As you may have gathered, many of the accusations against Christianity are based on the misconstruing of its teachings or its historical legacy. Fulton J. Sheen once observed that there are not “one hundred people in the United States who hate the Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they wrongly perceive the Catholic Church to be.’ What Sheen said over fifty years ago about the perception of Catholicism in America can now be said about Christianity in much of Western society today.
1. Biblical patriarchy is little more than a mask for men’s will to power.
Christian teaching on the sexes has nuances that elude the mind of modern man. On the one hand, Christianity affirms the full spiritual equality of the sexes; on the other, it speaks of a division of labor or a hierarchy of responsibility within the family and in divine worship. Modern man, who worships the idol of equality, loves the former teaching but despises the latter. To say that one person is subject to another is not to say that one person is inferior to another. To be “subject” or “subordinate” is simply to be placed under the authority of another; it is a statement concerning a distribution of rank or responsibility within a team, not of worth or excellence. So, when the New Testament speaks of a wife’s subjection to her husband, it is not implying that she is an inferior specimen. On the contrary, there is a way in which she is called to a nobler task than her husband, for she is called to something far more important than career or politics or money – she is called to be the life and center of a home.
2. Christians view the Bible as something which allows them to keep their power and privilege – it’s a product of its times.
Of course the Bible is a product of its times – in a certain sense. Its books arose out of particular historical, geographical, and linguistic contexts, which is why biblical scholars study history, geography, and Greek and Near Eastern languages. So, Christians take into account human agency and historical context when interpreting the Bible. But, because of the divine agency behind the Bible, Christians also recognize that the Scriptures are more than a product of their own times, that the Bible is a transcendent set of writings that are as relevant, as reliable, and as true today as the day they were written.
3. Christianity is the Enemy of Science.
From aeronautics to zoology, Christians have contributed to existing branches of learning and created entirely new disciplines in their search for knowledge. If that weren’t enough, we have an even bigger bombshell to drop: Christianity made science possible in the first place. That’s right. Were it not for the Christian belief in an intelligible order created by a supremely intelligent God who also created human reason, there would have been no faith in reason. And without faith in the power and reliability of reason, there can be no science.
4. The Spanish Inquisition was a bloodbath motivated by religious fanaticism.
The Spanish Inquisition has become a favorite bludgeon to use against the Catholic Church in particular and against Christianity in general – to “prove” that Christians who care about sound doctrine are repressive, bloodthirsty, and insanely power-hungry. Reports of its atrocities are greatly exaggerated. Indeed, the methods of the Inquisitors were more humane than those of any contemporary secular court. One historian has compared the level of brutality of the Spanish Inquisition’s interrogation methods to American police departments in the 1930s. Of the 44,701 Inquisition cases on record, only 2 percent involved the use of torture. The Spanish Inquisition never executed a single individual: as a Church tribunal, the most it could do was declare someone guilty of a capital crime and then hand him over to the State, which wielded the power to execute. In fact, Planned Parenthood kills more people every six days than the Spanish Inquisition did in 350 years.
5. Christianity oppresses victims.
There is a supreme irony in the secular Left’s vilification of Christianity as oppressive, for: 1) it is Christianity that gave the world concern for the victim in the first place, and 2) by ruthlessly scapegoating Christianity and accusing it of being an oppressor, secularists are turning Christians into genuine victims of injustice and prejudice. Christianity began with the recognition that Jesus was an innocent victim and that the many were guilty; the Left now teaches that the many are innocent victims and that Jesus and His followers are guilty. It will be interesting, to say the least, what happens next.
Michael P. Foley, Ph.D. is the author of The Politically Incorrect© to Christianity (Regnery; November 20, 2017; $21.99).