The Girl Guides in the UK have dropped the reference to ‘god’ from thier promise.
This follows consultation which revealed that the organisation needed to be more open to those of other faiths and none.
This is definite progress, and we look forward to see if the Guide’s fellow organisation Scouting UK also changes following its consulation.
Now I know this is a UK site, but I highly recommend this event over in the USA. I started going to atheist conventions is the USA back in 2009 (and I was present athe the magnificent Lawrence Krauss “Universe From Nothing” talk). I have made many good friendships with our fellow heathens “across the pond” who I remain in contact with to this day (and hope to see at this convention). It also reminds me of how important the work we are doing is. The problems that do occur in the US and other countries across the word solidify how marginalised and persecuted (yes I will use that word) some people are simply for not believeing in the Sky Fairy.
It can also be the centrepiece of a great holiday!
Host Seth Andrews, (Host of the “Thinking Atheist Podacst”), thepresentation of the Richard Dawkins Award to Steven Pinker, and keynote speaker Paula S. Aspell (senior executive producer of NOVA who commissioned the brillaint documentary on the Dover Trial) as keynote speaker.
I’m already booked up, hope to see you there!
He is stating that the law that would legalise same sex marriage would “set a dangerous precident” and would have “uninteded consequences”.
He states it could lead to polygamy. Two points here, 1. No it won’t! In fact the recent attempt to legalise Humanist Marriage by amending this Bill was dropped (in minor part) becuase it was not about Gay Marriage. All this will do is legalise same sex marriage it will not lead to anything else. 2. Who cares? Moreover who cares what consenting adults do so long as there is true informed consent?
He is also complaining that this redefines marriage. OK so what’s wrong with that? The human race (and even followers of Christianity) has been redefining marriage since it came up with the idea – just ask any anthropologist!
Carey has run out of legitimate reasons for opposing Marriage Equality, if in fact were there any legitimate arguments against it in the first place; I have yet to hear one! This is yet another case of an irrelevant out of touch religious figure with bigoted anti-gay views (yes I WILL call them bigoted) resorting to untrue and logically fallacious arguments. Let’s get on with it and pass this legslation already!
The Rationalist Association has launched The Apostasy Project which aims to support and provide information to those that have chosen, or are thinking about, leaving their religion. This is something that needs to be supported if we wish to achieve our goal of advancing atheism. Also at time of writing they have only achived 11% of their required funding so if you, every little helps!
From their Website:
The problem: Many people around the world are suffering because they cannot be honest about their lack of belief in the god of their parents, community or country. They are caught between their desire to live honestly and the fear of losing their loved ones or the support of their community. They might even face violent reprisal. The decision to leave your faith behind can be scary, disorienting and lonely.
Our solution: If you are questioning your faith or wanting to leave your religion you need help and support. You may be leaving behind family, friends and community, but where are you going and how do you get there? The Apostasy Project will help by offering guidance and resources and direct access to others who have been through the same experience. When you doubt your faith it can feel like you have nowhere to turn. The Apostasy Project will fill this gap, and offer reliable information and, more importantly, a sense of community. The project is not about criticising religion but supporting the right to choose what you believe.
“Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief…”
How you can help: Donate now so we can build a stock of resources and a network of advisors to start helping those in need. Without the financial support of the secular community these people will go unsupported. We want to raise £20,000 so we can fully fund the first phase of the project and make sure that these people have the chance to live honest, fulfilling lives, with freedom to believe what they choose.
Why we need £20,000: Providing the full-time support and resources we want to takes time and skill, which means, ultimately, money. We want to be able to pay our expert editors to produce high-quality resources – like a “coming out” guide, podcasts and video – we want to be able to staff an email helpline that can provide guidance to individuals, and keep up regular blogging to inform the community about what’s going on, and develop a website for all of this to sit on. We have a team of people from a variety of faith backgrounds – evangelical Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Catholic, Jehovah’s Witness – ready to share their experiences and support others going through the same issues. But we need your support to make it happen.
Other ways you can help: Making a donation towards our £20,000 target is the most immediate way to help. But we know that for some this is not possible, so we also welcome offers to help out with our work (especially those who have left faiths not yet represented in the project). And please spread the word.
If you want to help or get involved get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
On Sunday 19th May 2013 at 11am I attended one of the regular Sunday lectures at Conway Hall. The speaker was musician and PhD student Jonny Scaramanga who writes the Leaving Fundamentalism blog.
Jonny was brought up in a fundamentalist Christian home and went to a school which utilised the Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) system, before having a meltdown in school and being transferred to a regular school to finish off his education. He has now fully recovered and has left behind this so called education system and is currently undertaking his PhD research in to the effects of ACE on its participants. The talk he gave was funny, entertaining, informative and ultimately very very frightening. The main points (and this is a whistle stop tour of his talk!) that I picked up are below.
- ACE was founded in Texas (where else) in 1969.
- It came to the UK in 1980.
- There are about 50 schools in the UK that utilise ACE and a further 800+ homeschoolers utilising it.
- The entire curriculum utilises workbooks called PACEs, most exercises consist of fill in the blanks style questions.
- Children work at their own pace (sic) in individual booths called “offices”, which OFSTED once described as the modern equivalent of a medieval monk’s cell.
- There is no Religious Education per se, religion runs through the ENTIRE curriculum.
- The curriculum is rote learning in its entirety, there is no opportunity for discussion or the development of ideas (in fact this is extremely discouraged).
- Children mark their own work.
- There is no requirement or need for qualified teaching staff.
- Everything it taught from a Biblical literalist / US political conservative point of view.
- Children are ‘taught’ that anything that contradicts the Bible or that US political point of view it is BY DEFENINTION evil and it is not to be considered, listened to, engaged or discussed it is simply wrong.
- Anyone on the political left is evil and those on the political right are closer to godly perfection.
- Government funded healthcare is immoral and satanic.
- ACE employs Orwellian style redefinition of words and concepts e.g.
- Scientist = Young Earth Creationist
- Evolutionist = (Proper) Scientist
- Liberal = Evil/Satanic
- Humanism = swear word
- In the science curriculum the Loch Ness Monster is a Plesiosaur therefore Evolution is disproved! Their evidence for this? A decomposed basking shark carcass!
- At least 13 objectives taught by ACE even appear on Answers in Genesis’ list of arguments not to use!
- All mythical creatures in historical literature also prove creationism.
- Never trust man’s (it’s always man’s) reason and ignore any counter argument.
- Linguistics is taught with reference to the Tower of Babel.
- Psychology is based on atheistic ideas and is therefore wrong.
- Archaeology teaches us that the Brass and Iron Ages were not separate times because the Bible says so.
- Corporal punishment is approved of in ACE and the teacher’s handbook provides instruction and photographs of how to beat children with wooden implements.
- ACE will not engage in discussion of its curriculum nor will they speak to the press.
- The founder of the system has admitted that it amounts to ‘Brainwashing”!
Fortunately ACE schools do not receive public funding (bar one pre-school in Bristol which get money from vouchers) and are financially struggling [GOOD!] however a change in government policy and vouchers for private schools could make them profitable overnight! We must be wary of this.
They were heavily criticised by OFSTED in the early days but recently they have been getting good reviews. Is this a case of OFSTED not looking at the curriculum or is it something more insidious? (Please bear in mind that a senior OFSTED official has spoken in favour of ACE)
NARIC a government body (in the Dept of Trade) has recommended that the ACE certificate be considered as equivalent to A Level when it comes to University applications. Fortunately this is not legally binding but a number of Universites do accept it!
This leaves us with the question of what can be done. Jonny is collecting contact details of everyone interested in formulating some kind of response/strategy to this and he is free to be contacted. I have extended Atheism UK’s contact details as we are very happy to engage in fighting the abomination of this so called education system. Please feel free to contact him also!
Jonny Scaramaga can be reached via his blog Leaving Fundamentalism or on Twitter @JonnyScaramanga
The London Atheist Activist Group is holding it’s first anniversary party on Sunday 26th May 2013 at 3pm on a Private Boat opposite Temple Underground Station.
Please come and join them for an afternoon of music, comedy and good company.
£10 per head.
Please note corrected date for this event – 19th May Read more
Atheism UK has been considering an atheist alternative to the Alpha Course Read more
Atheist Ireland in accociation with the Atheist Alliance Internation present the Empowering Women Through Secularism Conference. To be held at the O’Callahagn Alexander Hotel on 28th-30th June 2013.
The Atheist Alliance International will also be holding its AGM during the course of the conference and all members are welcome to attend.
- Ivana Bacik, Irish Senator and member of Atheist Ireland
- Dan Barker, Freedom From Religion Foundation, USA
- Ophelia Benson, author and commentator, USA
- Ann Brusseel, Member of Flemish Parliament, Belgium
- Mairin de Burca, writer and secularist, Ireland
- Carlos Diaz, President Atheist Alliance International, Argentina
- Jane Donnelly, Education Policy Officer Atheist Ireland
- Annie Laurie Gaylor, Freedom From Religion Foundation, USA
- Anthea McTiernan, reproductive rights activist and journalist
- PZ Myers, science professor and blogger, USA
- Maryam Namazie, Council of Ex-Muslims in Britain, Iran
- Taslima Nasrin, novelist and activist, Bangladesh and India
- Michael Nugent, Chairperson Atheist Ireland
- Nina Sankari, Polish Rationalist Association
- Farhana Shakir, lawyer and legal consultant, Pakistan
- Kate Smurthwaite, comedian and activist, Britain
- Anne Marie Waters, One Law for All Campaign, Britain
- Rebecca Watson, Skepchick network, USA
For full details and booking information please go to the Conference Website.
Easter Bunnies – or should that be rabbit, rabbit, rabbit? Read more