Monday, 24 June 2019

Muslims Losing Faith Too

The Arab world in seven charts: Are Arabs turning their backs on religion? - BBC News

A major new survey by the Arab Barometer research network for the BBC, conducted across ten countries and the Palestinian territories between late 2018 and spring 2019 shows a marked increase in those with no religious beliefs.

Other finding in the survey show a move towards a more liberal attitude to a range of social issues.

Across the area, those self-identifying as "not religious" rose from just 8% to 13% between 2013 and 2018. This represents a 1% per annum increase. Amongst the under-30's this rose to 18%. The largest increases were seen in Tunisia, Libya, Morocco and Egypt, and only Yemen recorded a fall.

The smallest increases were seen in Iraq, the Palestinian Territories and Lebanon (Which started from a relatively high point of over 10% in 2013.

These moves away from religion were reflected in more liberal attitudes towards female emancipation where, generally speaking, those countries which saw the biggest moves away from religion were the same countries that saw a greater acceptance of the idea of a female president or prime minister and lower belief that the husband should have the final say in family decisions.

It is clear from this that religion conditions these attitudes to women, and freed from the need to conform to religious dogma, people form opinions which contrast markedly with what the prevailing religion teaches.

This directly echoes the thoughts of the Iranian Atheist who writes in the pseudonym Kavah Mousavi when writing about what being an Atheist had done for him:

Because of atheism I can support democracy, oppose theocracy, support the equal rights for women and LGBT+ people without having to hold sacred a book which embodies the opposite of all these values and I do not have to resolve the mental dissonance of such an intellectual contradiction.

These results can't bring much comfort to religious organisations which were pinning their on a Pew Research forecast a few years ago which predicted a reversal of the worldwide trend away from religion. This forecast made a number of assumptions to arrive at this conclusion, not the least of which was that Muslims would remain religious and their population growth would offset some of the loss to 'nones' from Christianity.

This latest survey must cast considerable doubt on that forecast. It looks like the Islamic countries could be following the Christian ones in rejecting religion in increasing numbers.







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