in 1806 to do it, far ahead of any other country in the world.

Too many Catholics, Buddhists, Hindus, and Muslims believe in submission to authority - particularly priests - and rigid dogma. Islam means 'submission'. They are steeped in the past - for the most part - seeking a lost Golden Age; and they are fatalistic; resistant to change, and suspicious of science.
But the one critical factor that distinguishes authentic Christians from all other peoples is their belief and commitment to forgiveness, particularly forgiveness of one's enemies. Probably the most perfect and successful example of this philosophy is Abe Lincoln.
Everyone agrees he was "slow to anger" and had a spine of steel. He knew that we don't really know who our enemies are much of the time. As Ben Franklin said,"Our enemies are our friends, for they show us our faults." The person who chides and insults you may be right. People who criticize us often do it out of love.
Lincoln always weighed his critics' words, and refused to respond in haste, vengefully, without great deliberation. General McClellan publicly humiliated Lincoln in front of his cabinet numerous times, but was allowed to get away with it - until the president had considered thoroughly. Then he sacked McClellan, exercising his spine of steel. McClellan then ran against Lincoln in 1864, and would have won if it weren't for a string of victories by Grant and Sherman.
Conversely, as a Congressman from Illinois, Lincoln once verbally eviscerated an opponent on the House floor and brought the man to tears.Later that night Lincoln felt so terrible about his cruelty that he vowed to make a public apology to the man the next day, and did. He asked for forgiveness.
When a nation largely conducts itself in this way, as America used to, it prospers mightily; accepting criticism, seeking harmony and cooperation, staying out of wars, and generating wealth in individuals who give of themselves. America is still the most generous nation on earth, in spite of its troubles.
If our civilization collapses, it will be because we have turned away from authentic Christian principles and embraced anti-theism, atheism, fanaticism, and suicidal 'diversity'. The worst-off nations in the world have turned away from God in just this way.