Will the Real Christianity Please Stand Up!: Part 1, Good versus Bad Christianities

Over the last few years I've noticed an increasingly common criticism of Christianity, a very potent one, that I'd like to reflect on a bit, for my own benefit.  

The criticism is this. We've all seen Christianity behaving badly. In both history and in contemporary society. For example, in history we Christianity used to justify things like slavery. And in contemporary society we saw Christianity used to justify storming the US capital on January 6th. 

When we witness these horrible things, Christians like myself rush to argue that slave-holding Christians or QAnon Christians are "bad" Christians. That is, we argue that these bad actors have distorted or twisted the "true" Christian message. 

The criticism here, one you've likely come across, is that Christianity needs to start owning its whole history, the good, the bad and the ugly. Critics argue that when we rush to judge other Christians as "bad Christians" we're avoiding the work of taking a hard moral inventory, too-quickly absolving ourselves of any blame. Perhaps, the critics argue, those bad Christianities are the real Christianity. 

Obviously, as a Christian, I don't believe that to be the case. But as a Christian, I do want to take this criticism seriously. I think we "good" Christians can be too quick in distancing ourselves from both our history and our badly behaving brothers and sisters. Because if there were something rotten at the heart of the faith I think and honest person would want to face and own that. 

So, some posts reflecting on good versus bad Christianities, and the quest to identify the "real" Christianity. 

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