– Episode 1626 –
How Christians Invented the Modern Day Concept of Children
Segment 1 (0:00) – How Christianity Invented Children by Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry. We have forgotten just how deep a cultural revolution Christianity wrought. For example, Christianity is responsible for the view that children are vulnerable but of particular value and entitled to particular care. In the ancient pagan world, Greece and Rome, children were considered nonpersons. Society was organized in concentric circles with the free-born adult males in the center and considered most valuable. As you got to the outer circles you found the less valuable people such as slaves, women and children. Poor people were also in the outermost rings. Christianity gave value to those who were the least valued by society.
Segment 2 (9:58) – There were no equal rights in ancient Greece until Christianity came along. High infant mortality rates created a cultural pressure not to develop emotional attachments to children. Various pagan authors describe children as being more like plants than human beings. In ancient Rome a father had the right to kill his children for any reason up until the child came of age. Progressives of today are trying to move us back to this type of belief in which children do not have value. There was an ancient Roman practice called ‘expositio’ which was the abandonment of unwanted children. Christianity rebelled against this practice. Girls were abandoned more often than boys so this society had imbalanced gender ratios.
Segment 3 (16:47) – WARNING: Third segment may be too sensitive for some children. Another notorious practice was the sexual exploitation of children. Many today point out that pagan culture accepted homosexuality. The reason is because they saw free men as being able to do whatever they wanted and often that involved homosexuality and the abuse of children. In that culture people of higher status were able to do whatever they wanted in domination of people of lower value. Relationships were not loving but were built around the concept of the valued dominating the weak. Christianity changed that. This is the world into which Christianity came. Christianity condemned abortion and infanticide as loudly and as early as it could. Christianity gave value to children even saying that people should actually become more like children. Christianity introduced ‘imago Dei’ and that all are loved by God and made in his image.