Atheists in Muslim world: Silent, resentful and growing in number

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Photo by: Oded Balilty

BABYLON, Iraq — Lara Ahmed wears a headscarf and behaves like a pious Muslim.

But the 21-year-old Iraqi woman hides a secret from her peers at the University of Babylon: her atheism.

“I was not convinced by the creation story in the Quran,” she said. “Besides, I feel religions are unjust, violate our human rights and devalue women’s identities.”

She doesn’t dare share her strong beliefs with strangers.

“I wear a headscarf despite being an atheist,” said Ms. Ahmed, who studies biology at the school, about 115 miles south of Baghdad. “It is difficult not to wear it in southern Iraq. Few women take the risk not to cover their hair. They face harassment everywhere.”

Her fears stem from the remarks of powerful politicians such as Ammar al-Hakim, the head of Iraq’s Islamic Supreme Council, a major Shiite political party and the president of the National Alliance, a Shiite parliamentary bloc.

“Some are resentful of Iraqi society’s adherence to its religious constants and its connection to God Almighty,” Mr. al-Hakim said on his party’s TV channel in May, claiming a rising tide of atheism was threatening the Arab world. “Combat these foreign ideas.”

Statistics on atheism in the Middle East and North Africa are hazy, but analysts say Ms. Ahmed represents an increasing trend basedon recent developments.

In 2014, an Egyptian government-run Islamic legal institute, citing a dubious international study, said that only 866 atheists lived in the country of more than 90 million. Recently released court statistics saying thousands of Egyptian women sought divorce in 2015 claiming their husbands were atheists — one of the few ways women can initiate divorce under Islam — suggested the numbers might be far higher.

In 2011, the now-defunct Kurdish news agency AK news published a survey finding that 67 percent of Iraqis believed in God and 21 percent said God probably existed, while 7 percent said they did not believe in God and 4 percent said God probably did not exist.

Today, the information revolution fueled by the internet, the freedoms released by the Arab Spring, the growing power of sectarian religious parties and the rise of the harsh orthodoxy ofthe Islamic State have all fueled growing unbelief in God and traditional religions, said atheists and others.

“For youths, who are the majority of new atheists, the savagery of the Islamic caliphate established by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria in 2014 created a reaction that [has] shaken the religion’s image,” said Ali Abdul kareem Majeed, 22, a non atheist Iraqi sociology student who conducted a study on atheism for a religious body that he asked not to be identified for his safety.

Social Media Shutdown

Last year, Facebook shut down more than 50 atheist, Arabic-language pages in after extremist Muslim groups campaigned to remove them, according to a petition sent to Facebook by the Atheist Alliance-Middle East and North Africa, a U.S.-based global atheist federation.

Many of those Facebook pages have been since been relaunched.

In March 2015, U.S.-based Iraqi and other Arab atheists launched the Arabic and English-language Free Mind television and magazine websites, which promote atheistic view points and have recorded more than 1 million visits so far.

That led scholars at Al-Azhar University, a pre-eminent Sunni Muslim center of learning in Cairo, to call on Egyptian President Abdel Fattahel-Sissi to push Free Mind organizers to repent or face execution by beheading. Mr. el-Sissi responded by suggesting that those who insulted religion should lose their Egyptian citizenship.

Even so, online atheist programming is easily available in Arabic now.

Atheism is not illegal in Egypt or Iraq, but officials often level blasphemy or other charges against atheists in those countries. Those rejecting the faith face the death sentence in Saudi Arabia, Iran, theUnited Arab Emirates, Qatar, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan and Mauritania.

Many atheists in the region say their bigger fear is not being punished for their beliefs but that they will become targets of violent sectarian groups seeking political support from the faithful.

“It is a distraction from the fact that Islamists were not able to accomplish anything over the past 13 years,” said Faisal al-Mutar, a U.S.-based Iraqi human rights activist who heads Ideas Beyond Borders,a nonprofit that supports minorities in the Middle East. “So they want to create ‘anenemy’ to keep [the] constituency united against and avoid being held accountable for their mistakes.”

Keeping their beliefs secret is the norm for atheists of all backgrounds throughout the region.

In Jordan, an Amman-based writer at the Free Mind Magazine — whose last name is Farouki but who asked to keep her first name secret — said she is nearly estranged from her family, angered by her rebellion against religion. “They see me as insane,” said Farouki, 50.

“Jordanians can not accept atheists, and it is highly possible to be killed if you are one.”

Social media has provided atheists with a meeting place and source of information.

“Most of my atheist friends have not changed all of a sudden,” said Osama Dakhel, 21, a fine arts student in Baghdad. “Some were so devoted at first exploring the religion’s minute details. They start to read for Islamic reformers. Then they start to accept other opinions, discuss atheists online and end up atheists.”

Ahmed Abdul-Aziz, 22,a medical student in upper Egypt, also writes openly for the Free Mind Magazine on atheism. “It is easier to announce your ideas in Cairo,” he said. “Nobody would look after you, but in small rural towns, everyone watches the other.”

Even so, Mr. Abdul-Aziz said, he hides his beliefs from his own family.

“They will feel angry even modern Islamic ideas,”he said. “I am forced to attend the Friday prayers and fast during Ramadan. I feel uneasy to practice things I do not believe in.”

Ms. Ahmed paid a price for unwittingly drawing notice for not praying or fasting during Ramadan at the University of Babylon. “A colleague called me an ‘infidel’ and insisted on waking me up at dawn to pray,” she said. “I faced problems even for not using the name of Allah to swear.”

Source : The Washington Times, LLC

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Why I Hate Vivekananda : 17 Castiest Quotes of Vivekananda

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Vivekananda’s ”Ideological” Yatra

1. I do not propose any levelling of castes. Caste is a very good thing. Caste is the plan we want to follow.

2. The plan in India is to make everybody a Brahmin, the Brahmin being the ideal of humanity.

3.  Indian caste is better than the caste which prevails in Europe or America.

→ Which caste system prevails in Europe or America Mr. Vivekananda? Here he glorifies caste system in India!

4.  Where would you be if there were no caste? Where would be your learning and other things, if there were no caste? There would be nothing left for the Europeans to study if caste had never existed!

→ We would have been better off without caste, our situations would have been better. What learning so called caste system gave to Dalits? Caste system taught only discrimination.

→ Yeah, you guys invented caste system so that Europeans have something to study because poor Europeans didn’t have anything to study!

5. Caste should not go; but should only be readjusted occasionally. Within the old structure is to be found life enough for the building of two hundred thousand new ones. It is sheer nonsense to desire the abolition of caste.

6. Brainy Vivekananda suggested to lower castes that are fighting and writing against higher castes is of no use, learn Sanskrit and you problems will be solved! Sucha brainy was our Swami!

7. The Brahminhood is the ideal of humanity in India, as wonderfully put forward by Shankaracharya at the beginning of his commentary on the Gitâ, where he speaks about the reason for Krishna’s coming as a preacher for the preservation of Brahminhood, of Brahminness.

→  Dr. Ambedkar was against Brahminhood and Brahminism, which is a mentality of people that makes them to suppress and discriminate. Vivekananda supported Brahminism.

→ Yes, Vivekananda is against anyone fighting casteism, because fighting casteism is fighting against Brahmins, who are, of course, according to him, Gods on earth.

8. In India, even the lowest caste never does any hard work. They generally have an easy lot compared to the same class in other nations; and as to ploughing, they never do it.

→ Dalits and Shudras, in Vivekananda’s opinion, do no work. The fields plough themselves, by magic! And only hard work is done by Brahmins sitting in A.C. Temples and earning millions, sitting in A.C. is very tough work!

9. Why is India not a superpower? Of course, because we “abolished caste”: “Then what was the cause of India’s downfall? — The giving up of this idea of caste.As Gitâ says, with the extinction of caste the world will be destroyed. Now does it seem true that with the stoppage of these variations the world will be destroyed… Therefore what I have to tell you, my countrymen, is this: that India fell because you prevented and abolished caste… Let Jati have its sway; break down every barrier in the way of caste, and we shall rise.”

10. So what is the basis of the Indian’s social order? It is the caste law. I am born for the caste, I live for the caste. I donot mean myself, because, having joined an Order, we are outside. I mean those that live in civil society. Born in the caste, the whole life must be lived according to caste regulation.

11. Now look at Europe. When it succeeded in giving free scope to caste and took away most of the barriers that stood in the way of individuals, each developing his caste — Europe rose. In America, there is the best scope for caste (real Jati) to develop, and so the people are great.

→ Here Mr. Vivekananda again glorifies the caste system! First thing first, Mr. Vivekananda, there was/is no caste in western societies.

12. “As Manu says, all these privileges and honours are given to the Brahmin, because “with him is the treasury of virtue”. He must open that treasury and distribute its valuables to the world. It is true that he was the earliest preacher to the Indian races, he was the first to renounce everything in order to attain to the higher realisation of life before others could reach to the idea. It was not his fault that he marched ahead of the other caste. Why did not the other castes so understand and do as he did? Why did they sit down and be lazy, and let the Brahmins win the race?”

→ Vivekananda is a defender of Manu, the “great” law-giver, and blames the lower castes for their sorry lot. Is it surprising that most of the followers of the cult of Vivekananda are high caste Hindus?

13. The only safety, I tell you men who belong to the lower castes, the only way to raise your condition is to study Sanskrit, and this fighting and writing and frothing against the higher castes is in vain…

→ Vivekananda doesn’t want that Dalits write against their oppressors and he wants that Dalits keep on suffering silently! Lower castes fight is for equality and Sanskrit is a language of discrimination and it originated to maintain the caste discrimination. How learning Sanskrit will help lower castes get jobs, respectand dignity and how it will solve the problem of caste discrimination? I am not able to understand, can you?

14. To the non-Brahmin castes I say, wait, be not in a hurry. Do not seize every opportunity of fighting the Brahmin, because, as I have shown, you are suffering from your own fault.

15. Vivekananda blames lower castes for their suffering. Yeah, as if while studying, lower castes themselves poured lead in their own ears, cut their own tongue and plucked their own eyes after reading.

16. This Brahmin, the man of God, he who has known Brahman, the ideal man, the perfect man, must remain; he must not go.

→ Yes, Vivekananda is against anyone fighting casteism, because fighting casteism is fighting against Brahmins, who are, of course, according to him, Gods on earth.

17. This Brahmin, the man of God, he who has known Brahman, the ideal man, the perfect man, must remain; he must not go. And with all the defects of the caste now, we know that we must all be ready to give to the Brahmins this credit, that from them have come more men with real Brahminness in them than from all the other castes. That is true. That is the credit due to them from all the other castes.

References –

Swami Vivekananda, “The Abroad and the Problems at Home”, The Hindu, Madras, February 1987, in “Interviews”, The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda,Volume 5.

Swami Vivekananda, in “The Future of India”, Delivered at Victoria Hall, Madras, in “Lectures from Colombo to Almora”, Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, Volume 3.

Swami Vivekananda, in “Women of India”, Delivered at the Shakespeare Club House, in Pasadena, California, on January 18, 1900, in “Lectures and Discourses”, Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, Volume 8.

Swami Vivekananda, in “A Plan of Work for India”, in “Writings: Prose”, The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, Volume 4.

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Why Millennial Women Are Embracing Atheism

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Danielle Schacter never thought she would become an un-Christian. “I slowly became more and more disgusted by the way I saw people treating others,” says the 32-year-old, who was raised Baptist. “I didn’t want to be associated with a religion that preached so much hate.”

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Danielle Schacter, who identifies as agnostic, is one of a growing number of people who identify with no religion. Photo courtesy of Danielle Schacter.

Schacter, like so many millennials, has chosen a secular life, and she’s not alone: according to the Pew Research Center, only four in 10 millennials say that religion is very important to them, compared with six in 10 Baby Boomers.

The numbers of religiously unaffiliated support this, too : 23 percent of the population identifies with no religion. This number is up from 2007, when it was only 16 percent.Of older millennials, 35 percent are religiously unaffiliated— and they’re driving the overall growth of the nonreligiously affiliated in America.

“I didn’t want to be associated with a religion that preached so much hate.”

This is a big deal. To be religiously unaffiliated means you not only avoid identifying as a Christian or Jew or Muslim, but that you eschew organized faith altogether. From there,”nonreligious” can be broken down into four categories: secularism (the belief in separation of church and state and that all beliefs are equal), agnosticism (the belief that it’s impossible to know if there is a god), humanism (the idea that human reason drives us, not higher powers), and atheism (the belief that there is no god). This last group,the atheists, has become increasingly vocal in recent years. They are fighting to keep religion separated from laws that affect them and to shift society away from religious trappings.

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Kayley Whalen, a queer transgender Latinx woman who identifies as “a humanist and an existentialist and an atheist.” Photo courtesy of Kayley Whalen.

What’s fascinating is that while millennials are moving away from religion, they are moving toward spirituality. This demographic considers itself just as spiritual as older demographics, even as they represent an exodus out of organized religion and into the throes of secularism. When you consider the issues facing young people today, the reasons for the exodus are easy to understand. In rejecting religion, millennials are asserting their progressive attitudes and passion for social justice. They’re committed to the idea that they don’t need religion to know the difference between right and wrong.

Perhaps no one represents this cultural shift better than millennial atheist women. While they may sit at the most extreme side of the nonreligious spectrum, atheist women are fueled by the same concerns plaguing millennials in general: a quest for independence and a rejection of the status quo.

The Atheism and Feminism Connection

Lauryn Seering, 27, has never been religious, but she found atheism in high school in reaction to mainstream fundamentalist Christian ideas that condemn her lesbian mother. “Millennial women want autonomy over their own bodies,” says Seering, communications coordinator for the Freedom From Religion Foundation, which is dedicated to protecting the separation of church and state.

“They recognize that all the arguments against this autonomy (contraception, birth control, marriage) are religiously fueled,” Seering continued.”Women aren’t being pressured by society anymore to get married at a young age, have children right away, and tend house while their husbands work.”

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Lauryn Seering, an atheist who works for the Freedom From Religion Foundation. Photo courtesy of Lauryn Seering.

Schacter identifies as agnostic. She’s based in Kansas City, MO, where she founded a digital marketing agency called Boxer & Mutt. To her, growing secularism is a sign of independent women. “It’s becoming more socially acceptable for women to think for themselves and really question why things are the way they are rather than blindly accepting them,” she says.

Kayley Whalen, 31, is a queer transgender Latinx woman who identifies as “a humanist and an existentialist and an atheist.” These different identities certainly influence how she approaches the world.

“We have ethical values without the need for the supernatural,”

Whalen says. “We believe in social justice,that we can live a life with meaning, purpose,and dedication to social justice without the need for supernatural guidance.”
Unsurprisingly, Whalen’s beliefs are tied up in her activist work: she’s the digital strategy and social media manager for the National LGBT Task Force and is on the board of directors for both the Secular Students Allians and the Trans United Fund.

As Whalen epitomizes, many young women who do not believe in God share a point of view that goes beyond just being atheist or just being a woman. The two are intertwined identities oppressed similarly in the United States.

“We have ethical values without the need for the supernatural.”

Lee Blackwolf, who runsthe popular Facebook Page Black Atheists, constantly copes with this intersection. “It’s important to me because, as a black bisexual woman, there’s not many of us who are atheist,” explains Blackwolf, a 29-year-old stay-at-home mother in Twinsburg, OH. “We’re not welcomed in most spaces that are atheists. We already have a lot of hurdles to jump through in life so it takes a lot of strength. I lost an entire family because of it. I actually have the luxury to say that I’m better off without them. It’s not the same for most.”

Blackwolf’s concerns hint at societal assumptions about atheist women, which every woman we spoke with touched on: being a woman who isn’t religious breaks away from the social norms that frame femininity. Emily Greene, an artist and activist working in promotional marketing in Augusta, summed it up best. “You’re probably seen as less feminine,” the 32-year-old said. “You’re definitely judged, looked at more harshly.It’s an assumption that it’s a negative thing.”

Ironically, being atheist can mirror being religious, as it plays a role in many aspects of young life. “That was very important to me inchoosing a partner,” says Katherine, a 32-year-old HR manager in California.”I have gotten into some debate with friends before where they’re like, ‘If you’re an atheist, why do you care if the other person is of faith?’ I’m like, ‘You— as, say, a Christian person — would not want to marry a non-Christian person.”

Why Are Young Women Interested in Atheism?

Phil Zuckerman, professor of sociology and secular studies at Pitzer College, believes that young people are turning away from religion as a result of how closed-minded andconservative many congregations can be, particularly when they are responsible for enabling xenophobic and queerphobic mindsets. For instance, many churches reject the idea of same-sex marriage, while 71 percent of millennials support it (in comparison with only 46 percent of Baby Boomers).

“A lot of young people are being turned off of by that brand of Christianity,” he explains. “They’re just seeing religion as an institution and saying, ‘Ah, screw it.’ Even though that brand of Christianity is not the majority — most Christians are decent, kind people who aren’t anti-gay and aren’t racist and aren’t anti-Islamic. But they don’t make the headlines. They’re not dominating the news.”

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Emily Greene, an artist, activist, and atheist. Photo courtesy of Emily Greene.

The internet is also serving as a conduit for less religion. As technology occupies more of our time, says Zuckerman, it chips away at “religion’s ability to maintain a monopoly on truth . . . It’s really corroding religion’s ability to dominate our culture and dominate people’s lives.”

While there have always been religious skeptics — the farthest back is believed to be the Charvaka movement in 7th century BC — the present shift away from religion is notable because the numbers of religiously unaffiliated and atheists are way up. Although the movement is still predominately male and white, more women are stepping forward as religion reveals itself to be optional in their lives —and sometimes to stand in the way of their independence.

Zuckerman believes this has to do with traditional organized religions’ male-centrism: teaching women that they’re second class, must remain virginal, and must stay out of leadership positions. Pair this with the amount of women in the workplace rivaling men, and the group doesn’t need to turn to a church for social or financial support that churches typically offer.

Being an Atheist Is a Political Act

Molly Hanson grew up in a Catholic household but has always been skeptical of the”invisible man in the sky” who tells people what to do. The 23-year-old Hanson, like many atheists, finds that questioning faith and religion makes people wonder ifsomething is wrong with her womanness.”

If a woman doesn’t bow down to this god and lord, she must have an issue with that god or lord,” says Hanson, an editorial assistant at the Freedom For Religion Foundation. “She must have been damaged. There’s a reason why she decided to leave that god. She might have been morally corrupted by another man or might have — I don’t know — been wronged.”

This issue isn’t confinedto religious communities. One woman — a 30-year-oldIndian American writer in New York who declined to give her name — finds this flaw in atheist leaders, too.

“The movement itself is really alienating toward women,” she says.”Leaders like Richard Dawkins are pretty sexist and condescending and talkdown to women. Women have been left out in those major discussions of atheism.”

The nonreligious believe that, once the church is taken out of the state, equality can be achieved.

Whalen agrees: “It’s really difficult that one person like a Richard Dawkins or a Bill Maher can be seen as the face of atheism. The difference between a woman who is an atheist, and a male, cisgender atheist is that a woman doesn’t have the choice to be a single issue. She can’t say, ‘Oh, religious discrimination is the most important thing —and being a woman comes second.'”

For women who are atheists, discrimination is complicated further by the many ways their identities intersect. Gender as it relates to religious affiliation is complex, and it’s even more complicated as it relates to black female atheists, as Blackwolf can attest. “A lot of black atheist men are often heard saying, ‘Black women sure do love them some church!'” she says.”When we start having adiscussion, there are implications about where my place in the community should be, and that’s behind the man.”

Atheist Women Want a Future of Equality

In speaking with young atheist and secular women, some through lines appear, among them a hope for equality that could be stymied by religion’s grasp on society. There is a desire to normalize differing points of view, from LGBTQ people to atheists.

Katherine sees public events like the inauguration of President Donald Trump as a perfect example. “I was really struck by so much praying happening,” she says. “I’d like to seeus move kind of away from that and use logic and science and that holistic definition of freedom.”

The nonreligious believe that, once the church is taken out of the state, equality can be achieved. Hanson believes these roadblocks arise as the result of unequal representation.”Women understand what it’s like to be oppressed by laws that are rooted in religious ideas that oppress women and their sexuality,” she explains.”To get more women in government positions is going to be a challenge,especially right now.”

When women hold elected office, it inspires more women to run— and more women in government has a powerful trickle-down effect on women as a whole.

But what if these women leaders were atheists? Would they still succeed?

Surveys have shown that atheism is ine of the traits in a leader that Americans are most biased against. “I cannot imagine a president who identifies as an atheist,”says the Indian-American writer in New York. “I’m a woman anda person of color: a female person of color who is an atheist could never be the president of the United States. It feels like another barrier.”

Others, like Whalen, see these many layers as vital to change: “I want a woman politician to run and say that she’s an atheist and that she’s for reproductive justice, that she’s for transgender rights, and win. I want a transgender woman to be able to do that.”

Ultimately, for atheist women (and atheists in general) to succeed at changing society, they need to continue on the path they are on and not settle for being silenced. Zuckerman draws parallels to the LGBT community.”Coming out does have an effect,” he says.”More and more people feeling comfortable saying ‘I’m not that religious’ has an effect.”Atheists just want to be seen as starting from the same place as any other decent American.

Greene sums it up nicely: “We want to get up, go to work, and enjoy our friends and families and our lifestyles just the same way as the person who gets up on Sunday and goes to church. We have our own ways of self-care. A lot of people find religion and that’s how they take care of themselves — and that’s great. We just do things a different way and that’s OK.”

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The word God is the product of human weakness

The word God is the product of human weakness

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In January of 1954, just a year before his death, Albert Einstein wrote the following letter to philosopher Erik Gutkind after reading his book, “Choose Life: The Biblical Call to Revolt“, and made known his views on religion. Apparently Einstein had only read the book due to repeated recommendation by their mutual friend Luitzen Egbertus Jan Brouwer. The letter was bought at auction in May 2008, for £170,000; unsurprisingly, one of the unsuccessful bidders was Richard Dawkins.

Translated transcript follows.

(Source: David Victor; Image: Albert Einstein,via.)

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Translated Transcript

Princeton, 3. 1. 1954

Dear Mr Gutkind,

Inspired by Brouwer’s repeated suggestion, I read a great deal in your book, and thank you very much for lending it to me. What struck me was this: with regard to the factual attitude to life and to the human community we have a great deal in common. Your personal ideal with its striving for freedom from ego-oriented desires, for making life beautiful and noble, with an emphasis on the purely human element. This unites us as having an “unAmerican attitude.”

Still, without Brouwer’s suggestion I would never have gotten myself to engage intensively with your book because it is written in a language inaccessible to me. The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weakness, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still purely primitive, legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation, no matter how subtle, can change this for me. For me the Jewish religion like all other religions isan incarnation of the most childish superstition. And the Jewish people to whom I gladly belong, and whose thinking I have a deep affinity for, have no different quality for me than all other people. As far as my experience goes, they are also no better than other human groups, although they are protected from the worst cancers by a lack of power. Otherwise I cannot see anything “chosen” about them.

In general I find it painful that you claim a privileged position and try to defend it by two walls of pride, an external one as a man and an internal one as a Jew. As a man you claim, so to speak, a dispensation from causality otherwise accepted, as a Jew the privilege of monotheism. But a limited causality is no longer a causality at all, as our wonderful Spinoza recognized with all incision, probably as the firstone. And the animistic interpretations of the religions of nature are in principle not annulled by monopolization. With such walls we can only attain a certain self-deception, but our moral efforts are not furthered by them. On the contrary.

Now that I have quite openly stated our differences in intellectual convictions it is still clear to me that we are quite close to each other in essential things, i.e; in our evaluations of human behavior. What separates us are only intellectual “props” and “rationalization” in Freud’s language. Therefore I think that we would understand each other quite well if we talked about concrete things.

With friendly thanks and best wishes,

Yours,

A. Einstein

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What is Atheism Really All About?

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Atheism is something that is becoming more common these days. In a world in which many people need to find something to believe in, atheism is becoming popular. There is increasing pressure in today’s world for people to declare what they believe in. People must put a label on their beliefs. Atheism is one such label that people can choose. But what is atheism, and what do atheists do and believe in?

What is Atheism?

In simple terms, atheism is the belief that God does not exist. In particular, atheism is the belief that there is no such thing as any God, as described by any religion. In addition, atheism is the belief that there is no heaven or afterlife of any kind. People who practice atheism typically don’t believe in any of the things associated with traditional religion. They usually don’t observe rituals of a religious nature, or religious holidays. Cultural traditions can often dictate that people who practice atheism would also observe some religious holidays suchas Christmas. However, traditionally, a part of atheism is not observing religious holidays. Atheists will usually form their ownmoral code based on what they think is right themselves. They will not pay attention to morality as decidedand dictated by religious organizations and religious texts.

What is an Atheist?

An atheist is someone who believes in and practices the lifestyle relating to atheism as discussed above. Many atheists will have come to their opinion about the non-existence of a deity based on their analysis of the available information about all of the different Gods and deities that people believe in. Usually, an atheist will come to the conclusion that it is impossible for a God of any description to exist. Following the lack of proof in the existence of a deity, atheists usually come to the belief that no such being exists. Atheists are people who usually have faith in science rather than religion. They often believe in the scientific theory of “the big bang” to explain how the earth came into being, along with the believing in evolution to explain how humans came to be what they are today.

What Kind of People are Atheists?

There is a certain preconceived opinion that exists about atheists. Many people assume that atheists are also Satanists, Communists, anarchists, and Humanists.
However, it cannot be assumed that all atheists are any or all of these things also. It is important to remember that people vary so much that some atheists many be some of these things, but that not all atheists are the same. It is also assumed that atheists are people who are lacking in a moral code or accountability for their actions.
However, as discussed above, most atheists will have developed their own moral code based on their upbringing and their own thought processes about what is right andwrong. Atheists still make up a small minority of the world’s population.
However, the number of atheists are rising, particularly in countries where English is the predominant language spoken.

In conclusion, atheism is a belief that cannot be described as a religion because its belief is the very opposite of that of most religions. Atheism is all about the belief that no God or deity of any kind exists.

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17 Kinds of Atheism

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‘Atheism’ is a much simpler concept than ‘Christianity’ or ‘Hinduism’, but the word atheism is still used in a wide variety of ways.

This can cause confusion. Someone may announce that she is an atheist, and her listeners may assume she is one type of atheist, when really she is a different type of atheist.

So to clear things up, here are 17 kinds of atheism, organized into 7 sets. Some kinds of atheism can be combined in a person, and some cannot.

For example, it is perfectly consistent to be an agnostic, narrow, friendly atheist. But one cannot simultaneously be both a passive atheist and a militant atheist.This list is not definitive.

There are many ways to organize and label different kinds of atheism.

For brevity’s sake, I have substituted “gods” for the usual phrase “God or gods.”

1. Difference in Knowledge

A gnostic atheist not only believes there are no gods, he also claims to know there are no gods.
An agnostic atheist doesn’t believe in gods, but doesn’t claim to know there are no gods.

2. Difference in Affirmation

A negative atheist merely lacks a belief in gods. He is also called aweak atheist or an implicit atheist.
A positive atheist not only lacks a belief in gods, but also affirms that no gods exist. He is also called a strong atheist or an explicit atheist.

3. Difference in Scope

A broad atheist denies the existence of all gods: Zeus, Thor, Yahweh, Shiva, and so on.
A narrow atheist denies the existence of the traditional Westernomni-God who is all-good, all-knowing, and all-powerful.

4. Difference in the Assessed Rationality of Theism

An unfriendly atheist believes no one is justified in believing that gods exist.
An indifferent atheist doesn’t have abelief on whether or not others are justified in believing that gods exist.
A friendly atheist believes that some theists are justified in believing that gods exist.

5. Difference in Openness

A closet atheist has not yet revealed his disbelief to most people.
An open atheist has revealed his disbelief to most people.

6. Difference in Action

A passive atheist doesn’t believe in god but doesn’t try to influence the world in favor of atheism.
An evangelical atheist tries to persuade others to give up theistic belief.
An active atheist labors on behalf of causes that specifically benefit atheists (but not necessarily just atheists).
For example, he strives against discrimination toward atheists, or he strives in favor of separation of church and state.

A militant atheist uses violence to promote atheism or destroy religion. (Often, the term “militant atheist” is misapplied to non-violent evangelical atheists like Richard Dawkins. But to preserve the parallel with the “militant Christian” who bombs abortion clinics or the “militant Muslim” suicide bomber, I prefer the definition of “militant atheist” that assumes acts of violence.)

7. Difference in Religiosity

A religious atheist practices religion but does not believe in gods.
A non-religious atheist does not practice religion.
Of course, there are many more “kinds” of atheism than this, for one may be a Republican atheist or a Democratic atheist, a short atheist or a tall atheist, a Caucasian atheist or an Hispanic atheist, a foundationalist atheist or a coherentist atheist, an enchanted atheist or a disenchanted atheist.

Source : commonsenseatheism.com

Brought To You By : Sikandar Kumar Mehta

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Atheist : Origin of Species

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The 2009 atheist bus campaign. Photograph: Frank Baron for the Guardian

Nick Spencer ( Atheists: The Origin of the Species ) doesn’t believe the standard creation myths about atheism.

According to the standard account, atheism is the produce of reason and science: “men began to work the metal, which they called ‘reason’, using it to forge a new weapon, which they called ‘science’, and they used ‘science’ to attack the monster, and the very clever men.”

The monster, of course, was religion, and the men of science “had to be very careful at first because if anyone was caught using ‘science’, they would be dragged into market squares where they would be burned alive, and indeed this was how many men lost their lives.”

Spencer argues that religion had a more positive role in forming atheism, and science had little to do with it: “

Modern atheism did indeed emerge in Europe in the teeth of religious, i.e. Christian, opposition. But it had only a limited amount to do with reason and evenless with science.

The creation myth in which a few brave souls forged weapons made of a previously unknown material, to which the religious were relentlessly opposed, is an invention of the later nineteenth century, albeit one with ongoing popular appeal.

In reality . . . modern atheism was primarily a political and social cause, its development in Europe having rather more to do with the (ab)use of theologically legitimized political authority than it does with developments inscience or philosophy.”

The conflict was not science v. religion, or reason v. faith, but a battle over the sources and nature of authority: “the history of atheism is best seen as a series of disagreements about authority, the concept in which various concerns – does God exist, how do we know, how should we live and who should we obey —coalesce.”

Credit : First Things

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