People may reject something because they don’t have the right information or because they don’t think clearly. (We should bring back the teaching of logic in schools.)

Often people reject Christianity with the accusation of hypocrisy: “the Church is full of hypocrites.” This accusation is a logical error, usually born of the false belief that Christianity is only about ethics and morality. It is not: Christianity is about Jesus; who he was and what he did.

Rejecting Christianity because of the actions or attitudes of some Christians is a mistake. Should we reject capitalism because of the actions of the persons responsible for the global financial crisis, or of others like Gordon Gecko in Wall Street? Of course not: the ultimate cause was the self-serving nature of the persons themselves; although the system may have enabled them to steal more easily.

It’s like saying that if being Australian means living in the same country as people like Ned Kelly, Jack van Tongeren, David Birnie, Christoper Skase, et al, then you don’t want anything to do with Australia. But this is a mistake about what being Australian is. Being Australian is a fact independent of our behaviour (despite what people say about the “Australian character”, which is an idea about how Australians should act). You might disgrace or honour Australia by what you do, but that doesn’t affect your citizenship.

Would atheists be happy for their beliefs (or lack thereof) to be rejected because of what Richard Dawkins is like? Of course not; God’s existence or otherwise isn’t based on someone’s behaviour but on one fact: that God does (not) exist. A person can be arrogant or humble, a theist or an atheist, but attitudes don’t change facts – and neither do beliefs!