Atheism in Egypt is back in the news.
The correct term to describe a person who does not believe that a god or gods exist is the word “Atheist”. If you are not sure about that, and many of those that do believe do actually reject it as the correct word, then simply google the term “atheist definition” and surf on over to the Oxford English Dictionary where the word is defined as follows …
A person who disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of God or gods.
Disbelief is a common human attribute. There are of course many things that people do not believe are actually real such as Unicorns, or Thor, and nobody is too disturbed about that. Rather oddly when it comes to a religious belief in a God, those that do sincerely believe at a deep emotional level despite the lack of any evidence at all, often become rather upset to discover the very existence of people who do not actually believe and often have a very hard time coming to terms with the very concept of people who don’t believe. They will sometimes even suggest that those that don’t believe are simply faking that disbelief and so remain in complete denial of this reality.
Latest News: Atheism to be Criminalised in Egypt
“Egypt Today”, along with many other news outlets, report that the Egyptian parliament is about to pass a law that will criminalise not believing things that are not actually true at all …
Egypt’s parliament takes serious actions to combat atheism
CAIRO – 4 January 2018: Parliament’s Committee on Religion is about to prepare an explanatory note on the draft law to criminalize atheism in Egypt, amongst several steps Egypt takes to combat atheism, said on Thursday the head of committee, Amr Hamroush.
The law consists of four articles; the first defines atheism; the second criminalizes atheism and imposes severe sanctions on atheists; the third stipulates that the penalties would be cancelled if a person eschews his atheist beliefs and the fourth one dictates that the penalties declared in the law are severe.
Obviously nobody can measure what somebody actually believes, so this is simply a means to stifle any and all criticism of belief or declarations of non-belief.
Try This Thought Experiment
To help you grasp just how utterly bizarre and weird this is, here is a small thought experiment.
- If somebody told you that each night magic invisible pink unicorns performed a dance just outside your house would you believe that … ever?
- You could of course inquire what time this happened and suggest that you could look to see it happen or even video it, but you would perhaps be reminded that they are invisible. Given that they are also pink that is suggested as proof that they truly are magical and special. For any test you suggested there could be a reason why such a test could not work ..
- Footprints? Nope they float
- Infrared? Nope they are truly invisible
- You soon discover that many people claim that they believe this and so on that basis would you then start to believe it?
- If you were offered a reward for believing, for example $1 million, would you then start to truly believe? You could of course fake the belief, but the unicorns would know you were faking.
- Now what happens if a Government statement declares it to all be true and a law is passed that proposes stiff jail sentences for anybody who publicly suggests that it might not actually be true at all, would you then start to believe?
That’s essentially the essence off what is going on here.
If you think the magic invisible unicorn idea is absurd and not the same as a religious belief, then pause and remember that within an Islamic context part of the belief (for some) is the idea that Mohammed rode a magical flying winged horse, and so you are in reality, if you live in Egypt, now faced with the distinct possibility of being potentially criminalised if you publicly express disbelief in such absurd ideas – assuming of course the law is enacted, and that is right now a distinct possibility.
Generally, most humans associate with a specific religious tradition that they have inherited through the circumstances of their birth and not because they really ever gave it much thought and selected the best possible truest belief. They will usually adhere to the various aspects of it all with greatly varying degrees of confidence, picking out the bits that they like, and happily discarding things that they don’t like. For many there is comfort and friendship to be found within the community and that is good enough.
A disruptive force has emerged, a greatly increased flow of information now threatens much of this and so there has been a rising tide of disbelief. As a response, those deeply immersed who hold such ideas closely at a deep emotional level push back and strive to preserve the status quo. What is happening now in Egypt is a manifestation of this deeply felt insecurity and fear.
Death Sentence for Disbelief?
The idea that not believing merits a death sentence is medieval, but still does actually exist within some nations because it is a potent force. Generally it is there to act as a means of intimidation and is usually not actually carried out.
There are 13 nations on earth today where legally you can be put to death for your lack of belief in gods:
- Afghanistan, Iran, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates, Yemen
Will Egypt now become number 14 on that list?
If indeed the only real argument you have for belief consists of legal threats and intimidation, then you should seriously pause and consider the thought that one reason for a rising tide of disbelief is the revelation that this is all you really have.