Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Religious Affiliation of History's 100 Most Influential People

I came across this ranking of not only history's most influential people, but also their religious affiliation. The list comes from Michael H. Hart, whose book, The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History, is what the list is based on. His top five, in this order, are:

1) Muhammad
2) Isaac Newton
3) Jesus Christ
4) Buddha
5) Confucious

Here is the explanation on why Jesus Christ was not ranked first,

"It is not uncommon for people to wonder why Jesus is not ranked first on this list. As far as the way the list appears on this web page, the answer is simple: We have reproduced Hart's list in exactly the order he wrote it. But it is true that many people, both Christians and secular historians, would have ranked Jesus first on a list of the world's most influential people. Hart said that he himself would have ranked Jesus first, if all the people who today identify themselves as Christians actually followed Jesus's teachings more substantially. He considers contemporary Muslims more influenced by Muhammad than contemporary Christians are by Jesus.

Also, Hart's outlook was essentially secular in outlook. He did consider the doctrinal role of Jesus in human salvation as taught by Christianity. Muhammad, on the other hand, carved out an actual, geographic empire during his lifetime. Christians as well as historians agree that Jesus himself conquered no lands and led no armies during his lifetime."

Did you catch that? If people who identified themselves as Christians actually followed the teachings of Christ more substantially, then Jesus would be considered more influential. Of course, this list means nothing in the whole scheme of things. It is merely one man's opinion, but it does get you thinking.


Unknown said...

Ouch. That hurts. It reminds me of Ghandi's quote about following Jesus if he didn't know Christians.

David ZagRodny, Los Angeles said...

thanks Scott. Interesting comment. I came across your blog via a google search. I'm also on staff (since 1990) with Campus Crusade. Small world. My wife and I live in Los Angeles, working with the faculty ministry. God bless -


scottmcrocker said...

Thanks for the comment, David.