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How Christianity changed the world — and how its decline impacts America

Len Munsil, AZ I see it, AZ Republic, March 26, 2016

Viewpoints: What replaces love, faith and self-control if Christianity continues its decline in America?

he great Christian thinker and writer C.S. Lewis, author of "Mere Christianity" and "The Chronicles of Narnia," also wrote an engaging little book called "The Abolition of Man: How Education Develops Man’s Sense of Morality."

I serve as president of a Christian university in an increasingly post-Christian culture. So I recognize Lewis’ prophetic wisdom as I consider what happens when generations of young people are educated in a way that rejects the objective truth claims of Christianity — the very truths that were foundational to the formation of our civilization.

Today we are living in a reality TV world where popular culture and politics seem to be dominated by cruel, hateful, confrontational, coarse, narcissistic, greedy, selfish and vulgar messages, leading to a stressed out, cynical, depressed and discouraged citizenry.

An antidote to our stressed out, greedy world

By contrast, Christian believers who grow in their faith pursue characteristics and virtues that bring great benefit to society such as “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23).

A recent Pew Research study shows Christians are still a majority in America, but 

their numbers are declining, particularly among younger Americans. Meanwhile, some seek to further marginalize the influence of Christians.

Whatever the cause, further reduction in the influence of Christianity will be tragic. We may be justifiably angry at the selfishness of our leaders. But just wait until followers of Jesus — who know they are accountable to a higher power than government and are here on earth to serve others — are no longer in positions of influence.

As Lewis wrote in "The Abolition of Man" “...such is the tragi-comedy of our situation — we continue to clamor for those very qualities we are rendering impossible ... In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst.”

Changing the course of history

Today, Christians throughout the world celebrate Easter. On this day we remember the physical, bodily resurrection of an actual, historical person: Jesus of Nazareth, a carpenter and rabbi who was killed by crucifixion and buried in a tomb guarded by Roman soldiers.

Three days after his death, God miraculously raised Jesus from the dead. Over the next 40 days, the resurrected Jesus appeared to multiple groups of people, including a crowd of 500.

Whether you believe the historical record or not, these eyewitnesses, along with those who saw and wrote about the many miracles Jesus performed before the crucifixion, quite literally changed the course of human history. They were so certain of what they had seen they refused to renounce it even to spare themselves death by crucifixion.

Christianity was so unique and so powerful it became an unstoppable force despite the might of the Roman Empire.

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How Christianity changed the world — and how its decline impacts America
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