Heresy: Ten Lies They
Spread About Christianity by Michael Coren (McClelland & Stewart, $29.99, 240 pages)
On the heels of the surprise 2011 best-seller, Why Catholics are Right, broadcaster and columnist Michael Coren, has come out with another book on religion, this one with a broader appeal as it applies not only to Catholicism, but Christianity. In it, Coren comes to the defense of the Christian religion against common – some might say well-worn – arguments used against believers in Jesus Christ, such as the slanders of Dan Brown, the notion that Christians are not intellectual (or are opposed to science or opposed to progress), that Adolf Hitler was Christian, and that Christians are obsessed with abortion.
Coren notes that Hitler’s regime instituted all kinds of anti-Christian policies and that Hitler was a lousy Christian in his personal life, if he really was one. He says that instead of reading Dan Brown’s fiction we would be better off reading authors such as G.K. Chesterton, J.R.R. Tolkein, C.S. Lewis, Malcolm Muggeridge, Dorothy Sayers, and many others who rebut the notion that Christians are not intelligent. Coren examines a litany of scientists who were Christian to refute the argument that religion and science are incompatible, let alone that the former is hostile to the latter. He concludes the chapter on religion and science stating that not only is there “no necessary contradiction between science and faith,” but that throughout history “Christians have often led in the field of scientific inquiry.”
Interim readers will be most interested in the chapter, “Christians are obsessed with abortion.” It is a good primer on the abortion debate, in which Coren rehashes all the arguments for abortion and the pro-life response to them. It would ostensibly prove the critics point that Christians are obsessed with the issue, but Coren has an answer for that, too: “It is not that slavery, child labour, or abortion are specifically Christian issues, but that Christians are more attuned to notions of good and evil, right and wrong, and thus more likely and willing to speak out.”
Indeed, although pro-lifers come in all religious stripes, it is mostly Christians who are involved in the pro-life movement. Perhaps honest and searching agnostics and atheists would be persuaded by Coren’s case for the pro-life position, because his counter-arguments to the case for abortion employs few religious reasons, relying mostly on science, human rights, philosophy, and simple logic.
Coren has written a book that serves many purposes. It challenges the critic of Christianity to re-examine his specious arguments against the followers of Jesus Christ, and provides Christians with ammunition against those who chastize the Christian faith with little more than slander. The individual chapters are also worth the price of the book alone for the specific issues examined, and none more so than the chapter on abortion. Coren will deservedly have another best-seller with Heresy.
Paul Tuns is the editor of The Interim.