Omar Mohammad Batawil was a 17 year-old freethinker from Yemen, who shared his thoughts and criticism of religion and religious scholars and institutions on his facebook page. He was accused of apostasy and murdered yesterday by an Islamist group.
One of his facebook statuses (translated from Arabic):
“They accuse me of atheism!
Oh you people, I see God in the flowers,
And you see Him in the graveyards,
That is the difference between me and you.”
-Kacem El Ghazzali FB page
Today’s face of the day is a famous atheist author who has always been a darling of the left. Richard Dawkins has been a strident critic of Christianity, but now he uses it to illustrate what a true religion of peace looks like.
Don’t believe in God? Then you are offensive to Muslims. Atheists have unwittingly joined the rather large club of groups of people that are offensive to Muslims. It seems that simply not believing in a higher being is offensive and in the case of Maryam Namazie ‘ highly inflammatory ‘.
The outrageously offensive topics she was intending to discuss in the mistaken belief that there is this thing called Freedom of Speech inside Universities were apostasy, blasphemy and nudity in the age of ISIS.
What I love so much about democracy and Freedom of Speech is that we can have an open and honest exchange of ideas. We can debate issues, we can question. We do not have to follow any doctrine blindly and unquestioningly.
Today we do not have to buy anything off the rack, we can customise it to suit us and the same goes with our belief systems.
One size does not fit all and so as we grow we listen and observe, we debate and we reason, constantly re evaluating the beliefs we hold dear. At least that is how it is for the women in my family. My mother was brought up a Catholic and now considers herself a Humanist.
Most people know that I am a Christian. I don’t hide because it is my belief that Christians all too often forget that we are supposed to spread the good news….that we are saved.
I personally can’t stand proselytizing and evangelistic Christians, I think they give Christians a bad name.
But there is another equally annoying group of proselytizing and evangelistic morons out there who are trying desperately…for some reason or another to convince people like me that we are mad, crazy, stupid or all of the above for daring to believe in something.
The thing is they also believe in something, and somewhat more fervently than most of us who believe in what we believe.
One atheist is somewhat annoyed with what he calls “In-Your-Face Atheism”.
The president of American Atheists, David Silverman, defines firebrand atheism as simply telling the truth about religion, with the emphasis on the telling. He says we should make clear that it’s religious beliefs we’re attacking, not the person. He says, “I’m not attacking humans; I’m attacking those humans’ silly beliefs.”
That word “silly” is the problem, as is Silverman’s whole take-no-prisoners assault on religion.
Think about what religion is—a total worldview that lets each believer feel like she’s found meaning and purpose in a bewildering universe. So, it’s not much of a stretch to argue that people are reluctant to give up their religious beliefs when they are intimately tied to their sense of self-worth.
It’s one thing to give up a belief about a political or scientific fact that doesn’t directly affect your life—like whether or not global warming is caused by humans. But it’s another thing to give up a belief that you think determines whether you’ll be strumming a harp with angels or stuck on the business end of the Devil’s pitchfork after you die.
So, if we’re going to change someone’s beliefs, but we’re going to have to resist the temptation to roast them while we’re doing it. But listen to what Silverman has said in his talks promoting firebrand atheism: “Religion is a lie—all of it—that’s the truth.”
“Respect is earned, and religion hasn’t earned any.”
Even if he’s right, the tone of these comments is just going to raise the emotional hackles of your average believer.
Two of my favourite people in the world. Wish I had been there with them at the time
Did any of you figure out the maze today? Here is the solution: Read more »
Are atheists more intelligent than religious people? Quite possibly, on average.
Tom Chivers comes to the conclusion that even though evidence suggests atheists might be more intelligent than religious people it doesn’t necessarily follow that they are smarter.
[T]he internet is currently interested in a meta-analysis, published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Review, which finds that atheists have a higher IQ, on average, than the religious. They base this on a review of 63 studies, but, as the authors say, this news isn’t new. The evidence has been around for a while.
There are several reasons given, including a suggestion that the more intelligent you are, the more likely you are to need empirical and logical reasons to believe something; and, interestingly, that the things that religion does for people (helping them to delay gratification for greater future reward; providing an “anchor” in their life in hard times) intelligent people have less need for, because they use other methods. It’s an interesting study. Read more »
Mary Eberstadt explores why religion is waning in favour of secularisation and explores the difficulty a new Pope will have with the wandering flock:
So what’s a Pope to do? He can start by understanding one critical truth that has not been well understood so far: the puzzle of secularization is not only his to solve. Secular sociology has written the intellectual script about how godlessness happens but has gotten it wrong.
Secularization is not, for example, the inevitable result of affluence, as many have said; statistically, men and women who are better-off in the United States today, for example, are more likely to believe and practice faith than are those further down the economic ladder. The same was true of Victorian England, as the British historian Hugh McLeod has painstakingly shown. Mammon alone does not necessarily drive out God. Read more »