How the Internet Helps Atheists in Repressive Countries

The internet has proven to be a big help to movements against oppression around the world and has been a huge benefit to atheists as well. This is especially true in theocratic countries that punish atheists and others with minority views on the dominant religion. The Jakarta Post notes that atheism is growing fast in Indonesia, aided by the internet:

In greater numbers than ever before, they are standing up and doing the unthinkable: they are proclaiming that they no longer have any religious faith at all.

They are members of a small community of non-believers, otherwise known as atheists, and it seems that many of them are no longer content being silent.

More and more Indonesian non-believers are taking a stance against what they perceive is an archaic and repressive system.

Of course, this being Indonesia, these outspoken non-believers are still relatively few and many choose to mull their rational queries quietly in their own minds rather than submit themselves to becoming outcasts and freaks in their own neighborhoods, communities and even among their own families and friends.

Still, despite the overwhelming odds, the rank of non-believers is growing — largely thanks to the Internet which offers an anonymous meeting place where non-believers can gather without the fear of reprisal.

By utilizing social networking tools such as blogs and Facebook groups, Indonesian non-believers are discovering that there is a considerable amount of like-minded people in the country.

This is a reminder of how fortunate we are to be able to express our atheism openly in the west. And we should be doing whatever we can to help those nascent movements in countries where there is no such safety.

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  • matty1

    Funny I was just reading comments, online of course because irony was found dead in a ditch, about how technology is making society worse. The usual crap that we email or facebook people instead of speaking in person, cause without the web I would totally be crossing the Atlantic every week to keep in touch with my cousin in Canada.

    Anyway it is worth remembering the tremendous good technology does in things like this and not assuming it is all videos of cats.

  • The Internet, where religions go to die.

  • stripeycat

    But Matty1, a handwritten letter once a month (only a single sheet, mind, because of airmail costs) is so much more deep and meaningful than limitless emails whenever anything pops into your head. My dearest friend lives in another country, and sometimes a single email between us can take half an hour to read and four or five to write.

  • TxSkeptic

    thanks to the Internet which offers an anonymous meeting place where non-believers can gather without the fear of reprisal.

    How many of these oppressive regimes are contracting as hard & fast as possible with the likes of Booz Allen Hamilton to surveil their internet traffic? The western democracies don’t have much of a problem with the atheist movement, but I would expect the islamic areas to by very concerned. Whether through encryption, proxies or other techniques, some more secure methods should be pushed to keep these brave people safe.