Comments, In Focus, Migrants, Multiculture

An Iranian immigrant’s journey to atheism and secularism

Choosing atheism as an Iranian diaspora journalist, I’ve embarked on an intellectual, liberating journey. It’s not about rejecting spirituality or morality, but challenging religious dogma and authoritarianism. Through my journalism, I am committed to the pursuit of truth, justice, and human dignity, advocating for a more inclusive society.


Rola Zamzameh


My journey toward atheism has been shaped by personal experiences, intellectual exploration, and a commitm   ent to truth-seeking in the face of religious orthodoxy.

Several factors led me to embrace atheism and this choice had implications for my identity, my profession and my advocacy as a journalist.On the one hand, there was cultural and religious upbringing. Growing up in Iran, I was immersed in a society where Islam permeated every aspect of life, from social norms and cultural practices to political institutions and legal systems.

As a member of a Shia Muslim family, I was raised with religious teachings and rituals that shaped my worldview and identity from an early age. However, even amidst this religious milieu, I harboured doubts and questions about the nature of faith, morality, and existence.

On the other hand, there was the intellectual awakening.

My attitude toward atheism was catalysed by a process of intellectual inquiry and critical reflection, spurred by exposure to diverse ideas, perspectives, and philosophies. I had the privilege of engaging with a wide range of voices and narratives, both within Iran and in the broader global community.

This exposure broadened my intellectual horizons and challenged me to confront the contradictions and inconsistencies inherent in religious doctrine.

There was also the factor of the rejection of religious dogma. As I delved deeper into the study of history, science, and philosophy, I became increasingly disillusioned with the dogma and superstition propagated by organized religion.

The clash between religious teachings and scientific evidence, the hypocrisy and corruption within religious institutions, and the oppressive dictates of religious authority all contributed to my growing scepticism and eventual rejection of faith-based belief systems.

Another element that was decisive in leading me to opt for atheism was the defence of secularism and humanism.

Choosing atheism as an Iranian diaspora journalist is not merely a personal decision but also a form of social and political activism grounded in a commitment to secularism, humanism, and rationalism. In a country where religious fundamentalism and authoritarianism continue to stifle dissent and undermine human rights, atheism represents a bold assertion of individual autonomy, intellectual freedom, and ethical responsibility. On the other hand, I also wanted to embrace pluralism and diversity. As an atheist Iranian diaspora journalist, I recognize the importance of embracing pluralism and diversity within Iranian society and the broader Muslim world.

Atheism is not synonymous with cultural imperialism or disrespect for religious beliefs; rather, it manifests the diversity of thought and rejects intellectual conformity.

By advocating for atheism, I seek to create space for dialogue, debate, and mutual understanding among Iranians of all backgrounds and beliefs.

Finally, another decisive factor in my journey to non-religion was mnavigating identity and belonging.

Atheism has also posed challenges in terms of navigating questions of identity and belonging.

While I am proud of my Iranian heritage and cultural heritage, I refuse to be defined solely by religious affiliation or national identity. As a journalist, I strive to transcend narrow categories and stereotypes and to cultivate a sense of belonging based on shared values of justice, compassion, and solidarity.

*Rola Zamzameh: Senior journalist of the European Union Commission and Parliament.

(Photos: Pixabay)

Share it / Compartir:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *