"Atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning. . ." – Mere Christianity 

"Now that I am a Christian I do have moods in which the whole thing looks improbable: but when I was an atheist I had moods in which Christianity looked terribly probable."

– Mere Christianity

Why are Dee and I focusing on atheists and agnostics you may wonder…  Isn't our focus at The Wartburg Watch exclusively on Christianity?  Have you ever pondered what these groups think about Christians?  A good number of them see us as religious fanatics.  Check out the title of a four-volume set of books listed on
The Destructive Power of Religion: Violence in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam

Here are some recommendations for this expensive set of books included at the above link:
“A groundbreaking work with tremendous insight. This will become a classic.” – Archbishop Desmond Tutu Nobel Peace Prize Recipient, 1984
“One could hardly suggest a more compelling area in religious studies these days than the complex relationships between religious beliefs and violence. A new and beautifully produced collection of over four dozen essays proposes to address a large and difficult set of questions in the context of the Abrahamic triad, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Three considerable strengths are noticeable throughout the collection: solid biblical scholarship; thorough and respectably critical coverage of a wide range of topics specific to Christianity; and sensitivity to important psychological dimensions of the religious legitimation of violence.” – Religion and the Arts
“With erudition and foresight, this four-volume work offers an unsettling but thought-provoking examination of the relentless cycle of religiously motivated violence, initiating a valuable dialogue for those seeking to expose religion's destructive tendencies while also providing its more constructive potential to faster peace….[t]his work issues a bold challenge to religious adherents to confront the destructive power often associated with religious conviction in the hope of instead celebrating and embracing the more meaningful, redemptive, and healing power of religion.” – Journal of Church and State
After the terrorist attack of 9/11, atheists and agnostics have a heightened awareness of religious zealots, and make no mistake — THEY ARE THE ENEMY!  As the above book title suggests, they often group Christians, Muslims, and Jews together and blame them for much of the violence that is occurring throughout the world.  To them, religion is a very bad idea!
Have you ever looked up "Religious Fanaticism" in Wikipedia?  If so, here's what you read:

Popular Examples of Religious Fanaticism
See also: Christianity and violence

Ever since Christianity was brought to power, those in authority have sought to expand and control the church, often through the fanatical use of force. Grant Shafer says, "Jesus of Nazareth is best known as a preacher of nonviolence. Yet Christians, in persecutions of other religions, in wars about religion, and in wars of conquest, have perhaps been more violent than members of any other religion except Islam". The start of Christian fanatic rule came with the Roman Emperor Constantine I. Ellens says, "When Christianity came to power in the empire of Constantine, it proceeded almost to viciously repress all non-Christians and all Christians who did not line up with official Orthodox ideology, policy, and practice".  An example of Christians who didn't line up with Orthodox ideology is the Donatists, who "refused to accept repentant clergy who had formerly given way to apostasy when persecuted".  Fanatic Christian activity continued into the Middle Ages with the Crusades. These wars were attempts by the Christians, sanctioned by the Pope, to reclaim the Holy Land from the Muslims.


Charles Selengut, in his book Sacred Fury: Understanding Religious Violence, said:

"The Crusades . . . were very much holy wars waged to maintain Christianity's theological and social control . . . . On their way to conquering the Holy Land from the Muslims by force of arms, the crusaders destroyed dozens of Jewish communities and killed thousands because the Jews would not accept the Christian faith. Jews had to be killed in the religious campaign because their very existence challenged the sole truth espoused by the Christian Church.

Shafer adds that, "When the crusaders captured Jerusalem in 1099, they killed Muslims, Jews, and native Christians indiscriminately".

As Christians, it's often difficult to look at ourselves as unbelievers may see us, but the reality is that some zealots through the centuries have made a mockery of Christianity.  The imagery that the crusades conjures up does not help our cause.  I know of one Campus Crusade organization that recently changed its name to "Cornerstone" in order to be perceived more favorably by the college community.  For years I have used the name "Campus Crusade for Christ" without even thinking about how those who do not know Christ might perceive this organization based on its name.  "Crusade" can be an offensive term.

Are there destructive Christians in our world today?  Of course there are.  Think about those who murder abortion doctors and believe they are doing God's work.  How about those who protect and even promote pedophile pastors?  How about those Christians who discriminate based on sex or the color of one's skin?   The list goes on and on… 

It is incumbent upon each and every one of us who claim the name of Jesus Christ to fulfill the Great Commandment as stated by the Lord Himself who became flesh and dwelt among us:

Now let's take a look at a website that gives some indication of what atheists and agnostics really think about Christians.  Here's the link and an excerpt:

"It's rather ironic that a religion which so publicly proclaims Absolute Love as its basis should, over the course of history, spawn so much unmitigated hatred and violence. Is it simply that Christianity is a failure in inspiring better conduct from otherwise hopelessly evil human beings, or is there some aspect of Christianity which in fact encourages or promotes some of the baser aspects of human behavior? Perhaps it is a bit of both.

Concern about rampant violence has become ever more central in public discussions in America recently, especially where it involves the nation's youth. Recent incidents of brutal and deadly attacks by children against children have prompted an intense debate as to the cause and solutions for what is perceived as degenerating culture. It is rather ironic that the increase in attention happens at a time when actual incidents of violence are decreasing. Not only are the general statistics of violence showing a dramatic decrease with increasing rates of decrease, but even violence against children is decreasing.

But it is a truism that exceptional cases make for bad law and bad legal precedents. Following along in parallel, the exceptional cases of youth violence are being used by opportunistic politicians and religious leaders to create genuinely bad laws. Simple people are searching for simple causes and simple solutions.

The simplest among them immediately claim that the cause for youth violence must be the lack of government supported religion in children's lives, so their natural conclusion is that our government should increase its involvement with religion. And not just any religion – Christianity is the first and usually only choice. Practical policy suggestions include daily prayers, bible readings, and the ever popular posting of the Ten Commandments.

It would perhaps be unacceptable in some circles to point out the fact that in many European countries, religion plays an even smaller role in people's lives than it does in America – yet levels of violence are lower than here. Were a lack of religion any sort of cause of violence, then we would find higher amounts of violence in countries like Germany rather than Ireland, where both religion and violence have been prominent in daily life.

Facts like this must lead any rational person to treat claim of religion as a solution to our ills – real or perceived – with real skepticism. Religion has in fact done even more to promote base inhumanity when it has become wedded to ruling political powers. It has been a common pattern throughout human history that wherever religious dogmas have gained worldly power, violence was abetted rather than stopped. Even if a person were to successfully argue that none of the violence was caused by religion, the fact would remain that religion not only failed to stop it, but has actually served as a useful tool for those perpetuating it.

Is Christianity only a religion of Peace and Love? I do not think that anyone can honestly and objectively examine American or European history and answer "yes" to that question. Christianity can encourage Peace and Love – but it certainly need not, and it quite often has done just the opposite. Although the people responsible for violence might have found a way to express their hatred without Christianity, it cannot be ignored that Christianity offers a convenient divine mandate for hatred and violent acts against a wide range of people."

As a committed Christian, I believe it is incumbent upon those of us who profess the name of Jesus Christ to reflect His love to a lost world.  In order to seek and save the lost, we need to educate ourselves on how agnostics and atheists may be perceiving us so that when we are given the opportunity to witness to them we can better understand their mindset.

Narrow-minded Christians are a stumbling block to the advancement of the kingdom of God.  May we be wise as serpents and gentle as doves as we introduce our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to those who do not know Him.

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