News

Egyptian Parliament considers outlawing atheism

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, right, addresses parliament in Cairo, Egypt, on Feb. 13, 2016. (MENA via AP, File)

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, right, addresses Parliament in Cairo on Feb. 13, 2016. (MENA via AP, File)

(RNS) — It may soon be a criminal offense to be an atheist in Egypt.

Shortly before New Year’s Day, the Egyptian Parliament considered enacting a law that would make it illegal to profess no belief in God. It is already against Egyptian law to “insult” or “defame” religion, and blasphemy arrests are on the rise. A conviction can bring up to five years in prison.

The new measure would criminalize the act of not believing in God — no insults or defamation of another faith required.

The legislation was proposed Dec. 24 by Amro Hamroush, head of the Parliament’s committee on religion.

“It must be criminalized and categorized as contempt of religion because atheists have no doctrine and try to insult the Abrahamic religions,” Hamroush said in announcing the proposed law.

The legislation has the support of Egypt’s highest Islamic religious organization, the Al-Azhar. Mohamed Zaki, an Al-Azhar official, called it necessary “to punish those who have been seduced into atheism.”

The Egyptian government has long punished blasphemy and has targeted atheists since the 2014 inauguration of President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. At that time — three years after the 2011 revolution that ousted longtime Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak — the government announced a national plan to “confront and eliminate” atheism.

Later, a government-run newspaper denounced atheists as “the country’s second enemy after the Muslim Brotherhood.

Since then, arrests of atheists have been on the rise. On Dec. 21, police in Cairo arrested a 29-year-old computer programmer who they say administered a Facebook page that is critical of religion. Under interrogation, the man acknowledged being an atheist.

Under el-Sissi, there have also been crackdowns on journalists and LGBT people.

A 2017 report from the London-based International Humanist and Ethical Union does not list countries that outlaw atheism but says that because of blasphemy and apostasy laws that carry the death penalty ” … in effect you can be put to death for expressing atheism in 13 countries.”

Those countries, according to the IHEU, are: Afghanistan, Iran, Malaysia, Maldives,
Mauritania, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

The proposed Egyptian law came in for harsh criticism from Ani Zonneveld, founder and president of Muslims for Progressive Values, an international group based in Los Angeles.

“This criminalization of atheism contradicts the very essence of the Quran, verse 2:256, ‘There is no compulsion in faith,'” she said.

“This legislation is anti-Islam.”

About the author

Kimberly Winston

Kimberly Winston is a freelance religion reporter based in the San Francisco Bay Area.

83 Comments

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  • I’m so thankful for the Flying Spaghetti Monster when I find myself in these types of situations. Ramen!

  • It’s a shame that people have not learned that you cannot legislate a belief. You can protect people who have beliefs and non-beliefs, but this is asinine.

  • Of course they do. Outlaw atheism, which harms no one. Outlaw blasphemy, which insults no one real. Look the other way when Christians are murdered.

  • Somebody quiz me, quiz me.

    (1) TRUE OR FALSE: Atheists do “‘insult’ or ‘defame’ … the Abrahamic religions … [and] have [people] seduced into atheism.”

    TRUE.

    (2) RIGHT OR WRONG: For atheists “‘insult[ing]’ or ‘defam[ing]’ … the Abrahamic religions … [and] seduc[ing people] into atheism” to be put under “blasphemy arrests” and sent to “five years in prison.”

    WRONG.

    (3) RIGHT OR WRONG: To “criminalize the act of not believing in God”.

    WRONG.

    (4) TRUE OR FALSE: “Atheists have no doctrine”.

    FALSE.

    (5) RIGHT OR WRONG: For “the … government … [to go] target[ing] atheists … [for a random] interrogation [until they’ve] acknowledged being an atheist … [as part of] a national plan to ‘confront and eliminate’ atheism.”

    WRONG.

    (6) TRUE OR FALSE: “Criminalization of atheism contradicts the very essence of the Quran”.

    FALSE.

  • Outlaw not believing in a god. Thought crime here in 2018 !!

    Don’t tell fundamentalists and evangelicals here in the US…they may get ideas.

  • Your ignorance is showing. Number 4, tell me what doctrine Atheists have. Number 1: The religious are cowards. You cannot stand that people ignore your beliefs. Numbers 2 and 3 make no sense at all. Not sure what they are about. Number 5: I am not a scholar of the Koran.

  • I doubt it’s ignorance as regards No 4. More likely a necessary defensive distraction.

    Some people’s “faith” is so insecure that they cannot admit the possibility that anyone can have no “faith”. It frightens them. Their capacity for irrational thought is being threatened by logic and they have to suppress their insecurities by making statements that bolster their attempts to ignore reality.

    Cognitive dissonance is not a pleasant place to be.

  • 1) some atheists do, some atheists don’t. Every Christian who lambastes other Christians for not being the right sort of Christian insults the abrahamic faiths. Every Christian who denounces Jews and Muslims for not being Christian insults the abrahamic faiths. The 2/3 of the world that isn’t christian insult Christians be definition— blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.

    Atheism doesn’t require seduction into anything. It just “requires”— no orders from atheist central— non belief.

    2) I’m not sure what you are getting at.

    3) that is what blasphemy and anti atheist laws do: criminalize people.

    4) there is no atheist central, so there I no atheist doctrine. Theists seem to have a need for atheist doctrine. Some atheists are doctrinal. Most are not, from my experience. There just atheistic about one more god than you are. If you can understand why you don’t believe in all of the other gods of men, you would also understand why I don’t belief yours.

    5) not wrong. Right.

    6) criminalization of atheism has everything to do with state power and the entanglement of religion with the state.

  • Things like this make me laugh. There is enough evidence to prove that Christ exists that anyone denying such is just in a bubble they have made for themselves. lol
    Even Christ acknowledges that people will refuse to believe in Him, so you want to punish them worse because of it? He’ll take care of His own difficulties in His own time.
    Romans 2:15 English Standard Version (ESV)
    15 They (unredeemed) show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them.” (elucidation mine)
    To have a law, one need a creator.
    Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world,[g] in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

    We all know there is a God at some level – it’s whether we choose to acknowledge Him or not, and creating a law asking people to do such is silly. God will bring them around when He chooses.

  • “There is enough evidence to prove that Christ exists that anyone denying such is just in a bubble they have made for themselves.”

    It’s stupid of me to request it but I will. Could you provide some peer reviewed empirical evidence? Key word being empirical.

    Definition of anecdotal evidence
    : evidence in the form of stories that people tell about what has happened to them His conclusions are not supported by data; they are based only on anecdotal evidence.

  • How is it not thought crime? Mandatory religion so as to control thought, language, and behavior.

  • If you have to threaten people with jail because they don’t believe your religion, maybe it just says that your religion isn’t any good, and says nothing about the people..

  • I don’t need to. He proved Himself when He healed my dad of lung cancer. Your choice not to believe will be rectified some day.

  • AMRO HAMROUSH (Egypt’s “head of the Parliament’s committee on religion”): “Atheists have no doctrine”.

    STEPHEN LEDREW (Atheist): There are atheists who adhere to “a secular fundamentalism … [Because] they have a political program for realizing a utopian ideology, and are committed to a worldview that they really aren’t prepared to question, they are fundamentalists of a kind. … They are specifically anti-religious fundamentalist. … There are a lot of people who call themselves humanists but are also libertarians opposed to social welfare. … There are people in leadership positions who advocate humanism and want to move away from aggressive atheism and hostility toward religion, though they are probably the minority. … Many … atheist leaders are neo-conservatives, neo-liberals, libertarians … not left-wing progressives. … Eventually there was a kind of grass-roots rebellion among left-wing atheists who were critical of the leaders and public representatives of their movement, and the divisions that came out are only becoming stronger. … The general patriarchal tone of the movement can’t be denied. … I don’t doubt that there’s a Darwinian rationale for this belief in many minds, even if it’s a bit unconscious, though I’m sure it’s quite conscious for some.” (Stephen LeDrew, “Stephen LeDrew on his ‘The Evolution of Atheism’: An Interview” with Olaf Simons, Positivism: Secular, Social, Scientific, December 10, 2015) … The atheist movement historically has been divided between two major groups: those who oppose religion because they see it as a challenge to scientific authority, and those whose objection is based more on religion as a source of, and support for, various forms of social oppression. Today in America it’s even more complicated, since there’s also a group of libertarians who tie atheism to economic freedom, and on the other side there’s a growing group of mostly younger atheists who are interested in promoting social justice and equality. So there’s a political spectrum within the atheist movement and there are groups that are directly opposed to each other in some ways. … Some of their ideas as quite dangerous – such as the intolerance they have for cultural diversity and some seeds of social Darwinism.” (tephen LeDrew, an atheist himself (cf. interview by Staks Rosch, “Sociologist Stephen LeDrew on the Rift in the Atheism Movement”, Publishers Weekly, October 26, 2015)

  • On (4) see my new post, re: disagreement between AMRO HAMROUSH (Egypt’s “head of the Parliament’s committee on religion”) and STEPHEN LEDREW (an atheist).

  • Cf. my new post, re: disagreement between AMRO HAMROUSH (Egypt’s “head of the Parliament’s committee on religion”) and STEPHEN LEDREW (an atheist).

  • A fellow atheist suffering “cognitive dissonance”? Cf. my new post, re: disagreement between AMRO HAMROUSH (Egypt’s “head of the Parliament’s committee on religion”) and STEPHEN LEDREW (an atheist).

  • Actually, nobody is trying to reincarnate Orwell’s gig. (As long as we ignore what China is blatantly doing to the Uighur Muslims, anyway.)

    But nobody is ever going to outlaw atheism in America, so you’re safe.

    Yet make no mistake: even as an atheist, your constitutional religious liberties are now under attack. So if you wanna keep ’em, you may need some good ole FUNDIE allies!!

  • 1) Being non-Christian does not constitute blasphemy of any kind.

    2)

    3) Same with those laws in Germany outlawing the National Socialist Party. I guess that’s what laws do, help guide a society into the form it wishes to take or not take.

    4) The history of Communist and Socialist movements and parties is one of competing doctrines, excommunications, assassinations, and strife.

    5)

    6) As a Muslim country Egypt believes that the state should be entangled with religion.

  • My right to be free from religion is not under attack, no religious rights or freedoms are under attack in this country. There is a rash of petulant foot stomping from radicalized fundamentalists though. Seems they’re under the grossly mistaken impression that they have the to right to dictate public policy based on narrow interpretations of a bible.

  • I have been reliably informed that not believing that jesus died for your sins is blasphemy against the holy spirit.

    The one sin which God cannot forgive is mentioned in Mark 3:28-30 and Matthew 12:31-32. Jesus had been performing miracles, including driving demons out of people by the power of the Holy Spirit. Instead of recognizing the source of Jesus’ power and accepting Him as God’s Son, the religious leaders accused Him of being possessed by the devil and driving demons out in the power of the devil.

    Jesus responded by saying, “I tell you the truth, all the sins and blasphemies of men will be forgiven them. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin.”

    The sin of the religious leaders, blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, was a refusal to accept the witness of the Holy Spirit to who Jesus was and what He had come to do, and then submit their lives to Him. Jesus said concerning the Holy Spirit, “When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment” (John 16:8). They chose rather to reject the Spirit’s witness to their sin and to Jesus, and accused Him of being demon possessed!


    This is Billy Graham. Argue with him, not me.

  • https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/blasphemy

    Blasphemy: noun

    “The action or offence of speaking sacrilegiously about God or sacred things; profane talk.”

    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02595a.htm

    Blasphemy (Greek blaptein, “to injure”, and pheme, “reputation”) signifies etymologically gross irreverence towards any person or thing worthy of exalted esteem. In this broad sense the term is used by Bacon when in his “Advancement of Learning” he speaks of “blasphemy against learning”. St. Paul tells of being blasphemed (1 Corinthians 4:13) and the Latin Vulgate employs the word blasphemare to designate abusive language directed either against a people at large (2 Samuel 21:21; 1 Chronicles 20:7) or against individuals (1 Corinthians 10:30; Titus 3:2).

    Meaning:

    While etymologically blasphemy may denote the derogation of the honour due to a creature as well as of that belonging to God, in its strict acceptation it is used only in the latter sense. Hence it has been defined by Francisco Suárez as “any word of malediction, reproach, or contumely pronounced against God: (De Relig., tract. iii, lib. I, cap. iv, n. 1). It is to be noted that according to the definition (1) blasphemy is set down as a word, for ordinarily it is expressed in speech, though it may be committed in thought or in act. Being primarily a sin of the tongue, it will be seen to be opposed directly to the religious act of praising God. (2) It is said to be against God, though this may be only mediately, as when the contumelious word is spoken of the saints or of sacred things, because of the relationship they sustain to God and His service.

    Blasphemy, by reason of the significance of the words with which it is expressed, may be of three kinds.

    It is heretical when the insult to God involves a declaration that is against faith, as in the assertion: “God is cruel and unjust” or “The noblest work of man is God”.

    It is imprecatory when it would cry a malediction upon the Supreme Being as when one would say: “Away with God”.

    It is simply contumacious when it is wholly made up of contempt of, or indignation towards, God, as in the blasphemy of Julian the Apostate: “Thou has conquered, O Galilaean”.

    Again, blasphemy may be (1) either direct, as when the one blaspheming formally intends to dishonour the Divinity, or (2) indirect, as when without such intention blasphemous words are used with advertence to their import.

    ****

    And so on.

    So, what your statement “I have been reliably informed that not believing that jesus died for your sins is blasphemy against the holy spirit.” demonstrates is that just as one should not bring a knife to a gunfight, one should not bring an atheist to a religious dispute.

  • Any atheist is entitled to his views, as is any self-identifying Muslim, Christian, Jew, Hindu etc. etc..

    Stephen Ledrew may be describing his parochial view of atheism – it doesn’t travel. He’s still entitled to it and you are entitled to try to use it as a relief from your fears – but it shows your desperation (and your ignorance of atheism) when you seek to use the opinion of someone I’ve never heard of to counter that which you cannot.

  • Reviews of Stephen LeDrew and/or his The Evolution of Atheism: The Politics of a Modern Movement, Oxford University Press, 2015:

    (1) “Stephen Ledrew may be describing his parochial view of atheism – it doesn’t travel. … [His is] the opinion of someone I’ve never heard of”.
    – Givethedogabone

    (2) “An impressively sophisticated study densely packed with interesting and valuable insights about the atheist movement in general and the New Atheism in particular. … [LeDrew] presents his findings in an engaging, non-technical manner.”
    – Counterpunch

    (3) “Digging beneath simplistic ‘science vs religion’ dichotomies, this book aims to uncover the true reasons for the nature and rise of so-called New Atheism. Arguing that we must look to religious fundamentalism and its values as well as to as the general post-modern onslaught on rationality, Stephen LeDrew’s The Evolution of Atheism makes a strong case that we must cast broadly into today’s culture if we are to understand the staggering success of the works of Richard Dawkins and others. This is a very important book that brings many fresh insights to its topic.”
    – Michael Ruse, author of Atheism: What Everyone Needs to Know

    (4) “This is a very good, important, and readable book that makes a valuable contribution to our understanding of the New Atheism, in part by calling atheism out as yet another object of study and explanation, rather than the supposed natural default position of all reasonable people. Striking a nice balance of scholarly sympathy and critical distance, it provides new insights and makes very interesting claims about the internal diversity of the New Atheism. This book ought to get much attention and generate helpful discussion.”
    – Christian Smith, author of The Sacred Project of American Sociology

    (5) “The success of this book rests on the author’s willingness to venture beyond his stated premise, which is to offer an interpretation of modern atheistic movements framed by the lens of evolution … Highly recommended”.
    – CHOICE

  • Amen to God’s all-out grace now through Jesus! Amen to no need for criminalization of any anti-God anti-Christ!

    (In endtimes, that’s another story, to be sure!)

    And yet and yet it’s in post-Christian democracies that atheism/atheists THRIVE. Is there Friendly Atheist Egypt any time soon, you think? Or does it THRIVE only in post-Christian America and nowhere else?

    Right, no atheist dares to reason that out with us, do they?

    Maybe dead brother in Christ Cornelius Van Til was spot on all along: that atheism ALWAYS presupposes Christianity! Like the crutch to the armpit!

    I’m rambling, sorry. Your post does that for me. Thanks for making me hyperventilate!

  • In laboratories, maybe. In courts of law, however, reliable eyewitness testimony-based evidences trump reliable scientific evidences. That’s why science-reliant DNA exonerations happen so, so much more in rape-related court trials, but not in all the other court proceedings. There it’s always reliable eyewitness testimony-based evidences that convince time-sensitive, and in-situ, peer juries of THE TRUTH.

    I dare you subject God & Jesus to the reviews of time-sensitive and in-situ, peer juries. Who can you line up & stack up to counter the reliable eyewitness testimonies of apostles Matthew, John, Paul and Peter, plus disciples Mark, Luke & the mystery Hebrews author?

    Give me 5 counterexaminers that were at the time to NULLIFY said reliable testimonies?

    No? Then you’re shooting off the breeze in typical, cliche-like fashion!

  • I believe the onus is upon you and all claimants of Christianity. You all say there is an unseen entity who must be followed based upon an ancient manuscript written my anonymous authors, shuffled and cobbled together by heavily biased authoritarians.

    Is it not mandated by your book that converts must be collected at each and every opportunity?
    When I’m unable to politely escape the clutches of a determined proselytizer I have to endure all sorts of cliches.

    “WHEN GOD CLOSES A DOOR, HE OPENS A WINDOW.”
    “YOU’RE NEVER MORE SAFE THAN WHEN YOU’RE IN GOD’S WILL.”
    “LET GO AND LET GOD.”
    “GOD WILL NOT GIVE YOU MORE THAN YOU CAN HANDLE.”
    “GOD HELPS THOSE WHO HELP THEMSELVES.”
    I got at least 40 more of these breezy cliches…

  • Court in session. Docket: Atheist v Born-Again Christian

    Prosecutor NavyLadyBlues05: “Could you provide some peer reviewed empirical evidence?”

    Advocate HpO: I did, dummy I mean my learned colleague NavyLadyBlues05. I already gave you “the reliable eyewitness testimonies of apostles Matthew, John, Paul and Peter, plus disciples Mark, Luke & the mystery Hebrews author”!

    Prosecutor NavyLadyBlues05: “I believe the onus is upon you and all claimants of Christianity.”

    Judge of Egyptian Descent (gavel pounding!): “You’re in contempt, girl! Advocate HpO just gave you said ‘claimants’. I rule with Advocate HpO that ‘the onus is upon you and all claimants of [anti-]Christianity” to “subject God & Jesus to the reviews of time-sensitive and in-situ, peer juries … [by] giv[ing] me 5 counterexaminers that were at the time [of those apostles and disciples] to NULLIFY [their] reliable testimonies”. You have 24 hours to produce such reliable eyewitness testimony-based COUNTER-evidences. GO!”

    Court in recess.

  • Are you vacationing in Egypt anytime soon? Heard Have Atheism Will Travel Agency has 50% sales for atheism advocates heading there to compare atheism in post-Christianity America with atheism in post-Jihad Egypt.

    I think you’ve got that backwards. This mockery of yours wouldn’t have been anachronistic and ahistoricistic in Puritanical America – “Don’t tell fundamentalists and evangelicals here in the US…they may get ideas.” In case you haven’t noticed, you’re living off in post-Puritanical, post-Christianity America, where you’re free to mock, “Don’t tell fundamentalists and evangelicals here in the US…they may get ideas.” Atheism, Liberalism, Progressivism, None-ism, are winning in the States. You needn’t “get ideas”, son!

  • By (2) I meant that no atheist deserves arrest and imprisonment for “‘insult[ing]’ or ‘defam[ing]’ … the Abrahamic religions … [and] seduc[ing people] into atheism”.

    By (5) I meant (and you’d agree with me) that no rule of law should ever allow a “government … [to go] target[ing] atheists”, then subjecting them to “interrogation” and forceful self-“acknowledg[ment to] being an atheist”. And that no rule of law should ever allow a “government … [to deliberate and execute] a national plan to ‘confront and eliminate’ atheism.”

  • “Not believing that jesus died for your sins” isn’t blaspheming. That’s my short take. The longer version is that since I don’t like Billy Graham, I’m not going to give the customary Evangelical Recognition of his teaching or even bother correcting him. So, instead, let me just give instances of “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit” – other than in “Mark 3:28-30 and Matthew 12:31-32” – for illustrative purposes, as it were.

    (1) “To blaspheme against the Holy Spirit” was, according to Romans 2:21-24, what the Jews in Messiah Jesus and apostle Paul’s times provoked the non-Jews to do. It was because these Jews did “teach another, [except] yourself … preach that one shall not steal, [yet] steal … say that one should not commit adultery, [yet] commit adultery … boast in the Law, [yet go on] breaking the Law” – that “the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you”! The Christian Right and Christian Nationalists have taken over that very role in America today!

    (2) “To blaspheme against the Holy Spirit” was, according to 1 Timothy 1:19-20, what several Ex-Christians did in apostle Paul’s time. They were blaspheming because they “have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith”. To try and stop these Post-Christians, he “handed [them] over to Satan, so that they will be taught not to blaspheme.”

    (3) “To blaspheme against the Holy Spirit” was, according to Revelation 2:9, what Jewish Satanists were doing at the time of writing by the author who firsthand did “know … the blasphemy by those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.”

    (4) “To blaspheme against the Holy Spirit” was, according to Revelation 13:1-6, what the endtime Coalition of 10+7 Nations were doing, “speaking … blasphemies … against God, … His name and His tabernacle, that is, those who dwell in heaven”!

    (5) “To blaspheme against the Holy Spirit” was, according to Revelation 16:8-11, 17-21, what endtime human beings tormented by The 4th, 5th & 7th Angels of Judgment were doing. “They blasphemed the name of God who has the power over these plagues, and they did not repent so as to give Him glory. … And they blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores; and they did not repent of their deeds. … And they blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, because its plague was extremely severe”!

  • “So what” – that “your review next to CounterPunch & Choice’s really looks stupid”?

    Got me.

  • You have belabored your point with ostentation. Try again leaving off the puerile attitude.
    You’re using contents of a manuscript about a god to prove that that particular god exists…using the source to prove the source exists. Hmm… it seems to feed the typical hubris associated with this ideology, dogma, dictates.

  • You as for me to provide names of “dissenters” of certain men listed in your book yet you know that to dissent at that time in pre-recorded history was to admit to heresy.

  • I motion for a mistrial, Your Honor, for lack of reliable eyewitness testimony-based counter-evidence from this false accuser.

  • Which is your atheistic way of admitting that what follows isn’t “easy to get through” to you:

    Reviews of Stephen LeDrew and/or his The Evolution of Atheism: The Politics of a Modern Movement, Oxford University Press, 2015:

    (1) “Stephen Ledrew may be describing his parochial view of atheism – it doesn’t travel. … [His is] the opinion of someone I’ve never heard of”.
    – Givethedogabone

    (2) “An impressively sophisticated study densely packed with interesting and valuable insights about the atheist movement in general and the New Atheism in particular. … [LeDrew] presents his findings in an engaging, non-technical manner.”
    – Counterpunch

    (3) “Digging beneath simplistic ‘science vs religion’ dichotomies, this book aims to uncover the true reasons for the nature and rise of so-called New Atheism. Arguing that we must look to religious fundamentalism and its values as well as to as the general post-modern onslaught on rationality, Stephen LeDrew’s The Evolution of Atheism makes a strong case that we must cast broadly into today’s culture if we are to understand the staggering success of the works of Richard Dawkins and others. This is a very important book that brings many fresh insights to its topic.”
    – Michael Ruse, author of Atheism: What Everyone Needs to Know

    (4) “This is a very good, important, and readable book that makes a valuable contribution to our understanding of the New Atheism, in part by calling atheism out as yet another object of study and explanation, rather than the supposed natural default position of all reasonable people. Striking a nice balance of scholarly sympathy and critical distance, it provides new insights and makes very interesting claims about the internal diversity of the New Atheism. This book ought to get much attention and generate helpful discussion.”
    – Christian Smith, author of The Sacred Project of American Sociology

    (5) “The success of this book rests on the author’s willingness to venture beyond his stated premise, which is to offer an interpretation of modern atheistic movements framed by the lens of evolution … Highly recommended”.
    – CHOICE

  • “Stephen Ledrew may be describing his parochial view of atheism – it doesn’t travel” – Yup – his view is not that of this atheist or others that I regularly meet. Perhaps he operates in a specific population geographically, educationally, economically etc. etc. to which I and (I venture) most British atheists do not belong.

    You seem upset that I don’t share others’s views – that’s OK – atheists tend to think for themselves – that’s part of why they don’t believe in the supernatural.

  • Yeah, get back to resting on your laurels. I’ll get back to the people that are more able to do your heaving lifting…smdh.

  • If it took away the cancer in your dad, it must have placed it there, or allowed Satan to place it there. And it suspended freewill to do so.

  • 1. is false as stated. Evidently you are too frightened to state “‘some’ atheists.” A bit easier to maintain a me vs. them mentality if we group all those who don’t agree with us with one label, huh? C’mon HpO, ease that thumb from your mouth. It will be a brave New world for you if you do.

  • bad things happen because there is sin in the world. The Lord healed my dad of one of those – lung cancer.

  • I guess I don’t see the connection. I can see your point in regards to some cancers being linked to human causes (e.g. smoking, pollution, chemicals in our food, etc.) but what about cancer that is genetic?

  • I don’t know Mark. What have we eaten, or inhaled/ingested that could change the genetics of our bodies from how the Lord made them? I don’t know.
    I have heard that alcoholism is genetic also, but that doesn’t stop the Lord from condemning alcoholism.

  • to make it even more interesting:

    English Standard Version
    Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’?” He said this to a man who had been brought to Him because he was paralyzed.

  • Caused why and by whom, Sand? Taking your statement one more step, do you believe because of sin, cancer is caused ‘as a punishment’ for committing the sins?

  • I know that the Lord healed a man and told him that his sins were forgiven. I believe that our sins are capable of doing a lot more to us that we understand at this point – and perhaps another reason why the Lord took sin so seriously.
    There is sin in the world, Christ has allowed it for a short while. Satan is going to do as much damage as he can. (edit)
    As far as punishment for our sins….I believe there are consequences here for them, but Christ took the punishment for Christians and non-believers have chosen theirs for eternity in Hell.
    Christ came to save the lost, this time. When He returns, it will be a different story (Read the Book of Revelation).

  • You can google what happened to the various apostles because they stood up for what they had taught. They died defending what they had taught.

  • “Help”, my foot, Just goo to biblegateway-dot-com, type in “eyewitness” or “witness”, then study each hit.

    Because: take that detail out and there’s no gospel of Jesus Christ. Nada. It’s firmly rooted in reliable eyewitness testimonial evidences.

    You disagree, fine. But don’t ask me a dumb question. It’s like asking … oh never mind.

    But if you have reliable eyewitness testimony-based evidences that can prove this gospel is all a lie, I’LL BE THE FIRST TO REJECT MY LORD & SAVIOR CHRIST JESUS – I promise you.

    So, what are you waiting for?

    You have 24 hours. GO!

  • Heresay evidence from one source, a collection of stories written during the iron age when folks had barely any understanding of even the most basic science is as unreliable as is possible. HpO worships Christian deities because she was brought up to. Had HpO been born in Chechnya, she’d be singing Allah’s praises instead.

  • Putting two and two together, the answer then is “yes,” you do believe that “cancer is caused” in sinners as a consequence for sinning. That’s called for punishment. Very good. So your dad had freewill to sin. He did. Thus got cancer as a result of his willingness to freely sin. That a deity cured him means that deity altered freewill. Pops was going to die of cancer, the deity overrode his death. So this gift of freewill exists ONLY until your chosen deity decides to override it. How convenient.

  • Indeed, you are rambling. I’d gladly dare to use reason with you anytime if you clearly state WHAT to reason.

  • You can try to say that, but the real answer is, I have no idea..God has a time set for punishment, so you’ve come to the wrong conclusion.

  • Exactly! You have no idea if a deity had a hand in punishing your dad for his sins by allowing him to contract, or giving him cancer. By that exact same coin, you have no certainly a deity had a hand in eliminating the cancer. Nevertheless, great that your dad didn’t die from it.

  • All ancient manuscripts providing hearsay evidence, third hand no less, of people who didn’t even understand simple science like how tides work?

  • Reliable eyewitness testimonial counter-evidences, please. To discredit, to nullify, the eyewitness accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Peter, you’ve got to bring your eyewitnesses to the stand and let them be counter-examined. In legal terms, what you’ve stated just now, constitutes “heresay” (sic). C’mon, give it to me. Got any? No, right?

  • First, please spare me the childish, annoying, asking and answering of questions yourself such as “Got any? No. Right?” You’ve done that before. Second, the apostles’ testimony is not reliable for three primary reasons. 1. They didn’t speak English, so who translated their words? 2. Their testimony is full of contradictions, vague references, etc. 3. Like you stated, the apostles’ can’t be cross examined, can they?

  • Nope. No good. Not in the court of law. Judge probably is kicking you out. You’re not the counter-eyewitness in this case. You’re IRRELEVANT.

  • Do you even understand why hearsay testimony is usually not allowed in court? It’s because we can’t cross examine the witness. You do understand that and agree, yes? It’s first year law school stuff. Since the Apostles are dead, their testimony is not reliable because we can’t question them. That’s as basic as it gets. I get the sense you’re clutching your Bible so tightly and scrunching your eyes closed so tightly, you’re not open to basic reason.

  • A poorly considered observation. 4. The history of ALL political movements and parties is one of competing doctrines, excommunications, assassinations, and strife!

  • And there you have it, Your Honor. FHRITP can’t produce a single reliable counter-eyewitness testimony against my reliable eyewitness testimony-based evidences. Nothing further, Your Honor. I rest my case. I motion for a mistrial.

  • Well, you clearly prefer living in a world of make believe. Here you are pretending to talk to an imaginary judge, just as you like to talk to and worship imaginary deities. You clutch that Bible tight HpO, and scrunch those eyes closed even tighter.

  • Since it is impossible for people to compel themselves to believe in something, it seems grossly unfair, and contrary to the ordinary criminal law requirement of mens rea, to punish people for doing something they can’t prevent themselves from doing. It is an inherent part of human autonomy to want to express the ideas we have, so to censor atheists disrespects their humanity in a way that the Abrahamic religions should never endorse.

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