... the belief in a singular supremacy, the belief that divinity is manifest in only one image. The belief in a singular God differed radically from the widespread belief that divinity could be manifest in a multiplicity of forms and images. As people believe that God can have but one face, so they tend to believe that worth or godliness among humans can also have but one face. Different genders, races, classes, or beliefs are all ordered as better-than or less-than one another. Even the notion of two differing opinions existing harmoniously becomes foreign; one must prevail and be superior to the other.
This is the fundamental premise on which Ellerbe builds her view of Christian history. It is obvious, when one considers the good side of Christianity, that the consequences of this belief do not necessarily lead to the evils documented in her book. Not only that, one needs to question whether her view is an accurate statement of Christian theology.
Ellerbe admits that her book is one-sided in the sense that there are many good aspects of Christianity. However, to suggest that all the sins of the Christian church are the result of this one idea ignores the complexity of that very history.
The further one reads in the book, the more evident the subtle tendency toward a pagan view of divinity becomes. She accuses Christian theology to be against the earth (which, in its best forms, isn’t). In addition, Ellerbe believes that there was a time when people lived in peace without conflict. This is a highly controversial claim and has, as far as I know, been discredited. And enough conflict has occurred in other religious traditions (including non-Christian ones) to show that Christian belief is not a sufficient condition for conflict.
In addition to this, when Ellerbe enters into a discussion of science she reveals a very simplistic understanding of things like quantum theory and Newtonian science. It is very common for critics of orthodoxy to appeal to such things. However, like much writing in this area, Ellerbe demonstrates a misunderstanding of science and, in particular, quantum physics - the principles of which have a limited application.
Ellerbe is correct in suggesting that, by denying evil, harm is done. Christians must look to their history and learn from it. But The Dark Side of Christian History is a very biased look that needs to be read with caution. It would be advisable to check the historical, philosophical, and religious claims before putting too much weight on them. In my view, the book is worth reading but with a good degree of caution. It would be better, perhaps, to read something like Church History in Plain Language by Bruce Shelley alongside Ellerbe’s book.