I found this thread on the ex-Christian subreddit yesterday and loved it. In fact, I loved it so much that I simply had to go check out the thread it referenced (archive link). In this thread, an atheist asks the Christians of r/AskAChristian what they think ‘the single greatest threat to Christianity’ might be. These Christians’ answers were quite illuminating, as well as completely wrong. Let’s take a closer look at their misidentified threats, and see what is really causing their religion’s decline.
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The Christians in denial: What threat? There ain’t no threat to Christianity here!
First and foremost, a number of responding Christians stoutly insisted that their religion faced no threats at all. One poster we’ll call Green drilled down repeatedly on this idea (archive screenshot):
I don’t. If Jesus is God then nothing will threaten or change it.
Christianity has never changed nor has God. What are you referring to? Jesus said their would be false doctrines and false teachers who lead ppl astray. Guessing you are referring to man made arguments over doctrine
Christianity has no threat as it is eternal as Jesus is the one true God
Even other Christians lost patience with Green. But she wasn’t alone. Others had similar replies:
There is no threat to Christianity. Jesus Christ already won. Victory is already his. The only threat is to peoples salvation who don’t accept him. [source]
There are no threats. The gates of Hell shall not prevail against Christ’s Church. [source]
There are no threats to Christianity as a whole. The survival of the Church is 100% guaranteed. . . [And then he goes into a long qualifying statement about the church surviving but not being “as successful as it should be.”] [source]
Meanwhile, Christianity continues to decline more every year over almost the whole of the world. Even in Italy, the heart of Christendom for many centuries, churches go abandoned (along with entire towns, granted). Europe itself is now largely post-Christian. And in Freedom Land itself, nobody reputable is giving Christianity a single chance in hell of regaining its former dominance over American culture.
Denial. It ain’t just a river in Egypt.
Back when the greatest threat to Christianity was totally the Theory of Evolution
Between the time
when the oceans drank Atlantis,
and the rise of the sons of Aryas,
there was an age undreamed of.
About ten years ago, Creationists exploded onto the American drama stage. As literalist evangelicals, they believe that their god poofed the universe into existence over a short period of time varying from six days to a few thousand years, and he completed this project anywhere from six to ten thousand years ago. They further believe he created all life on Earth during that time, and he created them as they appear today. In other words, nothing evolved into anything else.
Yes. It all just appeared.
Further, Creationists insisted, scientific explanations about the evolution of life on Earth were not only factually wrong but actually demonic. And they insisted that Creationism was too totally scientific, even if they couldn’t explain how, and thus that it needed to be taught to children in taxpayer-funded public schools’ science classes.
It was a hell of a fight for a while there. Atheism had been picking up steam, and a few prominent scientists charged into the fray with gusto. It was one of the first times right-wing Christians had ever faced widespread pushback for their grabby overreach, and they did not react well.
If you missed those heady days, very little of today’s Christ-o-sphere really duplicates it.
I’m writing about Creationists in the present tense because they still very much exist. And they still believe exactly the same things now that they did ten years ago. In fact, one of them was hanging out in this Reddit thread, and he still thinks that “evolution” is the biggest threat to Christianity today.
So, a Creationist was very sure of the greatest threat to Christianity right now
I love this quote. It really does highlight just how intellectually broke and morally bankrupt Creationism itself really is.
As far as preventing people from becoming believers and preventing believers from accepting the full truth and authority of the scripture: the competing religion of Evolution. [source]
When two different atheists pointed out (correctly) that evolution is not a religion in any sense of the word, the Creationist simply insisted that it was too. Alas for him, telling people to just trust you, bro is not actually support for an assertion.
Oh, and this Creationist bills himself as a “1776” sort of patriot as well as an “ex-atheist.” My goodness, I bet he has a lot of interesting bumper stickers.
Regarding atheism and ‘the Devil’ as the biggest threat to Christianity
Perhaps hand in hand with the evil dreaded Theory of Evolution, one Christian cited atheism as Christianity’s worst threat. But not just any atheism:
New Atheism, Pop Atheism, and Reddit Atheism. [source]
And no, we never learn what any of these terms mean.
Unapproved sex, of course, is the greatest threat to Christianity
A couple of Christians sounded very certain about sex being Christianity’s biggest threat. One Catholic painstakingly described how this threat works:
Since it’s got to be a very effective weapon sent by the enemy, my vote is for sexual immorality.
Sex bonds people. However we treat it like a candy bar. Something to do when you just feel off. Something to compulsively do. Something we do when drunk.
It is a very effective weapon to destroy obedience because people are now maturing so slowly, and that means their biological needs for a wife or husband are powerful and they ignore the wisdom of choosing a GOD centered partner, they choose pleasure, and life tends to be insane and pleasure centric after that.
So, if you need to attack a stronghold, the most effective way is to sow discord from within.
So sexual immorality is perfect threat. [source]
Another specifically cited “fornication and homosexuality” as “the biggest threat.” When pressed very gently by a couple of atheists, the user lost their cool very quickly. They devolved almost immediately into spluttering about TRUE CHRISTIANITY™, then left the conversation when still-gently reminded that there’s no such thing.
By far the most popular answer
Out of all of these answers, though, I noticed one overwhelming trend above all:
Ooooh, those awful fakey-fake ickie gross fake Christians! They’re the biggest threat to Christianity! If it fails, they will be the ones who will make it fail!
The TRUE CHRISTIANS™ of r/AskAChristian worded this popular answer in a few different ways:
Satan’s version of Christianity [source]
Christians wandering from the true faith into the woods of theological innovation. [source – and he bills himself as a Christian Universalist, no less, which was a flavor developed in the late 18th century]
I wouldn’t consider it a threat, but my answer would be those who claim to be Christians yet live their lives as a none Christian. [source]
The churches allowing/blessing sinful acts that go against the Bible and what God has ordained… [. . .] Right now, the biggest threat today is when Christianity is made illegal and anyone caught is shot on site mercilessly without a trial. [source]
Far-right Christians. [source]
Seriously, I’m showing you fewer than half the available options. This category also includes: fake Christians, hypocrites, Prosperity Gospel nutbars, Christian Nationalists, “legalism,” false teachers, and apparently just Christian ministers in general. This sentiment absolutely dominated the replies.
And it, like all the rest, was still wrong.
None of these answers are really the greatest threat to Christianity.
The real greatest threat to Christianity
When it comes to huge threats to Christianity, nothing whatsoever beats the power of a government that ferociously protects human rights and civil liberties for its people.
Throughout history, every single time Christians have had their grabby little hands smacked away from hurting and controlling others, it’s been by a government that became stronger than religious leaders. Likewise, every time Christian leaders have ever been able to assume dominance over secular rulers, they have seized those opportunities with both hands. They know exactly how important that power is, and what it costs them to lose it.
The United States’ entire Bill of Rights is a huge SHOTS FIRED salvo across the bow of Christianity.
Freedom of religion, of the press, of consent, of association, of privacy, of speech. A society that recognizes these and other human rights is not one that will allow religious overreach.
And without Christians being allowed to commit overreach, their power dissolves at the seams.
A completely optional Christianity is a declining Christianity.
Christianity’s decline continues apace
Eventually, Christianity will hit the bottom of its decline. Nothing ever lasts! It might take another decade to see how it all shakes out, but we’ll get there.
When the dust settles, there’ll still be a lot of Christians left in America, no doubt. But unless the “remnant” can figure out a way to meaningfully punish people for not fully participating in church culture (attending regularly, tithing, at least pretending to follow the tribe’s rules), I don’t see any way for the religion to regain its dominance.
Left to their own devices, given their full druthers, people have repeatedly demonstrated their inclinations around Christianity. Even Christians themselves hardly ever bother trying to pretend they believe anything they claim to believe.
Ultimately, it’s just funny to me that almost all of these TRUE CHRISTIANS™ we’ve looked at today would be considered fakes by the Christians they so insult. And every one of them would have been considered the worst kind of heretic and backslidden apostate by the Christians of a few centuries ago. Heck, my old Pentecostal pastor would have ripped them all new ones for badmouthing other Christians in public.
They can’t all be right.
But they can all be wrong.
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