Exposing Myths About Christianity: A Guide to Answering 145 Viral Lies and Legends

Overview

Renowned historian, Jeffrey Burton Russell, famous for his studies of medieval history, turns to the serious questions that confront Christianity in contemporary culture. Russell examines a wide array of common mispercerptions, characterizations, stereotypes, caricatures and outright myths about Christianity that circulate heavily within today's society, and are even believed by many Christians. In a succinct and engaging manner, Russell discusses these errors and provides thoughtful, even-handed, carefully ...
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Overview

Renowned historian, Jeffrey Burton Russell, famous for his studies of medieval history, turns to the serious questions that confront Christianity in contemporary culture. Russell examines a wide array of common mispercerptions, characterizations, stereotypes, caricatures and outright myths about Christianity that circulate heavily within today's society, and are even believed by many Christians. In a succinct and engaging manner, Russell discusses these errors and provides thoughtful, even-handed, carefully researched and sharp-witted responses. The author sets the record straight against the New Atheists and other cultural critics who charge Christianity with being outdated, destructive, superstitious, unenlightened, racist, colonialist, based on fabrication, and other significant false accusations.
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Editorial Reviews

Peter Kreeft
"An astonishingly rich plethora of historical facts and common-sense arguments--a summa of persuasive debating points in popular apologetics."
Carol Zaleski
"Jeffrey Burton Russell is a marvel. Aneminent scholar of medieval intellectual history, he has placed his gifts in the service of the gospel, creating in one immensely readable volume an enlightening guide to theChristian experience and a bracing antidote to the follies and willful confusions of our age."
Wendy M. Wright
"If you thought Christian apologetics was an art last practiced in the third century, Professor Russell's lively book will convince you that that ancient art of persuasive, reasoned defense is alive and well. Tackling the many misapprehensions and false assumptions about Christianity that routinely circulate in the modern world, Russell counters with thoughtful and thought-provoking data. Researched with a scholar's attention to accuracy yet written in an accessible style and in a format that facilitates consideration of discrete topics, this book deserves a wide readership among thinking people, Christians and non-Christians, believers and non-believers alike."
Very Reverend Doctor - Ian Markham
"This is Christian apologetics at its best—compelling, readable, convincing and informed. Distortions, myths and lazy assumptions are all challenged. Encyclopedic in scope, all the major questions are considered. From gnosticism to evil, from science to the Trinity, Jeffrey Burton Russell demonstrates exceptional competence and mastery of the literature. What C. S. Lewis's Mere Christianity did in the 1940s, Jeffrey Burton Russell has done for us. For those seeking and for those who doubt, this is a must-read book."
Very Rev. Dr. Ian Markham
"This is Christian apologetics at its best--compelling, readable, convincing and informed. Distortions, myths and lazy assumptions are all challenged. Encyclopedic in scope, all the major questions are considered. From gnosticism to evil, from science to the Trinity, Jeffrey Burton Russell demonstrates exceptional competence and mastery of the literature. What C. S. Lewis's Mere Christianity did in the 1940s, Jeffrey Burton Russell has done for us. For those seeking and for those who doubt, this is a must-read book."
Library Journal
Russell (history, emeritus, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara; The Devil: Perceptions of Evil) is a notable scholar with a notable talent for writing accessible works with general-readership appeal, including a long series on the understanding of evil, especially in the Middle Ages. His new book is a kind of lesson in the making of careful distinctions: showing how, rightly understood, Christianity is not antiscientific, and has not been "disproved." While this volume is likely a response to the rise of contemporary atheism, it is a model of learning and logic in its own right. VERDICT Immense learning and intellectual power packed into a small space, this book is highly recommended for individual readers as well as academic libraries.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780830834662
  • Publisher: InterVarsity Press
  • Publication date: 6/4/2012
  • Pages: 370
  • Sales rank: 367,872
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Jeffrey Burton Russell (Ph.D., Emory University) was a history professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara from 1979-1998 where he is now a professor of history, emeritus. He also taught at the University of Mexico, Harvard, University of California in Riverside, Notre Dame, and California State University, Sacramento. Russell has published numerous books and articles on his area of expertise, the history of theology. Early in his academic career, Russell was honored as a Fulbright Fellow, Harvard Junior Fellow, and Guggenheim Fellow.

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Table of Contents

Preface Introduction Chronology Map Christianity is Dying Out
1. “Christianity is uncool and old-fashioned.”
2. “Christianity is outdated and dying out.”
3. “Christianity is boring.”
4. “Christianity is a fairy tale.”
5. “Christianity is confusing.”
6. “Christianity is a superstition.”
7. “Christianity is a myth.”
8. “Christianity is magic.”
9. “Christianity is incompatible with belief in science.”
Christianity is Destructive
10. “Hitler was a Christian.”
11. “The Inquisition executed millions of heretics and witches.”
12. “Christians are intolerant fanatics.”
13. “Religion causes more war and suffering than atheism does.”
14. “Corrupt clergy show that Christians are hypocrites who do more harm than good.”
15. “Christianity supported black slavery.”
16. “Christianity consists of Thou Shalt Nots.”
17. “Christianity stunts self-development and personal happiness.”
18. “Christianity is insensitive to other beliefs.”
19. “Christianity is mainly about sin.”
20. “Christianity impedes progress.”
21. “Christianity supports war and the death penalty.”
22. “Christianity favors the rich.”
23. “Christianity is anti-environment.”
24. “Christianity is anti-sex.”
25. “Christianity is anti-choice.”
26. “Christianity is sexist.”
27. “Christianity is homophobic.”
28. “Christianity is antisemitic.”
29. “Christianity is racist.”
30. “Christianity is antidemocratic.”
31. “Christianity is a religion of reward and punishment.”
32. “Christians believe in Christ because they are afraid of death.”
33. “Christians need a crutch.”
34. “Christianity is immoral.”
35. “Christianity warps children.”
36. “The Christian community has repented for its sins against others.”
37. “Kings, popes, and other leaders used Christianity to justify their power.”
38. “Christianity is Eurocentric and colonialist.”
39. “The Crusades were imperialist aggression.”
40. “Christian missionaries degraded indigenous cultures.”
41. “The great cathedrals were built with slave labor.”
42. “Christians burned down the Great Library at Alexandria.”
43. “Christianity has nothing to do with law and justice.”
Christianity is Stupid
44. “Bright people don't believe in God.”
45. “Scientific evidence has shown that there is no God.”
46. “Christians persecuted Galileo for saying that Earth revolves around the sun.”
47. “Christianity differs from atheism in being faith-based.”
48. “Most leading atheists are scientists.”
49. “Medieval Christians believed that Earth is flat.”
50. “Christianity represses free thought.”
51. “Christianity is irrational and unreasonable.”
52. “Belief in Christianity is incompatible with science.”
53. “Science did not originate in Christianity.”
54. “The evidence of evolution points away from Christianity.”
55. “Christians are Creationists who deny evolution.”
56. “Christians object to evolution on the basis of literal reading of the Bible.”
57. “The legal system and the media understand the relationship of Christianity to evolution.”
58. “There is no evidence for theistic evolution.”
59. “Science is about facts, religion about values.”
60. “There is no evidence in nature for intelligent purpose in the cosmos.”
61. “There is so much Christian art because the church paid for it.”
62. “The Renaissance prevented Christianity from stamping out the classics.”
Jesus and the Bible Have Been Shown to Be False
63. “The original Bible exists.”
64. “Christians worship the Bible.”
65. “Christians take the Bible literally.”
66. “The text of the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible) is uncertain.”
67. “The New Testament can be understood without the Old Testament.”
68. “The Apocrypha are not part of the Bible.”
69. “Modern scholarship debunks the Bible.”
70. “Jesus is _______ (fill in the blank).”
71. “The Jesus of history is different from the Christ of faith.”
72. “The Apostle Saint Paul invented Christianity.”
73. “The earliest followers of Jesus did not believe him to be divine.”
74. “Early Christians suppressed the true religion of Jesus, and the truth about Christianity is found in secret codes and documents.”
75. “Gnostics are Christians.”
76. “Little or nothing is known about Jesus.”
77. “Jesus was illiterate.”
78. “The New Testament was composed long after the death of Jesus.”
79. “The Gospels contradict one another.”
80. “Christianity is a remodeled pagan mystery cult.”
81. “Christmas is the main Christian holiday.”
82. “Christians believe that the Book of Revelation predicts the future.”
83. “The canon of the Bible precedes the creeds.”
Christian Beliefs Have Been Shown to Be Wrong
84. “The church changed the Bible to fit its doctrines.”
85. “The creeds are irrelevant to modern Christianity.”
86. “Christians believe that God is found only in church.”
87. “Christians believe in three gods.”
88. “Christians are dualists.”
89. “Christians believe that Jesus is a son of God just as we are all sons and daughters of God.”
90. “The Christian God killed his own son.”
91. “Christianity is about dogma.”
92. “Christianity is about rules and rituals.”
93. “Christianity is based on feelings.”
94. “Fundamentalism is ancient Christian teaching.”
95. “Christians believe in the immortality of the soul.”
96. “Evil doesn't exist, and the existence of evil disproves Christianity.”
97. “Christians believe in evil.”
98. “Christians believe that everything that happens is God's will.”
99. “Christians believe in hell.”
100. “Christians believe in the Devil.”
101. “Christians believe in original sin.”
102. “Christians believe in predestination.”
103. “The diversity and number of denominations disprove Christianity.”
104. “Eastern Orthodox Christians are a fringe group.”
105. “Catholics are not Christians.”
106. “Protestants are heretics.”
107. “Orthodox and Catholics worship idols.”
108. “Orthodox and Catholics worship Mary.”
109. “Orthodox and Catholics belittle the Bible.”
110. “The Catholic church discourages reading the Bible.”
111. “The Catholic church is monolithic.”
112. “Purgatory is an early Christian idea.”
113. “Catholics invented the sign of the cross.”
114. “Protestants had no reason to divide the church.”
115. “Protestantism is puritanical.”
116. “Rome's claim to be central to Christianity is a power play.”
117. “Pentecostals, Evangelicals, Fundamentalists, and Creationists are all the same.”
118. “Christianity has no spiritual tradition as eastern religions do.”
119. “Christians believe that they eat the body of Jesus.”
120. “Christians believe that Jesus created the world.”
121. “Christianity adopted pagan practices.”
Miracles are Impossible
122. “Miracles are explained away by science.”
123. “Christianity is false because miracles can't occur.”
124. “The resurrection of Jesus has been disproved.”
125. “The resurrection of Jesus was a 'resurrection experience' rather than a physical resurrection.”
Worldviews Can't Be Evaluated
126. “Few people believe in God anymore.”
127. “God is the product of structural and chemical arrangements in the brain.”
128. “If there is a God, he has a lot of explaining to do about suffering.”
129. “Atheists oppose Christianity mainly on intellectual grounds.”
130. “Christ couldn't have had any impact, since things haven't got better since his time.”
131. “'I don't know' is the most defensible position.”
132. “Christians believe that Christianity is one of a number of equally valid paths to God.”
133. “What we believe about Jesus and God affects who Jesus and God are.”
134. “ETs are more probable than angels.”
What's New is True
135. “The latest religious theories are the best.”
136. “New Age and Christianity are compatible.”
137. “Reincarnation is compatible with Christianity.”
138. “Christianity leads to wealth.”
139. “The Da Vinci Code is fact-based fiction.”
140. “The real founder of Christianity was Constantine the Great.”
141. “Christians believe in the Holy Grail.”
142. “Archeologists found the family tomb of Jesus.”
143. “Religion needs to be removed from the Public Square.”
144. “Christianity is different from what it is.”
145. “Nothing is true.”
Bibliography Persons Index Subject Index
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