How Would Apostates, Adulterers, And Thieves Fare In A Democratic Egypt?

Razib Kahn has a most disturbing chart:


Kahn explains the above:

On the x-axis you see the proportion who accept that adulterers should be stoned. On the y-axis you see the responses to amputation and apostasy. The red points are the proportion who agree with the death penalty for apostates, and the navy points those who believe in whipping or amputation for robbers.

As you can see, there’s a strong correlation between attitudes on these questions. The correlation is 0.97, 0.97, and 0.92, on the national level. So these three questions seem to be tapping on a “are you willing to get medieval!” sentiment in these societies. Compare Turkey to Egypt. They’re in totally different regions of the scatter plot. There is simply no comparison between these societies on these issues, despite both being Muslim and Middle Eastern.

Kahn worries that

to be secular in Egypt may correlate with greater illiberalism toward deviance from the putative religious orthodoxy than to be an Islamist in Turkey!

And highlights this chart:

And notes that:

No one in the Egyptian sample admitted to being an atheist (this is not uncommon in Muslim countries).

Kahn has much more analysis in his full post.

I ask you, informed readers who avoid the extremes of paranoid Islamophobia, on the one side, and head-in-the-sand optimistic support for religion, on the other, what do you think this means for freedom of non-Islamic speech and expression, for religious tolerance, and for tolerance of secular attitudes and beliefs (including outright atheism)?

Your Thoughts?

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About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • mikespeir

    I’m afraid they might freely elect to force their religion on everyone.

  • Wazaghun

    Well, i can tell you that I (as Tunisian) have been discussing religious topics over the past 2 months on a daily basis in several places (especially PalTalk).
    I can mostly speak without greater problems about wanting a secular and democratic Tunisia. Some agree, some think that an Islamic democracy is possible.

    BUT …..

    As soon as the conversation comes to the question of me being not a Muslim the hostility is at a frightening level. I got banned or bounced several time for merely stating that not all Tunisians are Muslims.
    Even if one has to “admit” that death threats are seldom to be heard in these days (as long as i don’t mention being an apostate but have them believe that i am a “natural” nonbeliever) it becomes quite clear that i am not accepted as an equal citizen.

    There have been reports already of a supposedly Jewish teacher in Tunisia having been killed a week ago.

    This is frightening and i can only hope that reason will prevail.

    • Daniel Fincke

      Thanks so much, Tarentola for speaking out, my heart always goes out to all of you silenced apostates denied your rights of conscience. I’m bookmarking your blog. Feel free to send me news, facts, and insights that you want to get out to a wider audience.