Atheist Republic Podcast team members Noel Capili and Allie Jackson talk about each caller, and offer advice and encouragement.
Caller 1: Atheist from Karachi
Loud and proud atheist from Karachi, Pakistan. He is openly against sharia law, religion, particularly Islam and is currently writing a book about atheism in Pakistan. Shares his story of how difficult it is to be an atheist in Pakistan, oftentimes costing one’s own life.
Noel Capili: It takes some intestinal fortitude to be an open atheist in Pakistan. Although I’ve never been, I hear it’s pretty bad out there. I’m thankful and proud of the caller and wishes that he keeps safe.
Allie Jackson: I may live in the United States, but my heart lives with atheists in Islamic countries. The daily fear and anguish they face is torturous. Many people in the West don’t understand, they ask, “Why can’t they just keep their opinion to themselves and pretend to be Muslim? That sounds easier than living in fear.” Well it’s not. In the West, you don’t have religious violence shoved down your throat. Atheists in Pakistan have to deal with their family, friends, and community saying things like, “Non believers should be slaughtered” and living with that becomes increasingly difficult, as most atheists live in a world of reason and logic, and this is outrageously illogical. Of course we always recommend being safe, first. I just want to say, I know how silence tears these atheists up inside.
Caller 2: Salim
When his family found out that he no longer prays regularly, he started to experience emotional and psychological abuse from his own family. He says that if his family finds out that he is an atheist, his life could be in danger. He is seeking help and has already mentioned suicide lest he finds a way to leave.
Noel Capili: It is just beyond me why a family would torment one of their own like this. Hang in there Salim! Taking one’s own life is never the answer. Stand strong and find a way out of your predicament. You are not alone!
Allie Jackson: Suicide is common among the atheist community. It’s sad, but true. In the Atheist Republic closed Facebook group, we find multiple suicide posts a month and it tends to get worse around the holidays (we’ve lost members in our team to suicide, and many friends). Please know, you may be the only atheist in your family, but you can choose a new family online, where people are just like you! We have consulates all over the world, a few closed groups for atheists only, and a one on one support group. Reach out to us if you need us, we are here for you.
Caller 3: Atheist from France
He shares his story, in his awesome French accent, how at a young age of 17 he transformed himself from a religious person to an atheist. His mom was religious and his father a science teacher, who he says was the greatest influence in his life. Born with a rare heart disease, doctors said he only had a 10% chance of surviving. Upon gathering more knowledge about science, genetics and medicine, and the harmful effects religions have on people, the caller became an agnostic, then ultimately an atheist. He uses his talent in writing songs to encourage people to question their beliefs.
Noel Capili: Awesome story and I couldn’t help but smile and be proud of this young caller. He overcame almost insurmountable odds and instead of crediting it to a supernatural deity, he credited science and its contributions in advanced medicine. The Atheist Republic team is proud to be able to share his story and hope that he continues to be healthy. Bonne chance!
Allie Jackson: This man is incredible! What an inspiration!
Caller 4: Caller from Nigeria
He wants Atheist Republic to know that our message is being heard all around the world. The caller describes Nigeria as extremely religious and how religion hinders the country’s progress. “Keep up the good work and keep the flag flying”.
Noel Capili: Thank you, caller from Nigeria! Encouragement like this is what keeps us going. Rest assured that the team will continue to advocate atheism, secularism, and the separation of church and state.
Allie Jackson: Thank you so much! We have 10 consulates in Nigeria, and I hope you are in the one nearest you! Consulates can be great, as they bring local atheists together in person and get them out from their computers. You can decide what you want to do. Some of our consulate members gather to do community service, like feeding the homeless, protesting anti-science buildings like homeopathy, or gather money for natural disasters. Some just gather for dinner and enjoy being in company of others who are like them.
Caller 5: Atheist from Egypt
This caller is seeking for a community of atheists/secularists so that he can share and voice out his ideas and opinions.
Noel Capili: Hi caller! I heard it’s pretty hard to be an atheist in Egypt, but as long as it won’t put you in danger, feel free to visit http://www.atheistrepublic.com where you can engage it healthy discussion with atheists worldwide. Also follow us on twitter and Facebook. Stay safe!
Allie Jackson: Noel is absolutely correct! Your safety is our number one concern. If you feel visiting our website could put you in danger, please remember to use a VPN connection when visiting our website, and delete browsing history.
Caller 6: Bahrain
This caller left Islam 7 months ago. The caller’s family started to get suspicious when he started asking them questions about god, scripture, and certain religious practices. When they finally found out that he was an atheist, he was called an “infidel”. Due to fear from persecution, the caller has now left home and is seeking help or advice. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Noel Capili: Safety is first priority. If being about your atheism would put you in harm’s way, would alienate you from your loved ones, or would lead to persecution, then I would advise holding it off until the situation changes. Islamic countries can be pretty extreme on how they want to enforce their religion on others, so I heard. Hang in there!!
Allie Jackson: Calls like this are heartbreaking, but sadly, we get them far too often. It reminds us how unfair and cruel the world can be, as no one should be scared to think differently, or killed for “thought crimes”. Asylum is an unforgiving process, as atheists are forced to prove, with overwhelming proof, that their lives are in danger before they will even be considered. They often can’t provide the proof needed, and the organizations “helping” seem clueless about the danger atheists in Islamic countries face. Atheism needs no martyrs, this is our only life. Put your safety first.