John Dickson’s Bullies and Saints is a super-podcast providing excerpts of the book by the same name – a no-holds-barred look at the best and worst of church history.
In this edition, John Dickson introduces us to two characters that display all that’s been good and bad about the followers of Jesus – Ebolus the crossbowman and Bernard of Clairvaux.
Is religion a pernicious force in the world? Does it poison everything? Would we be better off without religion in general and Christianity in particular?
Many skeptics certainly think so.
John Dickson has spent much of the last ten years reflecting on these difficult questions and on why so many doubters see Christianity as a major cause of harm not blessing.
The skeptics, he concludes, are right: even a cursory look at the history of Christians reveals dark things therein–violence, bigotry, genocide, war, inquisition, oppression, imperialism, racism, corruption, greed, power, abuse. For centuries and even today, Christians have been among the worst bullies you could ever imagine.
But the critics are only partly right: this is not what Christianity was at its foundation or on its best days. Jesus of Nazareth gave the world a beautiful melody – of charity, humility, and human dignity – and while many of its followers have been tone-deaf, many others have sung the tune and transformed the world.
Dickson provides an honest account of the mixed history of Christianity and asks skeptics to listen again to the melody of Christ, despite the discord produced by too many unbelievers. He also asks Christians to reflect soberly on their own participation in the tragic inconsistencies of Christendom and pleads with them to live in tune with their Maestro.