Tolerant Christians are failed Christians

The conversations I have with my Christian friends and family members usually center on the dangers of Christianity. They will invariably speak about how Christianity is relatively peaceful compared to the horrors inflicted upon the world in the name of Allah. The following atheist meme sums it up:

militant atheist


All joking aside, and to give Christians credit, the militant Christian murdering a family physician due to religious beliefs about abortion is rarely observed. Just in the last week alone, however, we’ve seen a deadly suicide attack by the Sunni Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in a Shia Hezbollah-dominated suburb of Beirut, and the same Islamist organization take control of an entire city in Iraq. The dangers of Christianity pale in comparison to the threat of Islam. Take another look at the picture above. If you were forced to invite two of those guys over to dinner to discuss politics, which one would be snubbed? I’m pretty sure the guy with the bomb won’t get an invitation.

But why are Christians so “tolerant”? I use the word “tolerant” loosely, of course. Why aren’t they out in droves murdering atheists and other non-Christians? The answer is because most Christians are failed Christians.

I’m not making a “no true Scotsman” argument here.

The Spanish inquisitors were following the literal teachings of Christ, complemented, of course, by Deuteronomy. The Spanish inquisitors argued that Jesus supported the widespread torture and slaughter of non-Christians. Indeed, they were right. John 15:6 says “If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.”

Modern Christians almost categorically reject the idea that non-believers should be killed. It seems natural that this should be true. As breakthroughs in science, and indeed knowledge, are made, religions must liberalize to survive. For example, we no longer believe that non-believers are given magic abilities to harm Christians through sex with Satan. Because of that, we no longer believe that atheists pose existential threats to Christians. Therefore, most Christians have no reason to kill a non-believer.

But this liberalization of the Christian religion is nothing more than an example of failing to live by the teachings of Christ. Christianity, through this liberalization, seems to be able to just throw away teachings that counter modern social norms. By admitting that certain Biblical teachings no longer apply, one is also admitting one of two things: 1) Christianity is flawed and thus subject to scrutiny, or 2) Christianity is perfect and the Christian is a failed Christian.

I posit that it would counter Christian beliefs for a Christian to admit that Christianity is flawed. If this is true, then Christians should confess their uncertainty and failings.

Indeed, Will Durant, in The Age of Faith: The Story of Civilization (1950), writes, “Intolerance is the natural concomitant of strong faith; tolerance grows only when faith loses certainty; certainty is murderous” (p. 784).

About Rayan Zehn

I'm a political scientist.
This entry was posted in Atheism and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Tolerant Christians are failed Christians

  1. An estimated 25 million Christians were killed by anti-religious governments in the 20th century.

    It seems like the anti religious are the real threat nowadays.

    Your understanding of the Spanish inquisition is poor. The inquisition was directed against other Christians who were heretics not non Christians. The problem was there was indeed discrimination against people of different religions including Jews and Muslims. They would sometimes be forced to convert or be forced to leave. Many converted. They were then considered Christians if they claimed to remain Christians. I’m not saying the inquisition was good by any means but there is allot of ignorance concerning it. If you want to actually learn about it then you might want to read this:

    BTW: The quote from the Bible you use is not advocating that Christians use violence against anyone.

    • rayanzehn says:

      Just a heads up. Saint Dominic explicitly cited John 15:6 as a reason to torture the Cathars before slaughtering them.

      • You understand Cathars were Christian’s right?

        I’m not saying that what happened to the Cathars or any other people deemed heretics was anything short of horrible. That’s not my point.

        My point was that your claim that “The Spanish inquisitors were following the literal teachings of Christ, complemented, of course, by Deuteronomy. The Spanish inquisitors argued that Jesus supported the widespread torture and slaughter of non-Christians.” belies a fundamental ignorance of the inquisition. Concerns for salvation were a big concern in the middle ages when death came often and unexpectedly. If someone would like to learn about what the actual inquisition was they could read the link I offered or other pieces of scholarship by that author, or others.

        If you are interested in the topic feel free to read and learn about it. If you just want rehash misinformation that’s fine to, but you might get called out from time to time.

      • rayanzehn says:

        You should call me out. This blog is about as scientific as a text message. That’s the point. But I reject your sources of information on that same basis. My job requires me to scrutinize literature, and those without peer review are immediately rejected. I will not engage those links for those purposes. Just like you should not expect this blog to be authoritative. Then again… The Cathars were Christian insofar as the Mormons are Christian. It did not live up to norms.

  2. The source I gave was this guy If you don’t like him because he is Catholic then feel free to find a new authority to read.

    I don’t think you are going to have very good luck finding what the intent of the Spanish inquisition was by doing science.

  3. Pingback: Don’t condemn Christianity less, condemn Islam more: Every atheist should earn a fatwa | The Atheist Papers

  4. Joe says:

    I don’t think Stalin and Hitler just hung out in coffee shops.

    • Ezo says:

      Hitler was Catholic. And Stalin haven’t killed in the name of atheism – which kinda doesn’t make sense.

      You can kill in the name of God, or in the name of some guy. But in the name of belief ‘God doesn’t exist’?

      Stalin was an atheist. He was also a man – not woman. Should we say that he killed because he was a man, and not a woman? Doesn’t make sense, sorry.

      • marcos says:

        Hitler had no religion, nor was he an atheist. Multiple historians agree that Hitler offered a public image in which he did not show himself as contrary to religion; In fact, even before the Nazis came to power, he seemed to have a covert plan that would seek to first end Judaism, and later Christianity in the Reich, replacing these religions with National Socialism; this through the control and total subversion of the German churches at the end of the war.

  5. marcos says:

    The hardest blow for humanity is Christianity, communism is the child of Christianity, they are all inventions of the Jews.
    Adolf Hitler, 1943

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s