Thursday, July 16, 2015

IMAGINE AMERICA WITHOUT ITS JUDEO-CHRISTIAN HERITAGE



                                                            By Ada Brownell
           
Jews and Christians continually are criticized in the United States today, but the world would be a sorry place without its Judeo- Christian heritage.

Yes, evil things do occur in the name of God. Nevertheless, those who obey the Bible change the world for the better, and not only by bringing good news of redemption and eternal life.

Christian charities housed and fed the homeless and hungry around the world for centuries. Missionaries often bring free health care and medicine when they go to tell the world about Jesus. Christians are there, too, when disaster strikes.

Religion was the reason people learned to read. Since the Middle Ages, there has been near universal literacy among Jewish men because they were required to read the Torah by age 13.

In the early church, Christians copied the apostles’ writings by hand, as was done meticulously for centuries with Old Testament scriptures, and read them to churches. But with the Reformation came a desire for everyone to read scripture. Then Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press and the first book printed was the Gutenberg Bible.
Gutenberg Bible original cover

According to the Encyclopedia Americana, education in colonial New England grew out of the Reformation as well. Puritans made sure their children could read the Bible. In the Middle Colonies, religious sects birthed early schools. In the Southern Colonies, parents tutored their children or educated them in a private school, often so they could read God’s Word. In New England, teachers were hired because of their soundness in the faith. The home and church provided most education until the early 1900s.

Universities and colleges were started by religious organizations:  At first, Harvard to train preachers; Yale for training in church work, civil duties, the arts and sciences; Vanderbilt for teaching law, medicine, theology and the arts; Baylor was the fruit of the Baptist General Convention; Boston University was started by Methodists for training in theology; Boston College was Catholic, as was Fordham; Cornell College was Methodist; Rutgers University for 80 years included the New Brunswick Theological Seminary of the Reformed Church of America.

 The world still is being educated by Christians. Wycliffe Translators live with primitive tribes and give them a written language and teach them to read. Wycliffe translated the Bible into hundreds of languages, and brought literacy to many nations. In their “Last Languages Campaign,” Wycliffe’s translators hope to have the 2,200 last languages translated by the year 2025.  Currently, Wycliffe has 1,400 translation literacy and language development programs, touching nearly 600 million people in 176 countries.

The church birthed most of the hospitals in our nation.

Jews also established hospitals, some of the best in the world, such as National Jewish Hospital in Denver, and Hadassah Medical Center in Ein Kerem and Mount Scopus in Jerusalem, Israel. The Israeli hospital was founded by Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America, which still underwrites a large part of its budget. In 2005, Hadassah was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize because of its equal treatment of all patients regardless of ethnic and religious differences, and efforts to build bridges to peace.

A Hadassah member told me the medical center treats Palestinians injured in the wars and conflicts between their states.

Christians visit those in prison, mental hospitals and nursing homes; care for orphans and speak for those who can’t speak for themselves, such infants in the womb.

The church teaches children to obey their parents--then they provide wholesome activities for youth—mostly for no charge.

Christians will come to our side when we’re dying, and comfort those left behind.

Yet, it is not because of works of righteousness that God saved us and gave us the promise of eternal life, but because of His mercy.