Preface to Anatomy of Deception: How Liberals Lie About Christianity
by Mark Jarmuth 6/30/2010 / Christian Apologetics
Lies, Lies more Lies and the Blame Game
As the utterances of infallible God, the words of Jesus should be taken seriously. When He makes a prediction, sooner or later it comes true.
So believers who think they'll be loved by the masses should read scriptures like Matthew 10:22. There, speaking of Christians of all ages, Jesus said "you will be hated by all men for my name's sake."
Here's one more example of the inerrancy of Bible prophesy. Jesus was of course right. Christians are objects of scorn, and the haters express their hatred indiscriminately. They attack everything Christian, and no holds are barred in the assault. In attacking the religion, those who hate it use every weapon at their disposal.
One weapon in attacks on the Christian faith is the lie. Those who despise the religion lie about it to make it look bad and damage its reputation. Readers might not think of the lie as a weapon in attacks on Christians. In fact, it's the chief weapon and has been for centuries.
Historically, lies about the Christian faith were part of the blame game, where the religion was identified as the source of every evil. Since antiquity, Christians have been scapegoats when something bad happens. When Christians are blamed for some unfortunate occurrence, the inference is clear. If there were fewer believers, such events would be less common and life would be much more enjoyable.
Philip Schaff, a Yale historian of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, explained it best. Schaff wrote a multivolume set on the history of Christianity. In these works, he explains how through the years its followers often have been blamed when things go wrong. He notes how Nero blamed the Christians for the great fire of Rome in A.D. 64, charging them with being incendiaries. Evangelicals were even blamed for natural disasters. North Africa popularized the anti-Christian proverb "If God does not send rain, lay it to the Christians."1
Such was the plight of history's favorite scapegoats. Christians were so hated they were blamed for the arid weather conditions of North Africa. In fact, what they were blamed for ran the gamut of natural disasters. Along with droughts, Christians were blamed for floods as well as for windstorms, mudslides, famines etc. And no penalty was too harsh for causing these things as far as the godless masses were concerned.
For "provoking" Mother Nature (among other things), Christians paid a high price far higher than the price unbelievers paid for their transgressions. The pagans often cried: "Away with the atheists, to the lions with the Christians!"2
Few objected when Christians were mistreated, which shows how their faith was viewed back then. In antiquity, it was an object of intense hatred. And it still is, as we'll see in the pages ahead.
The Christophobes are coming
In this regard, nothing has changed over the years. As in olden days, Christians are still society's favorite patsies. Their still blamed for every evil and identified as the source of all that plagues mankind. Only instead of, like back then, slandered with the spoken word, now the Christian faith is lied about in print. Skeptics publish their untruths hoping their lies will reach a wide audience. And in books by today's skeptics, the claim made is the same as the one made in Nero's day. Christianity is the source of every social ill.
No matter what the context, there's no question about the conclusions these author will draw. The theme in books about Christianity by liberal authors is always the same: the religion is bad; in fact, it's awful and at fault for every evil known to man.
Along with the blame game, some authors lacking creativity engage in name-calling. Christianity is this; Christianity is that. It's the worst thing their creative minds can come up with. Why it's so bad the Nazis were probably all Christians.
As I show, the Nazis hated Christianity. But you'd think the opposite was true from what some liberal authors say. Take the book "American Fascists: the Christian Right and the War on America. The book claims Christianity is like National Socialism. Christians, it's claimed, are Nazis under a different banner. The book claims they want a Fourth Reich and fight against everything American. As I show, it's all nonsense, anti-Christian mythmaking of the highest order. As for the mythmaker who wrote this garbage, his name is Chris Hedges.
Here's one case where a book can be judged by its cover. The inside flap says Hedges is a former New York Times journalist who was "trained" at Harvard Divinity School. So before reading American Fascists, readers can guess what Hedges will say: the Christian faith is the worst thing on earth.
Hedge's book fits the theme of this preface perfectly. American Fascism is a pack of lies. In naming the liars covered in my book, I begin with Hedges for a reason. He doesn't tell just one lie about Christianity. His lies come in droves as he maligns the religion. Several can be found in a single paragraph. The following statement is a prime example. In it, Hedges tells not one but many lies in a span of three sentences:
"All Americans not only those of faith who care about our open society must learn to speak about [the Christian Right] with a new vocabulary, to give up passivity [and do ] everything possible to defend tolerance. The attack by this movement on the rights and beliefs of Muslims, Jews, immigrants, gays, lesbians, women, scholars [and] scientists are an attack on all of us, on our values, our freedoms and ultimately our democracy. Tolerance is a virtue, but tolerance coupled with passivity is a vice." 3
I dismiss each charge made by Hedges in the pages ahead. I won't give too much detail here, but just summarize my response. As for his claim Christians attack scientists, I have one question: why would Christians attack scientists? By uncovering the laws of an ordered universe, Christians invented science and are why it now enjoys such lofty stature in our universities and elsewhere in society.
So Hedges is wrong. Christians don't attack scientists. What they have attacked (in debunking his claim about Jews) is anti-Semitism. As I show, Christians attacked it and defended the Jews as leaders of the Nazi Resistance.
Hedge's charge of Christian sexism is (as I also show) similarly misguided. Christians fought for women's rights as leaders of the campaign for Women's Suffrage and have fought the global sex trade, freeing millions of females from sexual bondage. Evangelicals also founded the Christian Women's Temperance Union of the nineteenth century. Along with give women the vote, the CWTU helped advance women's rights in other ways and inspired many entrepreneurial activities which still benefit women today.
As I show, Hedge's claim that Christians attack freedom is also wrong. Through the years, Christians have fought for freedom rather than attacked it. They led the campaign against slavery and (as mentioned) now lead the campaign against the sex trade, freeing millions of women and child from sexual bondage.
Also a boon for freedom (in further debunking Hedge) have been the events in China. The Christian revolution there is now in its third decade and, as I show, the Chinese are freer than ever. Restrictions on travel have been relaxed, material from foreign sources is now widely accessible and public expressions of faith now meet far less government resistance than when Mao and his fellow atheists were in power.
You'll have to read beyond this preface if you want more information on these matters. I do not give too much detail here. These are just tidbits, a snapshot of what's ahead. These comments are not meant as an exhaustive critique of Hedge's book, but as a preview of the material covered in the pages ahead.
Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins:
Christophobes of a Feather
Chris Hedges is just one anti-Christian author whose work is covered in my book. Along with American Fascists, I also discuss the works of other skeptics in some cases in greater detail than Hedge's book. Letter to a Christian Nation (for instance) gets considerable coverage in the chapters ahead.
The book was written by Sam Harris. Harris is an atheist and in his book his tone is condescending to say the least. Letter is written in the second person and takes the form of a lecture. In the book, Harris assumes the role of a haughty, overweening parent. He treats Christians like children and tells them what's wrong with their religion.
In a sense, my book is the Christian response. I tell atheists (among others) what's wrong with their views. Maybe I could have titled my book "A Letter to our Nation's Unbelievers."
I hope atheists read my book. If they do, they'll see my message to them can be summarized in two words: wake up. Atheism has produced horrible results wherever it's been tried, including in America. Post-1960, atheism got a foothold here and the outcome has been the same as what's seen wherever it takes root.
We have a rich Christian heritage. The Christian faith was institutionalized here for much of our history, only to be removed from the public square post-1960. As the religion was de-institutionalized, atheism (as Darwinism) filled the void and since then has made considerable headway here.
Four decades and millions of abortions, divorces, murders and assaults later, we can assess the damage. And what we find is this: unbelief has transformed millions here into self-indulgent, destructive lowlifes with no regard for the welfare of others.
Based on what atheism has done so far, we can forecast what the future holds, and I don't see much good on the horizon. In fact, I see quite the contrary. Storm clouds are gathering as far as I'm concerned.
Our nation is headed pall-mall for destruction. Here's my advice: let's change direction, return to the past and re-institutionalize the Christian faith before it's too late. Without its life-sustaining influence, our destiny is the graveyard of once powerful empires, where the Soviet Union, Ancient Rome and Nazi Germany have been interred. Each abandoned God before fading into oblivion. We will share their fate unless we abandon their ways and change course before it's too late
I won't digress any further. I will just say this in summarizing my views on atheism. While the Christian faith preserves and cherishes what is good in life, atheism destroys it.
Harris, of course, would vehemently disagree. In fact, in his book he makes the exact opposite claim. He says atheism is the sin qua non of a good society. He, in other words, has as little regard for the truth as Hedges.
Letter to a Christian Nation would be a fitting sequel to American Fascists. Harris's book, like Hedge's, is an inexhaustible repository of lies. In the book (and in his other major work, The End of Faith), Harris makes many of the same fallacious claims as Hedges. In addition, Harris calls Christians hateful and ignorant.
Indeed, he says the Bible is for imbeciles. I've already addressed the claim, in part, with my comments about science. Christians brought it into existence which shows how absurd Harris's claim is. Throughout history, the Christian faith has not impeded intellectual pursuits, as he claims, but instead has helped them flourish.
Along with my comments about science, I also debunk his claim in the context of the Home-Schooling Movement. This too shows his claim Christians are ignorant is groundless.
Homeschooling is largely a Christian enterprise and the results speak for themselves. Homeschoolers (as I show) exceed their public school counterparts in all areas of academic achievement. Oddly, the ultimate proof Christianity improves the mind comes from secularists. Secular universities like Stanford actively recruit homeschoolers because of their superior academic skills.
Regarding the claim Christians are hateful, Harris has it backwards. Christians are objects of hate, not perpetrators of it, as he claims. The hateful ones are the same atheists Harris claims in his books are tolerant and fair-minded. Unbelievers hate Christians and express the hatred by persecuting them in all walks of life. Keep reading if you want more on this subject. You'll find it in the chapters ahead.
Skeptics can't say Anything Good
Finally, we have the lies of Richard Dawkins, the English Zoology professor. Dawkins is a mythmaker par excellence, a man unsurpassed in his distortions of the truth. He compares Christians with the Taliban and Islamic Fundamentalists. For doing so, he's given tenure at Oxford, which says a lot about what the school thinks of the Christian faith.
Religion is an easy target for Dawkins. On his side, he has perhaps the most powerful institution in modern society: the media.
Of great help to him as he attacks Christianity is the media's selective coverage of stories involving Evangelicals. If a Christian harms someone, the story makes the front page, while stories about what believers have accomplished get buried or are never reported. The latter is an effective weapon in attacks on the faithful. When stories about the good Christians do remain unreported, it helps discredit the Christian faith. It makes it seem like Evangelicals never do good and their religion is useless.
Slanted media coverage is a major weapon in attacks on Christians. And it's one of which skeptics like Dawkins take full advantage. He knows the media is anti-Christian and that, as such, he has carte blanch as a mythmaker. Dawkins tells incredible lies about the Christian faith and does so with impunity, that is, without fearing he'll be exposed as a liar.
Knowing that the media won't challenge him, Dawkins makes outrageous claims as he attacks Christianity. His favorite ploy differs from what was done to make it look bad historically. Instead of blame it for some wrong, he deprives it of credit when credit is due.
Take our nation. However greatness is measured, ours is the greatest the world has seen. There's no question about it. We are the most scientifically, economically and technologically advanced nation in world history. Nor is there any question about the source of our greatness: Christianity. It and it alone is what made us great. Even the Chinese (as I show in Chapter 10) have reached this conclusion.
Our nation was destined for greatness from day one because it was founded on Christian ideals. In other words, we were a Christian nation from the start. It's obvious to anyone with a brain anyone, that is, except Dawkins. In an amazing distortion of the truth, he claims our nation was founded on secular ideals. He also says the Founding Fathers were atheists. At least "the most well-known ones" were, as committed to the tenets of unbelief as Marx and Nietzsche.
Here, Dawkins doesn't simply lie. By claiming the Founders were unbelievers (and separatists, as well), he engages in a 180-degree distortion of the truth. As I show, the Founders were virtually all Bible-believers. Moreover, as I also show, they founded the nation on Christian ideals and wanted the Christian faith expressed in all walks of American life. The same was true for many of our other leaders, who like the Founders helped shape our nation's destiny. As I show, these other leaders were also Christians and they (along with the Founders) deserve the credit as our nation achieved world prominence in the centuries after it was founded. In fact, our history is the story of Christian statesmen transforming the US into the city on a hill, into the greatest nation ever.
There are more claims in Dawkins's book like the one about the Founders. And I dismiss each one. He claims our Constitution is a secular document. I show how it was modeled after the Mayflower Compact, the document the Puritans drafted for organizing their settlements. He claims Christian parents are abusive. He calls Christian childrearing a form of child abuse. That's right. In fact, it's worse than sexual abuse he claims, ignoring the superior academic achievement of homeschoolers.
As I show, the claim is as groundless as the one about the Founding Fathers. In fact, the claim is like his claim about the Founders: it's the exact opposite of the truth. Not only is Christianity not child abuse, it's our children's only salvation. Christian influence is so important in kids' lives, in fact, without it they can't be kids.
Since the Christian faith has been privatized, a disturbing development has emerged here. Skeptics have embarked on a campaign to eradicate adolescence. Instead of let kids be kids, the left would hastily ushered them into early adulthood with laws lowering the age of sexual consent, by legalizing virtual child porn, by giving kids unimpeded access to the Internet and birth control and the like.
Christians oppose each of these horrible initiatives. As I show, they all exploit minors, and the Christians who fight these policies protect our youth.
My point is Dawkins and others who share his views are wrong. The Christian faith does not harm children. In fact, the opposite is true. Its followers protect our youth from being exploited by liberal lawmakers, academicians, abortion providers, entertainment executives, judges and others who work with kids or impact their lives in some way. There's more on this topic in the pages ahead much more. Read on.
Events outside the US also show how the Christian faith helps kids. Indeed, in my book, I don't just address the impact of Christianity on American lives. I dismiss Dawkins's claim of Christian child abuse by showing how the Christian faith helps kids worldwide.
Not only is Dawkins wrong in the case of our youth, he's wrong in the case of kids everywhere. Far from being a source of child abuse, the Christian faith has helped children across the globe. As I've mentioned, Christians fight the global sex trade and have freed millions of kids from a form of slavery as bad as the nineteenth century version.
For kids abroad, childhood has ended prematurely. At five, kids caught in the global sex trade are forced to perform oral sex and at ten to have intercourse.
Reaction to the sex trade has varied. Secular groups have greeted the problem with indifference, remaining idle in the face of the horrible mistreatment of children. Only Christians (as I show) have fought the sex trade as leaders of an eclectic, international, faith-based movement.
So Dawkins has it backward. Not only is the Christian faith not bad for kids, it's the only path to freedom for many. Christians have freed millions from sexual bondage, allowing them to enjoy childhood and adolescence rather than be abused by sick adults.
Dawkins's charge of Christian child abuse comes in God Delusion. You can tell this book is a pack of lies from the first pages. He deceives readers right off the bat. His book begins by claiming religion is bad for society and should be abolished. I make the exact opposite claim. In my last chapter, I claim the Christian faith is indispensable. Far from make things worse here, it's our country's only salvation.
Why We need One More Book about Christianity
My book follows the same pattern throughout. I take a claim about the Christian faith it's bad for children, for instance. I then debunk the claim with facts from US and world history, research data and reasoned argumentation.
As for why I wrote the book, the reason is simple. I try to give help where I think Americans need it most. In the book, I engage our public where it seems most vulnerable: in its ability to distinguish what's true from what's not.
As a group, Americans are quality people with several strengths. Their main weakness is their lack of discernment. As far as the Christian faith is concerned, many here would not recognize the truth if it hit them in the face. Millions of our people are thus vulnerable to propaganda. Here's where liberals come in. They are propagandists and opportunists. They know where our public is vulnerable and exploit the weakness with lies.
The lack of discernment of Americans, to be sure, has had an unpleasant result. The daily bombardment of lies in our media and in other liberal strongholds has taken a toll on the Christian faith. Popular attitudes have been swayed against it. Many are convinced it's as bad as skeptics claim.
I offer my book in an effort to set the record straight. Christianity is not bad; in fact, as I claim, we must follow its tenets for our nation to survive.
In other words, the claim the Christian faith is harmful is a lie. We know this because (among other things) when skeptics say so they don't back up their claims. These claims stand on their own, lacking empirical, contextual and historical support. This, I would argue, shows these claims are untrue.
The skeptics whose "works" are discussed in my book are typical. They don't even cite their sources. Moreover, their statements are conclusory. The Christian faith is thus and thus because they say so. I suppose this is enough for their readership, which is predisposed to accept their wild accusations. But in defending Christianity, I give more much more. Rather than let my claims about the religion stand on their own, like they're self-validating, I back them up with research data and facts from history (world history as well as our own). I also debunk skeptics with logic as I point out why their arguments are specious.
Skeptics make many false statements about the Christian faith. But I don't just call these statements lies. I back my claim they're lies with facts, research findings and the kind of logic and substantive argumentation not found in the works of skeptics.
In doing so, I hope I accomplish at least two things. I hope my book clears up some of the confusion about the Christian faith. Second, I hope I arm our public against its chief foe as it sifts through all the information on Christianity namely the lie.
I've gone to great length to try and accomplish these things. I've invested considerable time and energy in this project because of what's at stake. I know much will be lost if I, and others like me, fail to expose skeptics for what they are. If accepted, their lies could have horrible ramifications. Christianity has fallen into disfavor in many circles, and if the claims of today's skeptics are believed, it could be rejected by even more Americans. It would then be easy prey for atheists as they seek to further marginalize its influence.
In effect, this is the goal of the authors I've discussed. They hope the public will buy their lies and stand by while they and their allies further undermine the authority of the Christian faith by removing all semblance of it from the public square.
I attack their arguments and point out what Christianity has achieved for the opposite reason: so it will be de-privatized and it will again hold sway throughout our society. Indeed, I not only don't want the religion to lose clout, I want its values re-institutionalized and preached from the rooftop. I want them promulgated in our schools, and reinforced in the media, in government offices and in homes throughout our country. Only this will reverse the trend of the last four-decades, stop our slide toward mediocrity and return the US to the position it once held as the greatest nation on earth.
Before the Christian faith can be re-institutionalized, though, it must have greater support than it now has. And before it can attract more support, Americans must know the truth. Not only is Christianity not as bad as skeptics claim, it's the exact opposite of what they claim it is. In the past and in modern times, the Christian faith has been a force for good here and around the world, helping countless people lead productive, meaningful lives. I hope I make this clear in the pages ahead.
UW honors grad. Received JD from Seattle U School of Law. Third book. For the second, I was interviewed as the guest on Matter at Hand, a thirty minute program on cultural and politics broadcast from central Pennsylvania to six sities.