Atheism does not violate Pancasila. All Indonesians may consciously and rationally choose their own beliefs. The country’s very foundation protects their right to do so.’
Alexander Aan, a civil servant in Dharmasraya, West Sumatra, was beaten and charged with blasphemy after writing “God does not exist” on his Facebook page.
The response has ranged from condemnation by several international organizations to support by local citizens and the Indonesian Council of Ulema. Many people have invoked the first principle of Pancasila, the state ideology, to make the argument that atheism — and Alexander — have no place in Indonesia.
But is this really the case? Has atheism been banned by Pancasila since the dawn of the Indonesian state? Since the argument is based on the text of a legal document, let’s examine this question from a legal perspective.
The first principle of Pancasila says the nation of Indonesia shall be based on the belief in the one and only God. It is usually interpreted literally. As a result, nonbelievers, and atheists in particular, are often accused of violating the nation’s philosophical foundation. Their way of thinking is seen as incompatible with the country’s fundamental “monotheistic” tenet……………….
There is another foundational passage in Pancasila that addresses religious beliefs. This one stipulates that “the belief in one and supreme God must not be forced on another person.” Read more