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Exposing Myths About Christianity: A Guide to Answering 145 Viral Lies and Legends Paperback – June 14, 2012
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"An astonishingly rich plethora of historical facts and common-sense arguments--a summa of persuasive debating points in popular apologetics." (Peter Kreeft, Boston College)
"Jeffrey Burton Russell is a marvel. An eminent scholar of medieval intellectual history, he has placed his gifts in the service of the gospel, creating in one immensely readable volume an enlightening guide to the Christian experience and a bracing antidote to the follies and willful confusions of our age." (Carol Zaleski, professor of world religions, Smith College)
"If you thought Christian apologetics was an art last practiced in the third century, Professor Russell's lively book will convince you that that ancient art of persuasive, reasoned defense is alive and well. Tackling the many misapprehensions and false assumptions about Christianity that routinely circulate in the modern world, Russell counters with thoughtful and thought-provoking data. Researched with a scholar's attention to accuracy yet written in an accessible style and in a format that facilitates consideration of discrete topics, this book deserves a wide readership among thinking people, Christians and non-Christians, believers and non-believers alike." (Wendy M. Wright, professor of theology, Creighton University)
"This is Christian apologetics at its best--compelling, readable, convincing and informed. Distortions, myths and lazy assumptions are all challenged. Encyclopedic in scope, all the major questions are considered. From gnosticism to evil, from science to the Trinity, Jeffrey Burton Russell demonstrates exceptional competence and mastery of the literature. What C. S. Lewis's Mere Christianity did in the 1940s, Jeffrey Burton Russell has done for us. For those seeking and for those who doubt, this is a must-read book." (Very Rev. Dr. Ian Markham, president and professor of theology, Virginia Theological Seminary)
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Top Customer Reviews
Lately I've been coming to the conclusion that this might represent the most crucial Christian apologetic of our day: to counteract these very myths. I'm grateful to see such a thorough and responsibly handled treatment as this one by Jeffrey Burton Russell.
Russell is Professor Emeritus of History at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He bears the graceful confidence of one who feels at ease holding his position, which I suspect reflects the fact that he has been tested in it.
Most tellingly, he's comfortable being open with Christianity's weaknesses. Is it a myth that Christianity is anti-Semitic? Well, yes and no. You need not go looking elsewhere for anti-Semitism in Christian history; Russell will tell you about it. And then he'll put it in context. Similarly with slavery, women's rights, and so on. Russell has no new myths to try to insinuate into the record. On the whole Christianity comes out looking okay in spite of all--especially in comparison to other currents of thought, and other social movements.
I can't agree with everything he wrote, especially his overly cautious conclusions concerning homosexuality in the Bible. I know that will come as no surprise to him; he was quite sure, he said, that there would be no way to write on that without raising raising disagreement of some sort from almost everyone. It's a tough topic.Read more ›
The personality and wit of the author shine through, making it a sort of Cliff's Notes with soul.
The book is composed of a series of short essays, each devoted to a different myth, for example, "Hitler was a Christian;" "Christianity is outdated and dying out;" "Little or nothing is known about Jesus;" "Christianity is false because miracles can't occur;" "Science has shown that there is no God;" "Religion causes more war and suffering than atheism does;" and "Nothing is true."
And, of course, it is child's play for author of Inventing the Flat Earth: Columbus and the Historians (1991) to dispense with the myth that "Medieval Christians believed earth was flat."
Crafting a text that is extremely learned, yet lively and easy to grasp, Russell draws with ease on his wide-ranging grounding in the history of ideas, philosophical debates, church history, political movements of the 20th century, and so on.
Russell writes as an emeritus university professor and also as a veteran of interfaith seminars where, we surmise, theological experts may put forward indefensible myths as blandly as young students. He stands up for using the rational faculty and carefully and dispassionately studying historical evidence.
"Myths often arise from bias, which is different from point of view. A point of view is open to discussion on the basis of evidence. Bias, on the other hand, is a prejudice that filters out everything that doesn't fit a preformed conception.Read more ›
This one can be a hit and miss book. There is always a problem when people too often try to cover a wide wide range of topics. Inevitably, some will be treated less well than others will. The ones that are strongest will be the ones that are within the subject matter of the writer. Russell is a historian so lo and behold, he does excellent on history. When it gets to issues that could have different opinions are can be controversial, such as social ethics issues like compromise, Russell often says that Christians have different viewpoints on this matter.
It certainly is true that Christians can, but most Christians reading something like this will hope for a more conservative approach I think. To go for an in-between ground area can be a turn off for the reader.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great introductory book for people beginning to examine their faith critically. Russell combines a logician's mind with his grasp of history in this mature response to negative... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Vince
A real waste of money and time. Zero new material presented, zero myths exposed. Schrodinger's Cat is considerably more interesting.Published 19 months ago by Amazon Customer
Terrible white wash blather with little truth that seeks only to sweep documented long standing abuses by the Catholic Church and other Christian hierarchies under the rug as a... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Kris Thomas
Russell provides brief answers to 145 issues. He offers solid answers, though brevity limits his thoroughness. Read morePublished 23 months ago by David George Moore
This is quite a good, though, somewhat long book on Christian apologetics. I discovered it at the library, checked it out, and read it. Read morePublished on July 12, 2014 by James Watrous
This is the worst book I've read in years, don't buy it! Instead of exposing lies about Christianity he is perpetuating them. Read morePublished on February 28, 2014 by dave1
As other reviewers have pointed out, Russell is a distinguished professor and author of several other books, none of which I have ever read so I can't say whether this one is any... Read morePublished on July 3, 2013 by Bomdiggity
In general, I enjoyed this one. I hardly agreed with everything Russell wrote--probably no Christian will--but it introduced several thought-provoking topics. Read morePublished on April 5, 2013 by Dubious Disciple
This book is a good guide to enlighten doubts and it is well researched book.Those who have problems of whether to believe some anti Biblical ideas that sprout from skeptics will... Read morePublished on January 22, 2013 by Hedy Erardo