Who can we thank for those things we take for granted?

LIKE pretty much everyone, I take things for granted.

When I turn on the tap, I assume water will flow out. I expect services such as education and health to be widely available. I trust that in business and financial matters, honesty and integrity will be shown. I anticipate being able to freely express my opinions, and practise the religion of my choice.

But are those things – infrastructure that works, services that genuinely help, basic honesty, and being able to live out your beliefs – simply givens? Have these things come about by accident, through the ‘natural evolution’ of our society? Or have they been striven for; are there other forces at work?

Clearly there are many, many ills in western culture. And yet, there is also much that is good. On the whole, our society functions pretty well. Things work. Government, business, organisations and individuals generally co-operate.

Given that the natural progression in any system is inevitably toward disorder, then for our society to have developed, there must be other forces at play.

Many will argue that it is human ability which has created order from disorder; that human beings are solely responsible for the basic good functioning of our society.

That seems a reasonable argument until you realise the vast differences between various human societies.  If so, then what has caused some societies to function well, while others are basket cases? 

One argument is to say that better functioning societies are the product of people who are inherently superior. This was Hitler’s contention.

On the other hand, could it be that western society has flourished because of the values that underlie it? This is the position of many. CEO of Sydney-based Olive Tree Media, Karl Faase contends: “The values of western democracies are built on and come from the teaching of Jesus”.

Others, such as Paula Gooder, a writer and lecturer from the UK, go further: “The world is completely different because of Jesus, his death and his resurrection.”

More, not only has Jesus changed civilisation, but his life, death and resurrection has enormous personal ramifications. Rico Tice, Minister at All Souls London, maintains: “I’ll live forever because I’m linked up with God through what Jesus has done. And for me that is a total game-changer.”

Are these statements about the influence of Jesus reasonable and defensible? Did he really live, die and rise again? And what difference does this make?

One way to find out is to Google ‘Olive Tree Media Jesus the Game Changer’ and find a discussion group in Bathurst.