Bullies and Saints: An Honest Look At the Good and Evil of Christian History
Is religion a pernicious force in the world? Does it poison everything? Would we be better off without religion in general and Christianity in particular? Many skeptics certainly think so. John Dickson has spent much of the last ten years...
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Is religion a pernicious force in the world? Does it poison everything? Would we be better off without religion in general and Christianity in particular? Many skeptics certainly think so.
John Dickson has spent much of the last ten years reflecting on these difficult questions and on why so many doubters see Christianity as a major cause of harm not blessing. The skeptics, he concludes, are right: even a cursory look at the history of Christians reveals dark things therein - violence, bigotry, genocide, war, inquisition, oppression, imperialism, racism, corruption, greed, power, abuse. For centuries and even today, Christians have been among the worst bullies you could ever imagine.
But these skeptics are only partly right: this is not what Christianity was meant to be. When Christians do evil they are out of tune with the teachings of their Lord. Jesus gave the world a beautiful melody - of love, grace, charity, humility, non-violence, equality, human dignity - to which, tragically, his followers have more often than not been tone-deaf. Denying the evils of church history does not do.
John Dickson gives an honest account of the mixed history of Christianity, the evil and the good. He concedes the Christians' complicity for centuries of bullying but also shows the myriad ways the beautiful melody of Christ has enriched our world and the lives of countless individuals. This book asks contemporary skeptics of religion to listen again to the melody of Jesus, despite the discord produced by too many Christians through history and today. It also leads contemporary believers into sober reflection on and repentance for their own participation in the tragic inconsistencies of Christendom and seeks to inspire them to live in tune with Christ.
:Is the world better off without Christianity?
Combining narrative with keen critique of contemporary debates, author and historian John Dickson gives an honest account of 2,000 years of Christian history that helps us understand what Christianity is and what it's meant to be.
To say that the Christian Church has an "image problem" doesn't quite capture it. From the Crusades and the Inquisition to the racism and abuse present in today's Church--both in Catholic and Protestant traditions--the institution that Christ established on earth has a lot to answer for. But the Church has also had moments throughout history when it has been in tune with Jesus' teachings--from the rise of charity to the invention of hospitals.
For defenders of the faith, it's important to be able to recognize the good and bad in the church's history and be inspired to live aligned with Christ. For skeptics, this book is a thought-provoking introduction to the idea that Christianity is, despite all, an essential foundation of our civilization.
Bullies and Saints will take you on a big-picture journey from the Sermon on the Mount to the modern church:
- Giving contextual accounts of infamous chapters of Christian history, such as the Crusades, and acknowledging their darkness.
- Outlining the great movements of the faith and defending its heroes and saints, some of whom are not commonly recognized.
- Examining the Church beside the teachings and life of Jesus and how it has succeeded in its mission to imitate Christ.
- Catalogue Code 579855
- Product Code 9780310119371
- ISBN 0310119375
- Pages 352
- Department Academic
- Category History
- Sub-Category General
- Publisher Zondervan Reflective
- Publication Date Apr 2021
- Sales Rank 105
- Dimensions 228 x 152mm
- Weight 0.462kg
Dr John Dickson is an author and historian, and the Distinguished Fellow in Public Christianity at Ridley College (Melbourne). A busy public advocate for the Christian faith, John also teaches 'Historical Jesus' at the University of Sydney, and is a Visiting Academic in the Faculty of Classics at the University of Oxford (2016-2020). He is the presenter of Australia's top-rating religion podcast Undeceptions. He is married to Buff, and they have three children.