Category: Diary

Virgins? What virgins?

It is widely believed that Muslim ‘martyrs’ enjoy rich sensual rewards on reaching paradise. A new study suggests they may be disappointed.

Virgins? What virgins? | The Guardian | Guardian Unlimited.

Actually, it’s not a new study – the report is from 2002 – but maybe the Islamist terrorists who are currently active haven’t heard of it, or don’t understand German. According to a scholar called Christoph Luxenberg, whose book ‘Die Syro-Aramaische Lesart des Koran’ was published in German in 2001, there are no virgins waiting to reward Muslim martyrs in Paradise. The confusion is due to an error in translation, he says. The word is ‘raisins’. So all they can expect is some dried fruit.

Consultation on “Shaping the Future of Suffolk”

Suffolk Inter-Faith Resource has been asked by Suffolk County Council to organise a Forum of Faiths Meeting on ‘Shaping the Future of Suffolk’, a Community Strategy Consultation Document 2008-2028. The Forum will take place on Thursday 5th July at 7:30pm in Lecture Theatre 4 of Suffolk College. (Lecture Theatre 4 is a temporary building located behind the new SIFRE premises next to the Nursery). Members of the ‘Creating a Cohesive County’ working party will be present to hear your views.

Joshua Project – Unreached Peoples of the World

Joshua Project
Our Purpose … to spread a passion for the supremacy of GOD in all things for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ.
Our Mission … to highlight the people groups of the world that have the least Christian presence in their midst and to encourage pioneer church-planting among every ethnic people group.

Joshua Project – Unreached Peoples of the World.

This is truly scary. These people want to convert everyone to Christianity, and I mean EVERYONE, but especially those who live in far flung places, minding their own business, without the same old gender bias as most of the ‘Christian’ world – that is, religious patriarchy. They might have a little competition, as there are equally determined Muslims who want everyone to see things their way, but they’re busy elsewhere so their paths don’t appear to have crossed – yet.

Education | Call for ‘post-9/11’ RE teaching

RE teachers must provide children with a more sophisticated understanding of the subject in a post-11 September world, Ofsted says.

After a five-year inspection of RE classes which began in the year of the attacks on the US, Ofsted says rote learning of RE is no longer adequate.

It says teachers should include ways in which religion is not always a force for good.

BBC NEWS | Education | Call for ‘post-9/11’ RE teaching.

Andrew CopsonThe guest speaker at our meeting in Ipswich on 13 June, the BHA’s Education & Public Affairs Officer Andrew Copson, was interviewed on BBC News 24 today, 17 June, about this Ofsted report, together with Kate Ivens from the Campaign for Real Education (I think we might differ about what “real education” means). She claimed that young children were “confused” by learning about a variety of faiths and secular world views.

Government policies on faith communities divisive, claims NCVO

Policies that treat faith-based organisations as separate may be divisive according to the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), the main umbrella body for charities in England.

The claim comes as NCVO publishes a new report, ‘Faith and Voluntary Action’. NCVO states that whilst faith-based organisations (such as religious congregations, local community groups and charities) are distinctive, by treating them as separate from secular charities or community groups, there is a danger that policy makers will alienate civil society. In particular, NCVO is concerned that both secular and faith-based organisations feel, at times, discriminated against when applying for Government funding and excluded from policy discussions.

What funerals are for

When funerals were all (or almost all) conducted by clergy, at least you knew what you’d be getting: a load of old cobblers about being with Jesus and anyone who’d pre-deceased the deceased; the Lord’s Prayer; two or three dreary hymns; and so on. Many clergy did the same funeral for everyone. Some even forgot whose funeral they were doing and got the name wrong. It was all very predictable and irrelevant.

Ipswich meeting – Recommended reading for Humanists

Group meeting at Castle Hill Community Centre, Highfield Road, Ipswich. A selection of books abut Humanism or of interest to Humanists, with extracts of some of the good bits, recommended by Margaret Nelson. Friends and raffle prizes welcome. We’ve been asked to provide a books page on this website – maybe this will get it started. Anyone interested in becoming a reviewer? Copies of ‘A Short Guide to Humanism’, published by the BHA, will be on sale at a discounted price of £4.

Woodbridge pub lunch

If you're interested in meeting a group of fellow Humanists for lunch, please email by 30th July.

We’ll be at The Seal in Woodbridge. Look for the newsletter on a table. As we can’t book, we need to get there early.

Humanist is made a full member of Suffolk’s SACRE

While Humanists in other parts of the country struggle to be co-opted onto their county’s Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education (SACRE), I was promoted from being a co-opted member of Suffolk County Council’s SACRE to full membership at its meeting on 5 June, with the agreement of all those present.

The O Project

The O Project champions the contributions that humanists and other atheists make to wider society and encourages good relations between atheists and religious people.

Hamish McPherson says The O Project is an ‘idea’.

The ‘O’ in the O Project is what you are left with when you take ‘god’ ‘out’ of ‘good’.

In other words, it’s about how you can live a good life without following a religion. It has two goals:

1. To champion the contributions that humanists and other non believers make to wider society in the fields of social justice, equality and human rights.

2. To promote good relations and cooperation between believers and non believers

However it does not assert that people should become atheists – it demands equal respect for religion and atheism as potential vehicles for good.