What answer might you expect if you asked scientists in a Communist setting to account for America’s success?
That was the assignment given the Chinese Academy of Social Science in 2002. What they found surprised them, and stunned Western intellectuals, too.
Here’s their unforgettable statement, as David Aikman reports it in Jesus in Beijing:
One of the things we [Chinese scholars] were asked to look into was what accounted for the success, in fact the pre-eminence of the West [America] over the world. We studied everything we could from the historical, political, economic, and cultural perspective. At first, we thought it was because you [America] had more powerful guns than we had. Then we thought it was because you had the best political system. Next we focused on the economic 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 is 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.
Thomas Jefferson, drafter of the Declaration of Independence, agreed.
“God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure if we have removed their only firm basis; a conviction in the minds of men that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever.”
Jefferson believed that freedom is a God-given right. He trembled for his country before the face of a just God. What would he say today in view of our moral and spiritual bankruptcy? Wouldn’t he tremble even more? Ought we not to as well?
Western scholars are rewriting the narratives of the U.S. and Europe, but history affirms that freedom is rooted in biblical theism. Only in the same context will it be sustained.
– Darrow Miller