The Evil Christianity Project

August 20, 2007

In response to a post over at Get Religion on converts from Islam to other religions,
several readers wrote comments labeling Islam an evil religion and
citing a variety of texts, quotes and incidents as evidence of Islam’s
evil and bloodthirsty nature.  (Comments since deleted, thankfully.)
Though I’m no scholar of Islam, I have traveled to the Middle East,
done some reading on the topic, heard several Muslim leaders speak, and
worked with a volunteer Muslim chaplain at the hospital last year.
From what I can tell Islam ain’t inherently evil – at least, not any
more evil than Christianity.

But the characterization of Islam as an evil, intolerant, vengeful
religion is out there.  My theory is that this portrayal of a
religion that has 1 billion global adherents depends on anecdotes and
quotes that are misrepresented, out of context, isolated, and/or
unrepresentative of Islam and its tradition.  I do not deny that some
heinous things are said and done in the name of Islam, but I am
unwilling to characterize an entire religion based on a some ugly
quotes or anecdotes.  Which got me to thinking . . .

How easy would it be to characterize Christianity as an evil
religion based on quotes from Scripture, heinous acts committed by
believers, and incredibly stupid things said by religious and secular
leaders who claim a religious mandate?  I think it could be quite easy,
in fact, to gather a series of anecdotes and quotes that make
Christianity look pretty darn evil.

So let’s do it. 

From the man who murdered an abortion provider, to the
nasty things Luther said about Jews and Muslims, to the clergy who
provided theological cover for the Third Reich, to nearly anything Pat
Robertson says, to some unpleasant passages of Scripture that deal with
stoning children or wives, our tradition is full of quotes and
incidents that, pulled out of the broad context of the faith and
tradition, make our religion look evil.

My goal is not to beat up on Christianity.  Rather, with this little exercise I hope to do the following:

  • show how easy it is to make a religion look bad;
  • identify the plank in our eye, or to use Lutheran language, do the Law to our Christian tradition; and
  • try to see Christianity through a decidedly negative lens, looking
    at those things we in the Church too easily dismiss, so that we might
    better appreciate the view from outside the Church.

Of course, there are several reasons why this won’t work. 

  • I don’t have too many readers and this won’t be seen by too many eyeballs;
  • the few readers I do have will be offended by the topic; and,
  • its summer time and the rest of my readers are on vacation without their computers.

Well, let’s have a go at it anyway.  Send me your best examples of
the evil done in the name of Christianity.  Write a post on your blog
and send me the link, write a comment on this blogpost, or send me an
email (email address available on the Who is Chris? page).  And share this with your friends and neighbors, and let’s see where it goes.

About Chris Duckworth

Spouse. Parent. Lutheran Pastor. National Guardsman. Political Junkie. Baseball Fan.
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5 Responses to The Evil Christianity Project

  1. mamaS says:

    Let’s just start with last week’s gospel reading from the lectionary, Luke 12:49-56. What kind of a religious leader says things like that? I did a quick poll of my congregation during the sermon. “If friend or a co-worker asked you ‘What’s so good about this good news the church keeps talking about?’ how many of you would turn to today’s gospel lesson?” Can you believe it, not one taker?

  2. Eric says:

    Chris — this is an interesting project. I am not offended but rather intrigued. One of the things that continually bugs me is when people (and sometimes the lectionary) pulls scripture our of context. It is amazing how many different meanings we can force upon scripture. And you are right…many people do the same to Islam and other religions.
    I need to give this more thought and I will be back. I look forward to see what develops here.

  3. Bill says:

    I’m ready:
    On a weekend excursion in downtown Atlanta, my wife and a group from the seminary tried to learn what it was like to be homeless. They slept outside, walked everywhere, and stood in line to eat at soup kitchens.
    That’s not the evil part.
    A man who was homeless volunteered to act as their ‘tour guide’ and took them to a church that served dinners to the hungry men and women of Atlanta. The only catch was that whoever ate was required to attend long worship service before they dinner was served. As the second hour of worship rolled around and the ‘tour guide’ began to grow weak from lack of food, he sat down, but the worship leaders kept urging all who sat to stand and ‘praise Jesus’. When the man decided he needed a breath of air, he went to the door, but was stopped by one of Christ’s ambassadors, who informed him, ‘If you step out the door, you cannot come back. Stay and eat, go and be hungry.’
    The man couldn’t stomach such hypocrisy. So he left. My wife and the group managed to hold back some of their food for him, but I think the damage was done already. What the church did to this man wasn’t murder, I’ll admit; but in the name of Christ, these Christians were ready to starve a man who was already starving.

  4. The Evil Christianity Project

    One of the better ideas I’ve read lately is this: The Evil Christianity Project-An attempt to counter the argument that Islam is evil, and that no one is Muslim but evil people. If you don’t believe that such an argument

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