Category: Diary

Being religious is not the default position

Small N for printOur society is, I hope, moving slowly towards the point where religiosity is not the default starting point, where atheists are not regarded as ‘outside’ the moral arena, where lack of a belief in a god of any kind may not be interpreted as a character flaw or symptom of some kind of nihilist abandonment of all ideas of truth and beauty.

The Atheist Bus Campaign raises over £55,000 in less than 24 hours

The huge success of the Atheist Bus Campaign has amazed the people who run the Just Giving website. They write:

… this page is remarkable for the sheer speed that it’s raising money – we’ve been noticing that there are new donations every time we refresh the page. Whatever you believe, it certainly shows the power of online fundraising. The campaign has not only smashed its target for the British Humanist Association but it’s gone from trebling the target to quadrupling it in the time spent writing this blog post…

The aim was to raise £5,500, which Richard Dawkins said he would match. It began yesterday (21 October). By noon today the figure was over £58,000.

BBC NEWS | ‘No God’ slogans for London’s buses

731fad7b-e13c-4d96-9410-c3b7e329ce93Bendy-buses with the slogan “There’s probably no God” could soon be running on the streets of London. The atheist posters are the idea of the British Humanist Association (BHA) and have been supported by prominent atheist Professor Richard Dawkins.

I wouldn’t start from here

Zehra Zaidi’s piece in the Guardian about the latest daft idea from Hazel Blears & Co is spot on. The constant harping on about “community cohesion”, which really means trying to get Muslims and others to all get along, is ridiculous. Can’t they see that the proliferation of faith schools is an obstacle to social harmony?

BlearsThere’ve been many “consultations” that were ostensibly about achieving harmony and understanding, but all they do is exaggerate the differences between people, rather than encourage them to discover what they have in common. Pixie-Dust for Brains Blears is behind the Government’s “Face-to-Face and Side-by-Side: A framework for inter faith dialogue and social action” consultation – another waste of time. In the foreword, she writes:

We have in recent years seen an increase in dialogue between different faith communities which is breaking down barriers, building understanding and strengthening relationships. We have also seen the positive changes that collaborative social action has brought about within our local communities. This growth in ‘active faith’ has seen faith communities putting into practice their values and teachings to enrich and benefit wider society.

Zehra Zaidi: The Young Muslim Advisory Group is divisive as well as unecessary

The creation of religion-based groups like YMAG [Young Muslim Advisory Group] is divisive because it approaches the subject of community cohesion from the standpoint of an assumption of difference. I am tired of the politics of “the other”. It’s about time we embraced the language of “we”. We, the British people – irrespective of background – must stand on a united platform on issues such as social cohesion and extremism.

CCC says reduce Greenhouse gas emissions in the UK by at least 80% by 2050

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) today published its interim advice to Government on what the long-term target should be to tackle climate change. The CCC recommended that emissions from harmful Greenhouse Gases be reduced by at least 80% by 2050. In a letter to the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Ed Miliband, the CCC said that the 80% target should apply on average across all sectors of the UK economy and is achievable at affordable cost of between 1-2% of GDP in 2050


Happy human red 2This is a monthly update of news from International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU). You can find the full versions of these news stories on the IHEU web site. To receive the monthly news update, sign up here.

This issue includes reports from IHEU’s delegation to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, where real progress has been made, particularly on issues of freedom of expression and separation of religion and state. For other news, please scroll down.