Christianity is a “pernicious superstition” guilty of “abominations” and a general “hatred of the human race”. —Tacitus of ancient Rome
The final chapter of Making the Case for Christianity is entitled “Christianity’s Cultural Legacy”, written by Korey Maas, an LCMS Lutheran and an assistant professor of history at Hillsdale College. His goal in this chapter is to defend Christianity against the claim made by many atheists that Christianity is a source of evil; that it is immoral and should therefore be abandoned.
What is Maas’ basic rebuttal to this claim?
Answer: Since atheists do not believe in a God, they have no basis for passing judgment on Christianity (or anything else) regarding what is good and what is evil. Atheists, in Maas’ view, have no right to claims of moral principles.
We non-theists (atheists and agnostics) are under no obligation whatsoever to prove to Christians or anyone else the validity of our moral principles. The fact is that we have them. We have the right to our beliefs (and system of morality) just as Christians have the right to theirs. My basis for moral principles may seem illogical to you, but your basis of morality seems illogical and downright silly to me (that an invisible Being on the edge of the Cosmos arbitrarily decides what is good and what is bad).
But I suggest that non-theists not go down this road with Christians. I suggest that we respond to their claims regarding morality in the following manner:
First, I believe that it is a mistake for non-theists to demonize Christianity as entirely evil. I think that we should readily acknowledge to our Christian friends, neighbors, and family that Christianity has made many wonderful contributions to mankind, such as hospitals, orphanages, raising the status of women, etc.. Early Christianity was certainly an improvement over Old Testament Judaism.
I suggest we praise Christianity for the good it has given the world, while at the same time pointing out its faults. We should stop saying that the world would have been better off without Christianity, because maybe it wouldn’t have been. Maybe the killing, discrimination, and violence would have been even worse. We will never know for sure. So let’s direct our attention to the present with this attitude:
Christianity has given the world many beneficial contributions over the last two thousand years. However, it is now time to move to a higher level of human interaction; one without baseless supernatural superstitions. We have learned much from religion. Let us incorporate the good we have learned from religion into the next stage of human social interaction: secular humanism.
Thank you, Christianity, for what we have learned from you, but it’s time to move on. Our evolutionary journey and progress continues.
Dr. Maas and the other authors of this book will argue that the Christian belief system is not a “baseless supernatural superstition”. However, my reply would be, “You have not provided one shred of evidence in your book for the existence of your ancient middle-eastern deity, Yahweh. Until you provide such evidence, there is no reason for anyone to take you seriously”.