Monday, September 3, 2007

Urban Legends About Christianity

LIE: Christians believe the Earth is Flat.”

Here’s some proof to the contrary:

LIE: Christians, through acts like the Crusades and the Inquisition, are responsible for more human suffering and death than any other group of people.”

On the contrary, totalitarian governments, which continue to target Christians and Jews for persecution, have caused more needless deaths in the 20th century than the Church caused in the previous 700 years. The details can be found in “Death By Government”, by R. J. Rummel.

LIE: Christians are against the advancement of scientific knowledge.”

I’m sure Sir Isaac Newton, Galileo Galilei, Sir Robert Boyle, Max Planck, Lord Kelvin, Michael Faraday, Johannes Kepler, Georges Lemaitres and many others might have a say about that.

LIE: Non-believers are more charitable than Christians.”

Here are some interesting statistics from 2 non-partisan sources about charitable giving and volunteerism. Both sites show that the biggest proportion of charity, at least in Christianity-friendly America, is religiously-based.

LIE: Atheism is based on logic and reason, Christianity is based on superstition and fear.”

Let’s look at atheism at its core. The best that an honest can claim is that his or her non-belief is based on a lack of evidence that proves the existence of God. Lack of evidence is not the same as evidence that proves the contrary, so the atheist is at best an agnostic. Since the atheist/agnostic doesn’t consider his/her faith-based beliefs to be irrational or illogical, then the believer is no less rational or logical than the non-believer. It becomes case for evidence.

Here’s a link from a layman that discusses the rationality of religious faith in plain terms:

As far as Christianity being based on superstition and fear, I’d challenge you to go and find out for yourself how many Christians carry a “lucky” rabbit’s foot, or fly into a panic when a mirror breaks. Check some statistics for yourself and find out how many Christians over the age of 5 believe in Santa Claus, The Easter Bunny, or the Tooth Fairy. Christians know the difference between fairy tale characters and the historical nature of the Books of the Bible.

LIE: All Christians are responsible for the atrocities committed by the early Church.”

The “Church” atheists refer to in a generic fashion is the Early Catholic Church, headquartered in Rome. Christianity’s opponents never mention the believers in the Reformation and the Protestant Movements, who saw the injustices instigated by Rome and separated themselves from Catholicism. They suffered greatly and were persecuted for their perceived heresy.

LIE: Christianity has contributed to civilization nothing but hatred and dissension.”

Christianity has made horrendous mistakes in its infancy, but has also inspired some of the greatest works of art, music, and literature the world has ever known. Christmas is also the most well-known and beloved holiday across the world, even among those who do not follow Christianity.

LIE: All the great reasoning thinkers were Greek philosophers, not Christians.”

One of the greatest philosophers of all time was St. Thomas Aquinas, whose writings sought to resolve the perceived schism between Christianity and Greek Thought. The works of Aquinas have been studied and admired for centuries, and are considered timeless.

LIE: Christians reject Darwinism because they’re too ignorant to understand science.”

There are literally thousands of working scientists, in eminent positions around the globe, who are both believing Christians and dissenters with Darwinian Naturalism. You can find them all over the internet (and I’m not including Kent Hovind, the infamous “Dr. Dino” here).

LIE: “The Christian God cannot be omnipotent or omnibenevolent because evil is allowed to exist.”

Unless that very same God has decided that the existence of evil has an ultimately good purpose.

LIE: The Bible is just a bunch of historically unreliable myths and legends.”

The Bible has been used to confirm the existence of various archaeological discoveries in Israel. One discovery that stands out in modern times is the “Pilate Block” unearthed by Italian archaeologists. Pontius Pilate was mentioned briefly in other histories, but the Biblical account of Pilate in the Gospels was highly suspect. Many scholars believed Pilate never went to Judea. The block, which dedicates the theater at Caesaria to Emperor Tiberius, names Pontius Pilate as the Prefect (a.k.a governor). In confirming archaeologically that Pilate was the Governor of Judea, the accounts of him in the Gospels can considered as reliable as any of the other histories that mentioned him in much less detail. The Romans didn’t mention much more about Pilate than they did about Jesus, but that doesn’t automatically mean the Bible is wrong.

LIE: “Jesus never existed.”

There is plenty of historical evidence to testify to the existence of Jesus. Besides that, our western system of dating is based on the year of His birth. There obviously must have been enough evidence for ancient people to do this.

Even skeptic Christopher Hitchens is careful in his wording when he says that the scarcity of information about Jesus (at least, whatever he defines as scarcity) leads him to doubt that Jesus is more than a mythical figure. Hitchens is careful not to step on the same slippery slope as Ellen Johnson of American Atheists, who says that evidence proves Jesus never existed. The fact is, Johnson is wrong. She cannot state for certain that Jesus never existed, especially when the weight of evidence shows that there was a Person named Jesus who lived in Judea. Her claim is faith-based, even though she isn’t intellectually honest enough to admit it.

LIE: Christians believe the Bible because they are stupid enough to believe anything”.

Then why are we skeptical of Darwinian Naturalism? Refer to the previous statement on Christians and superstition.

LIE: "Scientists have proven that Darwin was right and God doesn’t exist”.

I’m sure the eminent scientists who still believe in God would be surprised to hear this.

LIE: “The majority of Christians are uneducated rednecks.”

There are Christians in all walks of life. They are doctors, lawyers, carpenters, salesmen, computer experts, and yes, even rocket scientists. This hateful assumption by atheists and other Christian-bashers is based purely on ignorance.

LIE: Christianity is Fascism”.

Fascism is a political ideology forced on people through authoritarian means. Christianity is entirely voluntary. Each person will face God on their own merits, as He is the Judge of all the Earth.

LIE: Christians are brainwashed by their fanatical religious parents. “

You can read for yourself the dozens of testimonies from Christians who were from non-religious households and became followers of Christ. Among the atheist skeptics who have remarkable conversion stories to tell is C.S. Lewis, the famous Christian thinker and writer of “Mere Christianity”. Anthony Hopkins played Lewis in the movie “Shadowlands”.

LIE: Christianity is a big lie.”

That’s a totally subjective comment, based on prejudice. Christians believe the historical testimony of the writers of the Bible and are trying to apply those truths to their lives to make a positive change.

LIE: “All religions are bad, but Christianity is the worst of the lot.”

Christians do not drink blood or practice ritual mutilation, human sacrifice, or cannibalism (Communion is not a simulation of cannibalism, sorry). Christians are not commanded to kill infidels as part of a holy war. There are demonstrably far worse religious systems than Christianity could ever be.

LIE: “The Christian prohibition of homosexuality is wrong because Jesus never spoke against homosexuality.”

Jesus said, “I do not come to destroy the Law but to fulfill it”. The Law (a.k.a. the Mosaic Law) prohibited homosexuality and all forms of deviant sexual behavior. Jesus said that the Law was still valid.

LIE: “Societies based on Christianity are more violent and corrupt than secular societies.”

The United States and Western Europe were both founded with Biblically-based morals at the cornerstone, and they hold a longer record for stability and orderliness than their African, Oriental, or Middle Eastern counterparts. The one example we have of a society that had atheism at its foundation was the USSR, which fell after only 70 years. What’s left behind is now a political and economic mess, with leaders who want to take the Russians back into the godless communism that ruined their country in the first place.

LIE: Christianity is a mental disease.”

One anthropological requirement for a group of people to be classified as a culture is a belief in religion or the supernatural. Virtually all cultures in the world hold this belief. If Christianity is a symptom of mental disease, then most of the world’s people are mentally ill.

LIE: Christians think sex is dirty and only for procreation.”

The Bible makes only to 2 rules concerning sex: sex is reserved for married people, and deviant sexuality is prohibited. If you’re a married couple, you can swing from the chandelier if that floats your boat. The Bible encourages couples to have sex regularly to avoid temptation. There is even a whole Book in the Old Testament dedicated to sensual love.

LIE: “Christianity by nature is hateful and divisive.”

No it isn’t. Poorly followed Christianity is.

I also can't belt but notice that common atheism is quite hateful and divisive when properly followed.

Google the phrase “christian liars” and you can get nearly 2 million links to websites and blog entries by people bashing Christians. Then Google “atheist liars” and you get a little over half a million responses. The fact is, hate is not a Christian value, and Christians are guilty of spreading it in many instances. But there is more than plenty of anti-Christian hatred spread around the web by atheists and other Christian-bashers. ALL the haters need to clean up their backyards before pointing their fingers elsewhere. The “speck in your brother’s eye” lesson, taught by Jesus, comes to mind here.

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