Christian Theological/Philosophical Book Club discussion

The Table - Group Book Reads > Exposing Myths about Christianity book

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message 1: by Pavlo (new)

Pavlo (pavlindrom) | 59 comments I got the book and I started reading it. Does anyone else find it tough to follow along? The style is a little rough to me.

Other than that, it does alright; but there is already one thing I disagree with when it comes to the author's theology. When discussing myth #3, close to the end of it he is giving an overview of the Christian belief where he claims that Jesus was killed because he made the rich and powerful uneasy and enraged with His attention to the poor (who were suffering at the hands of the rich). Wasn't Jesus killed because of the religious folks whom He harassed (rightly so)? I think so.

How is everyone else doing with the book?

message 2: by Lee (new)

Lee Harmon (DubiousDisciple) | 2112 comments I haven't received my copy yet, but it's on order.

message 3: by Pavlo (new)

Pavlo (pavlindrom) | 59 comments It's probably a good thing I got it early. I'm a slow reader. You can't go too quickly through the book when 7 others want to be finished. :)

message 4: by David (new)

David I've read the first two parts (Christianity is Destructive and Christianity is Dying Out).

I think it is tough to follow in that it reads more like a reference book then a narrative. I can see it would be a good resource to look up specific questions. I've also noticed a bit of repetition, so the reader who only reads for one question does not miss anything.

As for your specific question, weren't the "rich and powerful" the same as the "religious folks." Also, the Pharisees were his main opponents in the gospels, but their power was in the countryside; in Jerusalem his opponents were more the Saducees and they led the way in killing him. I am sure that is over-simplified.

I don't know much about this author, but he is clearly a good historian. I think his answers really are helpful in many cases.

That said, I hate when he makes a claim, offers a footnote and the footnote is simply a book. That is not helpful if I want to check the source, especially when it is a primary source I want.

message 5: by Lee (new)

Lee Harmon (DubiousDisciple) | 2112 comments I found the first two parts to be a bit boring. At that point, the "myths" are more like stereotypes or misinterpretations of the Bible. The book begins in part 3: Is Christianity Stupid, or something like that.

message 6: by Pavlo (new)

Pavlo (pavlindrom) | 59 comments The tax collectors are the rich people that Jesus wasn't sharply criticized; in fact they were ministered to by Him. So it is the religiously self-righteous gang that got the most severe treatment. This is not a major problem, just something that I noticed right away.

Glad to see you got the book.

message 7: by David (new)

David Ah, I see what you're getting at Pavlo. I would agree that Russell was a bit sloppy in simply saying "rich and powerful" since the tax collectors were rich and Jesus got along with them.

When I reread the paragraph in which the quote comes, I think I get Russell's point. He is explaining what Christianity is in general and because of that, the paragraph is filled with vagaries. We could probably dissect his other statements and find similar sloppiness. I think his combining rich AND powerful as well as talking of those who had Jesus killed means he is not talking about tax collectors, since they were not in on the crucifixion as far as we know.

message 8: by Pavlo (new)

Pavlo (pavlindrom) | 59 comments I could agree to sloppiness. I can continue reading now. :)

message 9: by Lee (new)

Lee Harmon (DubiousDisciple) | 2112 comments I posted my review.

There are several topics of interest in the book, if y'all wanna discuss.

message 10: by David (new)

David Nice review. There were a few parts where I thought, "this has to drive Lee crazy." I'd love to discuss it a bit. I finished it and will work on a review and then throw some thoughts out for discussion.

message 11: by David (new)

David Okay, I'll throw this out. He writes,

When people say that church is boring they often mean they find other entertainment more fun. But church isn't supposed to be a form of entertainment. Christianity is about what I can do for others. In the current me-oriented society, however, we demand instead what Christianity can do for us.

Jeffrey Burton Russell. Exposing Myths About Christianity: A Guide to Answering 145 Viral Lies and Legends (Kindle Locations 342-344). Kindle Edition.

I think this is true, and sad. In my campus ministry, the students will spend hours practicing songs to sing at a worship night. They get excited to sit in a circle and sing for an hour. But to volunteer at a nursing home or plan an event to reach out in any way (evangelism, service) on or off campus is like pulling teeth.

These are Christian kids who go to churches that aren't boring - they are often good entertainment and a nice show, but do they make disciples?

message 12: by David (new)

David I also thought it was interesting how he implied technology is closer to magic then Christianity is:

Technology and magic attempt to control nature; Christianity attempts to be in harmony with nature, God and reality.

Jeffrey Burton Russell. Exposing Myths About Christianity: A Guide to Answering 145 Viral Lies and Legends (Kindle Location 423). Kindle Edition.

I thought his chapters on things like Hitler and witch hunts were some of the best, I wonder if he is a historian by trade.

message 13: by Pavlo (new)

Pavlo (pavlindrom) | 59 comments Sorry to say I didn't finish the book yet. I'll have it done eventually.

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