Saudi Arabia: Atheism Within the Kingdom?

Atheism and Christianity both exist in the Kingdom among Saudis.  However, due to the harsh punishment and ostracism associated with any Muslim who departs from Islam, these individuals live their choice belief in secret.

Reading a recent Washington Post article one may believe that of any following, atheism is likely on the rise in the Kingdom.  I believe this since if a Saudi does not agree with the tenets of Islam, there are no other “open” examples of faiths for a Saudi to pursue and investigate.

Regardless of to what faith, if a Saudi is known to leave Islam, he or she becomes isolated from their family, can lose their job and face prosecution or even the death penalty.

The Internet and social media is having an impact on allowing many Saudis to have access to other faiths and the tenets of those beliefs.  It also weighs in on why more Saudis may be questioning some of the traditions of Islam such as music is haram or do women really have to cover their faces.

Many non-believers of Islam in Saudi Arabia take serious risks by meeting privately where they can hold open discussions among each other and exchange books which are forbidden.

My personal view is that if an individual’s chosen faith or beliefs are strong enough to begin with, there is little that would sway them to change.  What do you think?

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37 Responses

  1. Carol,

    Something in you piece really caught my attention…even over the subject. Am I understanding correctly that in Islam..”some of the traditions of Islam such as music is haram.” Does that mean that music is a no, no? I’ve heard some beautiful Arabic music. I love all types of music.

    Could you please explain how music is viewed by Islam? I’d greatly appreciate it.

    On a different subject, how are you doing? You and your doctors are in my prayers. I pray that you are doing well.

  2. Many educated Muslims, all over, are fed-up with their religion because they see it as a value system as opposed to a belief between the individual and his/her creator.

    If more Muslims don’t fear losing their heads or severe punishment if they embraced other beliefs or even question Islam, like Suleiman Rushdie and Hamza Kashgari, millions of them would find something else to do.

    Muslims, men and women, I have dealt and interacted with in recent years are becoming critical of their religion and blame it for the Muslim World’s lack of freedom, respect for human rights, equality for women and incitements against non-Muslims.

    May be it’s time for Muslims to revisit the interpretations of their religious text books and see if things could be straightened up since things have changed drastically since Islam was established 15 centuries ago.

    This is not a slanderous or biased opinion, just personal input.

  3. Spot on.

  4. I think people should be able to choose their faith – or none at all – and not be “born” a certain faith. That sounds too much like compulsion in religion to me.

  5. The problem is that religion cannot stand up to scrutiny. Just look at the death threats to Tom Holland who Channel 4 in the UK stopped airing his documentary as it presented known scholars assessments which Islamic believers didn’t like being stated as the scholars assessment put the make believe fairy tale into place with the rest of Abrahamic made up nonsense. These believers threaten death to those who worked at Channel 4 and to Tom Holland.

    It scares them as the truth is far from their belief thus they must destroy things, kill, threat, and rewrite history in order to continue a lie. That is what the religious are the most afraid to face and that is why they continually threaten, impede, kill, destroy, hide, bully, torture, etc others so as to keep the lie and their particular beneficial edge going.

    The religious are generally afraid that if enough people question and study the totality of the religion; they will leave it for it cannot hold up to common sense, rationality, or reason. This is their fear and atheist they fear the most for you cannot scream at them to fear a two dimenstional God thus a great deal of their power is taken away and the only tactics they have left is hands on oppression, subjugation, etc such as shunning from a family, job loss, imprisonment or death are left which creates a continual hands on or monitoring issue. This is the way of many people who are religious. The religious never stop talking about it as well. They are always knocking at your door, putting crap on your car, spouting off on a street corner or getting in to politics in hopes to bring by those not so good old days depending on race, gender, etc. Everywhere you go you hear about the religious and their genocide, rape, hate, slavery, murdering text. Of course they feed you the nice stuff but always fail to talk about killing children or sanctioning rape or well insert another inhuman act that can be easily found in any of the Abrahamic texts and it is there for many of the other religions as well.

  6. I didn’t realize that aethism was such a problem in KSA.

  7. You are so right, Ali!

  8. unfortunately religion is used as a weapon to gain power. It has been there and it will be there whether we as individuals like it or not. Hope the day comes soon to other parts of the world where one could choose to have faith in what ever they like.

  9. Not so sure but I think it was either Mahatma Gandi or Albert Einstein who gave the all-time classic definition of “Atheism”:

    The belief there was once absolutely nothing. And nothing happened to the nothing until the nothing magically exploded (for no reason), creating everything and everywhere.

    Then a bunch of the exploded everything magically rearranged itself for no reason whatsoever. Into self-replicating bits which then turned into dinosaurs.

    And then they have the audacity to mock ALL religions?

  10. Rosemary C:

    Atheism is not defined in this manner nor did these individuals define the term. The term simply means no belief in an higher deity it does not mean to exclude natural forces of energy acting upon each other. Random as well as orderly energy which naturally occur simply is not a deity it is a collectiveness of pulses, signals, heat, cold, magnetic, etc. and when combined with something new it creates something new or creates destruction when it combines in a manner that is volatile. What people don’t want to believe is that they were randomly created and not planned by some two dimensionally created (fairy tale) deity. Their issue is that can’t see that the universe has no special plan for them except to go back into the energy fold and nothing more. In the universe their is no good or evil as it is subjective only based upon humanities belief system. The universe doesn’t give a damn about you as you just go back to perform a energy function or you dispate from existence at the worst. Either way it doesn’t matter as you didn’t exist in this form prior to this existence nor will you exist in the form after this existence.

    Natural law and random law of elements is what makes up the universe nothing more.

    However the religious believe themselves somehow special because they can write fairytales and believe in nonsense filled deities advocating for murderous, raping, subjugating, slavery inducing, raping, torturing rules which only a person high some drug induced overdose or insane or delusional will ever meet.

  11. That’s not quite right, bigstick. You’re describing atheism as if atheists are no different from agnostics. In fact atheists are convinced there is no such thing as the supernatural, and be quite aggressive in seeking to impose acceptance of that view on others. Atheists cannot answer any of the big questions human beings have, either, but remain convinced their position is correct anyway. That’s called “faith”. And Atheism is just another religion.

    Everywhere you go you hear about the religious and their genocide, rape, hate, slavery, murdering text. Of course they feed you the nice stuff but always fail to talk about killing children or sanctioning rape or well insert another inhuman act that can be easily found in any of the Abrahamic texts and it is there for many of the other religions as well.

    You won’t find any of that in the New Testament. Nor will you find Christians condoning that based on religious arguments. This post wasn’t about Christianity. Christianity doesn’t even exist in Saudi Arabia except behind closed doors. Please stick to the topic instead of attempting of grossly offend the maximum possible number of people.

    And

  12. Craig:

    Yes you will. Jesus did not come to change the laws of the Old Testament. Read it, it is there. I can go on but ask yourself if the new testament is just a continuation then what happen to God/Yahweh? Did that two dimensional fairytale deity change from being a murdering psychotic who can defeat an iron chariot?

    Here is a site you can read:

    http://www.ucg.org/christian-living/old-testament-new-testament/

    Next it is about atheism which I am an Atheist. If you are offended too bad. Christianity is just a part of the saga of Abrahamic hate religion. They are all the same just with different emphasises.

    Next no, my definition is not agnostic. It is based upon raw materials/energy nothing more. An agnostic actually believes there may be a higher power but has not affiliation with any religion as the entity has no contact or its intent will never be known.

    The definition of atheist is the non-belief in a God or deity. Nothing more.

    http://www.bing.com/Dictionary/search?q=define+atheism&qpvt=define+atheism&FORM=DTPDIA

  13. Craig:

    Also please point out which post prior to the last that I actually mentioned Christianity. I don’t think you will find it.

  14. This part

    Read it, it is there. I can go on but ask yourself if the new testament is just a continuation then what happen to God/Yahweh? Did that two dimensional fairytale deity change from being a murdering psychotic who can defeat an iron chariot?

    Should read:

    Read it, it is there. I can go on but ask yourself if the new testament isn’t just a continuation then what happen to God/Yahweh? Did that two dimensional fairytale deity change from being a murdering psychotic who cannot defeat an iron chariot?

  15. This has been resent as the other was not posted possibly due to 2 websites listings so I have only listed one this time.

    Craig:

    Yes you will. Jesus did not come to change the laws of the Old Testament. Read it, it is there. I can go on but ask yourself if the new testament isn’t just a continuation then what happen to God/Yahweh? Did that two dimensional fairytale deity change from being a murdering psychotic who cannot defeat an iron chariot?

    Here is a site you can read:

    http://www.ucg.org/christian-living/old-testament-new-testament/

    Next it is about atheism which I am an Atheist. If you are offended too bad. Christianity is just a part of the saga of Abrahamic hate religion. They are all the same just with different emphasises.

    Next no, my definition is not agnostic. It is based upon raw materials/energy nothing more. An agnostic actually believes there may be a higher power but has not affiliation with any religion as the entity has no contact or its intent will never be known.

    The definition of atheist is the non-belief in a God or deity. Nothing more.

  16. Craig:

    Faith is the belief in something such as I believe my mother loves me, I believe the sun will arise tomorrow, etc. Everyone has faith. Not everyone has religion.

    Religion is a rule laden fairytale book which lays out a dogma to which benefits a certain segment of society.

    Atheism has not rules it is just a non-belief in religion. Again religion is a dogma, a set of rules based upon a written text.

    See the difference?

  17. According to dictionary.com, religion is “a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs”; “the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices” and/or “a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects”

    Atheism is defined as “a person who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings”. This would be the general belief dogma or idea, just as with christianity it would be believing in Jesus as savior and God (as described in the bible). Disbelieving in a supreme being wouldn’t be enough for me to consider it a “religion”, but when many atheists believe that the earth was created millions of years ago due to various out-dated testing methods, evolution- which has yet to be proven; and various creation theories that involve trying to get around the question of “well what was there before that?”, then yeah- I’d consider atheism a religion at this point.

  18. Strangeone:

    That is a scientific analysis which is seperate from not believing fairytales. Try not to confuse the two. However many atheist do believe in science but they are open to changing theories and new discovers unlike the religious who are stuck on something that will never be validated. Even the historical evidence shows most of the events are fairy tales or crossed with pagan religions or just created for power grabs such as Malik for Islam and a Roman Caesar for Christianity.

    http://noahide-ancient-path.co.uk/index.php/christianity-2/2012/01/caesars-messiah/

  19. I agree carol. If you strongly believe in something it’s hard I c hange hat belief. Although I love F even father watching I’m, living with him and loving I’m I could ever take his religion. No matter what. Both my kids have very strong views n which religion they will follow. I dont think we could ever get them to change and we would not even try to .

    It’s hard for those poor atheists in ksa. Hope they get the freedom to live life as they please.

  20. In religion and politics, people’s beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second hand, and without examination.

    Mark Twain (1835 – 1910)

  21. Carol, I’d like to comment on a phrase in your article:
    You mention:
    ” I believe this since if a Saudi does not agree with the tenets of Islam, there are no other “open” examples of faiths for a Saudi to pursue and investigate.”

    This probably comes from a world view which cannot imagine a moral, purposeful life without a belief in a god of some sort and an afterlife.

    but the fact is, this type of life is very possible, as many of the moral codes we humans observe come from culture and tradition as well. accordingly, these atheists can be good people according to the norms of the culture they live in, without having to beleive in a god or an afterlife.

    Many intelligent Saudis who chose to reject Islam, like many other atheists in the world, will also reject all other religions as man-made, and apply the same systematic method of disproving them and pointing out their flaws. So, to say that they are not “open to other religious system” takes their intelligence lightly.

    If they are intelligent enough to envision a life without islam, then they can also search for an alternative as easy as that. Many of them are aware of the alternatives and are not very impressed either.

    People who have become agnostic/atheist have done so by having access to reading materials that is probably banned in Saudi, so we cannot say that they do not have access to other popular religions like (Christianity, Buddhism, etc).

    Many times, those who do choose to convert to another religion do so because they want a sense of belonging, a sense of community.. not because the argument for these religions is much better than the argue for Islam. However, for analytic, scientific, rational thinkers looking for empirical evidence and proof to belief in the supernatural, religion and beleif in the unseen will not satisfy their answers.

    Also, rejection of islam does not necessarily have to be because music and showing the woman’s face is haram. This is an over-simplification of the matter. though it may be a trigger to deeper questions.

    In addition, many of those who leave religion will embrace a “deistic view”, rejecting all religious portrayals of God as childish, man-made notions that do not befit the greatness of this universe. This happens to be the view of Einstein and many other scientists like him, who see God (or whatever other name they would like to call him/it) as the laws of the universe.

  22. Actually everyone is this world has a religion. What is religion? In Arabic, the word for religion means a way of life. Since everyone has a way of leading his or her life, everyone has a religion.

    A way of life can be defined very simply. It consists of two things: belief and actions. First you will believe something and than your action will follow that belief.

    Take the example of Islam. What is the belief? There is one God and He sent a Messenger. What are the actions? Do everything the God and His Messenger told to follow and refrain from everything what the God and His Messenger advised to refrain from.

    Now, coming to atheism, it is also a religion. Why? Because it has a belief. What is the belief? There is no God. What are the actions? Since there is no Higher Authority and and thus no accountability, lets do whatever we want. Sleeping with whomever you want, marijuana, getting drunk……everything goes.

    Why religions are always bashed, especially Islam by the atheists? It is not true that that Islam is cruel. See, Nazis killed people, US killed people. They are not bashed like Islam.

    But the problem lies somewhere else. It is the natural inclination of human beings. As Muslims, we believe that every child is born with the natural inclination of worshiping the one God. Since, atheists reject this natural inclination and take their human intellect and ego as their own God, they subconsciously develop a kind of guilt feeling. Because not submitting to the way revealed by God goes against the nature of being a human being. So atheists always have the need to justify atheism and their way of life. So they keep playing the broken record, “Religion is evil. Religion kills people.” But in honesty, as religion is not evil, atheists only try to console themselves with a false consolation.

  23. S of A:

    Because religion is a contradiction set of lies to which historical evidence, rationality, reason and just common sense can debunk. Indoctronation is the key to religion or any other belief system. it actually takes a strong person to break out of brainwashed biull shit dogma such as Islam. Next the books of religion are filled with justification for hate, racism, apartheid, sexism, homophobia, murder, torture, etc. Keep you damn moral they suck as they and many of the followers are evil murders, oppressors, subjugators who live to harm others.

    Next atheist do not have a book of idoitic make believe crap in fact no book exists as it common sense states women are not vaginas/sex objects to be covered from head to toe and keep in the dark and feed shit like religions treat them by offering lies that they are protect when they are actually used by the religious. They don’t lie and tell homosexuals that they are against the natural order when every species has this same orientation then create hate and hostility to them. They actually call sex slavery for what it is and not halal marriages that actually turn a woman into a prostitute and allows men to create societies that no one but the elitism might want to live in as it has instant throw away boys/men. They don’t sell their children for influence or status or for protection because their religion has set up a system to which no one is safe and all watch each other to cause oppression and subjugation by use of intimidation, eve teasing, harrassment. etc.

    Atheist way of live is to use reason. If you have read on the world’s population of who is in jail or who violates many you will find hands down it is the religious hate mongers who books adovcate for murder, rape, slavery etc. KEEP YOUR EVIL MORALS. Again your religion is bunk as well as your morals as they suck.

    Child actually have a natural orientation to questions, point out fallacy and think. Religion changes this natural orientation so that a child is forced into learning hate and religious immorality.

  24. S of A:

    Here is some interesting tidbit on marijuana:

    http://www.illuminati-news.com/marijuana-conspiracy.htm

  25. ^^^ See you are trying to feel good again by using lowly language against our religion. Didn’t I tell you that already?

    BTW, using lowly language is OK with you (as everything goes for you) but it is not OK with us. Because you have denied the accountability to God and we did not, and thus for us, for every word that we write or utter, we will be accountable to Him, the Most High.

  26. S of A:

    God doens’t exist just men who think they are god or better yet a prophet who can hide behind the concept of make believe. All are evil and narcissistic.

  27. Oh there is no lowly language it is just language to which you have weighted differently and assigned an arbitrary value personal value.

  28. S of A,

    I know you are newer to American Bedu blog so I just wanted to let you know that Bigstick is a very outspoken atheist on this blog. His point of view is well-known to American Bedu readers.

    I am happy to read about all the different opinions and perspectives readers have.

    On Sat, Dec 1, 2012 at 4:32 PM, American Bedu

  29. AB:

    Gee, I am famous. 🙂

  30. Bigstick,

    Famous or notorious! (smile)

    On Sat, Dec 1, 2012 at 6:01 PM, American Bedu

  31. AB:

    Hmm……generally kids who find out that Santa doesn’t exist anymore find that to be a bad thing and the deliverer of the message bringing it is often times not viewed in a favorable light. However, all fairytales must end at some point. So in that case I will accept notoriously famous. So thanks. 🙂

  32. @SofA

    It’s a great lie perpetuated by religious people that non-religious people have a carte blanche to engage in whatever they want because they don’t happen to subscribe to your religion and therefore have no morality. Religion is not the only source of the moral codes; and your religion specifically isn’t either.

    Secondly, I don’t think you have met very many atheists and therefore I don’t believe you are qualified to offer a guess on their supposed feelings of guilt. Does it occur to you that someone might not be religious and yet be perfectly happy and at peace with themselves?

    Finally, there is nothing natural about believing the way of a particular religion. My dear, if you were born to a Buddhist family, you’d believe they way they do. If you were born in China, you’d believe in no God at all. Let’s not pretend that you believe because some great natural force took you by the hand and led you there.

  33. I could not have said it better than S of A.

    Atheism is just a way of getting out of true belief. But, S of A, you and I and billions out there know the truth. Truth stands out clear from falsehood and falsehood is bound to perish. Deaf, dumb, blind, they cannot see. All we can do is hope that they will be guided.

    And yes, NN, some Force did guide us and He guides Whom He pleases.

  34. I cannot believe how many Muslims get upset about the bashing of Muslims and in the very same post bash Atheists.
    Amazing and embarassing.
    I’m sorry.
    Some of us know better.

  35. To quote the immortal Han Solo: ”There’s no ”mystical energy source” guiding my life”….

    And if there was I would like to have a hearty word about the crappy job with him/her/they…..
    : twisted:

    I can’t believe how religious people dare to complain they are being ”bashed” when they have it all their own way in most parts of the world.
    Where religion rules morality goes, happiness goes, prosperity goes, freedom goes. I am very lucky to live in a secular country.

  36. Sandy, you could be an atheist, you are so clever, just and humane…
    😈

  37. Strange One, you wrote:
    ”but when many atheists believe that the earth was created millions of years ago due to various out-dated testing methods, evolution- which has yet to be proven; and various creation theories that involve trying to get around the question of “well what was there before that?”, then yeah- I’d consider atheism a religion at this point.”

    First a point about language:
    In science a ”theory” is the closest you can go to fact. Scientists do not lie and so there is no 100% to be sure ever so they call it a ”Theory”. But not any hunch is called a theory, only the most proven and supported facts are called a ”theory” in science.

    In colloquial English, the English you use, a ”theory” is a hunch. Evolution is fact, so when you talk about evolution in colloquial English, it’s the law of evolution.

    Your definition of Atheism is wrong.
    Being intelligent and scientifically literate does not equate Atheism.

    Atheism is as much of a religion as hair colour is.

    Atheism is only the lack of believe in Gods, invisible sky daddies, leprechauns, the celestial teapot, etc. Because there is no proof for any of these things. And because the dogma’s related to these Gods are so full of faults, outdated and immoral.

    So what ”various out-dated testing methods” do you have problems with specifically? Because there are many methods for dating.

    I challenge you to read up on the various forms of ”dating methods”. Read about dating methods in scientific peer reviewed journals and publications.

    Read some (real) books and publications on the law of evolution, which have been peer reviewed and are proper science. And find out why it is the law of evolution and not a ”theory”.

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