Christianity’s Contributions: Life protected (Part 1)

As we consider how the Christian faith has impacted the world, the changed lives of Christians lead to a protection of human life.  Before the advent of the Church, life was not valued and safeguarded as it is today.

For instance, in the Roman culture, life was viewed as cheap and expendable.  The killing of children through abortion or abandonment, the gladiatorial games, and the persecution of Christians are just a few examples of how the Romans saw the murder of humans as a non-issue.  Whereas emperors loved to see people drown, dragged through streets, disemboweled, or mistreated and killed in various fashions (see “Christianity’s Contributions: Lives changed–part 2”), the Bible was clear on the treatment of people.

God said that people were made in His image (Genesis 1:27) and were crowned with honor (Psalm 8:5).  Because of this status, God told Moses in the Ten Commandments to not murder (Exodus 20: 13).

Sadly, before the growth of the Christian church, the Roman empire also practiced abortion.  Marriage was not respected and adultery was common.  Ensuing pregnancies ended with abortion by choice, contrary to belief that these were due to poverty or food shortage.  Plato, Aristotle, and others advocated for abortion to prevent overpopulation.  Childlessness was even desired due to the attention that fortune hunters would lavish on the aged at life’s end.  But Christianity changed all that.

The Church wrote a document called The Didache.  It was an instructional manual for new converts to Christianity, written from 85-110 AD.  It says in chapter 2, verse 2, “you shall not murder a child, whether it be born or unborn.”  It took the idea from God’s Word in Exodus 21:22-25.  It says,

“If people are fighting and hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman’s husband demands and the court allows. But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.”

 Besides abortion, life in other ways was protected due to the Church.  More on those ways in the next blogs.

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