"What I'm about to say is maybe a little pompous, but I'd rather die standing up than live on my knees."
~ Stéphane Charbonnier aka: "Charb"
(deceased Lead Editor, Charlie Hebdo Magazine)
(deceased Lead Editor, Charlie Hebdo Magazine)
Among many things, one of the more disturbing events that has recently taken place is the murder of 12 journalists associated with the Charlie Hebdo magazine of Paris France and the subsequent murder and killing of an additional 18 or so people as a result. I first want to say that my heart and the heart of the representatives of the Dunamis Word and many of its readers goes out in support and prayer of all the families who have lost their loved ones during this time.
To the point, the Hebdo organization was made famous by its continual mocking and criticism of almost all things religious and all things that have to do with authority. A Hebdo staff member describes Hebdo's role as follows:
"The aim is to laugh. ... We want to laugh at the extremists — every extremist. They can be Muslim, Jewish, Catholic. Everyone can be religious, but extremist thoughts and acts we cannot accept." ~ Laurent Léger, Charlie Hebdo staff member in 2012 to CNN News.
Obviously the purpose is to not only criticize, but laugh, and make fun of many things, but primarily religion. A favorite among atheists and so called "freethinkers", concepts of the Hebdo magazine were delivered in effort to lower the veneration given to many religions, especially the veneration given to Christianity and Islam, and to incite thoughts against inconsistencies displayed by "extremists" within religious groups. Here is what a recent report about the Hebdo organization recounts:
" Known best for its illustrations and provocative imagery, the magazine aims to mock all forms of authority, from politicians to religion to the military. Its ideological roots are left-wing and atheist—with religion in all its forms a constant target. In its Dec. 20 edition, the newspaper published a cartoon of the Virgin Mary giving birth to a pig-faced Jesus."
In 2006 the Hebdo organization produced a cartoon caricature of Islam's founder, the Prophet Mohammad, under its rubric of "freedom of speech" that angered many Muslims. The headline showed Mohammad weeping, stating that he had been "Overwhelmed By Fundamentalism". This led to the death of over 250 individuals, most of whom were un-associated with Hebdo, as Muslim extremists struck back claiming that the magazine had gone too far in creating an unholy and disrespectful portrayal of its prophet.
Ironically, in it's last or most recent edition, prior to the attacks, the Hebdo magazine seemed to have been mocking Muslin Jihadists with a cartoon portraying an extremist recounting:
"Still no attack in France. Wait! We can send best wishes till end of Jan"Knock On The devil's Door Long Enough...
Prov. 29:11 ~A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.
In the movie Iron Man 3, Tony Stark got so fed up with the Mandarin that he delivered his home address and an invitation for the Mandarin to come to his home and start a war. His objective was to shame the Mandarin by publicly calling him out. What Stark didn't know is that the Mandarin was well connected and had others to do his bidding. What initially was a dare, turned out to be one of the worst mistakes as Iron Man nearly lost his life and the life of his love, Pepper Potts.
The fact is that Stéphane Charbonnier or "Charb" as those closest to him called him, certainly had the right to say what he wished to say. He had the right to criticize what he wished to criticize. However, I believe that Charb forgot, or like this new generation, just didn't care, that freedom breeds responsibility and that there is more at stake than just what one individual wants to say. In other words, Charb was free to say what he wished to say, but Charb did not have the right to take others with him in that journey. In addition, it seems that he did not care that there are costs associated with freedom, whether one is a journalist or not.
Example, go to an airport and yell, "Hi Jack!" Or stand in a movie theater and yell, "Fire!". One will soon find out, that although one is free to say what one wishes, there is a certain burden of freedom that demands that it (freedom) is wielded responsibly.
Prov. 15:2 ~ The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness.
Now, the critic will read my assessment and say that I am blaming Charb and his journalists for their own demise and that because I am a "Christian" I am yet blinded by religion and therefore am unable to give a balanced assessment of the situation. There is nothing further from the truth. As I write this blog, I DEPEND upon freedom of expression, and in case you haven't noticed, out of the over 490 articles I have done on this site, I tend to "pick on" the church and church leaders more than anything and anyone. So an argument that I am "blinded by religion" would be very difficult to make.
More to the point, I feel that the perpetrators of this crime, which have either been killed by civil authority or are being chased and are on the run, and other crimes to which religious extremism can be linked, are sick, maniacs. Not because they are Muslim and not because they are religious, but because they simply don't understand the balance between the free exercise and practice of religion and the respect for life.
However, with that said, we cannot hold Charb and his associates innocent of their contribution towards their own demise. To rub the extremism of extremists in their face, in what is tantamount to pornographic, profane and childish cartoons, seems to not only be beneath an adult centered examination and decry of religious extremism and religion itself, but also negates the hopes that any message of change, whether good or bad, will be accepted and or respected by the group or body of individuals targeted.
In other words, being an extremist, even a materialistically centered extremist, in response to religious extremism, as many modern atheists and so called freethinkers are, and or, have become, is hardly a way to address extremism and gain the best results.
This Is A Spiritual Warfare
Like most individuals that don't believe in God and or religion in general, the magazine didn't care that there is a spiritual dimension to life and existence that leads many people to do what otherwise doesn't seem rational.
Ephes 6:12 ~ For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
To everything, there is a motivating factor. Similarly, when extremism is present, there is a motivating factor and the source of that factor can be determined by what we see taking place in real life and in real time. the motivating factor for folk strapping on bombs and killing themselves and others, is certainly evil and from the prince of darkness himself. Similarly, the motivating factor for someone not caring how others will respond and simply sticking a dagger in a heart in the name of "humor" is also from the prince of darkness as well and can be praised no more than anything else especially when that leads to mass murder and unrest within the community.
Darkness cannot lead light, neither can it illuminate the path. The eye with a beam cannot remove a mote from the other. Certainly, the murders and their network and associates should be held responsible to the fullest degree, but when one wishes to attack or make humor of anyone for the religion that they are free to exercise, one has a duty to be responsible and not just humorous.
Most people love to place Christian belief on the same plane of radical extremism and claim that Christianity is just as damaging as the belief systems of other religions. Tavis Smiley once tried that as well, to his own shame. However, more and more, even the ungodly and those who don't believe that there is a God see and articulate the difference. Surprisingly, such is the case with atheist Bill Maher.
Can Bill Mayer, be an apostle for Christianity?
Obviously he could IF he got saved and left his sins! However, I wanted to point out that recently Bill Maher took on Muslim extremism on the Charlie Rose show, by stating that Islam is more accepting of extremism and extreme acts and actions, than almost any other religion. That Sept. 10th, 2014 broadcast and interview can be found HERE. Although he still presents bogus arguments against Christianity he does indicate that he understands the difference between Christian belief and beliefs contained within other religions and specifically that of Islam. At least "superhead lovin, Wayne Brady hatin''" Maher is an "equal opportunity" liberal, embracing nearly everything that undermines society in some fashion.
The point is that although some say that there are extremists within Christianity, from folk who burn holy books of other faiths and an picket funerals of veterans who have given their lives in the course of duty to the United States, to those who bomb buildings, such as the federal building in Oklahoma in the name of "patriotism" and "service to God". However, Christianity does not teach or carry out extremist actions such as those we have observed, and no Christian claims that the actions of any of these terrorists groups or individuals are acceptable or are tolerable
Christianity, although kicked around heavily by atheist extremists, who say nearly anything just because they feel they can say it, is still one of the most tolerant belief systems on Earth. You won't find Christians killing anyone over cartoons, or obscene caricatures. You will find Christians addressing the issues and debating them vehemently and living their faith to the degree in which lives are improved as a result, but you will find none that observe what many of the modern terrorists, both religious and secular, observe today.
In short, this was not about as much as freedom of speech, as it is civil speech and sharing of ideas. Satire is a type of speech that anyone is free to use. However, in this case we can see that the satire is nearly as bound as those who it is directed towards. Believe me, I have had my share of humorous appeals and even name-calling at times on this site (Stupiani??? And I STILL believe so!) However, nothing I have done has sought to use or abuse freedom by wielding it in an irresponsible fashion. We have a duty to be truthful by any means and to do that responsibly as well.
It is irresponsible and arrogant to maliciously denigrate the hearts and minds of countless individuals for lies, humor, cartoons and innuendo. Sometimes the truth hurts and it certainly should not be apologized for.
Although, my commentary here, will certainly not be a part of too many conversations, I think we should take note that everyone will not respond to lunacy and what is tantamount to bullying through cartoons and otherwise, with leniency. Thank God for those that do, but this is a different day and satan wants to kill and take all that he can take, even those who are innocently caught in his path. God help US!