You can always count on the spokespeople of Christianity to drive atheism into the desert, heaping the sins of the tribe on its back. The Bronze Age practice of scapegoating is, after all, at the heart of their faith. Jesus wasn't portrayed as a sacrificial lamb in the Bible for nothing.
Rupert Shortt's editorial in today's Evening Standard is impressive as a leap of faith. Kierkegaard and CS Lewis would be proud. First we are meant to believe that the brutal attack of violent Islamists against Coptic Christians is a result of a lack of religious belief. Their violence, apparently, had nothing to do with the holy text which recommends it, or in Shortt's own words: "violent jihadists should be more, not less, Islamic". Is this the Islam which expressly calls Christianity a lie, and encourages the repression of kuffar, Rupert? More of that?
But the leap of faith goes even further. You see, dear reader, when Islamists attack Christians, its atheists who are to blame: "militant atheists pillory believers with straw-man arguments and half-truths in the media". Shortt has no problem with Islamic scripture, which expressly recommends the actions of these thugs who are apparently just confused about the sort of Islam (the non-Koranic type, I can only imagine) they should be following. But atheists who write words about religion on Twitter... now that's just evil.
I have documented other Evening Standard articles on this blog which expressly and deliberately seek to smear "militant atheists", liken them to islamists and thugs, for daring to express themselves against religion. Why? Who benefits from this concerted effort to liken outspoken people with criminals? I would love to know which powerful religious figures Mr Shortt luncheons with. After all, Lebvedev's shameless fawning after the Royal family wouldn't put him above this.
If militant atheists were as well-supported or well-funded as either Christianity or Islam, a lawsuit or retraction could be forced from these charlatans. These the pedlars of indulgences in our era who will buy their own way into favour among communities of news-reading, book-purchasing believers who now accept that militant atheism is on a par with violent Islamism.
Shortt believes he can de-platform atheists with such smears, and doesn't mind a flayed goat or two if his book stands to sell a few more copies. He can avoid calling out the actual perpetrators of the attack on Coptic Christians, thereby doing any real journalism to uncover the identities of the perpetrators of violence in Cairo. Sell himself as a healer among the faithful (the subtitle of his book is, hilariously "coherent Christianity), and rally the faithful around the rejection of a common enemy: those who dare to not believe any of the thousands of religious narratives on offer.
I stand guilty as charged, Mr Shortt. I'm an unbeliever, and yet I'm not firebombing your church, and no secularist ever has. Neither does Richard Dawkins or Sam Harris, incidentally. But godly men just might.