This is the next question addressed in Rebecca McLaughlin’s new book Confronting Christianity: 12 Hard Questions for the World’s Largest Religion. The question is reminiscent of the subtitle of Christopher Hitchen’s 2009 book God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. There are many problems with the premise. The first and most important is that it groups all religions together under the same banner. The ills of one apply to all. This is like claiming that philosophy hinders morality without distinguishing the pros and cons of different positions; as though Marxism, Libertarianism, Rationalism, Nihilism, Relativism, and so forth, are all the same.
The more significant question is much narrower. Doesn’t Christianity hinder morality?
Here we would have to answer no. Now this isn’t to deny the fact that some people have used Christianity as an excuse for immoral acts. The history of the church is full of missteps and grievous wrongs as well as positive acts and developments.
Why is the answer no? First and foremost because of the grounding value of human life and human flourishing. According to Scripture humans are created in the image of God, a little lower than the angels with intrinsic value and a vocation to care for each other and the world. The greatest commandment after love of God is love for neighbor broadly defined. The command to love your neighbor as yourself runs through the New Testament and derives from the Old. A while back I wrote a post How Can You Be a Christian? working through many of the New Testament verses and have revisited the theme in a number of later posts as well. Few of us would view the themes here as immoral or destructive influences on society.