The Cowardice of Atheistic Secularists Using Charlie Hebdo to Attack Christianity

This is my latest piece for Christian Today:

http://www.christiantoday.com/article/david.robertson.using.the.charlie.hebdo.killings.to.attack.religion.is.just.cowardice/45703.htm

You could almost hear the collective groan throughout the Western World: “Oh no, here we go again,” as reports came in of yet another massacre done in the name of militant Islam.

Without even reading the newspapers you know that the responses will be the same – people demonstrating in solidarity, governments and columnists telling us not to demonize all Muslims and a general sense of outrage being exploited by various right wing groups.

All understandable. However I have been surprised by another aspect that shows a more complex and worrying side to our society.

I am currently in Australia and my paper of choice is the Sydney Morning Herald. Today’s letters page and several columnists make the same point. It’s religion that’s the problem. All religion. One woman wrote: “If only we were all humanists, what a wonderful world we would live in.” Another man took the opportunity to call for all religious schooling (which effectively means all Christian schooling) to be banned. Because apparently there is a direct link between Islamic fundamentalists in Paris killing cartoonists and Anglicans teaching children in Sydney.

And it’s not just in Australia’s Herald. Scotland’s version ran a similar comment piece that made a link between Charlie Hebdo, the execution of an atheist 500 years ago in Scotland, and those who are opposed to euthanasia today. Apparently our politicians are “brave” because they resist the Churches’ stance on same sex marriage, abortion and euthanasia. And those of us who are ‘religious’ are all to be lumped together as a danger to society. The Herald (Scottish version) did not of course publish the cartoons that led to the massacre (now that would have been brave solidarity) – instead it played into the militants’ hands by linking Methodists with Muslim fundamentalists. The atheistic secularists just cannot help themselves. They exploit every tragedy to push their ABC (Anything But Christianity) agenda.

Many times I have been presented with the mantra of the New Fundamentalist Atheists, “Atheists don’t fly planes into buildings”. To which the obvious response is “Neither do Presbyterians, Anglicans, Catholics or charismatics – not even the most extremist wacko charismatics. When did you last hear of Benny Hinn suicide squads?” But those who don’t think about the consequences and harm of their prejudices far too often rush into this demonization of all religious people.

Meanwhile the Guardian was ‘brave’ as it published examples of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons. Yet they did not publish the cartoons that were the actual cause of the attacks – instead they published ones attacking the Pope. Doubtless they will also be ‘brave’ and publish numerous articles in the next few weeks on how we need to avoid Islamophobia and how at the same time we need to tar all religions with the same brush and marginalise them all.

I have noticed this tendency among many of the liberal intelligentsia to portray themselves as brave because they attack all religions in general (carefully avoiding any offence to the one that would actually have some consequences for them), or because they create meaningless awards that cost themselves nothing, for those who really are brave. The publishers and staff of Charlie Hebdo were indeed brave, knowing that what they did could endanger their lives. Those who salute their bravery and then refuse to imitate their actions, but instead use their memory to further their own agenda, are cowards.

And it is a cowardice that has consequences. Despite all the boasts about how “we will not be intimidated” the fact is that most of the mainstream media will be intimidated. The BBC and most newspapers in the UK would not dare to publish such cartoons. That is understandable, but it would be better if they did not boast about how brave they are and then take out their frustrations and sick sense of humour on other religions that won’t kill them. Today I noticed that one secular society did not publish the cartoons but did publish a grossly sick and offensive sexual cartoon about all the major religious figures in the world – except, of course, Mohammed. Perversity, irrationality and cowardice combined.

I find it disturbing the way it has become standard practice for some people to use others’ tragic stories in order to exploit and further their own agenda. Take for example the tragic story of Joshua Ryan Alcorn, the transgender teenager who committed suicide. I have lost count of the number of articles pontificating about this case, demonizing the parents and offering simplistic solutions. The argument is simplistic: if only if it were not for religion there would be no confused and messed up teenagers. If Stonewall and the British Humanists could just be in charge of educating us all then teenage angst, confusion and suicide would just disappear!

According to Richard Dawkins and his acolytes in the chattering classes, all religious upbringing is a form of child abuse. Teaching a child, ‘Jesus loves me this I know’ and ‘All things bright and beautiful” is just the first step towards setting them on a career as a religious terrorist.

And those of us who are Christians need to be careful that we do not fall into this cynical trap as well. Yes – those who murdered the Paris 12 did so at least in part because they were motivated by a desire to protect Mohammed, but that does not mean that I have to start being concerned that my Muslim neighbours are building bombs in their backyard. I should be concerned about them coming to know the prophet that is greater than Mohammed and who is the real bringer of peace.

Equally, while it is true that there have been atheists who have killed or attacked Christians because of our faith, that does not mean that we are to regard every atheist as a potential Stalin. Instead every atheist needs to be seen as a potential Christian.

While some of our media and atheistic commentators may use the Charlie Hebdo tragedy to further their own prejudices and agenda, we must not respond in a similar fashion. As Christians we are concerned about truth, even when it is uncomfortable and we are to respond in love, even when it is difficult.

Meanwhile we mourn for the families and friends of those who have been murdered. We hope and pray that these tragic events will not be used to create even greater evil and we ask that God would intervene and not leave us to our own devices. Because right now we are not making too good a job of governing the world in truth, justice and peace.

Here is the follow up article to this: https://theweeflea.wordpress.com/2015/01/17/je-ne-suis-pas-charlie-je-suis-charlene/

41 thoughts on “The Cowardice of Atheistic Secularists Using Charlie Hebdo to Attack Christianity

  1. Thank you David for responding to such pathetic pieces of journalism if we can call it that written by atheists and Hate theists.
    On one hand we know that persecution will come for anyone who follows Christ so we must be able to handle this type of verbal assault with much wisdom. Yet on the other hand when these comments of cowardice are so below the belt it makes you see these writers genuine HATE for God and how bias, blind, twisted and gutless they truly are.
    Could you imagine sincere Christ followers launching a verbal attack on all atheists straight after two ATHEIST senior students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 25 students during the Columbine High School massacre in Colorado that occurred on April 20, 1999.
    Why will these journalists attack all other religions, especially Christians ? Because they can and they know that Christ commands us to forgive and to love.
    The writings of these atheist journalist is just as shameful and cowardice as the acts committed by the Islamic extremists – shameful !
    I guess these Hate theist journalists can shout unfair to their empty hopeless bankrupt nonexistent eternal justice system.
    For us – we can mourn but at least we know and we can trust the God of all ages will do what is right and just with the lives of all those involved in this situation.

    1. You ignore his point. The Abrahamic religions promise that God favors the Believer against the infidel, and the Abrahamic philosophy encourages violence as a divinely sanctioned response to sin.
      Even precious baby Jesus promises to return with a flaming sword to separate the faithful from the infidel.
      Hell is the ultimate terrorist attack, if true.
      If not true, what weight does Christianity have as ANY moral authority?

      1. Brent – I really wish you would get your facts right before commentating – it would help prevent you looking foolish. The Abrahamic philosophy does not encourage violence as a divinely sanctioned response to sin. AS for moral authority – how can atheism claim any – given that you keep telling us atheism claims nothing, except there is no God?

  2. If the “grossly sick and offensive sexual cartoon about all the major religious figures in the world – except, of course, Mohammed” is the one I’m thinking of, it originally comes from The Onion, and its point was reflected in its title: “No One Murdered Because of This Image[.]”

    The accompannying text went on to add “[the cartoon] reportedly went online at 6:45 p.m. EDT, after which not a single bomb threat was made against the organization responsible, nor did the person who created the cartoon go home fearing for his life in any way. Though some members of the Jewish, Christian, Hindu, and Buddhist faiths were reportedly offended by the image, sources confirmed that upon seeing it, they simply shook their heads, rolled their eyes, and continued on with their day.”

    The whole point of the article and cartoon was that religions are not the same, which is precisely what you are arguing!

    The article can be found here for those wanting to check the veracity of my comments, though as should be obvious by the tenor of the discussion, the link is not safe for work: http://www.theonion.com/articles/no-one-murdered-because-of-this-image,29553/

  3. objectivity and introspection don’t appear to be facets of a religious mind-set. if a secular institution were have at its basis the tenets of christianity, judaism and islam, it would be liable to prosecution by law – civil, secular law. individual xtians, jews and muslims may be a delight to know but the bed-rock of their faith – their cursed black books – are riddled with violence, misogyny, ignorance and superstition, sky-god myths … etc., etc.. it’s not cowardice or islam/christ/judeophobia to scrutinize the idea of these religions. resisting such scrutiny – or indeed, ignoring it – amounts to secularphobia.

      1. yes, being objective is my idea of objectivity. read the bible – all of it. it was compiled centuries ago by people who didn’t even know where the sun went in the evening – most of us were afflicted with it as children when we didn’t even now how to tie our own shoes. what little reason and logic there is in the thing is wholly dependent on the irrational notion of some sky-god.

      2. Still not quite grasped the objective aspect have you Bill? If you are going to claim rationality at least get some facts right….like who wrote the Bible and what they understood…

    1. Bill – The history books I studied in high school also contained plenty of stories of violence, destruction, incest, abuse, disaster, tragedy, triumph, discovery and enlightenment… in fact about the whole gamut of human experience. Have you got something against those books as well?

  4. Spot on yet again David. The cowardice and hypocracy of many secular liberals on this issue is breathtaking. Our “progressive” elites seem to all of a sudden be passionate about free speech. Great! Took a while but now that they are passionate about freedom of speech,(although rather fond of speech code legislation) I look forward to them defending the right of Christians and others to come to opposing views on abortion,euthanasia,marriage and family.

    1. I remember when conservatives didn’t like people talking about socialism, or about sex, or atheism. Seems you have a selective memory or blind bias if you don’t realize everyone is for free speech – except the kind they don’t like; the kind that affective lay attacks their beliefs.
      It’s always been a war of ideas, liberals simply would like to remove the violence – because we believe our ideas stand on their own merits.
      If there is cowardice, it’s in Christians attacking atheists for fear of upsetting the violent wing of their theistic heritage.
      Blame the Muslims, if you dare. We attack atheists?
      Because you know you are safe.
      That’s cowardice.

      1. Brent – again you don’t really like to deal with facts do you? And you have a very selective memory – most conservatives I know have always been happy to talk about socialism, sex and atheism…but then maybe you knew some strange conservatives?! Liberals like to remove violence? Really….what a strange fanciful world you live in….those who call themselves ‘liberal’ tend to be some of the most intolerant people I know and are very happy to use the law/state/violence to enforce their ‘liberal’ views…

  5. Very helpful, as ever, David. Just one point – if the sexually disgusting cartoon attacking all religions except Islam is the one I think it is, then its point in its original setting was not what, perhaps, the Secular organisation republishing it is making. Its purpose was precisely to show that followers of other major religions do not behave as terrorists when their faith is lampooned. I would have been tempted to republish it myself with that intention of it hadn’t been so offensive.

  6. “while it is true that there have been atheists who have killed or attacked Christians because of our faith” Really? When?

    “every atheist needs to be seen as a potential Christian”. Get a life!

    1. Thanks Kit….The two killers in Columbine, the 77 churches burned down by Norwegian atheists, the thousands of Christians killed by Lenin, the millions by Stalin and Mao…shall I continue…?

      And I do have a life – an eternal one! Can be yours too…

      1. If I may interject on the subject of Lenin, Stalin and Mao. I believe you may be ignoring the glaring flaw of their existence as dictators in communist and socialist societies which seek to remove any and all opposition to their political agendas, religion not withstanding. These systems in theory look good on paper, but have done nothing but breed tyrannical regimes instead.

        If you wish to throw atheists under the bus without first recognizing any ulterior motives that these individuals had I am obligated to remind you of some the slaughter done in Christianity’s name:
        1.The Crusades (all three)
        2. World War 1
        3. World War 2

        I want you to understand that I’m not trying to attack you as a christian but I want you to understand that all the death and destruction in this world, religiously motivated or not, needs to be recognized as bronze age barbarism and needs to stop. Civilization will advance much faster when we don’t have to worry that Big Brother is watching us at all times and will condemn us to hellfire for thought crime.

        BTW I was previously Lutheran before becoming Agnostic and finally Atheist.

      2. JV – thanks…Neither WW! or 2 were done in Christianity’s name. The Crusades were – but it is questionable whether that was really the case or not. Your faith that civilisation is improving and getting better and if only we did not believe in God everything would be wonderful is naive and dangerous faith, without any evidence whatsoever – but then you are an atheist so I guess that is now your modus operandi!

  7. What a horrificly flawed argument. Your main premise is ‘Christianity good, anything else bad’ and yet you hypocritically slander those who have similar convictions but that reach a different conclusion.

    1. Anon – I’m not surprised you want to be anon…..My main premise is not Christianity good, anything else but bad’ – which kind of wipes out the rest of your argument. Feel free to engage with what I actually said if you would actually like to discuss..

  8. as patrimony goes, the christian religion has been more than generous – great music, sublime art (if you avoid the subject matter) relief and assistance in times of need, fellowship, a canon of morality (some of which is anything but) … on the whole, it’s been a good thing – providential and useful to our culture and civilization.

    providing, of course you don’t believe it.

  9. Terrorists & despots kill because of ideology, whether religious, philosophical or political, and sometimes a mixture of two or more. Hitler murdered Jews because of his Christianity (the so-called ‘blood libel’ being a significant issue), and his philosophical & political views (which included additional non-Christian supernaturalist mumbo-jumbo, as well as the overt racism & nationalism). Pol Pot mixed his Buddhism & politics & gave us the killing fields. Stalin’s ideology was grounded in what was best for Stalin, with his cult of personality making him almost a man-god such as was seen in the days of Roman emperors. The Ku Klux Klan mixed their brand of Christianity with their right-wing, racist politics, giving us burning crosses & that “strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees”.

    Now, atheists do nasty things too, and they do them because of an ideology, but clearly their ideology is philosophical and/or political, not religious, because they have no religion. Atheism is an absence of belief in god(s), and that’s no reason to do anything other than not believe in god(s). If you’re going to do something, whether good or bad, you do it because you believe something. So blaming atheism is pointless, because atheism doesn’t give a reason for doing anything, it simply defines someone’s non-belief. Atheists do things, but they don’t do them because they’re atheist.

    1. Ian , I hear this mantra repeated so many times and yet it is so illogical….I will leave you to think about it. But let me point out one major flaw in your argument – Hitler was not in any sense a Christian. Once you start dealing with facts I am happy to deal with your main point. If you read my Magnificent Obsession you will see it answered there – as also The Dawkins Letters…

      1. And again someone claiming Hitler was not a christian. I’m sorry, but claiming that is not only a lie, I consider it even hatespeech. By lying about Hitler’s christianity, and blaming it on his (non existing) atheism, it is a deliberate attempt to make atheists look bad.
        I also find it pertinent that most, if not all, historians claiming this little “no true Scotsman” fallacy that Hitler was an atheist are American, and staunchly christian historians.
        You do not want Hitler in your camp? Tough luck.

      2. Ash – wonderful….absolutely wonderful….claiming Hitler was not a Christian is ‘hatespeech’! Having studied Hitler as part of my history degree at the University of Edinburgh, I can tell you that I know of no reputable historian who is prepared to argue that Hitler was a Christian. Given that he did not attend church, did not read the Bible, hated the Jews and despised the church – it is difficult to see how anyone who has any idea of what a Christian is could actually think otherwise. But there is no accounting for the illogicality and ignorance of the new fundie atheists! Thanks for further evidencing this.

    1. Even with a god, you are permitted to do what you want. Only humanity stands in the way: frail, imperfect humanity.
      God didn’t stop hitler or Stalin, humanity did.
      Claim all you want that hilter and Stalin are paying for it now, but only if you believe in hell, which is becoming unfashionable.
      Even if you claim he’ll exists, you don’t know. Your only claim is that you “know” Jesus exists, but you Christians can’t agree on what he said.
      You don’t know if Anne frank is in hell or not, if priests can marry, if being gay is a sin, etc…
      You have NOTHING!

  10. Well written article. Keep up the good work David!

    You have encapsulated exactly what is happening in our society today with it’s particular emphasis on the discrimination of Christianity. However, what is really sad is the comments in the last few days from our leaders, both UK wide and here in Scotland about the atrocities in Paris where they have expressed their concerns for the freedom of expression and opinion and yet are at pains to suppress the freedom of Christians to express their beliefs in matters such as abortion, homosexuality, euthanasia, creationism etc in their own country!

    It is heartbreakingly sad that society today is neglecting the only true freedom there is to had – the freedom that Christ gives. This is a freedom that no secular, atheistic or any other religious belief is able to provide. Christ himself said ” If the Son sets you free you shall be free indeed.” This freedom is still available to all today – without exception, be they Muslim, Athiest, Secularist or just plain me – a “whosoever” of John 3:16. “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life” That really is freedom!

    Calum

  11. Good article, thanks, David. Can I post it on on facebook? Excuse my ignorance, I don’t know how to.
    If the responders are right about the cartoon you referred to not being the caving-in to Islam that it appears to be, wouldn’t it be a good idea to remove that part from your blog, so we can confidently re-post a helpful article?

    1. Hi Joseph – the problem is not with the original cartoon so much as those who post it thinking they are ‘brave’ when they won’t post the Charlie Hebdo one which is much less offensive. Its not a caving into Islam that I am worried about – it is the hypocrisy and authoritarianism of the atheistic secularists.

  12. If you are not for humanity, you are against it. If you place god before humanity, you are an enemy to humanity.
    Placing an imaginary, but unimpeachable authority as master to all ones conviction (aka, God) is the problem.
    Human communication is the answer, not divine revelation.

  13. It is pointless to argue with a Christian unless he is willing to specify if (or what) any kind of evidence would convince him to relinquish his belief. I as an atheist would say that if you showed me the evidence for God, I would become a believer. It is called “falsifiability” and without it rational disagreement is not possible. In other words, why should anyone try to convince you that you are wrong if your answer is that no evidence could convince you?

    1. Gil….I am quite happy to tell you what evidence would cause me to relinquish my belief…1) the bones of Jesus Christ, 2) Proof that the universe created itself out of nothing from nothing,

      What evidence would you accept for God? What do you mean by evidence? In other words why should anyone try to convince you that you are wrong if your answer is that no evidence for God could convince you?!

      1. 1. “The bones of Jesus.” Where are his bones now? Did he take them with him? The point is, this wouldn’t convince you, it would make you claim he left them behind.
        2. “Proof the universe came from nothing”. What if it didn’t come from nothing, but something – just not God?

        Again, David, you prove you are a committed Christian regardless of any evidence to the contrary, and you don’t think very deeply about the issues.

      2. Brent – your comments illustrate the problem of debating with fundie atheists – the lack of logical reasoning!

        1. If you presented me with the bones of Jesus – then it would be proof he did not rise from the dead…claiming he left them behind would be a daft comment! Please think before you respond.

        2. I am was asked what evidence I would accept against God – I said if you could prove that the universe self-generated came from nothing…that equally goes if you can prove that matter is eternal…..the trouble is you can’t. Its just a matter of faith for you. The far more logical position is to assume the if there is a Creation there is a Creator, if there is design there is a designer, if there is art there is an artist. The atheist is forced into the illogical position of saying either that the universe self-generated from nothing or just came about from eternal unthinking matter.

        Once again you prove the truth of Psalm 14:1!

  14. I’m a militant atheist like my parents and theirs ,I think religion is as silly and vile as anything in the modern world can be, but I have to say as a lover of history the comments made by fellow atheist about history here are moronic. Rising populations in Europe in the century an half before the first crusade created internal pressures combined with better defined and organized nation states combined with economic factors rove the begginings of the crusades,I’m not saying religion was not a factor just not the main factor. I hate to admit it but Hitler WS most certainly a atheist-tho he would use religion when eh had something to gain. Stalin was a atheist but did not kill in the name of anything other than himself-pol pot butchers the Buddhist clergy although this was to stop them being a rallying post like the had been in past Cambodian history for political factions.p.s anyone who takes any superstition seriously is a moron

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