Darrow Miller and Friends

Jihadists or New Atheists: Which the Bigger Threat to Religious Freedom?

  1. Jihadists or New Atheists: Which the Bigger Threat to Religious Freedom?
  2. Jihadists or Atheists: Which the Bigger Threat to Religious Freedom? part 2

We are witnessing an oppressive assault on religious freedom both here and abroad. The attack is coming from religious fundamentalists, jihadists in the East and secularists in the West.

We cannot read or watch international news without seeing the persecution of Christians

  • by ISIS in Syria and Iraq,
  • by Boko Haram in Nigeria,
  • by Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Pakistan,
  • by Al Shabaab in Kenya.

It’s true that jihadists kill more fellow Muslims (for not being religious enough) than adherents of any other religion. It is also true that they are waging a war against Jews and Christians. If jihadists offer Christians a choice—and often they don’t—it is to convert to Islam, surrender and live under Sharia, or die. The alternative to either conversion or death is dhimmi – Arabic for a “pact of protection.” This protection is offered to the “people of the book (Jews and Christistians).” It requires loyalty to the Islamist’s  government, obedience to Sharia law and the payment of an “outsiders” tax known as jizya.

Atheists’ assault on religious freedom

In the West, the “new atheists” are pushing Darwinian ideology to fill the void of Judeo-Christian theism, the once prevailing, now retreating worldview. Never mind that Judeo-Christian theism’s pursuit of truth (see John 8:31-32) laid the foundation for religious freedom and pluralistic society. In the US, Judeo-Christian theism birthed first amendment freedoms: “Congress shall make no religious freedom enshrined in US constitutionlaw respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

The establishment clause prohibits the government from instituting a state religion or preferring one religion over another. The complementary free expression clause guarantees freedom of religion, speech, press, and assembly.

Both clauses are being usurped today. The New Atheists seek to establish a national religion based on the assumptions of naturalism. Call it what they will—secular humanism, Darwinism, atheism, secular materialism, naturalism—whatever the title, these elites want to establish atheistic faith as the state religion. Correspondingly, they want to crush free expression.

The foundations have shifted; Darwinian ideology has replaced truth with power, has abandoned “liberty and justice for all” for “survival of the fittest.”

Robert B. Reich, former Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton, revealed this new mind.

The great conflict of the 21st century may be between the West and terrorism. But terrorism is a tactic, not a belief. The underlying battle will be between modern civilization and anti-modernist fanatics.[i]

Reich believes modernism is defined by “science, reason, and logic.” He fails to note that the science, reason and logic he embraces are based on naturalistic assumptions. He contrasts this with a straw man, i.e. “truth [that] is revealed solely through scripture and religious dogma.” Orthodox Christians would argue that God has revealed himself through the books of creation (general revelation) and scripture (special revelation). Reason and science are an integral part of revelation.

Reich goes on to say that “Terrorism will disrupt and destroy lives. But terrorism is not the only danger we face.” For Reich, the danger more profound than terrorism is Judeo-Christian theism.

We see the same sentiment from an earlier fascist. Herman Rauschning, once a member of the Nazi Party, recorded that Adolf Hitler said, in a private conversation, “Historically speaking, the Christian religion is nothing but a Jewish sect. … After the destruction of Judaism, the extinction of Christian slave morals must follow logically … . Ah, the God of the deserts, that crazed, stupid, vengeful Asiatic despot with his power to make laws!”[ii]

Hitler objected to God’s “power to make laws.” Yet given that a moral God created a moral universe, we live in his “house” and are guided to life by his “house rules.” Those who would live without restraints must get rid of the “crazed God of the desert.”

Here in North America we cannot read the news without seeing fundamentalist atheists forcing others to bend the knee to their modern orthodoxy. Here are four examples.

  • Darwinian science has been deemed true science. Scientists who challenge naturalism on scientific grounds, on the basis of Intelligent Design for example, often have difficulty getting tenured faculty positions because they refuse to subscribe to the new orthodoxy.
  • The pro-abortionists oppose both science and life. Science has affirmed that a woman carries human life in her womb. The new orthodoxy, captured in the Affordable Care Act, demands that religious conscience be suppressed. People of faith, and their institutions, must support abortion.
  • The “global-warming industry” insists the debate is over. They claim a “consensus” on man-made global warming. No further discussion is needed.
  • The militant wing of the LGBT community insists that their lifestyle choices trumps the first amendment free-expression clause.

Increasingly, this orthodoxy faces the Christian with a choice: submit or face a lawsuit (and the threat of losing your business, your employment, and even your home). Surrender your freedom of religion and conscience or we will crush you.

Surrender your religious freedom or pay the consequences

Rod Dreher illustrates this in his April 3, 2015 piece, “The Post-Indiana Future for Christians,” in which he quotes from a conversation he had with a “law professor at one of the country’s elite law schools.” The professor is afraid to speak openly about his convictions that differ than those of the establishment. He needs to “keep his head down.” In the future people will need to live “underground.”

religious freedom affected Boy ScoutsIn California right now, judges can’t belong to the Boy Scouts now. Who knows if in the future, lawyers won’t be able to belong to churches that are considered hate groups?” he said. “It’s certainly true that a lot of law firms will not now hire people who worked on cases defending those on the traditional marriage side. It’s going to close some professional doors. I certainly wouldn’t write about this stuff in my work, not if I wanted to have a chance at tenure. There’s a question among Christian law professors right now: do you write about these issues and risk tenure? This really does distort your scholarship. Christianity could make a distinct contribution to legal discussions, but it’s simply too risky to say what you really think.

… to be continued

  • Darrow Miller

See these related posts:

Is Christian Freedom Disappearing in Canada?

Do You Want Political Correctness or Freedom of Speech?

A Secularist Inquisition: Houston and Freedom of Religion


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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. Trevor Faggotter

    April 16, 2015 - 9:33 pm

    Thanks for the article Darrow.
    Ironically, it was the Christians who were first called Atheists. Due to the fact that they did not believe in the gods of the time. The more things change, the more they are very similar.

    I often think that Islam has much more in common with the New Atheists, than ever with Christians. Both work out of, and impose an oppressive ideology, which arises from not knowing the true God, nor Jesus Christ whom he has sent. Where grace is not known, it is not surprising that some draconic legal framework arises instead.

    Blessings, Trevor.

    • admin

      April 17, 2015 - 4:32 am

      Well said Trevor. Thanks for your reflection.


  2. Chris Bailey

    October 13, 2016 - 9:08 pm

    You’re an idiot, just the fact that you call atheism a faith proves you are of a lower intellect. Just remember a few hundred years ago you good, moral christians were doing literally the exact same thing that these Jihadists are doing and thats the only reason these religions founded on hatred and oppression exist. You killed millions of people to force people into believing that your one religion is just the answer to everything. The fact that you need a book to tell you how to behave is proof you are nothing but mindless, truly animalistic drones being led around by the nose. I feel sorry for your children being raised by the threat of “eternal suffering” to be good christians. Without religion there is no fundemental to be violent about. Free yourself.

    • admin

      October 14, 2016 - 6:14 am

      My friend,
      Thank you for your note. We do certainly disagree.
      Human beings were made to worship. If they do not worship their creator, they do not cease to worship, they will worship Man or Nature. All men have faith in something. It may be in themselves, it may be in “Man.”
      The Humanist Manifesto is very clear on this. Atheistic Humanism is a religion. It is constructed on the belief that there is no God, and man is the center of the universe. Here are some excerpts from the 1933 Manifesto:
      Humanist Manifesto 1 (1933) “The time has come for widespread recognition of the radical changes in religious beliefs throughout the modern world. The time is past for mere revision of traditional attitudes. Science and economic change have disrupted the old beliefs…. In order that religious humanism may be better understood we, the undersigned, desire to make certain affirmations which we believe the facts of our contemporary life demonstrate.”
      Atheistic in Theology
      FIRST: Religious humanists regard the universe as self-existing and not created.
      SECOND: Humanism believes that man is a part of nature and that he has emerged as a result of a continuous process.
      THIRD: Holding an organic view of life, humanists find that the traditional dualism of mind and body must be rejected [emphasis mine].
      Humanists are Religious
      EIGHTH: Religious Humanism considers the complete realization of human personality to be the end of man’s life and seeks its development and fulfillment in the here and now. This is the explanation of the humanist’s social passion.
      NINTH: In the place of the old attitudes involved in worship and prayer the humanist finds his religious emotions expressed in a heightened sense of personal life and in a cooperative effort to promote social well-being [emphasis mine].
      As G.K. Chesterton so wisely said, “When people stop believing in God, they don’t believe in nothing, they believe in anything.”
      The testimony of what I am saying is affirmed by two atheists.
      D. M. S. Watson, the Jodrell Professor of Zoology and Comparative Anatomy at University College, London (1921 to 1951) has spoken of his Atheistic faith: “Evolution . . . is accepted by zoologists not because it has been observed to occur or . . . can be proved by logically coherent evidence to be true, but because the only alternative, special creation, is clearly incredible.” Atheists believe in evolution, not because of facts, but because they are A-Theists, they disbelieve in God.

      The great Aldous Huxely wrote: “I had reasons not to want the world to have meaning, and as a result I assumed the world had no meaning, and I was readily able to find satisfactory grounds for this assumption… for me, as it undoubtedly was for most of my generation, the philosophy of meaninglessness was an instrument of liberation from a certain moral system. We were opposed to morality because it interfered with our sexual freedom.” Few Atheists are as honest as Huxely. The reason he is an Atheist is not that there is no evidence for God, it is that he did not want a moral God to interfere with his base instincts.
      Chris, when a person or society denies God, all the things that are dependent on His existence, disappear: love, morals, human significance, truth, beauty die. All that is left is raw power.
      We see this in that Atheism has produced more violence and death in the 20th century than religions have through millennial. Think of Stalin, Hitler, and Mao. We are talking about the blood on the hands of Atheists in the tens and hundreds of millions.
      Chris, I am sorry you think I am an idiot.
      Thank you for your comment. It is always good to dialog.