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Atheism as a Religion - sometimes it can help


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Like many on this forum my hackles rise when science is called a religion, similarly when posters compare my lack of faith in any god as a religion; so this title was deliberately provocative.

Really it is just an excuse for a thought-provoking story from the BBC

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-25715736

An Afghan citizen has been granted asylum in the UK for religious reasons - because he is an atheist.
The man fled to the UK from a conflict involving his family in Afghanistan in 2007, aged 16, and was allowed to stay in the UK until 2013.
He was brought up a Muslim, but during his time in the UK became an atheist, his legal team said.
They said he would face persecution and possibly a death sentence if he was returned to Afghanistan.


It is possibly the first time in the UK that a lack of religion has been grounds for protection under a law a/o convention which gives refugee status to those in fear of persecution on religious grounds

For the purposes of the present Convention, the term “refugee” shall
apply to any person who:
...
(2)
As a result of events occurring before 1 January 1951 and owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationaity, ...

 

 

 

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In Islam punishment for leaving the faith is death. Nothing more, nothing less. It is a perfect law, given by God himself and this law cannot be changed. All people who abandon this wicked religion face either death or total rejection by the community.

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In Islam punishment for leaving the faith is death. Nothing more, nothing less. It is a perfect law, given by God himself and this law cannot be changed. All people who abandon this wicked religion face either death or total rejection by the community.

 

That's not strictly true. Islam is an umbrella term covering many different faiths - with different hadith - and blanket pronouncements do not help nor provide much guidance. I do not believe the penalty is in the koran - which believers would all think of as the revelation of god to his prophet; the references to death penalties and in fact majority of sharia is from the hadith.

 

Firstly, Hadith are tradition which scholars connect to the behaviour of the prophet and those closely connected to him - this is not the direct word of god. Secondly, Hadith vary massively between the different flavours of Islam. And finally, even amongst one sect the interpretation of hadith varies from school to school and between clerics and jurist.

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Hadith aren't word of God but they are examples set by the "prophet" -supposendly the most perfect man in the world and are no less important than Quran... Some people claim that hadith are more reliable source than the quran because one can be a Muslim by knowing hadith alone but not by knowing quran alone - as it's basically a collection of rumblings and rantings without any order and with no historical context provided.

 

If you think that death penalty is not a part of Islam, you can register on one of English language Islamic discussion boards and try to convince them that they're mistaken. Of course you can't - they have studied Islam for longer and know it better than you do. They have hadith and sira on their side while you have nothing.

 

It is so incredibly sad that many people who reject this totalitarian BS - most of whom are educated, smart people - have to live in hiding because some 7th century bandit warlord decided that his ideology cannot survive without force. And he was right, Islam cannot compete freely with other religions, it must rely on force to retain believers.

Edited by SlavicWolf
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Hadith aren't word of God but they are examples set by the "prophet" -supposendly the most perfect man in the world and are no less important than Quran... Some people claim that hadith are more reliable source than the quran because one can be a Muslim by knowing hadith alone but not by knowing quran alone - as it's basically a collection of rumblings and rantings without any order and with no historical context provided.

 

If you think that death penalty is not a part of Islam, you can register on one of English language Islamic discussion boards and try to convince them that they're mistaken. Of course you can't - they have studied Islam for longer and know it better than you do. They have hadith and sira on their side while you have nothing.

 

It is so incredibly sad that many people who reject this totalitarian BS - most of whom are educated, smart people - have to live in hiding because some 7th century bandit warlord decided that his ideology cannot survive without force. And he was right, Islam cannot compete freely with other religions, it must rely on force to retain believers.

 

 

This thread is not really about Islam - more about its absence :) Almost every point of your initial post was incorrect - I was merely pointing this out.

 

I have been studying and discussing Islam for way longer than many of the people on Islamic discussion websites - I read the koran way before the web was a gleam in Sir T B-L's eye and probably before any form of public internet. I am an equal-opportunity atheist - I reject all religions equally; to seriously reject a religion you must understand it. I wanted to point out that your post about islam was incorrect because otherwise it appears that we are promoting a potentially false view of a faith in order to argue against it. Islam is bad enough to reject it without resorting to distorting characterisations.

 

 

And he was right, Islam cannot compete freely with other religions, it must rely on force to retain believers.

 

 

Your sentence here makes me believe I was correct to criticise your post - this sounds as if your view on islam is formed as part of another religion, rather than a valid objection based on the individual faith. Let's face it historically, none of the three abrahamic religions can boast about their record of peaceful coexistence with their neighbours.

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It is possibly the first time in the UK that a lack of religion has been grounds for protection under a law...

Similar arguments appear here in the US, specifically around prayer in publically-run and funded schools. When we look at our own first amendment, the founders intent seems clearly to protect the freedom OF religion, but also the freedom FROM religion of all citizens in the nation.

 

From what I can tell, it's not about atheism being itself a religion, but instead about it being inherently and unalterably related to religion.

 

One's protection of their freedom to practice a faith must equally apply to one's protection of their freedom not to practice, an idea itself reinforced by Jefferson's clear articulation of the desired "wall of separation" between the church and state.

 

Some interesting debate along these lines is also seen in context of our currency, the US dollar, which proclaims boldly across its face, "In God We Trust." This proclamation seems very much to ignore citizens freedom FROM religion (since belief in God is inherently a religious idea), and this has been argued to be unconstitutional. Likewise, the Pledge of Allegiance recited each morning by children in our public government run schools contains the language, "One nation, under God," and this, too, has been challenged on similar grounds (this one is a little more difficult to argue since children are allowed to remain silent if they choose to do so while the pledge is recited).

 

The UK, having similar protections to practice and not practice religion, is IMO well within its right to protect this citizen under religious grounds despite the semantic validity of knowing atheism is not itself a religion. It should be no different from the freedom of speech equally protecting ones freedom not to speak.

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Similar arguments appear here in the US, specifically around prayer in publically-run and funded schools. When we look at our own first amendment, the founders intent seems clearly to protect the freedom OF religion, but also the freedom FROM religion of all citizens in the nation.

 

From what I can tell, it's not about atheism being itself a religion, but instead about it being inherently and unalterably related to religion.

Agree entirely - I was being disingenuous in the title.

 

One's protection of their freedom to practice a faith must equally apply to one's protection of their freedom not to practice, an idea itself reinforced by Jefferson's clear articulation of the desired "wall of separation" between the church and state.

 

Some interesting debate along these lines is also seen in context of our currency, the US dollar, which proclaims boldly across its face, "In God We Trust." This proclamation seems very much to ignore citizens freedom FROM religion (since belief in God is inherently a religious idea), and this has been argued to be unconstitutional. Likewise, the Pledge of Allegiance recited each morning by children in our public government run schools contains the language, "One nation, under God," and this, too, has been challenged on similar grounds (this one is a little more difficult to argue since children are allowed to remain silent if they choose to do so while the pledge is recited).

 

The UK, having similar protections to practice and not practice religion, is IMO well within its right to protect this citizen under religious grounds despite the semantic validity of knowing atheism is not itself a religion. It should be no different from the freedom of speech equally protecting ones freedom not to speak.

What I found interesting was not so much the protection under the law to be non-religious, reject a certain religion, or be an atheist - but rather the proactive use of the law of religious freedom (or freedom from persecution for religious reasons) to force the administration / state to do something in the case of an atheist. Many laws in the UK can be used as shield (protection from...) but not as a sword (force someone to do...) - I believe the same is the case in most common law jurisdictions. It is a good, common sense decision that I approve of and am slightly surprised at.
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Like many on this forum my hackles rise when science is called a religion, similarly when posters compare my lack of faith in any god as a religion; so this title was deliberately provocative.

 

Really it is just an excuse for a thought-provoking story from the BBC

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-25715736

 

 

 

It is possibly the first time in the UK that a lack of religion has been grounds for protection under a law a/o convention which gives refugee status to those in fear of persecution on religious grounds

 

 

 

 

 

Whats your point?

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He wasn't under threat of persecution because of his religion.

He was under threat of persecution because of other people's religion.

That's the religious persecution from which he suffered.

He wasn't granted asylum because he was an atheist. An atheist from, Russia (for example) wouldn't be granted asylum.

A Christian, Jew or Buddhist would have been granted asylum in those circumstances too.

 

So, I'm not sure that it's a "lack of religion" that got him asylum in this case.

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