Category: Diary

March meeting – Religion for Atheists?

Do we want it or need it? Alain de Botton has written a book about it, our member Michael Imison has heard him talk about it, and Michael’s going to tell us about it.

Usual place – the Inter-Faith Centre, West Building, University Campus Suffolk.

Carpe Diem

Sapias, vina liques, et spatio brevi spem longam reseces. dum loquimur, fugerit invida aetas: carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero.

Be wise, strain the wine; and since life is brief, prune back far-reaching hopes! Even while we speak, envious time has passed: pluck the day, putting as little trust as possible in tomorrow!

“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge” – Charles Darwin

Darwin and his cousin

The naturalist Charles Darwin was born 203 years ago today, Darwin Day.

In his book, On the Origin of Species, Darwin set out what is probably the most important idea in the history of science. He reasoned that plants, animals and all living things are not static and unchanging, remaining as they were made by a divine creator; instead they change subtly from one generation to the next and those that are better suited to whatever environment they find themselves in prosper and reproduce more, while those that are less well suited don’t. In this way, plants and animals gradually change, eventually developing into new species and producing the huge variety of nature that we see today. Darwin’s theory, evolution by natural selection, is at the root of our understanding about life on Earth: it explains why there is such diversity in nature, why we are here, and why we are as we are.

On the Origin of Species was published in 1859, yet there are still many who reject evolution as an explanation for how we came to be here, prefering the Biblical story of Genesis or another creation myth – there are many – and there are still too many children leaving school ignorant of the theory of evolution.

For more on evolution and ‘Intelligent Design’ (Creationism in another form) click here for our article, We’re all Monkeys.

The sharpest young opinion-formers are atheists

… the sharpest young opinion-formers are atheists. This is a development that seems to have been missed by the old boobies who pass for bishops in the Anglican and Catholic Churches. It’s a rapid and startling change in our religious landscape and not one that is going to be reversed.

Bibles for schools

An angry parent has told us that the Gideons have visited her child’s school, where they contributed to an act of collective worship and gave every child a Bible. Most people have heard of Gideon Bibles being left in hotel rooms, but they distribute them in many other places too. On their website they say,

We are aware that many people in Britain have never seen a Bible and may be uncertain what it is.

Our aim is to give them the opportunity to read it for themselves, perhaps for the first time, and to discover God in a personal way.

The Gideons place Bibles or New Testaments in many areas including:

Hotels
Hospitals
Prisons
Student Accommodation
Care Homes
Medical Centres

Additionally we make personal presentations of God’s Word.

Each year we present personal copies of the New Testament and Psalms to children in thousands of British secondary schools and to many university and college students.

We make personal presentations to medical personnel and uniformed services – Armed Forces, Police, Ambulance and Fire.

We place New Testaments at hospital bedsides.

Quite apart from the fact that it isn’t appropriate to allow groups like this to proselytise in schools, the Bible isn’t a guide for life, as we reported earlier. When teachers allow this to happen, maybe they haven’t considered why they shouldn’t? Suffolk’s SACRE (Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education) has provided some guidelines for schools on visitors to RE lessons and assemblies.

Prayer

The most odious of concealed narcissisms – prayer.

What God wants

I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires.

Ipswich Science in the Pub – Radiation risks

Monty Guest runs Suffolk Radiation Technical Services Ltd which provides advice on radiation protection to companies and organisations throughout the UK.