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I’ve heard men say for years that the West’s Christian heritage is the root of our freedoms but I’d never seen anyone point to one Bible verse and say, See. Read that. That’s how it began – until William Bennett did it in Tried by Fire.

From prison St. Paul the Apostle wrote to the new Christian churches “there is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” and, as Bennett explains, as Christianity spread St. Paul’s idea that every man (because he’s made in the image of God) possesses worthiness permeated Western thought giving birth to “values.”

From there, it’s a straight line to Thomas Jefferson writing, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.”  

Bennett then told a second story: The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences was ordered to do a study to answer one question: What made Western Civilization so powerful? Chinese scholars spent years pouring over our history, politics, economics and culture and when they were done one scholar said, “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. But in the past twenty years, we have realized that the heart of your culture is your religion: Christianity. That is why the West has been 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.”

Christianity’s decline now leaves us facing a devilish question: Does the soil beneath our feet turn dry so the root withers – and all that’s left are rants by politicians on Facebook?  

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