Bangladesh did it to me long ago. Twenty years have passed. The country hasn’t learnt anything. It hasn’t stopped harassing thinking minds. Now the country’s new fucking laws gave the fucking authorities the fucking right to fucking arrest two teenagers for writing about fucking religion on their facebook and blogs. I am sick and tired of the fucking news of fucking harassment of atheists almost every fucking day.
Let me tell you my family stories. I have five nieces and nephews. I educated three of them in critical thinking when they were about five years old. They are now all adults. Three of them are atheists, and two of them, whom I could not educate in critical thinking when they were children, are religious.
We have been witnessing Islamic barbarism all over the world. Islam says apostates must be killed. So, the believers of Islam kill apostates.
What about peace loving moderate Muslims? Do they think it is all right to criticize Muhammad? No, they do not. They also believe apostates should be punished.
I wonder who gave Muhammad and his Islam immunity from criticism?
On Friday January 3rd, the Nouadibou gendarmerie brigade arrested twenty-eight year old Mauritanian Cheikh Ould Mohamed M’Kheitir. The young accountant and blogger is to be tried for lack of respect to prophet Muhammad and for apostasy. The latter is punishable by death in Mauritania. Although Sharia law is enforced in the country, death sentences have not been applied by the government since the 1980s.
According to Article 306 of the Mauritanian penal code, “Unless they have repented, every person guilty of the crime of apostasy (Zandagha) shall be put to death.”
Cheikh Ould Mohamed M’Kheitir published an article titled “Religion, Religiosity and Blacksmiths” on the Mauritanian website Aqlame. Although it was posted anonymously, the authorities somehow managed to obtain his name. The editor of Aqlame later tried to absolve himself of editorial responsibility by claiming that he had not read the article prior to its publication, and that he immediately deleted it amid angry comments and reactions.
The article’s aim was to partly blame the deeply hierarchical structure of Mauritanian society on traditions dating back to the times of prophet Muhammad. More specifically, Cheikh Ould Mohamed M’Kheitir deplored the fact that the social class he belongs to – the Blacksmiths – was not permitted socio-economic promotion due to ancient traditions. The blogger also reportedly criticized Muhammad and his companions for some of their decisions during Islam’s holy wars. Despite the fact that he issued a public written apology in which he insisted that he never meant to denigrate the person of the prophet, the blogger could not escape the wrath of public outrage.
First, his family members wrote and co-signed a letter in which they basically disown him unless he repents. The letter reads:
“It does look like the foolish modernists, secularists and atheists are still attempting to derail us from the true path after their Jewish and hypocrite masters failed to do so. […] The author of the article must be sponsored by some outside forces. He equated his infallible religion with the rest of humanity’s beliefs and falsely accused our prophet of racism and favoritism. This is not surprising from someone who seeks knowledge from those who hate Allah and his prophet peace be upon him. […] We call upon society to denounce any individual who adopts a similar stance.”
In addition, the streets of Nouadibou witnessed an escalation of clashes between angry mobs and the police. Taking place in front of the court where Cheikh Ould Mohamed M’Kheitir is supposed to be tried, the protests turned violent, forcing the authorities to reinforce security presence around the tribunal. The protesters expressed their anger at the amount of time the justice system is taking to prosecute the blogger, accusing it of being soft. Mauritanian online press outlets followed suit by praising “the large crowds from all walks of life” who “even discarded their professional duties” (!) in order to publicly condemn the blogger. They also reported the numerous appeals from “imams, scholars and professors” to execute Cheikh Ould Mohamed M’Kheitir. Preacher Abi Ould Ali said he would pay 4000 Euros to anyone who kills the blogger.
Such outpouring of public anger is only part of a wave of Islamic radicalism that has been building up in Mauritania for the last weeks. Mauritanian activists confirm that in collaboration with Salafists, members of Tawassoul (Mauritanian Islamist party) have been organizing an undercover Facebook witch hunt against their political enemies. In addition, public opinion has been flooded with calls for parents to better “monitor” their children. Mauritanian families were reportedly visited by ad-hoc committees who advised them to silence their adult sons and daughters. The latter are targeted disproportionally, as evidenced by the orchestrated campaign of condemnation against actress Laila Moulay for appearing unveiled in a videoclip.
On January 10th, after a week’s silence, the Mauritanian government added its voice to the ongoing persecution against the blogger. Facing angry protesters after the Friday prayer, president Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz said: “We will apply God’s law on whoever insults the prophet, and whoever publishes such an insult.” This was in line with the quasi-unanimous condemnation of Cheikh Ould Mohamed M’Kheitir by political parties. The case is putting the Mauritanian government in a tough spot. If it does not apply the death penalty, it infuriates a conservative public that it can barely contain – as evidenced by the violent clashes with the police. If it does apply the death penalty, it breaks with an unwritten rule of avoiding executions, even against terrorists responsible for civilian deaths. Cheikh Ould Mohamed M’Kheitir will then be a blogger treated more harshly than terrorists are.
Shunned by his relatives and the rest of Mauritanian society, the blogger had three days to retract his sayings (the Muslim ultimatum for repention). His apology was apparently not enough in the eyes of his detractors. The tragedy of his case is that he is totally isolated at home and abroad. There appears to be no condemnation yet from international watchdogs of the unhuman treatment he is being subjected to. It is thus very hard to be optimistic regarding his future. Cheikh Ould Mohamed M’Kheitir has however committed no crime worthy of social isolation or the death penalty. All he did was to harmlessly express his opinion on a social matter. His ordeal is yet another example of the danger Islamists pose to individual freedoms: they would rather have free minds dead than argue with them.
I do not think there is any reason to love Islam. But there are millions of reasons to leave Islam.
‘How I became an atheist?
Actually I do not remember much about my Theist life.
Was I ever a Theist?
I was born into an upper caste Hindu family in Kerala, in south India. My family was not very religious, and routine visits to temples and special offerings to gods to get something done were rare. My parents did ask me to pray to gods, and I must have done that till I reached the age of 14-15. But my overall impression was my parents did not really believe in a typical Theist god, who controls everything in your life. They encouraged us children to work hard in school , and made us think that its your work that counts more than your offerings/prayers to gods. We celebrated the usual Malayali festivals like Vishu, Onam and Pooja.
My earliest introduction to Hinduism was through Mahabharatha and Ramayana , the big Hindu (Indian) epics. I liked the Mahabharatha very much because it was a gripping tale with huge variety of characters, umpteen number of sub plots and a mega scale. My mother encouraged me to read alternate view points about the epics in which the ‘good’ guys like Pandavas and Rama were not that good and the ‘bad’ guys like Kauravas and Ravana clan were not that bad.
Gods like Rama , who readily sends his wife to the forest, because there was a doubt about her chastity,and cunning Krishna with 16008 wives never deserved worship from me.
Curious about Hinduism, I read some selected verses from its holy grail, the Vedas.
Vedas probably were created between 1500 and 500 BC. They are a collections of hymns of Aryans, a clan of pastoralists. Rig Veda is considered the oldest. Vedic literature was preserved for hundreds of years by reciting and remembering orally before it was written in Sanskrit, the language of the Aryans.The Vedic hymns are mostly verses recited in praise of Aryan gods, which they called devas.At the sacrifices where Rig Veda hymns were recited, the devas were invited to come and sit around the sacrificial fire, to receive the hospitality of the Aryans who sacrificed animals in their honour.
Apart from verses praising gods, Rig Veda also has verses which are used to ensure the social inequality of the society.
Here is an example from Purushsooktham from Rigveda 10.90 about creation of humans and caste system.
11.1: What did the Purusha (i.e. Virat) hold within Him? How many parts were assigned in His Huge Form?
11.2: What was His Mouth? What was His Arms? What was His Thighs? And what was His Feet?
12.1: The Brahmanas were His Mouth, the Kshatriyas became His Arms,
12.2: The Vaishyas were His Thighs, and from His pair of Feet were born the Shudras.
I can’t see how some one can believe in such stupidities about origin of human beings. We can easily see through it as a vain attempt to justify and perpetuate cruel caste system.
Then I turned to Bhagavad Gita, the book some Hindus consider as The Holy book. There also I could not find anything inspiring. It is just a collection repetitive, incoherent and many a time self contradictory verses.
The whole Hindu system of beliefs looked very shady. I had no difficulty in realising that a religion which wholly supports the oppressive caste system and Patriarchy is a sham.
By the time I was 15, I started standing outside when our family visited temples. Still I used to take part in religious family rituals, so as not to offend the elders. When some one smeared sandal paste on my forehead, I used to clean it off as soon as possible!
My feeling initially was all those who believe in gods were weak minded and could not survive without god belief. So I never questioned their beliefs , though I never allowed them to impose it on me.
Later, in last few years , I realised that no one needs a god-belief , and such a belief is so prevalent because of childhood conditioning. Propagation of reason and rational thinking can help in de-conditioning. I realised it is ok to offend family elders so that one can drive your point of view of logic and reason forcefully.
Humans created god myths as an explanation for the things that they could not explain. Religions were created by the powerful to retain control on others using god myth. As more and more things are being explained by Science, the space for gods are shrinking fast. There may be still a lot of things which we cannot explain, but that does not mean we should invent an illogical answer of god for the gaps in our knowledge.
The way things are progressing, atheism may become the default position of all human beings. The question of why some one became an atheist may be irrelevant soon. Then the more logical question will be for the theist to explain why some one believes in a myth without any evidence.’
Police in Cairo are investigating the disappearance of an Egyptian-born German author and critic of Islam, security sources said on Tuesday, months after a cleric declared him an infidel and called for his death.
Hamed Abdel-Samad, author of “The Downfall of the Islamic World: A Prognosis”, went missing in recent days, according to a missing person’s report filed by his brother, police sources said. An Egyptian newspaper report said he had been abducted.
The German ambassador in Cairo has asked Egypt’s deputy prime minister, Ziad Bahaa El-Din, to do everything to secure his “personal freedom and physical well-being”, a German Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Monday.
He added Abdel-Samad, 41, had been in contact with the German embassy in Cairo regarding his personal safety, without giving further details. His whereabouts were unknown and the German authorities were working hard to solve the case, he said.
In a television show broadcast in June and posted on YouTube, an Egyptian cleric, Mahmoud Shaaban, called for the killing of the author, who frequently appears in German media as a speaker on Islamic affairs, saying he was an infidel.
If you criticize Islam, you will be harassed, imprisoned, abused, killed or thrown out of your country. No other people face the brutality and hatred of Muslims more than critics of Islam with Muslim background. Should ex-Muslims continue to be killed? When would faith-heads stop the silent genocide of anti-theists, atheists, rationalists, humanists?
We are not living in the 7th century, or are we actually living in the 7th century?
I hope you know about the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. a light-hearted ‘faith’ whose members call themselves Pastafarians because their ‘only dogma… is the rejection of dogma’. Pastafarians believe that an invisible alien made of spaghetti and meatballs created the universe after ‘drinking heavily.’
Lukas Novy, a man from Czech Republic, has been allowed to wear a sieve on his head for religious reason on his official identity card. He says that his Pastafarian faith means he has to wear the sieve at all times. Officials ruled that turning down Novy’s request would be a breach of the country’s religious equality laws.
Now look at Novy’s driving license.
It is so cool. I am laughing out loud. Really. Nothing is better than mocking religion.
Novy was influenced by Niko Alm, his fellow Pastafarian in Austria. Niko had the idea when he read that headdresses were allowed in official pictures only for religious reasons. Niko sent his application for a new driver’s licence in 2008 along with a picture of himself with a colander on his head. A colander is a bowl-shaped kitchen utensil with holes in it used for draining food such as pasta or rice. Officials first objected to the sieve on his head for his driving licence photograph. It took Niko three years to get the license, after arguing that the sieve was a requirement of Pastafarianism. After receiving his driving licence, Niko now wants to get Pastafarianism officially recognised as an official faith in Austria.
People who believe in religious freedom, must agree that the rights of Pastafarians should be recognized not only in Austria and Czech Republic, but all over the world. I am very much pro-Pasta. You never know it can become the biggest religion in the future. Flying Spaghetti Monster can be worshipped by billions. Who thought Christianity or Islam would be like monsters one day when they just began their journey? Never underestimate bullshit.
Martin S Pribble is my guest today. He is an Australian atheist- feminist. He has written this post for my respected readers. I hope you would like his opinions.
‘I’m sure it comes as no surprise to anyone that I am an atheist. All this means that I hold no belief in God or gods. I could be called an “anti-theist” because of my distaste for organised religions and the harm caused by them. I am also an “a-superstitionist”, a humanist, an environmentalist, and a male feminist. These are all separate to my atheism, but the edges of these “ists” cross over in several areas.
For instance, my dismissal of superstition crosses over into my atheism in the fact that religions are built upon a bed of superstitions, and all superstitions are equally false. Humanism and atheism cross over in areas where atrocities against people are bolstered by religious dogma and doctrine, or where religions are used as an excuse to kill and torture people. Environmentalism and atheism cross paths where dominionist groups such as The Cornwall Alliance use their belief in god to justify the pillaging of the earth’s remaining resources, all because the Bible says that it’s OK to do so.
But the biggest crossover occurs between atheism, Anti-theism and feminism. This is because most religions hold women to be second-class, and some even go so far as to blame women for all the evils in the world. Particularly in the Abrahamic religions, the ones I am most familiar with, women are blamed for the “fall of man” in the garden of Eden in the genesis chapters of the Old Testament, and it’s all downhill from there.
Throughout these holy books, women are mere secondary players in their versions of the origins of humankind, with all the “good” and “big” things being played out by men. With the exception of Mary, who was a mere receptacle for the unborn Christ, no other women are attributed with doing anything “good” in these stories. In fact one could say that women are often blamed for such things as seduction and “leading men astray” with their evil feminine prowess.
This is all back-story, however, and matters little in today’s world, unless you try to figure out why women are treated badly when under the control of a religious society. What matter is what is happening now, in the name of religion, and in the name of culture, that hinders the rights and positions of women.
Under the guise of religion, attempts are being made to control the reproductive rights of women, claiming that since god put a soul in a woman’s womb, that it’s god’s will that a baby be born. Under the guise of religion, women are expected to shave their heads and wear a wig, because their real hair is seen as evil or “a temptation”. Under the guise of religion, girls as young as nine are forced into arranged marriage, using the example of Mohammed and Aisha as justification. Under the guise of religion, women are denied the right to become a religious leader, and in some cases, are not even allowed into a place of worship.
In all of these examples, religion is used as an excuse, or a reason, for the subjugation of women. Yet in most cases the religions that people use to justify them make no mention of these practices directly, either in a ritualistic sense, or in an allegorical sense. In fact, what we see is the translations of ancient texts into whatever language the people within a society speak, then at the behest of the men in charge of the region, cultural practices are inflated out of these ideas. And this is not something that happened by chance, it happened by design.
Culture then holds onto these practices to keep them alive. This makes some kind of sense, for men are the ones in power, and it is in their interest to keep all people in a state of powerlessness. So by instantly discounting 50% of the population, half the job is already done, and it just leaves the men to get on with whatever business is at hand. If ever challenged on these practices, all a man need do is point at the holy book and threaten, not only from their own man-made power structure, but from the powers of the almighty god. Women are to be subordinate. The Bible says so.
The point here is not whether the old books explicitly state that women are to be treated as second-class citizens. The point is that the religions are used as a justification for such acts, and that women bear the brunt of these interpretations of the holy books. When Pat Robertson spins hatred toward women, he does so with the apparent authority of God (tornadoes). When the mullah shows disapproval at the baring of women’s breasts, he does so under the name of Allah (earthquakes). When an Islamic man beats his wife, he justifies it using Sura 4:34, which allows this practice.
As a man, I can’t tell you how it feels to be the one discriminated against in the name of religion, for I will never know that. Neither can I tell you what it feels like to have the whole religious card-deck stacked up against you. What I can tell you is that I recognise it is wrong, and that I can do something about this. The systematic deconstruction of the anti-women tenets of religion is needed, and from this standpoint, we can then work toward destroying the cultural practices that use religion to justify their existences.
The humanist in me says that this idea goes for any and all practices that hold down men and women, and I know this is like trying to put out a wildfire with a water-pistol, but I feel starting with 50% agenda (i.e. that of women) is a better place to start than any other. This is because the anti-women rhetoric appears not only in the context of religion, but also in everyday society. If a practice impinged upon man and women both it would be much more likely to be addressed.
What we see here, and one of the main reasons why I am against organised religion, is the justification of age-old practices in a time when we know better. Not saying that the practices were ever right; they weren’t. However at the times of the writings of these holy books, there was no recourse for women. Now, we have the power, the numbers, the information, and the means to show that bronze-age patriarchal practices hold no place in modern society. This is the hangover from a time when religion held power, when the word of the priest was more important that the word of the scholar.’
According to a new study, there are at least six types of atheists.
1) Intellectual atheist/agnostic
This type of nonbeliever seeks information and intellectual stimulation about atheism.
They like debating and arguing, particularly on popular Internet sites.
They’re also well-versed in books and articles about religion and atheism, and prone to citing those works frequently.
These kinds of atheists and agnostics are not content with just disbelieving in God; they want to tell others why they reject religion and why society would be better off if we all did likewise.
They tend to be vocal about political causes like gay rights, feminism, the environment and the care of animals.
This group is made up of people who are unsure about the existence of a God but keep an open mind and recognize the limits of human knowledge and experience.
They regularly question their own beliefs and do not hold a firm ideological position.
That doesn’t mean this group is confused. They just embrace uncertainty.
This group regularly speaks out against religion and religious beliefs, usually by positioning themselves as diametrically opposed to religious ideology. Anti-theists view religion as ignorance and see any individual or institution associated with it as backward and socially detrimental. The Anti-Theist has a clear and – in their view, superior – understanding of the limitations and danger of religions.
Anti-theists are outspoken, devoted and – at times – confrontational about their disbelief. They believe that obvious fallacies in religion and belief should be aggressively addressed in some form or another.
The smallest group among the six are the non-theists, people who do not involve themselves with either religion or anti-religion.
In many cases, this comes across as apathy or disinterest. A Non-Theist simply does not concern him or herself with religion. Religion plays no role or issue in one’s consciousness or worldview; nor does a Non- Theist have concern for the atheist or agnostic movement.
They simply do not believe, and in the same right, their absence of faith means the absence of anything religion in any form from their mental space.
6) Ritual atheist
They don’t believe in God, they don’t associate with religion, and they tend to believe there is no afterlife, but the sixth type of nonbeliever still finds useful the teachings of some religious traditions.
They see these as more or less philosophical teachings of how to live life and achieve happiness than a path to transcendental liberation. For example, these individuals may participate in specific rituals, ceremonies, musical opportunities, meditation, yoga classes, or holiday traditions.
For many of these nonbelievers, their adherence to ritual may stem from family traditions. For others, its a personal connection to, or respect for, the “profound symbolism” inherent within religious rituals, beliefs and ceremonies.
This classification is probably not the best one. But I am glad that people are talking about atheists and different types of atheists in popular mainstream media. The word atheist is not being considered a filthy obscene word in the USA anymore. People are becoming religious. People are becoming atheists also, more than ever.
What kind of atheist am I ? I believe I am a mixture of 1, 2, and 4. What about you guys?
We rational people know about Richard Dawkins’s excellent answer to a stupid ‘what if you’re wrong’ question. Now let’s enjoy the art. And let the believers think about what Dawkins says until they get back their rational logical mind.