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Painting by Salvador Dali

The following is a piece by my father-in-law, Dennis Patrick.  Dennis writes a weekly column called “The Passing Scene,” which appears in the Mountrail County Promoter.  “Celebrating One Solitary Life” appeared in the March 27 edition of The Promoter.

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 Eastertide is as good a time as any to reflect on the many positive contributions flowing from Christianity over the centuries. Christians face mounting criticism from secular progressives, put-down artists, nay-sayers, other religions and even illiterate Christians. Despite this climate I found an encouraging piece by Dr. D. James Kennedy written several years ago titled “What If Jesus Had Never Been Born?” From his premise our world would be very different indeed. I found it refreshing to think again about the blessings bestowed upon the cultures of this world by Christianity. What follows are a few of those blessings.

–Established a multitude of hospitals throughout the world from the Middle Ages onward.
–Founded many universities and centers of learning also dating from the Middle Ages.
–Fostered literacy and education across cultures.
–Developed the economic basis of free-enterprise.
–Gave the world the foundation of representative government.
–Delineated the idea of separation of powers within governments.
–Provided the genesis of civil liberties.
–Initiated the centuries-long struggle against slavery beginning in the Roman era. (Slavery was practiced in all cultures long, long before the American experience.)
–Laid the foundation of modern science.
–Elevated women to a status of equality.
–Elevated the common man to a status of equality.
–Established many continuing charities and benevolent organizations.
–Laid the groundwork for higher standards of justice.
–Provided the context and perspective of deviant sexuality including adultery, pornography and homosexuality.
–Uniquely valued human life, especially with regard to the elderly, infirm and unborn.
–Codified and wrote many of the world’s languages.
–Brought a civilizing effect to many primitive cultures.
–Inspired some of the world’s greatest works of art, music and literature.
–Transformed untold numbers of people into valued members of their respective cultures.

This rich endowment stems from the spread and impact of the Gospel of Salvation of Jesus Christ. Those who believed in, lived by and sacrificed for that Gospel advanced this fundamental goal of Christianity. Today, whether from naiveté or historical ignorance, modern culture in general, and western culture in particular, is sadly separated from knowledge of its own roots.  Far from the charge of ethnocentricity as leveled by some, these contributions to the world have spanned the globe with a positive ethnic-neutral impact on every culture touched for almost two millennia.

A piece titled “One Solitary Life” written in 1926 by Dr. James Allan Francis succinctly states the impact of Jesus Christ and those who, for hundreds of years, proclaimed His Good News.

He was born in an obscure village….He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family or owned a home. He didn’t go to college. He never visited a big city. He never traveled two hundred miles from the place where He was born. He did none of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but Himself….Nineteen centuries (sic) have come and gone, and today He is the central figure of the human race.
All the armies that ever marched, all the navies that ever sailed, all the parliaments that ever sat, all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man on this earth as much as that one solitary life.

What if Jesus Christ had not been born, crucified, died and resurrected? You bet ours would be a far, far different world.
Amen and amen.

Dennis M. Patrick can be contacted at P. O. Box 337, Stanley, ND 58784 or bnt@midstatetel.com

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