“The Bible should be taught, but emphatically not as reality. It is fiction, myth, poetry, anything but reality. As such it needs to be taught because it underlies so much of our literature and our culture.” Richard Dawkins
By Alex P. Vidal
IF we get a chance to have a tete-a-tete with Pope Francis in a no-holds-barred discussion during his visit in the Philippines from January 15 to 19, we would be asking him the following myths about Christianity:
- Christians force their morality on others.
-According to this myth, Christians are judgmental and act as society’s moral watchdogs. And they try to censor everything from the arts to sex education.
- Christians suppress women.
-According to this myth, the church through the ages has stifled the voice and gifts of women and has treated women as second-class beings.
- Christians caused the ecological crisis.
-According to this myth, the Christian religion is alienated from the natural world. The Bible says to subdue the earth, and Western Christian culture took that as a license to exploit nature.
- Christians are anti-scientific.
-According to this myth, the church has historically suppressed learning in general and scientific inquiry in particular. Christians even promote pseudoscience by trying to force science to fit a literal interpretation of the Bible.
- Christians have done terrible things in the name of Christ.
-This myth cited the wrongs that have been done in the name of Christianity—everything from the Crusades to televangelist scandals.
- Christian missionaries destroy native cultures.
-According to this myth, Christian missionaries force indigenous peoples to give up their unique culture. Christians don’t respect the spiritual value in native customs and religions.
- Christians are arrogant.
-According to this myth, all religions teach basically the same thing, but Christians insist their religion is the only one that’s right. They arrogantly claim that Jesus Christ is the only way to God. That may be true for Christians, but it isn’t true for everybody.
Freelance writers Dale and Sandy Larsen of Duluth, Minnesota, ask if Christianity is defensible amid these myths.
“Isn’t it a backward religion based on primitive ideas that have no place in today’s world? Isn’t the Bible hopelessly out of date? And yet Christians insist on forcing their morality on other people!” they intone.
“And worst of all, isn’t Christianity the cause of so much pain and suffering in the world—from destroying native cultures to suppressing women to causing the ecological crisis?
“How can anyone take seriously a religion that is promoted by sleazy televangelists and that once sponsored the Crusade?
“These are honest questions that deserve straightforward answers. Separating the beliefs and actions of some Christians from our Christianity can be difficult. We need to go below the surface, see how these problems developed historically and go back to the Bible for the full story.”
They believe that there is “element of truth” in the above-mentioned myths.
“Some Christians are arrogant. Some Christians have made their faith into an exclusive club. But God’s forgiveness always reaches out to be inclusive, touching everyone who acknowledges need and and responds in faith to his mercy,” the conclude. “Anyone who has been hurt by Christians’ arrogance will need to summon extra courage and open-mindedness in order to take another serious look at Christianity.”
We must examine our heart. Are we willing not only to look at Christian faith but to find it true and begin to live by it?
Let’s examine the heart of Christian belief.
Let’s examine the credibility of Christianity.