Comments more than welcome.
America is going completely mad. We have a Democrat president who is right wing in most of his approach, but is called a socialist and the Antichrist. We also have a Republican Party which has lost its way so fundamentally its main candidates to challenge the incumbent next year are outright, batshit crazy morons who campaign against gay people and call climate change a lie. The country is screwed. I’m not really in any doubt that Obama, despite waging war at least as gleefully as Bush, is going to be re-elected next year, but you’d have to wonder, given the way these nutjobs have strangled the political system around him, why he’d want to.
Andrew Copson, Chief Executive of the British Humanist Association argues civic participation isn’t the preserve of the religious:
This point was demonstrated yet again last week by the latest figures from the government’s citizenship survey. In terms of civic engagement and formal volunteering, the figures show no significant difference between those with a religion and those with no religion (57% and 56% respectively). There is scarcely any difference in participation between those with no religion and self-described Christians (56% and 58%). At 44%, the proportion of Hindus and Muslims participating in civic engagement and formal volunteering is actually lower than the proportion of non-religious people doing so, and the lowest of all groups. This is no flash in the pan – it is a continuing feature of the figures over a number of years.
The figures supplement other data that makes the same point, not only from previous years’ citizenship surveys. In 2007, Faith and Voluntary Action, from the National Council of Voluntary Organisations found that “religious affiliation makes little difference in terms of volunteering”, and as a matter of simple numbers, the overwhelming majority of the voluntary, community and charity sector in the UK are secular.
I’m not sure if this is the right point to make in response to the claims religions are currently making. Christianity’s current round of sanctimony suggests it’s the sole repository of morality itself. The figures Copson quotes are only a small portion of that issue, and although he’s clearly right to say the religious and non religious are equally likely to engage in areas they think are likely to better society, I’d say that the figures mask a whole lot of other data. Just focusing on civic engagement lets religion off from having to take responsibility for the bigotries they promote at their cores. I’m not clear as to the point of the article – is it in response to the Tory claims that religious charities should be picking up the social slack, the ‘Big Society’? Or is he merely trying to show evidence for atheistic good, when there’s so little empirical data for it? As he says the pious love to bleat endlessly about their good works, when everyone else just tend to get on with things.
It feels like he’s beating around the bush, and not coming out and standing up for good, non-religious social deeds when even the science is on his side. It would of course be wrong to say that good wasn’t done in the name of religion; it just doesn’t need religion for that to happen. As a social species we”re inclined to preserve the gene pool by working together; we even care for our young (for the most part) right up to adulthood. Religion these days would like us to believe it’s because of deity A or B – after all they have their Bronze Age scriptures which prove it, right? Yet the non-religious do good (and always have) because we can figure out for ourselves that it’s a rational thing to do for everyone’s benefit. Copson is right when he says atheists don’t go on and on about their volunteering, but that’s because it’s not being done under the threat of eternal torture. He’s right to bring up the issue for discussion, I think, but it isn’t much more than a potshot against the religiously zealous. The example of good done by the non-religious will always carry more weight by not being trumpeted, and non-zealous followers would probably be sympathetic to that.
The naturalist joined three Nobel laureates, the atheist Richard Dawkins and other leading scientists in calling on the government to tackle the “threat” of creationism.
Gordon Brown’s government issued guidance to all schools that the subject should not be taught to pupils, but neither they nor the coalition government enshrined the recommendation in law.
In a statement on a new campaign website, the 30 scientists and campaign groups including the British Science Association demanded creationism and “intelligent design” be banned outright.
Prof Colin Blakemore, the neurobiologist, Sir Paul Nurse, the President of the Royal Society, and former Royal Society director of education Rev Prof Michael Reiss were among the signatories.
I couldn’t agree more. Creationism is a load of religious, pseudo-scientific crap, which has been completely discredited. It shouldn’t just have no place in schools, the state should indeed prevent it by law. America is being corrupted by the growing trend of fact denial; in school children in this country should only be taught to critically evaluate the world around them. There’s no other rational position to take.
Piers Morgan gets an amusing rise out of homophobic presidential candidate Rick Santorum, when he calls his attitudes out for what they are. Santorum then instantaneously suggests that 2K+ moral codes are by definition not bigoted, yet conflates ethics and bigotry. The former involves judging people for what they do, the latter involves judging people for who they are; he claims he’s doing the former whilst wilfully engaging in the latter. It’s entirely consistent to say that the Catholic Church is bigoted for its viewpoint on homosexuality – it self evidently is. Morgan did well to provoke the diatribe which punches a hole very cleanly through his protestations of being able to keep his religious viewpoints outside of his potential job as leader of the free world.
Santorum: “I don’t think the truth changes.”
Oh no? Truth I might remind everyone is determined by evidence, not Bronze Age ignorance and superstition. Apparently his theory of ‘unchanging truths’ is dictated by reason, but of course this is deluded nonsense. A viable president of the United States can’t be going around picking and choosing which social changes he’s prepared to accept and which not. Of course it’s an issue which the Senator confronts directly, but in the most appalling fashion. Earlier on in the clip he says that allowing same-sex marriage would open the floodgates to “a long list of consensual activities that most people would find rather unappealing.” I know the subtext he’s toying with – suggesting it would allow legalisation of bestiality or paedophilia (I’ve had a bewildering argument with another Christian about just this today – also making no rational sense). But of course those acts aren’t consensual. Surely there’s no problem with legalising consensual, harmless adult relationships? No wonder this idiot is getting hammered in the US. Check out his tantrum afterwards, in a school of all places:
And basically trash the entire concept. One to enjoy and share with the zealots.
I’ve heard this bleated incessantly over the last few days from the usual zealots. Left Hemispheres offers an interesting insight:
Breivik, while having political targets, is still a religious terrorist. The bomb was placed to target the secular government. The children were horrifically targeted to either send a message to their secular, left-leaning parents or eradicate their “bloodline.” He did this to send a message to those he held responsible for allowing Muslims into his country and Europe at large. He wants to establish a Nationalist Theocracy with Christians supplanting every level. Americans are more familiar with the term “Dominionism.” Let’s be clear: that worldview/theology is the same thing.
For the Christians that automatically claim “well that is not ‘true’ Christianity” I have some news for you. I know that his is not reflective of (most of) what you believe to be Christ’s teachings (thankfully for the rest of us), but at this point the confluence of the teachings of Christ and the actions of many of his “followers” is irrelevant. Also, whether or not you agree with their theology is irrelevant. They would just as quickly dismiss yours. It is all too easy to dismiss him/them as “not true Christians,” and they you. That is called a “No True Scotsman” fallacy.
Read the whole article. Quite unnerving but no less brilliant because of it.
A select committee-style inquiry on Christianity is to be held in order to clarify how the law affects believers, amid increasing claims of religious discrimination and persecution.
The public hearings, scheduled to last for about three months this autumn, will invite peers and politicians to examine legislation on hate crime and equality and evaluate whether changes are needed.
The inquiry is the idea of Gary Streeter MP, a Christian who chairs the cross-party group Christians in Parliament. He said that, while there was religious freedom in Britain, some groups were “whipping up an alternative view and generating fear” where there did not need to be any. He said: “That fear is growing, that voice is growing. There is a particular problem. In the last 12 months, we have had legal cases that provoked concern. These now need to be tackled.”
We have an Equality and Human Rights Commission. We have an Equality Act. We have the courts, who are well aware that in an age of competing rights claims they will have to determine, case-by-case, winners and losers. There is no need whatsoever to look at this again institutionally. What we have is a group of ultra-devout zealots, who believe they should still have the right to discriminate because of their religion, or to proselytise in the world of work.
Christians (as well as theists in general) need to grow up. I don’t care one iota if their freedom (which has never been a ‘right’) to discriminate on religious grounds has trashed by equality under the law for me. Noone has suggested for a minute that they should be prohibited in some Minority Report stylee from thinking less of me because I’m gay; they have the right to believe in pink unicorns for all I care. But they don’t have the right to discriminate against me because of the crazy ideas they have; noone does and noone should. There is nothing more to discuss.
I still hear Christians and other theists across the Internet insisting on a daily basis that being gay is a ‘choice’ (one I don’t remember making). This video is a sublime antidote to that well-worn misrepresentation:
“It is a tremendous mistake for the Church of England to start taking an interest in religion.”
Says it all really. As he goes on to say, the mad ‘Christian’ cultists, with their massive (and growing) congregations steeped in bollocks about evil spirits and demons, should be left well enough alone.
Mohammed Hasnath posted a whole bunch of these stickers around the East End of London (where I work):
“Basically, some people just handed them to me so I just put them up. I didn’t say anything, it doesn’t say that I am going to punish them it just says what God says in the Koran.
“I wasn’t the one who made them, some people gave them to me and I only put up a few, there were hundreds of them up. I didn’t know the police were going to get involved or that it was a offence or anything.”
And in response he was given a slap on the wrist:
Hasnath, who lives with his family in Tower Hamlets and survives on job seekers allowance, was fined £100, ordered to pay £85 costs and a £15 victim surcharge. The offence could not carry a custodial sentence.
District Judge Coleman said: “I think you used these stickers deliberately to offend and distress people, you certainly succeeded in doing that.
“You have upset people and they deserve an apology, you are not entitled to behave in this way.”
An apology? £100? Inciting homophobic hatred in the community is worthy of a trivial fine and a demand for an apology? This asshole should be in jail! What if that sticker had said ‘Muslim free zone’? ‘Jew free zone’? I can’t believe that a message of outright hatred, with the clear implicit threat of violence, wouldn’t merit a custodial sentence. Turns out it could have – last month the CPS said:
“This case has now been referred to the CPS Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division to consider whether a section 29C (1) of Public Order Act 1986 offence should be added. This offence is committed if a person uses threatening words or behaviour, or displays any written material which is threatening, if they intend thereby to stir up hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation.”
So they decided not to bother even trying to jail him for up to six months, sending out a message that there are no meaningful consequences to anti-gay extremism like this. Others have pointed it out for many other reasons recently, but it’s clear that there’s something really rotten at the heart of the Crown Prosecution Service.
(via Godless Atheist)
It’s easy to laugh of course, isn’t it? As if the world was going to end on 21st May 2011 just because some religious lunatic said so. What alarmed me then and alarms me now is the lengths to which the truly devout would go in response. After all if you’ve subcontracted your morality out to religion, why stay moral when you believe you’re guaranteed to rise up with Jesus? Check this out:
Harold Camping should be held liable for this (and any other instances which arise). Martin Pribble couldn’t be more right when he says:
I agree with what Voltaire is famous for saying “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it”but with one addition: “and in return you must be willing to face the consequences of your actions.”
And that’s exactly it. Hopefully the plethora of Christianists in America will start seeing just how much they’ve been duped, but I wouldn’t like to put my money on it. People who feel detached from the mainstream of things will always latch onto whatever it takes to feel part of something, even delusional bullshit like this ‘rapture’.
Somegreybloke has something to say about #rapture today, seeing as it’s 21st May, and I think it sums up the day pretty nicely. If you have any evidence of the Second Coming of Christ today, however small, don’t hesitate to share it with me right here. I could do with a good giggle.