Tagged: religion

Belief in TV

Ariane Sherine (of Atheist Bus Campaign fame) was on BBC Breakfast this morning (3rd December). She was discussing the Church’s new Christmas Ad campaign (Nativity in a bus shelter) and the Christian representative made the most glorious defence of faith in God by saying, “I don’t understand how TV works, but I believe it does.”

As the kids say nowadays, I “LOL’D” all around the living room

Don’t be fooled by Samaritan’s Purse

Last year, I persuaded one of my local churches to withdraw their support for Operation Christmas Child, run by the Samaritan’s Purse charity, by explaining that its agenda is destructive. We still hear of local schools and organisations that are taken in by its ostensibly charitable purpose, encouraging children to fill shoes boxes with gifts for needy children overseas, unaware that they’ll arrive with a toxic message.

“Devout Christians” no more likely to do the right thing than anyone else

From Suffolk Humansts & Secularists Chairman David Mitchell:

On this morning’s Andrew Marr Show, Carol Vorderman reviewed the papers and made a comment that I for one am pretty fed up with hearing.

She described the young parents of the recently born conjoined twins, who decided to take the pregnancy to full term despite knowing the children were conjoined, as “devout Christians”.

Below is a comment I sent to the show via the BBC website. As yet it hasn’t made it amongst the criticisms of Jackie Smith’s dire performance and given there’s far more evidence of the BBC being a Christian conspiracy than a Liberal one I doubt it’ll get aired.

Carol Vorderman’s description on today’s show of the young parents of the newly born conjoined twins who decided to take the pregnancy to full term as ‘devout Christians’ cannot go unchallenged. The clear implication of her throw away comment is that atheist or Humanist parents would  have chosen to terminate the pregnancy. Moral decisions, difficult decisions, ‘doing the right thing’ and generally being ‘good’ are human characteristics and nothing to do with medieval religious superstition. Tens of millions of people know you don’t need God to be Good so please stop equating good with Christianity. It’s rubbish.

Equality? Not yet…

What’s this about, d’you think?

Critics say it is wrong for the Equality and Human Rights Commission to give taxpayers’ money to a controversial organisation whose stance would be found objectionable by many members of the public. Neil Addison, a Roman Catholic barrister who specialises in religious discrimination, said: “It’s a bit like paying the Taliban to lecture on women’s rights.”

This is from The Telegraph. I can imagine Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells, encouraged by Martin Beckford, Religious Affairs Correspondent for The Telegraph, hopping up and down, incandescent with rage, at the news that the BHA will get a grant from the Equality and Human Rights Commission for a series of four events about the place of religion in public life. Good grief! What’ll these uppity atheists want next? Complete equality? A totally secular society?

There are probably lots of atheists out there

Atheist symbolSince the Atheist Bus Campaign has made the headlines around the world, Christian organisations have been responding to its “There probably is no god” message. The Rev. Evan Cockshaw of the Evangelism and Outreach Team of Lichfield Diocese set up a new website, There Probably is a God, inviting believers to contribute their “stories of normal everyday people who aren’t stupid, and haven’t been brainwashed, but will talk honestly and openly about their experiences of the true and living God!”

Among others, P Z Myers, the biologist and associate professor at the University of Minnesota, whose popular Pharyngula science blog frequently mocks religious nonsense of one sort or another, prompted hoots of derision by pointing out the silliness of these stories. It isn’t difficult. For example, the “evidence” includes such gems as “I believe in God because god is real, god makes a difference, god changes lives,” and “I believe in God because … He’s answered my prayers to the specifics countless number of times. I talked with Him this morning! God is an incredible promise keeper. He has kept all His promises to me.” (I wonder what they were?)



The Bishop tells us: ‘When the boys come back
They will not be the same; for they’ll have fought
In a just cause: they lead the last attack
On Anti-Christ; their comrades’ blood has bought
New right to breed an honourable race,
They have challenged Death and dared him face to face.’

‘We’re none of us the same!’ the boys reply.
‘For George lost both his legs; and Bill’s stone blind;
Poor Jim’s shot through the lungs and like to die;
And Bert’s gone syphilitic: you’ll not find
A chap who’s served that hasn’t found some change.’
And the Bishop said: ‘The ways of God are strange!’

Siegfried Sassoon, 1916

First the good news …

US flagObama will be President of the US. Although he’s a Christian (an essential qualification, as things stand – no chance of an atheist President, yet), he’s a liberal Christian. Maybe his attitude might be more like that of former President Jimmy Carter, who said, “I was very meticulous in completely separating my religious faith from any element of politics or governance in the White House. I believed in what Thomas Jefferson, one of our founding fathers, said that we should build a wall between Church and state. I worship a prince of peace, not a prince of pre-emptive war.”

Religion plays a huge role in US politics. If you didn’t watch Channel 4’s ‘True Stories: Jesus Politics’ on 28 October, you have 22 days left to view it online on the Channel 4 website (you’ll need broadband and Windows Media Player). The Republican Right has the strongest links to evangelical Christianity – you’d be forgiven for thinking that, as far as George Bush is concerned, God is an American and votes Republican.

It’s Samaritan’s Purse time again – Oh joy!

The kids started a new (non-denominational) school today. And my first fight with the school is this afternoon. The school is supporting the Samaritan’s Purse shoebox operation, where children fill shoeboxes with toys etc for children in eastern Europe and Africa…and then the evangelical literature is added before they’re distributed.

Am very cross indeed. I’ve sourced an alternative – another Christian organisation but one which doesn’t put anything into the boxes and doesn’t send out propaganda. I’m currently compiling a dossier for the Headteacher, with whom I expect to have an interesting discussion real soon.

The Mount Rainier vandal

Walking back in timeTomorrow (4 November 2008), the voters of the United States of America will help to steer the direction of their country for the next four, probably eight years. It’s their choice but it is a choice that will affect us all.

In the rest of the world, polls have shown quite clearly that Barack Obama is the overwhelming choice to be the next US President.

Most Humanists would agree, especially as the Republican Party of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, and now John McCain and Sarah Palin, represents what we would describe as an entirely illogical philosophy of religious fundamentalism. It rejects scientific evidence on the nature of our physical and living earth in favour of a literal belief in the Old Testament of the Bible, especially the Book of Genesis.

The worrying thing is that polls show that at least half of Americans believe that God created the world and populated it with us and all living creatures as described in Genesis, that the world is less than 10,000 years old and that evolution is a myth.