Finally, it is appropriate to say a word about the good that Christianity has done. Surely, individual Christians have failed in many ways. Christian teaching in itself, however, has been a powerful force against oppression in our world. There are too many areas to talk about in this short article, so we will choose just a few.
Education. One of the most powerful tools for combating oppression that we have seen in world history is education. A properly educated populace that has been trained in the laws of logic can recognize propaganda and other tools that tyrants use to try to control them. When people learn to read, they can read the Bible for themselves and be shaped by its ethical teaching, which has historically led to things such as the rule of law that offers a check on tyranny when it is actually upheld. When it comes to things such as political freedom, freedom of speech, and other blessings that many of us take for granted, there is a strong correlation between the degree of influence that Christianity, especially Protestantism, has had on a culture and the freedoms that people enjoy. This is no accident. Teach people to read and give them Bibles, and their culture cannot help but be shaped by Scripture. Of course, education can be a force for ill when wicked people take charge of it, but the general point is that so many of our political freedoms are connected to Christian influence on education.
Medicine. Christianity has been a strong force for medical advances and providing medical care. Christians have started hospitals and provided doctors wherever the faith has taken root. The scientific method, which has led to many improvements in medicine, is the fruit of a general Christian worldview that says that the world is intelligible because it was made by an intelligent and personal God. Key figures in the development of the scientific method, such as Francis Bacon, Galileo, and Isaac Newton, while not necessarily orthodox in every aspect of theology, were indebted to a biblical concept of reality that encourages the investigation of the Creator’s creation.
Human rights. There is no philosophical basis for human rights stronger than the Christian teaching that all people are made in the image of God (Gen. 1:26–27). If men and women from every tribe and tongue all bear God’s image, then human beings are equal in dignity, and to mistreat them is really an assault on the Lord, a (futile) attack on God by attacking what most resembles Him in creation. We hear a lot of talk about human rights, but only Christianity provides a sure foundation for them.
Regrettably, professing Christians do not have a perfect track record when it comes to oppression. That fact, however, does not make Christianity oppressive. Biblical Christianity provides the only coherent way to define oppression in the first place, and those who have practiced the faith have been a force for good in the world. May we as Christians continually aim to know and practice biblical truth, knowing that it is the only way that we will ever find true freedom (John 8:32).