Category: Internet

Muslim mob mentality

As news spreads of the killing of the US Ambassador to Libya, J Christopher Stevens, by an angry mob reacting to a film about Islam, there’s also news that Channel 4 has cancelled its screening of Tom Holland’s film, Islam: the untold story, in response to threats from Muslim extremists.

The film that prompted the Benghazi assault on the US Embassy, as well as demonstrations in Egypt, was made by an Israeli filmmaker, Sam Bacile (who’s gone into hiding), and was promoted by Morris Sadek, an extreme anti-Muslim Egyptian Christian campaigner who lives in California. It’s a rubbish film, whatever you think of Islam, with wooden acting, comedy beards, and an inflammatory depiction of Islam. Click here to watch it

Tom Holland’s film, shown on Channel 4 recently, is not a rubbish film; it’s a documentary that records the research Holland has done into the origins of Islam. Click here to watch it on 4oD. The Telegraph reports, “The investigation into the origins of the religion claimed that there is little written contemporary evidence about the prophet Mohammed”. This reminded me that Dr Francesca Stavrakopoulou said more or less the same things about King David in the Old Testament and Jesus and the origins of Christianity in her BBC TV series last year, yet there were no Jewish or Christian mobs baying for her blood – though some American fundamentalists probably would have been rather rude about her, if they’d seen it. Uneducated Muslims in countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan and Libya live in social groups where the men and women are segregated, independence is frowned upon, and a mob mentality is easily developed. It’s taken centuries to get this way; simply being rude about them isn’t going to change anything.

The main Abrahamic monotheistic religions‘ stories have been changed as they’ve been passed down through the generations, like Chinese whispers, so now there’s very little truth in any of them. In spite of this, anyone who dares to say so is likely to be threatened by those who prefer to remain in ignorance than to question the nonsense they’ve been conditioned to believe. One of the biggest problems with all of them is their fundamental sexism, but atheists can be just as guilty of that.

Instead of picking fights with theocracies, it would be better if some of the money currently being spent on military hardware was used to provide education. In the long term, it’s the only thing that can make a difference. Most of the men in the Muslim mobs were taught by imams in madrassas, the only form of schooling they ever had.

“Civilization is in a race between education and catastrophe. Let us learn the truth and spread it as far and wide as our circumstances allow. For the truth is the greatest weapon we have.” – H G Wells

Join the NSS today

Terry SandersonIf you receive the National Secular Society‘s weekly email, Newsline, you’ll already have read this message:

Why we need you to commit to your principles

A message from Terry Sanderson, NSS President

We know there are millions of people in this country who would prefer religion not to interfere in their life and to stay where it belongs – in places of worship and in the homes of worshippers.

There is a definite feeling of discomfort abroad about the way that churches, mosques, temples and other places of worship are putting out tentacles that reach into all our lives – whether it is into our children’s education (another huge increase in the number of ‘faith schools’ is on the way), our taxes (why do churches get special tax privileges, like reduced VAT, when the rest of us are shown no mercy?), our hospitals (why is the NHS paying the salaries of clergy when hospitals are going into administration?), our legislature (why are Church of England bishops involved in making laws that we all have to live by?), and our media (why is religion given such special consideration by the BBC – especially when religious programmes have so few listeners or viewers?).

From the BHA: Oppose Government-backed plans for a creationist-run Free School

The BHA reports:

A group of creationists has gained approval from the Government to open a fully state-funded Free School in 2013. The group are behind the plans for ‘Exemplar – Newark Business Academy’, a revised bid from the same people who proposed ‘Everyday Champion’s Academy’ last year. Everyday Champion’s Academy, which was formally backed by Everyday Champions Church, was explicitly rejected due to concerns surrounding the teaching of creationism.

 

From the TES; a Christian qualification based on nonsense and Nessie is approved

The Times Educational Supplement reports that ICCE qualification based on creationism have been approved:

Loch Ness "monster"They confidently claim that the Loch Ness monster disproves Darwinism and that there is clear proof of creationism. But that has not stopped a set of controversial Christian qualifications – used by dozens of British private schools – being described as comparable to international O and A levels.

The International Certificate of Christian Education (ICCE) has been rubber-stamped by a government agency, even though it is based on a curriculum that says the Bible is the “final authority” on scientific matters. It has prompted outrage from secular campaigners, while schools following the curriculum have come to its defence, saying that it is “academically very sound”.

For more on Christian Education Europe, which is responsible for this nonsense, click here to see their website.

Sanal Edamaruku still facing arrest over debunking Catholic miracle

We recently reported on how Sanal Edamaruku, President of The Indian Rationalist Association, is facing arrest for offending Catholics by proving that the source of “holy water” from a crucifix was, in fact, a leaky pipe. They had been drinking the filthy stuff.

New Humanist magazine reports that, yesterday, Delhi police officers went to Sanal’s house to arrest him, but he wasn’t there. When he returns, he’s likely to be arrested. If you haven’t already signed the petition calling on the Catholics to drop the complaints, please click on the above link to sign it.

Julian Baggini asks if living without religion means living without hope

Julian BagginiIn the latest New Humanist magazine, philosopher Julian Baggini says that one of religion’s attractions to the religious is that it offers hope, and asks if living without religion means living without it.

Most atheists accept that “Hope is essential to life,” as AC Grayling put it to me, “a beautiful, central thing in all our lives.” Philosopher Nigel Warburton, recalling the inscription “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here” at the entrance of Dante’s Hell, told me, “Hell is not having hope.” But both reject the claim that hope requires religion. “It’s not that atheists don’t have hopes,” says Warburton, “they just have different hopes.” Among these Grayling lists hopes “for the improvement of mankind, for greater justice in society, for more people to love more other people”.

Maybe one of the problems with religion is that it offers hope based on totally unrealistic expectations?

Call on the Catholic Archdiocese of Bombay to withdraw their complaint against Indian Rationalist Sanal Edamaruku

Sanal EdamarukuSanal Edamaruku, President of the Indian Rationalist Association, is a tireless campaigner for science and against superstition. He is widely known for his exposure of the tricks used by self-professed ‘God-Men’ and gurus and has often been on Indian television explaining the everyday science behind supposed miracles. After one such exposure – he pointed out that the “blood” oozing from a statue of Christ at the Catholic Church of Our Lady of Velan Kanni in Vile Parle, Mumbai was in fact water from a leaky pipe – the Catholic Church of Mumbai made a formal complaint about him to the Mumbai police. He stands accused of “deliberately hurting religious feelings and attempting malicious acts intended to outrage the religious sentiments of any class or community”, an offence under Section 295(a) of the Indian Penal Code. No arrest warrant has been issued but the case is “cognisable” meaning the police can arrest without warrant at any time. He has been denied ‘anticipatory’ bail which means if arrested he faces a long term in prison merely for explaining the science behind an apparent mystery.

The Rationalist Association of the UK has begun a petition addressed to the Catholic Archdiocese of Bombay to withdraw their complaint against Sanal Edamaruku. Please click here to sign it.

Readers’ Digest, or stuff I read on the Internet

Here’s some stuff I read on the Internet, to save you the bother of looking for it – just click on the links for more. If you’ve read anything you’d like to share, you could tweet us. You don’t tweet? Well, there’s Facebook (see link right), or just contact us via this website.

In the latest edition of Humanist News, Alom Shaha writes about his book, and how some publishers rejected it because it was about a rejection of Islam. He asks,

So what is this terrible tome I have written? At this point, if you haven’t read my book, you might be forgiven for thinking that, to have struck such fear into the heart of Britain’s literary elite, I must have written a pornographically blasphemous account of the life of Muhammad. But I have done no such thing. My book, The Young Atheist’s Handbook, simply tells the story of my personal journey to becoming an atheist.

FSMYou’ve heard of the ten commandments. Hasn’t everyone? Awfully prescriptive, aren’t they? However, the Flying Spaghetti Monster is much less demanding. I came across a site that reminded me of its eight “I’d Really Rather You Didn’ts”. They begin:

I’d really rather you didn’t act like a sanctimonious holier-than-thou ass when describing my noodly goodness. If some people don’t believe in me, that’s okay. Really, I’m not that vain. Besides, this isn’t about them so don’t change the subject.

You’ve never heard of his great noodly goodness? Where have you been? Click here to find out about Pastafarianism.