In continuing our discussion of the impact of Jesus Christ upon Western Civilization, the next item I wanted to bring up is that of the unpleasent matter of infanticide. In the book I cited earlier from Dr. D. James Kennedy and Dr. Jerry Newcombe entitled What if Jesus had Never Been Born?, we read on page 10 how cheap life truly was for children before the time of Christ.
"It was a dangerous thing for a baby to be conceived in classical Rome or Greece, just as it is becoming dangerous once more under the influence of the modern pagan. In those days abortion was rampant. abandonment was comonplace: It was common for infirm babies or unwanted little ones to be taken out into the forest or the mountainside, to be consumed by wild animals or to starve or to be picked up by rather strange people who crept around at night, and would use them for whatever perverted purposes they had in mind. Parents abandoned virtually all deformed babies. Many parents abandoned babies if they were poor. They often abandoned female babies because women were considered inferior."
Does anyone really doubt these things? Especially telling for me is the last part concerning how female babies were abandoned so much. With the increase of sex selective abortions, we are seeing a return of this practice not only in China, but in Vietnam where it is reported that "Vietnam's sex ratio at birth (SRB) has been rising steadily for the past few years, from the "average" 105 boys to 100 girls in 1999 to 110:100 in 2006. This year it topped at an average of 112:100." In China it is even higher, about 120:100. Of course this isnt isolated to the East as Sweden allows sex selective abortons as well.
Citing George Grant in his book Third Time Around, Kennedy and Newcombe describe how "valueless life was in ancient Rome...
"According to the centuries old tradition of paterfamilias, the birth of a Roman was not a biological fact. Infants were received into the world only as the family willed. A Roman did not have a child; he took a child. Immediately after birthing, if the family decided not to raise the child-literally, lifting him above the earth-he was simply abandoned. There were special high places or walls where the newborn was taken and exposed to die"
Two items that Kennedy and Newcombe cite as helping to form the Christian outlook on children and the preciousness of life are when Jesus gathered little children unto Himself saying, "Let the little children come unto Me and do not forbid them" (Matthew 19:14). which gave emphasis on the love we are to show for them as Christ Himself gave to them. Another example was when "Jesus said that God was our Father, not only did this radically alter the attitudes of fathers toward children, but fatherhood in this life assumed a completely new form as well." Kennedy and Newcombe go on to cite Sherwood Wirt, one time editor of Billy Graham's Decision magazine who stated in his book, The Social Conscience of the Evangelical..
"Many permanent legal reforms were set in motion by Emporer Constantine (280?-337) and Justinian (483-565) that can be laid to the influence of Christianity. Licentious and cruel sports were checked; new legislationwas ordered to protect the slave, the prisoner, the mutilated man, the outcast woman. Children were granted important legal rights. Infant exposure was abolished. Women were raised from a status of degradation to that of legal protection. Hospitals and orphanages were createdto take care of foundlings. Personal fueds and private wars were put under restraint....Branding of slaves was halted"
Can you honestly say the last time that you heard the word "foundling"? Even secular sources as the one I cite in the preceding link give Christians credit for starting the use of the word. Apparently it doesnt happen that much anymore but to acknowledge as such one must give credit to Christianity because it's highly unlikely that such a change of social consciousness occurred due to any pre-existing Roman or Greek mythology.