Wednesday, September 22, 2010

L 5.6

“Atheists generally think Christian theism inhibits scientific progress, creates class struggles, sexism, racism, mass neurosis, intolerance, and environmental disasters”. (p. 79)

Christian theism inhibits scientific progress
What is most unfortunate about this kind of thinking is that it somehow overlooks the obvious fact that many Christians have been and are scientists because they seek to better understand the existence God created. In that way, Christians aren’t actually preventing progress but, contributing to it. Loftus may not have heard of Georges Lemaître. He was known for something pretty significant.

creates class struggles
Certainly, there are Christians who have used Christianity to create class struggles. However, they have done so contra the Bible's teaching about the first church where everyone shared as they had need (Acts 4:32-35). Indeed, many socialists use this as justification that Christianity supports socialism. These people draw the exact opposite conclusion that Loftus has drawn.

One of the most prominent oversights about Christianity is that the first Christians treated women with unparalleled equality among ancient belief systems. A Christian I know pointed out that there are “many references in the Bible to women holding high, important positions in families and in society at large. Women are even mentioned in the lineage of Jesus, and that’s very unusual in itself. In those days, women were typically omitted from the genealogical lists. It was a MAN’S WORLD in every respect. Jesus changed all that. As for creation, God said that ‘it was not good for man to be alone.’ Therefore, His creation was not…complete without women. Think of how Jesus took care of His mother Mary; the story of the widow’s mite that seems so insignificant yet has been retold countless times throughout Christendom; the Godly influence of Timothy’s mother and grandmother on his life; the huge roles played in the Bible by Jesus’ mother Mary, Esther, Miriam, Pharaoh’s daughter, Rahab, Martha and Mary, Priscilla, Lydia, etc., etc. If God hadn’t placed a great deal of value on women, we wouldn’t have all those accounts of women and their deeds in the Bible. Many of them were in leadership positions.”

She continues “As for submission per se, I’m not so sure that the definition was exactly the same when the Bible was written as we often hear it today. Today we think of it as being lorded over, bossed around, intimidated, etc. I think it carried more of the connotation of love, caring, and respect, and earned respect at that. The role of all Christians–men and women–is one of submission . . . to God first, to authority (for civil order), to one another in all kinds of relationships (friendships, marriages, businesses, etc.). It’s not like a king and his subjects. That doesn’t work in any kind of relationship. In Ephesians 5, most pastors until recent years have totally omitted verse 21 which admonishes people to honor Christ by being submissive to each other. Then, the following verses expound on exactly how women are to be submissive and then how men are to be submissive. Marriage doesn’t work without mutual submission. A lot of what has been preached over the past hundred years or so has done more to fuel the battle between the sexes than any other outside force. I can tell you one thing for sure: If a man really loves a woman like Christ loved the church (loving and caring for it/her to the point of sacrificing his wants and even his very life for it/her), it’s easy and practically automatic for the woman to respond in kind. I think that’s what submission means, and that’s the great power of love. The problem is that mankind is fallen and, only with God’s help, can come anywhere close to loving someone that much. The biblical ideal is so antithetical to the way the real world functions that it’s very hard to get our contemporary minds to wrap around it. It’s a ‘dog eat dog’ world, and everyone wants to be the big dog. That’s just not the way God wants His children to function.”

The accusation that Christianity creates racism is just plain laziness. The Christian diaspora is one of the most amazing phenomena in the history of mankind. Followers of Christ endeavored, even died for, people of all races and creeds. Christians brought unparalleled human services to all people in the face of all manner of dangers to themselves. In this sense, Christianity crossed all social and racial borders. The same is the case today.

Many Christians feel that, based on the discrimination against Christianity prevalent in America today, non-Christians are much more intolerant than Christians are. The overriding sentiment in America today is to be tolerant of everything except Christianity.

mass neurosis
Christians suffering from mass neurosis depends on whether or not what they are seeing is true.

environmental disasters
If I understand Loftus correctly, the environmental disasters he is referring to are really more of a political issue than a religious issue.

The totality of this statement by Loftus is a fallacy called hurling the elephant. This fallacy usually takes several parts of a complex situation, throws them together with little regard to detail or contrary information and hurls an unwarranted conclusion at the target. Each individual point of Loftus’ statement bears little resemblance to reality. Not only does Loftus blame Christianity for something non-Christians are also guilty of but, he blames Christianity for the actions of a minority who acted outside of Christian beliefs.

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