Misconceptions of Christianity

It's commonplace today to criticize religion, particularly Christianity probably because this is the dominant faith amongst Americans and Western culture. Not to say others have not recently or ever in our history are criticized the same way. I am only going into the misconceptions surrounding Christianity, both from the view of today's Church and secular opinion.

1: Christianity Is Thoughtless and Unreasonable

St. Peter writes that we must have a reason for the hope that is in us (1 Peter 3:15.) Christianity is not a blind Faith at all as we are exhorted continually to read and study the Scriptures. Not everything is literal word-for-word for us to follow. The Bible is jam-packed with varying genres and writing styles. Take for instance the Book of Psalms; it's a song book. To many it may not appear that way however the original language would really make it flow better than our contemporary translations. A Christian also should know how Jesus Christ and the Law relate to each other in order to understand why we do not practice the rites and ceremonies practiced in the Old Testament. Jesus told the Pharisees and scribes that the Law and the Prophets testify about him (John 5:39.) The Lord stressed knowing these things through his ministry to His disciples as prophecy after prophecy was fulfilled by him according to the writings of the prophets.
I also strongly urge Christians across all communions to study the writings, doctrines, and creeds handed down to us from the Church Fathers and those after them; including some of the Reformers. These are the so-called "traditions of man" that appear to have a stigma in today's evangelical community. We don't lean on them in lieu of the Bible; they are tools to aid our understanding.

#2: Contradicts Scientific Facts

The creation story in the book of Genesis is probably the most common scrutiny of the Bible and Judeo-Christianity and being written off and/or discredited as "bad science."  By much misrepresentation of the texts, some believe that the Earth was created in a literal 6 24-hour day period; based on other passages there's also belief in a flat 6000 year-old Earth.
Bishop Robert Barron has said the book should be seen as theology, not bad science. In order to maintain a short article, here is a link to his video on Misreading Genesis, so you may get his view completely:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=UVsbVAVSssc
Genesis and the rest of the Bible are in no way supposed to be science books, the collection of books is the story of our salvation. However it isn't void of scientific facts written within the Bible such as describing a spherical Earth in Isaiah 40:22 and Job 26:10. St. Augustine and the Church Fathers affirmed that fact too.
My best friend who I knew to have been an atheist to an agnostic over time developed a worldview that grew more in favor of a Creator. He was eventually baptized in a Baptist Church (I'm not sure if he's active.) He told me that he has found science to prove or at the very least support the existence of God. He has expressed to me how astounded he is over the hostility towards even the thought of there being a God amongst those in the scientific community.
In conclusion to this segment Psalm 19:1 says that the heavens declare the glory of God and the expanse proclaims the work of his hands.

# 3: A Relationship, Not a Religion

This is more within Christianity than outside. I used to believe this wholeheartedly but this is in fact not true; it isn't just a religion either, but both. Jesus didn't explicitly say that he was starting a new religion in fact it's not what he set out to do at all and if you think about it, Christianity is what one could call "continuing Judaism," as it's the fulfilment of the Law. Anyways, this dichotomy is a false one. Jesus said that "on this rock I will build my Church," also handing down practices for us, his followers, to observe; most notably Holy Baptism and Holy Communion. St. Paul touches on this in 1 Corinthians 11 on how we observe Holy Communion. We are instructed also in fasting, prayer, and study throughout Jesus' ministry and many of the Epistles.
This separation also puts off a vibe that when you become a Christian, there's no disciplines and you don't need to particularly work at ceasing your sin as in repentance doesn't have any real importance in that view of the faith. I've developed a view based on many passages, but more directly from James 1:19-27 that tells me how we have a relationship with God by showing these fruits in our character in thought, word, and deed. May we be transformed by His love.

#4: Hateful, Judgemental, and Discriminatory

Jesus told his disciples to love even those who hate them. Hate has no place in the Christian Life in any way shape or form. St. Paul famously wrote an entire segment in 1 Corinthians 13 about love and what it looks like. Without love, we are nothing and our works are nothing even if we die as martyrs and have not love, it is in vain. Ephesians 5:2 Paul exhorted them (us also) to walk in love as Christ loved us and gave Himself for us as a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God.
To touch on discrimination, Jesus came to pay the price for the sins of all people. The Apostles were commanded, one handed down to us also, to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit in Matthew 28:19. The famous verse, John 3:16 also summarizes the mission of Jesus Christ in the simplest way that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that EVERYONE who believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.

#5: Emperor Constantine Invented Christianity

Constantine (27 Feb, 272 AD-22 May, 337 AD) did not invent Christianity. He was supportive of Christians but was not baptized until he was on his death bed; some believe he may not have ever been baptized. He did call together councils to discuss issues of the day that helped defend Christians against heresy's, one of which was Arianism. He financed reforms to the Papal office, which may have aided his cause as well.
Other developments throughout history have aided in disproving this such as the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, which have been found to pre-date Constantine's reign.
Tacitus (56-120 AD) mentions Nero blaming Christians for the Great Fire of Rome. Other secular sources predating Constantine make mention of Jesus, and Christians in their time. Here is a link to one of my sources: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2014/is-there-any-evidence-for-jesus-outside-the-bible/
St. Peter assures us in the first chapter of his second epistle in verses 16-21, that these are not cleverly devised myths and that he is an eye-witness to the life and works of Jesus Christ, hearing the voice of God the Father on the Mount of Transfiguration. The chapter ends with St. Peter writing that prophecy in Scripture is of no individual interpretation because no prophesy has ever come from the will of Man but that God spoke through Man as the Holy Spirit carried them.

Conclusion

May we continue to learn the scriptures, be ready, and stand firm. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand! (Philippians 4:4.) Show this is a faith of reason and the God who created us wants us to think for ourselves and know Him personally. I could say much more on the relationship between science and faith but I think I should dedicate a whole article on its own to elaborate; such as the issue of dinosaur fossils and going maybe slightly deeper into the age of the earth among other topics. All of which takes a little research. Let's not take for granted what a relationship with the Triune God is. Many seem to be bought into the notion that Jesus is like their homie on the block or a drinking buddy. There is religious life and practice in Christianity, it's our marriage to the Lord. Keep to faith, hope, and love- love being the greatest of these (1 Cor. 13:13.) Finally, I say trust that what has been handed down to us is truly the Word of God.

(Thank you for reading, sorry for my prolonged absence. I hope you enjoyed! If you like this, follow also Paleo-Orthodoxy {www.paleo-orthodoxy.com} and Barely Protestant {www.barelyprotestant.blogspot.com} both of whom are on Facebook. My page, The Via Media, is on Facebook too.)

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