In his book, The Beginning of Religious Skepticism, I believe that Atheist, Robert Andrew was correct when he wrote, “Religious skepticism came to public attention in western Europe in the second half of the seventeenth century. It was nurtured not only by philosophers and men of science but also by devout biblical scholars and by a few religious eccentrics. Of these there were plenty.”
Andrews identifies three fronts on which the Protestant Christian Faith was attacked. The First is Philosophy, the second is Science, or rather its misuse and the third attack came from within the Church itself. What surprises me, is that the Church, in general, is blind to this.
The first front of the attack is Philosophy. Simply stated, this is where humans replace the teachings of God with human ideas. This has happened and it has been the most tragic and blood-filled causes of death and suffering our planet has ever seen. The human wisdom is Karl Marx, creating a Communist manifesto, which in the hands of Mao Tse Tung and Joseph Stalin, along with other despots saw more than One Hundred Million people die and countless more to suffer horribly. Yet many Christians are racing to synthesize Karl Marx’s Socialism into the Church!
The second front is Science, or perhaps we should call this pseudoscience. To dethrone a God who created everything, and replace Him with an alternative, the ancient Greek doctrine of Naturalism had to be resurrected and then sold as being credible. Rather than have people believe that they owe their lives and allegiance to God, it was required for people to think that they were simply random accidents of biological material. The evolutionary theory of Darwinism has been in the rubbish bins of Scientists for over seventy years. Yet rather than turning back to God, they have spent a lifetime of effort and billions of dollars trying to revive it. Yet the Church prefers a dead and discredited theory, to a living Creator!
The third deception came in the form of Criticizing the Bible. This gained momentum when Constantine Simonides (1820-1890) created a handwritten copy of the Bible. He used an old style of bookbinding and wrote in a fashion that imitated the style of the fourth century. His uncle then edited the Bible and attempted to correct the many mistakes that were in the script. Simonides’ Bible was missing many portions of Scripture, and his New Testament was missing many verses and overall about 5,000 words. This Bible was then stolen by a radical German named Tischendorf (1815-1874) then stole it.
Tischendorf claimed to be an expert in dating Books and said that the Book was some 1400 years old. Because the book was in very good condition and there were no signs of aging, he then soaked parts of it in tea and lemon juice to try to create the illusion of age. The Bible was quickly locked in a Museum, and only ever were printed copies of its text circulated until just recently. Quickly this Bible was hailed by ‘experts’ (who had never seen it) as being the closest thing ever to the originals.
What followed was very sad. Where once Preachers were able to stand in pulpits, holding their Bibles up high, and boldly proclaiming, “This is the Word of the Lord!’, it is now common to hear preachers outlining the latest ideas embraced by the world.
People have lost confidence in the Bible because it is touted to be ‘full of mistakes’. The Bible is now viewed as a giant Chinese whisper, in which no one knows its original form and very few trust it.
My Atheist commentator is quite correct, Christianity in the West has been demolished, by humanist philosophy, fables paraded as science and the destruction of people’s faith in Scripture.
The Church should have known better. Paul warned us of these things in the opening of his Letter to the Romans, which is often quoted. Also of significance is Titus 1:10&11. “For there are many unruly and empty talkers and deceivers… Who needs to be silenced, who subvert whole households, teaching what they should not…”
The Church thrives on the Word of God and withers on the rebellious and empty words of godlessness.