WHAT IF JESUS HAD NEVER BEEN BORN?
Nothing puts me more in the Christmas spirit than watching “It’s a Wonderful Life.” It reminds us that we all make a difference in this world. The most chilling scene in the movie is when George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) discovers that the world has turned upside down without him – the Building and Loan Company has gone out of business; Bailey Park has become Potter’s Field; Harry (his brother) drowned when he was nine; and Mary (his wife) is now an old maid. “Strange, isn’t it?” says the angel to him, “Each man’s life touches so many other lives, and when he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?” As true as that is, imagine what the world would look like if Jesus had never been born.
- NO SCIENTIFIC ADVANCEMENT: Although progress was made in architecture, mathematics and medicine, there was a “standstill, a stillbirth, as far as science was concerned.” (Stanley Jaki, “The Savior of Science”). Modern science came out of the Middle Ages when Western Christians began to see their world as a rational, ordered cosmos that could be probed, harnessed and improved. The sun was not a god to be worshipped but a burning star that gave light and energy. Scientific reasonings were patterned after theological arguments by Christian theologians like Augustine, Aquinas and Anselm (Dinesh D’Souza “What’s so Great about Christianity”).
- NO PUBLIC EDUCATION: In ancient times education was either restricted to the elites or passed down from father to son. The roots of mass education lie in the Christian emphasis on Biblical education for all. Early on Christians became known as the “people of the Book.” They took their cue from Judaism to regularly educate the young –“You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.” (Deut 6:7). Even universities like Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, Princeton, Yale and others were originally founded to educate Christian ministers.
- NO VALUE OF HUMAN LIFE: Ancient cultures practiced child sacrifices and child marriages until recent times. Jesus gave a strong indictment against those who would hurt children (Matt 18:6). The abuse of women was also widespread and continues to this day in cultures that have remained untouched by Christianity. Alvin Schmidt notes, “Christians took their cue from Jesus, who never had a problem teaching women along with men.” (“How Christianity Transformed Civilization”). Overall, the Bible raised the value of all life when it proclaimed: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal 3:28). It reminds me of the story of the South Pacific Islander who proudly showed his Bible to an American G.I. To which the G.I. said: “Oh the Bible – we don’t believe in that stuff anymore.” The islander had a smile on his face and said: “You better be glad we still believe in this stuff or you
would be a meal by now.”
- NO HOPE OF ETERNAL LIFE: Jesus came in this world to bring us forgiveness of sin and life eternal. As Christians we have so much more to be thankful for. Our benefits continue beyond this life.
D. James Kennedy in his book “What if Jesus had never been born?” remarked: “The greatest tragedy of the Christmas holiday each year is not so much its commercialization, but its trivialization. How tragic it is that people have forgotten Him to whom they owe so very much.”