Atheist professor: I will mock Christians but not Muslims because of 'straight up fear'

by Kelly Ledbetter, |
Phil Zuckerman says he will mock Christianity but not Islam because he is afraid. | / SCREEN SHOT

PORTLAND, Ore. (Christian Examiner) –Phil Zuckerman, Professor of Secular Studies at Pitzer College and atheist blogger about secularism, gave a shocking answer to the question of why the media amiably disagrees with Muslims but slams Christians..

"I absolutely agree that it is okay for those of the Left to critique, mock, [and] deride Christianity, but Islam gets a free pass," Zuckerman told "Which is so strange, because if you care about women's rights, if you care about human rights, if you care about gay rights, then you really... uh... then Islam is much more problematic."

From a human rights perspective, Christian nations are among the most successful, yet Zuckerman said he would not criticize Islam for fear of execution.

"As an atheist, where on planet Earth is the death penalty meted out to atheists? It's only in, I think, 24 Muslim countries. Where have human rights flourished the most? In Christian nations."

Though Zuckerman admits Islam is "problematic" for those who advocate human rights, he says he would be far more willing to show contempt to Christianity than to Islam.

Yet on a blog post for Psychology Today, Zuckerman argues that society would not fall apart but rather thrive if religion were taken out of the equation. He points to religion as a societal ill and strongly implies society would be better off without God.

"Heck, look where Ebola is currently wrecking [sic] havoc?" Zuckerman wrote in Oct. 2014. "It isn't in highly secular Sweden. Or highly secular Estonia. No – it is in various African nations where God is heavily worshipped, church is heavily attended, and pray [sic] is heavily engaged in."


Zuckerman says he is unafraid to critique Christians because Christianity is a tolerant religion. "I see Christianity as a great friend to secular culture," he said. "I see Islam as much more of a threat. Much more debilitating."

He perceives a difference between Muslim people and Muslim doctrine in terms of what he finds "debilitating" to secularism. "I'm not talking about Muslim individuals I might sit next to on an airplane or my neighbors. I'm talking about the doctrines and the power to enforce those doctrines in the form of Sharia law."

Zuckerman admits fear is what keeps him from critiquing Islam in his writing on blogs and in books. "I can say anything about Christianity and Mormonism and I'm not living in fear."

He added a statement of thanks that he was able to speak and write negatively about these religions without worrying for his life or that of his three children.

"I would never write the same kind of stuff that I do about certain religions—Judaism, Christianity, LDS—that I would about Islam because of just straight up fear," Zuckerman said.