Vast historical documentation shows quite comprehensively and for very clear reasons that when God’s principles in the Bible have been followed, they led Jews and Christians in countries around the world to pioneer nearly all major human rights, more than all other worldviews combined! When God’s principles are abandoned, many human rights are eventually amputated and demolished over years, decades or centuries. This is an introduction to how biblical concepts of justice have determined the rise and fall of nations and civilizations throughout history and continue to do so now. Numerous links from scholars and researchers in various countries below confirm the incredible value of biblical principles of justice.
Because there is so much vast information, this article is an introduction of why biblical concepts of justice are so important and then summarizes ~10 topics that will be covered in the next article which is here:
The biblical worldview pioneered nearly all major human rights for many reasons. But the basic one is that the Bible has the fullest understanding of justice for all levels of society in all its forms and all other worldviews are vastly inferior (this is esp. true in the economic areas..but also legal justice, civil rights, right of the poor, rights of immigrants, etc. There is also an enormous amount of radical wisdom in Bible economics). The Bible says:
“Godliness makes a nation great, but sin is a disgrace to any people.” Proverbs 14:34 (NLT)
The Hebrew word there is Tzedekah, which also means justice and right relationships between all people. For the biblical Jews and Christians, godliness explicitly means that believers must care deeply about the rights of all who are suffering and oppressed just as much as they do their own. They are also responsible to ensure a decent quality of life for everyone so that all can reach their full potential and also contribute the most to a thriving society. Anything less than this is wickedness and lack of true belief according to the Bible. This is made explicit in many verses like this:
“The godly care about the rights of the poor; the wicked don’t care at all.” Proverbs 29:7 (NLT)
A very good 5 minute intro to a couple of the major biblical concept of justice, Tzedekah and Mishpat, are here (there are actually at least 7 major kinds of justice the Bible advocates, but they mostly fit under these 2 categories):
Certainly there are tragic cases of believers doing injustice and evil things in history. Media sensationalizes this and obsesses with it precisely because it is such a betrayal of biblical principles. This happens mostly due to ignorance of God’s principles (esp. due to illiteracy in the past and censorship and propaganda of the Bible now), willful rebellion and hypocrisy against God of certain believers, being duped by false pseudo Christian doctrines (like anti-nomianism), believers being duped by nationalism/propaganda in their nation that they should be first above all others and that this means they don’t need to care about justice for people in other nations, etc. God repeatedly warned and condemned believers who ignored justice for anyone in any nation, that they were fake believers, hypocrites, wicked and even sons of hell (Prov. 29:7, Amos 2, Hosea 5, Matthew 23 and many other places***).
The issue of justice for all and what is it’s source is crucial for people from every worldview, Christian, atheists, agnostics, and people from other religions. Why?
1) (EVERYONE) NOW IS THE MOST DANGEROUS MOMENT IN WORLD HISTORY
The Bible said:
“in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money…[will] be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God[some] will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God,..[some] will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly..” 2 Tim 3:1-5
Countless researches confirm that this is happening now. Just a few:
Noam Chomsky: The world is at the most dangerous moment in human history The US professor warns that the climate crisis, the threat of nuclear war and rising authoritarianism mean the risk of human extinction has never been greater. https://www.newstatesman.com/world/2020/09/noam-chomsky-world-most-dangerous-moment-human-history
How Western Civilization Could Collapse https://homerdixon.com/how-western-civilization-could-collapse/ https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/221064/nuclear-war-and-environmental-catastrophe-by-noam-chomsky-and-laray-polk/ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1QRnErqV3U
Synchronous failure: the emerging causal architecture of global crisis www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol20/iss3/art6/
Billionaire Nick Hanauer writes in an article about the dramatic dangers of serious inequality in an article called “The Pitchforks Are Coming…For Us Plutocrats”.
“What do I see in our future now? I see pitchforks…The divide between the haves and have-nots is getting worse really, really fast. ..Unless our policies change dramatically, the middle class will disappear, and we will be back to late 18th-century France. Before the revolution.
And so I have a message for my fellow filthy rich, for all of us who live in our gated bubble worlds: Wake up, people. It won’t last. If we don’t do something to fix the glaring inequities in this economy, the pitchforks are going to come for us.
No society can sustain this kind of rising inequality. In fact, there is no example in human history where wealth accumulated like this and the pitchforks didn’t eventually come out. You show me a highly unequal society, and I will show you a police state. Or an uprising. There are no counterexamples. None.
It’s not if, it’s when…Any student of history knows that…revolutions, like bankruptcies, come gradually, and then suddenly. One day, somebody sets himself on fire, then thousands of people are in the streets, and before you know it, the country is burning.”
I highly recommend this talk as well by Dr. Wilkinson who worked at Oxford:
2) (EVERYONE) YOUR FUTURE/NEXT GENERATIONS/EPIGENETICS
The research on epigenetics shows that the choices you make every day in many areas of life have dramatic effects on you, your future, those around you as well as the next 3-4 generations.*** This is true at the biological level, but also in the area of freedom and justice.
3) (CHRISTIAN/EVERYONE): ETERNAL LIFE
God said countless times that justice for all is a top priority and trait of godliness. Those who don’t care about it will lose heaven or be least and disgraced in heaven for ignoring God’s crucial principles of love (Matt. 5:19/7:23/25:31-46). Your choices about justice will affect your eternal life, at the very least how God rewards you, as well as the salvation of those you love and influence.
Much history also shows that altruism is crucial for nations to thrive and that the only way to get large numbers of people to live with deep altruism is for them to have confidence in eternal life.**
4) (CHRISTIAN): CIVILIZATIONS RISE AND FALL
Throughout history, Christian churches have progressed most when they follow justice and love for all human beings (and nature). This is the primary factor that brought many into the early church as many scholars have shown. We will only have the power to complete God’s work when we recover and follow the principles that the early church did (see esp. Acts 2:42-47). Many of the worst enemies of Christianity have risen directly because churches failed to make justice for all a priority, including Stalin, and many of his time who left Christians explicitly because of this failure and brought Russian communism to Russia, ending up in ~35 million dead and millions becoming atheists. See the excerpts from the book “Young Stalin” by a major Russian historian at this link.
5) (EVERYONE) PREVENTING TOTALITARIANISM
If we care about thriving civilizations for ourselves, those we love and future generations, nothing has ever been a stronger foundation for this than nations that follow Biblical principles of justice. Many atheist academics have acknowledged that biblical Christianity is a protection against totalitarianism.
Even strident atheists like Dr. Richard Dawkins, Dr. Walter Block and others express their concern that Christianity seems to be a bulwark against totalitarianism and far worse dangers/abuses than what atheists have criticized it for. Dawkins said:
“Christianity might be a bulwark against something worse.”
Dr. Block said:
“which institution is the greatest enemy of human liberty? There can be only one answer: the state in general, and, in particular, the totalitarian version thereof. The main reason religion sticks in the craw of secular leaders is that this institution defines moral authority independently of their power. Every other organization in society (with the possible exception of the family) sees the state as the source of ultimate ethical sanction…there is a natural and basic enmity between the two sources of authority….I reject religion, all religion,…as an atheist…However, as a political animal, I warmly embrace this institution. It is a bulwark against totalitarianism. He who wishes to oppose statist depredations cannot do so without the support of religion.”
6) (EVERYONE) SCIENTIFIC PROGRESS THRIVES BEST WITH JUSTICE
Ms. Lichtman interviewed John Hulley, a former senior economist with the World Bank in Washington, D.C. Hulley is author of the book, “Comets, Jews, and Christians”, published in 1996. According to Hulley, 86% of Nobel Science prizes from 1901 through 1990 have been won by Jews and Protestants, with Jews taking 22% of the prizes. Jews are also 40 times more likely to win the Science Prize than projected, based on a per capita basis.
Ms. Lichman asked, “Why does the Bible make the difference?”
Mr. Hulley replied,”Scientists and inventors need a favorable social environment, one which is fair. Human relations and standards of behavior make a very big difference — they must be based on justice. In non-Bible societies’, Hulley declared, you can’t expect justice. They are organized on power relations. Only in Bible-based societies is there the concept of fairness…Bible-based societies respect the rights of individuals within the framework of law.”
Hulley said, “What we are talking about is the social environment. It is the religious people who create the environment and the secular who benefit from it. Fairness is in the backbone of both Jewish and Protestant cultures.”.
God did send messengers to most cultures telling them and warning them about the most important principles of justice…as you can see in the book of Jonah, Daniel in Babylon, Amos 1 & 2,etc. Scholars have also collected 13 volumes of material that God gave godly principles to most major cultures around the world that paralleled the Bible (See the book “Eternity in Their Hearts” for a summary of this) It is not just western Christians, but also people who followed the principles of the God of the Bible from many backgrounds in many nations that pioneered human rights. S. Korean Christians for example were stunning in using Bible principles to go from about the poorest nation to top rankings in dozens of areas faster than almost any other nation has and are now teaching other poor nations how to do this).
But nonetheless, research shows that people Jews and Christians pioneered far more human rights than all other worldviews combined. Most importantly, much research also shows that when people give up belief in God, human rights decline or are demolished in time and populations descend into various forms of exploitation and slavery. God’s principles are the foundation of thriving civilizations, always have been and always will be.
The next article, at http://blog.truth-is-life.org/rights/bible-rights2/ , has these sections:
1) OVERVIEW OF EVIDENCE BY ACADEMICS AND RESEARCHERS
This section includes major scholarly references about how Jews-Christians-Adventists pioneered nearly all major human rights and transformed our world.
2) HIGHLIGHTS OF BIBLE VERSES ON JUSTICE
This lists a dozen or so of the 2-3000 Bible verses on justice.
3) CHRISTIANITY PIONEERED THE VAST MAJORITY OF HUMAN RIGHTS
A list of some of the specific human rights that Christians pioneered.
4) JUDAISM/CHRISTIANITY PIONEERED BANS ON INFANTICIDE
Academic evidence of how Christians fought against infanticide all over the world.
5) JUDAISM/CHRISTIANITY PIONEERED WOMEN’S RIGHTS
Biblical and Academic evidence of how Christians fought for women’s rights.
6a) WHAT WERE THE HUMAN RIGHTS CONDITIONS OF ANCIENT CIVILIZATIONS?
There is a massive stark contrast between conditions in countries that knew and followed God’s principles and those that didn’t. Some academic evidence of the brutality and grisly human rights abuses that were common in cultures without the Bible because they rejected the Bible’s fundamental principle of the equality of all people is in this section.
6b) WHY TOTALITARIAN REGIMES HATE CHRISTIANITY
This section explains why totalitarians, esp. communists, but also others, hate religion. It is the top threat to their desire for the state to be the top authority on earth.
7) RESEARCH ON HOW CHRISTIANITY GREATLY IMPROVES MORAL BEHAVIOR NOW!
Many hundreds of studies now, including some by atheists, show that biblical Christianity is crucial for improving and protecting justice, morality and community health now.
8) RESEARCH ON HOW MODERN JUDEO-CHRISTIANITY HAS PIONEERED ECONOMIC JUSTICE IN RECENT DECADES
This section shows how just a few Bible economic principles helped over 1 billion people escape extreme poverty in recent decades.
9) HOW SEVENTH DAY ADVENTISTS PIONEERED EDUCATIONAL & HEALTH JUSTICE
Dr. Martin Luther King says that health justice is the most crucial kind of justice since people die without it. In the 1800s, the average age for most people was in the 40s/50s. Now it is in the 70s/80s. How did this happen? It was mostly due to the pioneering efforts of Seventh Day Adventists to reintroduce, follow and educate people about biblical health principles, scientists studied why they lived so long, and then shared these insights with others.
A final summary and appeal to learn from God’s ultimate wisdom, choose God’s principles of justice and eternal life for yourself and contribute to transforming and freeing lives in the most effective way possible…through God’s truths.
Please take time to read the article and many of the links as you have time. It does affect freedom or slavery of various types for you, those you love, your nation and others.