Being Pakistani and atheist a dangerous combo, but some ready to brave it

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They realise that they belong to a country where apostasy means inviting the risk of death – even if spared by government authorities and courts, a fanatic mob would certainly not.
But they have still chosen to tread a perilous path in their attempt to reach out to other Pakistanis sharing similar beliefs and more importantly, to let the world know they exist. They are a group of Pakistani atheists called the Pakistani Atheists and Agnostics (PAA). They first tried to make their presence known two years back by making a page about their group on Facebook. On August 14 this year, they launched their website www.e-paa.org that was literally an instant hit. It received more than 17,000 hits in just 48 hours after its launch from 95 countries, including Saudi Arabia.
How did the idea to bring together Pakistani atheists on a single platform come up? “When I became an atheist, I honestly thought there were no others like me in Pakistan. Through discussions on various social networking groups and forums, I found a few others like me. So we decided to make this group to find out how many more were out there,” says Hazrat NaKhuda, one of the founding members of the group. For obvious reasons, the PAA members go by pseudonyms to protect their identity.
When the PAA first appeared on the Internet, the Indian media ran a misconstrued story about the group, giving the impression that Pakistani youth were turning away from Islam due to the rising extremism and militancy. However, the PAA rebuts that story and says that its members are not only former Muslims, but people who have left Christianity, Hinduism and other faiths as well.
“Extremism is not the primary reason why people leave Islam. But looking at recent converts, I can say that it has become one of the reasons why people start questioning the religion of their forefathers,” explains Hazrat NaKhuda, who personally believes that religion does not make sense in this age. “Most people are following the beliefs of their parents and have no reason to proclaim that what they have is the truth. Once one realises that, it is fairly simple,” he adds.
Bela, another member of the group, says that extremism or militancy cannot force people to leave Islam, but it can definitely force them to find out the truth. “There can be many reasons why a person starts questioning, including rising militancy, extremism, lack of logical answers or patriarchy,” she adds. Bela believes that religion is dominated by patriarchy and is nothing more than a tool for men in power to control.
“There were always questions on my mind about religious divisions, sectarian differences and treatment of women. After much research, I found that the inequality sanctioned in religion against women is appalling and the same across all religions.” Another member Maliha thinks that apart from extremism, which is “repugnant to anyone who has not been brainwashed into accepting it,” disillusionment is also one of the reasons people turn away from their faith.
“We live in a troubled society. Often enough, we are taught that if only we turn to god, to religion, we will find answers and peace. When people, especially young ones, do that, and find that there is merely rhetoric, they feel rather disillusioned with religion, and that consequently pushes them away,” she says. “Another reason is that we are living in a progressing society. The whole world is undergoing a slow change in which it is leaving behind old religions and turning towards fixing a world, the problems of which are solely ours, not to be solved by a divine hand.
The rapid progress of science has helped this process. We Pakistanis resist globalisation and the introduction of ‘Western’ ideas and concepts, and cling dearly to our Islamic values and Arabised culture, but we are still susceptible to the zeitgeist. Some members of our society have picked it up faster than others. That’s all.” But for Zaeem Kalm, it is the “injustice we see everywhere (inclusive of that due to religious extremism but not exclusive to it) that leads us to believe that there cannot possibly be a just omnipotent being”.
“The cogs also start spinning when Muslims are exposed to people of other beliefs (directly or indirectly) and they realise that they have been falsely demonised by their society and no one deserves to be tortured for all eternity no matter what. Anyone with even a smidgen of empathy would realise how utterly vile and repugnant just the mere idea is… this makes one question the character of their deity. All one needs to do then is to think of their god like one would think of a person. If all of the personality traits were found in somebody you knew, it would be very hard to tolerate, let alone worship that person,” he says.
For most atheists living in a largely conservative society such as ours, the hardest part is putting up with the response of those close to their heart – family and friends. “If I had a buck for every time my family and friends tried to bring me back to the ‘right path’, then I would be extremely rich. The responses are varied. My family was shocked and thinks that I am just confused right now and would eventually come back. However, they are okay with it now. My friends are okay with it as well. They debate with me on different issues but that’s about it,” says Hazrat NaKhuda.
Zaeem Kalm recalls that he gradually broke the news to his family with “a subtle hint here and a brow-raising joke there”. He finally told his mother how the universe made the most sense to him and that, no matter how hard he tried, he simply could not accommodate any magical beings in it without the entire perception of reality being polarised, contorted or even shattered. His parents thought that “being a good human being is the most important thing and everything else is secondary”.
“There were times when they would call it a ‘phase’ or give me a nudge back towards religion but they seem to have given up on that now and have even learnt to deal with my occasional dose of heathen-humour,” he says. Even his close friends had no issues and they mostly said that religion is personal and no one should be forced to believe anything.
However, not all PAA members are prepared to go as far as Hazrat NaKhuda and Zaeem Kalm. “I am still a closet atheist. To my friends I am a secular Muslim. They have all liked my transition from a very religious person to a secular one and today I am much more socially accepted as compared to when I was religious. I am away from my family and I am sure they will give me a tough time when they will discover that I have quit religion,” says Aek.
Maliha thinks that a confession of all-out atheism would cause an upheaval and says that she is not ready to face that yet. “My parents are moderately religious and get upset enough at what they see as my growing heresy,” she says. “My best friend, however, is deeply religious, and, she has tried several times to bring me back to the ‘right path’, using a varied approach, including emotional and rhetorical arguments. I try my best to avoid the topic altogether with her, as I do with other religious friends – or else I listen to them, even while firmly, but gently resisting conversion. It is tough, not resisting the arguments themselves, but the emotional trauma and the sense of being so thoroughly alone is one’s perception of the world.”
Are there any chances of PAA members coming out in the open and freely expressing their beliefs without the help of pseudonyms, Hazrat NaKhuda believes in the short-term no, but in the longer run yes. “I do foresee a rise of atheists and freethinkers in Pakistan…. if not in my life time, then definitely in my children’s.” Zaeem Kalm says that when people have the courtesy to tolerate others’ beliefs, Pakistani atheists would probably be quite close to the day when they are able to freely express themselves. “That said, this would be a step forward for this country that has become exceedingly counter-intuitive for us over the past few decades.”
For its members, the PAA not only allows them to express themselves but also gives them comfort that there are others like them out there as well. “That has been one of the greatest benefits of this group. Pakistani atheists knowing that they are not alone,” says Hazrat NaKhuda. Another member Atheoi Clerk says that the PAA is a platform that lets Pakistani atheists discuss among themselves, ponder over what role they should be playing and figure out how to make things happen for the betterment of humanity.
“It comforts me now to think that surely the day isn’t far when the word atheism will sound more familiar than words like ‘fate’ or ‘angels’ even in this part of the world!” Under traditional Islamic laws, apostasy is punishable by death unless the ‘guilty’ repents and reverts back to Islam in three days, however, various Islamic schools of thought hold different views over the issue.
In 2007, the Islamist political parties of Pakistan tabled a bill in the parliament called the Apostasy Act 2006 that proposed death sentence and life imprisonment for male and female apostates, respectively. It was sent to the parliament’s standing committee concerned for review.
“The apostasy bill was not passed. Otherwise, it would have been a crime in Pakistan to change your faith. Having said that, if the prosecution can prove that one had committed blasphemy in the act of committing apostasy, then the accused could be charged under Section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code. But then again, all you need to charge anyone under 295-C are a few people willing to lie for you in court,” points out Hazrat NaKhuda.
He says that it is also a matter of concern for Pakistani atheists that they are left with no choice but to declare their religion when applying for a passport. The PAA wants a non-theist box to be added there. The PAA also wants it to be easier for Pakistanis to change their religion legally if they want,” he adds.
“The common population in Pakistan doesn’t care what you believe in until you get into debate with them or ridicule their values. Therefore, just being an atheist would never get me into trouble,” believes Aek.



145 Comments

  1. freemind11 said:

    The last thing we need is superstition, myths and magic as a guide to the future. Our indulgence of an irrational superstition is not harmless. It profoundly undermines civilization. Reason and the respect for evidence are the source of our understanding and progress.

    The sooner the human mind is universally evolved to a point where it expels all notions of supreme beings and organized religions the better the world will be. The inability of a multitude of people to live peacefully side by side is all down to this voodoo nonsense. It is religion not IPads and rock music that is the ball and chain holding us down.

  2. varun said:

    Even u became atheist or rational still blames India or Indian media..you need to grow up guys..

    • M Ali Khan said:

      varun are you saying that the Indian press do NOT sensationalise anything? ;)

      • Shadan Ahmad said:

        I'm an Indian and former Muslim and i don't give a heck about India and Pakistan but i'll tell you one thing that you are most rational Pakistani i have ever known in my life . Do you live in Pakistan ? Have you ever been to other nations .?

  3. Mobasher Zein Kazmi said:

    Hey Atheists!! You know every object has an originator (painting-painter). Then why do you find it so difficult then to wrap your head around intelligent design? Know one thing your Lord and mine is neither bound by time or space. And your morality (conscience) of being a good human being is instilled by your Lord. Tonight step outside and look up at the stars. Please reflect and ask yourself where all of this comes from and what the purpose of existence is on Earth. I can guarantee when you experience a life-threatening situation you will call out for him. Your soul will testify to what your mind/ego rejects….

    • M Ali Khan said:

      As the Greek philosopher Epicurus (341-270 BC) once said:

      “Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
      Then he is not omnipotent.
      Is he able, but not willing?
      Then he is malevolent.
      Is he both able and willing?
      Then whence cometh evil?
      Is he neither able nor willing?
      Then why call him God?”

      • Richard said:

        Epicurus figured it out M Ali. Three cheers for people like you. But this is dangerous in Pakistan. You can see the objections both from your fellow Pakistanis and also Indians like Varun, who no doubt clings to his own idiotic beliefs.
        The difference is his beliefs are idiotic whereas your countrymens beliefs are dangerous.

      • Someone said:

        maybe you're naive, or just dogmatic, or a really smart man (i like ppl who answers in quotes instead of boorish mumbojumbo) but before quoting Epicurus, just think whether he knew what the word "God" means. I will give you a hint. Try Surah Ikhlas, of quran. It's available in the net, you should be able to to find it. If you are smart enough, I won't have to spell it out to you how stupendously shallow this guy's logic is ..

        • M Ali Khan said:

          Surah Ikhlas is an incompetent and megalomaniac god patting himself on the back for creating shit and refusing to deal with it as per his own whims and choosing.

          • masood said:

            You are now " Wajib-ul-Qatal. :) hahahaha
            From Masood-USA (an agnostic)

          • masood said:

            The more I read and understand Quran and Ahadees, the more I dislike Islam particularly and religion in general. You must be an insane to believe in such a God or Allah who reminds you about the painful torment and torture in almost every verse of quran just because you don't believe in him. It sounds like there is an angry mad man sitting in the sky planning to give you torture and pain for almost every action you do in life from eating to singing to dancing to laughing to having sex. just about anything you for fun or joy there is always a sin and there is always a punishment.

          • HRS said:

            And the worse part….Muslim men are limited to 4 wives while minimum recorded for Muhammad by islamic historians is 9 (MINIMUM) and apart from 2 they were beautifull young women…some the most beautifull of their tribes…

            Just saying that MO commanded muslims to do one thing and himself did the other…

    • rocket said:

      HAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA. But what creator do you mean Zein? I think it’s really retarded and arrogant of religious people to claim to know what god is and try to define him.
      The universe might have been ‘created’ but we cannot possibly understand who or what made it.

      • Mobasher Zein Kazmi said:

        If you read my earlier post I clearly defined our Lord as not being subject to time and space. He is incomparable to any physical entity you describe. He has neither a beginning nor an end. Even for you to perceive Him would be akin to fitting an ocean of water in a small cup. Remember your Lord is closer to you than your jugular vein yet you do not reflect. This is your arrogance. Recognize yourself and you will then recognize your Lord. Ponder over these lines before replying and do not conceal the ever present truth.

        • M Ali Khan said:

          you can also pray 100 times a day and they are just as effective as flipping a coin.

    • Escaped Catholic said:

      That doesn't work, you cannot explain why one has a conscience so you've merely slotted "God" in there simply to fill the gap, it is an empty and unsubstantiated hypothesis.
      Intelligent Design is a misnomer, each offspring of two parents takes on the genetic offspring of both parents and thus becomes a discrete, unique organism, carried on over thousands of generations with changing environments accounts for why organisms change their appearance, shape and sensory array among other alterations. All the while many creatures can be infertile, or die in birthing, or are too weak to survive in their environment, some even have useless appendages which waste biomatter which could be better used elsewhere in the body, all of which points to the idea of intelligent design lacking in intelligence.
      ID also postulates that organisms are now as they were created according to whichever book of fairytales you subscribe to but yet again changes in organisms are visible with each new generation and fossil records dated by C14 demonstrate anatomical evolutions over the length of the history of a species inhabitance of an environment. As for looking up at the stars, watching countless hydrogen atoms fusing is mesmerising and provides great nourishment for one's imagination but it's not proof of any kind of the existence of a God or even evidence. As for the purpose of our existence, can we not ask the question of an ant or a cod-fish? They contribute something to their ecosystems and perhaps that is their purpose, as for human beings, is it really so insufficient for us to devise our own purposes without recoursing to inventing fairies at the bottom of the garden and slavishly following a dead man's dogma for nothing more than fear of a doctrine invented punishment for not doing so?

    • pro0digy said:

      If every object has an originator , than who originated god ? step out and think about your own logic :) why is it so difficult for religious folks to see their imaginary god is no more real than any other fictional character.

      • Sara said:

        Can you see how your brain works? Can you? So why "believe" that it actually is working, Maybe its not? But if it wasn't working then you wouldn't be alive, right!! My point being if you can believe that your brain is working without seeing it work , how can you not believe in the existence of the Almighty! This is where faith comes in. We cant see Him but we believe because we see HIS miracles around us. Everyday,every minute, every second. Simple.

        • Nick McConnell said:

          Yes, Sara, it's possible to "see how your brain works". Google "neuroimaging". What has never been validated, however, is what you call a (religious) "miracle". Consequently, what you apparently mean by "faith" is whatever story you substitute (or some authority figures substitutes) for understanding.

    • Alexi said:

      Mobasher Zein Kazmi

      Proposing a prime originator resolves nothing, if every object has an originator then who originated the originator? Morality and conscience are evolved traits which better enable human beings to live together and cooperate with one another; groups composed of such individuals were at some point in the distant past able to form larger communities, were therefore more successful, propagated faster, and thus such characteristics spread; in other words evolved. There is no need for a supernatural explanation. Why does life have to have a “purpose”? How can you guarantee everybody’s reaction to life threatening situations?

    • Mulheed said:

      according to your argument then the creator would also need a creator. A logical fallacy. there is no evidence for a creator.

  4. noreligeon69 said:

    No one is blaming India or Indian media for anything, they're simply pointing out the fallacy and error with the claim as to why these people have left Islam, they made a false conclusion on someone else's behalf. It's not a blame, it's a correction in error.

    2. I agree with freemind11, time to put aside anything that halts progressiveness and encourages bias to progressive, factual-based ideas.

  5. Nick McConnell said:

    Mobasher, the conclusion of cosmologists is that the universe came from totally nothing. That nothing (say, N) can yield something (say, S) is obvious: N -> S + (-S), i.e., something and its negative. In particular, what apparently happened is that nothing split into positive and negative energies. So, that means your supposed "creator" is totally nothing! For a more thorough explanation, read about "the inflation theory of the universe" or click on my name.

    • Sohail Ahmad said:

      Big bang is the start, before that there was no positive no negative no logic works before that like you implied N->S+(-S). This was the begining of everything, inflation theory is a little detail of it. One name of Allah is Al-moeed means the creator who created all out of nothing.
      Im a student and i myself went atheist once but after studying Garry miller (Omer Abdul-ahad work , keith moore etc. i realy accepted islam for the first time before that i was just a brain washed person following a relegion of my parents and above.
      This is a very simple argument how can be everything created out of nothing i.e there is no creator of all this multiverse this higgs feild , dark energy dark matter and most importantly life.
      why don't you just pray to Allah : oh allah if you are realy there why don't you reveal yourself to me. and start study Quran as being the only authentic book by him

  6. Simon said:

    Love and respect to all my brothers and sisters in Pakistan and everywhere else in the world who are breaking free of this supernatural bilge – from a new (ex-Christian)Atheist in the UK :-)

  7. Tanya said:

    Pakistan has given all sorts of weirdos, fundos, ninjas, pseudo intellectuals, the right to practice whatever the crap they want to. As far as this article is concerned, honestly, what a waste of space on confused kids, trying to become part of the bandwagon of athiesm. Its almost cool nowadays to pretend to be all rebellious, and go, oh im athiest. Because, you see, i can't see God. And if i cant see him, then I cant believe in him. What a bunch of oxymorons. As far as Pakistan Today is concerned, I really expected them to promote free and unbiased journalism. This story has no reference, from other factions or stakeholders giving a completely distorted view of the issue. And after reading this, they'll go, but no. We truly, believe in athiesm because we heard dawkins give a lecture about how god doesnt exist. U know. Dawkins, that cool guy. Our kids, are going through a severe case of an identity crisis. Its almost sad.

    • Silas said:

      Tanya, who told you the group has confused 'kids'. The group has everyone from a teenager to 50 year olds to people whose fathers and grandfathers were atheists. And 99% of the people are pakistani. And you seriously think this is cool? Being an atheist is not cool. Not in this country where you can get you head chopped off on these issues. Being forsaken by your friends and family is not cool. Who wants that. Who wants to die. You need to get this out of your narrow mind that people turn into atheists because its cool. You cant imagine how long the transition is, and you cant imagine the mental pain we have to go through.

    • Free said:

      you think islam is our identity? Please get out of there. We are pakistanis. This country has people from every religion and belief. Just because somebody is leaving islam doesnot mean he has an identity crisis.

    • Richard said:

      Has it occurred to you Tanya that some people maybe turning to Atheism not because of being rebellious but because they have figured it out rationally in their brains?

      PS what you have pointed out are not oxymorons. An Oxymoron is a contradictory expression, like "he is an intelligent idiot".

      One reason to doubt the existence of God is the absence of any evidence of his existence.

      The other is a obvious falsity of the claims of religions.

      Would you normally trust your life on here-say evidence? And how much less on the here-say evidence of someone long dead? And how much less still when you can figure out that at least some of that here-say evidence is wrong?

    • M Ali Khan said:

      who said that atheists are supposed to be "cool kids"?

      why dont you visit us at <a href="http://www.e-paa.org” target=”_blank”>www.e-paa.org to find out about the 'sources' and our 'inspirations'?

      spare us the lame rhetoric please.

    • Anonamouse said:

      Too many vague assertions on your part, it's almost as If you can't accept people of Pakistan are leaving religion because they're finally seeing the flaws within it and waking up to the truth. You realize how insignificant human God/s look on a cosmic scale? Why people to chose to comprehend mind numbing simplistically as ultimate truth is beyond me. Religions come and go. Life is too short to waste on them. Believe what you want, and let us believe what we want.

      • Hena said:

        Even though you are an fellow atheist, it's my duty to correct when one is wrong. Atheism is the ABSENCE of belief that any deities exist.

    • Hazrat NaKhuda said:

      I head the group talked about in the article. What makes you think that we are atheists because it is cool? Do you really think it is cool to bring on the extra headache of being an atheist and living in Pakistan. I have not read Richard Dawkin's book or Christopher Hitchen's book. I am an atheist, because religion does not make any sense what so ever.

      "Because, you see, i can't see God. And if i cant see him, then I cant believe in him". You haven't even heard my argument against god. you assumed it was that one.

    • Ali said:

      Ms. Tanya:

      I find that the presumptions in your post (assuming that Pakistani atheists are all too young to know better; assuming that arguments for their atheism which have not been made) are patronizing, and that you seem to have no valid basis (other than the fact of your assumption, which I am sure YOU consider to be a valid reason to believe anything) for having made them.

      That aside, I do not believe that any of it is relevant: It is a great fallacy that the unbeliever must provide rationalizations for his or her apostasy. I submit instead that there is no burden of proof, that I do not need a 'reason', do not have to make a compelling argument, for being an atheist.

      On the contrary, I think that it is the responsibility of people who ENDORSE an idea ("There is a God") to provide the evidence for it, rather than those who reject said idea.

    • cathedral_Lhr said:

      It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.
      Aristotle
      Greek critic, philosopher, physicist, & zoologist (384 BC – 322 BC)

    • Joe Ess said:

      Fuck you, to propose that the 'youth' isn't capable of making up their mind after hearing good arguments. By the same token, wouldn't they be too callow and malleable to make up their mind on outright rejection of atheism (as you are)?

      And screw you again, you clearly misunderstood that the journalist was interviewing a Pakastani atheist–OF COURSE IT'S BIASED, he/she was asking the atheist how they *felt*. And your assertion that people are becoming atheists to be rebellious and trendy is laughable and absurd. Would you say that you're following your God because everybody else is doing it? No, of course you wouldn't–you would probably say you're doing it because you've heard some arguments that convinced you it exists.

      I wonder, do you think that because you're old that you're also wise? Re-evaluate yourself.

    • Hena said:

      I'm 34 & a proud atheist. I could never be mistaken for kid. "Story has no reference, from other factions or stakeholders giving a completely distorted view of the issue" (beside the fact that half the sentence makes no sense), you guys have had plenty of references, from our schools to the government. Now it's OUR turn!

  8. John said:

    Go for it!
    The only positive thing I can say over Intelligent Design is that it will do away with the old "thruths" that are now in Bible, Quran etc.

  9. Guest said:

    When man created god in his image, he gave up rationality, reason and freedom of thought. At the end of the world, the last man or woman will finally realise this. And die.

  10. faraz said:

    ''He says that it is also a matter of concern for Pakistani atheists that they are left with no choice but to declare their religion when applying for a passport. The PAA wants a non-theist box to be added there.''

    this shows that even atheist pakis r not secular!!

    • M Ali Khan said:

      nonsense. most of us want this religion declaration in passports etc to be scrapped completely

      frankly speaking, religion should NOT be asked for anyone who wants to get a passport, ID card, or even job. That is blatant discrimination. the whole 'declaration of faith and of calling Ahmedis as non-muslims' nonsense in passports should be scrapped!

    • Hazrat NaKhuda said:

      What is non-secular about that. Secularism requires that the State should not put its weight behind or do anything to favor one belief instead of the other. Since there is a religion section in the Passport ideally we would have liked it to be not be there. But since it is, why not allow people to choose to not state it or specifically put non-theist there. Currently you get like 8 options Muslims, Christian, Jew, Parsi, Hindu etc.

  11. Jamal Saddozai said:

    Not that it makes an atom of a difference to ALLAH whether there are a million atheists in Pakistan or even more, but before you do become a member of such a group I request that you read the Quran, Bible and Torah. Becoming rebels without knowing what you are rebelling against only makes you look frustrated, depressed and idiotic.

    • M Ali Khan said:

      and banging your head on the floor 5 times a day, praying in a foreign language, and trying to be as a Arabised as possible is our salvation? Gimme a break!

    • Ali said:

      Mr. Jamal:

      While I too have read much of the texts you refer to (and it only reinforces my belief in the idea that God is an elaborate and somewhat masochistic lie), your suggestion is ludicrous on its face: It is not incumbent on me to go out and attempt to convince myself of the veracity of your particular fairytale. It is not incumbent on me or anyone else to read though a thousand odd pages of rhetorical gibberish before forming a conclusion.

      In fact, since it is you, and the people of your religion, who maintain belief in things for which there is no reliable evidence, that lie beyond the norm of human experience, I would gently suggest that perhaps the burden of proof, the impulse to investigate (to either promote to atheists such as myself or to verify for your own peace of mind), lies entirely with you.

    • Mrs Archaeopteryx said:

      Jamal, this is a very insulting comment. Most atheists have been members of a religious group and have decided to leave because they have read widely and based their decision on reason. Most religious people are born into a certain grouping and they spend their lives trying to defend their position. We have been where you are but you have never been where we are.

  12. NoShackles said:

    The Earth is not flat ( Quran 15:19, 20:53, 50:7…)
    The Sun does not set in "a spring of murky water" (Quran 18:86)
    Sun and moon do not orbit the Earth ( Qur'an 21:33)
    Star are not lamps to be used as missiles for Shai'tan (Qur'an 67:5)
    Moon is nowhere close to any star (Qur'an 71:15-16)
    No evidence that the moon was ever split in two (Qur'an 54:1)
    Earth was not created in 6 days, rather it took billions of years (Qur'an 50:38)
    Human(s) living for 900+ years (Qur'an 29:14)
    Humans transforming into apes and pigs (Qur'an 2:65)
    Mythical creatures (Jooj/ Ma'jooj) still reside on this planet. Where are they? (Qur'an 21:96)
    Living inside a fish. (Qur'an 37:142)
    Ocean split into half (Qur'an 2:50)
    Creation in an instant, goes against the scientific consensus on evolution through natural selection (Qur'an 2:117)<<<<

    Need I list more? Perhaps a sampling from Hadith?

    Adam was 90ft tall. Whaaaat? (Sahih Bukhari 4:55:543)
    Women are deficient in intelligence (Sahih Bukhari 3:48:826)
    Looking at the sky while praying may cause blindness (Sahih Bukhari 1:12:717)
    Fever is caused by heat from hell (Sahih Bukhari 7:71:619)
    Camel urine as a medicine (Sahih Muslim 16:4130)
    Eating 7 Ajwa can mitigate effect of poison. Willing to test it? (Sahih Bukhari 7:65:356)

    Or as Omar Khayyam said, " Believe me, I can quote the Quran too.
    The unbeliever knows his Quran best"

    • Sohail Ahmad said:

      1-He spread the earth and cast mountains , you can clearly see arround billions of stars and planets out there and ask cosmology about the terrain, earth is very suitable, you can cultivate plains lands, mountains hold the earth, controls atmosphere/winds etc. rare volcanoes . if you want to test allah's knowledge about earth, then dont weigh him like this. he talks about the 7 earths and 7 skies where science is now thinking.
      surah Yasin (36:40)Allah says everything is revolving which we got to know even after kepler and issac newton. in surah zariat (51:47) he says we created the heaven with our power and we are expanding it, you must know about the expanding universe (dark energy) and it even implies our fate this expansion of heavens won't stop ever. (Try Garry Miller Omer abdul ahad's research about quran also keith moore famous embryologist.
      2-this is just a vision just like i was confused that allah says he created skies and there are no holes in it. he created it without pillars. i was confused that sky is infact just an illusion created by nitrogen in our atmosphere and there exist no blue sky how comes allah claims its creation. well what i know about Quran it is for everyone for people 1500 years ago and for people of current era for people with no knowledge at all and for people who has knowledge and want to test quran. so better test your knowledge and Allah from the ayah where he ask your intellect.
      3- Read the ayah before from 30. i'll become atheist if you prove that quran says sun revolves around earth. even ayah 30 indicates big bang and creation of life from water which are well known and well affirmed truths.
      4- There are different words used for stars and other celestial objects. kawakib doesn't mean stars. meteorites are often seen. we can't see devils so i can't comment on it whether they shoot at them or not ( but if Allah is evident from quran and all the sciences then i should beleive his this statement aswell.

      5- The Ayah is very plain to me i couldn't infer your point from it.
      6- The only living miracle of our prophet is Quran. (How can anyone revert to islam after so many centuries of moon split, even people who saw it with their own eyes didn't beleive Allah's apostle)
      7- if you know time delation time relativity you can understand it. at many occasions Allah and his prophet mentioned it. like a day of hereafter is equal to 50,000 years of earth and a day of hereafter is much longer then earth. ( you can see he knew time relativity exists even 1500 years ago which albert einstein told us in 20th century) and by the way earth didn't exist at that time neither our solar system so your concept of 24 hours day didn't exist at that time.
      8- wts the problem why can't humans live for 900 years in history.
      9- well the problem is Allah exists or not if he then surely he can transform anything into anyother.
      10-
      11-
      12-
      13-its about souls, i myself beleive in evolution. its not the way of Allah, he do it everything with his ultimate wisdom. i don't beleive that a physical being Adam came to earth all the way from heavens ( although for Allah it is possible like he took christ (our beleives). Rather it is like, it is happening still, physical being is formed here in mother's womb and soul came from heavens)
      One of prophet saying is to use your experience and brain for worldly things and don't follow him.
      14-
      15-its not about instinctive intelligence its about wisdom you hardly see any top religious scholor ( wali Allah ) in women.
      16- its not caused by hell heat its like hell heat as per my memory ( Bukhari sharif is not infront of me by this time)
      17- investigate the whole story i.e their exact disease if you could and prophet's indication of particular camel and their diet at that time. i hope there is gonna be a cure in that
      18- Don't find Allah's existence from prophet's sayings. As per my guess it should be some particular situation i mean some particular poison and some real ajwa.
      in today's world we don't need to act upon this hadith. we have research on each type of poison and its anti dot.

  13. Ali said:

    Jamal,

    I’ve read the Quran, quite a bit of the New Testament and more of the Old Testament than the New Testament. Neither the Bible nor the Quran helped me hold on to my faith, you know. I dig logic and the very concept of God is illogical. God is like a square circle in that His existence is impossible. A being cannot have all of God’s attributes because some of them are contradictory. For e.g., God cannot be omnipotent and omniscient at the same time. If God knows you’ll have biryani for dinner, He cannot force you to have qorma for dinner instead, which would make Him less than omnipotent. However, if He can force you to have qorma instead of biryani, then His knowledge of the future is imperfect. He was wrong in thinking that you’d have biryani, no? Perhaps you should study a bit of philosophy and science before asserting Allah’s existence and suggesting books to atheists.

    Also, atheism isn’t just a fad. Yes, a lot of people are atheists because atheism’s cool, but some atheists are a lot more serious than that. Some of them want to make sense of the world and a world with God in it makes little sense to someone who wants more than just a perfunctory understanding. The “god of the gaps” is really appealing to people who are satisfied with superficiality, but some people like to dig deeper. If you venture forth bravely on a journey to understand the universe and are honest with yourself, you’ll quickly realize that God’s got to go because He’s just holding you back.

    • saibaba said:

      Lord Krishna (Vishnu Avatar) shows in Vishvaroopa(Universal form) what God is; Hindu cosmology also describes exactly like modern science.I can strongly reccomend to you to do research by google it.

    • z s anthony said:

      Can we use God's name in the reference of our CV?
      If not then either He doesn't know us or we don't know Him…
      Can we take him as an eye witness of Rape, Genocide, Homicide, Assassination or Murder?
      If yes then what about Kennedy? If no then either he wasn't present at the crime scene or he wasn't powerful enough to stop the incident at the first place. Or…Or he was involved….this makes him a suspect too…

    • Sohail Ahmad said:

      you better eat qorma or biryani, doing research on God is not in such a narrow scope of philosphy or logic. He has given us free will at many points and he is out of this time and space and can see your future in real time.

  14. deleted3769076 said:

    "Even" if our Holy God exists, then he might be even more madder then we humans, to learn, who he is and who created him……….!

    • Sohail Ahmad said:

      too low data for such a question. we even don't know how many universes or multiverses he has created how many versions of us (humans) alive at the same time and you are talking about the creation of the ultimate creationist from where the word creation and actualy the creation in itself happened

  15. Azaad said:

    What a couple of self-obsessed nuts. And amateur atheists i might add. "new converts to atheism" Seriously? Reactionaries not unlike AlQaeda, TTP, or a host of right-wing evangelical religious groups (Islamists, Hindutvadis, Zionists, Christinaists, Secularists).

    • Hazrat NaKhuda said:

      What makes you think we are amateur? Even an amateur atheist is better than a person who is blindly following the religion of their forefathers for all his life. At least the amateur thought for himself for a bit.

      And how dare you even suggest that saying people should be allowed to not beleive in a God is somehow equal to saying that acid should be thrown on women who are refuse to wear a burqa?

      And the very fact that you included Secularists in your list of right wing religious groups shows how much of an amateur you really are. I would strongly urge you to just read what secularism means before actually putting it in that bracket.

    • Mrs Archaeopteryx said:

      Azaad, This is called the "argumentum ad hominem" in educated circles – attack the person not the argument. Please note my reply to Jamal above.

  16. z s anthony said:

    I tried to believe that there is a God, who created each of us in His own image and likeness, loves us very much, and keeps a close eye on things. I really tried to believe that, but I gotta tell you, the longer you live, the more you look around, the more you realize, something is messed up.Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption and theists.

    Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed. Results like these do not belong on the resume of a Supreme Being.if there is a God, I think most reasonable people might agree that he’s at least incompetent, and maybe, just maybe, doesn’t give a shit. Doesn’t care, which I admire in a person, and which would explain a lot of these bad results.

    So rather than be just another mindless religious robot, mindlessly and aimlessly and blindly believing that all of this is in the hands of some spooky incompetent father figure who doesn’t give a shit, I decided to look around for something else to worship….and i became a sun worshiper and it happened over night..well not over night, i couldn’t see the sun in night.

    first thing the next morning.

    and honestly its practical and convenient.

    • manzer said:

      HaHaHa nice one
      u got it by the throat and nailed it in the head.

    • Mrs Archaeopteryx said:

      Let me tell you a true story; your post reminded me. I was in University in the 1960's and we had to write our religion on registration forms (pre-historic!). One guy tried to be funny and filled in "sun worshipper". All went well until there was knock on his door at 5.30am the next morning and there stood the Dean saying "Right sun-worshipper, time for your prayers!" Be careful what you call yourself!

      • z s anthony said:

        nice Mrs Archaeopteryx the dean got him…
        What i meant by sun worshiping is actually pointing to an easy alternative.
        Here is a statement that may help the dean the next time he wakes up someone for worship.
        Sun worship is fairly simple. There's no mystery, no miracles, no pageantry, no one asks for money, there are no songs to learn, and we don't have a special building where we all gather once a week to compare clothing. And the best thing about the sun, it never tells me I'm unworthy. Doesn't tell me I'm a bad person who needs to be saved. Hasn't said an unkind word. Treats me fine. So, I worship the sun. But, I don't pray to the sun. Know why? I wouldn't presume on our friendship. It's not polite.
        I've often thought people treat God rather rudely, don't you? Asking trillions and trillions of prayers every day. Asking and pleading and begging for favors. Do this, gimme that, I need a new car, I want a better job. And most of this praying takes place on Sunday His day off. It's not nice. And it's no way to treat a friend.

        • Azad said:

          Sun worshipping is just fine. Scientifically, all the elements like carbon, oxygen, etc, that.the universe is made up of (Including us), were created in stars like our Sun.

    • Hena said:

      You cheater you! The sun worshipper comments are taken from the awesome George Carlin ;-)!!

      • z s anthony said:

        Hena so sorry to know that you missed the whole thing. all that was taken from george carlin. its not cheating its called posing the truth. i hope you will come back with something other then accusing comment.
        thanks

    • Sohail Ahmad said:

      Beleive in Allah through some logic some quran and if you realy beleive him then beleive him saying world and whole universe is nothing, real is the hereafter this is just a test. A hadith (Qudsi) explained this situation to me
      Allah says: i was a hidden treasure (alone out there) i wanted to be known ( by someone with conciousness with knowledge with brain). so i created the creation so that someone get to know me. Actually death disease hunger poverty is nothing in so little time frame let if day of hereafter is 50K days long relative to earth and your life on earth is 80 years how many seconds you live actualy?, Also Allah says he don't put any burden on a soul which is not capable of it.

    • Munster said:

      Plagiarism :D Thats George Carlin Taking :D. Dude! at least be original :)

  17. Ross said:

    Th trouble with the 'atheists' is that they do not subject their own dogmas to the scepticism they apply every world-view that does not fit in with their own

    OK, so forget about your own and other's concepts of 'God' – but do look into pursuing having Bliss, happiness and clarity of mind.

    Things you will not fund in a supermarket or the bottom of a test-tube.

    .

    • Nick McConnell said:

      Ross, according to my dictionary, a 'dogma' is "a principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true." Atheists do not subscribe to any 'dogma'; we simply see insufficient evidence to assume that such things as gods exist.

      As for seeking "bliss, happiness, and clarity of mind", we each work on that, on our own, subject to no dogma. As an example, see Bertrand Russell's book "A Conquest of Happiness" or see my own book linked at my name.

      • Ross said:

        Nice in theory – but many atheists are extremely dogmatic in their beliefs and attitudes – as much if not more so than religionists.

        There can be no dogma that can lead you to the experience of bliss and awareness – as these attributes are entirely different from intellectual conclusions. i.e. you can’t ‘think’ yourself to transcend your own concepts of what you think is real and who you think you are. Put another way – one’s personal self concept is a fiction – which as you suggest we are all in our own way at leaving behind.

        The trouble with the perception many atheists create is that they often are purely destructive in their attitudes towards people who hold views that they do not agree with.

        • Nick McConnell said:

          Ross, your points are well taken, but stimulate more response than can be contained in the few, short paragraphs permitted here. Therefore, I'll just enumerate a few points and recommend that you explore the references provided.

          1. I have no doubt that some atheists are dogmatic. Apparently many humans are quite content to be followers; some follow atheists such as Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, et al. I suspect, however, that data would show that the percentage of atheists who are dogmatists is substantially smaller than the percentage of religionists who are dogmatists, just as data do show that religiosity decreases with increasing scientific knowledge (e.g., see my chapter X15 entitled "Expanding Education")

          2. I agree with your (and the Buddha's!) conclusions that dogma can't lead to "bliss and awareness", but I disagree with your suggestion that such is inconsistent with "intellectual conclusions". As contrary examples, read especially the final chapters of Sam Harris' book "The End of Faith" and see both the first ("A") and final ("Z") chapters of my own book, linked to my name.

          3. I also agree that "many atheists" create "the perception" of being "purely destructive in their attitudes toward people who hold views they do no agree with", but I urge you to consider the reason, namely, their realization of the enormous harm that religions have caused humanity. Much of my book (and the books of Dawkins, Harris, et al.) details such damage. I'd summarize by saying that, the Abrahamic religions (especially) are the greatest calamity ever to befall humanity.

    • Nick McConnell said:

      Would someone please translate "Bully Shah's" comment into English? I recognize only the horribly insulting word "kafir", and I'm sorry to say that I assume that "Bully Shah" is too much of a coward to convey his message in a manner that we English-speaking "kafirs" will understand and to which we can respond.

      • Hazrat NaKhuda said:

        It translates roughly to "An thinking infidel (Kafir) is better than a blindly following Muslim man of faith (Momin)"

        Bulley Shah used the term Kafir a lot. There is another one

        "oh kafir kafir akhaan tu ahoo ahoo akh"
        "When they yell infidel infidel you should reply back Yes I am, Yes I am"

        Which i think means to say wear the Kafir (infidel) badge proudly.

        • Nick McConnell said:

          Wow, Hazrat, thank you! My guess certainly was wrong! From the Wikipedia article on Bulleh Shah, I see that he was a heroic humanist and a "beacon of peace". In the future, I'll try to honor him.

          • Bulley Shah said:

            Bullay Shah rebelled against the sharia around the reign of Aurangzeb…late 17th and early 18th century.

  18. kabir dasan said:

    The religious people when try to defend religion they try to give some old philosophycal arguments like first cause,fine tuning,pascal vager and bla bla ….

    Religion discriminates and creates lot of problem fro the mankind..If they really means a secular and single god let them proclaim it offcialy and separate religion from politics. it.It is more better than following religion blindly
    If the GOD concept nothing to do with religion why they stick to age old religion based law system?

    • Sohail Ahmad said:

      if we people follow our molvies blindly and don't try to find out real God and real islam its not Allah's problem. you know what kind of people go to madrassas for being religious scholor and still we follow them blindly.

  19. @iml3g3nd said:

    Great to see some reasoning getting a foothold in Pakistan. When I grew up I was lucky to have non religious friends and a Father who encouraged my curiosity and reasoning.
    It is hard in society like that of Pakistan where Religion is often imposed and forced. Where there is no room for debate and Blasphemy laws still exist.
    Hopefully more will see light and come out of this facade of Religion and reject a God which is Evil, Cruel and Non existent.

    • z s anthony said:

      i am glad to see that people still allow their children to be privileged to be thinkers not just some mindless robots who are preplanned to execute a specially dedicated life style.

    • Sohail Ahmad said:

      Allah says in quran : so that if someone die (astray) should be with some argument and if someone lives ( right path) should be with some argument. and you are saying God is non-sense?
      Actually these are our animal instincts which don't want to be bound by any restrictions, otherwise every neutral intellectual won't find it difficult that God is there he created us. or what else created us?

  20. Mrs Arachaeopteryx said:

    Nick, what a wonderfully patient and calm response to an idiotic statement!

  21. Mrs Archaeopteryx said:

    Congratulations to all those involved in setting up PAA – a place where freethinking Pakistanis can express themselves without fear of being shouted down or causing riots and mayhem. Every article on the site is by a well-educated Pakistani person who has been on a journey of reason which concluded in their atheism. It is very important that other Pakistani people have the opportunity to consider this viewpoint. It is also good that some genuinely religious people have made comments here and given genuine atheists the opportunity to respond. The world is full of propaganda and lies and the greatest challenge of our internet society it to encourage people think for themselves and develop the critical abilities to distinguish between true and lies. Personally, I find my truth in the study of Science and on Atheist web sites.

    • z s anthony said:

      Mrs Archaeopteryx: i was born in a non practicing catholic family in Pakistan and woww it was hard being a non Muslim here. i was a Catholic till i reached the age of reasoning. i am a broad caster and people call in my show. what happens almost in every show makes me laugh and new thinking dimensions open to me to think more profoundly. 1st a caller asks what Anthony means….when i say its a christian name; the next question often is why u are not a Muslim? this indicates that a huge majority doesn't know about any other religion and if they do, by any chance, they are ready to step in to preach, and to save my soul from the fire of hell. there is a communication/political theory which suggests that a person, because of the fear of isolation doesn't express his/her opinion and the rest of the majority consider the person in agreement to their opinion. as time passes the mental gap increases many folds.
      this is what i and many other feel.
      you see religion is similar to Anti-abortion and Pro-life conservatives, They are all in favor of the unborn. They will do anything for the unborn. But once you're born, you're on your own. Pro-life conservatives are obsessed with the fetus from conception to nine months. After that, they don't want to know about you. They don't want to hear from you. No nothing. No neonatal care, no day care, no head start, no school lunch, no food stamps, no welfare, no nothing. If you're preborn, you're fine; if you're preschool, you're dead.
      this is exactly the same that goes to almost all of us. If we are Atheists we are wrong, we're going to hell,The fire awaits and if we are religious and we believe in god, his divinity, his supremacy, his rule, his power, then what? are we going to escape misery, penury, pain, pressure, agony, destruction, disease and death?

  22. Wesley Hall said:

    An excellent read.

    It is both my hope and belief that humanity is beginning to emerge from the cocoon of it’s infantile past. It will take a long time before we all leave bronze age mythology behind but those of you that have (and especially those of you who do so in an environment where it is dangerous to do so), should be proud. You are the forerunners of a new phase of human development.

    Human are leaving behind childhood and entering the adolescence of our species. It is only natural that some will develop quicker than others…

  23. NABEEL LATIF said:

    Its a really positive step towards liberalization of Pakistan, one thing that the writer didn't mention here, what change will this group bring in a common man's life? How it will help to reduce the problems of people in Pakistan? awaiting your reply Bilal.

  24. Yasir Jafri said:

    I found the article to be interesting and welcome forums which aim to be conclusive as regards truth. Thought should always be encouraged and it is certainly not in the interest of human progress to hinder free thinking. Skimming through the comments, it appears that quite knowledgeable people are either interested in this association or are part of it.

    As far as Islam goes, it attempts to provide the perfect system for humans to be born, live and die in. It is another argument whether the system had flaws or was implemented as intended in its pure form. The point to note is that it provides a system with economic, ethical, political etc.. aspects to it. I eagerly await for this association to present a system for humans to prosper in. That would be the interesting part.

    • Mrs Archaeopteryx said:

      Yasir, Thank you for this reasonable comment in paragraph one. I have a problem with your second paragraph. Firstly, every religion believes it is right and they cannot all be true. Secondly, I am very uncomfortable with the idea that any religion would dictate to people how to live their lives. There are truths in many religions and a free person has the right to choose parts or all of different belief systems. What is good for one person may not be good or suitable for another. "One size fits all" is a flawed concept, in my opinion. This is why there will never be an attempt by atheists to control and dominate the lives of other people; we prefer to depend on reason and logic and the freedom for each person to live their own life as they think fit. This requires much more effort than just following the religion into which you were born. Of course the other side of this, if we are to avoid anarchy, is that we teach our children how to be responsible and ethical people and to develop a humane agreed framework within which each society can operate. Life does not come with an operators manual.

      • Yasir Jafri said:

        Mrs Achaeopteryx, thank you for appreciating my words. Please let me be clear that i intended to speak from a neutral standpoint and was not advocating religion per se. Yes I am muslim but I tried my best that I do not rub off my bias into my comments for the sole reason that I intended to talk about an all encompassing system in which humans prosper. A lot have been tried in the past but so far none have succeeded. I mentioned Islam only because it "attempts" to provide such a solution as a system. It does not matter in this context that it is a religion. Communism is another example. For humans to exist peacefully I think there must be a single system which has the perfect underlying principles for the peoples of the world. Different systems co-existing would always entail conflict. You mentioned the "humane agreed framework", that itself would be such a system which addresses ethics, politics et al. Life does not come with an operator's manual, but striving to make one/ searching for one is necessary for human existence. If the atheists as an association do not intend to venture into such an effort, its another thing.

        About your point that there are truths in many religions and that a person has the right to choose all or parts of different belief systems. Truth is universal. It may be present partially in various areas of thought but in itself it is complete and must be striven for. There might be truths broken in between many religions/ systems but there certainly must be a religion/ system/ form of thought which is complete and conclusive. One must strive for attaining complete and conclusive truth. A free person has the right to choose the truth, not just any belief system. For example, there are sadist cults in which individuals murder other people for their rituals. That's good and suitable to them. Should they have a right to do that? Not in my opinion. Which is why I emphasize on truth, not belief. Not all forms of thought must be true, but certainly one must be true.

        • Nick McConnell said:

          Yasir, I agree with you about the desirability of searching for "an all encompassing system in which humans prosper" and with your speculation that "atheists as an association do not intend to venture into such an effort." In such a search, atheism is usually the first step, in which people come to the conclusion that religious systems are untenable, since their assumptions rest on insufficient to nonexistent evidence. A second step is commonly to adopt Humanism, whose tenets I encourage you to explore.

          I would, however, caution you of the grave dangers in your concept: "One must strive for attaining complete and conclusive truth". Such has been the hallmark of enormous horrors in the world, caused by ideologues from Moses to Mao. Instead, I encourage you to explore the meaning of "truth" (e.g., see my chapters "T1" and "T2" dealing with "Truth" and linked to my name), understand the difference between "closed-system truth" (e.g., in math, games, and religions) and "open-system truth" (e.g., in reality), and appreciate that the best we're able to do, in reality, is ascertain the probability that some claim is true (which can be done by applying the scientific method and Bayes' theorem). If you will do so, perhaps you, too, will see the wisdom in promoting Humanism.

          • Yasir Jafri said:

            Nick, thank you for your suggestions and your comments. I will definitely look into them, especially the two chapters you have mentioned. I must mention though, that I'm handling a couple of things together at the moment so it might take me some time to get back to you ( I do wish to discuss further with you). When I do, I hope that we can continue the conversation.

  25. Hussain Zaidi said:

    A good attempt in portraying the situation here in Pakistan for atheists and agnostics in Pakistan. But this was not a comprehensive one. The writer should have at least divided Pakistan into different strata identifying with distinct mentalities. My experience in urban Pakistan, around the "literate" and the "educated" ones is that in recent times when the questions on faith and beliefs has been raised due to significant changes in society and the impact of globalization, the people here has acted in ways which are defensive rather than responsive. I agree to the writer that here we do not want to be questioned and logic is given very less importance on the system that has been followed.
    The opinions narrated, somehow, do stereotype the people of Pakistan which is not the actual case. As a personal example, I am a practising Muslim and know a lot of people who are either atheists or agnostics and some of them are my good friends. We do have many arguments on this subject and we all respect each others beliefs and opinions. We do not consider other's opinion wrong just because we differ.

  26. mawdu said:

    At a time where many western non-muslims are converting to Islam, we have some ignorant muslims who see an opportunity in renegating Islam to favour duniyawi things (visa, money,…).

  27. Nick McConnell said:

    Why call them 'ignorant'? What do they ignore? It would be more appropriate to describe religious people as 'ignorant', since they ignore what science has discovered during the past, many centuries, leading to the inescapable conclusions that there are no gods — and never were any. It was all just silly speculations by savages, which now, only "ignorant" people "believe".

    • mawdu said:

      We do not reject science, rather it's a trademark of christianity to do so.
      And if for your Theory means Science, then that tells all about your blindness, which you want to impose on us.
      Anyways you will die one day and shall understand it all.

      • Nick McConnell said:

        mawdu, closed groups can survive sharing delusions. Such delusions, however, can cause enormous difficulties, not only for some members of the group but also for the entire group when it interacts with other societies.

        As an example of the first difficulty mentioned, a group can survive if it adopts the delusion that, to stop a volcano from erupting, then each year a young virgin girl must be sacrificed to the volcano god. I trust you agree that such a delusion would cause young, virgin girls substantial difficulties.

        As an example of the second difficulty mentioned, your group has managed to survive even though you have adopted the delusions that someone wants "to impose [atheism] on us" and that when people die they "shall understand it all". But now that your group is beginning to interact with other societies in the world, your group will need to replace your delusions with assessments based on evidence – or it won't survive.

  28. Saven said:

    According to the report in Pakistan Today, "when the PAA first appeared on the Internet, the Indian media ran a misconstrued story about the group, giving the impression that Pakistani youth were turning away from Islam due to the rising extremism and militancy." On the contrary, when the story was first reported in India by PTI, a major news agency, no attempt was made to link atheism in Pakistan to extremism or militancy. The Sept 2010 report made it clear that young Pakistanis were giving up religion for much the same reasons young people everywhere give up religion: mostly because they saw "little or no evidence for the existence of God."

    As Hazrat NaKhuda, who floated the Facebook group, said, "I realized that the only reason I was a Muslim was because my parents were Muslims." Clearly, it is not militancy and extremism that young Pakistanis — like young Hindus and young Christians — are rejecting when they give up their faith, it is the ignorance of their ancestors.

  29. Mrs Archaeopteryx said:

    Yasir, Its unfortunate that many people people think there is no more to Atheism than not believing in gods. Many Atheists and Humanists are working on a positive ethical framework that will help people to live good lives in a good society – without threats of hell and carrots of heaven (the existence of neither of which can be proven by anyone). One such code is to be found at
    http://www.secularhumanism.org/index.php?section=….

    I invite you to have a look. Most atheists are already very familiar with Islam / Christianity etc, having been exposed to the since childhood and we find a lot that makes us very uneasy. That is why we refute religion and are looking for a better way to live our lives.

  30. Hassan Wali said:

    How can I contact the author of this column? his email is not working. Kindly help.
    Thanks!

  31. Mrs Archaeopteryx said:

    Yasir has expressed an interest in knowing about a framework for life developed by atheists. It is legitimate issue to raise and I have argued the case for each individual to educate him / herself and to develop his/ her own framework from the available wisdom and its suitability for his/her particular situation. Yasir has argued for a universal system.

    In my opinion, both of us are products of our respective societies and that has led to very different approaches to life..

    I have come to atheism from a protestant, christian background. This category of christian is very committed to the rights of individuals as opposed to large groups of people. Although I am now an atheist, that view of life remains part of my core belief system. To me a community is simply a group of individuals and the community is only as moral, tolerant etc as its members. This life view comes with huge responsibility to educate members in thinking skills, empathy, responsible behavior. etc

    Yasir comes from a Muslim society where I have observed the emphasis is always on the community rather than the individual person. The downside is that this gives everyone the right to interfere in the lives of others (this is not limited to the laws of the country , which are designed to protect people from “bad” people). It extends to personal morals and repression of views. On the positive side, when practiced with compassion the Islamic system can lead to a very caring , but paternalistic, society.

    There are several sources to which atheists look for guidance when it comes to a framework for life. Here are two (one is mentioned by Nick)
    http://www.secularhumanism.org/index.php?page=aff
    http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/
    Yasir has expressed an interest in knowing about a framework for life developed by atheists. It is legitimate issue to raise and I have argued the case for each individual to educate him / herself and to develop his/ her own framework from the available wisdom and its suitability for his/her particular situation. Yasir has argued for a universal system.

    In my opinion, both of us are products of our respective societies and that has led to very different approaches to life..

    I have come to atheism from a protestant, christian background. This category of christian is very committed to the rights of individuals as opposed to large groups of people. Although I am now an atheist, that view of life remains part of my core belief system. To me a community is simply a group of individuals and the community is only as moral, tolerant etc as its members. This life view comes with huge responsibility to educate members in thinking skills, empathy, responsible behavior. etc

    Yasir comes from a Muslim society where I have observed the emphasis is always on the community rather than the individual person. The downside is that this gives everyone the right to interfere in the lives of others (this is not limited to the laws of the country , which are designed to protect people from “bad” people). It extends to personal morals and repression of views. On the positive side, when practiced with compassion the Islamic system can lead to a very caring , but paternalistic, society.

    There are several sources to which atheists look for guidance when it comes to a framework for life. Here are two (one is mentioned by Nick)
    http://www.secularhumanism.org/index.php?page=aff
    http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/

    I think most of the Abrahamic religions would agree with most of the points made – the exception being that, unlike theists, atheists do not accept that there is any evidence for a supernatural power.

    I think most of the Abrahamic religions would agree with most of the points made – the exception being that, unlike theists, atheists do not accept that there is any evidence for a supernatural power.

  32. Mrs Archaeopteryx said:

    Sorry my comment above is confusing – I drafted it in word and accidentally pasted it twice. I was unable to withdraw it to correct my error.

  33. Farhan said:

    Hi

    I think athiesm is next best thing to being a real Muslims (which most of us who proclaim to be are not). so this is a step towards a good direction. Hopefully some of them will turn into real muslims away from psuedo muslims which are in a majority

    • Nick McConnell said:

      Farhan, without your explaining what you mean by "real Muslims", your comment is incomprehensible. Above all, atheists reject all speculations about anything "supernatural" (such as speculations about the existence of any gods), because no evidence supports such speculations. Are you saying that "real Muslims" also reject all speculations about anything supernatural?

  34. tooryali said:

    I was pleasantly surprised to know that atheism has made its way into this citadel of islam. I believe excess of everything turns out to be unsavory. The excessive dose of religion over the last three decades has resulted in extremism and consequent bloodshed unheard of in this part of the world. The more the vested interest exploit the faith of the people for their political and economic ends, the more it will be exposed to criticism. No religion has the answer to complex social and economic problems of this century. Look at Afghanistan and Pakistan. Pakistan has been struggling for the last six decades to implement islamic system. But this is an illusion as there is no such thing as islamic system. Had there been one it would have been implemented long ago. How on earth can the monarchy of Saudi Arabia, the Viayat Faqih of Iran, the emirate of Taliban and the parliamentary democracy of Pakistan can be considered as islamic. There is no such thing as Islamic economic system. It is capitalism minus interest and plus zakat which is meager two and a half percent in a world where income are taxed to the tune of seventy percent. Islam is a convenient way for the mullahs and crooked politicians to reach to the pinnacle of power and this is called islamic system.

    • Nick McConnell said:

      tooryali, I agree with your analysis. In response, I'd like to at least mention that similar occurred (and is still occurring) in the West and suggest what appears to be the best way to thwart "[clerics] and crooked politicians [from reaching] the pinnacle[s] of power."

      That similar occurred in the West was recorded by the Greek historian Polybius (c.204 – c.122 BCE): "Since the masses of the people are inconsistent, full of unruly desires, passionate, and reckless of consequences, they must be filled with fears to keep them in order. The ancients did well, therefore, to invent gods and the belief in punishment after death." The "ancients" to whom Polybius referred no doubt included both earlier Greeks and Egyptians, who had practiced such deception for at least the prior 3,000 years.

      Approximately 2,000 years after Polybius, the English historian Edward Gibbon (1737 – 94) summarized similarly: "The various modes of worship which prevailed in the Roman world were all considered by the people as equally true, by the philosopher as equally false, and by the magistrate as equally useful." Such manipulation of the people by clerics and politicians continued in Europe throughout the Dark Ages and beyond, with some constraint finally occurring during the Enlightenment.

      A major breakthrough occurred because of efforts of especially Thomas Jefferson (1743 – 1826) and James Madison (1751 – 1836) to separate church (or religion) and state, i.e., their promotion of the idea of secular government. But even today, damnable politicians (e.g., in the U.S., Reagan, both Bushs, Perry) pander to brainwashed religious people to gain power.

      Jefferson also saw how the problem could be solved, at least in theory, writing: "I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think then not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take if from them, but to inform their discretion."

      In practice, the first step in the solution ("to inform [the people's] discretion") is to spread the word, such as with your comments. The second, major step, is to wrestle control of educating children from the clerics: so long as they're permitted to continue to indoctrinate children in religious delusions, clerics and colluding politicians will continue to control the reins of power.

  35. fizza said:

    When a car meets an accident, you don't blame the car, you blame the person driving it. Don't judge a religion by its people, but by its 'word and spirit'. Judge Islam through Quran not via fake / fallous muslims or scholars. It is easy to give up, but no matter how logical atheist may try to sound, the whole basis of aethiesm is illogical and as hard to explain (if not more) as the concept of Al Mighty. Some atheists also like to feel proud by saying religion is handed down by forefathers whereas atheism is self discovered and intellectually reached upon. So let me tell, no one makes a view in this world without influence. Just like your parents influenced you to believe in islam, western society/exposure to certain people has led you to choose for atheism , so nothing is without influence. Believing in a Greater being is far more logical and provable than believing that this universe is random! Hope this point of view is also taken in the same stride as is the existence of this group!

  36. Yousaf said:

    religion, to day, has lost its vigour and importance among the educated lot!
    as the clergy has made it the source of hatred and violence across the world. the world need humanity for peace and happiness!
    out moded religion should be remove from the world!

  37. m. salim said:

    What’s so brave and courageous about using pseudonyms? Most of us know who is atheist amongst our family and friends; they are clearly vocal and mostly arrogant and condescending towards faith. It’s not like people are hiding in closets and not believing in god. What Drama. Oh the trauma and trials of being an Atheist. If there is such a need to find likeminded people, there are plenty of social media forums where you can evolve your rational thinking, deliberately limited, exclusively scientific minds which claim to be free of the burden imposed by Islam. One can also always leave and migrate to free societies and proclaim the joy and liberation of apostasy. As most atheists will be those with intellectual complexes and project themselves as a think tank for saving the world and extending a hand to help humanity at large, I’m sure they will have no trouble finding a life elsewhere. I suppose it’s better than living with the constant threat to their lives. What a laugh

  38. Mamoor Khan said:

    islam is a true religion every human knows but it can encounter ideas of many sects in the society, so it is not so bad to be an athiest or non religious. kill someone for religious is brutality. there should be an organization in pakistan for the rights of athiest.

    • Nia Rio said:

      before claiming that islam i a true religion, you need to provide proof. although i do agree that atheist should have rights in pakistan.

  39. Shabboo mian said:

    Religions will definitely vanish , perish within no time if there is freedom of open discussion, liberty, wisdom, free thinking, freedom of thought, speech & expression through TV channels, radio, press, because this is an age of reason, justification , logics and not of superstion, supernaturalsim. Religion is bound to be eradicated automatically in near future as it cannot cope with fast moving technology and globalization. Religions have nothing for solving current human basic problems. nature has nothing to do with it.

  40. Shabboo mian said:

    After getting rid of my ancestral religion, i m free relaxed enlightened, enjoying my only once life.

  41. enlightened said:

    i being a Muslim (albeit not that good of one) am happy for this atheist movement in Pakistan. because this promotes freedom of speech and freedom of religion. we as Muslims should have no problem with whatever religion others practice. the greatest religion is humanity and if your a good human being then your a good muslim, hindu atheist etc.

    • Nick McConnell said:

      "enlightened", you are indeed enlightened! I would disagree with you, however, that you're "not that good of [a Muslim]". You're as good as they get! Would that all people were as enlightened as you.

  42. Genesis said:

    Richard Dawkins in his book"The God Delusion" rightly comments that religion has killed more people than all the other wars put together!

  43. shahid said:

    Religion is the opium of human mind……once u take it then you need more and more until it blur res the all rationale…..better to avoid it if not possible then change it….. phomikhan@yahoo.com…….

  44. muhammadatif said:

    Suppose you were in the middle of nowhere and you found a wounded person carrying a bag of gold. What thing is there to stop you from finishing him off and taking his money?

    Just give it a thought. Human race would not have survived for very long if there was no God.

    • Nick McConnell said:

      The censors of these comments apparently don't want to permit scientifically sound responses to the above, nonsense statement by muhammadatif. I'll try this: anyone who wonders about muhammadatif's data-less speculation "[The] Human race would not have survived for very long if there was [were] no God" can find a huge amount of data that conflicts with such a silly claim by searching on the internet for "behavioral sciences".

  45. @Bengal_Atheists said:

    I have great respect for atheists from countries like Pakistan. It takes a lot of courage to face overwhelming odds & death threats & still proudly say.. "I am an atheist"..
    It makes me feel like a coward… Who sits infront of my machine & vainly arguing with stupid people.
    A hundred Salutes to PAA

  46. Genesis said:

    The fact is the concept of god is human projection in our own image.All that we wish to and cannot achieve we either attribute it to god or his anger.Just like humans would do to others.for centuries we have all been deluded with this concept for which we have also killed millions of innocent people because they did not subscribe to this idea.If god permits this sort of killing why do I need to believe in him ( is he male or female!) or such a concept?

  47. Hena said:

    “Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
    Then he is not omnipotent.
    Is he able, but not willing?
    Then he is malevolent.
    Is he both able and willing?
    Then whence cometh evil?
    Is he neither able nor willing?
    Then why call him God?'' ~Epicurus
    TAKE THAT!! :D

    • Muhammad Ahmad said:

      Evil comes from giving free will to choose the good or evil path.

      'Allah created life and death to test us which of you good in deeds'.

      Because of giving the free will to be good or evil,man can choose his path.

      if you analyze words of Epicurus,It is clear from his words he believes in Evil and good unlike the animals.
      the consciousness what Allah has given us tells us what is evil or good and distinguishes us from animals.

  48. Muhammad Ahmad said:

    Atheists claim Quran is a word of Man.

    I challenge them to define the concept of God in your own words better than the Quran

    what they consider word of an unlettered man of 1400 years back but they will never be able to meet the challenge.

    'Allah, He is one and only, The Self Existing, the Eternal, no slumber can seize, nor does He require sleep – To Him belongs everything in the heaven and the earth'.

    He is one and only',Allah(almighty God) the Absolute and Eternal, He begets not nor is He begotten. There is nothing like Him'.

    'No vision can grasp Him, but He grasps all vision, He is beyond comprehension, yet He is acquainted with all things'

    or listen via link and arrange the words of Arabic to form a serious messages in the form of poetry what is actually not a poetry.

    But you will never be able to do that.Then woe to the duff,dumb and blind who does not use intellect to ponder over the signs of Allah,mean Quran.

    those who get knowledge reach to the conclusion that there is a God even though many times personal gains, insecurities, vulnerabilities, promotion of their ideology and hatred against religions lead them far astray and make them con fu $ ed

    For kids information ;

    Dawkins admitted existence of God. ..'Google Dawkins is no more a darwanist'

    And stephen Hawking said :

    “The whole history of science has been the gradual realization that events do not happen in an arbitrary manner, but that they reflect a certain underlying order.” (Brief history of Time, page 140)

    Stephen Hawking conclusion was very clear and decisive, he said: "So long as the universe had a (Certain one) beginning .. it had a (Certain one) Creator." (Brief history of Time, page 122)

    hope all you know what Einstein said..'Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind'.

    • Azad said:

      Have you read any other books or philosophy besides the Quran ? 'God' has been described similarly in several other scriptures.

  49. Genesis said:

    Religion has killed more people than all the wars put together.Any questions ? We hate and kill each other in the name of an imaginary concept.

  50. Faisal said:

    @genesis… Religion has not killed. Its man's uncontrollable desire to be supreme. Even in the last century.. world war 1 or 2 or vietnam are examples.

  51. Kashif Ansari said:

    there is some reality in both and both can be abused although nowadays we are seeing fanaticism and fundamentalism spreading like wildfire. science has no monopoly on reality and neither for that matter does religion. only reality has a monopoly on reality and by golly it is a bitter pill to swallow. if you beat all your addictions they include the addiction to food, money and comfort. that is very hard to live as a hermit. i challenge anyone to go live on the streets of calcutta and they will be yelling the name of god in distress. since the poor have no one and only the empty words of the rich who got there first … they at least have the consolation of god.

  52. Shadan Ahmad said:

    Wow . freethinkers in Pakistan . sounds like mirage in desert . I'm an Indian and used to thought Pakistan as most conservative country in the world , though at some extent it is but i can see the hope of more liberal and prosperous Pakistan . More I know about Pakistan more I love it .

  53. Moiz Omar said:

    I'm a Pakistani Canadian Atheist. The reason I'm an Atheist is because I see no evidence of the existence of a being such as "God." You may say "Who created the entire universe then?" Well I won't say I know for sure because I don't. But there are tremendous amount of the theories out there on the subject. And maybe they cannot explain everything perfectly but you know what? At the very least they try to provide evidence and supporting data for what they claim. Where is the evidence for "God?" Just because we don't know and understand something perfectly yet, does not mean you can put it on "God."

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