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How Christianity Changed the World Paperback – December 12, 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (December 12, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310264499
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310264491
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #60,749 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Western civilization is becoming increasingly pluralistic, secularized, and biblically illiterate. Many people today have little sense of how their lives have benefited from Christianity’s influence, often viewing the church with hostility or resentment. How Christianity Changed the World is a topically arranged Christian history for Christians and non- Christians. Grounded in solid research and written in a popular style, this book is both a helpful apologetic tool in talking with unbelievers and a source of evidence for why Christianity deserves credit for many of the humane, social, scientific, and cultural advances in the Western world in the last two thousand years. Photographs, timelines, and charts enhance each chapter. This edition features questions for reflection and discussion for each chapter.

About the Author

Alvin J. Schmidt (PhD, University of Nebraska) retired in 1999 as professor of sociology at Illinois College in Jacksonville, Illinois, where he still lives. He is the author of several books, including The Great Divide: The Failure of Islam and the Triumph of the West, and served as a consulting editor for Dictionary of Cults, Sects, Religions and the Occult.

More About the Author

Alvin J. Schmidt (PhD, University of Nebraska) retired in 1999 as professor of sociology at Illinois College in Jacksonville, Illinois, where he still lives. He is the author of several books, including The Great Divide: The Failure of Islam and the Triumph of the West, and served as a consulting editor for Dictionary of Cults, Sects, Religions and the Occult.

Customer Reviews

Even atheists and secularists will be hard pressed to disprove its claims.
J. jones
Again, this an excellent book, well documented and put together in a concise manner that is easy to read and very enlightening.
Michael Toole
Wonderful read, would highly recommend this book to any student of Christianity, especially those who love history!
Dan Panetti

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

83 of 86 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on February 10, 2006
Format: Paperback
In this well-documented volume of over 400 pages, Schmidt marshals the evidence for the transforming power of the Christian faith. He shows how Jesus has the power to transform men, who in turn are able to transform society. And on every level, that is exactly what has happened. Several specific examples can be mentioned.

In spite the claims of some today that Christianity oppresses women, the historical record shows just the opposite. Women were oppressed in almost every culture prior to the coming of Christianity. By elevating sexual morality, and by conferring upon women a much higher status, the Christian religion revolutionised the place and prestige of women.

The way Jesus treated women was in stark contrast to the surrounding culture. In Roman law a man's wife and children were little more than slaves, often treated like animals. Women had no property rights and faced severe social restrictions. Jesus of course changed all that. The way he treated the Samaritan woman was one remarkable example. And this was not lost on the early disciples. We know from the New Testament documents that many women exercised various leadership roles in the early church. Indeed, during this period Christian women actually outnumbered Christian men.

Admittedly there were some anomalies later in the church's history, when chauvinistic and anti-feminine views were allowed to re-enter parts of the church. But such aberrations must not detract from the truly revolutionary elevation of the status of women achieved by Christianity.

Consider also the issue of health care. Prior to Christianity, the Greeks and Romans had little or no interest in the poor, the sick and the dying.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By D. A. Sutherland on August 14, 2005
Format: Paperback
In an increasingly secular society this concise summary of the impact of the life, teachings, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ helps put in perspective the monumental impact this has had on individuals and nations. For beleivers this will reinforce the credibility and validity of being part of the most revolutionary movement in the worlds history, for a skeptic it presents a challenge in spite of opposition to anything supernatural to accept the necessary continuance of the Christian faith in society at large.
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36 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Jesse Rouse on December 24, 2005
Format: Paperback
In this book, Schmidt goes through many different areas of life (education, health care, etc.) and shows how they are a result of Christianity. For example, we would not have universities or higher education without Christianity (esp. monks). Monks are also responsible for the transmission of many (if not all) ancient texts (i.e. Plato and Aristotle among others).
In the area of hospitals, Christianity is once again the reason we have them. During Jesus earthly ministry the blind, lame, deaf, crippled, and diseased were brought to Jesus, and he healed them. These miracles were one of the defining features of Jesus ministry, occurring constantly and during his ministry. His apostles also carried on that tradition in the book of Acts, healing many as they spread the gospel message. Christians throughout the ages have carried on this tradition in their own manner, with most not being blessed with the gift of miracle healings. This was done through the introduction and rise of hospitals, which were built by Christians, not the pagans, because they wanted to follow in their Lord’s footsteps in having compassion on the sick, giving whatever support they could to them in their illness. The pre-Christian world had a gaping void when it came to medical aid. I think that this was because of their often fatalistic worldviews. If someone if fated to die, then why should they try to interfere? As Dionysius says, the pagans threw the sick into the streets to die, and treated them with “utter contempt” as they lie dying.
In the Roman Empire, the above described behavior was the standard. Even the pagan emperor Julian lamented the lack of medical aid and compassion for the sick and dying, through to the best of my knowledge he did nothing to improve the situation.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By J. jones on January 27, 2007
Format: Paperback
I have always known that Christianity had an enormous impact on the world, but I didn't realize the depth and scope of its influence, until reading Alvin Schmidt's amazing book. No other religion, ideology, or person has affected the course of history like Christianity.Schmidt explores the different fields and institutions that have been produced or

improved upon by the world's largest and most widespread religion.

I especially liked the chapters on science and education, which no doubt,

will spark some controversy, particularly, by atheists and scientists. But history shows that contrary to prevailing thought, science and the institutes of higher learning got an incalculable boost from Christianity.

Monasteries were the predecessors of the modern university. Schmidt

also correctly pointed out that Christ's passionate directive to "teach all nations" was the true driving force behind global civilization, not merely military conquest.Women were elevated in status. Children were rescued from exposure, and sick people who weren't rich or important by societal standards, were cared for and sparked the rise of today's hospitals. Also, Schmidt cogently argues that Jesus has been the single greatest artistic inspiration for the past 2000 years. From the Pieta to

the Last Supper, the Ascension to the Descent From the Cross, Schmidt clearly shows how Christ poignantly influenced artists as diverse as DaVinci, Durer, Raphael, and the incomparable Michaelangelo.

This book will be a major eye opener for everyone who reads it. Even atheists and secularists will be hard pressed to disprove its claims.

May Dr. Schmidt receive undying praise for his marvelous effort to enlighten our world about the greatest religion ever founded.
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