‘Influential’ People [v154]


‘Influential’ People

Last month I talked about how a lot of people worldwide mourned the death of Steve Jobs—one to the founders of Apple—especially because of the way he has influenced the way they live their lives, do their work, and communicate with others.

That got me thinking about some of the other ‘influential’ people throughout history that have substantially affected our lives (for good)—a real “game changer”—someone that invented something, created a ‘first’, or was just very ‘influential’ upon the culture of their time.

So, here’s a few people (my “Top 50”) that came to my mind (I’m sure I’ll miss a few of your favorites).

[Note: I took some of them from Michael H. Hart’s book, ”The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History”
http://www.adherents.com/adh_influ.html ]

1. Samuel Adams: Architect of “republicanism” principles
2. Archimedes: Inventor of the compound pulley system; planetarium; water screw
3. Aristotle: Philosopher; Ultimate reality in physical objects, knowable through experience
4. Neil Armstrong: First man to step foot on the moon.
5. Francis Bacon: Delineated the inductive “scientific method”
6. Alexander Graham Bell: Inventor of telephone
7. Buddah: Founder of Buddhism/Hinduism religions
8. Christopher Columbus: “Discoverer” of America
9. Nicolaus Copernicus: States sun was at the center of the universe and the earth rotated around it
10. Madame Marie Curie: Theory of radioactivity
11. Leonardo daVinci: Inventor (Concept of helicopter and calculator); Painter (Mona Lisa; The Last Supper; The Vitruvian Man)
12. Raymond Vahan Damadian: Inventor of the “MRI” scanning machine
13. Thomas Edison: Inventor of the phonograph, and the light bulb
14. Euclid: Logical development of geometry
15. Albert Einstein: “Special Theory of Relativity”
16. Michael Faraday: Phenomenon of electromagnetism
17. Enrico Fermi: “Father” of nuclear fission
18. Sir Alexander Fleming: Discovery of penicillin’s curative effect on various infectious diseases
19. Henry Ford: Inventor of the mass production system for automobiles
20. Benjamin Franklin: Inventor of lightning rod, bifocal glasses, and “Franklin” stove
21. Galileo Galilei: Inventor of telescope, and accurately described heliocentric solar system
22. John Glenn: First man to circle the earth in space
23. Johann Gutenberg: Inventor of the printing press
24. William Harvey: First to describe the circulation of blood
25. Werner Heisenberg: Founder of quantum mechanics
26. Thomas Jefferson: Drafted “Declaration of Independence”
27. Edward Jenner: Discoved the vaccination for smallpox
28. John F. Kennedy: Cuban missile crisis; Resolved to send men to the moon
29. Johannes Kepler: Laws of planetary motion
30. Martin Luther King, Jr.: Iconic figure in the advancement of civil rights in the U.S.
31. Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier: Established the law of “Conservation of Mass”
32. Abraham Lincoln: “Emancipation Proclamation”—freed the slaves in America
33. Ts’ai Lun: Inventor of papermaking process
34. Guglielmo Marconi: Inventor of the radio
35. Michelangelo: Founder of “High Renaissance”; Sistine Chapel
36. Gregor Johann Mendel: Genetic theory
37. Samuel Morse: Inventor of the telegraph
38. Muhammad: Founder of “Islam” religion; Military/political leader
39. Issac Newton: Law of universal gravitation; The three laws of motion;
40. Nikolaus August Otto: Built the first four-stroke internal combustion engine
41. Louis Pasteur: Invented “pasteurization”; Vaccines for rabies and anthrax
42. Plato: Philosopher; Ultimate reality in ideas or eternal forms, knowable only through reflection and reason
43. Ronald Reagan: Ended the Cold War (Berlin Wall)
44. Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen: Discovered x-rays
45. Socrates: Founder of “western philosophy”
46. Mother Teresa: Humanitarian work and advocacy for the rights of the poor and helpless
47. George Washington: Commander-in-chief of the Continental army during the American Revolution; First President of the United States
48. James Watt: Revolutionized steam engine; Developed concept of horsepower
49. Orville/Wilber Wright: First successful airplane flight

Oh, and I almost forgot, to make it my “Top 50,” I would add Kevin Bacon—because without him we would never have known that we are only 6 people ‘away’ from his ‘influential’ self!  ;^D  [FYI: This idea was originated by Frigyes Karinthy in 1929!]

[Note: Here’s a link to a silly and entertaining list called, “The 101 most influential people who NEVER lived”:
http://www.101influential.com/ ]

Now seriously, Webster’s Dictionary states that “influential” means: 1. “The capacity or power of persons or things to be a compelling force on or produce effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, etc., of others.”

So, let me suggest a person that was a “compelling force” thousands of years ago, and continues to affect the “actions, behavior, and opinions” of everyone on this earth—whether they agree with His teachings or not. His name is Jesus Christ.

I would like to submit that no single person in the entire history of the world has affected history as much as Jesus has—and that He is the most well-known figure in history, as well.

Here is an example. The secular encyclopedia, Britannica, devoted 21,000 words to Jesus Christ. This is the largest of all the biographies, surpassing that of former U.S. President Bill Clinton (his was a mere 2,511 words).

So, in what ways has he influenced our world? Well, millions of churches across the world have been built, and continue to tell His story. Thousands of charities, foundations, hospitals, colleges and universities have been founded on His principles, and many lives (even non-Christians) have been improved by His teachings.

The calendar we typically use is based around His birth (B.C. means Before Christ, and A.D. means Anno Domini (In the Year of our Lord). [Some mistakenly believe that A.D. means “After Death,” however, Christ was born around 3-4 B.C., and died between 30-33 A.D.].

Many works of painting, literature, music, films, plays, and other such ‘arts’ have been greatly influenced by Jesus. The holidays of Christmas and Easter are based on His birth, life, death, and resurrection. Most of the world, in the last 2,000 years has heard the name Jesus (even if it’s just being used as a ‘cuss’ word). Who else’s ‘influence’ in the entire history of humanity can compare? None on my list did.

Secular scholars have often found the teachings of Jesus to be most wise and astute. At the very least, they hold Jesus in regard as a great teacher. Though Jesus was only in the public eye for around three and a half years, He is more well-known and influential than even the big three philosophers, Socrates, Aristotle, and Plato combined—and they had around a total of 150 years in the public eye.

Take a look at some media examples. The three leading magazines in the United States, “Time,” “Newsweek,” and “U.S. News & World Report,” tend to dedicate their covers to top news from that week, be it economic, social, scientific, political, or entertainment. In the last decade alone, Jesus Christ has been featured on the covers of these magazines more than 21 times (He has appeared on the cover of Time magazine more than any other person, excluding the last several U.S. presidents).

If these magazines cover hot topics and current events, why dredge up events that are 2000 years old? In the last 70 years, Christianity itself has been featured on the cover of Time magazine more than 65 times. So why is this simple Jewish carpenter from a small village so popular and influential?

In the Bible, the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke record an exchange between Jesus Christ and His disciples. “When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, ‘Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?’ So they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter answered and said, ‘You are the Christ [which means Messiah], the Son of the Living God.’ Jesus answered and said to Him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in Heaven.” [Matthew 16:13-17]

That question can also be asked of us, too. “Who do YOU think Jesus is?”

Jesus says that He is the “Christ,” the “Messiah,” the “Son of God,”—sent from Heaven to pay the penalty for all of the past, present, and future sins of humanity. Do you believe that?

With just the few examples I have given, there is no doubt that Jesus has been the most influential person in history—and will continue to fascinate and intrigue the world until the end of time. Thought men will try to disprove His existence or even His claims, Jesus said of Himself, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” [John 14:6]. Something for all of us to seriously consider!

If we were to take a look at each and every way that Jesus Christ has influenced history, cultures, religions, society, politics, economics, and life in general, I suppose we would be sitting here for quite a while. While no one man can determine what impact Jesus Christ has had upon the lives of the billions of people in history, He continues to have ‘INFLUENCE’ on all of us today!

Jesus came to earth to be the ‘fulfillment’ of what God requires for us to enter His Heaven—the final ‘offering’ that paid the ‘price’ for all of our sins. The good news is, all one has to do is accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, and you will be ‘saved’ from an eternity in hell.

Jesus will forever hold the title of the most ‘influential’ person in history—but He was not JUST A PERSON, He was GOD in the flesh! Now it’s up to you to determine how all of this will ‘influence’ your belief about Him, and how you will ‘respond’ to his FREE GIFT of living with Him in Heaven, forever!

[Excerpts from: Michael H. Hart; Troy Hillman]

[P.S.: If you would like to investigate further about what the Bible has to say about if Jesus is the ONLY WAY TO HEAVEN, visit the following link:

Quotes responding to “Jesus Christ’s Effect on History”:


LIFE’S DEEP THOUGHTS (v154) for DECEMBER 2011 If you have a ‘neat’ story or some thoughts about an issue or current event that you would like me to try to respond to, I would be glad to give it a try…so, send them to me at: mbesh@comcast.net


He was born in an obscure village the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in another village where He worked as a carpenter until He was thirty. Then for three years He became an itinerant preacher.

This man never went to college or seminary. He never wrote a book. He never held a public office. He never had a family nor owned a home. He never put His foot inside a big city nor traveled even 200 miles from His birthplace. And though He never did any of the things that usually accompany greatness, throngs of people followed Him. He had no credentials but Himself.

While He was still young, the tide of public opinion turned against Him. His followers ran away. He was turned over to His enemies and sentenced to death on a cross between two thieves. While He was dying, His executioners gambled for the only piece of property He had on earth—the simple coat He had worn. His body was laid in a borrowed grave provided by a compassionate friend.

But three days later this Man arose from the dead—living proof that He was, as He had claimed, the Savior whom God had sent, the Incarnate Son of God.

Nineteen centuries have come and gone and today the risen Lord Jesus Christ is the central figure of the human race. On our calendars His birth divides history into two eras. One day of every week is set aside in remembrance of Him. And our two most important holidays celebrate His birth and resurrection. On church steeples around the world, His cross has become the symbol of victory over sin and death.

This one Man’s life has furnished the theme for more songs, books, poems and paintings than any other person or event in history. Thousands of colleges, hospitals, orphanages and other institutions have been founded in honor of this One who gave His life for us.

All the armies that ever marched, all the navies that ever sailed, all the governments that ever sat, all the kings that ever reigned have not changed the course of history as much as this One Solitary Life.

[James A. Francis (this version is slightly modified from the original)]


– Hospitals, which essentially began during the Middle Ages.

– Universities, which also began during the Middle Ages. In addition, most of the world’s greatest universities were started by Christians for Christian purposes.

– Literacy and education for the masses.

– Capitalism and free-enterprise.

– Representative government, particularly as it has been seen in the American experiment.

– The separation of political powers.

– Civil liberties.

– The abolition of slavery, both in antiquity and more modern times.

– Modern science.

– The discovery of the New World by Columbus.

– The elevation of women.

– Benevolence and charity; the good Samaritan ethic.

– Higher standards of justice.

– The elevation of the common man.

– The condemnation of adultery, homosexuality, and other sexual perversions.This has helped to preserve the human race, and it has spared many from heartache.

– High regard for human life.

– The civilizing of many barbarian and primitive cultures.

The codifying and setting to writing of many of the world’s languages.

– Greater development of art and music. The inspiration for the greatest works of art.

– The countless changed lives transformed from liabilities into assets to society because of the gospel. (For example, the descendants of Jonathan Edwards and a criminal of his time)

– The eternal salvation of countless souls!

[Excerpt from D. James Kennedy’s book, “What If Jesus Had Never Been Born?”]

1, Christ and Civilization : A quick overview of Chirst’s impact on world history
2. In the Image of God : Christianity’s impact on the value of human life
3. Compassion and Mercy: Christianity’s contribution to helping the poor
4. Education for Everyone: Christianity’s contribution to education
5. Government of the People, for the People, by the People: Christianity’s impact on the founding of America
6. Freedom for All: Christianity’s contribution to civil liberties
7. Thinking God’s Thoughts After Him: Christianity’s impact on science
8. Free Enterprise and the Work Ethic: Christianity’s impact on economics
9. The Beauty of Sexuality: Christianity impact on sex and the family
10. Healing the Sick: Christianity’s impact on health and medicine
11. The Civilizing of the Uncivilized: Christianity’s impact on morality
12. Inspiring the World’s Greatest Art: Christianity’s impact on the arts and music
13. Amazing Grace: Lives changed by Jesus Christ
14. The Sins of the Church: Negative aspects of Christianity in history
15. A Cruel Wsorld: What happens when Christian restraints are removed
16. Where do we go from here? Fulfilling our purpose in the twenty-first century



“The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.”

[Soren Kierkegaard]

Hope you enjoyed some of these insights—share them with your friends and colleagues—so we can have a larger ‘pool’ to receive from, and more to share with! Also, remember to include your name as the “source,” if some of this wisdom is of your doing—I would like to give credit where credit is due!

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them.” [2 Corinthians 5:17-19]



Disclaimer: All the above jokes & inspirations are obtained from various sources and copyright are used when known. Other than our name and headers, we do not own the copyright to any of the materials sent to this list. We just want to spread the ministry of God’s love and cheerfulness throughout the world.

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