18 Ways the Bible Has Benefited and Hindered Society

SharePinEmailThe Bible is important, but it is also crucial that we recognize how this holy book has influenced our society. There have been both positive and negative impacts of the Bible that may help you develop a greater understanding.  Inspiring Music, Art, and Literature The Bible has inspired creativity over the centuries. From the stunning…

The Bible is important, but it is also crucial that we recognize how this holy book has influenced our society. There have been both positive and negative impacts of the Bible that may help you develop a greater understanding. 

Inspiring Music, Art, and Literature

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The Bible has inspired creativity over the centuries. From the stunning Sistine Chapel ceiling by Michelangelo to Handel’s Messiah, the Bible’s influence is showcased in a variety of artistic expressions. Countless artists, writers, and musicians have drawn upon biblical narratives to create amazing works.

A Best-Selling Work of Literature

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Even if you’re not religious, the Bible contains some fascinating stories of human struggle, scary monsters, and uplifting experiences. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the Bible is the best-selling book of all time, with an estimated five billion copies sold. 

Used to Discourage Scientific Developments

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There have been many times throughout history where the church has discouraged scientists and scientific development. However, according to a 2019 Gallup poll, 40 percent of Americans hold a creationist viewpoint on the origins of humans, dismissing any scientific theories or evidence that humans were not directly created by God.

Justification for Violence

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Although this goes against the Christian fundamentals of love and forgiveness, the Bible has also been used to justify violence. There have been numerous conflicts where the participants have used Bible passages as justification for evil acts.

Encouraging Religious Intolerance

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Christianity is monotheistic, with the view that there is only one true God and all others are denounced as false. Unfortunately, this has encouraged some to promote religious intolerance. But, when you read the Bible, specifically in Matthew, it says that you should respect others, regardless of their beliefs, occupation, or sins.

Promotion of Transphobia and Homophobia

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The Bible is often interpreted to condemn transgenderism and homosexuality. This can lead to discrimination and exclusion of people from minority groups. Of course, good Christians believe in loving the sinner, regardless of any perceived sins.

Promoting Compassion and Charity

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The most profound message of the Bible is to love our neighbor and the Holy Book encourages us to offer help to those in need. Extending support and kindness to others is a fundamental teaching that has promoted compassion and charitable works around the world. 

Inspiring Social Justice Movements

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The Bible has also inspired social justice movements throughout history. From abolitionists fighting to end slavery to the civil rights movement, the Bible has encouraged people to argue for equality and liberation for all. 

The Holidays

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The word “holiday” is taken from “holy days” and it is rooted in Christian traditions. The holidays are based on significant Biblical celebrations including Christmas, Good Friday, and Easter. These are significant to commemorate key events in Christian theology, but they also provide an opportunity to gather with family and friends to celebrate. 

Promoting Education and Literacy

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The Gutenberg Bible wasn’t the first book published, but it helped to introduce printing to the Western world. This helped to lay the groundwork for an increase in literacy rates and education even in underprivileged areas. 

Shaping Our Legal Systems

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The principles of the Bible have been a massive influence in creating the legal frameworks in many Western countries. Many laws draw from the ethical guidelines that are outlined in the Bible. The Ten Commandments are a cornerstone of our legal systems promoting respect for authority and honest treatment of others. 

Promoting Equality and Dignity

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In this Bible, every human is crafted in God’s image and this has been pivotal in promoting equality and human dignity around the world. This principle has guided groups and societies to recognize the rights and inherent worth of every person. 

A Higher View of Marriage

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Throughout history prostitution and adultery have been quite common. In fact, in ancient times temple prostitution was commonplace. Jesus started a massive attitude shift to emphasize the sanctity of marriage. This created a higher view of intimate relationships and modern marriage ceremonies still contain Biblical passages. 

Promoting Sexism

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On the other side of the coin, the Bible has also been used to promote sexism. Of course, the Bible says that everyone should be respected, but there are Biblical passages that have been interpreted to suggest that women are less than men. This has promoted restricted roles for women and unequal treatment, even sanctioning domestic violence. 

Influencing Politics

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The Bible remains part of an ongoing discussion among theologians, scholars, and policymakers. Christian principles continue to play a role in our societal perceptions of leadership and government, maintaining ethical and moral standards that underscore integrity, justice, and honesty. 

Promoting Environmental Destruction

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Some people use the concept of human dominion over the Earth in the Bible as justification for exploitation and environmental destruction. From pollution to deforestation, a belief in human superiority has led to a disregard for the planet. But it is important to note that the Bible also says humans are charged with the care and guardianship of the Earth

Acceptance of Death

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While there are still many people who fear death, the Bible does provide comfort and reassurance for those who are grieving or struggling with a terminal illness. This helps societies to stay strong even in the face of a crisis, like wars or more recently, the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Bible Interpretation

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While there have been both positive and negative impacts of the Bible, it is important to remember that many of these effects are based on the interpretation of the Bible. This is particularly crucial for the negative things people attribute to the Bible’s influence. 

Remember that the core tenets of the Bible are love and forgiveness. Even if you interpret the Bible to promote discrimination or feel that you can use scripture to justify acting against another person or group, weigh this against the core of love and forgiveness. This will not only help you to be a better Christian, but you can do your part to strengthen the relationship between Christians and non-Christians. 

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