You might think that this is a post about what atheists or proponents of other religions do (or some of you might even think that this is something that I do and am sharing tips on for others).
But no, some Christians, or at least people who claim to be Christians, do at least as good a job as any opponent of Christianity could do, if not better. Here’s a survey of just a few that have come to my attention in recent days:
1) Demand that others wish you a Merry Christmas
Someone left a spam comment on my blog a week or two ago for the very viewpoint that Hemant Mehta posted about today. Apparently some Christians are not content to use their religious freedom to wish others a merry Christmas. They are demanding that store clerks, no matter their religious viewpoint, and no matter that they interact with customers of various religious traditions, wish them a merry Christmas as well.
How this undermines Christianity: On the one hand, it gives a bad impression of Christians as seeking to impose themselves on others. On the other hand, it promotes cultural Christianity and externalism rather than personal faith and commitment. The war on the war on Christmas, and the war on Santa, are at best distractions.
2) Promote the use of King James Version only
How this undermines Christianity: As Jim West notes, there is nothing that will render the Bible to obscurity and oblivion like forcing it to remain in antiquated, barely intelligible English. The early Christians were so committed to the translation of their message that we have almost nothing from Jesus in the language that he spoke, namely Aramaic. Communication has historically been important, and the KJV-only stance is in this respect not merely problematic but profoundly anti-Christian.
3) Let Barnes and Noble define what is Scripture
Joel Watts noted that a commenter named Mike Gantt defined “all Scripture” as follows: “No, by “All Scripture” I mean what they give you if you walk into Barnes and Noble and tell them you want to buy a Bible.”
How this undermines Christianity
: Most conservative Christians genuinely do mean by “the Bible” whatever their particular brand of Christianity’s bookstores sell them between two covers with “Holy Bible” written on the front. Barnes and Noble in fact probably stocks Protestant, Catholic and Jewish Bibles, and maybe even The Brick Bible
, thus already creating more confusion than they can handle. Any Christianity that either is unwilling to acknowledge where its Scriptures come from, or simply doesn’t know, is on a downward slope towards ignorance and the worst sorts of fundamentalism. Ignoring or dismissing the church’s role in defining Scripture leads to simplistic stances on the Bible that are not only unhelpful, but at odds with the Christian tradition, which from the early councils through the Protestant Reformation has always been aware of the need to know about these matters and participate intelligently in the discussion of them.
4) Use circular reasoning
How this undermines Christianity: It turns the Christian faith into a closed loop into which one either has to be born or otherwise never enter. Rather than a Gospel that can be preached, it offers a closed circle for people whose thinking is a closed circle. Here’s an illustration of the problem…
As the saying goes, with friends (and promoters!) like these, does Christianity really need enemies? And to the extent that it has enemies, can they be any more of a threat than those working to undermine Christianity and its credibility from the inside?