Atheism is not a religion

As an atheist, every now and then I am confronted with the suggestion (often presented as fact) that atheism is like religion. It’s a system of beliefs filled with bias and intolerance. An example of this is the article Why Richard Dawkins’ humanists remind me of a religion in today’s Guardian.

This position totally blows my mind.

The whole idea of atheism is that there is no proof of God. And we want proof of this higher power before we let his self-chosen representatives to decide over our lives.

The whole idea of science is that it is a method. The scientific fact is not important. So if we believe in one concept today and are presented with proof tomorrow – then science will immediately change its position. Its the method not the result. Religion however is all about absolute truths. Even if there is no evidence. Faced with proof that there is no god religion will still believe in god.

Not long after reading the article in the Guardian I was reminded about Alexander Aan. He was imprisoned for posting atheistic images on Facebook. Imagine that! God needs protection from our disbelief. Sure it’s not god that’s being protected but his faithful servants.

When was the last time you heard of someone being put in prison because they didn’t believe in science?


Science is the poetry of reality

The British Humanist Association have created a great little video Introduction to Humanism. Its basically a six minute explanation of what humanism is. But what makes it particularly great is the people who do the talking in the movie. They are a star cast: Rumy Hasan, A.C. Grayling, Polly Toynbee, Tim Minchin, Phillip Pullman, Zoe Margolis, Andrew Copson & Richard Dawkins.

Dawkins enthusiasm for science is wonderful and inspiring in the video he says: “Science is the poetry of reality”

Dawkins v Pope

After the pope made some idiot and untrue claims about how atheism causes the holocaust Richard Dawkins politely corrected the fool. Naturally many of us could not be there to listen to him but thanks to GrrlScientist the links to the speech and a youtube version of Richard Dawkins’ unedited speech at ‘Protest the Pope’ march in London – Richard Dawkins takes the piss out of Pope Ratzinger in London on Saturday are available. She writes:

If you, like I, could not attend the “Protest the Pope” rally in London this past weekend, you’ll want to see this. This amateur video captures Richard Dawkins’ short but empassioned response to Pope Ratzinger’s weak attempt to confuse the public by claiming that Hitler was an atheist, and it was his supposed atheism that led to the Holocaust. Of course, Ratzinger conveniently ignores the fact that Hitler made no secret of his Roman Catholicism and in fact, Hitler used remarkably Catholic-sounding arguments to defend his indefensible actions.

Dawkins replies

The pope lands in Scotland and makes some strange claims

The Pope also praised Britain’s fight against Hitler’s “atheist extremism”, saying that “Britain and her leaders stood against a Nazi tyranny that wished to eradicate God from society and denied our common humanity to many, especially the Jews, who were thought unfit to live”.

Richard Dawkins promptly replies (via Humanistbloggen):

This statement by the pope, on his arrival in Edinburgh, is a despicable outrage. Even if Hitler had been an atheist, his political philosophy was not based upon atheism and had no connection with atheism. Hitler was arguably (and by his own account) a Roman Catholic. In any case he enjoyed the open support of many of the most senior catholic clergy in Germany and the less demonstrative support of Pope Pius XII. Even if Hitler had been an atheist (he certainly was not), the rank and file Germans who carried out the attempted extermination of the Jews were Christians, almost to a man: either Catholic or Lutheran, primed to their anti-Semitism by centuries of Catholic propaganda about ‘Christ-killers’ and by Martin Luther’s own seething hatred of the Jews. To mention Ratzinger’s membership of the Hitler Youth might be thought to be fighting dirty, but my feeling is that the gloves are off after this disgraceful paragraph by the pope.

I am incandescent with rage at the sycophantic BBC coverage, and the sight of British toadies bowing and scraping to this odious man. I thought he was bad before. This puts the lid on it.


Stephen Fry against the Catholic church

Stephen Fry speaking out at an Intelligence Squared debate in London (October 2009). The theme for the debate is whether the Catholic Church is a force for good. Fry delivers a brave, brutally honest twenty minute speech explaining why the Catholic Church is not a force for good in the world. Fry touches on the Church’s appalling wealth, its direct responsibility for uncountable AIDS deaths, and Pope Ratzinger’s repulsive child molestation cover-ups.
Fry gets lots of applause by it’s also interesting to see the faces of those who are not clapping…

Removing the bibles

In 2007 Scandic Hotels decided that it will no longer be carrying bibles in their guestrooms (via Hotelchatter & Sydsvenskan) but after “massive” protests the bibles were replaced. Now the hotel chain Ibis has decided to remove the bibles since they are offensive to others (Dagen).

I would rather have free wifi than a bible but I guess there will be “massive” protests. The problem with massive in this scenario is that the majority couldn’t give a damn while the minority is the loudest…

Seriously even if you are a believer, even if you are a believer in any form of the new testament – what does it matter if there is no bible in the hotelroom? Why are believers in a loving god so intolerant of the rest of us? If they are right then we go to hell – so what? we don’t believe in it…

If it is your favorite book then carry your own! Everyone else has to.

A (partial) list of my disbeliefs

All too often atheism is diminished into “not believing in god” but what believers tend to forget atheism is not believing in gods (plural).  Common Sense Atheism has a wonderful post listing some of the many many many gods atheists don’t believe in. The post includes a massive list of gods that have fallen out of favor with the believers for different reasons and a few which may still find pockets of favor around the world.

Christians are often baffled as to how atheists could deny the existence of their god, Yahweh. But they shouldn’t be. Christians deny thousands of the same gods that theists deny. Atheists just deny one more god than Christians do (or three, maybe).

Some of my favorites? Pratibhanapratisamvit, Buddhist goddess of context analysis. Or Acat, Mayan god of tattoo artists. Or Tsa’qamae, north american god of salmon migration.

Anyway, here’s a handy comparison between the gods Christians deny and the gods atheists deny. We’re not so different, after all. Let us celebrate our vast agreement on the non-existence of thousands of gods!

The list is very long but as one commenter complains:

This list in not complete at all. For one thing the majority of modern day christians refuse or do not acknowledge any god by the name of YAhweh. But rather worship Jesus Christ, who is the son of a no-named god simply called by a title “god” but also is the same exact being in some redneck, twisted sort of way.

Complete or not its a fascinating list of disbelief.

Acceptable sex for priests

This must have catholic priests sniggering in their vestries.

Swedish priests are allowed to be married. Swedish women are also allowed to be ordained as priests. Therefore it is not strange for two priests to be in bed together and know each other in the biblical sense (ooh, that’s a bad pun). Apparently there are unacceptable sexual acts among priests.

The whole thing started when a priestly couple. To be clear: a husband and wife both priests. Anyway the priestly couple had a threesome together with a male acquaintance (not for the first time). The husband priest took pictures of the act with his mobile telephone. Reports are a bit hazy but the wife later attempted to delete the photographs and the husband lost it and started beating his wife. Naturally all this ended up with the police and the tabloids had a small snigger at the whole affair. Even for swedes this raised a few eyebrows. What can I say: Sex sells.

What makes the whole thing much more interesting is the response of a Swedish bishop (also a woman) who stated that the priests may be dismissed. What is queerer is that even the wife priest may face the same end or at least be given a warning. The dismissals are not only due to the wife beating but also are due to the threesome.

It appears that the the couples sex acts “exceed the boundaries for what may be accepted within marital relations” (my translation) The Swedish church does not have general rules for what priests may or may not do but they may not act in a way “that harms the reputation a priest should have. Also having something like group sex breaks the vow of sexual fidelity in marriage” (again my translation). Maybe they should write a manual of acceptable sexual acts.

I’m sure that the catholics are clucking sanctimoniously but let’s not forget the many, many, many sexual scandals they have caused. Isn’t it incredible? It does not matter which priests or which religion they are all really mad. Religion is not only a total waste of space it is also a harmful activity.