Answering bogus charges against Christianity
By: Robert E. Meyer
A recent vitriolic anti-Christian editorial brought out the usual boiler-plate responses from both sides of the ideological continuum. One respondent argued that people are entitled to believe whatever they want, but then in the next sentence said that “radical Christians” (whoever that pejorative refers to) should be shunned and forced into hiding. Of course, I found his self-contradictory sentiments quite revealing. I pointed out that such proscriptions are microcosmic illustrations of the “tolerant” society that awaits those who express strong religious convictions if ever bellicose secularists and seething atheists continue to gain social acceptance and legitimate acclaim.
My observation was met by a remonstration from a left-leaning poster who offered this derogatory trilogy besmirching the character of Christians and Christianity at large.
They do harass Congressmen who are trying to conduct town hall meetings.
They do blow up innocent people at the 1996 Olympics.
They do picket funerals of servicemen with signs saying that God hates gays.
Answering these allegations is the mission today.
Let’s look at his second statement first. Obviously, this was an allusion to Olympic bomber Eric Rudolph. But this is what Rudolph himself said in a letter commenting about those Christians who contacted him in prison.
“Most of them have, of course, an agenda; mostly born-again Christians looking to save my soul. I suppose the assumption is made that because I’m in here I must be a ‘sinner’ in need of salvation, and they would be glad to sell me a ticket to heaven, hawking this salvation like peanuts at a ball game. I do appreciate their charity, but I could really do without the condescension. They have been so nice I would hate to break it to them that I really prefer Nietzsche to the Bible.”
If Rudolph is really a Christian, one wonders why he would have preferred the writings and philosophy of a famous nihilist to the scriptures? I think this same sort of gambit was launched with Timothy McVey, when he asked about seeing a Roman Catholic priest prior to his execution.
In his first statement he claims that Christians harass congressman trying to conduct town hall meetings. Well, I suppose some do, but I doubt that the dissent expressed at town hall meetings was exclusively an enterprise of Christian activism. Even if such was the case, why should it be considered a bad thing? How does he know these people were all Christians. Were they all wearing big gold crosses? Did they tell him so? Does he have mental telepathy? Some of the ways in which those in congress responded to the criticism had a lot to be desired as well. This claim was little more than an arbitrary comment. He might have done better by sticking his tongue out and putting his thumbs in his ears and calling out “na-na-na-na-na.”
The last statement obviously refers to Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church. This organization has been repudiated by every Christian denomination for his demonstrable hateful and uncivil activities. Why would anyone protest funerals of soldiers because they dislike certain political or moral positions in this country that have nothing to do with soldiers? Phelps’ church consists largely of members of his own extended family. I remember what Christ said about a kingdom divided against itself. It is interesting that my detractor used a figure outside the fringes of Christianity, in order to characterize, or even smear Christianity in general.
The fallacy apparent here is the gratuitous labeling of a whole group based on the malicious actions of a few iconoclasts. This is a common tactic used by militant atheists and secularists. But it is a methodology so indicative of sophomoric playground apologetics, if not mere reckless taunting, that one wonders why any person claiming to be “unlighted” would resort to it.
Media reports of newsworthy crimes are careful to point out the so-called “Christian” connections of the given perpetrator, but are often silent when the affiliation of the alleged criminal is otherwise. Do we then conclude that when no reference is made to the religious convictions of a particular criminal, that that person must be a non-believer? Are we then equally critical in our analysis, so that we conclude many terrible things can be spawned by carrying out non-believing philosophies to their logical conclusions?
If the bad behaviors of a few cast aspersions on the whole, it seems that bad impressions are conveniently easy to come by. If I were to commit a series of ritual axe murders in the name of some famous belligerent atheist, such as Michael Newdow or Richard Dawkins, should, or would that be proof that all atheists are guilty by association with commonly held ideologies? Those “guilt by associations” gimmicks seem only to stick if someone can be remotely associated with a profession of Christianity, but not other ideologies.
As a Christian I can condemn the atrocious actions of those depicted as Christians, on the premise that their actions themselves violate the mandates and edicts of Christianity proper. For the atheist who is a materialist or physicalist, such a line of objective criticism is not even available. The atheist, for example, may also be willing to condemn mass murders like Stalin and Mao, but in doing so is inconsistent, because Stalin and Mao acted in accordance with a materialistic view of reality when committing their atrocities. Atheists claim a materialistic view of reality as their metanarrative, but can’t reason or order their own lives in accordance with it.