John on February 13, 2006 at 2:30 pm
Last week I was accused of being “in the tank” for Michelle Malkin because I called some scurrilous attacks on her for what they were, i.e. scurrilous attacks. My repsonse was to point out that, while I enjoy Michelle’s work (read her book and recommend it) and respect her immensely, I’ve been in disagreement with her about the entire Cartoon War debate. Specifically, I’ve argued that when we rush to the defense of the Danish press, we’re primarily rushing to the defense of secular humanism.
Today there is a clear example that this is so on Michelle’s own site. Michelle has a story up about an anti-Danish protest by a bunch of children from a Hamas school. For the record, the pictures are disturbing, though I don’t think it’s a surprise to anyone that Hamas is a repulsive group.
What I find telling is that Michelle credits the story to Secular Blasphemy, a blog run by an atheist from Norway. This story in particular seems to be (for the Norwegian author) an instance of what Richard Dawkins was talking about recently when he called religious education “child abuse.” In this case, that may be so, but the author of the blog (like Dawkins) clearly sees this as one part of a much larger problem. In fact, the author’s distaste for Islam is really rather muted compared to his problems with Christianity. Here’s a sample:
When Christianity was new, this new religion met with opposition and skepticism. Claiming that an executed criminal had been resurrected and was indeed Divine, was obviously beyond what many would accept. While we should not exeggarate the skepitcal climate of the day, it is not a stretch to assume that many people asked the Christians for some evidence supporting this extraordinary claim. Christians had no such things. So, as part of their preaching, they argued that being skeptical, being a doubter, was inheritently sinfull, and that faith — indeed, blind faith — was the noblest of virtues.
So, what happened was that a religion made gullability the highest of virtues. And this continues to this day. Only, this obvious fact is hidden behind the word “faith.”
Here’s another post which is really the semantic equivalent of the Mohammed cartoons. It uses the old atheist standby: Mocking Christianity by writing in a faux Christian voice, all the while highlighting the ignorance of the subject. Sort of like Screwtape for secular humanists. It never gets old that one.
My point here is simply that the propaganda wars go both ways. Deceitful Danish imams may use trumped up cartoons to score points in the Muslim world. At the same time, wiser-than-thou atheists use the Jihadist response to score points against religion in general and Christianity in particular. Criticism of embassy burnings does not fall at the feet of Whabbism or even of Islam, but of religion and of faith which they equate with ignorance.
When it comes to the Cartoon Wars, things are going to have to get a lot darker before I’m ready to make common cause with Secular Blasphemy.