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.