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Secular Historian on the Source of Equality

Some people think that the claim that human equality comes from Jesus is just biased. But when the British historian Tom Holland set out to write his book, Dominion: How the Christian Revolution Remade the World, he was not a Christian. He'd always been far more attracted by the Greek and Roman gods than by the crucified hero of Christianity. But through years of research, he concluded that he, agnostic as he was, held many specifically Christian beliefs. For example, his belief in universal human equality and the need to care for the poor and oppressed.

Holland writes:

That every human being possessed an equal dignity was not remotely a self-evident truth. A Roman would have laughed at it. To campaign against discrimination on the grounds of gender or sexuality, however, was to depend on large numbers of people sharing in a common assumption: that everyone possessed an inherent worth. The origins of this principle—as the philosopher Frederick Nietzsche had contemptuously pointed out—lay not in the French Revolution, nor in the Declaration of Independence, nor in the Enlightenment, but in the Bible.

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