The rise of the non-religious in the Middle East and nearby

Here is the BBC source, which has several other interesting pieces of information, for instance in the polled countries Erdogan is more popular than Putin who in turn is more popular than Trump: 51-28-12% on the approval ratings.


More like the rise in the proportion of people who feel free to express their true (non-) beliefs to pollsters.


almost certainly wrong.


And, a rise in the proportion of people who feel free to manipulate pollsters (because who can say these are their "true" beliefs?).

Radical Islamism is mostly a problem among emigrants. People who actually have to live in Islamic countries tire of the suffocating hypocrisy and intellectual stultification the same way people in the USSR eventually turned on Marxism.

'Radical Islamism is mostly a problem among emigrants'

So, how do you classify the Islamic Republic? Admittedly, they are no longer flogging women for showing any hair, but the state still enforces mandatory female head coverings. And the Revolutionary Guards (and to a lesser extent the Basij) are not noted for a lack of fervent devotion to Islam.

'the same way people in the USSR eventually turned on Marxism'

The Iranians remain about as unhappy at the suffocating hypocrisy and intellectual stultification of the Islamic Republic today as they did after the Arab conquest of Iran.

After that conquest, however, Iran has remained Islamic for 1400 or so years.

Why do most Russians who actually lived in the Soviet Union say its dissolution was bad?

This man is one of my personal heroes, Al-Ma'arri, the Arab Socrates:

'Described as a "pessimistic freethinker", Al-Maʿarri was a controversial rationalist of his time, citing reason as the chief source of truth and divine revelation. He was pessimistic about life, describing himself as "a double prisoner" of blindness and isolation. He attacked religious dogmas and practices, was equally critical and sarcastic about Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Zoroastrianism, and became a Deist.'

Tunisia has Islam as state religion, meaning the president must me Muslim. Albeit, citizens can choose whatever they prefer. If the non-religious become the majority, the state religion would become a major political issue. Slightly secular Tunisia already attracts the attention of more religious neighbors. The 2015 terrorist attack on Sousse was by a Tunisian citizen military trained in Libya among Islam fundamentalists.

If Tunisia moves further away from religion, perhaps the terrorists would be more motivated to kill people in Tunisia instead of France, the UK, Germany or Spain. The war front would move south. Quite interesting development.

What really surprise me was the popularity of Mr. Erdogan in North African countries. The Turkish-Arabic language not a barrier in this case. What's going on here?

The Norwegian Constitution states that the Church of Norway "is the Established Church...and will as such be supported by the State" and and the King must "at all times profess the Evangelical-Lutheran religion." Until 2017, clergy of the Church of Norway were state civil servants.

The British monarch has the constitutional title of Supreme Governor of the Church of England, and until 2013 the monarch could not be a Catholic.

Do the prime minister of Norway must be member of the Church of Norway to be fit for the job?

Religion destroys oneself by its suffocating stuff. Fight shy of its degenerating and denigrating influence, and you can create yourself as almost a true human being - it is creating out of nothing, nonetheless.

An apparently moslem acquaintance once told me that he was an atheist - religion was for the uneducated. The reason why he wanted to leave his Arab homeland and live in Europe was so that he could escape from all the social and political aspects of Islam.

Such an escape, it seems to me, might prove temporary.

Religion (i.e., Islam) and colonialism/foreign domination are inseparable; thus, as the memory of colonialism and foreign domination recedes, so will religion. That isn't to say that Islam will become more tolerant; indeed, the opposite, as the religious seek to maintain control of the culture. That's true in America, as a declining percentage of Americans consider themselves religious, but those who do, seek to maintain control of the culture, in large part through politics. Of course, the level of religious oppression in America can't be compared to the level of religious oppression in Islamic countries, but the religious in America and the politicians they support would punish abortion with time in prison. To repeat, as the percentage of the population that identifies as religious declines, religious oppression rises.

The rot in Islamic civilization goes way back. Was Napoleon overrunning Egypt a result of colonialism and foreign domination?

Napoleon, invading Egypt, was seeking to
1) Checkmate British power in the Mediterranean
2) Feed his own glory legend by going where Alexander the Great had gone.
Islam was not part of his motivation. He was an equal opportunity conqueror, making war on Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox nations too.

Brian Donohue, writing that comment, was seeking to
1) Demonstrate the rot in Egypt by its feeble resistance to Napoleon's invasion
Napoleon's motivation was not part of my point.

Islam spent many centuries being colonialism/foreign domination.

Yes, "Religion (i.e., Islam) and colonialism/foreign domination are inseparable indeed": Islam thrived in its first centuries on massive and highly successful colonialism. One cradle of civilization and culture after another fell in short order, from Syria and Iraq to Egypt. The arc stretched to include 3/4 of the Iberian peninsula in the West, dipped deeply even into sub-Saharan Africa and gobbled up populous India. (Not to mention: Lands holy to multiple faiths were simply grabbed. Early Islamic expansion provides the template for much of the history of the ME.)

Since much of this colonialism appeared stable under the Caliphates, this is the form of administration that most radical Muslims wish to restore. Hence the AQ and ISIS calls for the restoration of the Caliphate. We may get 40 more years of this, or 400.

Why is the Caliphate regarded as an evil empire while Rome, Alexander the Great, and sometimes even the Mongols are given a pass on their imperialism?

Turing fail? Do all moral laws count as religious oppression? Murder is fine in an atheist country?

Not sure if I wasn't clear in my comment or readers weren't careful (critical, as in close) in their reading of it. Indigenous residents of the colonies had no national identity because colonies were never nations. Islam gave the inhabitants of the former colonies a common identity, distinct from the colonizers. In America, the Church of England was the dominant religion, often the official religion (especially in the South), before the revolution, after which the Church of England's dominance collapsed. In time, Islam will become increasingly less dominant, but Islamists, as white Christians in America today, will do whatever is necessary to maintain control.

One of the plots at the link seems to show that acceptance of honour killings is correlated with acceptance of homosexuality. Am I reading this right? If so, any ideas on why that would be?

Strange indeed. One possible explanation is that countries like Algeria and Morocco, partly due to European influence, have traditionally been more diverse in attitudes. Another one is that increased liberal attitudes trigger extreme religious reactions.

Men can do what they want?

I presume the more women are denigrated, the less attractive as partners they seem.

The percentages shown in Tyler’s post are not high enough to indicate real progress. Take Algeria, where 15% say they are not religious. But in the underlying BBC survey, 27% say that honor killings are acceptable!

The survey is a reminder not to stereotype Muslims. Not all of them are insane religious fanatics, only a large majority of them.

If for you describing yourself as religious = "insane religious fanatic" then the fanaticism lies elsewhere.

Is the notable trend represented by the reports coming from North Africa, or is the trend to be noted found in the reports from Yemen?

Appreciating the difficulties in polling contemporary Syrians: would reports from Syria conform to those of adjacent Palestinian territories, Lebanon, and Iraq? --or, because of the intensity of the conflict and the involvement/attention from outsiders, would reports from Syria conform more closely to those from Yemen?

What's the visceral reaction to this news from western conservatives? Good news or bad news? Ross Douthat?

Is there a reaction? I'd think conservatives would be happier with fewer diehard muslims.

Well, of course Trump is the least favorite. He sticks up for Israel - in a major change from his predecessor - and calls out the Palestinians for the fraud that their leaders are.

There are very few religions that do not proselytize - such as Judaism and Hinduism.

Religions such as Islam and Christianity are always trying to increase their fold as sanctioned by their holy books. If your holy books say there is no God but yours and all others are infidels, then it leads to Jihad and Crusades.

Actually, it is the inverse: there are very few religions that do proselytize. Basically, there are 3 religions that have a holy book which says there is no God but yours and all others are infidels: Judaism, Christianity, Islam. Judaism does not proselytize because it believes that those born infidels will die infidels and will go to hell. Christianity and Islam believe in the conversion of infidels. Islam went a step further and associated conversion of infidels with political expansion through war because Mohammed was both a prophet and a politician. Christianity does not advocate conversion through war, in particular, the Crusades had nothing to do with converting people to Christianity, it was actually a reaction of the declining Roman Empire to the encroaching Muslim states, which were destroying the Eastern half of the Roman Empire. Of the Western half of Rome, the church remained (and still remains) the only operational institution so it was used to raise armies to protect the empire under the name of the church.

Non-Abrahamic religions typically involve multiple gods or no gods. They are less crazy than Judaism and its by-products. Take Japan's national religion, Shinto, it is just the worship of local gods and spirits under standardized ritual protocols.

"Judaism does not proselytize because it believes that those born infidels will die infidels and will go to hell. "

Who the heck gave you that information (I hope you're not deliberately lying)? Jews believe it's much easier for non-Jews to get to heaven than Jews. Non-Jews only need to keep the Noahide Laws, not all of the complicated Jewish laws.

(I happen to think life after death is the longest of long shots, kind of like winning powerball two times in a row).

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