At first blush, atheism and Islam couldn’t seem more different. Atheism denies the existence of any supernatural deity, whereas Islam (whose name means ‘submission’) is monotheistic and asserts a supreme supernatural god named Allah. Atheism denies any life beyond this world, while Islam teaches that those Muslims whose good works exceed their bad will spend eternity with Allah after life on earth with both Muslims who lack works and non-Muslims being punished after death. And on it goes.
However, there is one thing that both the faith of atheism (yes, atheism is indeed a faith-based system) and Islam have in common: they aggressively do everything in their power to silence any voice that dares to challenge their ideology.
Now, to be fair, I must add a qualifier to both atheism and Islam in this regard. I have had dialogues with both atheists and Muslims who were very respectful, truly considered my arguments for Christianity, certainly respected my intelligence, and defended my right to voice an opinion that was contrary to their own. I have benefited greatly in discussions with such people and appreciate their correcting me on inadequate arguments that I asked them to consider.
By contrast, it is militant Islam and atheism (which I call hatetheism) that seeks to stifle any person that calls into question the validity of their worldview.
The fact that militant Islam practices such a thing is no news to anyone remotely educated on that movement. One needs to look no further than the high-profile imprisonment of Youcef Nadarkhani who was arrested in 2009 for being a Christian and preaching Christianity in Iran. The formal charge labeled against pastor Youcef is blasphemy against Islam.
While militant Islam’s persecution against non-Muslims is widely acknowledged, what isn’t so well-known is that hatetheism operates in the exact same way as militant Islam.
Hatetheism both insults and tries to humiliate anyone who professes faith in God, and does everything it can to silence those it considers its enemies. For example, comedian Bill Maher has openly stated that the opinions of religious people should not be respected and has gone on to say: "We are a nation that is unenlightened because of religion. I do believe that. I think that religion stops people from thinking. . . . I think religion is a neurological disorder. . . . I am just embarrassed that it has been taken over by people like evangelicals, by people who do not believe in science and rationality.”1
Sporting such a spirit, it is not surprising that hatetheists have no desire for any dialogue with others who do not share their opinions. A case in point is the first “Reason Rally,” which was held in Washington D.C. on March 24, 2012, with headliners like Richard Dawkins and other similar famous atheists being present.
When Tom Gilson, editor of the book True Reason, contacted David Silverman of American Atheists to inform them that Christians would be present at the Reason Rally and were interested in having a respectful dialogue with the atheist group with a formal debate between Dawkins and Christian apologist William Lane Craig also being proposed, he was told the following:
"Make no mistake – you are not welcome guests at the rally. We are not going to DC for ‘dialogue’ with people who believe ridiculous things--we are going to have fun with other like-minded people. Those who proselytize or interfere with our legal and well-deserved enjoyment will be escorted to the 1st Amendment pen by security, which will be plentiful, where you can stand with the Westborough [sic] Baptists and shout yourselves hoarse.
Spreading out among the crowd is not a substitute for a permit. Indeed, I will be meeting with the Parks Commission on Thursday to discuss how to handle your infiltrative permitless counter-protest."2
While Silverman and his group have no problem erecting billboards during times such as Christmas and Easter that mock Christianity and thus insert themselves into Christians’ holidays, it appears they have no desire to have Christians ‘intrude’ into their events.
So much for being ‘free thinkers.’
One last illustration of hatetheism doing its best to silence its opponents is when supposed ‘neutral’ scientists, who are really devotees to philosophical naturalism, shut down any peer that dares to challenge certain teachings of evolution. A good example of this is the current legal case of David Coppedge vs. his former employer, NASA, who first demoted and then fired Coppedge after he shared DVD’s of intelligent design with some of his co-workers.
Commenting on how aggressive the adherents to naturalism can be, paleontologist Jun-Yuan Chen has stated, “In China, we can criticize Darwin, but not the government; in America, you can criticize the government, but not Darwin.”3 Those knowing the history of this battle in academia will remember that Darwinian advocates only asked that their view be taught alongside intelligent design in the early 1900s, but now they do everything in their power to shut the door in ID’s face. Noting the double standard in situations like this, Ravi Zacharias has said: “Is it not odd that whenever it has power, liberalism is anything but liberal, both in the area of religion and politics?" We can also add science to that list.
I think most everyone would agree with the argument that the only reason a person should believe anything is that that particular ‘thing’ is true. If Islam is true, we should all be Muslims; if atheism is true, then we should all be atheists; and if Christianity is true, we should all be Christ-followers.
But the fact is, sometimes people who say they are truth seekers aren’t interested in hearing the truth. There are other factors at work other than a commitment to what’s really true, and these influences can often bring together those who are otherwise enemies of each other.
Without a doubt, militant Islam and hatetheism seem to have absolutely nothing in common. But when it comes to shutting down anyone who dares to oppose them, they couldn’t be more alike, and indeed make comfortable bedfellows.