Virtual Voices

Does Christianity make a difference?

Religion

Statistics from poor urban areas show that church involvement makes a big difference in health, crime, marital rates, and many other factors. National stats, though, show Christians doing only slightly better on many social indices (divorce, premarital sex) than non-Christians, and worse on some. The difference in charitable giving is significant -- Christians donate more time and money than non-Christians - but that's about it.

Skeptics look at the national states and ask, what difference does Christianity make? Much, I suspect, but we need movies rather than snapshots to show it. It may be that people high up on the social indices are less likely to become Christians. Jesus taught that it was hard for the rich to enter heaven. He also criticized the Pharisees, the academics of his time. Today, people with lots of money and lots of degrees can look at portfolios or publication lists and feel on top of the world. Such folks are less likely to fall on knees and beg for mercy.

Who is more likely to embrace the only religion in which sin is forgiven - not just compensated for in some way, but forgiven? Probably the less successful. So Christians may naturally be not the best people but among the worst, without a great likelihood of doing more than self-interest dictates. If following Jesus brings such individuals from self-destructive activity to mildly-productive behavior, that's a huge change.

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What's crucial is the movie, not the snapshot: Are Christians more loving, more reliable, more honest than natural tendencies would bring about? If so, that's one more indication of a biblical truth: Blessed are the meek.

Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

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