September 11, 2011

Guilt by Association


Christianity seems to be frightening more people these days. The most recent flurry of alarm has been over "dominionism," as represented in a New Yorker article by Ryan Lizza. It has been more than thoroughly debunked, but still it seems to represent something more than politics. People are afraid of Christianity.
In fact for multiple reasons, many people are saying Christianity is bad, evil, harmful. This post is the first in a series examining reasons for Christianity's bad reputation. In memory of 9/11, I begin with "Guilt by Association." It goes like this. Islam is a religion. Some Muslims attacked us on 9/11 in the name of their God and their religion. Therefore religion is bad. Christianity is a religion. Therefore Christianity is bad.
The logic is laughable. Compare this, which is in near-identical form: Rodents are four-legged animals. Mice are rodents and can make a mess in your attic. Therefore rodents are bad. Dogs are four-legged animals. Therefore dogs are bad. 
The reasoning fails miserably at every step, and it would be hilarious if not for two things. First, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, and Richard Dawkins have sold millions of books trying to make a case for it. To some extent I can understand their response. The 9/11 attacks were more than deadly, more than terrifying. They ruined the world in other ways besides. You may recall that the 1990s were supposed to be "the end of history." The Cold War was over and "'peace' seem[ed] to be breaking out all over the world" (Francis Fukuyama). What could there be to fight over now?
But just when we thought things were getting better, we were attacked right on our own soil. What a huge, terrible, and terrifying letdown that was—and what was to blame? Religion! What does that mean? Religion is dangerous! How shall we solve that? Eliminate religion!
Read the rest of "Christianity and 9/11: Guilt by Association?" here.

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