My earlier book, Why Catholics Are Right, sold well enough to amaze its author as much as its publisher, and prompted the latter to ask for a sequel. The secular world is finally realizing that there are many millions of informed Christians, who, though marginalized, buy books.

And they resent heresy, which has always been the most common and toxic of the attacks on Christianity: Jesus didn’t exist; Christians oppose progress and are scared of science; they’re obsessed with abortion; they’re racist and supported slavery; Hitler was a Christian, and so on.

Thus the premise of my new book, Heresy: Ten lies they spread about Christianity is this: Christians are not treated fairly by media.

Take the case of the Norwegian mass-murderer, Anders Behring Breivik. After his arrest, it took only hours for the media to label him a Christian, even though he identified himself as a “cultural Christian.” Anyone who understands religion recognizes the shorthand for “only a cultural Christian,” a matter of birth not belief. Then Breivik’s manifesto was revealed:

Regarding my personal relationship with God, I guess I’m not an excessively religious man. I am first and foremost a man of logic. If you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and God then you are a religious Christian. Myself and many more like me do not necessarily have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and God.

But that mattered not, any more than it did when we were told that bomber Timothy McVeigh was a Christian – even though he left the Church when he was a youth, writing that “science is my religion.”

The reason so many in mainstream media are so hysterically eager to call Breivik and McVeigh Christians, or claim that abortionists are regular targets for armed pro-life fanatics, is not only that they are opposed to Christianity, but that they are obsessed with relativism.

These same commentators take every opportunity to report Islamic terror as something other than Islamic. Because, they argue, all religions are equally capable of producing violent fundamentalism.

But Christian fundamentalism is extremely rare. When it does occur, it rejects evolution, not law and order; embraces snake-handling, not dynamite-handling.

For the media to admit that different religions lead to different assumptions about pluralism and human dignity would lead to the invincible conclusion that there is a qualitative distinction – even a hierarchy – and to the moral and intellectual relativist, that is heresy.

The examples of anti-Christian behavior are legion. In the west it takes the form of ejection from the public square and the workplace, legal restrictions, mockery, and abuse. In the developing and Islamic world it is far more serious: persecution, arrest, torture, and murder.

Objective, secular sources agree that Christians are the most oppressed group in the world right now, and the number and intensity of attacks is staggering. A mere book cannot do very much for the millions of believers who risk life and limb, but it can empower and perhaps even embolden Christians in the West who feel weighed down every time a critical remark is made.

Heresy is a book about Christianity and is in the forgiving business. But forgiveness of error does not mean forgetting the truth. So I’ve taken on the most frequent arguments used against followers of Christ.

Some are simply ludicrous, the stuff of Internet wisdom and website philosophy, as in the notion that Hitler was a Christian. That’s schoolboy stuff and profoundly insulting to the Christians who opposed the man and who he in turn slaughtered.

Michael Coren

Of course, there were people calling themselves Christian who were Nazis, but this says nothing at all about Christianity and a great deal about hypocrisy. Nazis were often street thugs, but National Socialism itself was an ideology, replacing Messiah with Fuehrer, Church with party, love with hate, soul with will, protection of the weakest with survival of the fittest.

It’s the same with the alleged Christian opposition to science and progress. The Christian Church has in many ways been the handmaiden of science. Opponents dwell on Galileo because he’s one of the few scientists Christianity didn’t treat properly, but his story is far from the caricature too often presented.

The same applies to the claim that we have no conclusive evidence that Jesus existed, or that The Da Vinci Code is credible, or the fact that bad things happening to good people is somehow a difficulty for Christians.

That last one is especially annoying, because it’s so badly thought out. Not only do bad things happen to good people, but – just as annoying – good things happen to bad people. But this is a problem for the atheist, not the believer.

We understand that God guaranteed not a good life, but a perfect eternity. The dying child and the cancer-stricken philanthropist are dilemmas for the materialist, not for someone who knows there is an immortal soul and that life does not end in the hospital sick bed.

Neither this nor any of the other atheist talking points that I discuss in the book are terrors to anybody who knows his faith. The problem is that too few Christians fully understand it, and many of those who do have been cowered into silence (if not submission) by a culture that imposes uniformity in its purported lust for diversity.

It’s time to shout back a little, time to stop worrying about the consequences, time to, well, become a bit of a contemporary heretic.


  • Heresy - Thursday, May 17, 2012