Issues of the day: Is there room for theists?
Paper Edition | Page: 5
Sept. 16, p. 1
An old friend of mine responded to a recent commentary entitled “Is there room for atheists in Indonesia?”
He is not a non-believer but he was rather upset by the prevailing assumption there are more theists than atheists in this country.
He holds a different view — there are a disturbingly large number of atheists here, particularly among those who belong to the middle classes. How so? I was confused.
“I strongly suspect the recent howls of protest against atheism are founded on a tacit stereotypical generalization that all or most atheists are depraved human beings and that atheism is an abominable creed because it produces only wicked citizens who constantly cause harm and suffering to others,” my friend argued. (By Alex H. Rambadeta)
I think people who throw litter everywhere are also atheists. In Islam, cleanliness is part of faith. I do not see this as part of most of Indonesians habits.
Plastic bags are everywhere, in the river, on the street.
If the easiest practice is not in daily life, how can higher levels of faith like love and tolerance be practiced? Corruption has become a culture here.
As an Indonesian, I am very sorry for this.
This whole article is premised upon the idea that because someone is an atheist they are somehow inherently evil since they do not fear some sort of after death retribution from an angry deity.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Unlike most theists that blindly accept whatever faith their family follows, most people who are atheists have come to that conclusion after thinking very carefully about what it means to be human and by what moral code one should live your life.
They have done this even though they believe that their conduct will not result in divine retribution.
As such they are morally superior to those who only behave decently out of fear.
At the risk of courting controversy, I’ll say this: Most Indonesians are simplistic conformists.
They have no idea that the religious rituals they perform are only the outward expression of what should be (but isn’t), an inward, spiritual impulse.
The people referred to in the article are not atheists, they are hypocrites. Atheists are not unknown to have more moral/ethical principles than are observed here.
Dropping rubbish is bad, but worse is burning plastic in the gutter, which releases toxic carcinogenic compounds.
Dwi, by your statement, many Indonesians are atheists as they litter constantly everywhere with total disregard for their environment.
I, by the way, have taught my Indonesian family not to litter from an ethical, humanist point of view — therefore maybe I’m an atheist?