Making A Difference

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In early 2014 Christianity Today published a cover story on a sociologist named Robert Woodberry, who had wondered why some countries take to democracy so well while their next-door neighbors wallow in corruption and bad government. Painstaking research led him to conclude that missionaries made the difference. They taught people to read, built hospitals, and gave a biblical foundation for basic human rights. He concluded,

“Areas where Protestant missionaries had a significant presence in the past are on the average more economically developed today, with comparatively better health, lower infant mortality, lower corruption, greater literacy, higher educational attainment (especially for women), and more robust membership in nongovernmental associations.”

– Philip Yancey,
Vanishing Grace

Where is the Nietzsche Hospital?

Brian ZahndAfter all it was the followers of Jesus who pioneered such radical innovations as hospitals, orphanages, leprosariums, almhouses, relief for the poor, and public education. The idea that the world somehow or other would have arrived at an ethical worldview that could produce such charitable practices and institutions without Christ is an idea wholly lacking in any evidence. As I point out to secular critics, I know of many St. Jude and St. James hospitals, orphanages, relief agencies, and the like, but I’m still looking for the Nietzsche hospital or the Voltaire children’s home.

–Brian Zahnd,
Farewell to Mars