This group is kind of dead so I don't know if anyone will answer me but I have been an atheist for a few years now and needless to say I feel so very alone in my beliefs so it's a relief to find a group like this so I can discuss here what I can't discuss in real life.
I would like to know how the members of this group came to break free from their respective religion and what was the main turning point that made them wake up and start questioning the validity of their religion?
Also how do you cope with being an atheist in such a predominantly religious country? Did you tell anyone about your beliefs (or lack thereof) ? If so how did they react and did it affect your relationship with them?
I wish I can be open about my atheism and not have the constant threat that someone will harm me because I am a non-believer. I wish I can tell my family and my friends how I feel without the fear of them disowning me or abandoning me or worse.
Do you think there will ever come a day were you can openly express your disbelief here in Egypt without the threat of death hanging over your head?
Actually Dream the first response i always get from Muslims is you just dont know Islam that well, till they discover that i know more than the average Muslim, then they say your heart is solid and may Allah soften it, till they find that my heart is as any average human being so they say you just want to sin, till they find that i do what all people do so they just get confused and stop talking about the matter.
I don't think that what you said necessarily contradicts what I said. Meaning that the Muslims you mentioned tried to find something wrong with you so they can blame your disbelief on that but when they couldn't they stopped talking about the matter altogether because they started to feel threatened.
Am I making any sense? :D
I think you could be right with that hypothesis... This harsh punishment comes out of fear for people who question religion. And fear is exactly what religion is founded upon and the reason why it keeps on existing.
What is repeated over and over and over again in the Qur'an are threats about going to hell if you ever question the existence and greatness of our lord. So people just play it on the safe side and never question anything or allow anyone else to question for that matter.
And not believing in God is supposed to be the biggest sin! I mean, if you lie and cheat and killed someone, you might still be forgiven and go to heaven. But for example a guy like the Dalai Lama, who is a symbol of peace and only promotes love for his fellow man, would go to hell, because his Buddhist philosophy doesn't include a god. It just doesn't seem right.
But still, is there a better way to make people behave than to scare them with a God who watches their every move and has the power to throw them in hell for eternity?
You raise a very good point. I think it is crazy how not believing in God is the ultimate sin, and how even if you are a righteous person who has done nothing wrong, you will still be thrown in hell to be tortured eternally, while a believer who has sinned and killed and raped might still be forgiven and even get to enjoy eternal bliss. Absolute madness!
Fear might be a very effective tactic but in my eyes a good person who does good deeds for fear of eternal fire or for the promise of eternal bliss is not a good person to begin with. This is why I think atheists or irreligious people who do good deeds to be more moral than religious people who do good deeds.
Answering the original post, well dream.. i decided not to worship a god when i was 17 and with the passage of time i became an atheist i am now 30, and my parents still dont know i am atheist. All those who know me do understand that i am not religious but i never use the word atheist with anyone except very few ppl some of which are fine with it and others decide not to talk to me any more.
Honestly, i always felt kinda lonely, which is making me think of leaving the country all together. But i dont give up to depression and boredom, i thought myself to find fun in different things, and coz my work takes alot of my time so that also helps.
There was a very old post over here in which we were planning to meet up and try and start a club or something but it never happened.. I really wish we can do that now, you know if 5 or 6 of us meet occasionally over a beer (before it gets banned) or something i think we will find an outlet to our "jailed in the mind thoughts" and we will all feel better.
While for why i became an atheist i know it will sound nerdy but it was cosmology.. long story short i wanted to understand the universe and when i read the quran i found it talking about a flat earth with 7 layers of heaven (which apparently are the sun, moon and the 5 known planets at the time) then i read A brief history of time and age of reason that i found a a neighbors house and i found my way..
i honestly wish this group was more a live but i myself dont post alot in it but will try to me more active i mean finally i am talking to other similar minded ppl
You touch on a concern of mine and that is, if i tell some people I am an atheist they might turn their backs on me. What was that like?
I am glad that you are not giving in to depression. I know the situation in Egypt seems bleak and the conditions might be better for you in other countries but you can still make your life here better, and the first step to that is meeting like minded people so you don't have to feel so lonely. I did read the post you were referring to and I thought it was a great idea but unfortunately it never followed through.
I am still too young to drink beer and I don't have a particular liking to it anyway but there is no reason we could all meet over something else xD There are a couple of problem though; we might not be able to agree on a time and place that suits all of us, and also establishing an atheist club posses a considerable safety risk.
Haha cosmology is possibly my favorite subject :D
Well that makes a lot of sense. Cosmology was probably the subject the Quran was most ignorant about. I don't think I have read a single peace of information the Quran got right about Cosmology. Which is not really surprising, I didn't expect Mohamed to know a whole lot about it. He ,at many occasions, retold what was prevalent at the time which is still a huge fail in the case of the flat earth because the idea that the earth is round was well established at the time.
Ugh, the 7 layers of heaven thing always confused me. Is he talking about the atmosphere, is he talking about what you said, is he saying that the whole universe is the first layer and there are others above it (Which is what I generally took it to mean since it makes the most sense out of the three).
I feel ashamed for not having read "A Brief History of Time" yet. I must start right away.
I haven't heard of "Age of Reason" before. I will be sure to put it on my reading list.
Well, it seems that some people in this group are indeed active but they only stop every once in a while. I wish it was much more active though. Do you have any ideas?
When ppl whom you considered friends turn their back to you just coz you dont believe in a god, then they werent much of friends to start with. In my humble opinion i think its not a good idea to ever use the word atheist, pose as a secular person, but the word atheist can get you in trouble in Egypt.
We can all meet over coffee :).. i am more into wine anyways not beer :D, what counts is the conversation.. If we establish an atheist club it will be more or less an atheist hangout, so no worries about safety there.
I see your english is good, where were you bought up?
A brief history of time is quite old now, you may go for "The Grand Design" or "A Universe from Nothing", but do not miss The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine its worth the read..
Its nice you like cosmology, its wonderful and mind boggling. You must have read about M-Theory and all that follows do you think we will end up finding a Universe or Multi-verses!
I have no ideas for making the group active but if you wish to discuss religion there is a group on facebook thats really interesting its called Debating Islam here goes the link http://www.facebook.com/groups/122954901147377/
I have never described myself as an atheist except to my best friend so I know it's not really wise. Still, I can't help but wish it would have been different.
That sounds nice. I have never met another non-believer so it would be really great if some of us can meet sometime.
I was brought up here in Egypt but I have always like American entertainment, and I read almost everything in English fa mashy el 7al ya3ne.
I know it's old now but I have wanted to read it for some time now. As for "The Grand Design" and "A Universe from Nothing" they appear to have received some mixed reviews but I will check them out after I have finished "A Brief History of Time".
I don't know much about string theory at the moment so forgive my ignorance but there doesn't seem to be a consensus between physicists regarding it so I don't know if we will ever end up finding parallel universes.
That being said, I am all for it. The possibilities are endless and I often find myself thinking about them. It is truly fascinating and certainly gets you thinking.
I don't think debating on Facebook will be productive. Not exactly the most mature audience. But thanks for the link, it's funny reading the exchanges between Muslims and non-believers xD
Wow. I'm sorry for your situation. I'd bet you might be wrong, when you stated, "I've never met another non-believer." It's likely you have, but in such a hostile climate the two of you are not at liberty to discuss the fact that you know the majority (theists) are fucking psychotic. JMO.
Peace, & good luck to you.
I agree. I have considered it before, and it wouldn't be surprising if I have in fact met other non-believers before without releasing it.
Thank you :)
I must say, my heart goes out to you guys. Being an American, even though the US has suffered a loss of credibility, as well as perceived morality, (justifiably, I think), it's inconceivable to my mind that one could suffer bodily harm for yelling "there is NO GOD" in the street, or be socially ostracized for making one's views public. Forget about being jailed for ANY (consensual) sexual conduct, or beheaded for apostasy, that's not only absurd, but seems as criminal an act as a state could commit. Here I thought the Egyptian government was more progressive... didn't think things were still so frickin' repressive in terms of the government imposing strict adherence to Islamic tenets. I suppose it could be worse; One could be in Saudi Arabia, or be an Afghan under the Taliban. Talk about scary! :0
I am... impressed is an understatement, I'm in awe of the courage, and the inherent belief in right and wrong that must be present for you all to send this stuff out even over the internet. You guys are an inspiration to everyone who lives in, or out of a free society. (More on the USA & freedom in a min).
Forgive my ignorance about contemporary Egyptian politics, culture, etc. I am not very familiar with the country. I would like to ask though, how are things for the average Egyptian since your courageous people rose up against, and successfully removed Mubarak? Is the army behaving as violently as US media made it sound? Our media being so corporate controlled--so politically motivated--I assumed the only way to get at the truth is to ask people who live there.
Lastly... Don't be fooled by American propaganda. This country is failing! Unless we get money & religion out of politics, unless we put Madison & Jefferson's constitution back together, the USA, I believe, will implode. That is... IF we don't go to full-on war with the whole muslim world, over the preposterous and appalling religious ideology infecting our entire planet, thus killing ourselves, and the rest of the world in the process. Hail ATHEISM, HUMANISM, DIGNITY & JUSTICE for ALL people of Earth!
Peace, my new friends,
I am not going to talk about the punishment for apostasy in Islam because you know how vague and contradicting religious texts can be. I am going to talk instead about the punishment for apostasy in Egypt. Here are some cases you can check out (I know that some people do not like Wikipedia but it is the most comprehensive source I could find at the moment and you can check other sources if you like). The punishments are obviously overly severe but there has been no account of beheading that I am aware of.
One of the mentioned cases is the case of Egyptian intellectual Farag Foda: He was shot to death by members of the Islamic Group after being accused of blasphemy. The murderers were executed after that.
The reason I am saying all of this is that there are three separate repercussions that face non-believers who are open about their views here in Egypt: 1) Social rejections (Which can range from severe to benign depending to one's status and environment), 2) Legal repercussions (Depending on how open you are about your views), 3) Death (by Islamist extremists)
It is hard to gauge just how severe the repercussions will be exactly because it depends on a lot of factor and because there have been only a few cases where people had the courage to speak out. And it's even more tricky now with the ever increasing Islamist presence in politics so we can only hope that things won't get worse.
I don't know if you can call us courageous. After all we are only speaking here anonymously. That's not courageous that's smart xD I think the people who are more spoken out (Like the ones in the cases above) are the ones who are truly deserving of praise.
I don't know much about what is going on (I try to avoid politics) and we are not exactly impervious to propaganda by our own media. I would say that Egyptians are very confused and conflicted. My own family members are on opposite sides of the political struggle.
As for the army, I think it really depends on who you ask. Some people think the army is being overly violent, some think they are only doing their job, some think they are being too soft,some people keep changing their minds. Now of course the number of people who support each point of view vary but I think the point still stands.
I am sure someone else can answer you better than I can though. Again I don't know much about what is happening and it is not exactly a pleasant subject.
I am sure religion plays a huge part in current conflicts and it plays a huge part in the rise and fall of countries and although I would love to be rid of religion, I am not sure atheism will be the way to peace and prosperity either. After all we still have human nature to deal with. When religion is out of the eqaution, other things will get thrown in to replace it.