One of them does the standard sleight-of-hand trick of saying, in essence, “The murderers were Muslim, and by Muslim, I mean Christian”. This is magicked by the expedient of reducing all acts of Islamic violence to the work of “religion” and then declaring “religion” to refer to Christianity. He writes:
To imply that organized religious has furnished these people with the mental, physical courage to perform these acts of kindness to a fellow human being, seems a bit big; under the circumstances. The countless acts of barbarity and cruelty perpetrated worldwide every day, in the name of god, does not support this theory. Furthermore, was this very act of inhuman depravity not also committed under the cries of ‘God is great’, even if uttered in Arabic?
In short, if you’ve seen one religion, you’ve seen ’em all.
Ye Olde Statistician replies to this wooly-minded act of intellect worship vs. intellect use so common among the internet atheists:
The claim was not made for “religion” (whatever that is) but for Catholicism. Nor was it claimed that every nominal adherent of Catholicism will rise to the occasion any more than every nominal adherent of science will make a great discovery. (Think normal distribution: some people will be in the tails.) So what is remarkable is not that every Catholic approached the jihadis but that only Catholics approached the jihadis, where by random chance drawing from the British population you would have expected at least one to be non-Catholic.
It is sort of amazing to me that somebody would be surprised that a civilization which teaches that getting laid and being safe and well-fed are the highest goods should tend to produce people who behave like these are, in fact, the highest goods when met with a life-threatening challenge. And so the majority of Britons–a product of just such a culture–behaved in exactly the way their ruthless secular cultural environment taught them to behave and saw no reason to stick their necks out for a stranger.
It’s equally amazing that that an atheist who believes in the Prophet Darwin (pbuh) would be offended by the fact that a religious tradition that teaches there are higher goods than getting laid and being safe and well-fed would tend to produce people who act as though there are higher goods worth dying for, such as the love of neighbor typified in the parable of the Good Samaritan and Jesus who laid down his life for us.
It is, ironically, a positively Darwinian outcome and yet Darwinians can’t seem to grasp it. Instead, they whine about wanting to recognized as “moral people”. Dudes: You can’t spend Monday through Saturday constantly drilling into people’s heads that they are cattle whose only true goods are bread and rutting and then expect that, on Sunday, those people will suddenly see some reason throw away the highest good they know for something so abstract and (as you constantly insist) ridiculous as “Greater love hath no man than this: that he lays down his life for his friends”. That religious martyrdom jazz is for suckers, don’t you remember? You can’t have it both ways. If there are no transcendent goods beyond the sensory pleasures of the organism, expecting a bunch of secular Brits formed on TV, consumerism, and the Nanny State to suddenly grow a pair is magical saltationism of the highest order. Those people standing around with cell cams are your legacy, atheists. Own them. It’s natural selection at work just as you have always insisted it works.
Meanwhile, Christians believe in supernatural selection too. That’s why the Tradition speaks of the Elect. Ingrid Loyau-Kennett, Amanda Donnelly, and her daughter are among them, by virtue of their baptism: A baptism they lived out admirably in obedience to Jesus who told them to be willing to risk their lives for a stranger.