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Choose Life That You Might Live

Part 16: Myths About Christianity
Please note that the myths that surround Christianity are not limited to the few listed here - many others have been covered in the previous chapters of this article (Index Below). For example, The rather common but completely erroneous beliefs that the Bible has been so changed and corrupted that we cannot rely on it, that is is replete with contradictions and errors, and that it is in direct conflict with science,  history, archaeology. etc. etc.

Carol Brooks

List of Chapters
For a slightly longer description of each chapter, please go to the Main Index

Part 1: Spiritual not Religious. The question is how do you know that the spiritual path you are on will lead somewhere you want to be? What does it offer you in the long run... beyond this life?
Part 2: Religious Pluralism. It is tragically true that few of those who believe that all spiritual beliefs are valid paths to God seem to have made an in depth study of various religions to see if their claims are based on fact, or fairy dust.
Part 3: Faith and The Bible. Christianity is perhaps the only religion that does not demand 'blind faith' from its followers.
Part 4: God And His Bible. There is far more evidence in favor of the Bible being true, than there is for any of the other 'holy books which usually consist of endless streams of often mind numbing philosophy, with little or no framework or context. The evidence includes the Bible’s humanly impossible authorship, its archaeological and scientific accuracy and  fulfilled prophecy.
Part 5: Alleged Old Testament Discrepancies. The charges are usually careless, overconfident and unsubstantiated.
Part 6: Why Jesus Is Without Equal.  Many so called holy men claim to to be divine or divinely inspired - to have had mystical visions or experiences. So what?
Part 7: The Reliability of The New Testament. If we applied whatever criteria liberal scholars use to dismiss the Gospels, to the evidence for other historical people and events, we would have to dismiss as myth everything we think we think we know about the ancient past.
Part 8: New Testament Differences and Discrepancies  Most alleged 'mistakes' arise from understanding too little about the Bible.
Part 8 b: The Resurrection Accounts  The so-called contradictions are trotted out without a single reference to the possible solutions that can very plausibly and naturally explain them.
 Part 9: The Bible, Then And Now. People commonly reject the Bible because they believe the original text has been changed significantly since it was first written making it a corrupted book. But is there any truth to the charge?
Part 10: Historical Corroboration. Were any of the Gospel accounts substantiated by non-Christian sources?
Part 11: Archaeology and The Bible. Does archaeology confirm or undermine the New Testament accounts?
Part 12: Is The Evidence Insufficient or Too Obscure? A far more sensible way to look at it is... the more severe the consequences, the fewer risks we should take.
Part 13: The Message of The Bible. The Heaven Jesus was sent to tell us about is no pie in the sky ethereal place 'somewhere out there. In fact, the Bible's description of the coming kingdom is far more practical than that of our theologians. '
Part 14: The Warning of The Bible. We are all under the death penalty. If dying once sounds terrible to you, how does doing it twice sound? - which is exactly what the Bible says will happen if...
Part 15: Who Is and Isn't a Christian. Since the word originated with the Bible, only the Bible has the right to define what a "Christian" is.
YOU ARE HERE 001orange Part 16: Myths and Misconceptions that stem from knowing too little about Biblical Christianity.


What The Bible Says Depends On Individual Interpretation
The meaning of any Biblical passage was determined by the original author. As readers it is our job to discover what that meaning is.

Christians Suppressed The 'Lost Books Of The Bible'
The accusation is 100% true, but have you actually thought this one through?

The Gospel is Simply 'Believe in Jesus or Go To Hell'
Perhaps, if Christians would take a little time to do their homework and a little more explaining the message might actually make more sense to more people.

Christians Think They Are Morally Superior
I imagine it is more than possible that some of them do. However....

Christians Are Judgmental and Intolerant
Biblical love did not and does not include quietly standing by while people in the church or not are led astray by false beliefs.

Christians Are Hypocrites
I am sure that some are. However, what has that got to do with anything?

Christians are Anti-intellectual (Opposed to Critical Thinking), and All Scientific Investigation.
Only when scientific theories are little more than wishful thinking at best - or story telling at worst

Christianity Is A Crutch For The Weak
How in the world does admitting dependency make a person weak?

Christianity Stifles Personal Freedom
Those who claim that Christianity stifles freedom actually mean they don't want any standards imposed on them.

Becoming a Christian Means God Solves All Your Problems
Jesus Himself told us that we would have tribulation in this life (John 16:33)

All Christians Have To Attend Church
I defy anyone to actually read their New Testament and come up with one example that supports the modern methods of 'doing church' or the hierarchal organization it has become.

All Christian Are Republicans
Nope! In fact considering the direction in which much of the right wing is headed, I wouldn't touch the party with a ten foot barge pole. I believe I will stick to being completely apolitical

Religion Is The Cause Of Violence, Wars, Discrimination, Bigotry etc.
Terrible things did not happen as a result of Christianity but as a result of the institution acting in complete opposition to what its founder taught.

What The Bible Says Depends On Individual Interpretation
All too often, people believe that what the Bible teaches depends on how it is interpreted. It is far from uncommon to hear people claim that one person's interpretation of Scripture is just as legitimate as anyone else's.

This is not only one of the stupidest myths about Christianity but one of the stupidest claims ever.

Isn't it strange that when we read any other written passage (be it in a book, a magazine or a newspaper) the meaning of which is not entirely clear, we will often think "I wonder what he (or she) meant by that". But, when it comes to the Bible, we think that we can interpret it (read... twist it) in any way we choose.

There is no question that reading the Bible is considerably different from reading the morning newspapers... For example, historical and cultural backgrounds have to be taken into consideration. Yet, all too many people do not apply the same common sense to a reading of the Bible, that they do to a reading oof the Sunday Times.

Someone's wrong interpretation of a Biblical passage does not change the fact that every single Biblical text has only one legitimate meaning and therefore, only one legitimate interpretation. You have the "right" to interpret Biblical text any way you want, but that does not change the fact that your interpretation is either right or wrong.

The meaning of any Biblical passage was determined by the original author, and unless the original author was double minded (which would render him very unreliable and someone we can safely ignore), he would not have intended to convey more than one meaning. Therefore, "interpretation" has to be strictly limited to the meaning that the original author intended to convey, and it is our job as readers to discover what that meaning is.

How do we do this?

The Immediate And Broader Context
By remembering every sentence in the Bible is part of a paragraph; every paragraph is part of a book; and every book is part of the whole of Scripture. In other words, no single verse in the Bible is standalone but has an immediate and a broader context. The immediate context being the surrounding paragraphs that should always be taken into consideration. And since the Bible is a cohesive whole, the broader context is the whole of Scripture. This why sound doctrine cannot be based on isolated proof texts (a verse here, and a verse there), but has to be based on the total teaching of Scripture.

See Context is CRUCIAL   Also See   Is Private Interpretation Possible?

The Historical and Cultural Context
As so well said on ecclesia.org

    History, in two ways, plays a very large part in Bible interpretation, yet many today seem to forget it. First of all, to truly understand the Bible, you must have at least some familiarity with the Jewish language, beliefs, and practices at the time of the biblical writing. Otherwise many terms, phrases, and sayings in the Scriptures will make little to no sense to us today. Even for most of the New Testament writings, we must know and understand what was happening in the first century when they were written. What problems faced the Apostles in their time to make them say some of the things they did?

    The Bible, in most cases, gives us only a limited amount of insight and background into the surrounding problems at the time. When Paul wrote a letter to the Corinthians, for instance, the Corinthian people to whom it was addressed knew the surrounding problems of the time, as well as the customs, laws, and practices of that era. Thus, Paul may not have dwelled on, or even mentioned them in his letters. This would leave us twentieth-century readers puzzled and guessing if we just read the letter at face value, as many attempt to do.

    To understand the Corinthian Epistle, we must "become," as it were, a first century Corinthian. We must understand their practices, their terminology, the social issues of the time, etc. We must also look to the original Bible text languages of the time (Greek and Hebrew) as they were understood, meant and intended at the time, to those being addressed. We cannot take our modern language understanding and try to force first-century Greek into it. [01]

Christians Suppressed The 'Lost Books Of The Bible'
It is commonly believed that early Christians discarded certain books - now popularly called the "lost" books of the Bible.

The accusation is 100% true.

However, ignoring the supernatural origins of the Bible for a moment, we need to realize that every religion has the right to determine which books are representative of the beliefs of that religion.

So the early church, to which belonged the final word on which books belong in the Bible, had every right to throw certain books out, which meant they were never ever part of "The Bible" and therefore cannot be "lost" books. In fact, the Catholic, Anglican, and Orthodox churches decided to include certain books (with disclaimers in some cases) but the Protestant church did not. Why? Because these books contain absurd stories, clearly heretical doctrines, as well as historical and geographical errors. All of which clearly point to the fact that they were not inspired of God.

It is both ridiculous and arrogant for non-Christians to come along centuries later and decide that various other "gospels" and books should be part of the Christian Bible. However, there is no question that this absurdity can prompt the question of whether any inspired books are missing from our Bibles or, on the other hand, whether any books are included that should not be there.

So a word about the canon (the books officially accepted as Scripture).

As mentioned earlier, Christianity is rooted in  and inseparable from  the Scriptures. Everything a Christian knows about God, everything he believes and practices, is based not on human knowledge, insight, or experience, but rests solely on God's word to man as recorded in the Scriptures.

In order for us to know exactly what God has said  and be able to distinguish truth from error, it is crucial that we know which of the many books that were written during the period of both the Old and the New Testaments, the approximately 400 years in between, and in the centuries after the birth of the early church, should be classified as Scripture, or God's authoritative revelation. In other words, is our Old Testament the same as the one the Lord used when He walked the earth and is our New Testament the same as the one used by the earliest church?

There was a very definite selection process that gave us our current 66 books of the Bible and no, it was not Constantine who did the selecting. For a detailed treatment of how the Hebrew canon (The Old Testament) and the Christian canon (The New Testament) were formed, and why certain books were not included in Protestant Bibles. See Index to The Apocrypha, The Septuagint, The So Called Lost Books of The Bible, The Gnostic Gospels, etc

In any case the whole question is irrelevant. The Bible was supernaturally inspired and God is more than capable of taking care of His own book.

The Gospel is Simply 'Believe in Jesus or Go To Hell'.
Many Christians explain the Gospel as 'believe in Jesus or go to hell', without any further explanation other than Jesus died for your sins. Although, according to the Bible hell as most Christians visualize it does not exist See What and Where is Hell? this abbreviated Gospel is a terrible over-simplification of the issue that causes endless confusion and some very bad feelings.

Perhaps, if Christians would take a little time to do their homework and a little more explaining, the message might actually make more sense to more people. See Salvation

To begin with, diametrically opposed to most modern methods of preaching the Gospel the message should begin with the wrath of God. The bad news has to come before the good news. Telling someone that they can be saved is completely ridiculous if they neither know they are lost nor what it is they need to be saved from. Telling someone that there is a pardon available is an absolute waste of time if the person does not know they are already condemned. See The Wrath of God

 There are two factors that non-believers also need to understand....

    1.) The vast majority of people on earth fall into two categories 1. Those that deny that God exists at all, 2. those that deny that the God of the Bible is the Sovereign God of the universe following instead false gods and spiritual paths based on unsubstantiated claims made by mere people. This brings up the very logical question of why in the world should He allow either of those two groups into His kingdom after they have denied His very existence.

    2.) If the kingdom of heaven is going to be populated by people who are just as sinful there as they are here the kingdom would soon deteriorate into the same mess we now face. Instead, God's kingdom will be populated by people who have chosen to live as God's children. This has been explained in far greater detail in the chapters The Message of the Bible and The Warning of The Bible.

As a by the way, one reason some Christians may appear to be unreasonable is because a great many of them being unaware of the strong and unshakable foundations of their faith cannot back up what they say with solid evidence.  

Christians Think They Are Morally Superior
I imagine it is more than possible that some of them do.

However, as I said in Chapter 2 "Religious Pluralism" Christians do not or certainly should not think they are better (smarter maybe) than non believers for turning to Jesus for salvation. Because by doing so  they are actually admitting they are sinful, in need of forgiveness, and nothing they can do is good enough to get them into "heaven".

What and Where is Heaven?

We are not in God's favor because of our good works, the exemplary lives we have led, or because we are better than anyone else. Much to the contrary there are plenty of non believers who lead very moral lives. The difference being they have not been forgiven of the sins they have committed.

But for the grace of God, we would be lost.

Christians Are Judgmental and Intolerant
I am sure that many Christians are or appear to be judgmental and intolerant. Just don't expect every Christian you meet to be oozing with the milk of human kindness 24/7 - there being plenty of times when I am more inclined to want to strangle my neighbor than 'love him'.

There are two factors here. One is that "love" in the Bible does not mean the mushy, don't step on any one's toes, avoid stating facts because it might "offend" someone baloney as it commonly perceived in this day and age. In fact, the Greek word Agape (love) is not even based on emotion.

When the Bible speaks of loving your neighbour it means you would not turn your back on them if they were in need. When Jesus told the story of the man beaten half dead by thieves, He said that both a Levite and a priest passed by neither of whom stopped to help the wounded man. However, a Samaritan - a sworn enemies of the Jews - bound and dressed the man's wounds, piled him on his beast and took him to the nearest inn. He then he paid the inn keeper to look after the man. Who, as Jesus asked, was the true friend of the wounded man?

This love also includes endeavoring to save people from eternal death, ie. telling them how they too can be forgiven their sins and live forever in God's coming kingdom. In fact, because eternity is a very long time, this is the most important, though not exclusive way we can show "love" for our fellow man.

On the other hand, Christians love to remind other Christians that we should strive to be more like Christ which is perfectly true.

However, it seems that few remember that neither Jesus Himself nor any of the apostles of the New Testament were jolly good fellows who pandered to and were polite to everyone. Much to the contrary they, in complete disregard of the modern sentiment of not 'offending' anyone, had little problem calling a spade, a spade. Jesus called the Pharisees hypocrites, children of hell, blind guides, fools, serpents, and a generation of vipers. This in spite of the fact that h=they were respected religious leaders of the day. Paul used very 'intemperate' language and John - the so called "apostle of love" - did not mince words when speaking of people who claimed to know Jesus but did not obey Him.

See What The Bible Says About Publicly Warnings Against The Wolves
And The Very Strong Language Frequently Used To Denounce False Teachers

Why? Because Biblical love did not and does not mean quietly standing by while people (whether in the church or not) are led astray by false beliefs which, by the way, is this site's sole reason to exist. And, if it means publicly denouncing false teachers who are leading others to their death, then so be it. "Love" includes doing your uttermost to keep someone safe from God's wrath and from permanent death.

People often believe the politically correct, liberal view, that we, as Christians, are not to judge anything or any one. "Judge Not" seems to be the one Bible phrase that most people love to quote. What is interesting is that those who do so are vaguely aware that it is somewhere in the Bible, while their more knowledgeable counterparts have actually narrowed it down to something that Jesus said. Few however, seem to have any idea where exactly the phrase is to be found. Whichever the case, this situation perfectly illustrates the old saying... "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing".

"Judge Not" is not a stand alone statement that Jesus pulled out of thin air then saying no more on the matter went off to try his hand at fishing for his lunch on the Sea of Tiberias. In fact it has been terribly wrested from its context. If we allow the Lord to complete His thought AND His sentence, we will find that Jesus neither said, nor implied, that we should never make judgments about anyone at any time, but was condemning certain types of judging. Hypocritical judging for example.

See Judge Not

Christians Are Hypocrites

In some cases that is probably true. But what has that got to do with the price of tea in China? One cannot determine the truth of a religion based on the behavior of its supposed adherents.

Christians who do not follow the teachings of Christ cannot be considered true Christians. They will, in the very near future have to give an account of themselves at God's throne. 

Christians are Anti-intellectual (Opposed to Critical Thinking), And All Scientific Investigation.
As far as the is concerned Christian science is (or should be) merely the discovery of endless facets of the amazing world that God created. It is no wonder that there are many Christian scientists and many Christian intellectuals..

However, I never will understand how any one can believe that science is the only method available by which we learn things about our world.

Science is can only work if something can be examined in a tangible manner. For example, if the scientist can repeatedly observe instances of a certain phenomenon, or if the circumstances can be controlled, then repeated to eliminate chance or any overlooked factors, then the scientist can draw conclusions about those things that, by and large, may be reliable.. However, if something cannot be seen much less examined, then no conclusion can be reached. For example as Greg Koukl says.. science cannot prove that unicorns never existed...

    All science can do is say that scientists may have been looking for unicorns for a long time and never found any. They might therefore conclude that no one is justified in believing that unicorns exist. They might show how certain facts considered to be evidence for unicorns in the past can be explained adequately by other things. They may invoke Occam's Razor to favor a simpler explanation for the facts than that unicorns exist. But scientists can never prove unicorns themselves don't exist. [02]

Is it any wonder then that Christians balk when scientists make outrageous guesses at the origin of the universe or produce documentaries on man's evolution from apes that make it appear that the crew simply hopped a time machine, went back a few zillion years and taped it all. Sadly, one has to wonder how many people will ever realize that many if not most,evolutionary theories are little more than wishful thinking at best, or story telling at worst.

The Free Dictionary defines science as (Emphasis Added)

     The observation, identification, description, experimental investigation, and theoretical explanation of phenomena

While Merriam-Webster says it is

    knowledge based on demonstrable and reproducible data

The origin of things is not observable, not testable, not reproducible. So at best the question of origins is theoretical.

And there is far, far, less evidence for these theories than there is for the God of the Bible. However, having said that, the Christian response should not be "my church said...". The facts are on our side and we should familiarize ourselves with at least some of them.

See Sections on Evolution
Many believe in evolution for the simple reason that they think science has proven it to be a fact and, therefore, it must be accepted. All the tiny bits and pieces of so-called evidence have to be somehow made into this gigantic and unassailable tower called Evolution, in order to exclude even the possibility of intelligent design. Why?
Because another name for intelligent design is God.

And Two Part Article Scientific Facts in The Bible
When studying the science of the ancient world, one is more likely to be impressed with its ignorance than to admire its accuracy. However, the Bible offers a definite exception to this rule. The Scriptures are replete with statements that demonstrate scientific knowledge that predates (often by many hundred of years) corresponding discoveries made by the modern scientific world.

And, just as a by the way, the Catholic church was not the only one that opposed Galileo for his heliocentric ideas (in which the Earth and planets revolve around a relatively stationary Sun at the center of the Solar System). The brightest thinkers of the day disagreed with him, including the "secular philosophers who were enraged at his criticism of Aristotle" [03] who said the Earth was at the physical center of the universe. Besides which, Galileo's blunt and often abrasive and sarcastic style made him many enemies.

In his famous Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina (1615) he claimed that it was the academic professors who were so opposed to him that they were trying to influence the church authorities to speak out against him... [04]. And the account of Galileo imprisoned in a dungeon owes more to a painting by a 17th century Spanish artist, than it does to history.

There is, of course, no excuse whatsoever for the Roman Catholic Church's use of the power of the Inquisition to muzzle Galileo.. but contrary to popular belief, he "was never tortured; and his subsequent 'house arrest' was spent, for the most part, in luxurious private residences belonging to friends. [04]

And, as a final point, Galileo was a Bible believing Christian.

And no, Christians are not, or should not be opposed to critical thinking. In fact they should welcome it with open arms. God is not intimidated by 'scholars' and neither should we be.

Christianity Is A Crutch For The Weak

There isn't a human being alive on this planet that can claim not to have needs and admitting dependency does not make a anyone 'weak'. In many instances people who are downtrodden, poor, sick, or otherwise in need, rely on their God to get them through each day. Sometimes they have little other choice.

In any case, anyone who makes the 'Christianity is a crutch' claim doesn't have the foggiest idea of what Christianity is about, and are going to have a thousand years to wish they hadn't been quite as "strong" and "self-sufficient" as they were in this life.
I strongly suggest that you read the chapter The Message of The Bible because when push comes to shove, Jesus is the only hope people have of the grave not being their final destination.

If this is "weakness" oh well!

Christianity Stifles Personal Freedom
I wonder if those who claim that their freedom is stifled by Christianity just want the freedom to do whatever they want, whenever they want, however they want. And don't like the idea of being accountable to God.

Although Christianity isn't a long list of do's and don'ts, above all else the God of the Bible demands absolute loyalty and obedience. He comes first and that all there is to it... no shilly-shallying around with the idols and practices of other religious traditions.

And why not?

He is the one who gave His life to save yours - all they did was give you endless torrents of incomprehensible and pompous jargon. (See Why Jesus is Without Equal) I would say it is hardly unreasonable for Him to expect unquestioning faithfulness.

And what is it that He demands obedience to?

He asks people to practice kindness and compassion, administer true justice, defend, protect, and take care of those who cannot do it for themselves, avoid bitterness and anger, and speak the truth. The things that people do which God hates, and which will cause His wrath to rain down on them, are violence, injustice, murder, malice, lies and slander, oppression, robbery, evil and unrighteousness. [See What Is Sin?]

If your idea of 'freedom' is getting drunk on Saturday night, watching pornography, cheating in any way... be it on your taxes or your spouse, incorporating bits and pieces of other religions into your life (Yoga, Contemplative Prayer, Walking Labyrinths, Being Slain in The Spirit etc. spring to mind. See Doctrines of Demons ), and living your life like you are the only one that counts then yes! Christianity is going to severely curtail your 'freedom'.  Why Yoga and Christianity are Incompatible

Romans 6:6 speaks of us no longer being "slaves to sin", which is a very interesting thought because many people actually hate their addictions. A few verses later Paul wrote, "having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness" (Romans 6:18). In other words 'sin' no longer controls you. Is it any wonder that Jesus said....

    "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls". (Matthew 11:28-29).

Becoming a Christian Means God Solves All Your Problems
Christianity doesn't hand you a magic wand which you can wave and poof! All your problems vanish in a cloud of blue smoke. We need to bear in mind that before they became Jesus' followers the disciples probably led normal everyday lives however, after He called and they answered, their lives got a lot more difficult. They became the outcasts of much of polite society and were often looked down on. To say nothing of the fact that they gave up permanent homes to follow and learn form Jesus as He went about preaching and healing. After Jesus' resurrection  they were all persecuted and eventually martyred for the faith they so boldly preached.

Even up to the very recent past it has not been unknown for Christians in various parts of the world to refuse to denounce the God who gave up His life for them and meet exactly the same fate.

Becoming a Christian doesn't guarantee financial, professional, marital, or any other kind of success. We live in an age in which people seem to have an acute sense of entitlement and think that the most important thing is the avoidance of discomfort or pain. Confusing "wants" with "needs" they believe their own comfort zone is of the utmost importance therefore if they follow and serve God, this is the least He owes them. Should anything go amiss, they immediately jump to the conclusion that they have done something wrong, God is not pleased with them, or has utterly abandoned them.

This is not true.

We live in world that is a far cry from what was originally intended. We are attacked from all sides by natural disasters, accidents, people's evil actions and moral failures to say nothing of the demonic presences in our midst. In fact, Jesus Himself told us that we would have tribulation in this life (John 16:33), but that He would never leave, nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).

However, although Christianity is not quick-fix for everything that ails you, God doesn't ask people to follow Him, and then totally abandon them. Many Christians (me and my family included) will testify to some very amazing instances of God's intervention in their lives.

When all is said and done, Christianity is a promise for the future. A promise of an eternal world without crime, fear, ugliness, disease and death. A world of peace and joy. Without Christianity, we might have our moments in this life but we will all wind up in the same place... six foot under.

Is it any wonder that Colossians 3:2 urges Christians to set their minds on things above not on the things that are on earth.

Also See Natural Disasters and a Benevolent God?
The sheer scale of many natural calamities and the resulting death, destruction and human misery can not only test the faith of even the firmest believer, but causes many others to question God's goodness or even His very existence. While it is doubtful that any answer will be completely emotionally satisfying. Nonetheless there are Biblical answers that not only meet the criteria of reason, but refute most of the banal platitudes peddled by those that apparently speak before they give the matter a modicum of thought.

The Problem of Evil
People talk much about God 'eliminating' evil, totally forgetting that should He do so He would have to eliminate each one of us too.

God isn't committed to keeping us comfortable, He's creating a Bride for His Son who needs to shine with character and perseverance and maturity. Unfortunately, too many churches today, following the same principles as the spiritual movement known as New Thought that stems from occult sources), preach that God doesn't want His people to wait to inherit His blessings. He wants believers to wear the best clothing, drive the best cars, and have the best of everything in this life. Because financial prosperity, good health and success can seem very alluring, it is extremely easy to fall into the age-old trap of reading into the Scriptures just what we want to see there. (This is a whole other topic and has been covered in detail in the article The Prosperity Gospel and The Word of Faith Movement)

All Christians Have To Attend Church
The church was originally intended to be small groups of people who met and ate together on a regular basis. The purpose of which was to teach, edify and encourage. This group, under the leadership of an 'elder', became an extended family who cared for and looked after one another. The meetings were participatory and interactive events in which each person used his God given spiritual gifts for the benefit or building up of the group as a whole.

Sadly, as the first century gave way to the second and the second meandered its way into the third, the church became an increasingly inflexible institution governed by an elite hierarchy entirely divorced from the common believer. A bunch of local extended families became a huge universal organization, with layer upon layer of rank each subordinate to the one above. A spirit led church that gave every member the freedom to contribute to the meeting became a formal liturgical service set in stone by the church hierarchy.

I defy anyone to actually read their New Testament and come up with one example that supports the modern methods of 'doing church' or the hierarchal organization it has become.

    Note: In this, as in so many other situations, one needs at least some  knowledge of the original Greek words used, instead of total reliance on contemporary translations of these words that were often chosen because they protected the status quo and/or adhered to pre-conceived biases.

    For instance, the very word church is conspicuous by its absence in the New Testament. And although the modern terms we use in reference to the leaders of the church do find their roots in the New Testament, the concept behind the words has changed to a very large degree. For example, "clergy" as a body of ordained religious practitioners does not exist, nor do priests as we now define the term. There were no separate 'pastors' and 'bishops' in the early church and a 'deacon' was the same as a 'minister'... a servant, or one who serves - not someone in a fancy hat.

    Additionally, if you consider that the New Testament Christians meetings were never called a "worship service", simply because they did not gather together for corporate worship (nor to hear a sermon), one is forced to the tragic conclusion that much of the modern church has little or no idea why it exists at all, or what it is meant to do. Much less how the meetings are supposed to be structured and who they are supposed to be led by.

    The result? All too many churches today are vast impersonal organizations that meet in expensive buildings (money that would be far better used elsewhere), yet few members ever get to really know each other. See The Church... Then and Now

Finally, the common assumption is that the man behind the pulpit is the authority on the Scriptures (he must be - didn't he go to seminary and doesn't he quote chapter and verse to substantiate his teachings?) has contributed to the numerous false doctrines and practices rampant today. See Section The Four Most Dangerous Mistakes Any Christian Can Make.

Many Christians have returned to the New Testament model and meet in small groups. But those of us who are unwilling to follow man made ideas of what the church is and how it supposed to function but, at the same time do not know very many like minded fellow believers, simply decline to attend.

All Christian Are Republicans
I hate to have to burst this bubble, but the Republicans are not 'God's party'. One always has to remember that a person is not a Christian simply because they claim to be.

I suspect that all too many, supposedly Christian Republicans who manipulate or compromise their faith to adhere to party lines or win elections are eventually going to hear the Lord ask "Why do you call Me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say? (Luke 6:46), or worse... "And then will I declare to them, "I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness." (Matthew 7:23).

Christians should not vote for someone simply because they belong to the 'right' party, nor should they vote for the 'lesser of the two evils'. Christianity is ultimately about following God...not a man made political agenda thus ones faith has to be the sole guide to making these and other political decisions... nothing less is acceptable.

Unfortunately as with virtually everything else, the Scriptures have been twisted and manipulated to support one of the most insidious anti Scriptural ideas ever -one that has tragically spread over the globe and is more than likely to lead to extreme tragedy. See Dominionism

Religion Is The Cause Of Violence, Wars, Discrimination, Bigotry etc.
This is probably a very true statement when it comes to Islam that is not exactly the peaceful religion that 'the-earth-will stop-revolving-if-we-offend-anyone' individuals want to believe. Most Muslims are ordinary, peace loving people, but they are so not because of Islam, but in spite of Islam. The religion itself does not promote peace and tolerance.

See Section Does Islam Promote Peace? on THIS Page.

It is unquestionable that much has been done in the name of Christianity that should never have happened - particularly the Crusades and the Inquisition.

The slaughter of the Crusades will be a blood stained blot on the Christian conscience until the end of time as will the inquisitions and the witch trials... here and in Europe. And of course the Northern Ireland conflict between the  Protestant unionists and the Roman Catholic nationalists that raged for some 30 years and saw street fighting, bombings, sniper attacks etc. was another sad commentary on people who put politics before their God.

None of these terrible events came about as a result of Christianity but because the people of institution acted in complete opposition to what its founder taught.

The perpetrators apparently missed Jesus' words "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven..." (Matthew 5:44-45). None of the crimes perpetrated by Christians have been based on Jesus Christ's teachings "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" (Matthew 7:12).

Also See The Real Murderers.. Atheism Or Christianity?

What Did Jesus Look Like And Does it Matter?
Highly inaccurate portrayals of Jesus  have done their part in promoting racism and antisemitism

Although admittedly the church as an institution has not always been a positive influence, why are we forgetting that many of the positive social changes in the world came about directly or indirectly because of Christianity. And that a large number of the world's charitable organizations are founded and run by Christians who know that God intended for them to do whatever they can for the more helpless among us.

Just as one example... According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, Swiss humanitarian and Christian businessman Henri Dunant, was founder of the Red Cross and the Young Men's Christian Association. He was also co-winner (with Frédéric Passy) of the first Nobel Prize for Peace in 1901. (His birthday (8th of May), is celebrated as World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day.)

    An eyewitness of the Battle of Solferino (June 24, 1859) which resulted in nearly 40,000 casualties, Dunant organized emergency aid services for the Austrian and French wounded. In Un Souvenir de Solférino (1862; A Memory of Solferino), he proposed the formation in all countries of voluntary relief societies for the prevention and alleviation of suffering in war and peacetime, without distinction of race or creed; he also proposed an international agreement covering the war wounded. In 1863 he founded the International Committee for the Relief of the Wounded (now International Committee of the Red Cross), and the following year the first national societies and the first Geneva Convention came into being.

    Having gone bankrupt because he neglected his business affairs, Dunant left Geneva in 1867 and spent most of the rest of his life in poverty and obscurity. [06]

And of course, in our day we have organizations like

World Relief, a global Christian humanitarian organization spread over 100 countries.

World Vision International and Samaritan's Purse both founded by Robert Pierce an American Baptist minister and relief worker. The first in 1950 and the second 20 years later

Charity: water is a nonprofit organization bringing clean and safe water to people around the world HERE

The Mustard Seed a Canadian Christian non-profit organization founded in 1984.

Operation Blessing dedicated to demonstrating God's love by alleviating human need and suffering in the United States and around the world. Their core programs include disaster relief, medical care, hunger relief and clean water.

Children's Hunger Fund is one of the Christian charity organizations that partners with local churches to help feed hungry children

End Notes (Chapter 16)
[01] Ron Rhodes and Richard Anthony. The Eight Rules of Bible Interpretation.  http://www.ecclesia.org/truth/8-rules.html

[02] Greg Koukl. What Science Can't Prove. Stand to Reason ministries.

[03] John C. Lennox. God's Undertaker: Has Science Buried God? Lion UK; New updated edition edition (September 1, 2009) Pgs 24-25

[04] ibid.

[05] ibid.

[06] Henri Dunant. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/173580/Henri-Dunant


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