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“The secular myth continues with a page drawn from the eighteenth-century historian Edward Gibbon: Christianity destroyed classical civilization and brought on a Dark Age. Civilization escaped the Dark Ages only with the rise of the Renaissance man and science. Secular thinking helped shake off the shackles of religion and created the modern world. Today only the vestiges of organized religion prevent humankind from achieving its full potential. Helping “sell” this story is the promise that secularism finally will allow total personal freedom, especially in the area of sexuality. This is a point that [Christopher] Hitchens makes explicit at the end of his jeremiad God Is Not Great.
“. . . The good news for Christian theists is that Hitchens’s story is simple to the point of being simplistic, and they have a better story to tell. The basic story is this: the combination of Greek philosophy and Christianity produced Christendom, which has produced most of the great goods of our world. Christendom provides a home for both reason and meaning. It balances law and liberty. It makes love the central motive for human action and a reasonable God the end of that love.
“While Christians often fail, the basic ideas of Christendom keep pulling humanity back from the brink of utter tyranny or ruinous social chaos. Christian failures create secularists, who often serve as useful in-house critics of Christian inconsistencies. Moderate secularists often make useful and important subsidiary contributions to institutions created by Christians, such as hospitals and universities.
“At their worst, evangelistic secularists are destructive cynics parasitically living within Christian-built structures and undermining their philosophical and theological basis for existence.”
— John Mark Reynolds in Against All Gods: What’s Right and Wrong about the New Atheism, 102-103.