COMMENTARY — October 2008
Freedom from freedom? Atheism, Christianity, and September 11

By Chuck Colson
Opinion — CHRISTIAN EXAMINER

Those who would eliminate Christianity from public life are sawing off the branch they are sitting on.

September 11 the whole nation paused to remember the 3,000 innocent victims of 9/11 murdered by Islamist terrorists, and to be grateful for those who gave their lives to rescue others—everybody, that is, except the Freedom From Religion Foundation in Madison, Wisconsin. It spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on Sept.9 for a full-page propaganda ad in the New York Times—an ad that blamed religion for the horrors of September 11.

The ad showed a picture of the New York City skyline, pre-September 11, complete with the twin towers. Beneath the picture ran the incredible caption: “One of the lessons of 9/11 is that there is no greater source of terrorism, strife, bloodshed, persecution, or war than religion.” And by “religion,” the ad’s writers left no doubt that they included Christianity, warning readers of the horrors of a potential Christian theocracy in America. In essence, the ad equated opposing gay rights with blowing up the World Trade Center.

But the ad did not stop there. “The history of Western civilization,” it said, “shows that most social and moral progress has been brought about by persons FREE FROM RELIGION.”

I don’t think the untold millions of Hitler’s Nazi Germany, Stalin’s Russia, and Mao’s China would agree with such gross stupidity—unless by “social progress,” the Freedom From Religion Foundation means innovations like Auschwitz, the Gulag, and World War II.

The truth is that out of a Christian worldview, which believes human life is sacred and freedom a gift of God, grew Western civilization itself, the only civilization that protects the fundamental rights of all human beings.

Just look at our own history. When the radical atheist mentions the Inquisition and witch trials, we can say without hesitation that the Christians who carried them out were wrong. We repent. But once you remind atheists of the results of godless totalitarianism during the 20th century alone, they are silent.

Or consider the battle to end slavery and the civil-rights movement in the 1960s. Christians were the driving force. Modern science itself developed in the West precisely because Christians knew that God was a God of reason and order: that in His creation, we could find “immutable laws at work.” Or even today, the great humanitarian causes: Trying to end the genocide in Darfur, ending sexual trafficking, stopping the spread of AIDS in Africa—all these causes are being led by Christians. And it is no coincidence that the concepts of democracy and freedom flourished and spread to the rest of the world in and through the Christian West.

The truth is that the only thing that stands in the way of dangerous Islamo-fascism is Christianity. It has preserved an amazing degree of freedom, even freedom to bash your own country and the faith of its people. If the Freedom From Religion Foundation wants to test that proposition, maybe it ought to go and try to run that same ad in any Muslim country. Good luck.

Copyright© 2008 Prison Fellowship Ministries
Reprinted with permission
BreakPoint is a ministry of Prison Fellowship Ministries


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