The advertisement "There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.” runs on 200 buses in London and 600 vehicles in England, Scotland and Wales in an advertising campaign. The atheist Professor Richard Dawkins and the British Humanist Association officially back this anti-God campaign.
"As an organisation we don't endorse any of the products or sentiments advertised on our buses. The content of this advert has been approved by the Advertising Standards Agency and therefore it is capable of being posted on static sites or anywhere else."
Hanne Stinson, chief executive of the British Humanist Association, expressed:
"I have difficulty understanding why people with particular religious beliefs find the expression of a different sort of beliefs to be offensive. "I can't understand why some people seem to have a different attitude when it comes to atheists."
Track Record of the Catholic Inquisition
The Catholic inquisition is seen as a very bloody and gruesome affair.
30 external historians working together with Vatican authorities, however found that more women accused of witchcraft died in the Protestant countries than under the inquisition.
Outside Europe, the inquisition was a different story. The Goa inquisition, between 1560 and 1812, was designed to punish relapsed New Christians (Jews and Muslims). From the scant records not destroyed in 1812, it seems to have brought to trial 16 200 out of which 64 were burned and 57 executed.
The Inquisition Symposium, established in 2000 by the Pope, found that the Inquisition burned 59 women in Spain, 36 in Italy, and four in Portugal. At the same time in Europe, civil justice brought to trial 100,000 women and burned 50,000 of them. About 26,000 were condemned as witches in Germany.
Theocratic States in the World Today
Though in Norway, Finland and Sweden the Lutheran Church and the state are joined, currently only Islamic states are theocratic. Saudi Arabia requires all Saudi nationals to be Muslims. The state recognizes individuals’ rights of non-Muslims to worship in private. Israel is also a Jewish theocracy, with a population 76.1% Jewish, 16.2% Muslim, 2.1% Christian, and 1.6% Druze, with the remaining 3.9% of other religions. But, Israel allows freedom of religion by law even to Israeli citizens.
The first modern Islamic state, Pakistan was founded on 14th August 1947. According to Section 295C of the Pakistan Penal Code you get the death penalty if you
"by words . . . or visible representation . . . or by any imputation, innuendo, or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defile the name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad."You can be sent to ten years in jail for outraging the religious feelings of any group. As of mid-2002, only the testimony of a single Muslim is sufficient to prosecute a non-Muslim on blasphemy charges.
- Saudi Arabia requires all Saudi nationals to be Muslims. As a ruler of Saudi Arabia has to be a Saudi national, the ruler has to be a Muslim.
- The Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran with its Shi’a Islam of the Jaafari (Usuli) school of thought also has no choice about religion.
- The Emperor of Japan is currently the only ruler with the title of Emperor. In 1946, with pressure from US General MacArthur, he renounced his claim to being divine in human form (akitsumikami), but he did not renounce being a Aahitogami (a Kami or spirit being born in human form) or a descendant of Amaterasu (Sun Goddess in Shinto religion).
- Peter Wetzler, Hirohito and War, University of Hawai'i press, 1998, p.3
- Encyclopaedia Britannica Online. Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc.
- Encyclopædia Iranica. Center for Iranian Studies, Columbia University.
Levack, Brian P. The witch hunt in early modern Europe, Third Edition. London and New York: Longman, 2006.
Monter, William: Witch trials in Continental Europe, (in:) Witchcraft and magic in Europe, ed. Bengst Ankarloo & Stuart Clark, University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia 2002, pp 12.
- Salomon, H. P. and Sassoon, I. S. D., in Saraiva, Antonio Jose. The Marrano Factory. The Portuguese Inquisition and Its New Christians, 1536-1765 (Brill, 2001), pp. 345-7.