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Thursday, February 05, 2004

20 Reasons to Pray for Chaz

In his pamphlet 20 Reasons to Abandon Christianity, Chaz Bufe devotes one chapter to each of the rants he has against Christianity. Most of his reasons for opposing Christianity are based on a faulty understanding of the faith; but a few show clear understanding of what Christianity teaches... in which case, his comments only hold water if Christian teaching is indeed false. The entire premise of most of his criticisms comes from an initial assumption that Christianity is false, and that there is no God.

It would be easy to gloss over the fact that most of his arguments rely on other religions being false as well. However, one can't help noticing that it's a lot easier in liberal circles to slam Christians than it is to slam Jews or Muslims. The fact is that all three believe in God, and all three share similar value systems. Chaz just chooses the easiest target in a politically correct world; because if he had attacked Jewish and Muslim people, he would (rightly) have to acknowledge being anti-semitic. Yet his arguments are anti-semitic, even if he never mentions Semitic races by name, because they still promote a false and hateful view of people who hold the truths that Jewish and Muslim, as well as Christian, people hold in common.

Now, at the risk of being long-winded, I will point out some of the more obvious flaws in Bufe's criticisms.


  • Christianity is based on fear

  • The fears he cites are death, devil, and hell. Christianity does not build up fear of death, but relieves it; because in faith, one has hope of afterlife with God. Death itself is a reality, so the fear of it is not false at all. If the author denies this, then he's farther from reality than he realizes. As for devil and hell, if Christianity is correct, then the devil and hell should be feared. So the only workable argument here is to prove that the Christian faith is wrong, not to criticize it whether it be wrong or right.
  • Christianity preys on the innocent

  • Clearly he does not understand Christianity. Christianity teaches us not to prey on the innocent. If all people practiced Christianity and followed the teachings of Jesus, there would be no predatory behavior on earth.
  • Christianity is based on dishonesty

  • This argument is meaningless without evidence. Essentially he is saying "Christianity is wrong because Christianity is wrong." Brilliant, Chaz.
  • Christianity is extremely egocentric

  • Apparently wanting to go to heaven is egocentric. So, too, according to this man, is the belief that God loves us. Here, he displays not just a total ignorance of Christianity but an ignorance of human nature itself. Love is a total giving of self; to love Someone enough to want to spend eternity with Him is completely loving. Of course, he uses contradictory logic here. The person who gives love is being preyed on; the person who receives love is self-centered. It sounds like what he's advocating is a complete disdain for anyone but self. And if you ask me, that is the height of egocentrism.
  • Christianity breeds arrogance, a chosen-people mentality

  • And Chaz Bufe does not?
  • Christianity breeds authoritarianism

  • Every "system" of governance breeds or is the result of some form of authoritarianism. The person who is not governed by ethics or morals is governed by law. One must hope that the law that governs him is at least ethical.
  • Christianity is cruel

  • People are cruel. More specifically, some people are. And some will be cruel in any group. Some Christians are cruel (and they sometimes get into positions of power). Some atheists are cruel; some politicians, and some doctors, and some pamphlet writers are cruel. All forms of governance have sometimes slipped into cruel policies, Christianity included; but the inherent teachings of Christianity do not promote cruelty.
  • Christianity is anti-intellectual, anti-scientific

  • It's hard to argue with that one, because different denominations approach science differently. However, as the Catholic Church teaches, truth cannot contradict truth; so the findings of science can be hotly debated on both sides without needing to check one's faith at the door.
  • Christianity has a morbid, unhealthy preoccupation with sex

  • I had to do a double take when I read this one. Who has a morbid, unhealthy preoccupation with sex? A faith that, across most denominations, teaches that sex is sacred and beautiful, and should be an expression of love and tenderness, or a largely atheistic society that insists that sex must rule everything, from cologne ads to children's cartoons?
  • Christianity produces sexual misery

  • See above.
  • Christianity has an exceedingly narrow, legalistic view of morality

  • What qualifies him to define what is narrow? Even if he is correct, "narrow" and "legalistic" are only bad if the morality they describe is wrong.
  • Christianity encourages acceptance of real evils while focusing on imaginary evils

  • Again, what qualifies him to define what is evil and what is not? He shows extreme intolerance.
  • Christianity depreciates the natural world

  • I'd wager he's never heard a Christian sermon. Every church I've ever attended has taught the importance of stewardship, and caring for the natural world.
  • Christianity models hierarchical, authoritarian organization

  • And why is hierarchical organization bad? Is it bad merely because he intolerantly says so? As for authoritarian, see above.
  • Christianity sanctions slavery

  • Again, he doesn't know what he's talking about. No Christian church I've ever heard of sanctions slavery.
  • Christianity is misogynistic

  • Actually, atheism is misogynistic. Atheism encourages people to use one another for selfish motives, because it has no moral incentive to require considering other people's needs. Specifically, the value system this author seems to be promoting is one that considers a woman's feelings irrelevant when using her body. The free sex mentality teaches that a man is justified in making a woman feel good "right now" in order to get sex, disregarding any emotional pain or physical disease she may suffer later, as a result.
  • Christianity is homophobic

  • Sorry, but Chaz needs to get a dictionary. Disapproving of a behavior does not mean being afraid of people who practice it. As a matter of fact, Christians who seek to help people live chastely are showing a love for the souls of other people. It would be egotistical and unloving to seek one's own eternal life while not caring whether or not the next guy attains it.
  • The Bible is not a reliable guide to Christ's teachings

  • How is a non-believer qualified to state what Christ's teachings are, better than either a believer or the Bible?
  • The Bible is riddled with contradictions

  • This is too long a topic to cover adequately, but suffice it to say that what appear to be contradictions generally are not. In some cases they are different Biblical writers emphasizing different aspects of the truth. In other cases, seeming contradictions are reminders not to forget one thing in our zeal to pursue something else. Are justice and mercy contradictory?
  • Christianity borrowed its central myths and ceremonies from other ancient religions

  • Perhaps, just perhaps, those other ancient religions began to grasp some truth that they had insufficient revelation to understand fully. Christianity is not a new truth; it is a fulfillment of truth previously not understood.

Let's pray for the conversion of Chaz Bufe.