John Stackhouse asks how we should understand bad things done in the name of Christianity.
Sometimes Christians will attempt to defend their faith by saying, well, when those people – A, B, and C – were acting in the name of Christianity, they aren’t really Christians. Much the way a lot of Muslims today would say that Daesh and ISIS are not really Muslim. That’s just patently not true. Those Muslim extremists are extreme forms of Islam. And that would be true of certain forms of extreme Christianity, whether in the Crusades or in other kinds of social movements that we would condemn today.
We also have to appreciate, though, that lots of people who would identify with the faith are clearly condemned by that faith as being inauthentic members of that religion. Just because somebody wears a Christian T-shirt when he does something horrible can’t be blamed on Christianity, this is just the individual’s fault. So we need to be careful to attribute to Christianity those bad things that genuinely flow from its teachings, rather than have flowed from people who happen to decide to identify with Christianity for some other reason.