31st October 2008

“For years I have been writing letters to newspapers. Letters that critique Christianity, its Bible and its historical figures often get published and, in turn, Christians get to make robust criticisms of us atheists. And so it should be. Letters that critique Islam, on the other hand, are routinely edited or dropped altogether. One can say what one likes about Jesus, but not Muhammed, it seems.”

Dr Stephen Moreton

10 Responses to “31st October 2008”

  1. ENTROPY Says:

    Fortunately, Christians don’t threaten to behead you, or members of your organization for criticizing Jesus. One cannot say the same for Islamic Fundamentalists.

  2. chris Says:

    Yes – fear of being assassinated by the followers of the “religion of peace” can have that effect.

  3. Oxymoronic Christhinker Says:

    In the interest of full disclosure, there are a few Christian wackos out there. One thinks of the occasional abortion clinic bomber, for example, or even McViegh and Oklahoma City.

    However, it is a little harder for us Christian theists to justify violence, what with the cruel death inflicted upon our peaceful god. (In my experience, Jesus doesn’t really get a whole lot of criticism other than a few people who try to prove that he never existed in the first place.)

    On the other hand, I have been threatened with God’s wrath on more than one occasion by those who apparently disagreed very strongly with my particular brand of liberal-progressive theology informed by both Bible and science. I was even once told I risked hell for “reading and talking to atheists!”

    But the adherents of Radical Islam take (modern) religiously justified violence to a whole new level. Peace be upon him?

  4. Joe Pro Says:

    Now this is a huge issue! Should a democratic society allow such radical ideas any rights or protections? – I think definately not. We need to stand up and lable such ‘religions’ as unlawful and procecute them, drive them out, etc. Not protect them. Right now, our society is complicit with their crimes by not focusing on a way to do this. This is one area where I agree with the Bush doctrine’s principles. We need better execution, reasoned debate and discussion of the doctrine, no doubt. But the doctirne is ‘right headed’ and a place to start.

  5. phil Says:

    @joepro if one were to agree with you one would also have to condemn most American Christians. That is because being “pro life” they are willing to risk the lives of mothers. By being anti stem-cell research they condone the painfull death of millions of people by potentially curable diseases.
    Now this does not mean that I condone or necessarily subscribe to the statements of the previous paragraph. But it does show that one would be wise to be very carefull with inciteful absolute statements such as yours Joe. I doe believe that if we were to throw everyone that matches the criteria you put forth out of the US, this country may well be a very empty place.

  6. Oxymoronic Christhinker Says:

    The Bush doctrine can best be described as “shoot first and never ask questions.” It is itself opposed to “reasoned debate and discussion.” How does one criminalize “radical ideas?” Certainly, one can act if those ideas are themselves acted upon (i.e., hunt down and prosecute bin Laden for the 9/11 atrocity, something the Bush doctrine seems incapable of encouraging), but it would be wrong, legally and morally, to act against someone simply for having “radical ideas.” Jesus is said to have had radical ideas; is it okay for him to have been executed by the state (leaving aside whether or not he is divine)? Our best weapon against the hatred espoused by any and all violent radicals, whatever the source of their ideas, is “reasoned debate and discussion” and the radical willingness of people of goodwill from all traditions, religious or secular, to risk the consequences of violent and unreasonable retaliation by the forces of “evil.” The Bush doctrine does neither.

    Posted by a Christian theist using an anonymous name on an atheist web site . . . oh well . . .

  7. Oxymoronic Christhinker Says:

    Uh, . . . I meant to write:

    “. . . or secular, to speak out LOUDLY against and risk . . .”

    Er, sorry!

  8. Chris Says:

    Joe – I think that generally speaking our country gets it right on tolerance for diverse beliefs. Where we get into trouble is when we generalize about people based not on their actions but on our perceptions. I’m guilty of this when I write of “theists” when what I really mean are those theists that try to use political power to impose their beliefs of the larger society. It’s why we imprisoned the Japanese/American’s in WW2.

    For a free society to remain free we cannot condemn people for their associations or their ideas but must, rather, hold all accountable equally for their actions that break our laws. We shouldn’t fear ideas! There are “radical” ideas all the time that become shared by the sensible center. We should, however, vigorously punish crimes.

    Oxy – Jesus was, very likely, as mythical as Adam and Eve. Sorry – couldn’t resist! 🙂

  9. Oxymoronic Christhinker Says:

    Chris:

    I will concede that a case can be made that “the Christ” may be a mythical, metaphorical “construct,” maybe even a “radical idea” of Paul’s, or perhaps of the communities which he may have gotten it from. Much of “liberal-progressive” historical research and literary criticism has suggested this for some time – see the work of John Dominic Crosson or Marcus Borg, for instance, if you’re interested. (Of course, I remain a theist and a “delusional” believer in the Christ!) So, no appologies necessary! I would argue, however, that one Jesus of Nazareth, son of Joseph, did in fact exist, and that we can know a few things about him historically from the available literary (and other) evidence, both Christian and Pagan. You are free, of course to believe and argue otherwise.

    In any case, I agree that “we cannot condemn people for their associations or their ideas” and believe that it is incumbent upon all human beings to speak out against those human beings who would demonize and condemn those with whom they disagree.

    Have a nice day!

  10. Dan the Man Says:

    The reason Christian “wackos” aren’t out there cuttin’ off heads is because they’re waiting for God to do it for them. And we’re content to let them wait.