Harold Eberle in his book Compassionate Capitalism: A Judeo-Christian Value, highlights how the spread of Christianity instilled compassion in Western Civilization…
The spread of Judeo- Christian values implanted compassion in Western civilization. You see…the ancient pagan religions offered no motives for charity. Stoic philosophers taught that it was disrespectful to even associate with the weak or poor. The Romans were callous and without compassion for the needy.
In contrast, the early Christians held to the Jewish value that all people are created in the image of God. Ancient Hebrew society had many ways of caring for the needy, including the giving of alms and farmers gleaning their crops only once so that the poor could freely gather that which was left behind.
From the start, Christians cared for the widows, orphans and the poor. Not only did they have this from their Hebrew roots, but also from the standard raised by Jesus whose very life was directed toward reaching out and loving others, especially the downtrodden. We can read in the book of Acts how the early disciples took care of the needy. Deacons were assigned for feeding widows. Peter and Paul were committed to caring for the poor. Church father Tertullian wrote how early Christians contributed to a common fund to help the poor. Justin Marty wrote how collections were taken during church services to help orphans. There are many such writings from this period.
Throughout the last 2,000 years of Western history, the church has been at the forefront of building hospitals and running orphanages. During the 13thcentury a group known as the Order of the Holy Ghost operated more than 800 orphanages, and many monasteries cared for orphans during the Middle Ages.
Today it is the church, including the DOVE churches, which have practically led the way in adopting and caring for the multitude of AIDS orphans in Africa. In some cases the DOVE pastors have adopted as many or more orphans than they have natural children. Most Christian denominations collect funds to give clothing, food and medical relief to the poor. The Judeo-Christian ethic was one of benevolent capitalism.
People worked hard, lived frugally, saved and gave.
Compassionate Capitalism – A Judeo-Christian Valueby Harold Eberle, 2010, Worldcast Publishing.