145 myths about Christianity debunked
Some repetitiveness, but an excellent-value apologetic from a history professor
Myth busted! 145 myths about Christianity debunked
By Jeffrey Burton Russell
Reviewer: Dr Pieter J. Lalleman
This is a massive book in defence of Christianity. The 145 myths mentioned in the title are spread over the sections ‘Christianity is dying out’, ‘Christianity is destructive’, ‘Christianity is stupid’, ‘Jesus and the Bible have been shown to be false’, ‘Christian beliefs have been shown to be wrong’, ‘Miracles are impossible’, ‘Worldviews can’ be evaluated’ and ‘What’s new is true’.
Some myths are busted in a few lines, others take up to ten pages.
Most apologetic books are written by biblical scholars or scientists, but this one comes from the pen of a retired professor of history. And that shows, because the book is full of historical details, such as a description of what happened to Galilei.
For biblical issues, Russell has consulted evangelical scholars. Sometimes the professor dishes out more facts than is strictly necessary. In fact the book can also be read as an introduction to Christianity and its history so far.
Yet the style is lively, with regular doses of irony. Russell’s approach is factual rather than pastoral when it comes to issues such as sin, and the book is surely more serious than the title might suggest. The footnotes refer the reader to further reading in books and articles, but hardly to the internet. Towards the end the book becomes repetitive, which shows that the organisation of the material could be better.
Paternoster here publishes the British edition of an American IVP book, but the American spelling has been retained. The literature quoted is also largely American, as are some examples, but the book as a whole is sufficiently universal in outlook.
Russell does not hide the divisions amongst Christians about many issues; he accepts evolution as the way God created the world; and he discusses homosexuality but does not speak out on the current debate in the church. Despite the repetitiveness towards the end, there are far worse Christmas present you could give a friend. It looks great and the price is amazingly low.
The Revd Dr Pieter Lalleman is Acadamic Dean and Tutor of New Testament at Spurgeon's College