Fighting atheist tendencies

We must fight the phenomenon of atheism with initiatives that will nip it in the bud before it takes roots in the hearts of our young men and women. This is possible only by launching a massive national campaign.

February 20, 2014

 


Abdul Aziz Qassem

Al-Watan

 


 


We must fight the phenomenon of atheism with initiatives that will nip it in the bud before it takes roots in the hearts of our young men and women. This is possible only by launching a massive national campaign.



I recall reading a worldwide survey published by the Washington Post. The poll called “The Global Index of Religiosity and Atheism” was conducted by WIN-Gallup International. It is based on interviews with 50,000 people from 57 countries and five continents. The participants were asked: Irrespective of whether you attend a place of worship or not, would you say that you are a religious person, not a religious person, or a convinced atheist?



The poll showed that the percentage of atheists in Saudi Arabia is the same as in advanced European countries like Belgium. The strangest part in the poll is the finding that  the number of atheists in Saudi Arabia reached five percent. This makes the Kingdom the first country in the Islamic world where the number of atheists have crossed the five-percent mark, which is more than the percentage ratio of atheist in secular countries like Turkey and Tunisia. According to the poll, 75 percent of people in the Kingdom are religious while 19 percent see themselves as non-religious.



Some researchers and academics are skeptical about these figures. I don’t know if young people who raised questions of doubts about religion were included in the list of atheists. Normally, doubts strike the minds of youths in their adolescence. These youths are slipping into the dark abyss of atheism by frequently visiting social networking sites, reading atheist authors and holding dialogues, as in the case of some students on scholarship grants, with their teachers in Western universities. These youths, who do not have deep understanding of religion and its values, are prone to atheism. Atheist ideas began to influence these youths in the course of time and they eventually distance themselves from religion.



I brought this matter up with some scholars who told me that the major reason for this is the apathy on the part of many scholars to listen to the youths and clarify their doubts. They cited the case of a Saudi woman teacher in her 20s. When she tried to discuss her doubts with a scholar, he accused her of being mentally sick and should undergo treatment. It is, therefore, essential to provide specialized courses for scholars and preachers on how to engage the youths in the fruitful dialogues to clear their doubts. To achieve this, it is necessary to launch a massive national campaign and to open new channels for online interaction with the younger generation to satisfy their questions and clear their skepticism. Parents have to play a crucial role in this respect. At present, efforts to contain the onslaught of atheism are limited. These are mainly concentrated on personal initiatives. There should be a participation of the entire society in dealing with this serious issue. This shall be based on a national strategy worked out by our Shariah bodies to protect our religion. Like what we did in combating terrorism, we have to root out atheism.



The Ministry of Islamic Affairs and Minister Sheikh Saleh Al-Asheikh may shoulder the great responsibility of working out the strategy for an anti-atheist national campaign with the support of experts in this field.  Specialized centers to hold dialogue with young men and women could be set up, in addition to launching an exclusive satellite channel to promote the cause. It is easier to treat cancer in its initial stage before it seeps deep into the body cells.

 


February 20, 2014
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