I recently watched a video on Youtube (see here) in which two eminent intellectuals, the author Tom Holland and the philosopher AC Grayling, debated whether Christianity had given the West its human values with the former saying it had and the latter denying that. It actually struck me as a fairly pointless argument. Of course, Christianity made the West what it was and, of course, there were other influences involved, most notably Classical civilisation. They also discussed whether humanism was a form of Christianity, just one without God, with the first saying it was and the second disputing that, pointing to Greek antecedents and maintaining that similar beliefs had arisen elsewhere, most obviously in India and China. But since humanism arose in a profoundly Christian world here again the conclusion seems obvious. On one level, it may be innate to human beings. It would be strange if it were not given human beings, all of them not just Christians, are made in the image of God. But, on another, in its developed form it only took hold in the Christian world. It seemed to me that what CS Lewis called the Tao was available to men everywhere, which no one would question, but Tom Holland was saying the West had something more than the Tao and it got that from Christianity.
I agree with Tom Holland. Any other position seems perverse to me, the mind believing what the emotions or the will want it to believe. Besides this is surely not the question. The question should be, is Christianity true? Was Christ the Son of God, the Logos? Is salvation, meaning salvation from the world, the flesh and the devil, attained through Christ? Can we be raised to a higher state of being through Christ? When you put the matter like this, it is not whether the West was formed by Christianity that matters. It's whether we can be transformed in and by and through Christ. That is the only question that really matters in life. And the answer is yes. For when you come down to it, Christianity has something that no other religion has. Yes, there are similar teachings elsewhere but no other religion has Christ and it is the person of Christ that is the essential and critical spiritual truth even more than the teachings. "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life" means what it says.