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Are Atheists Afraid of Criticizing Islam?

February 6, 2009

“If you have the balls to attack christian faith, why not attack allah” – Crazy Christian #234867323

This is a comment we atheist bloggers see often. Are atheists afraid of criticizing Islam? The short answer? No. The long answer? Absolutely not.

Atheists seem to criticize Christianity more than they do Islam because they really are doing that; now here’s why. I reside inside the United States, at the top of the Bible belt, I come into contact with almost no Muslims (Illinois puts it’s non-Christian religious population at 4%, not including the faithless) but approximately 80% of the people in my state are Christians. I don’t find Muslim pamphlets in my employer’s bathroom; I find Chick Tracts. When people come knocking on my door at seven in the morning to talk about Yahweh they are Christians. I’m more than sixteen times more likely to be killed by lightning than by a terrorist attack. More importantly, my government, from the top to the bottom, is almost completely run by Christians.

Islam is just as, if not more terrible a faith than Christianity but I write about the things I feel are more likely to affect me. Christianity affects my life daily in one way or another. It is for this reason when I write a critique of faith it seems more targeted at Christians. I usually try to say the word “theist” in lieu of “Christian” because most of my points work for the big three. There are plenty of atheists who blog primarily about the threat of Islam (here, here, and here are some examples). I blog about Christians because they are biggest threat to my way of life right now; if that changes you’ll see my writing change. Until then, have an infidelic day!

Edit: I originally had a picture of the infamous “Mohammed Bomb Hat” cartoon along with this post. Upon further discussion with Schevus, a good friend and regular commenter, I’ve decided the image was too imflammitory and might not be taken in the humorous context I put it here in, so I’ve removed the image to help promote dialogue and negate future issues surrounding it’s use.

  1. notreallyalice permalink
    February 6, 2009 12:49 pm

    Ooh, yes, the old “She wouldn’t talk that way about Mohammad!” line. The response?

    An odd look. “Of course she wouldn’t. She was raised Catholic, so she makes jokes about the Pope. She probably doesn’t know anything about Islam. What are you suggesting she should say? And, why don’t you say it yourself?”

  2. February 6, 2009 1:31 pm

    well….here’s the thing. atheists in America are largely concerned with things that impact their own country. in this case, the issue of a theocratic state is being promoted in the united states (under various nefarious alternative titles, of course) by Christians. ergo, American atheists have a tendency to focus on Christians.

    that at least explains the lack of focus on Muslims for American atheist. which is all i really care about, since i am one of those abhorrent, self-absorbed American wags anyway….

  3. February 6, 2009 3:19 pm

    I second your post (I get the same criticism) and add, having been raised Catholic, and lived my entire life in a mostly Christian country, I know lots about Christianity and little about Islam. Unlike Crazy Christian #234867323, I don’t speak about things I know nothing about.

  4. February 6, 2009 4:11 pm

    Nice posts. American atheists respond to the biggest threats to their lives and the lives of others around them. I know Christians like to think that Islam is a bigger threat, but more of our rights are infringed upon on a regular basis by the influence of Christianity on US politics than any other source.

  5. February 6, 2009 6:42 pm

    I can’t add anything better than the arguments used in the post. Christianity affects my daily life much more than Islam or any other religion.

    I find it baiting when Christians pull this one. They want the discussion to turn to “we are the better of two evils”. I prefer “no evils”.

  6. February 6, 2009 8:11 pm

    It’s not just Americans being provincial. Both UK and Australian atheist bloggers also tend to criticise Christians more than Muslims, for the exact same reason. Heck, the UK is nominally a Church of England theocracy.

    In Australia we have about 60% Christians and about 2% Muslims, so which faith do they think has a greater impact? Actually the Muslim populations is growing and the Christian population dwindling in Australia.
    As I’ve pointed out before, the more Muslims affect my way of life the more I’ll criticise them.

  7. Tory Phoenix permalink
    February 6, 2009 10:47 pm

    —I’ve decided the image was too imflammitory and might not be taken in the humorous context I put it here in, so I’ve removed the image to help promote dialogue and negate future issues surrounding it’s use.—

    That and death threat for just thinking about criticizing Moohamad (misspelling Deliberate). You want a criticism of Islam. How about the insanity that it is illegal to draw cartoons of Moohamad, and in some countries even criticize Islam. I’m sure Christians would love to get that sort of law passed in this country, or anywhere else they have a majority, and therefore feel persecuted. Thankfully, despite the degradation of Church/State separation in the US over the past 8 years. We still have organizations that would not let such a thing stand. I only hope other contries have organizations such as AU, the ACLU, FFRF, and others to help them when Christian Temper tantrums try and restrict their rights.

  8. February 6, 2009 11:26 pm

    The US government is not run by Christians silly.
    It’s too corrupt.

  9. Tory Phoenix permalink
    February 6, 2009 11:30 pm

    It’s not. I thought Corruption and Christianity went hand in hand? Especially when its effectively impossible to get elected in this country, despite the “No religious test for office” thing, without professing belief as some form of Christian. At best you could get away with being Jewish or Moron I mean Mormon.

  10. February 7, 2009 8:24 am

    Haha I like your joke at the end.
    But take a look at all the government officials.
    Do they do things a Christian should do? Not many.
    They are not Christians.

    About getting elected. Yeah this nation is mostly Christian, but anyone can say they are a Christian, then go around and be a hypocrite.

  11. February 7, 2009 2:52 pm

    It’s even worse than that; some people think that e.g. the atheist bus ad campaign that says “There’s probably no god, now stop worrying and enjoy your life” somehow only refers to *their* god and rhetorically ask why these atheists are too timid to take on Islam..!?

  12. jamesatracy permalink
    February 8, 2009 2:02 pm

    Yeah, although on the world stage some might say that Islam poses the bigger threat.

  13. February 8, 2009 2:40 pm

    Frankly, I’m troubled that a Christian would use the expression “have the balls” to make a point. Probably a backslider.

  14. February 8, 2009 3:44 pm

    I am not a huge fan of Christians using that language either.

  15. Lyle permalink
    February 9, 2009 11:26 am

    Interesting that your blog says that you are not afraid to criticize Islam, then you take down the cartoon because of the reaction it might generate. Were you afraid that Muslims might start killing people to show that Islam is a religion of peace? That action really hollows out your words.

  16. February 9, 2009 1:25 pm

    I promote dialogue on my blog, which includes dialogue with Muslims, as well as Christians. My previous words would have rang hallow if I had kept the image up.

    • Maliq Shabazz permalink
      August 1, 2009 12:39 am

      Lol, keep telling yourself that. One day even you might believe it. Coward. Non believers do not attack Islam because islam has never been turn the other cheek. It is far easier to assault the one who will not hit back. I have far more respect for believers than infidels. Even those who believe differently than I do.

      • August 1, 2009 1:30 am

        Say’s the man who worships a pedophile. Or do you not know about Muhammad’s 6 year old wife, Aisha?

  17. February 9, 2009 2:48 pm

    I too have heard this criticism, and I must agree with your sentiment. I was raised Catholic, so my immediate beef was with Christianity, although I have come to despise Islam as well. Another interesting trend I have noticed on conservative blogs (usually run by Christians) is their consistent and overt criticism of Islam. They haven’t stopped criticizing Muslims, and rightly so, but they fail to see that they are guilty of very similar fanaticism themselves in many respects.

  18. uzza permalink
    February 9, 2009 9:18 pm

    Thanks for the link. This question was on our minds when we started Lolkoran. We had assumed somebody osmewhere must have done it already, but a lot of googling only turned up comments to the effect that it was a really bad idea, fatwas, someone would get killed, etc. It was impossible to avoid the conclusion that yes, people/christians ARE afraid to criticise islam. That was the main reason we started lolkoran, to counter this self-censorship we were seeing.

  19. February 11, 2009 4:23 pm

    It actually feels LESS threatening for me to criticize Islam, only because when I lock my door at night it’s due to all of my crazy christian neighbors, not Muslim ones. Not a lot of diversity in small town Minnesota, and the folks here would probably be relieved if I focused on another religion now and then. :)

  20. February 13, 2009 4:32 pm

    Ah, Fatwah Envy. Yet again do Christian bigots paraphrase: “oh, I wish I was as barbaric and disgusting as Islamofascists, so you wouldn’t dare question my idiotic pet beliefs”.

  21. neo permalink
    March 4, 2009 6:56 am

    You know why everyone is afraid to critisize Islam, that is because they eventually there law will be established in entire world, u just have to wait & watch…..

  22. March 8, 2009 3:40 am

    I hope all is going well for you fella, I haven’t seen a post in a while. Just checking in!

  23. March 13, 2009 6:04 pm

    Yeah, gotta watch out for those crazy Christians. They might build a hospital for you or something.

    Your excuses seem pretty weak, especially the PC reason for taking down the cartoon on a post where you’re saying you don’t fear Muslims. I’ve noticed the same “attack the Christians, not the Muslims” theme with European atheists as well, only they can’t play the “it’s the main religion we know and fear” card.

    “Fatwa Envy” is a cute phrase but does nothing to counter the very real arguments. Anyone denying that Islam is the real religion to fear is clueless or disingenuous.

    • March 13, 2009 6:21 pm

      Neil I took down the image because I actually want to have dialogue with non-troll Muslims. Oh noe’s, the extremists are going to suicide bomb the WordPress server I’m on.

      Last time I checked, we invaded the Middle East, we set up Puppet governments to steal the natural resources of Muslim countries for pennies on the dollar, we’re the ones who kicked the hornet’s nest. We’ve been fucking with the Middle East for the last century so of course they’re upset with us. America and England are responsible for 9/11 and 7/7.

      Bush was the one who was suggesting he might use Nuclear bunker busters to hit Iran’s facilities. Dominionists are the real threat because their paradise calls for the end of the world.

  24. March 13, 2009 7:18 pm

    If we stole their oil I’m not aware of it, and it sure didn’t help keep gas prices down.

    And in a survival of the fittest world, who’s to say that would have been a bad thing to do? Seems like a good strategy to me, except my Christian worldview keeps me from really believing it.

  25. March 14, 2009 2:00 am

    Neil, you’re a troll. What would be the point of us conversing? You have no desire for real dialogue, you just want to pester people and read your own comments. I have no use for you and your ilk.

  26. March 14, 2009 7:25 am

    But that’s just your opinion, right?

    I’ll take that as a concession speech.

  27. Collins permalink
    March 31, 2009 6:47 am

    “Upon further discussion with Schevus, a good friend and regular commenter, I’ve decided the image was too imflammitory and might not be taken in the humorous context I put it here in, so I’ve removed the image…..”

    It seems you ARE afraid to criticize Islam. (Why do I think if it were a cartoon of Pat Robertson doing a sheep up the ass you wouldn’t have hesitated for a second to post it). And maybe there are no Muslims in whatever town you live in, but in case you haven’t heard, there are thousands upon thousands in larger urban areas. In fact I can’t even go out to run a quick errand without seeing them, and I live in Minneapolis, which isn’t exactly LA or New York. And certainly you must have read one of the many reports availble online about Muslims trying to change or circumvent our laws to bring us closer to Sharia law, or what’s happened in Europe for that matter.

    What’s scarier is that the muslims are multiplying at an enormous rate. I don’t have stats but I work in the family law field and it seems like damn near every muslim family out there is on some type of government assistance for their MULTIPLE children.

    Beyond the religious issue is the financial burden these 7th century throwbacks are costing us. One obvious answer is for the government to slow down the immigration rate, especially from islamic nations. Even if you did have the balls to copy and paste a Mohammad cartoon, it takes a lot more than that to fight the towelhead crisis.

    • March 31, 2009 2:59 pm

      Collins, you are a dunce. (I need to find a good fair use image of a dunce cap for these kids, maybe have a variant with the word ‘bigot’ up the side of it.) I have explained many times why I took the image down. If you look around my blog you’ll see maybe one image making fun of a Christian, it’s an ‘LOL’ graphic talking about how Bush Sr. said that atheists weren’t citizens. I try to promote discussion on this blog and keep it somewhat fair, the image would have only got my blog spammed by angry 12 year olds. Now instead I get spammed by angry Christians with fatwa envy. In my mind a Muslim is no different than a Hindu or a Christian, you all believe in fair tales equally dangerous. You are all equally insane.

      You’ve dehumanized these people in your mind which is not the answer, not every Muslim is a terrible person who wants to overthrow the government. I don’t know if you’re a Christian, but many of them also want some sort of elected theocracy, how is that any worse? The most important thing we need to remember is that these people are people. Their minds can change just like anyone else. Dehumanizing this portion of mankind is not going to solve anything, it will only create more problems. Xenophobia is not the answer. You are an adult, act like one!

  28. March 31, 2009 7:07 am

    Wow, Christian bigotry, xenophobia, and intolerance at it’s finest. Thank you Collin for this clear example of true Christianity. Jesus would be proud.

    • March 31, 2009 3:00 pm

      He didn’t outright say he was a Christian so we have to be careful here, but the Bible paints a fairly bigoted and xenophobic god, why wouldn’t its people follow its lead?

  29. May 11, 2009 6:29 pm

    “… I write about the things I feel are more likely to affect me. Christianity affects my life daily in one way or another. It is for this reason when I write a critique of faith it seems more targeted at Christians.”

    What a self-serving piece-of-tripe excuse for having no guts! Admit the truth, you won’t attack Islamists because you damn well know they’ll come after you with everything they’ve got. You know those vile, intolerant Christians won’t cut your empty head off with a Bowie knife, so you feel safe taking your anti-Christian potshots and think of yourself as being oh so heroic and enlightened.

    Why not move to an Islamic country and start mocking Islam if you have the stones, just be sure your final arrangements are up to date first – and pardon me if I don’t hold my breath waiting for you to start packing your dufflebag.


    • August 1, 2009 1:43 am


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