Has Christianity Been of Value to Western Civilization?

By John "Birdman" Bryant


An important question about Christianity is whether it has been a useful influence in support of Western civilization. On the positive side, I believe that Christianity represented an important philosophical advance of a sort, which I have explained in my book, The Most Powerful Idea Ever Discovered, tho I am uncertain what the importance of this is to Western civilization. Again, I will acknowledge that Christianity has inspired great music and art, tho I would have to wonder whether the artists' inspirations might not have found other sources had Christianity not been around. Christianity has also inspired a lot of missionaries, and while this may have been good for the missionaries' personal fulfillment, we have to wonder whether it is really so wonderful to have missionaries trying to upend other cultures, particularly on the basis of crazy theology. Beyond this, Christianity was evidently not necessary for 'The glory that was Greece and the grandeur that was Rome', since Christianity didn't exist till long after these civilizations were established, and became the official religion of Rome only as the Empire was collapsing. Furthermore, Christianity inspired a lot of very bad stuff, eg, witch trials, wars, the Inquisition, destruction of other cultures, and opposition to science and rationality and the great men of Western civilization like Galileo and Darwin who cultivated them. Equally bad, Christianity has inspired dogmatic thinking, blind obedience, and a turn-the-other-cheek philosophy whose effect was to disable aggression against the State and make political liberty more difficult to achieve -- not so good for Christian peons, but something which may have contributed to Christianity's spread by strengthening the State and thereby facilitating the conquest of other peoples and their religions. But if all this is not bad enuf, Christianity is out of synch with the modern world, where it embraces stupid policies such as opposition to eugenics and abortion, support of minority racism and other liberal idiocies, and the use of taxpayer money to fund the genocidal and warmongering state of Israel, while ignoring or rejecting real advances in religion such as psychic phenomena, scientific studies of religious phenomena, and New Age and occultic insights. So at best, Christianity has a very dubious claim to being a positive force in Western civilization, and a considerable claim to being a very negative one.

But if the usefulness of Christianity to Western civilization is questionable, one could argue that the usefulness of religion generally is not, because it gives men a future orientation necessary for building a civilization that will last thru the ages. I have outlined some of my own views on this matter in the essay 'My Spiritual Awakening' in the Science & Religion section. It is entirely possible that Western civilization would have advanced much more rapidly under a pagan religion which was more in tune with the forces of nature, and particularly psychic forces. Or to put it another way, it would seem that a religion that is TRUE would have a lot more value to Western civ than one that was FALSE.



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