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Indonesian Man Faces Five Years For Atheist Facebook Post 907

An anonymous reader writes "31-year-old Alexander Aan faces a maximum prison sentence of five years for posting 'God does not exist' on Facebook. The civil servant was attacked and beaten by an angry mob of dozens who entered his government office at the Dharmasraya Development Planning Board on Wednesday. The Indonesian man was taken into protective police custody Friday since he was afraid of further physical assault."
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Indonesian Man Faces Five Years For Atheist Facebook Post

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  • Religious Freedom (Score:5, Informative)

    by MarkvW ( 1037596 ) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @03:02PM (#38783217)

    For many people, religious freedom means the freedom to try to force your religion upon another person.

  • Re:He deserves it (Score:5, Informative)

    by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @03:04PM (#38783235) Homepage

    While you probably won't get jailed for saying such... can still get the Christian mob to lynch you, eg. Jessica Ahlquist []

  • by samkass ( 174571 ) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @03:07PM (#38783265) Homepage Journal

    The pro abortion groups could be more constructive by trying to negotiate towards a time or state that the government will recognize that an embryo switches to being a baby.

    I don't know anyone who is "pro abortion", but plenty who are "pro choice". Some alternatives have been proposed: pre-conception (Catholic), conception (fundamentalist/protestant), second trimester (Roe v. Wade), "Can survive outside the womb" (some medical definitions), or even "one month after birth" (Jewish law in Jesus' time which he didn't seem to have a problem with).

  • Re:He deserves it (Score:5, Informative)

    by SuricouRaven ( 1897204 ) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @03:23PM (#38783411)
    Actually, not quite true. Many state constitutions do specifically require that only Christians can hold public office (And some define Christian in such a way as to exclude denominations unpopular at the time of writing), but there was a supreme court case years ago which ruled that these aspects of the constitutions are incompatible with the first amendment to the US constitution - and the US constitution overrules state constitutions.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 22, 2012 @03:34PM (#38783537)

    Atheism isn't a belief system, but the rejection or lack of one.

    "Atheism is a belief system" is a definition born of an American cultural background. Since theism is the majority position (86%), the distinction between strong disbelief in make-believe beings Vs. mere indifference in same, is given exaggerated importance.

  • Re:He deserves it (Score:4, Informative)

    by frn123 ( 242374 ) <spam@ i m> on Sunday January 22, 2012 @03:39PM (#38783569)

    Whether or not you see gay marriage a positive thing -
    there are lots of fine atheist countries whose population is
    against gay marriage.

    For US citizen it might look like gay marriage is religious issue - i assure you that it is not the case.

  • Re:This is terrible (Score:5, Informative)

    by walshy007 ( 906710 ) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @03:41PM (#38783593)

    It would explain the relatively small proportion of the population that atheism makes up, as well as why that small proportion is spread throughout the world with no great central region to call home.

    I'd say australia is doing fairly well with the atheist business, the census five years ago indicated that approx 30% of australians don't believe in god. And of those that are religious australia has among the lowest church attendance rates in the world, even the believers rate it fairly low on their priorities placing family, work, leisure time and even politics ahead of it.

  • Re:He deserves it (Score:5, Informative)

    by Chrisq ( 894406 ) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @03:50PM (#38783673)

    If they were obeying their law, why didn't the police let them lynch the guy? Or was the lynching actually illegal, and your statement had no basis in reality?

    It is legal in Sharia law, which is only half imposed in Indonesia so far. It is in Iran [] though.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 22, 2012 @04:13PM (#38783901)


    That is how it is here in the US. If you speak out for reason, you will be persecuted by the Christians. I have no doubt that the majority of Christians would be fine with bringing back stoning and burning at the stake. These folks are scary!

    exhibit 1: number of openly self avowed atheists in high office. (hint 0)

    exhibit 2: Christians everywhere saying the poor doctor murdered by Christians in Kansas "deserved it"

    exhibit 3: Christians everywhere preaching hate of homosexuals, and Muslims.

    Christians, Muslims, Jews, they are all evil rotten to the core religions based on hatred of others. This is what you get when your belief system scorns rationality and glorifies hate.

    Here are some examples of the best Christianity has to offer. Remember they are talking about beating up / killing a young girl: []

    Christians are evil!

  • Re:He deserves it (Score:5, Informative)

    by Cruciform ( 42896 ) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @04:19PM (#38783949) Homepage

    When Ahlquist won Facebook and Twitter filled up with direct threats against her life and physical well being.
    When the Cranston Florists started a Facebook page to take a stand against the "atheist hate" directed at them for refusing to make deliveries to her, the content of the threads I looked at contained no threats of any kind. Lots of criticism, but not even that many insults.

    It's night and day in behavior.

    Sure, there are assholes on both sides. But the Christians appear to have the lion's share this time.

  • Article 6 (Score:5, Informative)

    by KingAlanI ( 1270538 ) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @04:44PM (#38784207) Homepage Journal

    Amendment 1 yes, but I was thinking of Article 6: "no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."

    Also from Article 6: "This Constitution ... shall be the supreme Law of the Land..., any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding."

  • by starfishsystems ( 834319 ) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @04:50PM (#38784239) Homepage
    I've been practising Buddhism for forty years and have only rarely encountered any discussion concerning the existence or nature of a "soul". It's not something that Buddhists tend to concern themselves about.

    In fact, quite the converse. A fundamental observation of Buddhism is that dualism is illusory. Therefore, questions of whether there is or is not a soul are not meaningful from a Buddhist perspective. The doctrine of anatt> what appears in the Pali canon is very clear on this point.
  • Re:He deserves it (Score:5, Informative)

    by ceoyoyo ( 59147 ) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @04:50PM (#38784241)

    Most of the laws of the old testament, including the ones you give as examples, pre-exist their supposed divine revelation in the old testament. [] []

  • Re:He deserves it (Score:4, Informative)

    by todrules ( 882424 ) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @04:58PM (#38784315) Journal
    The KKK also thinks of themselves as a Christian organization, and they've done quite a few lynchings in their time.
  • Re:He deserves it (Score:5, Informative)

    by BlueParrot ( 965239 ) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @05:35PM (#38784689)

    Hitler was not atheist in the slightest, he made many references to Jesus in his speeches. He also got to power in part thanks to support from right wing social conservatives and Christian fundies. In his speech to justify giving him emergency powers he calledon the neeed to protect germany from socialism and atheism.

    You are right about Stalin being an atheist, but it wasn't atheism that motivated his actions. He just generally "eliminated" anybody who had power he could not control. The church was just one of many examples.

  • Re:He deserves it (Score:5, Informative)

    by BlueParrot ( 965239 ) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @05:41PM (#38784755)

    I don't actually know of any atheist country except maybe some communist dictatorships.

    Most countries with a high number of atheists ( such as Sweden ) are best described as secular. The difference between a secular government and an atheist one, is that the secular one doesn't comment on whether there is a god or not. Secular governments are built on the principle that it is not for the state to promote religious beliefs ( or lack thereof ).

  • by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @05:58PM (#38784959) Journal

    * Atheism: the value of P is "true"
    * Agnosticism: the value of P is "unknown"

    Thus "atheism" is by definition a metaphysical belief system (or at least a component of one), because it affirms at least one particular propositional statement about metaphysics.

    If you're trying to use formal logic, you'd do well to first learn the difference between "I believe there is no god", and "I don't believe there is a god". As it is, your analysis is incorrect because your initial premise is wrong.

    By the way, agnosticism, in the proper sense of the word, actually makes a strong claim - that whether god exists or not - is fundamentally unknown and cannot ever be determined. In other words, it is a belief system, unlike e.g. weak atheism. Unfortunately, because many people don't quite understand what this actually means, it evolved into a misguided synonym for weak atheism.

  • Re:He deserves it (Score:5, Informative)

    by caitsith01 ( 606117 ) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @06:49PM (#38785479) Journal

    1. In contrast to religious fundamentalists, none of those individuals set out with the primary goal of forcefully imposing atheism on the whole of society (as opposed to a broader socio-political agenda which may have included eliminating religion or reducing its power). The Russian Revolution was about economic subjugation and World War One. The French Revolution was about economic subjugation. Etc. etc. for all of your examples. Just because a particular revolution, war or movement includes as an incident an attempt to limit or destroy the power of organised religion does not make that event inherently "atheist" in nature.

    2. You are a liar, or at best twisting the truth to suit your anti-atheist agenda. For instance:

    Mussolini - 'Mussolini publicly reconciled with the Pope Pius XI in 1932, but "took care to exclude from the newspapers any photography of himself kneeling or showing deference to the Pope." He wanted to persuade Catholics that "[f]ascism was Catholic and he himself a believer who spent some of each day in prayer..." The Pope began referring to Mussolini as "a man sent by Providence." Despite Mussolini's efforts to appear pious, by order of his party, pronouns referring to him "had to be capitalized like those referring to God..."'

    Napoleon - 'As an adult, Napoleon was described as a "deist with involuntary respect and fondness for Catholicism." He never believed in a living God; Napoleon's deity was an absent and distant God, but he pragmatically considered organised religions as key elements of social order, and especially Catholicism, whose, according to him, "splendorous ceremonies and sublime moral better act over the imagination of the people than other religions".'

    Hitler - 'After his move to Germany, Hitler did not leave his church. Historian Richard Steigmann-Gall concludes that he "can be classified as Catholic", but that "nominal church membership is a very unreliable gauge of actual piety in this context."' His interest in the occult is also widely documented.

    As I found all of that in Wikipedia in about 10 seconds, I can only assume that you are deliberately being misleading.

  • by makomk ( 752139 ) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @06:57PM (#38785583) Journal

    I think you're getting confused. Pretty much all the pro-choice groups and individuals are pro-contraception - in fact the biggest boogeyman of the anti-abortion movement in the US, Planned Parenthood, actually puts most of its resources towards providing contraception. It's the anti-abortion groups that tend to be against contraception, and in favour of telling kids in school that it doesn't exist and making it harder to obtain in general.

  • Re:He deserves it (Score:5, Informative)

    by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @10:54PM (#38787585) Journal

    You are right about Stalin being an atheist, but it wasn't atheism that motivated his actions. He just generally "eliminated" anybody who had power he could not control. The church was just one of many examples.

    It should also be noted that Russian communists were so violently anti-religious to a great extent because Russian Orthodox Church was, quite literally (ever since Peter the Great), a department of the state []. It actively worked both as official propaganda device of the monarchy - with "Orthodoxy, Autocracy, and Nationality" [] the official ideology of the Empire until its end - and also as part of its civil administration, dealing with marriages, schools etc. At the final years of Empire, many prominent members of the Church were also the ones promoting extremist views on the right side of the spectrum - extreme nationalism, absolute monarchy, pogroms against Jews etc. So most revolutionaries, who were already wary of religion from their doctrine, had plenty specific reasons to hate ROC in particular as an organization and as part of the oppressive state that they fought. And from there by extension they came to hate all organized religion. Then, when purges came, they swept in not only the top Church hierarchy, but also priests and even mere believers just as well.

"I have not the slightest confidence in 'spiritual manifestations.'" -- Robert G. Ingersoll