Reaching the As-Yet-Unreachable People

Tuesday

I've noticed Charlie Hebdo hasn't gotten as much criticism as I was expecting. The newspaper is critical of Islam, after all. If it was a newspaper devoted exclusively to criticizing Islam, it may have received less generous treatment in the press, and perhaps more of the they-got-what-they-deserved type of response.

Their gentler treatment by journalists is because Charlie Hebdo criticized everybody, made fun of everybody and every religion. Or so I've heard (somehow I doubt they made fun of Buddhists or Jains, but I don't know).

Anyway, this gave me an idea. Maybe a way to reach the people we've been having difficulty reaching is to share articles critical of Islam that are published on a website critical of every religion. In other words, let's say each article on a website criticizes a different religion. But the articles we choose to share are the ones critical of Islam. Non-religious people (or only vaguely religious people) might be more open to reading the criticism since it doesn't single out Islam — it isn't perceived as "unfairly picking on" one religion only.

To someone who isn't religious, a criticizer of all religions has more credibility when she or he criticizes Islam. It is seen as an "unbiased opinion."

And we don't have to create such web sites. They exist already. Sam Harris, Bill Maher and Richard Dawkins are outspoken critics of all religions, particularly Islam. They each have websites. On Facebook, Religion Hurts Humanity and Faithless Daughter are both often critical of Islam. Share their posts with the people you know who automatically think if you're critical of Islam you must be an anti-intellectual, a religious zealot, a racist or a bigot. Shake the foundations of their assumptions and open their minds to the real story about Islamic doctrine and Islamic history in a way they will really get it.

Or what about a website that criticizes different political ideologies, including Islam? We could then share an article from such a website with people, and they might read it because although the article criticizes Islam, the website criticizes any and all political systems.

Or what about a website that simply posts interesting pieces of history, like The Wilderness Years or Why Did President Jefferson Read the Koran? We've started one here: History is Fascinating. Such a website might cover history of all kinds, but the history pieces about Islam would be the ones we share with our friends.

For some people, fairness is a very central, fundamental value, and if they think the author of an article is being unfair, they won't read any further or will read with a bias against the author. But if they saw that the author or website criticizes everyone, like Charlie Hebdo did, their righteous minds may be willing to let in the information. People who highly value fairness can get behind intellectual criticism, and identify with it (like the woman in the picture above, holding a sign that says, "I am Charlie") in a way they can't get behind (or identify with) what seems like bigotry, xenophobia, or narrow mindedness to them. What do you think?

3 comments:

tranquil 10:42 AM  

Sounds like a very good approach CW!
It's the old "a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down" approach... :)

On the comparison topic, I found an *excellent* poster that compares the three main totalitarian regimes - communism, nazism and Islam.
Here it is -
http://www.islammonitor.org/images/totalitariansystems.jpg


Anonymous 12:49 PM  

I like your idea. On the other hand, such people do not desire actual fairness. They desire what they perceive as fairness or the liberal version of fairness. They desire conflation and equivocation. They desire only what supports their agenda. I seriously wonder if we should feed that particular mental illness. Liberals have a complete aversion to understanding anything about Islam regardless of how it is presented. And, it not simply sanctimony we're trying to get past with them. It is also fear, they are cowards. Simply go to Yahoo and read articles about Muslims and or their terrorism. What will the liberals be ranting about in the comments? Yes, Christianity and or Judaism. They're cowards and I don't have a clue on how to undo cowardice. But, good luck.

Zackery Martel 2:10 AM  

Liberals Can Remain Liberals and Still Recognize Islam as a Threat

I recommend strongly that you read the book, Righteous Mind. We can and must reach everyone.

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