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Publisher's Summary

Is religion a pernicious force in the world? Does it poison everything? Would we be better off without religion in general and Christianity in particular? Many skeptics certainly think so.

John Dickson has spent much of the last 10 years reflecting on these difficult questions and on why so many doubters see Christianity as a major cause of harm, not blessing. The skeptics, he concludes, are right: Even a cursory look at the history of Christians reveals dark things therein - violence, bigotry, genocide, war, inquisition, oppression, imperialism, racism, corruption, greed, power, abuse. For centuries and even today, Christians have been among the worst bullies you could ever imagine.

But these skeptics are only partly right: This is not what Christianity was meant to be. When Christians do evil, they are out of tune with the teachings of their Lord. Jesus gave the world a beautiful melody - of love, grace, charity, humility, nonviolence, equality, human dignity - to which, tragically, his followers have more often than not been tone-deaf. John Dickson gives an honest account of the mixed history of Christianity, the evil and the good. He concedes the Christians' complicity for centuries of bullying but also shows the myriad ways the beautiful melody of Christ has enriched our world and the lives of countless individuals. This book asks contemporary skeptics of religion to listen again to the melody of Jesus, despite the discord produced by too many Christians through history and today. It also leads contemporary believers into sober reflection on and repentance for their own participation in the tragic inconsistencies of Christendom and seeks to inspire them to live in tune with Christ.

©2021 John Dickson (P)2021 Zondervan

What listeners say about Bullies and Saints

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Refreshingly honest

This is an awesome book. As a Christian and Church goer I really appreciated the honest discussion of the good and the bad of Christianity throughout history. Thank you John Dickson.

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Brutally honest about Sucess and Failure of Church

John doesn't pull any punches in exposing the historical blunders of the Church. He also doesn't pile on at the whim of pop culture. The book is very fair and historically well researched.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-20-21

Insight for all

Dr John Dickson has written a brilliant book here. It’s historically accurate, even handed and unflinching its look at historic Christianity’s influence and practice. Christian’s will find pause and cause for humility and a powerful reminder of the need to live more in accord with the “beautiful melody” of their beliefs. Atheists will be presented with a more accurate rendering of Church history where the author doesn’t pull punches in presenting the worst of Christianity. Overall it’s restored my faith in Christianity’s message while reminding me of how tragically the church has failed at times to live it out.

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  • Zak F.
  • 07-17-21

Heartbreaking and Hopeful

John did a fantastic job at outlining the tragic and terrific history of the church. It seemed to me to be a reasonably balanced view considering his own convictions. The audio version was great too, very engaging.

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  • Andrée
  • 07-06-21

Fine for newbies to history

I would recommend this book to those with limited knowledge of the events of the past yet interested in history. It has some academic content, but it is not really an academic item. The tone of the reader/author is appropriate, but I wonder if it would have been better read with another professional voice. Overall, in my opinion, it is an ok book because it is honest.