Secular Turkey April 30, 2007

Secular Turkey

According to the BBC, Turkey is adamant that church and state be kept separate:

[Turkey’s founder Mustafa Kemal] Ataturk was determined that this mainly Muslim nation would be a modern, secular country, and he introduced wide-ranging reforms, including the emancipation of women, the introduction of western dress, legal code and alphabet, and the abolition of Islamic institutions.

Turkey’s ruling elite and the powerful military have seen it as their job to protect what Ataturk set up.

Even politically Islamic parties maintain a secular government:

The [Justice and Development] party has its roots in political Islam, but insists it respects the secular principles of the constitution.

The staunchly secular elite of Turkey believes a president whose wife wears an Islamic headscarf would have Ataturk turning in his grave.

Ok. That’s all well and good.

Can someone please explain, then, why Turkey is the only nation worse than us in this survey of people’s attitudes toward evolution?


It’s hard to believe religion is so pervasive in the Turkish culture to the point that evolution is regarded as false by over half the population… and yet the people would vote to elect representatives who maintained secular values.

[tags]atheist, atheism, BBC, Turkey, church, state, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Muslim, Islam[/tags]

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  • I think you’ll find it has more to do with how people can in fact (believe it or not) separate church and state, or in this case Mosque and state (you get the idea).

    Also perhaps the survey isn’t in depth enough, if the question is ‘do you outright believe in evolution in that everything evolved from a tiny spec?’ might have gotten lots of ‘no’s’ from Turkey *but* if the question was more specific of sorts, like if it were asking ‘do you at least in part believe in evolution’ listing various aspects, like, I dunno, a cat evolving into a bigger cat and then a lion (I really dunno, thats just an example I pulled out) it might have received a ‘yes’.

    Then again, they probably just know how to separate religion and government, perhaps you’ve been living in the US too long and find it amazing that people like that exist.

  • Kim


    Education might be the answer. I remember that Turkish textbooks were less concerned about the theory and more with the practicalities of biology. 🙂 Moreover, while in the US the Evolution v. Creationism debate is definitely coloured by religion, perhaps it is less so in Turkey? Especially as Islam and evolution are not contradictory, according to the Hanafi school.

    Evolution has huge explanatory power – so much so that it is not a “theory” any more – but just as Neo-Darwinianism is an imporvement over the original, I suspect there’ll be further requirements down the road.

  • Darryl

    It may be that science education is what’s lacking–even here in the U.S. Most Americans have an erroneous understanding of evolution because they are both ignorant of the theory and have been fed a charicature of it by religious fundies in the media.

  • Richard Wade

    How about looking at what’s right about Iceland? Is there something about their education we could emulate, or are Icelanders simply the descendants of remarkable survivors. They’ve been nearly wiped out more than once. Maybe they’re open to evolution because they’re a good example of it.

  • The best defense of religion freedom in the public sphere is strict separation of church and state, something the U.S. founders believed, and something that was generallyunderstood even in the rural American South until a couple of generations ago. See Baptist history. “Either” religion “or” full-blown atheism is as false a dichotomy as “you’re either for us or against us” in the current unpleasantness.

  • Turkey is in the process of moving away from secularism. This is happening for simple demographic reasons. The secularists in the north are being outbred by those in the south. Being a democracy the new demographics are causing a swing towards Islamism. The secular nature of Turkey was accomplished by military edict in the first place so it’s not surprising they are not science oriented.

  • The government in Turkey is supposed to be secular, but that doesn’t mean the people are. I imagine that many science teachers in Turkey breeze over, water down, or omit any reference to anything that might be offensive to parents…just like in the U.S. Ataturk died in 1938…if his vision of a secular society would have been fully implemented especially considering his emphasis on education…they should be near the top of the list. This just goes to show what I have been saying for a long time. For some reason atheists think that all we need to do is reason with theists and they will understand and tomorrow we will live in a world with a nice secular government, good education and decisions made using reason and not superstition. On the contrary…I hate to say it but if we start now it is going to take generations, possible centuries before we see anything like that (and I’m not talking about getting rid of religion…just getting it out of government so it can’t influence things like science education). We need to start somewhere. Ataturk had the right idea, make sure the government is secular…in the U.S. the government prints theological messages on the money, has prayers before government meeting, and gives tax breaks to religious organizations…we have a long way to go.

  • Darryl

    Cat’s Staff makes a good point. We cannot kid ourselves about what social studies is really all about–it’s indoctrination. Adults rarely change their minds; it’s the youth, the kids, that we reach. This is why education is the real battleground. It does take generations. Look at how long it has taken for white and black kids to think nothing of race. Interracial couples are commonplace where I live, and youth today can’t imagine it any other way. This is progress, but look at how bad it had to get before we got it–and in some places it’s still not flourishing. How long will it be before gays are no longer hated?

  • Turhan

    Evolution theory is a very unique case especially if you are to determine how secular an islamist country is. Muslims find even the idea of evolution ‘offensive’ as it contradicts the basic teachings of holy book Qur’an. Also keep it in mind that religion still have an impact on an average Turkish’s daily life as the majority of the nation is very religious and not as well educated when compared to other counterparts in the poll above. Yet again the majority of people in Turkey also supports the seperation of curch and the state as they have witnessed how the unsecular Ottoman Empire fell behind it’s rivals in modernization and eventually got erased from the scene of history. And also it’s not wrong to say that as the education level in the country flourishes, the supporters of secularism as we know it, is increasing day by day.

  • Hi,

    Real Islam of Allah in which INSHALLAH prevails and we worship Sun and have direct approach to Allah whereas and give our own accounts to Allah is different from the present Islam of Mullahs in which INSHMULLAH, the Fatwas dominate and people are bound by SHARIAH that varies from country to country. It is from these Mullahs and Rabbis, Christ Jesus came to get us rid of but today, people like Pope have put on much greater and stronger hold on people. This antichrist created Mohammed and His Islam based upon similar lines.

    Real Islam is Sharia FREE and Free from fasting, prayer or Hajj. Hajj is for establishing the covenants of boys between 12 and 16 with their tribal elders represented by their “Ilah”. So, no faithful to the tribal “Ilah”, no faithful to Al-Ilah or Allah. That is there are many tribal gods or Ilah but we have One spiritual Father, Allah.

    But today, the great Satan reads Kutba at Hajj ceremony attended by grown up men and women. Then what do you expect Peace of Allah or killing of Satan?

    I can explain all about Islam from the very first principles that does not impose views as the nature of Gospel is. It will take a week or so to answer all your questions or I can write short articles. But Gospel is always preached.

    J E S U S A N D N A N A K P R E A C H E D I S L A M

    This may sound extremely odd to many but the few chosen, who understand the New Testament and The AD-GRANTH SAHIB by “spirit” know it very well that Gospel is actually centred around “ISLAM”.

    Islam stands for one’s “SUBMISSION TO THE WILL OF GOD” i.e. to the Righteousness of God and not to the wills or edicts of Mullahs, Popes, or the other so-called priestly impostors who impose their own righteousness upon others. Jesus presents an excellent example of “Islam” in Luke 9.51-56: And it came to pass, when the time was come that He should be received up, He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem. And sent messengers before His face and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for Him. And they did not receive Him, because His face was as though He would go to Jerusalem. And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? But He turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of Man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.

    That is Jesus did not impose His own will or righteousness but left the villagers to the Will of God in which the person has absolute “Freedom” either to accept His Will, “Islam” and enjoy the PEACE OF MIND or to reject it and make the world a living hell through the Fatwas of Mullahs, INSHMULLAHS. This is the true definition of “Islam” and if we define religion as one’s duty towards God, then we say the religion of Jesus was Islam; whilst the present Pope, Bishops, priests, Mullahs, or other religious impostors who impose their own views upon others through edicts and Fatwas have nothing to do with The “Islam” of Allah or God that supports “humanity” but they are rather the Blind guides of the blind leading their fanatic flocks into pit of death or the clever psychics best represented as the Satan Al-Djmar Al-Aksa at Mina, who are leading their blind followers into strife and killing.

    The same has been stressed by SATGURU (Christ) NANAK DEVJI in the last verse of the first stanza of JAPJI SAHIB, “HUKAM RAZAIE CHALNA, NANAK LIKHIA NAAL” i.e. the Way to Salvation in this Dark Age is to go by the Will of God and in addition to it there is the pre-destination that also plays part.

    In fact, this Dark Age as it has already been stressed is the Age of “spirit” and not of the “works” anymore as it used to be when the Rabbis and the Pandits were honest and true to Matt.13.52. Because the Rabbis and the Pandits had become corrupt and in-efficient that God sent His own anointed Christs in the names of Jesus and Nanak to preach the Gospel, called the Good News because it is always received through revelations. God being spirit, so only the predestined people of “spirit” can understand Gospel. People of spirit are rare to come by and this is amply reflected in asking the so-called Christians, Sikhs, Hindus, etc. whether they believed in Islam or not? Most of them, especially the academicians, will say “no”.

    In brief, initiation into “Islam” takes place through the ceremony of “HAJJ” which is to make only the male children of 12 to 16 years of age “fatherful” or the “sons of Man”. Only the “sons of Man” could become the “sons of God” through the grace of Allah. Thus, by becoming a “son of Man”, the person just approaches the “threshold” of Islam.

    The aim of Islam is to make the people “Mussallman”. The word “Mussallman” stands for “Mussallum – firm; Eeman – faith in Allah”. Thus, a true Mussallman is expected to be a “truthful, which is the raw or Kacha Eeman, and contented, which is the firm or Puka Eeman, person who exercises ‘mercy’, the Character of Allah, in his deeds”. And this is how Satguru Nanak Devji defined a “Mussallman”: “MUSSALLMAN MOOM DIL HOWAE, ANTTER DI MAEL DIL TAE DHOWAE” i.e. a true Mussallman is a “merciful” person who washes the “internal filth” of the five temptations of heart over his “heart”.

    Thus, all the “truthful” and “contented” people, called the “Royal Kings” and “merciful” people of the world for being going by the “Will of God” and not imposing or going by their own wills go by the tenets of “ISLAM” and, therefore, “ISLAM” is the universal religion of all the people having “Firm Faith in God” i.e. their own wisdom is “she” to That of God. In fact, Islam being the Religion of Allah, the Primary Source of Gospel i.e. “SUN”, the Mullahs, Popes, and the others have no place in True Islam and in Islam, it is the cleanliness of the heart reflected by one’s conscience or NEEYAT that counts and not the idle “works” or the rituals. So, in Islam one’s conscience, in which “one treats others as one wishes to be treated”, bears “fruit”.

    Therefore, a true “merciful” Mussallman never kills or robs another person for the sake of his property or imposes his own views upon the others. Therefore, the past invaders in the name of “Islam” being “cruel” were nowhere near a true “Mussallman” but they were rather the infidels or Kafirs. And this is the time for them to pay the cost of cruelty.

    A typical example will clarify the above concept.

    Ahmad Shah Abdali invaded India and was taking the booty of material wealth and women away. The Khalsas of the Royal King Gobind Singhji could tolerate the material loot of this infidel invader but not the honour (PATT) of the people, the women being taken away as booty. As the Khalsas are to preserve the “PATT” or honour of the people, so they intercepted the invader and in the ensuing battle, they made Ahmad Shah Abdali to run for his life and in the process, some of his queens were left behind. The Khalsas being the enforcers of “Islam” treated the queens as their sisters and returned them safe and sound back to Ahmad Shah Abdali. That was a great surprise for the infidel Ahmad Shah Abdali of Afghanistan. Now, in this example, we shall term the “Khalsas” as true Mussallmans.

    Thus, to be a true Mussallman is not a joke and the true followers of Christ Jesus and Christ Nanak are also the “true Mussallmans”, who are contented with their lots and display mercy in their “deeds”. Thus, the Foundation Stone of the Second Temple of God at Amritsar well known as Golden Temple was laid by a perfect Sikh, Mussallman Pir Mian Mir Ji.

    As in Allah, people pay for their past “deeds” within a short span of time, so the present sufferings of people could be the result of their past “deeds”. No wonder the poor countries that were the subject of oppressions in the past, shall inherit the “Kingdom of God”.


    Chaudhry Rajinder Nijjhar, M.Sc.
    Retired Senior Lecturer in Metallurgy.

    Gnostics are “seekers” of religious knowledge
    and we take no one for his word.
    We believe each individual receives “His Word”
    through “grace of God”.
    Our religion is Islam of Allah where INSHALLAH prevails;
    and Sun, the Primary Source of Light, is worshipped.
    Islam of Mullahs where the Fatwas of Mullahs dominate,
    people worship moon and stars, the secondary source of Light is of the sons of Satan, the Mullahs.

    In Islam of Allah, every one gives his own account to Allah whilst the satanic Mullahs take accounts of the blind to spirit people.
    Our Islam is SHARIAH FREE, no prayer, no fasting or Hajj.
    Our Discussions are open minded and friendly.

    Meetings are open to all and they are “FREE”.

    For a taste of Gnosticism, visit my web site:-

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