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← Iraqis Shocked as Atheism Creeps

Iraqis Shocked as Atheism Creeps - Comments

Am I Evil?'s Avatar Comment 1 by Am I Evil?

Suppose every country, no matter how theocratic, must have some atheists hiding away somewhere. Hope they get the courage to organise themselves in the near future.

And I note how the sheik told the kid to 'never deny his god' but doesn't bother to explain why.

Mon, 12 Oct 2009 14:35:00 UTC | #405058

dumbcountryhick's Avatar Comment 2 by dumbcountryhick

"Violence, religious differences, deaths, hunger, displacement and many other issues made me ask myself where God is,” he said."

This is what creates atheists not evolution.

Mon, 12 Oct 2009 14:41:00 UTC | #405059

fasharoony's Avatar Comment 3 by fasharoony

It is great to hear that atheism lives in even the most theocratically depressed lands.

Mon, 12 Oct 2009 14:44:00 UTC | #405060

HourglassMemory's Avatar Comment 4 by HourglassMemory

It was an interesting read.
I wonder how much of the quote atheist's notion of "growing community" is really just wishful thinking? 220 isn't a lot. (I guess it's what you'd expect from a country like Iraq...)
Though I do wonder how many are in the closet.
Especially younger people, who have been born in a completely different world.
I could bet my life there are either kids or teenagers or young adults dining with their families and when the subject of god shows up they just have to go along with it. Same with their friends talking about.
Or kids with their friends, who can just clearly see through the nonsense.

I wonder if having Islam be the "official religion" of all these places, could have an effect similar to that of the Anglican church in the UK, where it becomes so common place that at a certain point people just don't bother noticing it and instead focus on other things.

In articles like these, me being 20 years old, I always look for passages like these:
“Our kids today are different from before. They are aware of everything and are growing fast"
And more often than not I find them, and they all say the same thing. They always express the sentiment of "Oh, kids today..."
It gives me a lot of hope.

Mon, 12 Oct 2009 14:45:00 UTC | #405061

Sally Luxmoore's Avatar Comment 5 by Sally Luxmoore

The power and freedom of the internet means that this is inevitable.
I am quite sure that it is now largely due to YouTube, sites like this one and any site with a comments board, that ideas such as atheism can spread in so uncontrolled a fashion.
(See - for example)
The wonderful thing about this is that young people love this freedom and there is very little that the religious authorities can do about it.

Mon, 12 Oct 2009 14:47:00 UTC | #405063

A's Avatar Comment 6 by A

**"Many are blaming the crisis on the war and it's repercussions"**

The war **IS** the crisis, not a vanishingly small number of people embracing intellectual honesty.

Mon, 12 Oct 2009 14:52:00 UTC | #405064

SaganTheCat's Avatar Comment 7 by SaganTheCat

“No one is guiltier than the Americans who brought such ideas to Iraqis.”

interesting quote

don't know what ideas, the american forces certainly haven't been preaching atheism. maybe it was all the ones trying to convert them to jaysis made them stop and think "y'know what£ it's all a bit of a joke really isn't it£"

Mon, 12 Oct 2009 14:52:00 UTC | #405065

Bonzai's Avatar Comment 8 by Bonzai

In places like Iraq religion is often bounded up with tribal and sectarian identity. Belief is not just an abstract, philosophical issue that can be settled by reason and logic, it has many earthly implications.

Mon, 12 Oct 2009 14:55:00 UTC | #405066

Fidgaf's Avatar Comment 9 by Fidgaf

Tens of thousands of prayers each and every hour, day, week and months for year after year and their God is still silent and inactive as life remains uncomfortable, at best, for the Iraqis.

Is it because poor God is confused whether to answer the prayers from the Christians or the Muslims?

Is it because one Muslim prayer cancels out one Christian prayer?

Maybe it's because the Abrahamic God is having one of his lazy periods, like the 100,000 years he hung about saying nothing to humans until he decided on a chat a few thousand years ago?

Or is it because their imaginary friend is just imaginary but no friend?

Mon, 12 Oct 2009 14:56:00 UTC | #405067

sdando's Avatar Comment 10 by sdando

So what I get from this is that:

Muslim's are born, according to the religious guy

American's are responsible for Atheism (A bizzare accussation at best which I could only wish actually was the case).

This showcases the ignorance of the religious in Iraq and higlights how, with a strong enough stimulus, any thinking person can reject the nonsense of reigion no matter how brainwashed they are.

Too bad but not surprising how they must hide. Doesn't Sharia Law say they should be beheaded for rejecting Islam or some such nonsense?

Mon, 12 Oct 2009 15:13:00 UTC | #405074

Colwyn Abernathy's Avatar Comment 11 by Colwyn Abernathy

Although their number remains insignificant and most of them hid their identity, the fact that some people are leaving Islam and becoming atheists is a troubling news in conservative Iraq.

Depends on what side you're on. ;) Now, if we could only get a mass exodus of the faithless, I think we'd have even more dropping the faith.

Mon, 12 Oct 2009 15:15:00 UTC | #405075

Sally Luxmoore's Avatar Comment 12 by Sally Luxmoore

American's are responsible for Atheism

To be fair, I expect he means 'Americans' as shorthand for the war and all the suffering. That is a lot more understandable.
I don't know how Islam deals with Theodicy - I can't imagine that Allah is portrayed as a suffering god, in the way that Jehovah / Jesus is. I suspect that the attitude that goes with 'Inshallah' (the will of god) makes it much harder for ordinary muslims to make any sense of their sufferings.

Mon, 12 Oct 2009 15:22:00 UTC | #405076

wetbread's Avatar Comment 13 by wetbread

For a real treat, read the comment thread. And here I thought the most idiotic comments were always found on YouTube. I see now how mistaken I was.

Mon, 12 Oct 2009 15:23:00 UTC | #405077

Apathy personified's Avatar Comment 14 by Apathy personified

This is pure conjecture on my part, but i don't think having people who don't believe in any god or spiritual/supernatural rubbish is a new thing. But if your life depends on you keeping quiet and pretending to pray a few times a day, most people would just do it, keeping their thoughts to themselves. This becomes more interesting when some people start to openly question and even start groups.
Although they only report small numbers now, i hope more Iraqis (and people of every other nationality, race, gender, football team, etc.) get the confidence to open defy the 'everyone is religious in this part of the world' status quo.

Mon, 12 Oct 2009 15:52:00 UTC | #405083

brainsys's Avatar Comment 15 by brainsys

Hold on a moment. Iraq was basically a secular state run by a socialist party - the Baath Party. Albeit led by a mad man. One who was the US champion against the Islamic republic of Iran.

Saddam 're-discovered' Islam when the christians turned on him in the hope of Arab support. The removal of the Baathists just led to a vacuum quickly occupied by a toxic collection of tribal religious leaders - the tribe being the interest and religion the badge as we saw only too clearly in Northern Ireland.

Given that the ensuing shambles then it is unsurprising that many look back to a more secular state and even Saddaam. Atheism, or rather revulsion against the corrupt religious warlords (not quite the same thing) is what any deep thinking Iraqi is likely to embrace ... albeit very quietly.

Mon, 12 Oct 2009 15:56:00 UTC | #405084

black wolf's Avatar Comment 16 by black wolf

It's sad that it takes family members and friends blown to bits and a country in ruins for a few people to wake up and realize that there's no magical superman watching over them, 'willing' everything to happen for someone's good in mysterious ways.
And even then, people prefer not to think and instead urge more intense indoctrination of children.
The self-aggrandisement, the arab-centrism in the muslim world is due to oil wealth. They can parade around in their ignorance, blaming all misfortune on someone else. When the oil runs out, they will stop being at the center of attention, the view of the rest of the world will shift away, and they will be just another Uganda. A place irrelevant to the world, a curiosity to occasionally have a mild head shake over.

Give up Islam or be stuck with it. A choice to be made (as long as nobody's near willing to cleave your head off for being rational).

Mon, 12 Oct 2009 17:42:00 UTC | #405096

Richard Dawkins's Avatar Comment 17 by Richard Dawkins

Make what you will of this fact, recently told me by Josh. Of all countries in the world, the one where achieves its highest ranking, in terms of numbers of visits, is . . . Iraq!

Just to clarify, that doesn't mean we are the highest ranking site in Iraq! It means that if ranks all the countries in the world to find the country where we hit our own maximum popularity, Iraq comes out on top.

I have no idea what interpretation to put on this fact, and simply pass it on for your consideration.


Mon, 12 Oct 2009 18:03:00 UTC | #405100

Steven Mading's Avatar Comment 18 by Steven Mading

The site allows comments without registration, so I (perhaps ill-advisedly) entered the fray and brought up, yet again, the whole notion of a "born Muslim" and how there's no such thing, with this post that I'll reproduce here:

(Note, the run-on paragraph is because the comment system on that site strips out all blank lines and I didn't know that. My original was about 4 separate paragraphs.)

From the article, was the statement: “But when I hear that a born Muslim adopted atheism, I feel strong enough to help him find the true path.” What exactly is a "born Muslim"? How can a human who has never even heard or read a single word of the Quoran be a Muslim? I guarantee you that a newborn baby cannot understand language yet. When Muslim parents have a baby, that newborn baby is not a Muslim YET, and cannot be one until at least it grows old enough to be able to understand language so it knows what its parents are saying when they teach it about Islam. There is no such thing as a "born Muslim", nor any such thing as a "born Christian", or a "born Hindu" and so on, for exactly the same reason. How do you know these people were ever Muslims in the first place just because of where they were born? The practice of claiming that a baby is born already a Muslim is a bad idea for two reasons: 1 - It cheapens Islam by making it look like being a Muslim is simply an inherited racial property rather than the result of taught information. If you don't like it when people treat Islam like a race then you have to stop saying there's such a thing as a "born Muslim". 2 - It causes people to make the terrible mistake of treating those who never believed in the first place as if they were apostates. They're not. A man who's parents were Muslim but he himself never believed the religion no matter how hard they tried to teach it to him as he was growing up is NOT an apostate, and it is highly dishonest to treat him like he was (i.e. the punishment for apostasy is death). The lie that there is such a thing as a "born Muslim" results in people being executed for offences that they never committed. Even if I was willing to ignore the terrible consequences of a rule like "the penalty for apostasy is death", there would still be reason for outrage because not every atheist of Muslim parents was once a believer in Islam just because of where he was born.

Mon, 12 Oct 2009 18:06:00 UTC | #405101

jamiso's Avatar Comment 19 by jamiso

More than anything, I would think the sectarian nature of the civil war played a large role in changing some peoples thinking.

Between AQI blowing up every shia they could find, and the Mahdi army returning the favor (some gruesome stuff at that), the tribalistic nature of religion really starts to be seen for what it is.
The warriors of god, not only failed to win despite having the all mighty on their side, but didnt do anything except make things even worst for people.

@check out places like myspace, I've found some Iraqi atheists there, and they can be really cool to talk to. I really think the numbers are much higher. The younger generation, has the internet, and going to mean a lot in the future

Mon, 12 Oct 2009 18:09:00 UTC | #405102

Yebhx's Avatar Comment 20 by Yebhx

Sound like it is time to get 'The God Delusion' translated into Arabic Richard.

Mon, 12 Oct 2009 18:31:00 UTC | #405108

Bremas's Avatar Comment 21 by Bremas

Comment #423326 by Richard Dawkins

Josh, I would love to see the list Richard spoke of.

Mon, 12 Oct 2009 18:33:00 UTC | #405111

root2squared's Avatar Comment 22 by root2squared

Of all countries in the world, the one where achieves its highest ranking, in terms of numbers of visits, is . . . Iraq!

UK is no.2. Aus no.3, but % wise, 43% of the users are from the US.

Here are the complete stats for

Mon, 12 Oct 2009 18:34:00 UTC | #405112

Rosbif's Avatar Comment 23 by Rosbif

“When I hear this I try to give a lesson that reinforces Islam so that the kids would not forget their origin.”

And today's lesson to reinforce Islam is ....

Beating someone for wearing trouser, stoning someone for adultery, beheading a Kaffir?

Mon, 12 Oct 2009 18:42:00 UTC | #405116

Rosbif's Avatar Comment 24 by Rosbif

Great stats Root,
The shame of it, France doesn't even make it on to the list :(

Mon, 12 Oct 2009 18:46:00 UTC | #405120

Bremas's Avatar Comment 25 by Bremas

Thanks root

Turkey on the list. Do they know?

Mon, 12 Oct 2009 18:57:00 UTC | #405123

root2squared's Avatar Comment 26 by root2squared

Another interesting source of stats is google trends.

The country most interested in Richard Dawkins is...Ireland!

Richard Dawkins

Country most interested in Jesus - Peru

Country most interested in Allah - Pakistan.

And one last one

Evolution - Philippines


Edit: Interestingly, Philippines is also number 1 for Chemistry, Science, Biology, Math, History, and Geography. Certainly seems strange for one country to be at the top for all these stats!

Mon, 12 Oct 2009 19:00:00 UTC | #405125

alexo's Avatar Comment 27 by alexo

Comment #423335 by Yebhx

I second this Richard, when? I think it is so important, now obviously you're not going to get queues round the block in downtown Riyadh or Tehran but if it is available via google or any other online book site in Arabic or Farsi or any other languages where Islam dominates, then inquisitive muslims in private will definitely take a peek.

Mon, 12 Oct 2009 19:08:00 UTC | #405131

Sally Luxmoore's Avatar Comment 28 by Sally Luxmoore

The country most interested in Richard Dawkins is...Ireland!

Hey, that's great!
Hello Ireland.

- Don't worry, I don't think anyone here believes Bill O'Reilley's claim to be Irish.

Mon, 12 Oct 2009 19:10:00 UTC | #405132

Sally Luxmoore's Avatar Comment 29 by Sally Luxmoore

Have been reading the thread backwards, so missed Richard's comment on Iraq until now.
I wonder if it's possible that the British and American forces out there are contributing to that figure?

Mon, 12 Oct 2009 19:17:00 UTC | #405136

Bonzai's Avatar Comment 30 by Bonzai

brainsys has a point. Iraq has been one of the most secular countries in the region. Islam actually experienced kind of a revival after Saddam was removed.

Mon, 12 Oct 2009 19:26:00 UTC | #405140