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Is there such a thing as Atheist Country with human rights?

03 May 2012, 15:17

How come there is not a single country today that has a predominantly atheist population as its core citizens? You have Christian countries,Muslim countries,Buddhist countries,Hindu countries,a Jewish state that encourages judaism and yet is there a atheist country?The Czech Republic perhaps as they claim to be the most atheist country in all of Europe!Maybe just atheist friendly at best and no more than that for the Czech Republic. 

A statistical survey conducted by the Encyclopædia Britannica more than a decade ago showed that just 14.7 of the world's population were non-religious and of that number a mere 2.4% of the population were atheist. Almost all of that 2.4% percent lived in Europe,Canada,Australia and New Zealand. Hardly anything was even mentioned about South Africa or its religions and non-religious people,let alone its atheist.Yet they seem to come out in leaps and bounds on News24 anytime God,the Bible,religion or even science rises as a topic.

Wikipedia says that "the demographics of atheism are difficult to quantify. Different people interpret atheism and related terms differently, and it can be hard to draw boundaries between atheism, nonreligious beliefs, and nontheistic religious and spiritual beliefs. Furthermore, atheists may not report themselves as such, to prevent suffering from social stigma, discrimination, and persecution in some countries".

According to the Eurostat Eurobarometer poll,Sweden had the most atheist per capita which is 23%, followed by Norway,Denmark and to my surprise Vietnam.Apparently China has only 8% atheist in its vast population of 1.3billion people and came in at number 36 on the all time atheist list of countries. America had 9% of its 312million population classified as atheist.

What about the human rights issue slash religion or atheism?

Currently these countries listed below are the worst human rights offenders on the planet:

Sierra Leone
North Korea

How many of these countries are predominantly atheist and how many are predominantly believing in God? If you had to put on a chart the record or history of the militant atheist vs religious zealots,who would be more murderous of the two and does it matter?

America's 3rd president,Thomas Jefferson,gives an answer on that when he wrote:"It would be more pardonable to believe in no god at all, than to blaspheme him by the atrocious attributes of John Calvin".

"Reformers" John Calvin and Martin Luther, tried to reform the church through intolerance,bloodshed and a stranglehold on their subjects. Should countries today separate state from religion, so that you could be allowed to be at least agnostic politically?Why ask that?It is because human rights abuses are not necessarily religious or atheistic for its reasons.Just barbaric!

To be an atheist,some have said that an individual needs to be very open-minded. In countries where human rights are scarce and non-progressive as is mentioned in my list,it is decidedly inconvenient for you as an individual to practice something,like atheism,where it is not the popular public opinion of the day in your country. Most people that resist any of the socalled alternative lifestyles,like being gay,lesbian,bisexual,transgender etc are those who are part of organized religion. Not all,but most are from there.

Is there a subtle difference though between correlation and causation? If two things correlate with each other does that mean one causes the other? No it doesn't. Does it even have to interact at all?

For example if a serial killer drinks water,or anything else for that matter,does water make him/her what he/she is?A big difference between correlation and causation.

It was 18th century German philosopher Immanuel Kant  that said:"...Man’s progress is being hindered by his dependence on politics and religion for guidance....dare to know...have the courage to use your own intelligence"!

Since he said those words,according to the book The Universal History of the World,"man's outlook on religion has changed as scepticism replaced blind faith and many viewed religion with contempt or as philosopher Paul Henri Thiry Holbach wrote:"Religion is the source of divisions, madness, and crimes...and that the [power-hungry leaders of the Catholic Church were keeping people in ignorance]".

You could say it was religion that caused the spread of atheism. As theology professor Michael J. Buckley wrote:"The Churches were the soil of atheism...The Western conscience found itself deeply scandalized and disgusted by confessional religions. The Churches and the sects had devastated Europe, engineered massacres, demanded religious resistance or revolution, attempted to excommunicate or to depose monarchs".

By the 19th century denial in the existence of "God" was very open and thriving. It was men like Flourens, Bradlaugh and Feuerbach that said:"Hatred of God is the beginning of wisdom. If mankind would make true progress, it must be on the basis of atheism".

French writer P. Valadier wrote:"It was the Christian tradition that produced atheism as its fruit; it led to the murder of God in the consciences of men because it presented them with an unbelievable God".

However,physics professor Henry Margenau, says:"...If you take the top-notch scientists today, you'll find very few atheists among them". So according to this professor neither the advances of science nor the failure of religion lead to abandoning a belief in God.

Should both atheists and theists of all persuasions be able to discuss their views and do so respectfully? Its called freedom of speech and not insulting what your believe system is.

Atheists,agnostics or simply non-theists,there is no single ideology that all atheists share, nor are there any institutionalized rituals or behaviours they follow. There are certain individuals whose religious or spiritual beliefs some might describe as atheistic, though those holding to such beliefs do not normally describe themselves as atheists either.

Atheism, in its broadest definition is an absence of belief in the existence of gods. It includes both those who assert that there are no gods and those who make no claim about whether gods exist or not.

Will there ever be a world without religion,suicide bombers,tv evangelist,atheist or religious wars? Is such a world even possible? Might atheism even be contributing to the same kind of moral ambiguity or confusion we find today? Has morality become relative,with each and every person determining his/her own standards which ever way we choose to have any such?

The New York Times once wrote:"Atheists do not lose morality by giving up God...infact moralistic atheists do not see right and wrong as artifacts of a divine protection racket.Rather that the moral value to be immanent in the natural world, arising from the vulnerabilities of sentient beings and from the capacities of rational beings to recognize and to respond to those vulnerabilities and capacities in others."


2.Lord Avebury "Prehistoric Times". › ... › Categories › Philosophy and Religion › Atheism.

5.Awake Magazine,September 2010 issue.


7.The New York Times...The Opinion Pages,December 2011.

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

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