Should all Christianity be condemned because a few did horrific acts?

According to the New Testament, should all of Christianity be condemned because some that profess to be Christians have perpetrated horrific crimes in the name of Jesus?

 

Answer: Matthew’s Jesus declares: “Beware of the false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorns, nor figs from thistles, are they? Thus, every good tree bears good fruit, but the rotten tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:15-20; see also Luke 6:43-45).

In these verses, Jesus vigorously affirms his opinion that what is good cannot possibly produce evil, and conversely, that what is evil cannot possibly produce good: “A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree produce good fruit.” Viewed from this New Testament all or nothing perspective, Christianity cannot be considered good since so many wrongs have issued from it since its inception.

To argue, as many Christian apologists do, that the evils resulting to the world in the wake of Christianity are not really of Christian origin is tantamount to claiming that the bad fruit growing on a tree were not produced by the tree. No amount of explaining can absolve Christianity from the innumerable wrongs stemming from the hegemony it has exercised over vast areas and peoples in the course of it tortuous history.

Matthew also records Jesus as saying: “Not everyone who says to me: ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of the heavens, but he who does the will of my Father who is in the heavens. Many will say to me on that day: ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name cast out demons, and in your name perform powerful works?’ And then I will declare to them: ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness'” (Matthew 7:21-23).

Jesus’ above statements do not equivocate. It’s all or nothing. How does this apply to Christianity, which has spoken in the name of Jesus and in his name “performed powerful works?” Could Jesus possibly accept any group or individual that claims to be Christian? To be true to his own dictum that bad fruit can never be produced by a good tree, Jesus would disown and reject Christianity for all the evil it has perpetrated in his name. No Christian group or individual is exempt for all are the fruit of a bad tree. That is because many of the horrors Christians have subjected the world to are the direct result of Jesus’ teachings as found in the Gospels.

  © Gerald Sigal