Raising Kids Without God: Atheist Parents in Indonesia

A growing number of people are turning to atheism in Indonesia

By Marcel Thee on 08:10 pm Jul 15, 2013
(JG illustration)

(JG illustration)

The members of Indonesian Atheist Parents come together to answer a simple question: How do you survive as an atheist parent in a country where such a stance is considered blasphemous?

In a place where a hint of holding an unpopular opinion — about God, no less — can land a person in jail, or at the very least make someone a social outcast, it can often feel like raising a child to think differently is impossible for both child and parent.

For too many, the social and administrative challenges will be too much. Seemingly trivial tasks such as filling out forms, visiting family and chitchat around the table become a burden wrought with personal ramifications.

Simply put, is the effort worth the trouble?

The Indonesian Atheist Parents Facebook community was established in April. As an outgrowth of Indonesia’s increasingly vocal atheist movement — showcased most visibly by Karl Karnadi’s Indonesian Atheist group — the group’s specific focus has garnered it followers with a dedicated interest toward what its founders tags as “parenting beyond belief.”

The group’s 70-plus members discuss topics ranging from specifically atheist issues (“What schools are secular?”; “What do you do when a relative asks the children about their religious studies?”; “How do you survive religious holiday gatherings?”) to more general ones about sex education, home-schooling and holiday destinations.

A.F. Simanjuntak, who agreed to speak only under his initials and clan name, founded the Indonesian Atheist Parents group. His clan name indicates that A.F. is Batak, a North Sumatran ethnicity that in general, holds strong Protestant values. He also comes from a military family, prompting him to joke that elements of his background are “not exactly a good combination” for him to be able to express progressive beliefs.

Along with his wife, A.F. hides his non-religiosity from their families, an understandable survival mechanism for the majority of Indonesian atheists.

The familial pressures of endless religious rituals — as well as the general outlook of a strongly religious family — became even more of a challenge when A.F. and his wife had children.

The Protestant religious rite Peneguhan Sidi (Sidi Confirmation), practiced as children enter their early teens, is of particular concern for the couple.

“We don’t particularly want our two children (boys in grades four and six) to partake in those rituals, but at the same time, it is a social process [in Indonesia] that is part of the child’s life,” A.F. said.

Announcing that their children will not undergo such rituals is likely to provoke family and friends, and has the potential to lead to alienation.

It could also deny their children a sense of shared experience with their peers.

“The biggest challenge is in encouraging the children’s character-building away from religious dogmas that surround them,” A.F. said. “Don’t get me wrong, we are not molding our kids into atheists — they are free to choose their own path, even as persons who believe in God — but they should be critical, free, and responsible.”

A.F.’s wife — who would only speak anonymously — said the children’s challenge as freethinkers is in making peace with themselves if they choose to continue living in the country.

“With the advantages they have [of not being subscribed into any religious dogma], our children could slip into being persons filled with hatred,” she said.

“Our task now as parents is to show them that people who believe in God can live next to someone who doesn’t; someone who is ‘smart’ can live along with someone who may not particularly be so, and so on. It is important for them to know that being able to survive in a society is much more important than basing their lives on a sense of narrow idealism.”

Group member Cherrie Petrissa, who lives in the Netherlands with her German husband, said being an atheist parent does have its drawbacks in terms of relationships, which she has come to terms with.

“I was raised in a mixed-faith family myself, with a Muslim father and a Catholic mother,” she said.

“My father is not a practicing Muslim, but my mother deals with me being an atheist raising an atheist child by being in denial. She keeps thinking that deep in my heart we’re all still believers. I let her have her peace that way.”

Another group member, a political journalist who only wishes to be identified as T.R., says he and his wife (who is not an atheist but a “very, very liberal Muslim”) have made peace with how much of their child’s life will be surrounded by religious beliefs. T.R. still commits to Muslim praying practices sometimes for the sake of familial “togetherness.”

“[My wife and I] think that shielding our daughter from religion will actually make her susceptible toward it, and vice versa,” he said.

T.R.’s only daughter, who is now in elementary school, goes to a “dangerously” religious school because of a lack of alternatives. But T.R. considers what matters most is the example that he and his wife set at home.

“If her home is filled with rational thinking, [her school and home life] creates a good balance,” T.R. said.

T.R. has little trepidation about how his daughter will cope in what he calls an “increasingly Muslim Indonesia.”

“The substance of [my daughter’s] generation of irreligious, rational thinkers will be the ones battling against [fundamentalists], and they will be prepared,” he said.

Both A.F. and T.R. accept that their children will have to live their lives — at least on paper — as religious believers. Their citizen ID card notes their religion (“Hers states Muslim, but does that really mean anything?” T.R. said of his daughter) and they both go to schools where religious studies are compulsory.

For A.F., religion benefits his children at least in familiarizing them with their ethnic roots. He said it was important for his family to be able to live a normal life despite their beliefs, or lack thereof.

His wife said it was important to prepare their children to be flexible in their idealism in order to survive.

She explained that although there “might be some great, achievable things without the presence of religion, [we’ve] gotten used to just see, take, and process the best out of all the bad things that exist in this life.”

For T.R., being a parent without the baggage of religion results in “a child who is stronger and not a crybaby, because she would not have to be dependent on something outside herself that is abstract and never concretely debated.”

He added: “There is nothing sadder than seeing an 8- or 9-year-old explain everything using ‘by the grace of god,’ showcasing a formed weakness of a mind that should be thinking about things without any limits.”

 

Facebook group (closed membership) Indonesian Atheist Parents.

  • einedame

    Sometimes I wish that these kind of articles are written in Indonesian too, and available to be read by everyone, everywhere on the street.

    • August

      true, should be broadcasted to a wider audience, but I can already imagine how “colorful” the comment section would be in the article. :P

  • Roland

    What a sad society we are living in. No government should be able via laws (and in its extension via peer pressure) to force religion on its people, same as no government should be able to force atheism on its people (something of which many Indonesians believe communist regimes did which is actually just a half-truth). So I wonder what is worse – a government which enforces religion as an absolute Must on its people (and with it many lies amongst them) or a government without religious affiliations embedded in it and which supports rational thinking of its people and leaving it to the privacy of the people to believe in whatever Supreme being they want to believe in.

    But now religion is in many cases just become one big business opportunity – ranging from attire to politics, from food certifications to TV preachers, etc. – all this, in many cases (and I mean “MANY”) false piousness, enforced by a government is just terrible. I mean it is not only here in Indonesia but when I watch some Hollywood movie and see this actor playing the US president and hear them saying “So help us God” or “God bless America”, “God Speed” etc., is just as bad, same as here with all this “God Willing” babble when real decisions have to be made. IN regards of the movies – I understand it’s just a work of fiction but it reflects real life and the masses it reaches will subconsciously imitate certain behaviour models. Just looking at a US Dollar note already it starts with “In God we Trust”.

    Anyway, I’m getting so really mad reading articles as this one – not the article itself which is a very interesting one – but looking once again into the rather ugly face of legally enforced religiosity.

  • TGIF

    Atheist or not, parents should raise kids with critical thinking instead of reciting passages from any holy books. Understanding choices for themselves, understanding diversity, learning compassion for another human being regardless of who they may be. Religion of today has not been an examplary method for grown ups since we have seen some people holding political power abusing their rights and engaging in corruption and fraud. There are also people who lack compassion for another human being by restricting health care and treatment to poor people. There are religious radicals who see revenge when revenge is not going to heal anything other than creating more pain for themselves and other innocent people.

    Kids can make a choice whether to practice a faith between god and himself or herself. Adolescents can also become an atheist while keeping an understanding of love, compassion and honesty. So being an overly religious or a fundamenalist person does not necessarily bring an ultimate happiness because he or she can never be satisfied with the outcome. An overwhelmingly religious person may want to gain more control over others because of his or her own insecurity in life. Believe me I have seen such cases where adults are destroying families or distancing themselves from love ones because of fundamental religion, ego and insecurity.

  • DD

    A growing number of people are turning to atheism in Indonesia –
    Religion has had its day – fact – atheism is the world fastest growing belief system
    Please leave us in peace to get on with living

  • Andrew

    Yes, this topic needs to be broached in wider Indonesian society

  • Euan Mie

    The most positive story of the week…or millenia perhaps.

    • atheizmomg

      atheist topic: omg iz gud

      lel

  • Deddy K.

    As long as they are not hurting anyone I do hope they are allowed to continue with their way of life.

    I have to say though, they paint religious people as total morons (or maybe that’s how I interpreted it). I understand that it is tempting to say we athiests are the smartest because we are free from religious dogma. What it does is create a situation of confrontation, where obviously people who are atheist or their supporters automatically going to lose. (Illegal, Radical Muslims, Indonesian Culture).

    The way it should be is that everyone should live with his/her own beliefs. You believe in God awesome good for you, you don’t believe in God awesome good for you. It has no real bearing (unless you try to use your beliefs to ridicule or oppress others such as the way radical muslims do it) on your social interactions. It doesn’t make us less of a person for what we believe in, as long as it’s for our own personal beliefs.

    I always wonder why its so hard for Indonesians to live that way? It’s like a disease for Indonesians to put their nose into other peoples business. How we each live is our own choice. Good or bad. As long as you are not attacking people, burning peoples places down, or oppressing them, then so what?

    I would say that for Religious people and atheist alike need to do a true review of all religions at it’s core from Hindu to Islam to Christianity to Judaism and even older religions of our ancestors which would yield a proper respect for all religions, and to study what each priest, monk, preacher, imam actually is trying to convey (love your neighbor, or burn the heretics) and review it based on human knowledge (use your brain) at the same time as our blind faith. Follow those that preach tolerance and equality for all, shun and expel those that preach about hate and superiority.
    Even Atheist would deem it logical that we live together in peace rather than at each others throats as the radical muslims would like, and them at the top of a pile of our dead bodies.

    • irreligious

      Any normal person wants peaceful coexistence rather than fighting each other over beliefs. Most religious people appear to be fixed in their views because of their “strong faith”. They tend to have a “holier than thou” attitude because they think by practicing religious rituals they are being good people and others who do not are not. They tend to judge people who are different. This should not be the case. Religious people should be more open minded and practice what their religions tell them: to love their neighbors.

      • sedasi

        The same can be said about a lot of atheists and their “smarter than thou” attitude. I believe that the key is to respect others who believe differently than us, don’t try to belittle them or judge them as long as they act nicely and not full of bigotry.

  • lost-and-found

    This is great article and it shows how much more logical the thinking is without the belief in any religion. I have been following the Indonesian Athiest’s page on Facebook and have found them to be very smart and far more common sense than any religious persons I have met here.

  • Euan Mie

    There’s no actual photo of a family at the top of course, and the reasons for that shouldn’t need explaining here. Let us remember prisoner of conscience Alexander Aan, who remains in jail for the crime of atheism.

  • Roxee

    State mandated religion is not a democracy, it is a theocracy. I hope Indonesia chooses democracy.

  • Sighentist

    “If her home is filled with rational thinking, [her school and home life] creates a good balance,” T.R. said.”

    Rational thinking and teaching fairy tales as the truth do not make a good balance.

  • Rizuchan

    Very interesting. I’m a practicing Muslim who happen to have an agnostic adoptive older brother. Agnostic is different from atheist, though. But, learning from my brother, I think can understand the logical thinking of atheist people regardless of my personal point of view as someone who do believe in God.

    I do wish Indonesia, be it the whole society or the government, could be more open minded about such issue. I find it funny that the laws stated Indonesia is a secular country with all the democracy campaigns but acknowledges only five (or is it now six?) religions. We can’t even marry someone whose belief is different. Double standards much?

    I shall share this article on my Facebook.

    • Voxclara

      You said:
      [I find it funny that the laws stated Indonesia is a secular country with all the democracy campaigns but acknowledges only five (or is it now six?) religions. We can't even marry someone whose belief is different. Double standards much?]

      But surely you know that as a Muslim you can’t marry a non Muslim unless he/she converts to Islam.

      • sedasi

        I have a Muslim uncle who converted to Hinduism to marry his Balinese wife, sure he did receive some scrutiny from the family and my grandmother told me that she cried for weeks after knowing that, but now they’ve learnt to accept it, we still celebrate Eid together and we visit him in Bali sometimes.

        • Voxclara

          You have very tolerant and loving family, you are very lucky. According to Islamic jurisprudence the Sharia a Muslim must not convert to other faith. See
          Qur’an (4:89), Qur’an (9:11-12), 2:217, 9:73-74, 88:21, 5:54, and 9:66.
          From the Hadith:
          Bukhari (52:260) – “…The Prophet said, ‘If somebody (a Muslim) discards his religion, kill him.’ ” Note that there is no distinction as to how that Muslim came to be a Muslim.

          Bukhari (83:37) – “Allah’s Apostle never killed anyone except in one of the following three situations: (1) A person who killed somebody unjustly, was killed (in Qisas,) (2) a married person who committed illegal sexual intercourse and (3) a man who fought against Allah and His Apostle and deserted Islam and became an apostate.”

          Bukhari (84:57) – [In the words of] “Allah’s Apostle, ‘Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him.’”

          Bukhari (89:271) – A man who embraces Islam, then reverts to Judaism is to be killed according to “the verdict of Allah and his apostle.”

          The punishment for apostasy in Islam is death.

    • DanielKaimana

      Do you reckon to add Judaism on the list?

  • brrap

    If i were to have a kid, i would teach him/her all religious beliefs and ask for their opinion, they need to know about the beliefs and why people of certain beliefs act a certain way.

    this would, hopefully, allows them to have broader mind, wider paradigm and let them to think for themselves instead of being exposed to a certain religious dogma since childhood.

    if in the future, my child choose to pick a religion, it will be his/her choice, instead of me choosing it for them.

  • Another Atheis Dad

    I still teach religion rituals to my boys, I want him to discover atheism by himself as I did growing up

  • Giovan

    I was a believer until I’m 20. I’m 21 now. It’s not that I don’t believe. What I believe is either:

    1. God exists but doesn’t care.

    2. God exists but only cares about specific people.

    3. God died.

    It’s the people around me who have made me leave my beliefs. Those preachers. Those hypocrites. For me, religion is people’s opinion. If they can make their own opinion, why can’t I? This explains the amount of religions in this world. Why are there so many religions/beliefs? Simple: opinions.

    • Ren

      Pretty soon you’ll see 2 isn’t an option, and 3 is probably conflict with definition of a God(unless you mean a God in video game God of War that can be killed.) That leaves you option 1, which the simpler answer is God does not exist so no one cares from the get go, except those people that wanted to manipulate their followers.

      Good luck. :)

    • Giovandick2inch

      yes atheist is who cant being hypocrites, since they claim most religious is was only hypocrites

      - most atheist logic

  • Doddlebugger

    I teach my kid to be a good person that’s all. Until the day when he ask me the “who is God” question, that is what I will keep doing. When that day comes, I will tell him it’s a journey to be discovered on his own free will and he should not be pressured into any religion. It’s a personal choice just like all other things in life.

  • Celia

    I do wish more parents never pressure their kids to follow their religion simply because of tradition. Creed should always be a highly private matter, not something that is dictated and indoctrinated into.

  • Sharky Mars

    There is something wrong about this country, I knew it. Well, being a religious person is not bad, but being an atheist one is not bad too. The problem is the Indonesian people will not accept the idea of atheism, because (in their opinions) people will do many bad things if they don’t have any religion. Even if they have the same religion, but the way they praise god is different from the other, they will definitely do something (bad) about it. I am an Indonesian citizen, and I do not want to talk about this issue in public.

  • Unbeliever!

    I was believer for 22 years old and now i am an atheist. i feel free without religion, but i am not free to let people know that i am an atheist. i am raised in religious family, i am pressured to do religious stuffs and i am kinda tired of pretending. i am wearing burkha and it is not possible for me to take it off.

    i tried to tell a few friends that i am an atheist, but they started to think i am a bad person. so i decided to stop explaining them and keep it for myself and keep on pretending. *Hell yeah, it sucks!* (but nothing i can do)

    Being atheist made my soul is free, i am not afraid of God or damnation, but atheist cannot be applied socially in Indonesia.

    Some believers do good things coz they are afraid of damnation (like I used to be).
    Atheists do good things coz it is the right thing to do!

    • antifreeze

      Sister …Respect…..( high 5′s).

    • Arturis Dentalis

      Stay strong and know you are not alone.

  • bing

    Indonesia is a country where Islam is the key to the money chest, and while that is true the ignorant poor will be kept uneducated and inline, the rich will support the fanatics because it makes for good dirty business, and the fanatics love the sadistic twisted power it gives them. Nowhere in the equation comes God, well except the one of greed, lust and power.

  • tahugejrot

    I had a long debate with an old atheist man in this forum
    over his atheist position. He is so senior … .even
    WW-2 is part of his episode in his life….He seems has a high degree in education. I suppose he has come to a solid
    conclusion on his atheism given his age.
    But then at one point in the debate I suddenly lost appetite to continue
    the debate …..that’s when he started to
    admit that God’s existence is possible ….. but then on the other occasions he
    is assured that God is not exist …..
    It’s so sad that a very long journey in life has only made him a flip-flop …. ha3x

    • Arturis Dentalis

      Perhaps you’re confusing ‘God’ with ‘god’? He may have been sure that the Abrahamic god doesn’t exist for example, but couldn’t honestly discount the existence of A god, something that is beyond everyone’s knowledge.

    • DrDez

      That would be me Tahu… 87yo and the brain the size of a planet (Hitchikers guide hax35)

      Of course there is the ‘possibility’ of a god even the god or multiple gods, any good scientist would tell you so – all they/we ask is evidence that can be put to the test, proven beyond reasonable doubt. All you have is superstition and really weak arguements due to a lack of understanding.

      Then as now all I ask is provide me evidence of his/her/its existence. You cannot instead you spout the same old gibberish. Lack of evidence there is no god is not proof there is a god… which BTW was when you lost interest…

      As always the onus is on the man who makes the claim – you make the claim of a god so please back it up with facts not interpretations or yet to be explained phenomenon or ridiculous free will arguments – As I told you then if you can do that I will join you for Friday prayers and discus my conversion

      If you cannot then show some respect and stop playing the hell and damnation card it just belittles you

  • antifreeze

    “There is nothing sadder than seeing an 8- or 9-year-old explain
    everything using ‘by the grace of god,’ showcasing a formed weakness of a
    mind that should be thinking about things without any limits.” Fine words Pak.

  • tahugejrot

    Yeah right …. When atheist
    stalin killed his 20million people …
    when atheist Mao … Polpot… other atheist regimes killed 100 million people …
    they did it with good intention .. . They did it under motive of loving their country …. they
    did it upon “high moral” ….

    When Chinese government forcing Xinjiang muslim to eat during Ramadhan … they are doing it upon the high moral of communism ….

    So don’t blame them, coz every body can define what is moral and what is immoral …
    ha3x …

    • Arturis Dentalis

      I dare you to provide one piece of evidence that shows those monsters committed those atrocities because of atheism.

  • tahugejrot

    If you are an atheist parent, please tell your kids that they have no soul
    ….!!! Coz the concept of soul is compeletely un-scientific claim …

    Tell them that their soul is their brain … which work like a
    bio-chemical machine … based on physical law …. Which is deterministic … (plus some randomness at atomic level)
    … So tell them that they have no free will …. Coz the concept of free will is completely
    non-scientific claim …. That’s what
    Stephen Hawking said …

    Tell them that they are just a product of cosmic accident … “ A chemical scum on surface of a planet called earth … “ again that’s what Stephen Hawking said …

    Make them proud of them self that way … ha3x …

  • Stephen Hawking

    I will.

    If you want to post an attack on scientific theory, you must be prepared to offer EQUAL, compelling, reasoned evidence for your position.

    • tahugejrot

      To think that universe is objective reality and self contained leads to the conclusion that quantum mechanic is weird and no one will understand it (Richard Feynman-father of quantum mechanic says: nobody understand quantum mechanic ) …

      That must be something wrong with this old paradigm …

      • TalkingEid

        Do you actually know what the word ‘paradigm’ means? Or just spouting big words to try to appear clever?

      • DD

        Paradigm
        The Oxford Dictionary defines the basic meaning of the term paradigm as “a typical example or pattern of something; a pattern or model”.

        The historian of science Thomas Kuhn gave it its contemporary meaning when he adopted the word to refer to the set of practices that define a scientific discipline at any particular period of time.

        Semantic satiation
        Is a psychological phenomenon in which repetition causes a word or phrase to temporarily lose meaning for the listener, who then processes the speech as repeated meaningless sounds.

        Boll***s

        a word of Anglo-Saxon origin, meaning testicles. The word is often used figuratively in British English and Hiberno-English, as a noun to mean nonsense, an expletive or an adjective to mean poor quality or useless.
        Similarly, the common phrase “That’s a load of old b***ocks” generally indicates contempt.

        Provide the evidence as requested and I shall fly back tomorrow and join you for conversion on Friday.

  • Rustynails

    Well I think Stephen Hawking is at no risk of losing argument here. Seriously out of one million this was the fastest one?

  • Rustynails

    Actually they were all personality cults that relied on blind unthinking obedience like the other major religions.

  • DrDez

    correct – who am I to say there is no god to others? All I ask (for myself) is evidence of the existence of said god before I am willing to submit to his will.
    Without evidence submission is an inexplicable act of faith – running your life, even killing people because of some being that has never been seen, heard or proven to exist? Crikey what a way to run your life… NOT

    • Arturis Dentalis

      I’m of the same opinion. I also regard myself as a gnostic atheist when it comes to Christianity and Islam because of that very particular shared feature of their ideologies that directly contradicts the central attributes their god is supposed to have – the idea of eternal torture in hell, yet god is somehow still an omnipotent. omniscient, perfect, loving, forgiving and just entity.

      It depresses me that Christians and Muslims are unable to see that this is nothing more than a transparent attempt to bully people from apostatizing from their religions.

  • tahugejrot

    Hi mr. Stephen Hawking (…ha3x…) :
    To think that our physical universe (atoms, space, times, physics laws) is the only
    reality that exist is like to think (thousand years ago) the earth is flat …

    Simple prove of non-physical reality: when 650nm E/M wave (when you see a red apple) hit your retina then your consciousness will see a “red color sensation” .. No one can define this “red color sensation” in scientific term !!

    Moreover, my “eyes to brain interface” might have been “tuned” differently so my “red color sensation” in my consciousness might be different/shifted than yours.

    But sadly, science inherently doesn’t have a language to describe this non-physical reality (“red color sensation”) in our consciousness …

    The old paradigm (that our universe is the objective reality) can only lead to conclusion that quantum mechanic is weird and no one will understand it (Richard Feynman-father of quantum mechanic) …

    … History keeps repeating …

  • tahugejrot

    DrDez:
    Talking about which paradigm is belittling or not … let me ask you simple questions :

    Do you prefer to consider yourself as biomechanic robot (atheist can’t escape this question) which has no freewill or the opposite ?

    Do you prefer to consider you are not responsible for your
    own life/deeds/achievement etc (given that you have no freewill) or the opposite ?

    So which paradigm is belittling here ? I dare you to answer it …

    • DrDez

      Tahu – stop trying to be clever it really does not become you
      All I ask is evidence, proof, I dont care about all the usual b****x you spout – until there is proof which I have asked you to provide – I will neither doff my cap to a fantasy or play games with you

      I ask again – where is the proof? where is the evidence?

      All you do time after time, page after page is deflect from the core question. Where the evidence that drives men to kill to oppress ? To feel superior? There is none and you know it as does every half intelligent religious person on earth – It is a matter of faith – I am ok with that BTW right up until the point the person of faith starts to spout off and try to control using his beliefs

      So, until that question is answered satisfactorily all the rest is pure window dressing, tripe, crap, dirts – Religion is the construct of man to control and to explain what we cannot understand – inch by inch that lack of understanding is being eroded, it is defeated which is why the fastest growing belief system is atheism

      Again –

      Where is your evidence since it is you who is making the assumption of god – unless you have proof then all the rest is pure idealistic rubbish and you know it is

      I dare you to answer rather than attempt to deflect – just answer the question

      • tahugejrot

        DrDez, let me ask you back … what kind of proof do you need
        to convince you in DIRECT WAY that God exist ?
        Pls answer. You know you can’t answer this question without looking naïve..

        Can you proof directly that electron is exist ?

        I just need to go the “final questions” which impossible for
        you to answer without contradiction to your stance :

        Do you prefer to consider yourself as biomechanic robot which has no freewill or the opposite ?

        Do you prefer to consider you are not responsible for your
        own life/deeds/achievement etc (given that you have no freewill) or the opposite ?

        Please answer these questions first then I will answer you questions .

      • DanielKaimana

        Do you by chance believe that ghost exists? Just curious..

    • Euan Mie

      “…biomechanic robot (atheist can’t escape this question) which has no freewill or the opposite ?”

      What’s this nonsense? Yes we are evolved biomechanical beings and yes we also have free will, our best bet being that self-reflecting consciousness is a higher emergent property of the brain and its specific biochemistry What has God to do with this? Are you suggesting that free will cannot exist without a divine creator? Again, you’ll need some kind of evidence to back you up here mate as this kind of teleological reasoning took a philosophical back seat about three centuries ago. Just what rubbish have you been reading?

  • tahugejrot

    To think that our physical universe (atoms, space, times,physics laws) is the only
    reality that exist is like to think (thousand years ago) the earth is flat …

    Simple prove of non-physical reality: when 650nm E/M wave (when you see a red apple) hit your retina then your consciousness will see a “red color sensation” .. No one can define this “red color sensation” in scientific term !!

    Moreover, my “eyes to brain interface” might have been “tuned” differently so
    my “red color sensation” in my consciousness might be different/shifted than
    yours.

    There is no way to compare my “taste” of 650nm E/M wave hitting my retina to yours.
    It’s beyond this physical realm.
    But sadly, science inherently doesn’t have a language to define
    this non-physical reality (“red color sensation” in our consciousness) …

  • guest

    Honestly I simply don’t care about people decision of being an atheist. But sometimes it is annoying to see them pretending as the ones-who-know-everything. It is okay if they speak their mind appropriately, but there are many of them who spread their opinion in insulting ways.

    I know as God believer, there are some doctrines I have to accept, of course it won’t harm my ability in using logic. I’ve been working as an engineer and having a religion doesn’t disrupt me to think about any scientific mechanism. Instead, it makes me realize that human achievement in technology today is far from enough to uncover all secrets of this universe. We just reveal a tiny part, hence, denying God existence is still far far away.

    • DD

      Guest

      In fact most atheists claim the opposite – not that we know everything but that we know so very little. But what we do know is proven, factual and based on evidence, unlike say the existence of god.
      You say “I know as God believer, there are some doctrines I have to accept”

      An typical atheist response might be “why?”
      So I will ask you why do have to accept them?
      Are you hinting at lack of belief in something ?
      Lets consider a view of creation. If you don’t believe that the earth was created in 7 days then you are surely denying the holy texts, if you are saying that then what else is not true?

      Now believing in god is no hindrance to most things and I do not object to anyone who does so, my wife for example – UNTIL that is that belief is used to harm people or control people. Here, even stating that you are a non believer can leave you dead.

      Reading you last line it seems you are perhaps waiting for proof there is no god before you stop believing – That funny enough is almost atheist thinking. We are merely asking for proof before we start to believe

  • http://al-terity.blogspot.com/ Alterity

    Atheism
    is directly related to intelligence. Even in “religious” America, nearly
    all scientists are atheists. As education improves in Indonesia, more
    people will discard medieval fantasies and become rational.

    • tahugejrot

      Really ??? ….Is that going to happen in Indonesia ?? …… are you living in a cave brother ???

      If that’s what you think, why don’t you go back to your land first and tell Pamella Geller, Robert Spencer, Pat Condell, Nick Griffin etc to stop their campaign … and find other jobs ….. ha3x …

      • DD

        Err Tahu – have you read the article??

        Raising Kids Without God: Atheist Parents in Indonesia
        A growing number of people are turning to atheism in Indonesia

        I will repeat that last bit slowly….

        A grow ing num ber of people are turn ing to atheism in I n d o n e s i a

        psst – according to the last 12 years national census Islam as a percentage has fallen by near 10% – add all those KTP Muslims, deviants, atheists, animists etc – one wonders just how many real Muslims there are in Indonesia???

        Are you living in a tent ?

        BTW – I am still waiting for your response below, the evidence that will convince me once and for all that your god is real and not just a fantasy followed by people without the will to accept the world for what it is.

        Come on biggus step up to the plate and state the evidence that is so compelling that your brothers and sisters will kill innocent women on motorbikes for it.

        psst 2

        Boll***s
        a word of Anglo-Saxon origin, meaning testicles. The word is often used figuratively in British English and Hiberno-English, as a noun to mean nonsense, an expletive or an adjective to mean poor quality or useless.
        Similarly, the common phrase “That’s a load of old b***ocks” generally indicates contempt.

        Provide the evidence as requested and I shall fly back next week (too late for tomorrow now) and join you for conversion on Friday.

        • tahugejrot

          I admit it … the atheist population growth in Indonesia is frightening …. Like indicated in social media facebook where the membership of one popular atheist group has jumped to around 100 million members since it’s established in late 2008.

          Rrr… sorry …someone corrected me … it’s not 100 million members …. It’s 1000-ish members in 5 years !! …….. it’s soo frightening … ha3x …

          Muslim population has fallen 10% ….. ??? Who give a s**t to the censuss ?? Don’t you know people can buy to get2 or 3 KTPs back then ?

          Again … if that’s what you think why don’t you
          go back to your land first and tell Pamella Geller, Robert Spencer, Pat Condell, Nick Griffin and other Islamostoppers
          …to stop their campaign ….. coz education is getting better there ….ha3x …

          If you still living in a cave I advice you to go out and seek advice to mr.Youtube and mr.Google about conversion story.

  • DrDez

    No Tahu I will not play your stupid games – all the questions revolve around the existence of god
    You make the claim their is a god therefore it is up to you to provide conclusive evidence that god exists if you wish me to believe – Failure to provide proof leads to the conclusion that you and others are living their lives, in many cases violently for nothing more than a human construct –
    You make the claim – you provide the proof –
    I will not play your games until you resolve question number 1 – the BIG question – because until that is answered all the rest is sheer and utter BS
    You make the claim – you provide the proof – simple as that

  • DD

    no

  • tahugejrot

    Indo Mie: Don’t you realize that you look naïve by invoking fancy terminology (to sounds clever) but it’s unexplainable scientifically ?? Free will ….. self reflecting consciousness … higher emergenr property ???

    Please define “free will” in SCIENTIFIC language !!

    How you gonna reconcile a biomechanical being (which governed by physic laws and randomness) with a “free will” ????

    Pleasedefine “self reflecting consciousness” in SCIENTIFIC language !!

    Ifyou can define it or show me any scientific reference about it, everybody will be an atheist NOW !!! and you will be
    nominated for Nobel price …. Ha3x …

    Just look Stephen Hawking’s confirmation to my assertions above …

    • Rustynails

      “How you gonna reconcile a biomechanical being (which governed by physic laws and randomness) with a “free will”

      May I suggest Issac Asimov’s I Robot for a start and we will work up to the more difficult scientific texts. Religion remains the polar opposite to free will in the human condition.

      As for atheist’s children I explain to mine they are made up from the very same atoms that make up the stars and the universe and therefore can view with pity those sad little human constructs call religion.

  • Reason

    Tahu,
    If you have time, I suggest you to read Richard Dawkins’ The Magic of Reality. It’s a brief explanation about the poetic magic of the universe.

    There are three common usages of the word ‘magic’ :
    1. supernatural magic
    2. stage magic
    3. poetic magic

    Atheists know the differences and voluntarily embrace opinions on all above topics. But if you want them to believe in something, you have to be able to deliver a cogent reason, with evidence.
    Evolution might not be able to be proved as absolute truth, but it’s unbelievably high likely to be a truth. A decade ago, there was not enough evidence. But now, if you deny the concept of evolution, it’s like you deny the concept of earth orbiting the sun.
    And that is magic. A poetic magic.
    Skeptics don’t just google, we read books.
    Of course there are some good articles, but papers are more credible.
    A scientific paper is based on evidence, peer reviewed documentation, observation and conclusion from repeatable experiments. It’s rational to be an underlying basis for a position.
    You know my favorite sense? It’s common.
    If you want to insult someone like Stephen Hawking, please enlighten us by explaining, with your own language, what a black hole is.
    I dare you to explain that to us without any help from Google or Youtube..

  • DD

    wow totally off the scale with that one Tahu and at ramadan too.. better take some calming Aceh soup…
    Let’s recap
    First you deny that Indonesians are turning to Atheism (response to Alt)
    Then you accept it (response to me)
    Then you accuse the govt of some bad practices re census – Well the data is there go and find it –
    Is it good data? Nope well over stated since millions of Indo’s put Islam for an easy life and in reality I suspect only half the population are ‘real muslims’ not the 83% claimed. Of course the 83% includes all the KTP Muslims, deviant sects and many atheists and animists who do not have the freedom to stste what they really believe… Compulsion 101 or what!
    An explanation – if people have multiple KTP and are counted that over states the Islamic population further.. food 4 thought?. or is it only non Muslims who get multi KTP? A zionist plot perhaps???
    Who mentioned FB?? You are obsessed with seeing things that are simply not there – Just like the god you run your life by – its a fantasy, invisible, an act of faith at lest – there is simply no evidence, not one shred to suggest otherwise.
    Evidence Tahu – I am still waiting for the evidence that I have asked for time and time again and you have sidestepped time and time again
    Until you prove there is a god then ALL the rest is simply window dressing and you are bowing to a fabrication, a construct of man to control and explain the shapes in the mist
    Step up man! You make the claim you provide the proof – I dare you… Hax42
    (42 – well some people will understand but not you)

    • tahugejrot

      How come you don’t get what I am saying ??
      It’s sarcasm brother … s.a.r.c.a.s.m … How come you don’t get it ??

  • Bishoy George

    I can’t wait for the world to start accepting religions as incomplete and false explanations of the universe and start discarding them. Religions have created nothing but wars and pain and universal differences and segregation among humanity.

  • TGIF

    Is this what you are trying to imply the real meaning of Islam?? Where did you actually read this version from?? I am very curious. However translation can hold several meanings you know…So how would you perceive these passages in your own personal opinion ?? Put differences aside for a second and care to elaborate? Thanks.

  • arpk

    Preeeetty sure Jihadis are Muslims. And iirc, Hitler is, to a degree, Christian.

    So, you know, why don’t you explain how does having a religion teach your morals? Because far as I know of, social norms and common sense teach me morals. Perhaps even laws. But not so much religions.

  • tahugejrot

    You can do it but you must change the constitution first ..

    • justback

      Well… you are regularely calling for sharia. So you must change the constitution first too… right?

      • tahugejrot

        hi Justback : I don’t think we need to change the constitution to adopt sharia … coz it’s already in the very core of the constitution…

        Look at the First-Principle in Pancasila (the core of constitution) which says: “Ketuhanan Yang Maha Esa”

        Ketuhanan = divinity
        Maha = very much …. Intensely … overwhelmingly … strictly
        Esa = one entity

        So it means a strict monotheism … Which one this came from ?….
        Actually shariah has been implemented to some extense in the society like :
        No gambling allowed …. No alcohol drink freely sold … marriage law … shariah banking … Shariah province .. etc

        Our founding fathers have learnt the past impact of atheism to the society and it’s implication to the future .. :
        Just look at human tragedy in 20th century when hundred millions people perish as the result of ideology experiments like facism & communism … And look today how society decay is taking place in atheist based society ..

        • weegie-boy

          What a blind f**l you are.! “No gambling allowed …. No alcohol drink freely sold” Yeah right. Add to this sex bars, stealing from the public, driving like idiots and killing people, lawlessness etc etc. I could go on, but I think you get my point. Of course, you are all good Muslims aren’t you and all the things I said are not true?

          Look at your own self before you judge others.

  • mauriceg

    Without science you would have no idea of what 650nanometre wavelength electromagnetic radiation is. Without the underlying philosophies you would not ask whether your sensation of seeing red is identical to that of someone else. In fact, you would have no idea that a cat or dog doesn’t see the world literally as you or I do.
    Without science you have only ignorance, credulity, superstition, and a situation ripe for amoral people to start dictating what to believe.
    Without the freedom of thought to think, criticise and analyse the world, you end up with ignorance, sheeplike behaviour and a need to believe what one has been told.
    Without the concomittant studies in art and the freedom of expression ie (music, poetry, literature, dance, painting, sculpture etc), there is no freedom to dream , create, invent.
    Without studies in helping fellow humans in this life, there would have been no medicine, no surgery, no life-saving drugs, no antibiotics, vaccines etc.
    I would also say that while the so-called Christian world reluctantly tolerated some advances (and violently opposed others, such as female plant experts, labelling such as witches, and burning or excommunicating men who claimed the Earth wasn’t the centre of creation), the Islamic world switched off from all and any attempts at discovery, invention, or anything remotely capable of helping fellow humans about 800 years ago.

    That situation exists to this day. Where now Islamic states have hospitals and industry, they are mere window-dressing parasitic on a Western mind-set they still clearly lack, and for which they are jealous. They label Westerners as ‘infidels’ still, not caring that untold lives have been saved in childbirth, and in curing disease.
    So I would suggest that religion has been and is, in Islamic countries, the most massive obstacle to true understanding of nature. Islam today does not value fellow humans. It consigns them to hell or heaven, or to the will of its deity, thus avoiding any need to get involved. That is why Islamic societies fail. They do not deliver services to citizens. Fatalistic, credulous, superstitious citizens still believe that their Allah is a puppetmaster still behind everything that happens in nature. In that mind-set there is no future.

    • tahugejrot

      Agreed on most of you said about science ….

      I don’t understand why you consider Islam as obstacle for natural science coz islam encourages people to think and take lesson from nature …

      Islam is massive obstacle to understand nature and does not value fellow humans ??? Really ???

      I think it’s quite the opposite … as Islam emphasizes people to use reasons and it values humans in natural way ….

      Do you think this “7th century desert idiocy” has no future ?? I thought it’s been making unstoppable inroad everywhere ??

      If this “7th century desert idiocy” is really a faulty idea …it must have long been vanished and will not propagate across time and space until today …. and you will never be interested to squeeze your brain to produce arguments/comments over and over and over again in this forum to counter this “idiocy” …

  • Comello

    It’s not a belief system. People don’t ‘believe’ in atheism.

  • mauriceg

    @tahugejerot – Just take a look around you. Read the nonsense being written by these
    Muslims whom you claim think and take lessons from nature. For them,
    there is no nature, just their puppetmaster pulling strings to trigger
    volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, shipwrecks, and all manner of natural
    disasters. Also they have no comprehension of meteors (such as February
    15th 2013 over Chelyabinsk). All these natural phenomena are called ‘the
    will of Allah’.

    How can you think these blighted minds have the slightest comprehension of nature?
    Yes,
    the ’7th century desert idiocy has a future’. It means the continuance
    of violence, hatred, superstition, ignorance, fatalism and stupidity
    into the indefinite future in Islamic societies across the globe.
    Unfortunately
    that future excludes those societies from the benefits of social
    contracts, intellectual and scientific and artistic progress, freedom of
    thought, and the ability to raise these societies from the barbarism
    that has ensnared them since the 7th century.
    Don’t worry about me
    squeezing my brain. I don’t have to try very hard to find logic and
    reason against barbarism. It is unfortunate that this barbarism has
    killed untold millions in its history, and encompasses even now in the
    21st century, some of the most ignorant, credulous societies in the
    world, most of the inhabitants of which exist on pittances, and do what
    they are told by religious sociopaths. Indonesia is one such, and looks
    to be well on the way into a religiously enslaved intellectual abyss
    from which there is no return

  • japeth

    cmon maurice, japeth and alex didnt even said if they are moslem, how could you said theyre moslem? or, is it a predictability of your science?
    you are defining islam in a very similar way with their emam, rabbi, habib etc, you never look the quran, time will come when they all back to quran and run as moslem the quran way. Now they are lost in primitive minds supported by hadith. They will soon realize it. But i think you are old enough to see all that. As i said, universe is only our span of life, the end is near, its only 60-80yrs in average, having it 80yrs old is a bonus.

  • tahugejrot

    Hi mauriceg, it’s amusing to see you are chasing after almost all of my previous comments … which prompted me to 2 possibilities: maybe you are an unemployed “Princeton scientist” …. or … my rants is “kicking” enough eventhough I am just a madrasah graduate …ha3x..

    Anyway…you seems hasn’t squeeze your brain enough …. to see what’s actually happening under the skin …

    I know you ridicule those poor and uneducated “barbaric people” who think that Allah is“the puppet master who pull the string” …
    But that’s what actually is happening … coz the “7th century barbaric desert revelation” seems has “poisoned” their hearts & minds in a way so that their logics are able to see the reality around them in a COMPLETE BIG picture and at the same time it fulfilled their spiritual mind.
    These “barbaric” people are most likely poor materially and less educated but spiritually they are stronger …

    History has shown that this spiritual advantageus is a decisive factor in “dealing”
    with technologically advance but spiritually poor people …

    Meanwhile on the other part of the world, your society have placed so much faith on the “NEW religion” … that’s what you call MATERIALISTIC SCIENCE …… What your people have achieved so far with this ?? I know your people have mastered this
    new religion (science) to the level of amazement but sadly you have LOST in it’s details and UNABLE to see the reality around you in big picture anymore !!…

    I know ..with your “new religion” you can create material wealth to fulfill you physical
    needs but at the same time your “new religion” damages your spirit as human … Why on earth the suicidal rate is the highest in materially wealthy society like yours ??? Who is the biggest consumer of prozac ? … rampant hedonism …sexual exploitation … consumerism … exploitative capitalism …..society/family segregation …moral relativism …. atheism ….bla bla …

    And then the moment of truth is happening …and history keeps repeating : those “7th
    century desert style barbaric” are coming back to your land to continue their “conquest” … but this time without wielding swords …. They are poor and less educated … but they have a complete big picture of reality in their mind and their human spirit is intact … … They are coming to a land where the people are technologically advance … materialy wealthy …. but spiritually HOLLOW …
    Which “ideology”will win this “battle” ??

    You can’t escape the law of nature: when you live in a finite system (universe) you have to borrow “external axioms” to make sense your system internally … otherwise you will produce contradictive internal axioms/destructive ideas (Godel theorem)

    A self contained universe is an impossibility coz there won’t be enough internal axioms/postulates to support it’s own existence. Every consistent & finite system like
    universe will always need to “borrow” axioms from external realm to support it’s own reality/existence. That’s what realized by Godel.

    Don’t you know that Stephen Hawking has admitted that Godel’s theorem is like a nail on the coffin to the quest for a universal equation to explain universe …?? …He
    has admitted that there will never be enough internal axioms/postulates to construct a theory of everything (TOE) of a self contained universe. Why didn’t he
    realize it since the beginning ???
    Still placing so much faith on science ??
    Who will win this “battle of ideology” ??

    The question is no longer “if” … but “when” ….

    • Euan Mie

      “rampant hedonism …sexual exploitation … consumerism … exploitative capitalism …..society/family segregation …moral relativism …. atheism ….bla bla …”

      Well all of those elements aside from the last are found in spades in strongly Islamic societies.

      • tahugejrot

        Mie bakso: really ???

    • dongedprong

      Dude, what? Where did you learn English?
      That abuse of ellipsis gave me cancer.

  • quark

    i personally see you as someone who has deep problem with moslem, science? you do not look as someone who mastering it

  • tahugejrot

    declining percentage ? compared to what ?? don’t you know how crappy the census process was ??
    How about world wide ??

  • tahugejrot

    Duncan, does those atheism statistic include Kim Jong Il and his
    people, Stalin & his gang, Polpot & his comrades and the Mao woith his 1.5 billion chinesse people etc … into account ?? If
    not, pls count them also … I know it’s
    hard for you …but it’s important to crank
    up your atheism score … ha3x…

  • tahugejrot

    Hello mauriceg… a.k.a Mr.Eddington University …. why do you feel necessary to show off your Scottish & Eddington mixture here ??

    ….What’s the relevance of your Scottish born and blood in this debate ??

    Are we talking about Scottland culture here ??… he3x…

    Do you feel superior with your Scottish & Eddington chemistry mixture ?? he3x….

    Is that what your studied in your Eddington chemistry ?? … that being a Scottish has special “blood chemistry advantages” than others ?? ..he3x..

    Maybe you look “superior” for some people …. But to some others you just look plain foolish … . He3x…