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Atheists Face Discrimination And Persecution According To Report

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http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/12/10/15814394-like-lesser-americans-atheists-face-discrimination-persecution-report-says

'Like lesser Americans': Atheists face discrimination, persecution, report says

GENEVA -- Atheists and other religious skeptics suffer persecution or discrimination in many parts of the world and in at least seven countries can be executed if their beliefs become known, according to a report issued Monday.

The study, from the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), showed that "unbelievers" in Islamic countries face the most severe -- sometimes brutal -- treatment at the hands of the state and adherents of the official religion.

But it also points to policies in some European countries and the United States that favor the religious and their organizations and treat atheists and humanists as outsiders.

The report, "Freedom of Thought 2012," said "there are laws that deny atheists' right to exist, curtail their freedom of belief and expression, revoke their right to citizenship, restrict their right to marry."


Other laws "obstruct their access to public education, prohibit them from holding public office, prevent them from working for the state, criminalize their criticism of religion, and execute them for leaving the religion of their parents."

In the United States, for example, where freedom of religion and speech is protected, a social and political climate prevails "in which atheists and the non-religious are made to feel like lesser Americans, or non-Americans," the report said.

In at least seven U.S. states, constitutional provisions are in place that bar atheists from public office and one state, Arkansas, has a law that bars atheists from testifying as witnesses at trials, the report said.

Atheist billboard hits snag in Hasidic neighborhood

"It is often not the case that when people hear of freedom of religion they interpret that in terms of the non-religious too," Bob Churchill, a spokesperson for IHEU, told NBC News. "This report shows clearly how people who mildly criticize religion may go on to suffer months or years in jail, even awaiting a death sentence."

The report was welcomed by Heiner Bielefeldt, U.N. special rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, who said in a brief introduction there was little awareness that atheists were covered by global human rights agreements.

The IHEU -- which links more than 120 humanist, atheist and secular organizations in more than 40 countries -- said it was issuing the report to mark the U.N.'s Human Rights Day on Monday.

According to its survey of some 60 countries, the seven where expression of atheist views or defection from the official religion can bring capital punishment are Afghanistan, Iran, Maldives, Mauritania, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Sudan.

Forced to lie
The 70-page report lists no recent cases of actual execution for "atheism" -- but researchers say the offence is often subsumed into other charges.

Atheists bill big names for 'coming out' party in the capital

In a range of other countries -- such as Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Kuwait and Jordan -- publication of atheist or humanist views on religion are totally banned or strictly limited under laws prohibiting "blasphemy."

In many of these countries, and others like Malaysia, citizens have to register as adherents of a small number officially-recognized religions -- which normally include no more than Christianity and Judaism as well as Islam.

Atheists and humanists are thereby forced to lie to obtain their official documents without which it is impossible to go to university, receive medical treatment, travel abroad or drive.

In Europe, sub-Saharan Africa and Latin and North America, countries which identify themselves as secular give privileges to or favor Christian churches in providing education and other public services, the IHEU said.

In Greece and Russia, the Orthodox Church is fiercely protected from criticism and is given pride of place on state occasions, while in Britain bishops of the Church of England have automatic seats in the upper house of parliament.

by on Dec. 10, 2012 at 7:49 AM
Replies (211-215):
KamWorthy
by Silver Member on Dec. 14, 2012 at 10:16 AM
It looks as if we agree that a process is apparent in order to glean truths during our journey through life, you call it history, I call it a system....perhaps a system of events...nonetheless, a system. Each and every person follows the same system in order to come to their truth. Whether that truth is in the supernatural, or in themselves, their spouse, their children, their career, or science. We are squabbling over a word that basically encompasses all that we have been discussing.
Quoting LindaClement:

I wasn't talking about religion-specific, either. I still think you're conflating the two categories.

A belief 'system' is a system of beliefs that go together, not simply unconfirmed, unexamined thinking (like whether or not tables are 'real')... Yes, it can be other things than churchy stuff --like the education system, or the class system-- but it is a collection of beliefs in a pile, not independent seperate articles of faith.

The basis upon which beliefs are founded isn't a 'system' it's a history. It's a complicated map of what a person has discovered to be a lie, what they've discovered on their own, what they were told, what they half-overheard and misunderstood, their own personality, how they feel about the person who told them, what they think of themselves and what they think they're supposed to 'be' in any given situation, including what they were allowed (or not allowed) to question. 

I don't have 'my truth' --I've changed my mind based on further information, through debate and the growing ability to think more complexly-- I have 'my current understanding' and I'm inclined toward thinking existentially pretty much any time on any subject.

Quoting KamWorthy:

Thank you Linda. I've read your post. Let me attempt to explain where I am coming from as far as my perceptions of Belief System. The term "Belief System" is not exclusive to only those who belong to organized religion, who practice ritualistic faith or who believe in the supernatural, it encompasses far more than that. In fact the definition is "The basis on which beliefs are based". So as you can see, no one is exempt from possessing a belief system. Are Belief Systems vast and unique to the individual, absolutely, but they are not exclusive. Belief System is the process and the tools which are used to subsequently decide in what to believe and if it is true, your truth. I have been discussing all along in this post "Belief System", not beliefs. Though in the first paragraph of this article, they do refer to Athesim as a belief. .........."Atheists and other religious skeptics suffer persecution or discrimination in many parts of the world and in at least seven countries can be executed if their BELIEFS become known".
Quoting LindaClement:

I think the distinction that's making a mess of this particular thread is the conflation of the terms 'beliefs' and 'belief system.'

Everyone has beliefs (that they're short, when it's a relative term not an absolute; that they're likely to live through tomorrow, when they have absolutely no way of predicting the future; that their experience of life is not in fact an entire hallucination provided to them via the Matrix, etc.)

That's fundamentally different from a 'belief system' --which is a system of beliefs, often compiled from received wisdom including that of religions, which is accepted (by the individual) never (or only under extreme duress) to be evaluated for validity again, specifically relying on 'faith' in the existence of anything supernatural.

For example: as a lifelong atheist, I have no beliefs of any kind about what happen after death --only an understanding of the facts: bodies stop performing all the functions of the classification 'alive' (expirating, eliminating, consuming, autonomous movement, cogitating, complex and coordinated biological function, etc.) What, if anything, happens to any imagined 'spirit' or 'soul' or other-worldly aspect of previously-alive humans is, to me, not only fruitless and hilarious speculation, but irrelevant to my entire life.

I like the idea of reincarnation, but I've never believed in it. I believe in tables, air, gravity, combustion propulsion, in the inevitability of humans misunderstanding each other, and post-it notes. I don't believe in other planes of existence, deities of any kind, heaven, hell or anything in between, or miracles. I certainly don't believe that men in dresses or complicated hats who hold objects over their heads in a state of reverence while chanting in modern or ancient languages are communing with or transmitting messages from anywhere unseen: they are practicing the modern equivalent of rubbing blue mud in their navels when the sun is at its zenith on the longest day of the year, which to an outside observer always looks absurd.

I'm with the blogger who explained why 'belief' had ceased to be, to him, a credible argument or debate-ender: the declaration that you forevermore have determined not to examine or evaluate this thought is not scholarly nor a sign of commendable intelligence.

Perhaps if you determined in advance if you're talking about 'beliefs' or 'belief systems', this particular dead-end argument wouldn't happen again?


pansyprincess
by Silver Member on Dec. 14, 2012 at 10:33 AM
1 mom liked this

Are you an atheist?  If not, why are you acting like you have any idea about it?  It's been explained in very simple terms.  An atheist does not believe in god.  That's it.  We may agree on some things, we may not agree on other things.  But to call yourself an atheist means you don't believe in god.  What aren't you understanding?

Quoting KamWorthy:

If you want to "believe" that, it's certainly your right. "you never know how much you actually believe until it's truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you".


KamWorthy
by Silver Member on Dec. 14, 2012 at 10:42 AM
I think you may have missed something by skipping over many comments and choosing to comment based on this one comment. I know full well what an atheist is.
Quoting pansyprincess:

Are you an atheist?  If not, why are you acting like you have any idea about it?  It's been explained in very simple terms.  An atheist does not believe in god.  That's it.  We may agree on some things, we may not agree on other things.  But to call yourself an atheist means you don't believe in god.  What aren't you understanding?

Quoting KamWorthy:

If you want to "believe" that, it's certainly your right. "you never know how much you actually believe until it's truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you".


katinahat
by Member on Dec. 14, 2012 at 10:49 AM
1 mom liked this

Wasn't sure if y'all saw this or not: 

After the 14th Amendment to the Constitution was proclaimed on 1868-JUL-21, its Article 6 became binding on individual states. The religious requirement clauses in state constitutions became null and void. The 14th Amendment stated:

"No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States."
http://www.religioustolerance.org/texas.htm

I noticed that the original article didn't mention that those state clauses were overriden in 1868. 
LindaClement
by Linda on Dec. 14, 2012 at 12:15 PM

I don't think we're squabbling. You explain how you see it, I explain how I see it. We are looking at the world from different angles, it's inevitably different.

To me, the difference is fascinating and the conversation is worth it because it's illuminating to see how other people think. Not the least because it clarifies how I think.

I wouldn't use the word 'system' as you do because to me it suggests order --innate or contrived-- where I see no order to it at all.

Take, for example, the belief in the education system: it includes the 'norm' of handing over the care and indoctrincation of all children to strangers and 'experts' who have largely invented the system they claim is necessary, along with the criteria for their own expertise --which is rarely evaluated by any parent of any 3yo in 'deciding' whether or not to go along with that norm. It includes the article of faith that people who graduate from high school merit more and are naturally (or perhaps inevitably) smarter and more worthy than the 'loser drop-outs', dismissing out of hand the great many useless idiots people encounter who have graduated and the many geniuses of the world who have never done so.

Those two examples are based entirely on 'faith' in a belief system that doesn't coincide with people's experience, knowledge, growing understanding of the world or concrete reality in any way that can be logically argued. Once one of the articles of faith is disturbed, the whole belief system falls apart: one relies on faith in the other, until there is a cascade of systematic belief (or loss of faith.)

This is fundamentally different from a 'belief' --say 'I can do anything I want to' (which is often told to children in spite of the concrete reality that it is extremely unlikely to be true that they can conduct the New York Philharmonic in a major world-wide broadcast simply because they want to)-- that is outside a 'system' or collective of akin beliefs that are usually self-referential, like 'Good grades in school are very important to lifelong success in school.'

Quoting KamWorthy:

It looks as if we agree that a process is apparent in order to glean truths during our journey through life, you call it history, I call it a system....perhaps a system of events...nonetheless, a system. Each and every person follows the same system in order to come to their truth. Whether that truth is in the supernatural, or in themselves, their spouse, their children, their career, or science. We are squabbling over a word that basically encompasses all that we have been discussing.
Quoting LindaClement:

I wasn't talking about religion-specific, either. I still think you're conflating the two categories.

A belief 'system' is a system of beliefs that go together, not simply unconfirmed, unexamined thinking (like whether or not tables are 'real')... Yes, it can be other things than churchy stuff --like the education system, or the class system-- but it is a collection of beliefs in a pile, not independent seperate articles of faith.

The basis upon which beliefs are founded isn't a 'system' it's a history. It's a complicated map of what a person has discovered to be a lie, what they've discovered on their own, what they were told, what they half-overheard and misunderstood, their own personality, how they feel about the person who told them, what they think of themselves and what they think they're supposed to 'be' in any given situation, including what they were allowed (or not allowed) to question. 

I don't have 'my truth' --I've changed my mind based on further information, through debate and the growing ability to think more complexly-- I have 'my current understanding' and I'm inclined toward thinking existentially pretty much any time on any subject.

Quoting KamWorthy:

Thank you Linda. I've read your post. Let me attempt to explain where I am coming from as far as my perceptions of Belief System. The term "Belief System" is not exclusive to only those who belong to organized religion, who practice ritualistic faith or who believe in the supernatural, it encompasses far more than that. In fact the definition is "The basis on which beliefs are based". So as you can see, no one is exempt from possessing a belief system. Are Belief Systems vast and unique to the individual, absolutely, but they are not exclusive. Belief System is the process and the tools which are used to subsequently decide in what to believe and if it is true, your truth. I have been discussing all along in this post "Belief System", not beliefs. Though in the first paragraph of this article, they do refer to Athesim as a belief. .........."Atheists and other religious skeptics suffer persecution or discrimination in many parts of the world and in at least seven countries can be executed if their BELIEFS become known".
Quoting LindaClement:

I think the distinction that's making a mess of this particular thread is the conflation of the terms 'beliefs' and 'belief system.'

Everyone has beliefs (that they're short, when it's a relative term not an absolute; that they're likely to live through tomorrow, when they have absolutely no way of predicting the future; that their experience of life is not in fact an entire hallucination provided to them via the Matrix, etc.)

That's fundamentally different from a 'belief system' --which is a system of beliefs, often compiled from received wisdom including that of religions, which is accepted (by the individual) never (or only under extreme duress) to be evaluated for validity again, specifically relying on 'faith' in the existence of anything supernatural.

For example: as a lifelong atheist, I have no beliefs of any kind about what happen after death --only an understanding of the facts: bodies stop performing all the functions of the classification 'alive' (expirating, eliminating, consuming, autonomous movement, cogitating, complex and coordinated biological function, etc.) What, if anything, happens to any imagined 'spirit' or 'soul' or other-worldly aspect of previously-alive humans is, to me, not only fruitless and hilarious speculation, but irrelevant to my entire life.

I like the idea of reincarnation, but I've never believed in it. I believe in tables, air, gravity, combustion propulsion, in the inevitability of humans misunderstanding each other, and post-it notes. I don't believe in other planes of existence, deities of any kind, heaven, hell or anything in between, or miracles. I certainly don't believe that men in dresses or complicated hats who hold objects over their heads in a state of reverence while chanting in modern or ancient languages are communing with or transmitting messages from anywhere unseen: they are practicing the modern equivalent of rubbing blue mud in their navels when the sun is at its zenith on the longest day of the year, which to an outside observer always looks absurd.

I'm with the blogger who explained why 'belief' had ceased to be, to him, a credible argument or debate-ender: the declaration that you forevermore have determined not to examine or evaluate this thought is not scholarly nor a sign of commendable intelligence.

Perhaps if you determined in advance if you're talking about 'beliefs' or 'belief systems', this particular dead-end argument wouldn't happen again?



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