The Church in general and Christians in particular have made many mistakes. But if you are going to criticize Christianity, stick to the facts. Here are eight myths about Christianity that are common.
1. Religious wars have killed more people than any other cause.
This is simply not true. While many wars in the past had a religious element to it, the reason was that for most of that time, 99% of people were religious. However, secularism has quickly caught up. If you look at just Stalin, a seminary dropout and avowed atheist (anti-theist?), you have more deaths than any of the religious wars of the past.
2. Christianity is anti-science.
Critics, such as Richard Dawkins, have argued that religion must be stamped out if there is to be any scientific advancement. He fails to mention that many of the scientific breakthroughs of the past came from a Christian context. The whole mess with Galileo was not about religion vs. secular science. It was about a religious group that was wrong vs. a religious scientist that was correct. Even today, there are many well-respected scientists that are Christians. Tell Francis Collins that Christianity is anti-science.
3. Christianity is anti-reason.
This comes from a misunderstanding of faith. People think that faith means that we ignore anything we discover with our natural senses. It is not true. Most Christians are very reasonable and rational (I say most because it is only most people in general). We interpret the Bible and theology using our reason. Reason is one of the four parts of the Wesleyan Quadrilateral.
4. Christians interpret the Bible literally.
While there are differences of interpretation among Christians, I do not know anyone who really interprets the Bible literally (even though they may claim it). Just because Jesus described himself as a door does not mean he has a door knob in his belly button. The world does not really have four corners and pi is not really 3. Christians understand what a figure of speech is. We are not stupid
5. Christians hate all non-Christians.
I wouldn’t say that all Christians meet the ideal of love that Jesus has set for us, but I don’t know any Christians who hate people just for having a different (or no) faith. Don’t get me wrong, we do not believe that all religions are true. We believe that salvation is in Christ alone. But we can disagree with people without hating them.
6. Christians want to force everyone to live a Christian lifestyle.
I do believe that the world would be better if everyone lived a Christian lifestyle, but the Bible tells us not to place our standards on others. It is true that Christian politicians and lobbyists argue for Christian values. But they do that as any politician or lobbyist who is influenced by their own world view.
7. All Christians are hypocrites.
If you mean that Christians do not fully live out every value they believe, then every person on the planet is a hypocrite. Every person, of every world view, holds up a set of values and seeks to live up to them. Achieving that goal, however, is extremely difficult. If you are saying that Christians are worse hypocrites than any other group, I would ask for evidence. Try living up to your own values before condemning Christians.
8. Christians do good deeds because they are afraid of hell.
Whenever I have done a good deed, the question of hell has never popped into my head. The question I ask when I am about to do something is always, “Is the right thing to do?” Even to suggest a fear of hell as a motivation is a serious misunderstanding of Christianity. Christians believe that we are saved by grace and not by our works. We will never be able to work our way out of hell. We do what we believe God wants us to do, and that out of love rather than fear.