I’ve been watching a bit of Fox News lately as I always do (until I get bored of the continuous monotonous political drumbeat) and have been reminded continuously of President Obama’s refusal to believe Muslims are terrorists. Those who perpetrate terrorist acts, he says, are practicing a mutated version of Islam – almost, I suppose, as much as troublesome Boy Scouts would be practicing a corrupted version of Boy Scoutery. There are strong reasons to suspect that Islam encourages violence as part of its theology (see the video Islam-What the West Needs to Know at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ywNYoAgLzm4), but I won’t get into details here. What Obama’s reluctance does is highlight a tendency among the left to excuse or avoid the fact evil exists and must be combated. It’s something I wrote about in my book The Vast Wastelands of Unbelief, but Andrew Stuttaford alluded to this in an article published in National Review in 2002.
Stuttaford attended the 28th national convention of the American Atheists in Boston, and came to the conclusion that even though there are no horns on their heads, there are plenty of chips on their shoulders. There are plenty of them who feel oppressed and have succumbed to what might be called “the cult of the victim.”
When Stuttaford wrote this, it was only one year after 9/11,and it would have been a perfect time for people antagonistic toward religion to approach the problem of Islamic terrorism with clear thinking. Stuttaford says nothing like this was to be found. Instead, they focused on less inconsequential problems like the antiquity of “God Bless America” and the overuse of religion to comfort America. Stuttaford reflects on this amusingly with the quip, “They were ready to fight the Kaiser, but it is Hitler who is now in town.” There were a few talks on terrorism, but the time spent on this was no greater than the time devoted to crude jokes, and Stuttaford says it was obvious these atheists were more comfortable in taking cheap shots than talking about serious matters.
Why so? For one thing, it’s easier to take cheap shots at an enemy that doesn’t fight back with violence. Atheists also share a common enemy with Islam: American Christianity which teaches that people are innately sinful and need a savior. Liberals generally deny humans have such a nature to them, and evil must be due to society’s failures – never mind that society is due to these same people. It’s easier to blame Islam’s violence on the hometown religion you despise than see it for what it is.
The problem with this attitude is that a denial of Christian’s truth keeps one from recognizing true evil. I’ve noticed that in my life by staying closer to God and His demands, I’m able to see legitimate goodness and more clearly see legitimate wrongness - in the same way a florist is able to easily spot beautiful flowers as well as dying ones. Constantly keeping your mind on objective moral truth makes it easier to spot moral error.
That’s why I believe people will not be able to spot true evil, like Islam, without a legitimate moral revival.
 Andrew Stuttaford, “A Fundamentalism of Their Own: With the Atheists in Boston,” National Review, March 6, 2002, http://andrewstuttaford.com/2002/03/06/a-fundamentalism-of-their-own-with-the-atheists-in-boston/