Humanism, atheism, some politics and lots of common sense.

Archive for the tag “News”


The votes are counted and the result is in. The people of Scotland have voted no to independence. Admittedly it was close and I feel for the Scottish people that voted no, it was their big chance really to make change. However that said this whole exercise will undoubtedly change British politics forever and has illustrated if people feel strongly about something they will vote for change, an 85% turn out is credit to the passion of the Scots about this issue.
The ramifications of independence would have been huge for both Scotland and England, we can only speculate what would have happened.
On the positive side it shows how democracy works and I do hope that even though the whole campaign has been divisive at times I hope the Scots come together in unity and realise they are truly an important part of Great Britain. This vote shows people have power and ultimately ordinary people can make a difference.

Scotland Votes

Today the people of Scotland go to the polls to vote for possible independence. It’s evidently been a long journey to get this far from the pro-independence movement and the destiny of the historic union of Great Britain hangs in the balance.
Personally I hope Scotland decides to stay in the union, historically it was a great achievement and because of it Britain became a world leader and super power (alas we aren’t so much these days). We’d actually had a monarch of both countries before the Act of Union which was called the Union of the Crowns so both countries had a firm link even if culturally there were some differences. Historical reference shows the union may not have been popular at the time and indeed there always seems to have been a calling for an independent Scotland but in 2007 the union was 300 years old.
Having been to Scotland a few times I would say it can feel as though you are in a different nation to some degree but if you strip away the different pound notes, thick Glaswegian accents and odd cultural oddities like Mars Bars in batter (a chocolate bar dipped in potato chip fat and fried) then there’s really not that much between Scotland and England. Scottish people are proud of their heritage and culture, perhaps more outwardly so than we English but I think this only endears them to the rest of the nation even more, I personally admire them for it. Patriotism aside though I feel we’d be stronger together, more than 300 years of intertwined history, commerce and standing together during conflicts have only served to galvanise the strength of the union. I like Scottish people, well ok so I’ve met a couple of not so endearing ones in the past but that can apply to any nationality but I genuinely hope that in these uncertain times they realise that we are on the same piece of land in our part of the world and we’d be stronger together.
As much as I love the Marx Brothers I’d hate to see England and Scotland become some bitter Duck Soup parody in future years. I wish Scotland well whatever its people decide and hope they don’t surrender reason to cultural passions.

African Horrors

I doubt there’s a single day passes now without some religious based incident happening in some corner of Africa. It’s taken a couple of weeks for the world to wake up to the recent school girl abductions and forced conversion to Islam in Nigeria by Boko Haram. Other countries such as Uganda are purging homosexuals in their society even going as far as naming and shaming them in the press.
Today we have the shocking headline of a Christian woman being sentenced to hang in Sudan because she won’t recant on being a Christian and become a Muslim.
Everyday I could link stories regarding Africa as I’m pretty diligent with news websites, the one thing becoming clear to me though is that Africa will be the new faith battleground in years to come, with ever increasing tragedy. African outlooks often illustrate religion in some of its baser forms, intolerant, uncompromising and hatred fuelled. If people want to witness the darker side of religion and how it was in some western countries 200 years ago then Africa would be the perfect place.
Africa is said to be the birthplace of mankind. Could it be the death of mankind in years to come?

Catching Up!

Time management isn’t really one of my finer points, I often procrastinate or get distracted, so this blog is a catch up one really. I have been meaning to post on a variety of things but unlike some atheist blogs or sites I don’t feel the need to get on my soap box every day.
First up and totally unrelated to religion is the death of British politician Tony Benn who died last month aged 88. For me personally he was an iconic politician who came from a privileged background with a title but dispensed with his title through the courts and just became plain Tony Benn. He was a politician that fought for the rights of the working class man, he hated war and loved technological innovation. Back in the 1980s when Margaret Thatcher introduced the widely unpopular ‘Poll Tax’ or (community charge as it was also known) he urged people to refuse paying it. I didn’t as did thousands of others and I ended up in court, a court brimming with other protesters. Nothing happened on that occasion because of the large volume of people to process but just a few weeks later the tax was abolished because of rising protest and resentment – people power won through. Benn was also a prolific writer and diarist admired by many in politics, even George Galloway who I generally disagree strongly with on many things had only positive things to say about him.
So moving on. Gay marriage is now legal in England and Wales from the end of March with many couples getting married as soon as the new law came into effect. Its a positive step forward for society in my view as the previous civil partnerships can now be upgraded to marriage status. Gay people still want church marriages to become common place and personally I find this vexing, ok so they may have faith or want the setting of a church wedding but they have to remember Christianity doesn’t really want to embrace it and never will, this won’t change any time soon either in my view. The only negative thing I have to say about gay people is they  like to bang their gay drums quite a bit, seriously I’m happy for gay people but some can’t stop evangelising about the fact they are gay.
Next up is the new Noah movie, and if you don’t like it there will be ‘No-ah refunds!’, pardon the pun! No shocks really that many countries have banned it already, silly really when its a fictional story of erm …. a fictional story! Allegedly there was several re-cuts of the film to appease religious groups but director Darren Aronofsky according to some of the media has made a secular film more likened to Noah being an Eco-warrior than a biblical character. To my amusement I found this article about a cinema in Exeter having to cancel its first screening of the movie because of a flooding incident! It’s fair to say the film hasn’t gone down well with the Abrahamic faith’s but then what do you expect?
My next snippet is the recent story of a preacher being held by police for a long duration without his medication, food or water. Reading the report I suspect he may have been baited to some degree but on the other side of the coin people generally don’t want to hear street preachers ranting gloomy biblical extracts on a busy city or town street. Seemingly the police made mistakes and the preacher received compensation but lets be honest here what would have been the outcome of people professing atheist thoughts a hundred years ago or more? Blasphemy laws are now gone thankfully but the saying of the boot being on the other foot is certainly true here. If you go back even further in history then denouncing god or having atheist views was punishable by death and of course still carries the death sentence in some Muslim countries even today. I’m all for free speech but when it comes to religious agitators, Muslims or evangelicals then they should hire places then advertise events, then people interested could attend.
Lastly and most recently in the news is prime minister David Cameron’s comments that Britain is a largely Christian country. Wrong! Every poll I’ve ever seen in the last couple of years on the subject shows we are moving away from religion in the tens of thousands each year. Understandably Cameron’s comments caused concern for many including famous author Terry Pratchett, humanist journalist Polly Toynbee and many other prominent members of society.
Britain may be viewed as a Christian country as its still the largest faith here and of course because of the monarchy, a minority of religious figures in the House of Lords and other stupid traditions but that’s as far as it really goes these days. Historically of course we’ve been deluded and misguided by Christianity for hundreds of years, its caused wars, witch hunts and mass social divisions, it definitely has a lot of blood on its hands. Cameron I suspect is trying to reach out to the wealthy middle class who go to church on a Sunday every now and again and reassure them, not to mention the elections next year when he’ll need every vote he can muster. The irony here being many charities and religious groups are setting up food banks (which we once never had) in all of the major cities and towns because government cuts and legislation are making some people so poor they are struggling to feed themselves.

Religious Round Up News #6

I’ve been a little bit quiet of late. I guess life takes over sometimes and as much as I’ve wanted to sit down and blog I’ve not found the time unfortunately. There’s a few things I want to post about in the coming weeks, Pagans and Tarot readings spring to mind, I also want to blog about a couple of road trips I’ve had this year to places that I think religious and atheist people will hopefully find interesting.
Now to the blog at hand,  and my infrequent posting of the Religion Hurts Humanity series. If you haven’t looked already they have the website linked above and a channel on You Tube here. As usual there’s a cross section of real news articles from all around the world, and yes those pesky pastors are in the latest instalment in force.

Religious Round Up News #5

Continuing the informative bi-monthly series. Initially I was thinking there’s no pastors in it this month but I wasn’t disappointed, like Swiss clock people they appear every episode, at this rate the word ‘Pastor’ will be synonymous with words like charlatan and paedophile.

Religious Round Up News #4

Continuing the series. Yet again a large amount of ‘pastors’ in the news. It’s actually the 6th episode but I’ve only been covering them since the second I think, you can follow the channel on their YouTube channel here.

Going Down

Atheists are still going to Hell. An article in today’s Independent clarified the Catholic churches position on this after some confusion evidently regarding a recent unplanned speech by Pope Francis which hinted that atheist may receive redemption for good deeds etc.
It would seem after reading up on various religious stand points that its actually very hard to avoid hell. Then of course there’s the age old action of submitting, redemption and giving it all up to god on your death bed.
I’d like to ask religious people how they would feel if they were up in heaven  looking down towards hell knowing perfectly good people where actually suffering there? Maybe a brother, a sister, a close friend, parent or whoever, would you feel good that they were being punished purely for not believing in your version (lets be honest there’s different versions) of god?
As an atheist I don’t believe in mythical realms and that includes hell. Heaven would be more of the same, eternal submission, chanting and prostrating before a god, therefore in my eyes, my kind of hell. There’s nothing remotely real or tangible about hell, it’s purely a manufactured realm in which to scare people with or say that’s where all the bad people go.

Cruel World

I must confess that the last few days have been difficult. At the weekend two people in the town where I lived lost their lives to an explosion which wrecked their house (and those adjoining too), the cause is yet to be identified. Added to that my dad isn’t in the best of health lately and its causing some concern. For me personally though, my body blow came on Tuesday. I saw an eye specialist/surgeon who basically told me I probably will lose my eyesight prematurely because of a problem that cannot be resolved by surgery, in fact in some respects its just a matter of time. Travelling back home on the train I felt detached and numb, the current problems I’m having with my sight made me even more conscious of matters and it made me realise how truly vulnerable we are in this world. I think in the past I’ve relied on surgeons and medical help but the truth of the matter is they cannot cure everything. The news took some getting to grips with but will not deter me from living life to the full, though I face a problem, as the great Carthaginian general Hannibal once said “I will either find a way or make one”, and that’s how I view the current obstacle in front of me.
Then yesterday came those dreadful events yesterday in London in which a soldier lost his life to extremists, that alone made me realise how lucky I still am. Today David Cameron made a statement saying this had nothing to do with Islam despite the fact the killers had shouted “Allah Akbar” when decapitating the unfortunate soldier who they’d ran over in a cowardly fashion before doing so. The scenes on the news were shocking. It turns out one of the killers was a Christian before converting to Islam. A fleeting thought passed through my mind that you don’t see Christians killing people in this fashion but then images of Charles Manson, David Koresh and Dena Schlosser filled my head (among others).
Many cultures are underpinned by religion and when you have a multicultural society then religious views only serve to increase friction which ignites as they clash. Take away religion from multiculturalism and you’d not have nothing near the same problems. The prime minister obviously chose his words carefully on the news and so did various Muslim leaders on different news platforms because quite rationally nobody wants to incite more trouble but as we know violence breeds more violence especially if fuelled by racial or religious hatred. More bizarrely today the BBC published an article which said immigration was down, was this purely coincidental among current tensions?
Politicians and religious leaders chose their words carefully because words are power tools, whilst they tried to swerve away from Islam the blunt truth is the killers would have been inspired by words from the Koran that encourage violence, here’s some quotes of Muhammad;
“Slay the idolators wherever ye find them”
“Fight those who believe not in Allah… nor acknowledge the religion of truth”
“Smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger tips off them”
“O prophet exhort the believers to fight”
The thing is, people still believe this stuff and similar rubbish in the bible and its time we grew up mentally and consigned religion to history. As for the greater Muslim community here, I know most of you are peaceful and yesterdays tragic events aren’t representative of all but I think your religion is backward and repressive. If we look at its sources its basically borrowed much from Christianity and added other bits, Muhammad’s main goal seems to have been conquest and conversion whilst he was alive and of course that continued after and is still continuing. That said, Muslim fundamentalists and Christian ones, they are all the same – aggressive.
Getting back to the title and point of the thread though, the reality is life is often very cruel, just take the recent Oklahoma tornado for instance, would any Christian like to try and justify that to me in a God sense? Many of us shy away from the reality and cruelty of life because it disturbs us but sooner or later reality comes knocking. nature and life are cruel at times and nothing sums it up better than this Gary Numan quote I found the other day;
“If nature is proof of God’s amazing creation then I have truly seen the light, and the light is black. Nature is genius at its most cruel and savage. No benevolent God could have come up with such an outrage.”
When you constantly see outrages, disasters and murders or experience the harsher reality of life yourself then it’s not hard to see how transparent, impotent and fictional gods really are …

Touching…. But!

I think the story/video currently being played by the news media and social networking sites about the woman finding her dog after the Oklahoma tornado is touching but….. 24 people are dead including 9 children. Why the excitement about a dog? Human deaths seem suddenly forgot as people gives thanks to god for saving a dog! Incidentally this is the same god that just let an entire suburb get laid to waste.

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