Pray or Perish: Egypt Moves Toward Criminalizing The Disbelief In God

Egypt Coat of ArmsEgyptOur close ally Egypt has long been a symbol of religious intolerance and anti-free speech values — a government partially subsidized by billions in U.S. aid.  Now, Amr Hamroush, the head of parliament’s religious committee, has announced that Egypt is moving toward the criminalization of disbelieving in God. That’s right, you will be committing a crime in Egypt if you do not believe.  Akin to the policy of the “beatings will continue until morale improves,” Egypt may soon instill belief in God by jailing people for not believing.


Hamroush appears to relish in the sheer stupidity of this latest attack on personal freedom: “The phenomenon is being promoted in society as freedom of belief when this is totally wrong . . . It must be criminalised and categorized as contempt of religion because atheists have no doctrine and try to insult the Abrahamic religions.”

He is being supported by equally clueless clerics like Mohamed Zaki, the head of al-Azhar’s Supreme Council for Dawa, who insisted that the law was necessary to “deter people from violating the natural instincts of man and punish those who have been seduced into atheism.” Of course, if it was such a “natural instinct of man” one would hope that you would not have to threaten people with prison in order to instill basic faith in an almighty.  Zaki however is quick to remind people that “The deterrent must be harsh and impeding to suit this malicious call and stop this poisonous thinking from spreading among Muslims and young people.”

Islamic countries often impose long sentences or death on those accused of apostasy, as we have previously discussed.  Muslim leaders have called for atheists to be hunted down.

The number of atheists in the United States is growing at a fast rate with some studies suggesting the number has been significantly underreported.  At least ten percent report that they do not believe in God.  Other studies put the percentage at 26 percent.  So as much as one quarter of our population would be arrested in Egypt while we give billions to that government.

105 thoughts on “Pray or Perish: Egypt Moves Toward Criminalizing The Disbelief In God”

  1. And to think, those people believe in the wrong god! Let’s get bombing to secure human rights over there!!!

    1. And to think, those people believe in the wrong god!

      Why do you think they believe in the wrong God? The risk to the security of human rights (natural rights) comes from many kinds of beliefs. The most egregious is the belief that no rights exist other than what the government provides or is willing to secure.

      1. Olly,

        This is a joke which is meant to show how idiotic it is to compel belief. Belief in which god? The wiccan gods and goddesses? The hindu gods and goddesses? The jewish god? Many christians do not consider the muslim god to be god? Who gets to choose which god/dess is the correct one? That depends on the nation, the level of ignorance of the dominant religious community and the intolerance of religious people everywhere!

        It’s also a comment trying to show that we bomb some nations and love others which act the same way towards human rights. (Not that the US has anything to say about other nation’s human rights.)

        1. That depends on the nation, the level of ignorance of the dominant religious community and the intolerance of religious people everywhere!

          I would amend that to read: That depends on the nation, the level of ignorance of the dominant community and the intolerance of people everywhere!

          This is why I believe so strongly about natural, unalienable rights. The moment you allow any other belief to infringe those rights, then every dominant belief becomes a risk to our life, liberty and property.

            1. This is a joke which is meant to show how idiotic it is to compel belief.

              This was also my reaction to JT’s post. I have no idea how you criminalize belief; thought crime and consider that justice.

  2. Glory be. We read in Luke 12:47-48

    And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.

    But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.

  3. The norm througout world history was that “Religion was Government”. What separates America’s model of government from “theocratic” models of government, was that we created a Constitution that not only protects “freedom of religion” but “freedom from religion”. A local community can’t punish your religious beliefs or freedom not to believe.

    Ironically, America’s First Amendment was created due to Christians persecuting and sometimes executing other Christians! A Baptist may have been punished by the Anglican Church for not accepting a different interpretation of the very same religion.

    Supposedly, things like divorce were removed from the King James version of the Bible because the king didn’t like his current wife. Religion was the government back then, not always based on the teachings of Jesus.

    The Founding Fathers never wanted religion imposed on any citizen and included that clear language in the most important amendment – the First Amendment! We should not use American taxpayer dollars to incentivize dangerous “theocratic” models of government.

  4. The Egyptians are somewhat promoting religion to the point that all must be of the Muslim belief.Oh gosh my golly, what more important issues for them to deal with !

    1. Rumor has it that The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt has a long standing feud with The House of Saud. As such, Egyptian clerics could be trying to outmaneuver The Saudis with respect to Muslim piety. Or not.

  5. The US has for years financially and militarily supported states that see religion as a cudgle. It has always been wrong. Egypt is just one in a long line of countries that benefits from that appalling policy. At one time the claim was made that by “helping” these countries we were encouraging them to adopt “American values”. It has never worked and never will. What has happened is it seems that many of our politicians and religious leaders have decided that Saudi Arabia and Egypt may have something when they enforce religious views by governmental might. One could argue that the “values” exchange has gone the wrong way.

    It’s time to stop funding these countries and bring that money home for the betterment of our own people.

  6. And then there are those who know all, are always right, never wrong, and have only contemt & disdain for those who allow themselves to question and seek answers.Which, no doubt, to you, nothing more than sheer stupidity because you have all the answers,

    1. Who are these people with all of the answers? I have a great many questions to pose to those people who have all of the answers. You must tell me who they are and where to find them. Please??? It’s urgent.

  7. All religions or power systems include fear and threats. It is that part of mankind that is attracted to pure faith and that recognizes deceit that has placed religion where it should be and that part of mankind that lives in fear that is attracted to religion as illustrated in Egypt and other Islamic states.

    1. Great description of global warming (climate change). Thank you for that.

  8. The clergy are constrained to usurp the power and the glory of the celestial throne.
    Theology cannot be practiced any other way than blasphemously.
    The Supreme Being created a world in which love is not subject to command.
    Then then the first theologian put his own puny, feckless, mortal, human, animal, creaturely commandments to the contrary into the mouth of his own little sock-puppet god, thereby committing the first instance of black-letter blasphemy.
    The clergy have been the mortal enemies of God ever since.
    Thou shalt not obey them.
    And I’m one too.
    You figure it out.

  9. “Of course, if it was such a ‘natural instinct of man’ one would hope that you would not have to threaten people with prison in order to instill basic faith in an almighty.”

    Or, more to the point, I’ve long wondered how many people would believe in God if there weren’t so much indoctrination and so much talk ABOUT God. How many people who believe, or think they believe, in God would even be cognizant of the concept if they hadn’t been TOLD that there is a god?
    Are Catholics catholic because God exists? — or because they were RAISED catholic? — and the same goes for every religion. If belief in God is such a “natural instinct,” why do people need so much indoctrination? You don’t need to indoctrinate people to become hungry, or horny, or any of the other “natural instincts,” so why must people be instructed first in order to come to a belief in God?

    Supposing that God does, in fact, exist as a being and not merely a concept — how would any of us have come to know this if people hadn’t insisted on loading us up with the concept from the earliest days of our lives?

    Is it possible that all of the religion and all of the talk ABOUT God is actually an impediment to each of us discovering for ourselves whether God exists and what the nature of God is and what the nature of a human’s relationship with God is? — not WAS way back when but IS in the present.

    To me, much of the Bible reduces the entire concept of God into little more than a cheap carnival magic act — walking on water, feeding a multitude from a relatively sparse picnic basket, raising the dead — when compared with the immensity of the universe. The simple existence of the universe — the simple existence of time or space or a single tree — and especially the idea of infinity — speaks to me of “miracles” beyond any yarns spun in the Bible, and I will forever wonder what all of that would actually mean to me if society hadn’t fed me all of its talk about religion before I had any opportunity to discover FOR MYSELF what relationship, if any, I have with a God that may or may not exist. Even merely ABC’s decades-long pattern of showing The Ten Commandments every Easter/Passover (which is probably most of what most Americans know about the Old Testament) says much about how our society portrays religion, but very little about religion itself.

    Aside from all of that, criminalizing atheism in Egypt would have shock me at one time, but not since the USA criminalized not purchasing health insurance from private, for-profit insurance companies — so I don’t see a lot of bases upon which to judge Egypt for it’s own brand of stupidity.

  10. Simply put, is it too much to ask for government to leave people alone?

    Those who attain power to micromanage citizens’ lives prove they are unfit for office.

    1. “Simply put, is it too much to ask for government to leave people alone?”

      The “right to be let alone” is how Justice Brandeis first described what we now refer to as the “right to privacy” before people began speaking of that concept.
      With that historical context it’s not surprising that the government won’t leave people alone, since the government sure as heck doesn’t have much regard for anyone’s right to privacy.

      1. Sadly, this is a right that many people deny has any Constitutional protection. I suspect even a few of the frequent commenters at this site hold this view

        1. “The Right to Privacy” is the title of a law review article written by Samuel Warren and Louis Brandeis in 1890, and it’s where recognition of the right to privacy began in America. It’s worth researching. Good information, and it makes the connection between the right to privacy and the specific rights referenced in the Declaration of Independence — the rights to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.
          I once had to file an invasion of privacy lawsuit (pro se — I’m not a lawyer), and that article is where the research began.
          Brandeis, in particular, was a champion of the right to privacy.

  11. So much hate and intolerance. Perhaps they would be better served if they stopped worrying about what others believed.

    A young singer named Shyma was just imprisoned for 2 years for a racy video in which she sucked on a banana and poured milk on it, singing that she has issues.

    Egypt was always comparatively tolerant, since its economy got such a boost from tourism (and antiquities snatching up until rather recently). Although some won’t admit it, everyone has their favorite belly dancer. Colleena Shakti recently toured there, on behalf of India. I hate to say it, but with the decline into extremism going on after the Arab Spring, international dancers should avoid going to Egypt to either take classes or dance. It’s too dangerous right now. If the touts have gotten so aggressive in the past few years since tourism declined from violence, I wonder how bad it is now.

    I am rather concerned about the major museums and historical archeological sites. I think we’re still a long way off from ISIS inspired smashing of non-Islamic artifacts, but could it get there? I was happy to see antiquities return to Egyptian hands, touring the world regularly. But now I have concerns that it might not be safe in its homeland. If there is any doubt, I hope Egyptian archeologists and scientists are cautious and conservative, and take steps to protect what they can.

  12. Mr. Hamroush certainly is living in denial, and that’s not just a river in Egypt.

  13. One way to deal with this situation in Egypt would be to simply follow the standard Elite Establishment method. We give Egypt a couple of more billion dollars and politely request that they be nicey, nicey to atheists.

    Another way to deal with the situation would be to create fliers and distribute millions of them from a low-flying airplane. The fliers contain the following message written in Arabic:

    “Three engineers are having lunch and discussing what kind of engineer God is. The mechanical engineer says, “God must be a mechanical engineer, look at the complex structures of the body!” The electrical engineer says, “No, look at the electrical processes of the body, which the brain could not operate without, he must be an electrical engineer.” The civil engineer says, “You’re both wrong, he had to be a civil engineer. Who else would run a waste line through a recreational area?””

    A third approach would be to hack into Egypt’s entertainment systems, forcing them to watch the following clip, but with Arabic dubbed in.

  14. This will be a real boon to the tourist trade.

    I have always thought that a real atheist needs faith to believe that there is no “God.” At least as much faith as is required to believe in “God.” Doubting Thomases, people who question the existence of “God,” are not atheists. They do not accept that there is a “God”, but they do also not accept that there is not a “God.”

    Rejecting the existence of God as depicted in the Bible does not mean you are an atheist, at least in the eyes of theists who practice a different form of theism than those who believe in the Bible. Theism can take many forms. But not in Egypt, if they get their way.

    1. The term for such doubting Thomases is agnostic. That is the only scientific position as there is no evidence for or against a supernatural entity. Stated another way, it is irrelevant.

      1. Actually, science is primarily based upon a recognition that what is known about the universe is negligible compared with what is unknown — and it will always be that way. To be involved in science is to recognize that science doesn’t have all the answers and will never be able to provide them. And where the known leaves off, the unknown takes over — and that’s what’s known as religion.
        There’s nothing at all contradictory about science and religion, in principle. In practice, however, it frequently becomes a different matter, such as when the Church clung to the notion (nowhere mentioned in the Bible that I know of) that the Sun revolves around the Earth, and decided to fake evidence for the purpose of finding Galileo guilty of heresy and condemning him to house arrest, where he eventually died. That, however, was not the fault of God or religion, but was a result of a flawed pope (pardon the redundancy).

    2. The story of Doubting Thomas is but a story like all the others.

      Atheism is a religion like bald is a hair color.

      1. Dave137, I read a bumper sticker once that claimed “God made only so many perfect heads. The rest He covered with hair.” The drivers head was “perfect” according to bumper-scripture.

    3. Oliver Clozoff said, “I have always thought that a real atheist needs faith to believe that there is no “God.”

      I can explain that. You see, given any person whosoever, that person needs “faith” “to believe” any given thing whatsoever. Thus, should Oliver Clozoff have every reason to believe that the ground will be there to support his next footfall, then Oliver Clozoff’s reason to believe thus and so would presuppose the exact sort of “faith” that Jorge Santayana characterized as “animal faith.”

      The trouble comes in when the animal at issue “mistakenly believes” that his or her “animal faith” is “permanently rational” rather than contingently, and therefore fallibly, rational. After all, every once in a great while the ground is not there beneath our feet. Uh-oh! Spaghetti-Os.

    4. Oliver, it is clear that you don’t actually understand the concept or idea of faith or atheism. I personally know hundreds of atheists. Not one of them disbelieves or rejects belief on a deity on the basis of faith. It has to do with the evidence. We simply reject the claims of the existence of a deity because there simply is an insufficiency of credible, empirically testable and verifiable evidence for such claims.

      1. From the American Atheists website:

        “Atheism is not an affirmative belief that there is no god nor does it answer any other question about what a person believes. It is simply a rejection of the assertion that there are gods. Atheism is too often defined incorrectly as a belief system. To be clear: Atheism is not a disbelief in gods or a denial of gods; it is a lack of belief in gods.

        Older dictionaries define atheism as “a belief that there is no God.” Clearly, theistic influence taints these definitions. The fact that dictionaries define Atheism as “there is no God” betrays the (mono)theistic influence. Without the (mono)theistic influence, the definition would at least read “there are no god(s).”
        Atheism is not a belief system nor is it a religion.”

        I grew up reading “older dictionaries.” In my view it requires a degree of faith to conclude that “there is/are no god(s)” — because there is much that we do not know. I’ve always thought of persons who profess a lack of belief in god(s) because they haven’t seen any evidence to support a conclusion that god(s) exist(s) as agnostics. By their own words, they would change their mind if they saw evidence which, in their own minds, supported a conclusion that there is/are god(s). They are “Fact-based,” not “faith based.” But if you and others like you want to call yourselves atheists, be my guest.

        1. Oliver Clozoff said, “In my view it requires a degree of faith to conclude that “there is/are no god(s)” — because there is much that we do not know.”

          Yes, Oliver. That is correct. It was also explained in the post about “animal faith.” The three permissible tautologies are still en force for formal, exoteric statements. But they are not, never were, and never will be enforceable against poetry nor prayer, nor any other informal, esoteric statements.

          BTW, you changed your terms from faith to knowledge. That’s equivocal. An atheist has “faith” that there are no gods. But an atheist need not assert that he or she “knows” that there are no gods. For otherwise any given theistic believer could be similarly obligated to assert that he or she “knows” that there are gods, rather than merely affirming his or her “faith” that there are gods.

          You would not believe what happens to the three permissible tautologies if we force people to stake knowledge claims upon every last issue of interest and concern under the sun. Uh-oh! Spaghetti-Os!

Comments are closed.