The Road to a Christian Iran
By Willem Sander van Boxtel
In the early hours of November 10th 2016, many of us atheists woke up to the dawn of at least another four years of religious rule in the world’s most major powerhouse. But for secular non-believers, Donald Trump is not the real danger. The real threat to the atheist democracy as intended by the American founding fathers, and as enshrined in the US Constitution, comes from the well-known evangelical heavyweight now known as Vice President-elect Mike Pence.
Continue reading “Mike Pence and the Evangelical Vote”
Story taken from “The Thinking Atheist” podcast:
An Oklahoma children’s home happily accepted a $100 donation (given by Matt Wilbourne, a Muskogee (Oklamhoma) resident), until it realized that the money was given in the name of the Muskogee Atheist Community.
Continue reading “We Don’t Want Your (Atheist) Money!”
An elected official has stated that recent storms and floods are “Divine Retribution” for Gay Marriage!
This is not some American Deep South Congressman, this is a local councillor from…Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire!
Cllr David Silvester (UKIP) said the Prime Minister had acted “arrogantly against the Gospel”.
The local MP John Howell (Con) summed it up well:
“I thought Mr Silvester’s letter was not the sort of thing that he should have written in today’s age.
“He really needs to consider his position.”
Religion continued to wield undue influence in world culture and politics Continue reading “The wonderful world of religion: Stories from 2013”
Christian Girl Guide leaders plan to defy the organisation’s leadership in dropping the pledge to a god in the the Girl Guides’ promise.
As reported earlier on in the year in a bid to be more inclusive and to encourage wider membership in the organisation Girl Guiding UK planned to drop the pleadge to “love my god” in the promise. This has now been done but a group up in Harrogate have decided to defy the leadership and retain the old promise. In a letter the leaders of that group stated:
“The spiritual aspect is recognised in girlguiding and ‘God’ has been part of the promise since it was founded,”
“The divine is fundamental to everything it stands for. No one need join Girlguiding, so removing the reference to God in the interests of inclusivity removes much of what we stand for.”
“Girlguiding has God at its core and anyone who has issue with this is free to start their own organisation.”
The national leadership has stated that only the new promise will be recognised and this group may be forced out if they fail to comply.
Let’s address a couple of the points raised.
1. As there are almost certainly no gods nor supernatural entities: there is no “spiritual” aspect as we would define it.
2. “God” has been part of the promise since it was founded – so what? Things can change and an argument from tradition doesn’t mean it is right!
3. “The divine is fundamental” – see point 1 above. Anyway I thought Guiding stood for fellowship, so actually it is inclusivity is what should be all about for rather than defending a narrow minded priviledge of a dwindling few.
4. “..anyone who has an issue is free to start thier own organisation”. Or alternativly someone who opposes inclusivity and whose priviledge is being removed is free to leave and form their own group!
Girl Guiding UK should be applauded for this forward thinking move to modernise and open up their organisation to those that would have been excluded in the past. Don’t let this group of narrow minded individuals get in the way.
Former ABofC Lord Carey is banging on again about the upcoming legalisation of Marriage Equality.
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!
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
Atheist constituent apparently ignored by Christian MP. Continue reading “Discrimination by MP Adam Afriyie?”
The Guardian has asked the question, following David Cameron’s Easter reception, where even devout Christian, Tony Blair, wouldn’t do this…did God.
He quoted the Book of Luke and spoke of a ‘Christian Fightback and so The Guardian has asked the question: Is it OK for a Prime Minister to ‘Do God’ in public?
Now I’m actually torn on this one, I would rather the Prime Minister stick to his duties in a secular fashion not praising a non-existent sky-fairy, but with these pronoucements we now can confirm he is a deluded man who does not care about reality….
By the way this poll closes in 2 days from time of writing….