Monday, November 17, 2008

Christian arrogance, ignorance and bigotry, nicely encapsulated in one man

A little story about a Welsh poet called Patrick Jones came to my attention last week, it's a fairly standard story of a writer who has the courage to challenge established dogma, and a set of ignorant bullies who threaten violence to shut him up because they don't agree with what he says.

"Hold on a second".. I hear you say, don't we have a strong principal of free speech in this country? well I thought so too but apparently not according to Mr Stephen Green (leader of the Christian Voice). According to the story this fundamentalist loony used veiled threats to prevent a planned book signing happening at Waterstones in Cardiff, claiming that the book insulted his "invisible" friend and that because he didn't "understand" why anyone would want to read Mr Jones' book no one should.

The two protagonists in this little affair were interviewed on BBC radio and you can see the original BBC story and listen to Mr Greens' bile here what struck me was the number of times Mr Green said "I don't understand", which seemed to underline his whole world view to me.

The irony and hypocrisy of Mr Green is breath-taking, apparently he is a prominent campaigner against all the "stock" fundamentalist Christian straw-men, for example, homosexuality, Islam (fatwa envy?), abortion, sex-education and blasphemy etc. if it weren't for the unforgivable capitulation by Waterstones the episode would simply be a source of comedy. As an interesting aside, during an interview on a recent channel 4 documentary Mr Green was the recipient of an actual message from God, yes really, a huge dollop of bird shit fell on his head whilst he was spouting his nonsense on camera (you can see from the film that it really shook him and he refused to continue), a critical comment on his intellect perhaps?

I am appalled at the weakness of support shown for free speech here. I can't understand why everyone concerned didn't just let Mr Green and his "flock" of muttonous followers do their stuff and then send a clear message to him (and his ilk) by lining up a few burly secular police men to throw his pious arse into jail. Then he could explain his "theology" after lights out to a tattooed, 17 stone, gender challenged body builder called Dave.

It must only be a matter of time before this pompous buffoon with his ludicrously inflated sense of entitlement gets his comeuppance, hopefully in the traditional manner befitting his "kind", i.e. the exposure of some sexual deviance, financial scandal or my personal favourite, a lonely bitter and twisted descent into obscurity.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


The long night ends..

I am hopeful now that we can finally ditch the shackles of superstition and entrenched self interest to re-engage with the goal of moving the peoples of the world in a forward direction once again.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Why do atheists care about religion?

It’s an often asked question, a particular favourite of the more sophisticated apologists in my experience. It usually surfaces as "why do you atheists care about something you don't believe in", which (as usual) misses the point almost entirely.

So, speaking as an atheist let me spell out why I care about religion.

Firstly, it's not about God, angels, rituals or devils and it’s not about scripture, no, those things are far too nebulous to care about. The question has a far more simple answer than that, it’s about truth, and more importantly it’s about the thought path that leads from a belief in things without evidence to dogma, arrogance, lies, hate and bigotry.

To me, religion epitomises the belief in things without evidence, this is what I understand "faith" to mean, this is religions specialist subject, it’s tour du force. I would be delighted to ignore religion completely and spend my brain cycles on more productive things (like reality), if only religion would ignore me, unfortunately it seems that religion can't do that.

Religion impinges on everyday life all over the place, for example, in schools where children are taught Bible stories (or Koran stories) as "fact" in blatant acts of indoctrination and brain washing involving the most vulnerable members of society. Religious leaders hold unelected privileged positions in our Governments; religion has special privilege in our institutions, our media and our societies, for example it would be unthinkable for a US president to be an atheist. Religions lie to people, for example by instructing people to believe that the earth is only 6000 years old, or that wearing a condom is worse than catching aids. Religions hold us back as a species, in areas of ethics for example abortion and areas of scientific research and advancement, for example stem cell research. Many apologists would jump in at this point and exclaim “but, look at all the “good” things that religions do”, well yes, no one would deny that, however the suggestion cannot seriously be that people (regardless of which bronze age book they believe in) would simply cease to be altruistic without threat of eternal damnation or promise of rewards in heaven, would it?

And then there is the simple insult of inhumanity; any week you can find dozens of stories from around the world where stupidity and ignorance inspired and informed by religion leads people to do utterly thoughtless or even barbaric things to each other, here are just a few recent examples I have seen…

13 year old stoned to death
Homophobic doctor banned
Growing up in Americas most hated family
Teaching hate in UK schools

Why do atheists care about religion, because its our world too and we cannot afford not to.