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.”

Source : popsugar.com

Brought To You By : Sikandar Kumar Mehta

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Cow slaughter to be punishable by life sentence in Gujarat

Cow slaughter to be punishable by life sentence in Gujarat

Government of Indian state to introduce a bill bolstering existing laws against butchering the revered animals

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An Indian woman prays to a holy cow. Slaughtering the revered animals will soon be punishable by a life sentence in Gujarat. Photograph: Rajesh Kumar Singh/AP

The leader of an Indian state has announced that slaughtering cows and transporting beef will soon be punishable by a life sentence, the harshest penalty yet for crimes against the revered animal in the Hindu-majority country.

The chief minister of Gujarat,Vijay Rupani, said his government would introduce a bill in the next week to bolster existing laws against butchering cows and related crimes. The current punishment is a Rs 50,000 fine (£622) and up to seven years in jail.

“We want to make this law more strict,” said Rupani, a member of the Bharatiya Janata party (BJP), a Hindu nationalist party whose elected officials – including the Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi – have long championed a national ban on beef consumption.

“In the bill, we will make a provision where in people found involved in cow-slaughtering as well as transportation of beef will be punished with life imprisonment,” Rupani told a gathering at a Hindu social organisation. “Their vehicles too will be seized permanently.”

A number of BJP-led states have extended bans or tightened punishments against cow slaughter since Modi became prime minister in 2014. The former Gujarat chief minister was elected on a platform that included a vow to outlaw it.

Killing cows or transporting beef in states such as Haryana, Jharkand or Jammu and Kashmir is punishable by large fines and up to 10 years’ prison. Beef consumption is permitted in only eight of India’s 29 states and territories.

Most Hindus honour cows as the embodiment of the principle of non-violence and idealise the animal as a selfless, nourishing mother.But attitudes towards beef consumption are not uniform across the country. Some southern Indian Hindus regularly eat beef, as do Muslims and members of less socially dominant castes who regard the animal as a cheap source of protein.

The Modi government has reportedly asked the country’s agriculture ministry to explore the possibility of a nationwide ban but has chosen to tread carefully in implementing its election promise.

Cow protection has been a trigger for sectarian violence throughout modern Indian history and a resurgence in recent years has been linked to an increasingly assertive Hindu nationalist movement.

A Muslim villager from the outskirts of Delhi was lynched in September 2015 after being accused of storing beef in his freezer, a murder that government ministers were accused of underplaying.

Bands of self-styled “cow protectors” have sprung up in northern India, and have been accused of fomenting sectarian violence and carrying out vigilantism.

Cow-protection gangs were rebuked by Modi last year after videos emerged of their members flogging young Dalits. The least powerful group in the caste hierarchy is traditionally enlisted to dispose of dead cows.

Credit : The Guardian

Brought To You By : Sikandar Kumar Mehta

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नफरत हिंसा द्वेष घृणा का ढूंढा तो आधार धर्म ।
जितना खून बहा है जग में उसका भी आधार धर्म ।
विश्व विवादों की जा जड़ में देखा तो आधार धर्म ।
भूख गरीबी और शोषण का इनका भी आधार धर्म ।
आतंकवाद का पहन के चोला करता नरसंहार धर्म ।
रूढिवाद पाखंडवाद पाषाणवाद का खोल धर्म ।
छल प्रपंच का जाल रचाकर ठगने का ब्यापार धर्म ।
सारे पाप माफ हो जाते लगता यह पचनोल धर्म ।
पोप पुजारी जी को करता देखो मालामाल धर्म ।
आंख के अंधे भक्त गणों को करता यह कंगाल धर्म ।
स्वर्ग नरक भगवान भाग्य का फैला यह भ्रमजाल धर्म ।
तीर्थ और ब्रत में जा देखा पोपो की हर चाल धर्म ।
गांधी को गोली से उडाया इसका भी आधार धर्म ।
ईसा को सूली पे चढाया इसका भी आधार धर्म ।
दयानन्द को जहर पिलाया इसका भी आधार धर्म ।
मोहम्मद साहब को भी सताया इसका भी आधार धर्म ।
किया अहिल्या का मुंह काला इसका भी आधार धर्म ।
एकलव्य का कटा अंगूठा इसका भी आधार धर्म ।
सति बृन्दा के सत को लूटा इसका भी आधार धर्म ।
फिर बचा कौन दुष्कर्म जगत में न जिसका आधार धर्म ।
मंदिर मस्जिद बैर बढाते इतना तो शैतान धर्म ।
इनसे तो अच्छी मधुशाला इतना तो बदनाम धर्म ।
तर्क इसे न अच्छा लगता अक्ल पे ताला पड़ा धर्म ।
सुंदर सुघर सलोना मुखड़ा दिल का काला किन्तु धर्म ।
ढोंगी और पाखंडी कहते हिंदू सिक्ख इस्लाम धर्म ।
संत फकीर सभी यह कहते ईसा मूसा राम धर्म ।
ज्ञानी ध्यानी सव जन कहते वेद पुरान कुरान धर्म ।
सौ बातों की बात एक है मानव का इंसान धर्म ।
कोई कहता है आचार धर्म कोई कहता है ब्यवहार धर्म ।
पर मेरी समझ में यह आया बस मानव का उपकार धर्म ।
मानव सेवा ईश्वर सेवा मानवता ही है सार धर्म ।
कबिरा ने सिखाया प्यार धर्म बरना आडम्बर यार धर्म ।

– Yadunandan Lal Lodhi

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क्या दुनिया से धर्म ग़ायब हो जाएगा !

क्या दुनिया से धर्म ग़ायब हो जाएगा

नास्तिकता दुनियाभर में बढ़ रही है, तो क्या धार्मिक होना अतीत की बात हो जाएगी? इस सवाल का जवाब मुश्किल नहीं, बहुत-बहुत मुश्किल है.

कैलिफ़ोर्निया में क्लेरमोंट के पिटज़र कॉलेज में सामाजिक विज्ञान के प्रोफ़ेसर फिल ज़करमैन कहते हैं, “इस समय दुनिया में पहले के मुक़ाबले नास्तिकों की संख्या बढ़ी है, और इंसानों में इनका प्रतिशत भी बढ़ा है.”

यह तथ्य गैलप इंटरनेशनल के सर्वे में उभरकर सामने आया है. गैलप इंटरनेशनल के सर्वे में 57 देशों में 50,000 से अधिक लोगों को शामिल किया गया.

सर्वे के मुताबिक़ 2005 से 2011 के दौरान धर्म को मानने वाले लोगों की तादाद 77 प्रतिशत से घटकर 68 प्रतिशत रह गई है, जबकि ख़ुद को नास्तिक बताने वालों को संख्या में तीन प्रतिशत का इज़ाफ़ा हुआ है.

इस तरह दुनिया में नास्तिकों का आंकड़ा बढ़कर 13 प्रतिशत तक पहुँच गया है.

अगर नास्तिकों की संख्या में बढ़ोतरी का सिलसिला यूँ ही जारी रहा तो क्या किसी दिन धर्म पूरी तरह से ग़ायब हो जाएगा?

धर्म का मुख्य आकर्षण है कि यह अनिश्चित दुनिया में सुरक्षा का अहसास दिलाता है.

इसलिए हैरानी नहीं होनी चाहिए कि नास्तिकों की संख्या में सबसे अधिक बढ़ोतरी उन देशों में हुई है जो अपने नागरिकों को आर्थिक, राजनीतिक और अस्तित्व की अधिक सुरक्षा देते हैं.

जापान, कनाडा, ब्रिटेन, दक्षिण कोरिया, नीदरलैंड्स, चेक गणराज्य, एस्तोनिया, जर्मनी, फ्रांस, उरुग्वे ऐसे देश हैं जहाँ 100 साल पहले तक धर्म महत्वपूर्ण हुआ करता था, लेकिन अब इन देशों में ईश्वर को मानने वालों की दर सबसे कम है.

इन देशों में शिक्षा और सामाजिक सुरक्षा की व्यवस्था काफ़ी मज़बूत है. असमानता कम है और लोग अपेक्षाकृत अधिक धनवान हैं.

न्यूज़ीलैंड की ऑकलैंड यूनिवर्सिटी के मनोवैज्ञानिक क़्वेंटिन एटकिंसन कहते हैं, “असल में, लोगों में इस बात का डर कम हुआ है कि उन पर क्या बीत सकती है.”

लेकिन धर्म में आस्था उन समाजों और देशों में भी घटी है जिनमें ख़ासे धार्मिक लोग हैं जैसे – ब्राज़ील, जमैका और आयरलैंड.

प्रोफ़ेसर फिल ज़करमैन कहते हैं, “दुनिया में बहुत कम समाज हैं जहाँ पिछले 40-50 साल के मुक़ाबले में धर्म में आस्था बढ़ी है. एक अपवाद ईरान हो सकता है लेकिन सही से आंकना मुश्किल है क्योंकि धर्मनिरपेक्ष लोग अपने विचार छिपा भी रहे हो सकते हैं.”

वैंकुवर स्थित ब्रिटिश कोलंबिया यूनिवर्सिटी के सामाजिक मनोविज्ञानी एरा नोरेनज़ायन कहते हैं, “धर्म के प्रति आस्था में कमी का मतलब इसका ग़ायब हो जाना नहीं है.”

आने वाले वर्षों में जैसे-जैसे जलवायु परिवर्तन का संकट गहराएगा और प्राकृतिक संसाधनों में कमी आएगी, पीड़ितों की संख्या बढ़ेगी और धार्मिक भावना में इज़ाफ़ा हो सकता है.

नोरेनज़ायन कहते हैं, “लोग दुख से बचना चाहते हैं, लेकिन यदि वे इससे बाहर नहीं निकल पाते तो वे इसका अर्थ खोजना चाहते हैं. कुछ कारणों से धर्म, पीड़ा को अर्थ देने लगता है.”

वे कहते हैं कि यदि दुनिया की परेशानियां चमत्कारिक ढंग से हल हो जाएं और हम सभी शांतिपूर्ण तरीक़े से समान जीवन जीएं, तब भी धर्म हमारे आस-पास रहेगा.

ऐसा इसलिए है क्योंकि मानव विकास के दौरान हमारे दिमाग में ईश्वर के बारे में जिज्ञासा हमारी प्रजाति के तंत्रिका तंत्र में बनी रहती है.

इसे जानने के लिए दोहरी प्रक्रिया सिद्धांत को समझने की ज़रूरत है. यह मनोवैज्ञानिक विषय बताता है कि बुनियादी रूप से हमारे दो विचार सिस्टम हैं. सिस्टम एक और सिस्टम दो.

सिस्टम दो हाल ही में विकसित हुआ है. यह हमारे दिमाग़ की आवाज़ है- ये हमारे दिमाग़ में बार-बार गूँजती है और कभी चुप होती- जो हमें योजना बनाने और तार्किक रूप से सोचने को मजबूर करता है.

दूसरी तरफ़ सिस्टम एक, सहज, स्वाभाविक और ऑटोमैटिक है. ये क्षमताएं इंसानों में नियमित तौर पर विकसित होती रहती हैं, इससे फ़र्क़ नहीं पड़ता कि इंसान कहां पैदा हुआ है.

वे अस्तित्व के तंत्र हैं. सिस्टम एक, बिना सोचे हमें बिना ज़्यादा प्रयास के अपनी मूल भाषा में बात करने देता है, बच्चों को माता-पिता की पहचान कराने और सजीव और निर्जीव वस्तुओं के बीच भेद करने की क्षमता देता है.

यह दुनिया को बेहतर तरीक़े से समझने, प्राकृतिक आपदाओं या अपने क़रीबियों की मौत की घटनाओं को समझने में मदद करता है.

धर्म से छुटकारा

नास्तिकों को नास्तिक बनने या बने रहने के लिए अनेक सांस्कृतिक और मानव विकास से जुड़े बंधनों के ख़िलाफ़ लड़ना पड़ता है. इंसान स्वाभाविक तौर पर ये मानना चाहते हैं कि वो किसी बड़ी तस्वीर का हिस्सा है और जीवन पूरी तरह से निरर्थक नहीं है.

हमारा मन, उद्देश्य और स्पष्टीकरण के लिए लालायित रहता है.

‘बौर्न बीलीवर्स’ के लेखक जस्टिन बैरेट कहते हैं, “इस बात के प्रमाण हैं कि धार्मिक विचारों को अपनाना मनुष्य के लिए – पाथ ऑफ़ लीस्ट रज़िज़टेंस – यानी सबसे कम प्रतिरोध का रास्ता होता है. धर्म से छुटकारा पाने के लिए आपको मानवता में शायद कुछ मूलभूत बदलाव करने होंगे.”

ईश्वर के प्रति आस्था की बात करें तो हालाँकि 20 प्रतिशत अमरीकी किसी चर्च से संबद्ध नहीं थे, लेकिन उनमें से 68 प्रतिशत ने माना कि उनका ईश्वर में विश्वास है और 37 प्रतिशत ने ख़ुद को धार्मिक बताया.

इसी तरह, दुनियाभर में उन लोगों ने जिन्होंने स्पष्ट कहा कि उनका ईश्वर में यक़ीन नहीं है, उनमें भी भूतों, ज्योतिष, कर्म, टेलीपैथी, पुनर्जन्म जैसे अंधविश्वासों की प्रवृत्ति पाई गई.

धर्म, समूह सामंजस्य और सहयोग को बढ़ावा देता है. कथित लक्ष्मण रेखा को पार करने वालों पर सर्वशक्तिमान ईश्वर की नज़र पुराने समाज को व्यवस्थित रखने में मदद करती थी.

एटकिंसन कहते हैं, “यह अलौकिक सज़ा परिकल्पना है. यदि हर कोई मानेगा कि सज़ा वास्तव में होगी तो यह पूरे समूह के लिए काम करेगी.”

अटूट विश्वास

अंत में, धर्म की आदत के पीछे कुछ गणित भी है. तमाम संस्कृतियों में जो लोग ज़्यादा धार्मिक हैं वे उन लोगों के मुक़ाबले ज़्यादा बच्चे पैदा करते हैं जिनकी धर्म के प्रति आस्था नहीं है.

विशेषज्ञों का मानना है कि मनोवैज्ञानिक, तंत्रिका विज्ञान, ऐतिहासिक, सांस्कृतिक और तार्किक, इन सभी कारणों को देखते हुए धर्म शायद कभी इंसानों से दूर नहीं जा सकेगा. धर्म, चाहे इसे डर या प्यार से बनाए रखा गया हो- खुद को बनाए रखने में अत्यधिक सफल रहा है. अगर ऐसा नहीं होता तो यह शायद हमारे साथ नहीं होता

प्रस्तुतकर्ता –सिकन्दर कुमार मेहता

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The Guy Who Invented Religion

The Guy Who Invented Religion

He said:
I want a barrier
To divide Different people
Who stood side by side.

I want hypocrisy
And constant war.
Common sense
I want to ignore.

I want exploitation,
My voice to be heard
And to spread disease
Throughout the World.

I want riches,
“It’s god’s word,” i’ll cry.
While millions of people Fall down.
And die.

(By -‘The Cat ‘)

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Countries Where Atheism Is Punishable by Death

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Atheists living in 13 countries risk being condemned to death, just for their beliefs (or non-belief) according to a new, comprehensive report from the International Humanist and Ethical Union out on Tuesday. All 13 countries identified by the study are Muslim majority.

The countries that impose these penalties are :
Afghanistan,
Iran,
Malaysia,
Maldives,
Mauritania,
Nigeria,
Pakistan,
Qatar,
Saudi Arabia,
Somalia,
Sudan,
United Arab Emirates and ;
Yemen.
With the exception of Pakistan, those countries all allow for capital punishment against apostasy, i.e., the renunciation of a particular religion. Pakistan, meanwhile, imposes the death penalty for blasphemy, which can obviously include disbelief in God.

The study’s interactive map gives a good, broad, overview of which countries punish apostasy and blasphemy by death (black), with prison time (red), or place legal restrictions on (non-)religious speech and thought (yellow):
image
Source:IHEU

The report is a more comprehensive version of a similar study released last year that identified just seven countries where atheists faced capital punishment, only half of this year’s total. It also found much more widespread discrimination against atheists around the world. “Our results show that the over whelming majority of countries fail to respect the rights of atheists and freethinkers,” the study explains, noting that laws in some countries prevent atheists from marrying, attending public school, participating as a citizen, holding public office, or just existing at all.
The authors,citing a Gallup study , estimate that about 13 percent of the world’s population is atheist, while 23 percent identify as simply”not religious.”

Although not on the list of 13, Bangladesh receives some special attention in the report as a particular low-light. Several non-religious and atheist bloggers and journalists in the country have faced death threats and harassment this year in the wake of a series of government prosecutions for blasphemy. One blogger,Ahmed Rajib Haider, was murdered with the machete outside of his home. The report also incorporates assessment of general free speech protections in each country. Russia earned significant criticism in part because of its anti-LGBT”propaganda” laws. And North Korea, an aggressively secular state,received the report’s lowest rating of “Grave Violations.”

Because of the U.S.’s strong constitutional free speech protections and lack of an official state religion, the country fared moderately well in the report, earning a “mostly satisfactory” rating. But the IHEU had some cautionary notes on how atheists are actually treated in the U.S., criticizing “a range of laws that limit the role of atheists in regards to public duties, or else entangle the government with religion to the degree that being religious is equated with being an American, and vice versa.” Those laws include constitutional provisions still on the books in seven states (Arkansas, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas) barring atheists from holding public office. The authors add:

While there is some legal remedy for clear religious discrimination by the government, it can often go unchallenged in situations where it is difficult, or personally disadvantageous or hazardous, to take a stand against authority, for example in prisons, the military, and even some administrative contexts.

So, which countries earned a somewhat elusive “free and equal” rating from the IHEU ? The best-ranked countries included Jamaica, Uruguay, Japan, Taiwan, and Belgium

Brought to you By : Sikandar Kumar Mehta
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