Why Christianity Is "Fair Game" for Critics


A number of years ago Richard Dawkins was cancelled from speaking at an event sponsored by Berkeley’s KPFA radio. The station cited Dawkins’ offensive and hurtful language against Islam as the reason which was being contested by Dawkins and other supporters. The evolutionary biologist and best-selling author defended himself by explaining he differentiates between Islam and Islamism. He frankly admitted to his criticism of Islam’s misogyny, homophobia, and the murdering of innocent people for simply not believing. He also pointed out that the primary victims of Islamism are other Muslims.

He then responded by asking a very pertinent question: “I am also known as a frequent critic of Christianity and have never been de-platformed for that. Why do you give Islam a free pass? Why is it fine to criticize Christianity but not Islam?” His inquiry deserves an answer. Why is Christianity viewed as fair game for any and all forms of criticism, mockery, and ridicule?

I think there are two basic reasons, one legitimate and the other illegitimate. But before stating those reasons let me say that Dawkins’ work The God Delusion is downright blasphemous libel from a man who obviously hates the God of the Bible. Yet he freely admits that he has received no sanctions or censure from Christians for his hostile diatribe against their most holy faith. We need to understand why that is the case.

First, illegitimate criticism of Christianity is that which takes aim at the behavior of so-called Christians. There are numerous examples of religion exploited by evil men to abuse power, and indeed, horrible crimes have been committed wrongly in the name of Christ. Most often cited would be the crusades and the Inquisition. However, this kind of argument is illegitimate because it is actually a veiled compliment of Christianity itself. When people throw such stones they are, in fact, judging Christianity by its own standards. Whether they realize it or not, they are basically saying Christian beliefs and principles are a good thing--the issue is that those beliefs and principles are not being faithfully practiced by those who claim them. Even unbelievers know that true Christians don’t murder their enemies but rather love and forgive them.

Second, legitimate criticism of Christianity is that which our Lord Jesus told us to expect. “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” (John 15:18-19) Whoomp, there it is. The world that lives in darkness hates the light. They hate any restriction on their personal freedom to live as they choose. They resent being thought of as “sinners” and reject the notion that people are inherently bad. The offense of the cross declares we’re so bad and our sins are so great it took the death of Jesus Christ to atone.

Do you see our dilemma? We’re called to proclaim a message the world hates and at the same time so desperately needs. As Christians we understand that love is always willing to run the risk of being despised and rejected. We don’t hold back simply because our message might offend sinners. Rather, in love and compassion, we communicate by life and lip what we firmly hold as the only hope this world has: the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Two reasons why Christianity is "Fair Game" for any and all forms of criticism, mockery, and ridicule.