Christians often take Western Civilisation — and the benefits that come with it — for granted. We often overlook the fact that the Western project is incredibly unique in world history. Consequently, it should be honoured and protected by those who enjoy it.
“the many freedoms, advantages, opportunities, values and liberties which characterise the West owe much to the growth of Christianity with its inherent belief in the dignity of the human person as created in the image of God and the code of behaviour that flows from that belief.”
Only a generation ago the vast majority of Australians indicated in the national census that they were Christians.There was a general consensus that Australia was a ‘Christian’ nation.
When you filled out a form you were asked for your Christian name! While many were not practising Christians there was an underlying Christian worldview that held society together and caused it to flourish.
What has happened since then?
The Decay of Western Civilisation
In post-modern Australia, as with all of the Western world, much has changed. In recent decades secular humanism has replaced God with man.
Moral relativism has rejected the existence of absolute truth. And so we have seen things in our present generation that were once unthinkable. Examples include the abortion of babies on demand, the redefinition of marriage and the curtailment of some of our basic freedoms.Many believe we are seeing the decay of Western civilisation.
The United States, for example, began as a nation rooted in Biblical principles. However, as society became more pluralistic — with each new wave of immigrants — proponents of a new philosophy of secular humanism gradually came to dominate debates on policy issues.
Humanists put human progress, rather than God, at the centre of their consideration.They have pushed American culture in all manner of ungodly directions.
The West’s Greatest Discovery
What was it that caused Western civilisation to flourish the way that it did?
“The belief in the unique dignity of human beingswas the force that created Western civilisation”.
Even secular professors teach that the secret of the success of Western civilisation was the ‘discovery’ of human dignity.Nevertheless, they taught that it was the Renaissance writers of 500 years ago who discovered this concept in the Roman and Greek classics.
Mangalwadi refutes this stating bluntly:
“this is a myth. Although classical writers held many noble ideas, the inherent value and dignity of each human being was not among them.This unique idea came from the Bible.”
The inherent dignity of the human person as created in the image of God was not a new discovery. Instead, it was a re-discovery of truths found in the Bible and early Christian writers such as Saint Augustine of the third century AD.
The Ultimate Proof of Human Dignity
The dignity of humans flows out of the doctrine of their being created in the image of God known as Imago Dei. We read in Genesis 1:27
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female he created them.”
Nonetheless, the Reformation theologians such as John Calvin, Martin Luther and Jonathan Edwards did not derive their view of humanity from only one verse in the Bible. They found human dignity affirmed most supremely in the Bible’s teaching on the incarnation of Christ.
The Bible teaches that God loved human beings enough to come to this earth as a human to save them.So He sent Jesus Christ – the perfect “image of the invisible God”(Colossians 1:15) to rescue humanity from sin.
The image of God in humans was damaged by sin through the Fall. By giving His life Jesus opened the way for the image of God to be fully restored in those who come to Him in faith. This is the ultimate proof of the dignity of human beings.
The fatalistic worldviews of Hindu, Buddhist, Islamic and other civilisations failed to appreciate the value and dignity of human beings.This is why these civilisations did not flourish in the same way and fell behind in certain areas such as education and medical care.
Yes, there are many in our society today who do not point to the Bible or to theological creeds to justify that humans can create a different and better future for themselves.To them, it is ‘commons sense’.
Luc Ferry, French atheist and former Minister for Education in France described how Christianity burst into the ancient world and turned the ancient world’s view of civilisation on its head. He wrote
“Christianity was to introduce the notion … that men were equal in dignity – an unprecedented idea at the time, and one to which our world owes its entire democratic inheritance.”
In other words, the idea of all human beings being equal may seem self-evident to us (who live in a society heavily impacted by Christianity). But in a pre-Christian world, this seemed like utter nonsense.Ferry explained:
“We see today how civilisations that have not experienced Christianity have great difficulties in fostering democratic regimes, because the notion of equality is not so deep rooted.”
“we must understand that the question of the dignity of human life is not something on the periphery of Judeo-Christian thinking, but almost in the center of it (though not the center because the center is the existence of God Himself). But the dignity of human life is unbreakably linked to the existence of a personal God.”
People, in general, are not fully aware that it is the Judeo-Christian belief of what people were created to be and saved to become, that became the ‘common sense’ view of the West.
Sovereign God, You are the Creator and Sustainer of the universe. Majestic is Your holy Name. Long ago You spoke through Your servant David:
“Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain?The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against His Anointed One” (Psalm 2:1,2).
Indeed, the nations of the earth that once gave You pre-eminence and knew Your hand of blessing have rejected You and Jesus Christ — the One You sent to show us the way to heaven.
Just as the tower of Babel was a monument to humanity rather than to You, secular humanism seeks to create a civilisation that usurps Your glory and give it all to humans.
We come against this stronghold that denies that people were specially created in Your image to have fellowship with You and to bring glory to You. We look to You that our nation may flourish under Your hand once again. Help us to communicate the truth of the dignity of humans in love and with great boldness.
We need your help. The continued existence of the Daily Declaration depends on the generosity of readers like you. Donate now. The Daily Declaration is committed to keeping our site free of advertising so we can stay independent and continue to stand for the truth.
Fake news and big-tech censorship make the work of the Canberra Declaration and our Christian news site the Daily Declaration more important than ever. Take a stand for family, faith, freedom, life, and truth. Support us as we shine a light in the darkness. Donate today.
It’s almost a given today that masculinity is viewed as being a negative and even harmful thing. The most common adjective which is used to describe someone who is overly masculine is that it is ‘toxic’. Due to the impact of the fall, sin has [...]
Bad news in Victoria -- yet, though earthly governments may fail, we look to our eternal hope in the Lord. Saturday night was not a good one for Christians, for conservatives, and for those who value freedom, family and other key values. The short story [...]
Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek announced that Australia is a land of droughts and flooding rains. Referring to the government’s “State of the Climate” report, she said: “Dry periods will get longer, and bushfire season will get hotter. At the same time, the rain periods will [...]
International Men’s Day 2022 was marked by people all over the world on 19 November, demonstrating their support for men and boys everywhere. “I'd like to say a massive thank you and give my support to all the men who do their best each and [...]
Bestselling Christian novelist Stephen Lawhead's Roman retelling of King Arthur is being prepped for the big screen. Daily Wire CEO Jeremy Boreing announced a multi-film adaption of the six-book series, The Pendragon Cycle, during what is the conservative media company’s equivalent of a state of [...]
To understand the diabolical nature of the Davos deities, read this book. This is not the first book to appear in recent times critiquing the Great Reset, Klaus Schwab, the World Economic Forum, and related matters. Some of these volumes I have already reviewed. But [...]
With the ongoing censorship of health professionals, how can we truly trust their medical advice? I was recently accused of lying. This was a little hard to swallow, as it was over a directly referenced quote. At the same time, I found the accusation understandable. [...]