Some books I buy just for the title, and this was one of them. The subtitle is even better “12 Hard Question for the World’s Largest Religion.” We need to be asking the hard questions. We need to be encouraging our people, especially our youth, to ask the hard questions. Why? Because unfortunately so much of our American evanjelly churchianity ignored those questions and instead sold people a false narrative where we are the center of the story and God’s role is to help us achieve our dreams. Facing the hard questions head on mortally wounds this poisonous nonsense.
Rebecca McLaughlin has put together a helpful book, a VERY helpful book. It is also a very well organized, accessible, and intelligently written book. Organized simply around twelve of the hardest questions we Christians hear (or should be hearing) against Christianity – such as: “Aren’t we better off without religion?” and “How can you say there is only one true faith?” and “How can you take the Bible literally?” and…my personal fav…”Hasn’t science disproved Christianity?” [One nugget for you from page 111 – “To hear the New Atheists today, one would scarcely think that modern science was first developed by Christians.”]
McLaughlin is super smart, eloquent, extremely well read, and quite funny – all of which make reading this book a faith-building and spiritually edifying experience. She is also vulnerable. In the “I wasn’t expecting that” category – she transparently tells of her own struggles with faith and sinful temptations, and her journey to faith. This only increases the legitimacy and credibility of her work. McLaughlin is very clear on difficult issues such as sexuality and gender, but it is mixed with the sensitive reality from only someone who has truly been there can bring. The beauty in that she pursued these struggles with an open Bible and a curious brain and came to the rock solid conclusion that Scripture is still authoritative – and we’ve got to think more deeply on these issues and those like them.
Conclusion: Buy this book. Read this book. Scour the footnotes and read the sources she quotes. (Even the irrational atheist authors…maybe ESPECIALLY them.) Ask the hard questions with an open Bible and the brain that God put in your melon, and by confronting these questions head on – let’s pray the church only grows stronger.
For more information – see the author’s website, including links where to purchase.
3 thoughts on “Confronting Christianity”
Science, “modern” or not, wasn’t developed by Christians. It was the ancient cultures, and they developed it for the same reasons that Christians did continued it, to explore the universe and investigate their gods. Christians seem to want to present a false timeline in order to try to validate themselves e.g. “we knew “x” fact all along” when that is not the case. There is also the matter of Christians doing their best to try to smother the sciences when those sciences demonstrated that the ignorance in the bible wasn’t true. Happily, we now know that disease isn’t some god’s “wrath”, the sun doesn’t stop or move around the earth, hailstones aren’t in magical warehouses, and magic doesn’t happen.
it’s notable that you attack your fellow Christians “American evanjelly churchianity” when they disagree with you. Each Christian is ever so sure that their version is the only right one, and not one of you can show this to be the case. You vary in what parts of the bible you wnt to claim as literal and metaphor, how one is saved, what heaven and hell are, what morals your god wants, etc. There is little reason to think that any of you have some “truth”.
ClubSchadenfreude! So nice to hear from you. I was hoping you’d reply. I trust you are having a good and fruitful near year, however you choose to define those terms.
When I was speaking of science, I was speaking of the “modern” idea of science as seen in the Scientific Method, e.g. Mr. Bacon. Obviously much work has been done after him and we are all very thankful for the scientific advances. My point was not to claim exclusive ownership of all science, but to provide evidence that Christians are not afraid of or anti-science, as is the common understanding. Your point is well taken about naive Christians trying to smother the sciences, which is regrettable and true, which baffles me personally as any and all scientific truth has to lead you to God, as science itself sets out to try and uncover truth…the very nature that fulfilling such a task is impossible should be the first clue that there is obviously a Grand Designer…but we can’t allow a divine foot in the door, of course.
Speaking of the pursuit of truth, you are once again contradicting yourself in that you make a truth claim that there is no truth. It is completely inconsistent to hold it as exclusively true that there is no such thing as exclusive truth. I will agree with you, as I have done previously, that it is terrible what Christians have done to each other in the pursuit of biblical truth, but I must disagree completely with you that means there is no such thing AS biblical truth. If someone says 1+1=3, does that mean there is no mathematical truth bc someone got it wrong? I thinketh not.
If you look at the New Testament, early church writings like the Didache, the early church fathers in the 2nd centuries on…there is a clear consistent body of doctrine, deny it if you’d like, but it’s there…just because some have departed from it doesn’t nullify it’s existence. The real issue is why did some depart from it? The answer is the same as Genesis tells us- they all wanted to set themselves up as God…so they can make any truth they want and get rid of what they don’t agree with in their 3lb fallible brains. The temptation is real and still goes on today, present company included. Admit it…it’s not that there is NO truth…bc you know there is, you live in that world everyday…it’s just that you don’t LIKE God’s truth. I don’t either all the time. Talk soon.
I’m sure you were. Having a great year, new job, restructuring my garden, and waiting for a batch of mead to finish fermenting.
You did try to take exclusive ownership, this quote from McLaughlin “To hear the New Atheists today, one would scarcely think that modern science was first developed by Christians.” As I demonstrated, this is simply nonsense.
Making a false claim doesn’t help your attempts to claim that Christians are not afraid of science or are anti-science. As we can see, the vast majority are anti-science for the simple reason that they think magic happens. They do compartmentalize well, having no problem in using science to make themselves comfy, whilst ignoring that the science that makes them comfy also shows that their god is imaginary.
All Christians are “naïve” if you wish to say that they try to smother the sciences which would mean above. You seem to be using the “sophisticated theology” argument, trying to claim that only if they believed in a certain way, it would fine.
There are no scientific truths that lead one to a supernatural being who made part of himself into a human and then had to have a blood sacrifice to make himself happy. But do present one of these truths that does what you claim. As for a “grand designer”, do explain how this “designer” was either ignorant or malevolent enough to put the esophagus beside the trachea and have thousands of its supposedly favorite beings die from choking every year. A claim of a “grand designer” is also nice and vague, and could fit thousands of gods.
Now, where have I said that there is no truth, Mike? Right, I didn’t. I said that Christiansn have no evidence of having any truths. So your attempt to beat a strawman fails. And it’s always great fun to see you insist that only your version is the truth, and those other Christians are wrong. “I will agree with you, as I have done previously, that it is terrible what Christians have done to each other in the pursuit of biblical truth, but I must disagree completely with you that means there is no such thing AS biblical truth.” Funny how you have yet to be able to show that there is “biblical truth”. It’s rather a shame that your god allows Christians to murder each other since it was evidently unable to make itself clear.
As for your attempt at an analogy, that fails too. If someone says 1+1 =3, then we can check facts to see if they are wrong. With Christian claims, none of you can show your version right. Could there be a right answer, maybe? And none of you have it. Now how can that be if your god is the omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent being that wants everyone to come to it? It gave none of you the right answer? Why not?
I have looked at the NT and the Didache and the early fathers, and there is not a consistent body of doctrine. I can deny it and I can show it. Do tell me what early Christians thought Jesus was, What morals did they say that this god wanted? How was one saved? What is heaven and hell? That not one of you can show that your version is the truth means that not one of you can say the others are wrong too. So your attempt at claiming, again, that your version is the only right one “just because some have departed from it doesn’t nullify it’s existence” fails. Those Christians who you say are wrong are just as sure that you want to set yourself up as this god too. You make up what you want and get rid of what you don’t want, just like them. You have that 3 pound fallible brain too.
I do also note, again, that you can’t do what JC promised any more than they can. So either the bible is lying or all of you have gotten something wrong. Which is it?
and gee, which truth, Mike? Christians all claim that I don’t like their “truth” and all of you have different ones. How do you propose to show me that your version is the right one?