Darrow Miller and Friends

Charlie Hebdo and an Atheist’s Comparison of Islam and Christianity

The responses to the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris include an intriguing reflection from an atheist comparing Islam and Christianity.

Islam, Christianity, and Judaism are the world’s three great monotheistic faiths. All three trace their linage to the patriarch Abraham. He is father of the Arab (largely Muslim) peoples though his son Ishmael, of the Jews through his son Isaac, and of the Christians who were “grafted in” through the Jews (see Romans 11:17ff).

But notwithstanding their historic roots, Islam and Christianity have grown in very different ways.

Self-professed atheist and author, Robert Tracinski, has written an informative piece on the contrast of Islam and Christianity. During the darkness following the Charlie Hebdo attack, Tracinski wrote, “Why Islam Is More Violent Than Christianity: An Atheist’s Guide.”

The Charlie Hebdo massacre once again has politicians and the media dancing around the question of whether there might be something a little bit special about this one particular religion, Islam, that causes its adherents to go around killing people.

It is not considered acceptable in polite company to entertain this possibility. Instead, it is necessary to insist, as a New York Times article does, that “Islam is no more inherently violent than other religions.”

Is it true, as Western elites contend, that Islam is no more inherently violent than other religions? Tracinski insists that such a statement is “absurd.”

Charlie Hebdo syndrome addressed in Emancipating the WorldIn the book Emancipating the World: A Christian Response to Radical Islam and Fundamentalist Atheism, I argue that the symbol of Islam is the sword and the symbol of the Christian faith is the cross. The former conquers through violence, the later emancipates through self-sacrifice and service.

Not all Muslims are violent. Not all Christians are self-sacrificing servants. Far from it; most Muslims are non-violent and many Christians, like our modern culture, are self-serving. These are simply the standards set by the corresponding founders of Islam and Christianity.

  • Darrow Miller

See these related posts:

Hamas and Israel: Is There a Moral Equivalence?

Leaders of Muslims Condemn ISIS Tactics

What Gaza Could Be But for Hamas

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Darrow is co-founder of the Disciple Nations Alliance and a featured author and teacher. For over 30 years, Darrow has been a popular conference speaker on topics that include Christianity and culture, apologetics, worldview, poverty, and the dignity of women. From 1981 to 2007 Darrow served with Food for the Hungry International (now FH association), and from 1994 as Vice President. Before joining FH, Darrow spent three years on staff at L’Abri Fellowship in Switzerland where he was discipled by Francis Schaeffer. He also served as a student pastor at Northern Arizona University and two years as a pastor of Sherman Street Fellowship in urban Denver, CO. In addition to earning his Master’s degree in Adult Education from Arizona State University, Darrow pursued graduate studies in philosophy, theology, Christian apologetics, biblical studies, and missions in the United States, Israel, and Switzerland. Darrow has authored numerous studies, articles, Bible studies and books, including Discipling Nations: The Power of Truth to Transform Culture (YWAM Publishing, 1998), Nurturing the Nations: Reclaiming the Dignity of Women for Building Healthy Cultures (InterVarsity Press, 2008), LifeWork: A Biblical Theology for What You Do Every Day (YWAM, 2009), Rethinking Social Justice: Restoring Biblical Compassion (YWAM, 2015), and more. These resources along with links to free e-books, podcasts, online training programs and more can be found at Disciple Nations Alliance (https://disciplenations.org).


  1. Clark Dahl

    February 7, 2015 - 2:50 pm

    This was an excellent article. You would think if he is as intelligent as he apparently is he would no longer be an atheist. I guess it is because the gospel is foolishness to the world.

    • admin

      February 9, 2015 - 7:40 am

      Thanks for reading and responding, Clark. As Darrow often says, no one is an atheist for metaphysical reasons. People profess atheism because they don’t want to submit to a higher, divine authority over their lives.

      Gary Brumbelow