Some people will tell you that humanity is better off without Christianity; that humanity is by itself basically good. Countless examples could be pointed out which illustrate otherwise. John Adams is an example of what can happen when we walk in the steps of Christ.
In 1789 there was a mutiny on the famous ship HMS Bounty (made famous in the book and movie “Mutiny on the Bounty”). Fletcher Christian led a group of mutineers to take over the ship and set adrift the cruel Captain Bligh and his loyal officers. The mutineers sailed to Pitcairn Island, an island only two square miles in size, 4,000 miles east of New Zealand in the South Pacific. There they settled down with Tahitian wives to begin a new life. They also took with them some Tahitian men to help settle the island.
These men and women turned the tropical paradise into a living hell. The group devolved into a drunken, violent, adulterous colony. For ten years the drunkenness and mayhem led to arguments, fights, murder, and rape. When the Tahitian men caught wind of a plot by some of the British men to make them slaves, a bloody showdown left all but four mutineers dead among the surviving natives, women, and children. Life on the island continued to deteriorate.
Eventually John Adams, who went by the name Alexander Smith for a short while, was the lone surviving mutineer. He began reading a Bible that had been salvaged by the mutineers before they burned the HMS Bounty ten years earlier. That Bible can now be seen in the New York City Museum. Adams later recounted, “When I came to the life of Jesus, my heart began to open like doors swingin’ apart. Once I was sure God was a loving and merciful Father to them that repent, it seemed to me I could feel His very presence, sir, and I grew more sure every day of His guiding hand.”
Not only was Adams transformed by Christ, but he relied on the power of the Gospel to transform virtually every person on that island. As a result, Adams became the founder of a new nation, Pitcairn Island, establishing the most peaceful, tranquil, law-abiding, loving society the world has ever seen. When the British navy rediscovered Pitcairn Island in 1814, they were so astonished at the faith of Adams and all of the island’s inhabitants, they chose not to prosecute him for mutiny on the HMS Bounty. Christ is still making all things new for those who follow in His steps, just as He did with the lives on Pitcairn Island.
Happy Resurrection Sunday!