‘So you’re a man of faith?’ asks my instructor.
‘Religion is a dangerous thing these days’, he continues.
I feel a twinge of uneasiness: the last thing I want is to get on the wrong side of this 6-foot-tall black belt as our class begins. I’m new to his Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class, and I’m not sure where he stands on religion.
Has my mere admission touched a raw nerve, that would see me getting smashed for the next hour? (Thankfully, it turns out he’s more curious than aggressive – ‘martial arts is like my religion’, he says.)
And yet, my martial arts instructor is not the only one saying religion is dangerous.
Many secular voices openly declare Christianity to be dangerous, and harmful. The Israel Folau saga has shown us just how strongly held this view is in some sections of society – particularly among the cultural elites.
And as a result there’s a growing push to restrict religious freedom.
Federal MP Penny Wong introduced a bill into Parliament last year that would have corroded religious freedom, especially for religious schools, and quite possibly for churches as well. (Thankfully, the bill did not pass).
And when it comes to the Federal Government’s proposed Religious Discrimination Bill, veteran LGBTI campaigner Rodney Croome calls it a ‘licence to hate’.
Religion – especially Christianity – is now viewed with suspicion, and even hostility. It’s seen by many as dangerous.
I want to push back against these secular critics…
I’m tempted to push back against these secular critics. They’ve misunderstood Christianity, I think to myself. Christianity isn’t dangerous or harmful. It’s done so much good for people across two millennia.
Yes, Christians have done many bad things throughout history. But as many Atheist scholars are happy to point out, so much of what we value in modern society – such as universal human rights – has arisen from Christianity.
…But maybe they’re (partly) right.
And yet, the more I reflect on it, the more I think that secular critics of Christianity do have a point. There is a sense in which Christianity is dangerous. Author C.S. Lewis picked up on this in his Narnia chronicle, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe.
In the story, Mr. Beaver tells Susan that Aslan (the ruler of Narnia) is a great lion. Susan is surprised, since she assumed Aslan was a man. She then tells Mr. Beaver, “I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.”
She asks Mr. Beaver if Aslan is safe, to which Mr. Beaver replies, “Safe? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King.”
No, the Jesus of Christianity isn’t safe. He can be dangerous. Here are five ways that come to mind:
1) Christianity Declares Human Beings To Be On The Wrong Side of History
Everyone wants to be on the ‘right side of history’. Feminism, the LGBTI movement, and many other minority rights movements have this as their catch-cry.
If you’re against them in any way, you’re on the wrong side of history. You’re no better than racist slave traders.
But the heart of Christianity is the news that everyone – regardless of gender, race or sexuality – is on the wrong side of history. Each one of us – if left to ourselves – is an enemy of the One who made and sustains history.
Speaking in a religiously tolerant Athens 2000 years ago, the apostle Paul made this startling declaration:
God commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of that he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead”Acts 17:30
A day is coming – the true end of history – when God will judge the world. Not according to some humanistic ideology, but according to His eternal righteousness. Everyone will be held to account for their actions. Everyone will have to bow the knee to God’s appointed Judge – the God-man Jesus Christ.
And this isn’t some mere wishful thinking: we have proof that this will happen, because God raised Jesus from the dead on that first Easter Sunday.
And so, unless you repent – ask for forgiveness from King Jesus and bow your will to him before that day – you too will be judged. You’ll be on the wrong side of eternal justice. You’ll be on the wrong side of History.
That’s not a ‘safe’ idea. That’s a dangerous idea, if ever there was one.
2) Christianity Tells A Different Story About Our Sexuality
Which it claims is a better story.
When it comes to human sexuality, the story our secular culture tells us is that we are our sexual desires: if it feels good, then we have a moral duty to do it (as long as it doesn’t hurt anybody else).
And we have a responsibility to celebrate other people’s sexual choices. Any condemnation of another’s (consensual) sexual choice is seen as repressive, and a form of hate (just ask Israel Folau).
But Christianity tells a different story: we’re not defined by our sexual desires. Yes, we are sexual beings. But our sex is designed by our good and generous Maker as a way to serve others, not (merely) ourselves.
We’re designed to only have sex inside a monogamous, lifelong heterosexual marriage. Any sexual expression outside of this is outside of God’s design for us, and therefore sinful.
Furthermore, we can be whole and complete human beings whether or not we are married. Sex is not the aim of life.
Thus Christianity challenges the dogma of the sexual revolution. And the sexual revolutionaries are threatened by it. Christianity is dangerous to those who hold onto the sexual revolution.
(Of course, for former revolutionaries like Hollywood fashion designer Becket Cook – a gay man who accepted the new life that Christ offers, a satisfaction and joy that the revolution could never give becomes theirs.)
3) Christianity Tells a Different Story About Our Identity
Which it claims is a better story.
While our secular culture tells us that to be an authentic human being involves being ‘true to ourselves’ (i.e obeying our desires), Christianity teaches that our ultimate identity doesn’t come from within ourselves, but is given to us by our Creator. 
Even more scandalously, Christianity teaches that obeying our inner desires leads to a form of slavery (e.g. Titus 3:3). Trying to define our own identity doesn’t bring satisfaction, but leaves us feeling empty.
Christianity claims that if we give ourselves over to Another – the Lord Jesus Christ – we’ll find an identity that’s secure. An identity that gives meaning. An identity that gives freedom.
But for those wanting to hold onto their own identity – for those wanting to define their own identity – Christianity is a threat. It’s a dangerous idea.
4) Christianity is Offensive
It’s offensive and ‘intolerant’ to tell people that they’re wrong.
If people read what Jesus has to say, they either love Him, or they hate Him. There’s no in between.
Jesus tells us that He is right, and we (if left to ourselves) are wrong. And in this age of ‘tolerance’, there’s nothing more intolerant and offensive than to say to someone that their deeply held beliefs are wrong.
No wonder the apostle Paul says:
For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life.’2 Corinthians 2:15-16
5) Christianity Is Inherently Political
Which is why so many rulers of this age see Christianity as a threat.
From its very beginning, Christianity was often seen as a political threat to the state. Jesus was crucified by the Romans on the charge of challenging Caesar’s rule.
As the gospel spread throughout the Roman world, Christians were often charged with being loyal to another King instead of Caesar, namely to Christ (see Acts 17:7).
There is a great deal of truth in this: Christians are ambassadors of another King, and another Kingdom (see 2 Cor 5:20). Not another country under UN auspices, but a Kingdom from across eschatological time.
And whenever tyrants or ideologues demand the same loyalty that only belongs to the King of Kings, then Christians will not obey. This threatens their autocratic rule.
Furthermore because we are ambassadors of the King of Kings, our speech and our actions are inherently political. Whenever we speak up in defence of the unborn, or of the right to religious freedom for all people, these are political actions.
Many of the ideologues and rulers of this age are threatened by our speech, and so do their best to privatise Christianity. They hope to weaken the impact of Christianity by excluding it from the public square (or worse).
But Lord Jesus Christ can never be privatised. And if we’re to be faithful to Jesus, nor can we be privatised.
Mr Hitchens Was Right: Christianity is Dangerous.
For all these reasons – and many more – Christianity is dangerous to
those who oppose the Lord Jesus Christ. As British Journalist Peter
Hitchens (brother to the late Atheist Christopher Hitchens) so
eloquently put it at the ABC’s 2015 ‘Festival of Dangerous Ideas’:
The most dangerous idea in human history and philosophy remains the belief that Jesus Christ was the Son of God and rose from the dead and that is the most dangerous idea you will ever encounter…It alters the who of human behaviour and all our responsibilities.
It turns the universe from a meaningless chaos into a designed place in which there is justice and there is hope, and, therefore, we all have a duty to discover the nature of that justice and work towards that hope. It alters us all. If we reject it, it alters us all as well.
It is incredibly dangerous. It’s why so many people turn against it.
So turn to Jesus, rather than away from Him. Otherwise you really are on dangerous ground.
 Australian theologian Brian Rosner makes a helpful distinction between ‘ultimate’ identity, and other ‘standard’ forms of identity: ‘[T]he Bible confirms the legitimacy of the standard personal identity markers [e.g. race, gender, occupation], but denies their ultimacy. Many of them are indispensable, but they are an insufficient foundation upon which to build your identity.’ – Brian S. Rosner, Known By God – A Biblical Theology of Personal Identity (Biblical Theology for Life Ed.Jonathan Lunde; Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2017), 42.
Originally posted at Akos Balogh.