One of my readers responded:
Last weekend …a Danish man was killed attending a meeting; a Danish Jew was killed for being a Jew; 21 Egyptians were beheaded… for being Christian…How many Christians or Jews have secularists murdered for being non secularists? There is no moral equivalence between secularism and Islamism, and Islamism is not morally superior to secularism. I do not share the view that secularism poses the greater threat to the gospel. Steve Bell’s view is perverse.
The actor Stephen Fry’s recently stunned his interviewer with an emotional outburst. When asked what he would say to God if he met him, Fry went into a prolonged rant, which began: “Why should I respect a capricious, mean-minded, stupid God who creates a world that is so full of injustice and pain? That’s what I would say.” (1) Fry is the charming, intelligent and articulate face of secularism turned aggressive.
‘Secularism’ is deceptive; it began life as a laudable and benign “non-religious” worldview aimed at serving humanity by ensuring religious freedom for all, but domination by none. True – secularists don’t murder people in the way Islamists do.
However, human nature being what it is, this noble aspiration has been hijacked and morphed into an intolerant anti-Christian philosophy I refer to as “aggressive secularism”. The Charlie Hebdo affair revealed this assertive “anti-religious” worldview, which aims to eradicate the Judeo-Christian heritage from Europe. Aggressive secularism is the sort of aggressor which kills the body and soul of a society.
While aggressive secularists include Stalin, Pol Pott and Hitler, its less obvious expression is the ‘new atheism’ and pernicious ‘political correctness’. This calls for the abolition of Christmas in favour of “Mid-winter Festival”; the TV screening of blasphemous Jerry Springer the Opera mocking Jesus; the abolition of the name ‘Red Cross’; the removal of the nativity tableaux from public places; the omission of all references to the virgin birth from school nativity plays.
All fair-minded Muslims I have ever spoken to would oppose all of this; in fact it’s Muslims (more than Evangelicals) who have spoken out about such issues. In fact Muslim leaders have said to me: ‘Tell Christians to stand up for Jesus Christ; we need Britain to be more Christian not less.’
It’s dangerous to equate “Islamism” with all Muslims, when the census indicates that only about 20% of Britain’s 1.8 million Muslims attend mosque on a Friday. There are only 50 million Wahhabi Muslims out of 1.6 billion worldwide and only 500 of Britain’s Muslims have gone to Syria – it is therefore a big stretch of the imagination to suggest that all Muslims are Islamist or that Islam is inherently violent (even though its texts can be used to validate violence).
As someone who learned the Arabic language and lived in the Middle East for a decade, may I play devil’s advocate for a moment by asking: So was it “Christianity” (or just some people who went by the name “Christian”) who caused the South African Dutch Reformed Church to impose Apartheid; or indeed the Southern Baptist Convention in the USA to endorse white supremacy – with no apology until the 1960s?
My correspondent continues…
I am fed up of Christian, and other groups, being apologists for Islam instead of peacefully challenging them on the many issues within mainstream Islam that threaten Christians and other non-Muslims.
I struggle with this but it goes with the territory. It’s not true of course but I did suggest to my correspondent that he read my book Grace for Muslims in which I try to tackle the “dark side”; or that he listen in when I’m next on the radio, challenging the behaviour of certain Muslims; or that he accompanies me to Westminster for meetings with parliamentarians about how best to challenge the very issues that rightly concern us all.
The battle against ‘aggressive secularism’ is being waged by some Christians
Some of the relatives of the 21 Coptic Christians beheaded in Libya went on air to pray publically for those who martyred their loved ones. (see SAT-7 firstname.lastname@example.org ) ‘Blessed are the peace-makers, for they shall be called sons of God.’ (Mat.5:9) The tabloid press ignore this of course; for them, good news is no news.
The Christian Institute www.christianinstitute.org and Christian Concern www.christianconcern.com are monitoring the attempted prosecutions of British Christians under increasingly draconian “secularist” laws which prohibit Christians from expressing their faith in public space. So while our attention is on Islamists (who are destroying Islam by the way), our eyes are taken off the insidious secularist influence which is quietly encroaching on us. Islamism is part of the brutal face of the ‘beast system’ of the Revelation, which is attempting to pummel to death the saints in the global south; while secularism is more subtle face of the same ‘beast system’; it’s the harlot seeking to seduce to death, the saints in the global north.