Comedy Central cartoons mock everything. They delight in committing sacrilege. Back in April, one poked fun at the furor over depictions of Muhammad, founder of Islam, by showing him dressed in a bear suit.
A radical New York-based Islamic group didn’t like that one bit. On its website, RevolutionMuslim.com posted a warning along with a graphic photo of Theo van Gogh, the Dutch filmmaker brutally murdered in 2004 by a Muslim; it warned that the show’s creators might suffer the same fate.
Comedy Central’s executives got the message. They censored the cartoon and removed all record of it online.
Then they turned around and proceeded with plans to create JC, a cartoon aimed squarely at garnering laughs at Christians’ expense. The show will depict God and Jesus Christ as regular guys who move to modern-day New York City, where Jesus adjusts to big city life while a deadbeat God sits home and plays video games.
Many conservative groups have decried these execs’ double standard. But these two seemingly incongruous decisions are hardly unusual. In fact, both of them follow a pattern increasingly playing out in America and Britain.
In societies that value free speech, many decision-makers are shutting down even mild criticism of Islam. And though these same societies also value freedom of religion, public and even private expression of Bible-based Christianity is coming under fierce attack. Leaders and officials kowtow to bullies and thugs on one hand, then become bullies and thugs on the other. They accommodate evil and vilify good.
The question is, why? What are they thinking?
In this case, you could chalk half of it up to their not wanting the van Gogh treatment. But that doesn’t explain the trend. You see the same thing happening time and again without the death threats. Examples are so numerous that such behavior simply no longer shocks us.
Hamas runs Gaza as a theocratic police state; it silences dissent; it allows no religious expression outside radical Islam; it uses terrorism to advance its foreign policy, which is to annihilate Jews. Israel, by contrast, is a liberal democracy; it has an independent judiciary and an independent press; it protects religious freedom, even for the 16 percent of its citizens who are Muslim.
Which of these two do you suppose Western elites increasingly view as a political partner—and which as a villain?
It’s as if they have lost their minds. What possesses apparently intelligent, reasonable people who value political freedoms and respect for human life to defend the terrorist cause? Why are they so willing to overlook the barbaric acts of misogyny and murder—so seemingly contrary to liberal ideals—that plague radical Islamist culture? And why, then, are they so unforgiving as Jews try to defend themselves against it?
There is no reasoned public debate over these questions. Throughout academia, the media and political circles, the supposed rightness of the Palestinian cause over that of Israel is considered irrefutable.
Political correctness—a bramble bush of self-contradicting doctrines—has so ensnared the self-declared scholarly that even when facts are presented that expose the error in their thinking they will not budge. “Victim” groups are considered incapable of wrongdoing, while “privileged” classes are incapable of good. Thus, Muslims cannot be held responsible for terrorism—their Western targets must be the real cause. Madness.
Similarly, why are efforts to merely enforce existing immigration law in order to curb rising kidnapping and murder branded as racist? Why are illegal immigrants in Britain guaranteed welfare benefits by law? Why is it against the law to deport dodgy foreign terrorist suspects back to their home countries out of concern that their human rights might be violated there?
These are senseless, dangerous policies—yet intellectuals will rise up in full-throated righteous indignation against any who dare question them.
Many observers have collected mountains of evidence of such up-is-down thinking. Some have traced its pedigree back through academia to its dubious philosophical roots. Far fewer have tried to answer the questions of why such twisted reasoning has become so deeply entrenched among intellectuals today.
But there is a hidden cause that very few are willing to acknowledge. It is a remarkable reality that explains not just the comfortable coexistence of two apparently contradictory decisions by one group of television officials, but a whole array of seemingly paradoxical trends that bedevil our world.
One unifying element is how these trends contravene or undermine the truth as defined in Scripture. If the Bible calls something evil, people say it must be good—and vice versa. Yet it is this widely dismissed and disparaged Book that exposes and explains the real cause for society’s violent departure from logic and sense.
It reveals the very real existence of a spirit realm, invisible to us. “[W]e wrestle not against flesh and blood,” wrote the Apostle Paul, “but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12).
Yes, the Bible speaks of a benevolent and omnipotent God. But it also tells of a malevolent spiritual force that we must be on guard against.
As Paul worked to spread the truth of the gospel throughout hostile, Gentile cultures, he encountered resistance that he explained this way: “[I]f our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost, in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not …” (2 Corinthians 4:3-4).
“The god of this world” to which he referred was not the Creator. It was the same “god” the Apostle John described as “the great dragon … that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world” (Revelation 12:9).
Is it possible? The fact is, the volatile and deteriorating state of the world today—and the descent into ever more mad and crazy reasoning—cannot be fully comprehended without this understanding.
Herbert W. Armstrong explained this biblically revealed reality as “the colossal kidnapping of all time”—in which the captives have been brainwashed to preferring and embracing the life and evil philosophy of the archkidnapper. “The willing victim … is the world that inhabits this planet Earth!” he wrote. “Yet this world has been so completely deceived that it cannot realize what actually has happened to it” (A World Held Captive).