Here of late I have posted a couple of essays arguing that Christianity made rapid scientific progress possible in the West.
Nevertheless, except to someone who really doesn’t need much convincing, I doubt I can succeed in proving Christianity did in fact make rapid scientific possible in the West. There is no way to provide quantitative proof, and it is easy fairly easy to come up with alternative theories of history.
Consider this example.
I recently toured Portugal and Spain, where the clashes between civilizations and “little ice ages” were especially violent. The impact of climate change on the Iberian Peninsula over the centuries vividly demonstrate why we should not fear global warming. The effects of any plausible warming scenario for the coming decades will only be positive and contribute to the flourishing of civilization. They always do.
Iberia’s first towns and cities emerged during the long Bronze Age Warming that began around 3300 B.C. The Bronze Age was spurred by the discovery of the new metal, which mixed tin with copper to produce superior axes, plowshares and other edged tools. Calm seas allowed traders to bring the tin from such sources as Cornwall in England and northern Turkey.
The first large towns and port cities were created for the metalworkers and the traders who transported the tin. Then the bronze forges became targets for marauders, so the urban centers were fortified.
After 1200 B.C., the Bronze Age Warming ended and a thousand-year Iron Age Cooling began. It brought short, cloudy summers, prolonged drought, heavy floods and failed crops. The towns were abandoned, and the seas became too stormy for the tin merchants to travel. Iberia’s survivors moved back to scattered farms, mostly in the few places where there were still reliable sources of water.
What would it require to convince someone that Christianity has made both a profound and unique difference in our history? I suspect that that someone would virtually have to be convinced to become a Christian. They would have to see the difference believing on Jesus makes in someone’s life. They would have to hear the Word both with their ears and with their heart. And God would have to open their eyes.
1 Thessalonians 2:13 English Standard Version (ESV)
13 And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.