The world has changed a great deal. The divisions are now less about right and left than about freedom and oppression.
Do you support the right to believe, speak, even offend, or do you want society to be strictly controlled? We see things particularly strongly when it comes to the increasingly harsh attacks on Christianity, to the point where genuine Christian believers are told to keep their faith at home and not discuss it in public, and certainly not in politics. If they do, they’re dismissed and silenced as bigots.
It’s one of the reasons I wrote Heresy: Ten Lies They Spread About Christianity(McClelland & Stewart), published earlier this week. Anti-Christianity is the last acceptable prejudice, and it’s time we responded to the usual, absurd attacks.
In the book I answer the lies that Jesus didn’t exist, that Christians oppose progress, are scared of science, that they’re obsessed with abortion, that they’re racist and supported slavery, that Hitler was a Christian, and so on.
Being a book about Christianity, Heresy is in the forgiving business. But forgiveness does not mean forgetting the truth.
The notion that Hitler was a Christian, for example, is schoolboy stuff, and profoundly insulting to the Christians who opposed the man and who he in turn slaughtered. Of course there were people calling themselves Christian who were Nazis, but this says nothing at all about Christianity and a great deal about hypocrisy. National Socialism was a strict, pagan ideology, replacing Messiah with Fuehrer, church with party, love with hate, soul with will, protection of the weakest with survival of the fittest.
Similarly with the alleged Christian opposition to science and progress. The Christian church has in many ways been the handmaiden of science, and the only reason opponents mention Galileo so often is he’s about the only scientist who Christianity didn’t always treat properly. What about the devout Newton, Pasteur, or Copernicus? The same applies to the clawidence Jesus existed (there is an abundance) or that The Da Vinci Code is credible (it’s a badly written pop novel), or that bad things happening to good people is somehow a difficulty for Christians.
This one is particularly annoying, because it’s so badly considered. Not only do bad things happen to good people, but — equally irritating — good things happen to bad ones. But that’s a problem for the atheist, not the Christian.
We understand God guaranteed not a good life, but a perfect eternity. The dying child, the loved spouse with cancer, are dilemmas for the atheist, not for someone who knows there is an immortal soul, and the end is our beginning.
Neither this nor any of the other atheist talking points I destroy in the book are problems to anybody who knows their faith. The problem is too few Christians today fully understand it, and many of those who do have been bashed into silence, if not submission, by a culture that, ironically, demands uniformity in its apparent longing for diversity.
It’s time to shout and write back a little; time to become a thoroughly modern heretic!