It is easy to forget victories and lose hope in a better tomorrow when all you see and hear is doom and gloom. In my last blog I talked about people of faith who only grew stronger and more hopeful even in such a terrible place as a concentration camp. I think from time to time it is good to take stock of things…look at history…look at the long view of things, and see that there have been some very real, telling victories over the forces of evil.
Think of slavery for example. It was never questioned in the ancient world, yet as Rome collapsed and Christianity grew, slavery gradually dissipated to the point that by the seventh century the chattel
slavery of the old Roman empire was gone throughout Western Christendom. There is a direct correlation between the advance of Christianity and the decline of slavery in Europe.
(Tragically, slavery made a comeback in western Christendom…most notably through Spain and Portugal, then later England and France in the 16th century. However, it was through Christian-led abolitionist movements in the 18th and 19th centuries that slavery was abolished throughout the western world. The abolitionist movement continued to eliminate this plague in the Far East and Middle East all the way into the 20th century.)
Consider the poverty, famine, and starvation that enveloped much of the world even into my lifetime. It used to be that we saw on the news a constant stream of pictures from Africa, India, Bangladesh, and Latin America. While grinding poverty is not eliminated, it is difficult to find famine and massive starvation (unless you are looking at a socialist country like Venezuela). By every measure, people’s standards of living all around the world continues to rise.
Look at tyranny in governments. Until the 20th century, most governments of the world were monarchies or some other form of tyranny. Only a few countries in western Europe, the US, Canada, and Australia/New Zealand had free governments. Yet what has happened to many of the socialist dictatorships of the past 100 years? The bloodthirsty regime of the Soviet Union is gone. The fascist governments of Spain, Portugal, and Italy are gone. Military dictatorships in South Korea, the Republic of China (Taiwan), Singapore, and the Philippines are gone and replaced with freely elected governments. The communist genocidal maniacs of Cambodia are gone. The imperialist genocidal maniacs of Japan (Hideki Tojo and his henchmen) are gone. And Adolf Hitler and his murderous bunch are gone.
Yes, we still have the thugs who rule North Korea, China, Cuba, and the jihadists who terrorize people around the world. We do have human trafficking and the illegal drug trade. We do have nefarious politicians who intend to rob free people of their liberties. I am not a Pollyanna who sees love and happiness everywhere.
But sometimes, we do need to look around and see that many things have gotten better, thank God for what we do have, and press on in promoting freedom wherever we can.