The Anti-Christian Barrage You Dare Not Ignore
Last Friday I told a commenter I’d write an article answering an anti-Christianity charge he’d made here on The Stream. I’m going to do that, but later. There’s another question I have to cover first: Who cares? What difference does it make?
On its own, very little. But questions like these don’t appear out of nowhere; they represent a whole lot more. Let me quote what he said, then I’ll explain.
They say integrity is doing the right thing when nobody’s watching. But mythologists believe that’s never the case.
I’ll take the integrity of the rational good, who do the right thing without being coerced by the delusion they’re being watched by an imaginary overseer.
The language is loaded. Christians are “mythologists,” he says, deluded into thinking we’ve got some imaginary overseer coercing us into behaving.
If you understand Christianity at all, you know that’s miles distant from true Christian moral belief. Yet I’ve seen the same sort of thing over and over again online: “Atheist morality is real, Christian morality is fake, hypocritical and self-serving. Christians do good so they can get rewarded for it; atheists do good just because it’s good.”
The Anti-Christian Barrage
It’s out there, and in fact it’s part of a whole barrage of atheist charges against the faith. A lot of them fall under the heading, “You Christians don’t read your Bible, do you?” Supposedly if we did, we’d “discover” what it really “teaches”:
- Stone your daughter if she isn’t a virgin on her wedding night.
- Don’t eat shellfish.
- Commit genocide if you think God is telling you to.
It’s as if atheists have a talking-points page out there somewhere. I’ve never found it, but from long discussions I could reproduce a lot of it right here. Besides the above:
- “Religion is the main cause of war throughout history.”
- “Faith is believing what you know isn’t true.”
- “The Bible promotes old southern American-style chattel slavery.”
- “Jesus probably never existed.”
- “Christianity is anti-science.”
- “Christians are homophobic haters.”
- “Christianity is anti-woman.”
- “The Bible is full of contradictions.”
- “The Emperor Constantine told the church what books to include in the Bible.”
- “What’s in the Bible is biased and can’t be trusted.”
- “Real thought and real morality never surfaced until the Enlightenment finally replaced religion with reason.”
- “Science and religion are at war; science never took off until it flung off its religious shackles.”
- “The ‘Dark Ages’ were a religion-dominated era of flat-earth-believing ignorance and the suppression of knowledge.”
Do you feel the force of it? I hate to say it, but I’m only getting started. The real list goes on a lot longer.
You might not be faced with this barrage in the office or around the sports fields. You might not see it much where you go online. But your kids do. Or your grandkids. If they’re too young to see it now, they will before long.
If you’re too young to have kids, and you tell me you haven’t heard this kind of thing, I’ll say “Wow! You’re one in a thousand!”
It’s a Barrage of Blanks
Yet here’s the thing: all those charges have good answers. Most of them, in fact, are based on “false facts,” some of them so outrageously wrong — and so easily disproved — they never would have seen the light of day, were it not for anti-Christian bias pushing them out into the open.
Others are based on the simplistic conceit that reading a single sentence or two tells you all you need to know about what a passage meant in its original time and place, thousands of years ago.
These accusations have answers. All of them do. Good answers. Like the 27 LGBT-related charges I answer in my book Critical Conversations, they may come at us sounding terribly noisy and impressive, but it’s all a barrage of blanks.
Yet We Dare Not Let It Go Unanswered
Yet there’s one more thing. The more these charges get repeated without being answered, the more people will get the false impression they don’t have any answers.
So we have to answer. We have to answer enough of these charges at least to show that we’ve got a good track record handling them; that we’re not afraid of them.
I’ll come back to this commenter’s charge in a short while. When I do, I trust you’ll know why it isn’t just a squabble. It represents a whole lot more than that. It really does make a difference.
Tom Gilson is a senior editor with The Stream and the author of Critical Conversations: A Christian Parents’ Guide to Discussing Homosexuality with Teens (Kregel Publications, 2016). Follow him on Twitter: @TomGilsonAuthor.