Currently a raging controversy in Congress is building a wall along our southern border—not to keep us in but to keep out illegal immigrants from nations to our south.

April 1, 2018

Currently a raging controversy in Congress is building a wall along our southern border—not to keep us in but to keep out illegal immigrants from nations to our south. Neighbors on the Mexican-American border separated by only the Rio Grande River live in opposite economic and political conditions and those on the poorer southern side are desperate to come to the U.S. Research has shown the reasons for this extreme inequality can be traced to the Portuguese and Spanish exploration and exploitation of Central and South America 500 years ago versus our initial settlements by dissident Protestants in New England. “To understand the nature of institutional differences one must study history of how they were historically structured—the subject of this historical series. [1]

The World Bank’s ‘modernization theory’ hypothesizes that free market capitalism will so enrich developing countries that the rising economy will produce democratic government. Research showed that this theory was wrong. The reverse is true: ‘inclusive’ political systems enable inclusive economic technological innovation and entrepreneurial activity that produces national wealth.

Lists of the ten wealthiest nations on earth consistently include only nations having a Judeo-Christian, dissident Protestant history. Studies of the happiest nations include essentially the same countries. The amazing thing is, most of the social institutions producing these governments and economic systems producing wealth and wellbeing were present in ancient Israel in the time of the Patriarchs and Jesus!

We’ve noted the promises made to Abram that his descendants would be blessed and would be used by God to bless the world. Christians believe that these predictions and promises were inherited by them. We were advised by Paul to ‘test everything’ and by Jesus that the test of prophecy was its “fruit” i.e. empirical results. Actually ancient Jews were told much earlier that to discern religious ‘fake news’ i.e., prophecy should be tested empirically. “ How should prophecies be tested? If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. [2]

Not only are the top ten wealthiest nations on earth all beneficiaries of Judeo-Christian histories, Jews as a people are the richest ethnic group in the world. Among Jews in a Pew Research Center study in 2014, 44% had household incomes $100,000 a year or more and another 24% earned $50,000 to $99,999. [Figures for Southern Baptists are 16% and 31%.] Jews were also among the most educated with one-third holding post-graduate degrees. [3]

Education has been the key process through history for civilization and the wealth it brought to developed nations. Western Civilization [aka Judeo-Christian] came primarily through socialization by home, church, and school bringing Western nations wealth.

God also promised to bless them through their ‘descendants.’ This may sound racist, but Jews were forced to mate with each other by being ghettoized by Christian persecution. After being driven from Israel they were stigmatized pariahs driven into Jewish ghettoes worldwide.

As a destitute, persecuted ethnic minority they formed Jewish communities throughout the commercial port cities of Europe for which many of Paul’s letters are named. They were excluded from most occupations except those related to world trade, commerce, and finance. Having networking arrangements among Jewish communities in port cities of the principal trade routes around the Mediterranean, a common language, and sources of commercial financing, made them indispensable to foreign trade. Being people of the Law made them trustworthy partners and advisers which gave them entre’ and value to kings and aristocrats in medieval Europe. As economies have moved from manual labor into knowledge industries like finance and information, their value and influence have increased.

For almost 1500 years the Roman Catholic Church provided much of the charity and education in the West. Gutenberg’s press gave the world a ‘free university’ with cheap books. The Protestant Reformation brought education to other religions breaking the Church’s monopoly on education and gradually secularizing it as public education developed.

Education is the key in social and economic development and never more so than now. Education civilizes and equips individual and national development and as such is the key to being blessed and blessing the world—the twin mandates of spiritual and ethical righteousness stressed by Jewish people and Jesus. Education began in the Church devoid of much practical content and morphed into mostly practical education devoid of much moral content.

Lowly synagogue schools from Moses to now along with home life that socialized Jewish youth in intellectual appreciation and discipline have been key to how Judaism has been blessed and has blessed the world.

In today’s paper is a picture of over one hundred sad young Nigerian girls—most garbed in Muslim attire. All but one of the 110 kidnapped Feb. 19 by Muslim militants were released last week. One Christian girl was not released because she refused forced conversion. It is now a crime to be a Christian in Nigeria. In mere weeks these children were ‘converted’ to Islam—testimony to the power of early childhood education. Muslims certainly appreciate it: ‘Boko Haram’ means ‘Western Education is forbidden.’ [4]

[1] Acemoglu, Daron, and James A. Robinson, Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty, NY: Crown, 2012. [2] IThess.5:19-21; Mt. 7:15; Deut.18:21-22. [3] Masci, David, Pew Research Center, Oct. 11, 2016. [4] USA Today, Mar.28, 2018