You wrote: "These kinds of arguments against the Church are presented so often, in so superficial a way, that they end up becoming mindless slogans."
What I said is not an "argument against the church." It is an argument, however, against assertions like yours that "Christianity, today as much as in the past, is the main driving force behind everything we take pride in our civilization."
You presented no evidence for your extremely broad assertion. I can see some support for crediting Christian persons and sometimes institutions for much of the good of history, and I have made this assertion my self. But I do not go as far as you.
"Too often it is said that the Church burned people alive, as if there were no excuse for such a thing, and yet to this day we still burn people alive, and we always feel as if we're acting for a good cause."
Maybe there was no good excuse for a lot of the burning, then or now. Are you endorsing the burnings of individuals by the church?
"Why is it bad to burn a heretic but not bad to burn 100,000 Japanese peasants with an atom bomb? What is the rationale behind the idea that the former was an act of evil while the latter was an act of necessity?"
Of course it is bad in both cases; however, one was more avoidable than the other. It has been argued, but to my knowledge, the war in Japan was set to rage on like the war in Europe had.
The decision that was made in a previous time,
not our time, was to win the war so that more
of the other side perished rather than our own.
I don't know whether you have more than a "superficial" knowledge of the details of that period. Speaking of history....
Explain why, if you will, after a
triumphant period of cathedral building in Europe, there followed centuries of horrific plagues in Europe? Will you simply say
it is not logical to say, "After this, therefore because of this?" But you are not merely asserting the church's innocence. You are asserting the church's credit for all the good!
>> "What Christian traditions are you talking about?"
"Too many to mention in detail."
Excuse me? This was your own central point; now you decline to elaborate beyond one example? This only means you are conceding the point. I did not wish for you to lose the argument, but apparently the facts do not support our wished-for simple answer -- that we could know the cause of all the good.
Briefly, I could point out, for instance, that the pursuit of social equality is a Christian tradition. It's not a tradition in Muslim, Buddhist, or officially-atheist states. I consider that an objective fact; don't you?
I think there is a lack of social equality in most of my experiences with Christians when off church grounds. They seem to mouth the words and realize they will be forgiven for failing. Can there be social equality without economic equality? But slavery is allowed in Christianity.