The fight against slavery

piqKgqo7TWe have little information on who invented the fore-and-aft rig to sail against the wind. Some historians think the technique may have originated as early as the second century after Christ. What we do know, however, is that this invention eliminated the galley and slave labor. We also know that the Bible was the intellectual and moral force that made slavery abhorrent… [T]he Bible played the most important role in promoting technology that liberated slaves. We also know that, back then, secularism did not exist. And neither pagan philosophers or temples promoted or celebrated technology that emancipated slaves. The Bible, in contrast, began to be written because God heard the cries of Hebrew slaves. Rodney Stark explains that most of the ancient philosophers supported slavery because they had “no concept of sin to put teeth in their judgments and no revelation from which to begin” critiquing slavery, Stark continues:

dreamstime_m_32349546-1“Although it has been fashionable to deny it, anti-slavery doctrines began to appear in Christian theology soon after the decline of Rome and were accompanied by the eventual disappearance of slavery in all but the fringes of Christian Europe.”

. . . A culture will not invest in wheelbarrows or pumps if its decision makes feel that there is a surplus of time and woman-or manpower. Only a society with a theological climate that values human dignity begins using technology as a force for human emancipation and empowerment.

–Vishal Mangalwadi,
The Book that Made Your World:
How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization

One Civilization Rejected Slavery

Slavery-TodayIn fact, all known societies above the very primitive level have been slave societies—even many of the Northwest American Indian tribes had slaves long before Columbus’s voyage. Amid this universal slavery, only one civilization ever rejected human bondage: Christendom. And it did it twice!

― Rodney Stark,
The Triumph of Christianity: How the Jesus Movement Became the World’s Largest Religion

Why the West is so powerful

Rodney_StarkConsider this recent statement by one of China’s leading scholars:

“One of the things we were asked to look into was what accounted for the success, in fact, the pre-eminence of the West all over the world. We studied everything we could from the historical, political, economic, and cultural perspective. At first, we thought it was because you had more powerful guns than we had. Then we thought it was because you had the best political system. Next we focused on your economic system. But in the past twenty years, we have realized that the heart of your culture is your religion: Christianity. That is why the West is so powerful. The Christian moral foundation of social and cultural life was what made possible the emergence of capitalism and then the successful transition to democratic politics. We don’t have any doubt about this”.

Neither do I.

–Rodney Stark,
The Victory of Reason