According to Huffington Post, it's a sad, but well-known truth that many people around the world are persecuted for their religious beliefs. But many people are also suffering for their lack of religious belief, though their stories are not as often shared.
The American Humanist Association created this infographic which shows some of the ways in which atheists are socially and legally discriminated against.
The rise of the religious "nones" in the United States show that more and more people are choosing not to affiliate themselves with an organized religion. But why is this so threatening to people of faith?
Commenter Jackie Martinez wrote, "I don't identify as Atheist (but definitely Agnostic), but I'm saddened by the state of our world when we trust a cheater or rapist more than an Atheist. It's discouraging and disheartening."
By Julia Llewellyn Smith, The Telegraph
When neuroscientist Andrew Newberg scanned the brain of “Kevin,” a staunch atheist, he realized that his brain operate in a significantly different way, compared with the Buddhist monks and Franciscan nuns.
“He had far more activity in the prefrontal cortex, the area that controls emotional feelings and mediates attention. Kevin’s brain appeared to be functioning in a highly analytical way, even when he was in a resting state.” says Newberg.
When people speak in tongues, they’re gone, they’re in a completely altered state. But most of the time they’re normal people like us
“When people speak in tongues, they’re gone, they’re in a completely altered state. But most of the time they’re normal people like us, with jobs and children – they don’t show any sign of being delusional,” says Newberg. “Scans of their brains – when they’re ’possessed’ – show very different results to scans of Buddhist monks or Carmelite nuns in prayer or meditation. There you see increased frontal lobe activity in the areas concerned with concentration, but the speakers in tongues had decreased activity in the same area, which would give them the sensation that someone else was ’running the show’.”
According to The Guardian, a Nigerian man has been incarcerated in a mental health institution by his family after saying he had lost his belief in God.
Mubarak Bala, 29, is said to have been forcibly medicated for "insanity" for nearly two weeks, despite a doctor's opinion that he has no psychological problems.
Campaigners are calling for his release and say the case highlights the fact that atheists are a persecuted minority in many African countries.
Bala's Twitter account uses the handle "ExMuslim", and his profile says: "Chemical Process Engineer. I stand for Truth & Justice. Religion insults human conscience & reason, duped me that I have another lifetime. Agnostic Atheist."