Title: Against Christianity
Author: Peter Leithart
2. Summarize in one paragraph the thesis or argument of the text.
Christianity, as it is widely known today, is the heresy of heresies. The message of the Bible is completely at odds with what modern day adherents of Christianity espouse. The Bible does not endorse the common understanding of Christianity as a world religion (even as the “true” or “most true” religion). Nor does the Bible allow for the abstract deductions and inductions that theologians derive from it in order to produce propositional snippets of truth. Similarly, modernity and postmodernity have blinded Christians to the biblical and ritual nature of the sacraments, while at the same time obscuring the biblical purpose of ethics (which is the gospel rather than an effect of the gospel). Finally, the rise of Christianity killed the existing Christendom, and as such a “Christian” society cannot exist again unless the heresy of Christianity dies.
3. Summarize in one paragraph the author’s method of proving her or his thesis. How does she or he “get there”?
Leithart’s method of persuasion is the most intriguing feature of this little book. As the back cover describes, the author writes “with a series of short essays, aphorisms, and parables” which are befitting of his irreverent tone and pithy style. On the very first page, Leithart begins his frontal assault on the reader’s sensibilities and cherished traditions, immediately sounding arrogant yet interesting. I liken his chosen method of gathering the audience to a brash prophet proclaiming the rough edges of his message without explanation in the openness of the highways and byways, and then once a crowd is gathered, he sits down and assumes the role of a friendly teacher, all the while keeping the students slightly off kilter. His preferred way of explaining each point is to start with the conclusion for shock value, then to start at the beginning to build his argument using logical essays and scholarly quotations. To keep the reader interested, he frequently interjects stories and quick rhetorical jabs relevant to the current topic.
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