Persecution of... Atheists and Humanists?


I was scrolling down my Facebook feed when I found this post by The Economist with the accompanying news item:

Across the world, it seems there has been a “marked increase” in the specific targeting and persecution of atheists and humanists. Dreadful as it is, this trend could be a negative side-effect of a “different, positive, parallel trend”—the fact that atheism and humanism are being recognised as cohesive world-views

There is a link in the article itself which leads to to an organization which posts reports about “discrimination against non-religious people”.

Now… is it just me or is this legitimization of secular liberalism? From what I know secularism is now the new status quo. Promotion of secular hegemony I guess (to borrow from Gramsci)?

Because what we Christians are experiencing, especially in the developed world, is persecution from atheists and humanists for the mere fact that we are Christians - most especially in the internet. Already the photo in the article is a very vocal manifestation of that persecution. I know there are atheists out there who are afraid of expressing their beliefs and are being persecuted because of the social circumstances they are in, and of course this is not the right way to approach these people because they’re persons with dignity too. I’ve read somewhere this is the case in the US’s Bible Belt?

I know that most of the article tells about persecution in mainly Muslim countries, but I think it’s just over-generalization - a fallacy most atheists love to make. The person who wrote this article is probably part of the organization I mentioned above.



This was my suspicion as well.


Get ready folks the worst is yet to come.


Yep. I believe this also.


it’s interesting. first the liberals persecute the Christians. then they welcome the muslims. then the muslims persecute the liberals.:shrug:


One of the criteria they use to determine discrimination is: “religious instruction provided without secular ethical alternative classes in schools.” I wonder if they realize how badly they would have to say religious views are therefore discriminated against in western schools that froth at the mouth if you even whisper the word “God” in a public school.

But after reading the official report section on the United States, it is clear that this organization even considers any lawsuit lost by an atheist trying to remove the term “God” from currency or schools, etc… is apparently a form of active persecution. From what I read, the report shows no awareness that if the mere mention of a religious concept in a public arena is persecution, then the mere mention of atheism/humanism would likewise be persecution of those called “religious.”


Persecution is a bit strong. But there is a strong prejudice asainst us. So much so that over the years I’ve learned to be a “closet atheist” in order to get along.

I can’t speak for the world, but I’m pretty sure persecution isn’t the right word in the US.


wow, everyone i know, outside of church is an atheist.


A closet atheist, why? Prejudice? Where?:shrug:


Because there is an inherent distrust of atheist plus it would be distressing to my mom and other family, all over a matter of opinion.

As for prejudice, it is much more subtle than what other ethnic or religious groups faced in past decades and centuries. For instance, we are more distrusted. It is practically disqualifies one from political office. Basically the sense of distrust.


Given that atheism caused the premature deaths of over 100 million people last century, it rather makes sense that people would be less likely to vote for atheist politicians.


It’s probably close to a billion including abortion, which was started by atheist socialists like Margaret Sanger. Abortion is promoted aggressively by the US and the UN all over the world.


Good point. Atheists are always so quick to point to “crusades, inquisition, witch-burning” and they completely skip over the utter holocaust atheism has waged on humanity these past centuries.


And then they blame the Christians for the near daily Islamic terror attacks around the world by blaming “religion” (by that they mean Christianity). So with this semantic sleight of hand they have created an excuse to persecute the Christians, making us the scapegoat because of their reluctance to blame Islamic terrorism on Muslims. It’s a vicious cycle.


For me (and for most of us here) the reverse seems to be increasingly becoming true. The seculars are becoming the big guys - the status quo - and we feel like it’s the days of the Roman Empire again. We feel more likely to be “closeted” because we are being prejudiced against atheists, most especially in the Internet. Your experience is most probably because of your family. And the fact that the United States is the most religious of all industrialized developed countries. I think an atheist would do well in public office in, let’s say, the UK or France than in the US.

The thing is expressing your beliefs as an atheist doesn’t mean you should ridicule religious beliefs. That’s persecution of another religious group in the expense of your own identity based on your belief system - and that’s just wrong. You can “come out” as an atheist and respect religious beliefs without believing in them. I know some atheists who are respectful of religious belief and they are comfortable being publicly known as atheists. From my knowledge the philosopher Jurgen Habermas is one.

The most unfortunate thing is that the atheists and atheist groups who don’t respect religious beliefs are the most vocal of the bunch, and eventually the herd mentality of the secular world kicks in and starts believing in them, and later they would treat us Christians with suspicion and hatred. Consequently Christians would stereotype atheists based on the first group I’ve mentioned, which explains the strong prejudice I’ve mentioned. This is yet another vicious cycle of prejudice that doesn’t seem to stop.


i think it’s the ‘mom and other family’ part. i don’t think you can get much more secular than president obama, although he does pretend to go to that crazy church. not sure who he thinks he’s fooling.:shrug:


In England where I live people are not so overt face to face about discussing religion, more reserved then Americans is the impression I get, except on the internet.

Political party leaders will avoid any discussion relating to their own personal beliefs and if they are atheist will only reluctantly admit that when questioned by someone expressing interest from the media.

In internet animosity discussions though, atheists appear by majority and many will grab any opportunity to ridicule anyone with a religious belief.

I can understand them having grievances because they feel their views and speech has for so long been restricted, but why or why do they have to be so condescending? saying things like religious people are “stupid” and “brainwashed” as if to imply all atheists are geniuses.

If they continue to intimidate people with that attitude then the result is bound to be a denial of belief from those who spent time in the company of those type of atheists.


agreed, i know a number of atheists who feel they should be running the country/world, because they were much smarter than those who hold religious beliefs. some also believe the world would be a better place if certain people were simply ‘eliminated’. then, they could get on with re engineering the human race into the perfect world where everyone thinks like them.


Sometimes I feel that with that kind of attitude from atheists and humanists they’re setting up their own persecution.


This would be like saying WBC represents Christianity as a whole or that ISIS represents the Islamic faith. Similarly, the New Atheist do not represent my views and I’d suspect they don’t represent most.

And can we lay off of the hyperbole? Persecution is what is happening to the Christians in Iraq under ISIS or other places where expressing faith carries a real risk of death or harm. The stuff that happens to atheist or Christians in most of the West aren’t good, but do not rise to persecution.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit