John on October 12, 2006 at 9:54 am
I’ve added Michael Medved’s blog to the sidebar. I did so because I’ve read three excellent posts there in a week. Most recently is this one titled Bloody Christian Riots Protest Blasphemous Album?
The basis for the worldwide Christian fury, still seething in many corners of the globe and ready for further explosions of violence, was the release of a “death metal” album on a nominally British label (EMI) by the controversial American group Slayer. The name of the album, “Christ Illusion,” seemed calculated to provoke devout believers, especially because the shocking cover art featured an image of Jesus with both arms amputated and an eye gouged out of its socket, posing in front of other bloody severed heads and limbs. A featured song on the album, “Skeleton Christ,” further provoked outrage from religious communities that seemed unable to control the spontaneous indignation of the furious masses.
If you haven’t heard chilling reports of these world-wide riots, don’t blame the news media: you haven’t learned of them because they never happened. There have been no Christian riots in Nigeria, Bolivia, Ukraine or anywhere else. I made the whole thing up — in order, I hope, to make an important point.
I encourage you to read it all, but I can’t resist pasting in the conclusion, it’s just too good:
The fact that Christians didn’t respond in this way to the Slayer silliness isn’t an indication of the weakness of their faith, but a demonstration of its strength. The constant agitation of Muslim leaders, always ready to explode over some new expression of alleged disrespect, doesn’t show the power and sincerity of Islam, but its pathetic insecurity and its prevailing sense of vulnerability.
Is it any accident that atheists and secularists today display a touchiness and a quickness to take offense that more closely resembles the attitudes of fanatical Muslims than the long-suffering, tough-to-shake confidence of believing Christians? The insistence on erasing or at least opposing public religious symbols of every kind â€“ including those that were installed many decades ago â€“ echoes the eagerness of the Taliban to obliterate the 1,600 year old Buddhas of the Bamayan Valley of Afghanistan. For both secular militants and Muslim extremists, the intolerance of any dissenters and infidels stems from a deep-seated sense that the tide of history is running against them: that the battle of ideas and the ongoing struggle for the souls of a new generation don’t favor the frenzied followers of either Mohammed or Bertrand Russell. Judeo-Christian believers, on the other hand, comfortably can accept expressions of religious attitudes very different from our own because of an unshakable inner certainty that our faiths are flourishing.
That doesn’t make the ugly Slayer album any more acceptable — or their wretchedly adolescent, cacophonous music any more endurable. But the mild, philosophical, largely indifferent reaction from fervent believers (who have learned to expect and accept heavy doses of Christian bashing) serves to remind the world what constitutes the true “Religion(s) of Peace.”