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The ‘Easter Effect’ and How it Changed the World

In a Wall Street Journal article, George Weigel gives a combination history lesson and apologetic for the Resurrection:

There is no accounting for the rise of Christianity without weighing the revolutionary effect on those nobodies of what they called “the Resurrection.” They encountered one whom they embraced as the Risen Lord, whom they first knew as the itinerant Jewish rabbi, Jesus of Nazareth, and who died an agonizing and shameful death on a Roman cross outside Jerusalem.

As N.T. Wright … makes clear, that first generation answered the question of why they were Christians with a straightforward answer: because Jesus was raised from the dead …. As they worked that out, their thinking about a lot of things changed profoundly.

The article mentions some of the positive secular outcomes brought to the ancient world through Christianity:

  • A new dignity given to woman in contrast to the classical culture.

  • A self-denying healthcare provided to plague sufferers.

  • A focus on family health and growth.

  • A remarkable change in worship from the Sabbath to Sunday

  • A willingness to embrace death as martyrs—because they knew that death did not have the final word in the human story.

  • Living as if they knew the outcome of history itself.

Weigel suggests that it's only through, what he calls the Easter Effect, that these changes make sense. The social changes that followed Good Friday occur only if they actually believed in the resurrection of Jesus.

You can find the entire article available without subscription here.

George Weigel, “The Easter Effect and How it Changed the World,” The Wall Street Journal (3-30-18)

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