February 7, 2024
In February, the Asbury University Honors Program (AUHP) hosted Dr. John Dickson to speak on his most recent book, Bullies and Saints: An Honest Look at the Good and Evil of Christian History.
Dickson is an author, speaker, historian, and media presenter advocating for the value of Christian faith in contemporary times. He has published more than 20 books, two of which became television documentaries, with a third, For the Love of God: How the Church Is Better and Worse Than You Ever Imagined, released in Australian cinemas in June 2018. His podcast, Undeceptions, is Australia’s No. 1 religion podcast with more than 2 million downloads.
His AUHP presentation centered on how culture has pivoted, and prominent numbers have deemed Christianity to be immoral, bigoted, hateful, and harmful to society. His lesson of studying church history is that Christians should be the first to admit and shamelessly discuss our previous faults by avoiding exaggerations and discerning Christianity’s unique contribution to the world – love.
“What you can’t find in the pagan world is an absolutizing of love,” said Dickson. “The real question isn’t ‘Have Christians participated in the evils common to humanity,’ but the question of its unique contribution – elevating love and compassion to the center of ethics.”
To Dickson, the problem isn’t religion or irreligion but the human heart with a passion unrestrained.
To close the presentation, he compared Bach’s Cello Suite with the redemptive Christian message (or “tune”) expressed by Jesus.
“Yes Christians have sung out of tune and played in tune at times,” said Dickson. “But despite how disappointing Christians can be, the melody is beautiful and has changed the world.”
The AUHP invites students to join a community of scholars engaged in a themed enrichment experience which gives particular focus to the concept of human value and dignity and the virtuous life. Learn more: https://www.asbury.edu/academics/honors/.