Within a few days I’ve seen the shocking failure of Western education systems even in the basics. From religious nuts to Woke evangelicals there seems to be an inability to grasp the basic containment principle of proper subsets, and of their defining properties.
Define two sets, A and B. If B is a proper subset of A then ALL members of B are also members of A, but not all memebrs of A are members of B.
If A is defined as having property X, then all memebrs of A (and therefore of B) have property X.
If B has a distinguishing property Y that distinguishes its members from other memebrs of A, then all memebrs of A that are not in B do not have property Y.
Islamists are Muslims and are Islamic
This diagram illustrates the principle of containment and defining properties of proper subsets.
Here is an exchange on Twitter that shows that Sara might not know what a proper subset is – or that she really thinks being Islamic and being an Islamist are mutually exclusive:
She either doesn’t know that Islamists are a proper subset of Muslims and are therefore by definition Islamic, or she doesn’t understand the meaning of the terms Islamic and Islamist. It may well be the latter – as a matter of wishful thinking. She wasn’t alone. Between them Sara and Chris are simply not getting it.
The only way to interpret these responses is:
They are just dishonest. They know full well that Islamists are Muslims.
They really think there are two mutually exclusive sets of Muslims – Islamic Muslims and non-Islamic Muslims (Islamists) – but they would still have to understand they are both Muslims. You know they know this by rejecting my suggestion they are playing “Nothing to do with Islam”
They actually think Islamists are not Muslims at all. But “Islamists are comparable to Christian terrorism … or the violence perpetrated by Christian fundamentalists” indicates that they really do know that Islamists are Muslims. So, what do they think Islamic means? Just ‘Nice Muslims’? That judgement would require them to know something of Islam, which if they did they’d know it’s a nonsensical judgement.
Other respondants show similar misunderstandings.
Ash Sarkar: Tall Men are not Men
Ash seems very confused about the application of descriptions to the various sets. By definition there are biological males and biological women. Not shown on the diagram are some of the nuances of how to classify people that are biologically male or female at the edges – but this is not what Trans identity is about.
If you doubt this last claim search Twitter for #trans and you’ll be inundated with tweets of people who are very clearly biological males engaged in sex acts, and most are obviously male, with male penises and fake boobs – these are not the the people born with ambiguous genitalia.
If you want further evidence of the male nature of many transwomen, look up #sissy on Twitter and you’ll see more men. This time they are projecting – it’s simply a more committed version of men imagining themselves as ‘slutty’ women, which these guys are acting out.
Good luck to them. Each to their own. Back to Ash’s points.
The diagram below illustrates Jenkinson’s point, and includes Ash’s addition of the characteristic of being tall.
Of course Ash does understand the point that Tall Men ARE a subset of Men. That’s why she’s using it, sarcastically.
In fact Tall Transwomen are also a subset of Men, the intersection of Transwomen and Tall Men – we love a bit of intersectionality. Ash’s intention is to try to illustrate what she thinks is Jenkinson’s error. She thinks that saying “Transwomen are not women” is the same kind of error as “Tall men are not men” because she thinks that Transwomen are actually women, as if there is no significant difference.
Ash’s use of “Tall men are not men they are tall men” is specifically trying to point out what she thinks a reduculous claim by Jenkinson, “Transwomen are not women they are transwomen”. But that relies on Ash’s false presupposition that Transwomen are women. Jekinson is right, transwomen are not women (they are not a subset of women), they are transwomen (a subset of men).
To think transwomen are women is to confuse innate characteristics with adaptable identifies, which becomes a problem every time Ash thinks she’s spotted a White Supremacists – she may well have dead-skinned a Transblack Black Supremacists, to use an adaptation of a favourite notion of Trans ideology.
After so many advances against bigotry the TRA ideologues are not only blurring that issue, but they are engaging in their own bigotry – as you can see by the many abusive TRA messages that appear in the social media of women. This also illustrates the fact that transwomen are not women but men, the misoginy of transwomen TRAs against women is far greater than it is against men, and is also greater than the abuse from transmen (women) against men or women. The most abuse you see is from TRA transwomen and their ‘allies’, against actual women.
There are innate characteristics, and then there are changeable identities and behaviours:
Man/Woman – Innate – You don’t get a choice. You can act out as if you can change, but that does not make it innate or real.
Black/White – Innate – You don’t get a choice. You can act out as if you can change, but that does not make it innate or real.
Christian/Muslim – chanegable identities – You get a choice. Note how committed many Chrisians and Muslims are. They see it as a core aspect of their identity. But many atheists look back and acknowledge that no matter how committed they felt in their religion they were at the time, it was not the actual biological nature that identified them but their mental attitude to their chosen (or indoctrinated) identity.
Transman/Transwoman – chanegable identities – You get a choice. Note how committed many Transman and Transwoman are. They see it as a core aspect of their identity. But many de-transitioners look back and acknowledge that no matter how committed they felt they were at the time, it was not the actual biological nature that identified them but their mental attitude to their chosen (or indoctrinated) identity.
When questioning the historical case for Jesus it’s clear that there is zero evidence that he existed, other than the claims early Christians made, which later Christians simply repeat, often thinking that the more people believe a lie the more truth it gives to the claim. Non-Christian scholars that investigate the Historicity of Jesus are relying on no additional evidence.
The stories in the gospels are all we have. Other so called independent claims about Jesus, such as those from Josephus, are no more than hearsay. Josephus merely states what he was told by Christians, or by others repeating what Christians told them. The stories about Jesus may be based on a singular real man, or the mix of a number of stories of one or more of the many prophets of the time, or they may be entirely fictional, or any combination. There is zero evidence of any asserted miracles: making a blind man see, turning water into wine, … the resurrection – all fiction, because there is never any evidence to support the supernatural claims for any religion. At best, we might act as if a mortal fake prophet existed, who might have been called Jesus, but even then it is probable that any factual truth was embelished; and the ‘miracles’ are pure fantasy.
The Christian response to this is often a complaint that this point of view is far too sceptical and biased, because we would not be as sceptical about the existance of Plato, for example, or any historical figure from the past for which there is no direct record.
What’s your take on Plato, Aristotle, Socrates? Were they fictional too?
But it is not the case that philosophers don’t question the existence of anciant philosophers. We can be just as sceptical about the existence of Jesus and Plato. The crucial point is, what are the relative consequences of such scepticism, or specifically, what are the consequences of both Plato and Jesus not having actually existed?
Doubting The Existence of Plato
Taking Plato first, what would it mean had he not existed at all? Well, it would mean all the works attributed to him were not his, but were authored by one or more other people. Even if Plato was responsible for compiling the works attributed to him, perhaps he plagerised the work of others. So one way or another, Plato, as a living person, might have been a fiction or a fraud.
What would be the consequences of this being the case? Very little. Suppose evidence came to light, some unearthed documents, that made it highly likely he did not exist. Some historians might have to revise their texts in light of this evidence – not an uncommon occurrence in history. Nevertheless, to philosophers it wouldn’t mean much at all, because the body of work attributed to Plato stands alone, whoever the actual author or athors were. But this is nothing new. Philosophers already accept that there can be doubts about the real source of much ancient philosopy. Worse case is that the term ‘Plato’ is no more than a label for a body of work, the ‘Platonic’ work. The philosophy contained in that work is what is important.
Doubting the Existence of Jesus
Now, apply the same scepticism to Jesus. Suppose it came about that new evidence revealed the the religion built around a fictional Jesus was made up by some very mortal Jewish revolutionaries. What would be the consequences?
They would be catestrophic for Christianity. It would show clearly that it was a cult. No Jesus, no miracles … no Christian God! Every Pope, every bishop, priest, nun, monk, pastor for 2000 years would have been living a lie, no matter how much they believed it ti be true. Every church and cathedral would be monuments to a man and a god that never existed. Every child indoctrinated into Christianity would have been raised on lies.
Even without such evidence it’s easy to see the consequences of an ever decreasing number of religious believers over generations. Church congregations dwindle, churches decline into a state of disrepair.
But try to imagine what would happen to the Vatican, today, if evidence emerged that completely repudiated the Christian story.
First there would be denial of the evidence. If they can cover up the abuse of children by priests, for the sake of the good name of the church, imagine how far they would go to bury this news.
And, believers need to believe. Islam claims Jesus was a prophet, not the son of God, not Christ. But even the Muslim religion would be damaged, since Islam relies on at least Jesus being a prophet. If the new evidence disprove this, Islam would be damaged, because Mohammed could no longer be trusted. Nevertheless, some Christians might turn to Islam, ignoring this difficulty, or perhaps to Scientology, or Buddhism, Hinduism, who knows.
But I suspect many Christians would just ignore this revelation of the falsity of Christianity. The cost of giving up would be too much.
My mother, raised as a child to be a Catholic, converted to Protestantism when she married my father, had many conflicts with the two churches, and eventually gave up on organised religion. But she never gave up praying, to a God she could not be sure was what she had been taught. When I questioned her, should could not, woukd not, explain what she actually thought this God entity was. He amounted to no more than a sky fairy she thought was listening to her prayers. She wasn’t even sure shexwas a Christian in any meaningful sense – it became a label she used on official forms that asked for one’s religion.
So, if it could be shown Christianity is fake, academically it would destroy the religion’s credibility … if it’s possible to have any less cerdibility among atheists.
But Christianity as a religion would likely live on. Too many professions rely on it.
We have seen many ‘Christian’ scholars make hilarious claims about how the Jesus story need not be literally true while being true in some other mysterious sense all the same. Surely this is how the bishops at the First Council of Nicea fooled themselves while trying to figure out what the Trinity really meant.
Remember, in living memory, a failed science fiction writer stated he would start a religion, did so, … and still Scientology has believers. There are serious flat earthers. There are 9/11 truthers (“it was a false flag job, the towers were not brought down by planes but by explosives”, etc.) There are many crazy beliefs in the world. Christianity is merely the biggest. One has to be the biggest, and one day that may be Islam. But the argumentum ad populum fallacy is strong among the religious.
Plato v Jesus?
If Plato did not exist, then no big deal, no consequences of any consequence at all. Just a shrug of the shoulders of philosophers, and some book editing by historians.
If Jesus did not exist, it would mean the total collapse of any Christian claims about Jesus.
But in reality, many if not most Christians would keep on following the lie, the fantasy; and children would continue to be indoctrinated. The many failed ‘End of the World’ prophecies didn’t make the next prophet pause to think it through.
Perhaps the realisation of that last point will make some Christians pause and think about how gullible they are being. Christians KNOW how gullible are Muslims, Hindus and other believers of other fake religions.
What does it take to make YOU wonder how gullible you are?
There are serious challenges to the Christian claims about what happened to a man they call Jesus, the one they think is Christ, son of God. The same sorts of challenges can be made about Mohammed, and many other religious prophets and deities, particularly if they happened in the distant past, where there are few if any contemporary documents or artefacts.
The claims tend to fall into two categories: the historicity of the person (Jesus, Mohammed); and the supernatural claims made about them (miracles performed, revelations revealed). I’ll refer to then as the Natural claims and the Supernatural claims.
For Jesus, we find now that we have a religion built around him: Christianity. The main sources of information come from the Bible’s Gospels, with all other sources being references to Jesus and Christianity made by non-Christians and Christians some time after the time for which the claims are made (his birth, life, death, resurrection). These claims are a mix of both Natural and Supernatural.
I am an atheist and I see no evidence to support any of the Supernatural claims about Jesus – his own claim to be the son of God, his reported miracles, and his resurrection.
Those theists that do think there is evidence of these are really saying some version of the following: “We have Natural historic evidence of Jesus, and of the Natural events that happened in his life, and we have witnesses to all that, AND to the miracles, the Supernatural events.”
This must be essentially what they are claiming, because they clearly have no direct evidence of miracles actually happening. For example, take the healing of the blind man’s sight. How do we know that happened? Is there some test we could do now, to say, “Look, there’s the evidence of that miracle!”
Well, there were no videos then, so we can’t look at those. And, of course, even if there were it could be that the blind man was faking blindness, in league with Jesus and his crew. “Ah, but other people knew he’d genuinely been blind.” Really? Which people? The people that the narrator of the story told us about? Where did that narrator get the story? Was he there? If he was, was he in league with the fraud? If he wasn’t there himself, the narrator has no evidence that any of it happened, let alone who was there to testify that it was genuine. In other words, the parable of the blind man is at best hearsay, about a story, that has no more evidence for its truth than any other myth.
And so it is will all claims about the Supernatural … AND the Natural claims about Jesus. And behind these objections to the stories about Jesus we have the obvious suspicion that those that started the religious movement early on were either inventing it completely, or elaborating on stories about one of the many ‘prophets’ that wandered the world making claims about their access to various gods. It wasn’t a new pastime even then. Do you believe all of them? If you think some were false prophets, then why not yours?
A common follow up claim made by Christians is that some other party reported on these events, someone that wasn’t committed to promoting Christianity, someone that even disapproved of Christianity, someone with no skin in the game, so they must be credible, right? For example, Tacitus and Josephus.
Tacitus and Josephus
Tacitus was a Roman historian. He referred to Christ and Christianity in his final book, Annals, written in AD 116. This is long after the death of Jesus, so clearly nothing in his account amounts to his memory of events in Palestine. He wasn’t there.
And yet, we hear that scholars consider it to be an “authentic, and of historical value as an independent Roman source.” What does that mean? Does it mean it’s an authentic record of what happened to Jesus? No it does not. It means merely that the scholars think there really was a guy called Tacitus, and that he really did report the story in his book. What it does not say is where he got the story from.
If you read the words of Tacitus it amounts to nothing more than the following: “Nero persecuted the Christians. The Christians took their name from the guy know as Christ. And, here’s what Christians say happened to Christ at the hands of his executioners.”
Tacitus is obviously no more than a report of what Christians believed. Tacitus does not, for example, refer to some other Roman document signed by Pilate, or one signed by the Captain of the guard that saw Jesus die.
So, no wonder it is similar to what was written in the Gospels, because both the Gospel authors and Tacitus got the information from what Christians claimed to be the case. This is no more than reporting hearsay.
If you claim you have half a dozen sources, and all those sources trace back to one source, then you have one source, not six. We don’t know where the current sources got their sources from. It’s a dead end. And as such amounts to a myth.
Josephus is no better. He was a Jewish historian. His references were written around 93–94 AD, 60 years after the supposed death of Jesus, so clearly he too was writing about what others were telling him. While some scholars think the texts have been changed, they think the core is ‘authentic’. Again, the authenticity in question is about whether Josephus wrote them, and that what he wrote is largely what he was told. Who told him? Christians, or someone else reporting on what Christians claimed.
While the claims by scholars to the authenticity of Tacitus and Josephus are about whether Tacitus and Josephus wrote what is in their purported works, the authenticity is NOT about the truth of what they wrote about Jesus.
An Accidental Religion
How do religions arise? One way is accidentally.
Imagine we had a world wide apocalypse, another pandemic that wiped out all but a few human groups dotted around the world. In one group, in Europe, for each Christmas after that event, parents would tell the tales of Santa Claus to their children. One Christmas, a visitor from another colony is passing through and hears the stories of Santa Claus, how he used to visit each Christmas. The stranger mistakenly takes the stories seriously, and repeats them elsewhere on his travels. Further more, he finds that the more he repeats them, the more people want to know about Santa, so he elaborates, invents miracles and all sorts of new events, the healing of blind men, for example. And some of those that heard these elaborated stories go on to expand on them themselves. All of a sudden you have a religion out of nothing more than a children’s Christmas fantasy.
Of course the stories now circulating will differ with different elaborations. They will be inconsistent. Eventually, a new emperor of Europe calls all the bishops of Santa Claus religion together.
Does that make those people appear too stupid? You think that couldn’t happen? If you think this is far fetched compared to evidence to support Christianity, think about the following.
Creating a Religion
So another way of creating a religion is with the intention of fooling people. Perhaps Joseph Smith, the man of Golden Tablets. Smith published the Book of Mormon. “By the time of his death, 14 years later, he had attracted tens of thousands of followers and founded a religion that continues to the present with millions of global adherents.”
Wow! That was in the 1800s, the time of developing ‘Enlightenment’.
But that was nothing.
In the 1950s, a time of radio and television, a second rate science fiction author decided he would create a religion. Obviously, nobody would be dumb enough to pay attention, right? Wrong. Scientology.
The 21st Century celebrities that follow Scientology can look online and read all about this bogus origin, and yet they still believe it. So what makes you think that it would be so difficult to start a religion back in the time purported to be around the life of Jesus? If these Christians are reporting to Tacitus on what they think happened to Jesus, who is Tacitus to say, “Sorry, never happened.” Why would he? He’s only reporting on what they themselves claim.
Of course we don’t even know that Tacitus got the report from Christians directly. It could have been his mate down the brothel, “Hey, Tacitus, that book you’re writing, Have you heard the one about a guy in Palestine seventy years ago?”
This is how poor the information is that’s presented as evidence for Jesus. Even if we have a piece of what Tacitus himself wrote, it says nothing about the truth or falsity of what he wrote about, other than to say that, “Some Christians believed blah, blah, blah.”
If a religion like Scientology can be created in the mid 20th Century, why not one in the time of Pilate in Palestine?
My Alternative Gospel
Imagine, if you will, this scenario (not one I’m claiming happened, but not out of the question).
A man Jesus started making false claims about his access to God’s thoughts. Perhaps he’s a bright fellow, but a little mad. Most people make fun of him. But a few gullible people actually believe what he’s saying.
A couple of other smart guys currently out of work, let’s call then Eric and Ernie, tag along, and while they don’t entirely disbelieve Jesus, they certainly take advantage of him, hype him up, and start to tell others all about him. Maybe slip in the odd story about the occasional ‘miracle’.
Eventually they have raised a bit of a crowed and started to become a real nuisance. The priests want to get rid of Jesus, so make up even more stories about his blasphemous claims, “He actually thinks he’s the son of God!” They succeed and bump him off with the help of one of Pilate’s men, and a little bribe to smooth things over. Jesus is indeed crucified, and dies.
What happens to his followers? This is a bit inconvenient. They were going around with Jesus, being housed and fed wherever they went.
Eric, “I know, let’s tell people he’s coming back in a few days! That will sustain the religion. AND, even better, what if he vanishes … to heaven … by rising up. We can continue telling stories abut him and he’s not here to dispute them. Do you think the other followers will buy it?“
Ernie, “Well they’ve been easily fooled so far. Nobody has to actually witness this resurrection. We only have to SAY that someone witnessed it, us. And, we have to go an steal the body, of course. AND, the more fake witnesses we can add, besides ourselves, the better. AND, with Jesus now resurrected out of the way, in body and ‘spirit’, there’s no way that anyone can disprove any of this junk. AND, we get to live off the tale for the rest of our lives!“
And so, the resurrection story emerges.
Eric, “What if if some of the other followers go back and start asking questions. Everyone will deny witnessing the resurrection. We’ll be caught out.“
Ernie, “No problem. We’ll say it’s a cover-up instigated by the priests that have warned witnesses that they’ll go the same way as Jesus if they say anything.“
Eric, “Brilliant! The greater the conspiracy against OUR conspiracy, the less people will notice ours.“
Welcome to Christianity – my version – which is just as well evidenced as any other … that is, there is no evidence for any of it.
“Whoa, there! It’s not as simple as that. What about the Virgin Birth?”
Didn’t happen. Eric and Ernie made up that story too, to add a bit more mystique to the religion. Mary was actually fooling around with Joseph’s mate. Stoning adulterers was common back then, so what would people rather believe about ‘Christ’? The truth or another myth? Which myth, mine or the Christian myth?
But if Jesus is who he says, that changes everything! Jesus said, “I am the way, the TRUTH & the life…” The number of Old Testament prophecies fulfilled in Jesus’ life including things he had no control over (eg: place of birth & specific details regarding his death). That would be mind blowing!”
No, Jesus did not say “I am the way…” Eric and Ernie made that up to. And what if he HAD said it? It was false, because he was just some ordinary mad man.
But you can’t do that! You can’t mess around with history that way. What if we did that to Churchill, or any other historical figure? Many historical stories have very little evidence.”
Why not? How do YOU know YOUR myth is true, and not mine, or some other perfectly simple explanation as to why the religion arose out of a lie?
I didn’t meet Winston Churchill but I have no doubt he wrote his, ‘Fight them on the Beaches’ speech! There are many eyewitness accounts of the life, death & resurrection of Jesus. The apostles were willing to die for the Gospel. I don’t think they would have died for a lie.
Well, if you’re a Christian, I assume you disbelieve in the Islamic faith. Yet, many Muslims have martyred themselves for what they believe in.
If you die for a lie, but you don’t think it’s a lie, you don’t know you’re dying for a lie, but it’s still a lie.
What About Churchill?
Let’s take seriously the possibility that Churchill’s “Fight them on the beaches” speech didn’t happen. Let’s suppose the recordings we hear today were fake, created after the war to make Churchill seem even more of a hero. What about all those people still alive today that heard the speech on the radio? Let’s pretend they have false memories, instilled in them be playing the later recordings.
I know, I’m stretching your credulity here, imagining such a famous speech was faked, that false memories implanted, that old news papers reporting it were fake too, … including the treasured notebooks, the government materials … all fake, all a WWII conspiracy.
Nevertheless, let’s suppose that somehow it was actually fake. What would that matter now? Sure, some historians would want to re-write some text books, and we would probably get a few more History Channel documentaries out of it. But what would it really change to our lives now? Would it make you give up on your studies, or convince you to quit work, to go an live in France? Would it change the Brexit deal? Would it stop the COVID pandemic?
I doubt very much would happen at all.
And the same goes for most historic events. Historians and archaeologists are learning more about he past all the time, and when something new crops up, a new piece of evidence that changes a story, what happens? Outside academia, the world carries on.
But, as our Christian friend asked, what if the story of Jesus is true, and could seriously shown to be true? Even if it was only the Natural history of Jesus that was proved to be true, that would be amazing. What if the Supernatural claims could be proved to be true? As our friend said, “That would be mind blowing!“
Yes, but what if it isn’t true?
Unlike the histories of Churchill or any other historic figure, if some evidence was found that Jesus did not exist, some evidence, a scroll or two, that showed that the story of Jesus was totally made up in 30 AD, what would THAT mean for Christians, for the Roman Catholic Church, for every Evangelical preacher getting rich off the proceeds of his church? Well, that would indeed be mind blowingly interesting. Christianity would be destroyed! Wouldn’t it?
We have to be honest with ourselves. To most Christians it wouldn’t make a jot of difference. They don’t believe based on reason and evidence. When they claim to provide evidence, such as Tacitus and Josephus, that’s not for their benefit. That’s for our benefit, to shut us up. NOTHING will stop a true believer believing, no matter how great the fantasy the religion is built on. How do we know this? Because of the number of totally incompatible religions that exist.
Nobody that values reason above faith could possibly believe that their religion is the one true religion while all the others were false, given the lack of evidence for all of them. But if you hold faith above reason, you can be convinced to believe any one rubbish.
All you Christians know this, when you look at Muslims. All you Muslims know this when you look at Christians. You just can’t look at yourselves in the same light.
Faith to Faithless
Now and again, the reality of how ridiculous the stories of Jesus and Mohammed hit home. That can be quite a shock.
If it happens to you, you might find yourself in conflict with family and friends. You might be bullied into returning to the religion. You might be ostracised once they realise you are really leaving. In some cases there might be the threat of death.
If you need help, contact Faith to Faithless, and find a group of people with similar experiences that will help you deal with this dramatic change in your life, which I hope will be a good one.
I can’t imagine the Batley ‘blasphemy’ incident has escaped the notice of ANYONE interested in British politics. In summary, a teacher showed a class a cartoon of Mohammed. From what we know it was a legitimate use of the cartoon. And, we don’t have a blasphemy law in the UK … officially. Yes, we are damned close with our ‘Hate Incidents’, and Scotland now has what is essentially a blasphemy law, introduced by Humza Yousaf, SNP Cabinet Secretary for Health & Social Care. But, as yet, it is not illegal to use a cartoon of any religious figure in a classroom while teaching about religion, or about blasphemy.
Of course, the Islamists of the Batley ‘Muslim community’ want otherwise. They’d like nothing more than a blasphemy law preventing the criticism of Islam. So, when it became known that the teacher had used a cartoon of Mohammed, the Islamists stepped it up a gear and ‘parents’ (i.e. leaders of mosques and a members of a number of Islamist groups) started to demonstrate outside the school.
The teacher was justifiably afraid for his life. A similar incident resulted in the beheading of the teacher Samuel Paty, in France. The Batley teacher went into hiding.
Where were that teacher’s union representatives? Where was the outrage over the Islamist activists attempts to impose blasphemy laws by coercive campaigning? Nowhere.
And, where has Owen Jones been? Perhaps he’s too busy wondering, “Why do they think I support Islamic extremism?”
Here’s why some people might.
Our 21st Century Citizen Smith was out meeting with striking teachers, and even managed to put in an appearance at a photo op for a George Floyd and Black Lives Matter. Knowing how fond Owen is of teachers (he has many tweets supporting them), and the persecuted, you might expect him to have a few things to say about the situation at Batley, and the persecuted teacher, no?
No, of course not. At least not the incident at Batley involving Islamists trying, again, to dictate the school curriculum and enforce blasphemy rules.
When Owen suddenly took an interest in Batley, it wasn’t for the persecuted teacher, but for Labour’s potential demise in that constituency. Own was happy to tweet support for Labour.
The video linked in Owen’s tweet only had this to say about Batley …
“Batley … diverse … Muslim community … supporters of the Labour Party”
Since Owen has an interest in the wellbeing of teachers, including the Batley teacher in hiding, and of Labour’s Muslim voters in Batley, why would he miss the opportunity to mention the problem, the conflict, the ‘slight’ difference of points of view on the matter of Mohammed cartoons?
Owen wasn’t going anywhere near this banana skin. There was no way he was going to risk alienating Labour’s Muslim voters (the remaining red wall) by having anything to say about the extremists in their midst If you listen to his video it will become clear that IF Batley is lost to Labour, it will, as usual, have “nothing to do with Islam” and its horrific blasphemy demands, but instead will all be Keir Starmer’s fault. Keir, it seems, is the new Labour patsy for all that’s wrong with Labour.
Both Owen and the Batley teacher’s union that has also gone missing. It seems Batley’s ‘bin men’ have a greater interest in a persecuted teacher than either teaching unions or Owen Jones.
Except that the teachers unions did eventually put in an appearance, or at least ‘a teaching union official’ is reported to have done so, and has told the bin men to shut up.
Where have we seen this sort of intervention before regarding Labour’s reduced red wall in Yorkshire? Remember Naz Shah liking and retweeting this?
Not only have the teaching unions not come to the aid of a member, but they seem to prefer to support a ‘charity’.
So, Owen Jones, defender of the persecuted, supporter of teachers’ rights … why are you MISSING IN ACTION AT THE BATTLE OF BATLEY
Questions about Israel always seem to be one sided. Though critics might reply, “Of course, Hamas shouldn’t fire rockets … but …”, it’s always the ‘but’ and ensuing excuses that are so revealing.
There’s a tendency to look back, to the history of the region … but only as far back as suits the anti-Israel narrative.
“Why is Israel bombing Palestinian buildings?”
Maybe if Palestinian terrorist didn’t fire rockets into Israel.
“Apartheid* Israel started it, persecuting Palestinians?”
Maybe if Palestinian terrorists didn’t kill Jews in Israel, coming through terror tunnels, sending incendiary kites over.
“They wouldn’t** if they didn’t have to live in Gaza prison.”
Gaza was walled because Palestinian terrorists attacked Jews so often, Israel refused to put up with it and created a security barrier.
“The West Bank!”
The West Bank was taken by Jordan in one of the several attempts by Muslim neighbours to defeat Israel. Israel took it back in the six day war of 1967. Tough.
“The British and Zionists are to blame! 1948!”
Well, maybe, if Germany, Russia and practically every other country hadn’t persecuted Jews in the diaspora.
The Jews have ONE homeland.
Where was the international condemnation of Pakistan, created as a Muslim state, which persecutes Jews (are there any Jews left there?) There are many Islamic states. Why was there a need for another, if Jews can’t have ONE?
Israel is surrounded immediately by antagonistic Muslim states, that have attacked Israel, some of which indoctrinate their children with a hatred for Jews, in Muslim homes, in Muslim religious schools, on state TV children’s programmes in some cases. There are many liberal Muslims, and man, many ex-Muslims that attest to this teaching.
No wonder, Apartheid* Islam always persecuted Jews, as well as Christians, Atheists. Muslims even persecute the wrong type of Muslim, but critics of Israel don’t seem to mind, so accustomed are they to Islamofascism.
Perhaps many critics of Israel mean well, in defending Muslims, as they see it when they wave Palestinian flags. But there’s a gross ignorance about Islam that these dupes seem blind to. Islam is the second largest religion in the world, has plenty of ‘Muslim lands’ – an Apartheid term used by Muslims, because when Islamic law is implemented as intended, non-Muslims are second class citizens, having to pay differential taxes, and unable to hold various positions in the Islamic state.
It’s sometimes convenient to step back in history to pick a time when the land of Israel wasn’t in the hands of the Jews or their forebears, or when Jews or someone else can be blamed for the driving out of the Jews, other than Muslims.
The British are often to blame. Conveniently. But they ended up controlling the region only after the last Caliphate of the Ottoman Empire, but we’re not supposed to talk about the Islamic conquests, just as it’s reasonable to mention the Atlantic slave trade but not the Islamic, which pre/post dated and supplied the Atlantic.
Though there have been many conquerors of the region of Israel up to the middle of the 20th century, since 1948, when Israel was established as the ONE Jewish homeland, Jews have suffered persecutions in and expulsions from ‘Muslim lands’, so that Israel is the ONLY place for Jews to go.
And yet, after several wars on Israel, still the Muslim nations around them want to drive Israel, and Jews off the map. And their allies, usually left wing fools that mysteriously seem to favour the ultra-conservative, misogynistic, homophobic (i.e. far-right) political religious ideology of Islam.
“No, it’s not Jews, it’s Israel”
Really? The world persecutes Jews wherever they are, drives them into their ONE and legitimate homeland, … and then tries once more to drive them out again.
There’s no end to this, especially from Islamic anti-Jewish hate.
“They wouldn’t** if they didn’t have to live in Gaza prison.”
Of course they would. It’s the stated aim of terrorist Hamas, and of the rogue state of Iran, and it’s only recently that some of the more pragmatic Arab Islamic neighbours have finally figured harassing Israel isn’t working and have acknowledged Israel’s right to exist.
There will remain disputed borders, as there are around the world that don’t attract an irate antisemitic crowd. But Israel stands as a state and has a right to defend itself. If it’s over zealous sometimes, by all means criticise it. But if you keep calling for sanctions, or want Israel prosecuted for human rights violations, or whatever else you can think of, then at least be balanced.
If you want to criticise Israel for ‘killing children’, at least have the decency to thoroughly condemn Hamas for deliberately putting children in harms way. And do the same for all the other examples of Muslims elsewhere that devalue the lives of children: grooming gangs, honour killings, FGM, brutal religious schools, forced marriages, under age marriages. Stop being such hypocrites. …
You might think I’m exaggerating about the antisemitic motivated focus on Israel. So, let me give you a couple of examples from the UK. I pick on these two because they are similar in their biases, not that they are the only ones. They are the ones I notice most.:
Jeremy Corbyn – A long time ‘friend’ of terrorists, seen at the graveside of IRA and Islamic terrorists, recently Labour Party leader, at a time that saw increasing antisemitism in the party, and Corbyn sharing platforms with known antisemites.
Owen Jones – Not an MP, but a Labour Party member, and long time choir boy for the party, and for a time, a strong supporter of Corbyn.
It’s difficult to pin either down as explicit antisemites, but according to the current progressive popular measures of ‘unconscious bias’ and ‘unconscious racism’ this two fit the bill of at least ‘unconscious’ antisemitism.
They tout themselves as champions of the oppressed and persecuted, when Israel is supposedly doing the persecuting, then they go missing in action for other causes. Some examples from their twitter feeds might help make the point, as both of them are not shy when it comes to tweeting about Palestinian rights and Israel’s ‘crimes’.
Who are the subjects of these empty feeds?
Nassir Hussain was a Muslim, in the UK. He converted to Christianity. Leaving Islam is a capital crime in Islam – supposedly not in the UK. As it is, he got away lightly with a beating, using baseball bats, by local Muslims, all being caught on security cameras he had to have installed because he was being persecuted by Muslims.
Corbyn and Jones are not interested.
Asad Shah was an Ahmadi Muslim. Ahmadi Muslims are persecuted in Pakistan, and are prohibited in law from calling themselves Muslims. Their mosques are often attacked in Pakistan. Their HQ is now in the UK. But, since we have a large Pakistani community in the UK they are not entirely free here. The Muslim Council of Britain has a page dedicated to denouncing them – though, of course, in the nicest possible way so as not to infringe British draconian hate speech laws. Well, it was too much for one Muslim, who drove from Bradford, up to Glasgow where Asad Shah lived, in order to kill him. In the aftermath the Ahmadi community attempted to hold an inter-faith peace event, to which Jewish and Christian leaders turned up … but not Sunni or Shia Muslim leaders.
Corbyn and Jones are not interested.
Asia Bibi is a Christian woman who served ten years in prison in Pakistan on some trumped up charge that was entirely about religious sectarianism. When Pakistan’s courts freed here, there were massive religious demonstrations encouraged in Pakistan to have her hanged. To Britain’s shame, we did not offer her sanctuary. To be honest, given the zealotry of some of our Muslims, many of whom were only too keen to join ISIS, it might have been a wise move from our government, “We’d like to offer you a home here, Asia, but you wouldn’t be safe from too many our own Pakistani Muslim community. Don’t tell anyone I said that.”
Corbyn and Jones are not interested.
These are not the only examples of Corbyn and Jones going missing in action in revealing ways.
Here are two very similar posts, about how, outraged at the killing of Iranian tyrant Qasem Soleimani, they both went missing in action when the Iranians shot down an airliner, killing all on board, so reluctant are they to criticise Iran.
To repeat, these are not the only culprits that focus more than a little suspiciously on Israel, the home of the Jews, but because they are OUR British far left progressive champions of the oppressed, particularly when Jews appear to be doing the oppressing, and hardly ever when Muslims actually and very overtly are, when there are far more examples of the latter.
I have some news for you. There are invisible mischievous magic fairies living at the bottom of my garden. They leave no trace, no evidence that they exist. But, when things go missing, like my car keys, I suspect they have been coming into the house and moving them around, just for kicks. Sometimes, when I find my car keys, I remember that I had left them in that place. Other times, when I do not remember leaving them where they are found, but rather have a distinct memory of putting them on the hook in the hall, then I know that either the fairies moved them, or that my memory was mistaken.
Acting as if it’s so, that there are such fairies, or as if it’s not so, causes socially different outcomes, but no difference to the reality behind the acting out.
Acting as if it’s not so, when it is so, or when it isn’t, makes no difference to the reality, or the social outcomes. I go about my life dismissing the occasions when I have misremembered where I left my keys as just that, an error of memory on my part. If a fairy believer asks how I know fairies didn’t move the keys, I reply I don’t, but since I can’t distinguish between misremembering and the act of fairies, what does it matter? If there are really fairies moving my keys I and the world remain indifferent to it, as there is no evidence of it that could not be explained by an error of memory. That a believer in fairies might demand, “How can you not see that it was obviously fairies that moved your keys,” isn’t convincing.
However, acting as if it’s so, when it’s not so, just means I’m a bit loopy. If I tell lots of people about this story, I’m going to get some funny looks, except from people who also believe and act out that it’s so. We believers might get a lot of comfort from believing that fairies move our keys. We don’t have to suffer the indignity of memory loss, and I can bear the social stigma from non-believers, because we believers get together and provide the support we need in the face of doubters.
To believers in gods this story might sound childishly foolish. What grown intelligent adult would believe in such fairies?
I’m sorry to tell you, believers in gods, but that’s just how your beliefs look to atheists. You might find that insulting, offensive, but is it any more offensive than your attitude to believers in fairies, to Scientologists, Fly Spaghetti Monster followers? I know, because I’ve seen it said, that some believers in the Abrahamic god find the blue gods of India comical, ‘unbelievable’. Yet you believe in a zombie Jesus, or a flying horse riding Mohammed, or a sea parting Moses?
And, you agnostics, are you ‘agnostic’ about the fairies in my story?
The only difference between your gods and the gods, aliens and fairies you don’t believe in is your particular commitment to a story you have been convinced of – from childhood indoctrination for many, through a deep seated need to believe by adults that change or find religion.
This acting ‘as if’ something is so, whether it is or not, has a name in a religious. Praxis: the engagement in accepted customs and practices.
The problem for women like me, who have a Muslim name and are of Asian heritage, is that others make assumptions about us before we even open our mouths
It’s common to see this complaint about assumptions being aimed at critics of Islam, as if we are making generalisations about what all Muslims think – which isn’t true, though it can be for those that have never taken the trouble to pay attention to Islam outside terrorist attacks.
However, it’s also true of many Muslims who want to impose their expectations of what a (‘good’) Muslim should be.
This week I received a disgusting message from a troll, which made me think it’s high time I came out of the closet to proclaim that I am not a practising Muslim.
It has taken me till the age of 50 to find the courage to say it.
I’m doing it now for my own wellbeing.
I want to be honest and feel free to live my life by my own rules.
I feel that by saying this as a public figure, I will no longer inadvertently confuse or unintentionally hurt others of the Muslim faith.
I must be clear that I do not represent any Muslim communities – especially Muslim women.
It’s worth emphasising some of the points made here.
If it has taken 50 years to have the courage to say it, and it was true during those 50 years, then it is not merely a matter hiding one’s own identity, but also raises the question of why Saira went to so much trouble to make sure she protected Islam from criticism. From outbursts on TV accusing others of racism towards Muslims, when they are criticising the religion, Saira went on to absolve the religion of criticism and instead put all the ills of, as she calls it, “my community” on being of Pakistani origin, and made much of Pakistan itself and its culture being the source of the problems. That this was as racist as labelling grooming gangs as Asian seems to have slipped Saira’s notice – it was not Pakistani Christians, Jews (are there any left) or even Ahmadi Muslims causing the many problems Saira has described numerous times on her Loose Women appearances.
So, in wanting to be honest it’s not just a matter of being honest about one’s own identity that needs to be established, but a little more honesty about Islam. But no, it seems not hurting ‘others of the Muslim faith’ seems the greater concern, and not the harm done by SOME (too large a number) of the Muslim faith, by action or omission.
And, it’s a pity Saira feels she does not want to represent any Muslim community, or Muslim women, because there are many Muslim women, in places like Iran, Saudi, and, yes, Pakistan, that might appreciate a little more vocal support from Western liberal women, especially those that have suffered the experiences Saira has from some Muslims. But, if Saira needs a break from Islam, as a spokesperson, or a critics, that’s her choice.
People assume that because we have Muslim parents we are practising Muslims, that we have read the Quran, that we fast every Ramadan, that we don’t drink, that we don’t have sex before marriage.
Surely Saira knows that the punishment for sex outside marriage in Islam, as stated clearly in the Quran and implemented in some Islamic countries, is 100 lashes? Perhaps not, if she hasn’t read the Quran. But this raises a genuine problem for many Muslims:
They assert that the Quran is the literal perfect word of Allah, valid for all time, a complete guide to life.
They ignore the parts of the Quran that are plain for everyone to see, that it prescribes horrendous punishments for acts that should not be considered criminal.
They assert only the ‘few’ extremists or fundamentalists take the bad stuff literally (i.e. the ‘nice’ Muslims cherry pick and leave those behind, or wave their hands and magic them away with ‘nuance’.)
They then scream ‘Islamophobia’ at those that choose the take the extremist’s and fundamentalist’s word for it.
Imagine the following:
Many Nazis declare that to be true to some of the ideas addressed in Mein Kamp it is necessary to exterminate all Jews.
Opponents of Nazism point out that this crazy ideology is endorsing genocide.
Some ‘nice’ Nazis scream, “Naziphobe! Not all Nazis! Only the extremists. Nazism is an ideology of peace.”
Would you be convinced?
At last, Saira has found the courage to choose for herself how she wants to live, irrespective of what others want for her.
I’ve not dared to share these feelings before because the very few Muslim women who have already made the admission are called sinful and some have even been targeted with death threats.
Saira is a mature adult, not some teenage girl uncertain of what the changes she is undergoing mean and how they fit in to the strict demands of Islam. If it has taken this long for Saira to have dared, how tough is it for so many others, of all ages, to speak out, female or male, in Islamic or any other ‘community’?
Saira’s public persona is both a privilege and a curse. A young unknown girl that wants to break free of strict religious traditions would have little support within the family or community – the dangers would be very local. A celebrity has wider public support, but also attracts the attention of religious lunatics from further afield.
What I am is someone brought up in the Muslim faith, with parents who practised it. So I have an insight into Islam. Most of my values are based on the spiritual aspects of the Muslim faith. But I’m also influenced by other spiritual teachings. I have found a huge relief in being honest. I feel this was the last taboo to overcome before I could live my best, most happy and fulfilled life.
Perhaps this feature comment says it better than most could:
I have to say I admire you Saira. I’m a 42 year old man from an African background, I entirely understand the cultural and family demands. Girl, you have more balls than most men I know. Bravo!!!
I am puzzled by how seemingly liberal people will make excuses for what, at best, is a conservative religion, and at worst is an ultra-conservative, misogynistic, homophobic political religious ideology – i.e. as far right as you can get.
This is especially puzzling, up to a point, when most victims of Islam are Muslims and ex-Muslims. The ‘point’ at which it ceases to be puzzling is when you hear the stories, some as bad as Saira’s, many far worse – Muslims and ex-Muslims are terrorised into conforming, or at least looking the other way while those that don’t conform are terrorised. Too often this happens within a family, and more so to women whose brothers, male cousins, uncles, even fathers, would kill a girl for dishonouring Islam.
There seems to be as much identity and protectionism in Islam as in any ‘replacement’ conspiracy theorising white racist group. Islam isn’t a race, but it has clearly been hyped as one, simply because the majority of Muslims in western countries are of a non-white heritage. Good luck pulling of ‘Islamophobia = racism’ when ex-Muslims of the same ethnicities as Muslims criticise Islam. And, did nobody notice the white Muslims (‘converts’ or ‘reverts’) joining ISIS? Saira has spoken out against this identity expectation, “I shopped my own cousin”, “it’s not racist to point out these problems”, but has also been the victim of it … for 50 years?
The ‘Muslim community’ is actually anything but, unless Islam is challenged by non-Muslims, and then the ‘unity’ card is played and even liberal Muslims are either coerced or feel obliged to play along, as Saira herself has done in the past. And when Muslims try to break the pattern, as a number of ‘reform’ Muslim groups do around the world, they are treated as apostates.
Sunni Muslims kill Ahmadis in Pakistan, … and the UK. The Muslim Council or Britain denounces Ahmadis on its web site, with the obligatory text to provide plausible deniability of stirring hate. Sunnis and Shias have flash points in the Middle East. The Oscars, of all places, saw this hatred for Ahmadis when it so many Muslims came out to celebrate a film by Muslim producers … until the Muslim Mafia realised they were Ahmadis. Smaller sects are denounced as not being proper Muslims.
Many Muslims denounce ISIS as non-Muslim, despite so many Muslims, and only Muslims, joining ISIS. But, ISIS denounce Muslims that won’t join or affiliate with them.
Islam is a mess. Not unlike Christianity used to be, and still is to a much lesser extent, with even Northern Ireland sectarian violence having cooled.
Christians are to blame too, for the mess of Islam in the west. It’s a bit risky criticising Islam without bringing down their own house of cards.
Woke anti-racism also plays a significant part. There are racists of all skin colours. #Woke#AntiRacism is #EquityRacism: It doesn’t reduce the amount of white racism in a majority white nation, it gives power to racists of all colours, increasing net racism, validating segregation, even dividing ethnicities internally. And Muslims are a very convenient tool for anti-racists.
Western Feminism can take some blame too. Despite the cries for support from ex-Muslims around the world, or from Muslim women in Iran, too many western feminists look the other way. In my previous post on Saira, where I posted the videos from ITV’s Loose Women, Saira’s co-panelists went out of their way to agree with Saira that this was all about culture and “Nothing to do with Islam”.
Oddly, and to the benefit of nobody, many on the non-Muslim far right, when not blaming all Muslims (and Sikhs) for every Islamic terror attack, will not shy from stating more honest facts about some case involving Islam. The problem is we know it’s not just the facts they want but some wider identity agenda of their own.
I’m anti-religion. It does way more harm than good, when the good could be achieved through any number or religions or none. The good that people claim to get from religion isn’t down to what the religion claims, and could be had without all the dreadful baggage that religion brings with it.
Islam currently brings with it the worst baggage because it is the second largest, and probably soon the largest religion in the world, given Christianity’s slow death. And then you only have to read the Quran, the supposed ‘perfect literal word of God, valid for all time’, a book that is easy for all to read, on the one hand, and yet requires great scholarship to understand – though that scholarship only ever seems to apply to excuse the nasty bits.
Decent Muslims have to ignore much of the Quran. We are told the fundamentalists are a minority of Muslims. OK, then how many decent Muslims will come straight out and say people should not be lashed 100 times for having sex outside marriage? Where is this renounced? Dare it be renounced as a bad part of the Quran, even 1400 years ago. Nobody thinks the Atlantic slave trade can be passed off as “Well, for the times …” – though the Islamic slave trade seems to get a pass, when it wasn’t given up in Saudi until 1962, and Mauritania, a key part of the slave trade, until 1981. The Quran, perfect for all time, still endorses slavery today.
While I still think Ahmadis are wrong in their beliefs, they must be given credit for at least attempting to disarm Islam by conveniently having another prophet (one of explanation not revelation, since Mohammed is supposed to the the final revelatory prophet). But they have no chance of catching on.
The same for reformers. What chance do they have when so many ‘decent’ and ‘liberal’ Muslims denounce them?
More specifically, Mohammed endorsed slavery? While there are verses where Mohammed suggests slaves may be freed, it is in some cases for the benefit of the Muslim slave owner, not the slave – to earn bonus points for good behaviour, so to speak.
In other cases it’s clear Mohammed presumes Muslims do have slaves, and therefore endorses the practice of slavery. There can’t be so many occasions when being nice to slaves, or even freeing them, or marrying them, is possible if you don’t have slaves in the first place, and if you don’t expect them to be owned, over many verses, and so over the many occasions when the verses were supposedly revealed.
Nowhere does Mohammed say, “Muslims, slavery is bad. Free all your slaves now, and take no others! Oh, and you shouldn’t have been using them for your own sexual gratification.”
You’d think an almighty deity could have given Mohammed a very clear message in that regard. But, no,or course not, because Mohammed was a man of his time; and so (if you can believe Mohammed was the source of any of the Quran) the best he can do is be a bit nicer to slaves and maybe free some now and again. It’s not like Romans didn’t occasionally dole out freedom – this wasn’t Mohammed coming up with some unique for the times socially woke policy, as many Muslims would have you believe.
Nevertheless, many modern Muslims will try to convince you that Mohammed was basically an Abraham Lincoln, or a Martin Luther King Jnr., so keen was he to set slaves free. This is the sort of verse they use to try to convince you:
Righteousness is not that you turn your faces toward the east or the west, but [true] righteousness is [in] one who believes in Allah, the Last Day, the angels, the Book, and the prophets and gives wealth, in spite of love for it, to relatives, orphans, the needy, the traveler, those who ask [for help], and for freeing slaves; [and who] establishes prayer and gives zakah; [those who] fulfill their promise when they promise; and [those who] are patient in poverty and hardship and during battle. Those are the ones who have been true, and it is those who are the righteous.
They neglect to point out all the other verses where Mohammed clearly has in mind that Muslims do actually own slaves.
Here’s an analogy of the duplicitous move Muslims make in declaring Mohammed opposed slavery …
Believer in a fictitious holy book (not the Quran in this case): Hey guys, my holy book opposes slavery. It says you should not take slaves! Look at verse X “You must not take slaves at the weekend.”
Non-believer reads the holy book: Hold on, verse Y says you can take slaves on weekdays. You’re a fraud.
In 4:24 we see the phrase “those your right hands possess“, which usually means slaves, and is understood to mean slaves by many scholars. Clearly, this verse would be meaningless if Allah had banned slavery. You are not prohibited from marrying slaves, even if they are already married. You are only prohibited from marrying believing women married already (could also meaning chaste women, but that’s thought to mean married women anyway).
And [also prohibited to you are all] married women except those your right hands possess. [This is] the decree of Allah upon you. And lawful to you are [all others] beyond these, [provided] that you seek them [in marriage] with [gifts from] your property, desiring chastity, not unlawful sexual intercourse. So for whatever you enjoy [of marriage] from them, give them their due compensation as an obligation. And there is no blame upon you for what you mutually agree to beyond the obligation. Indeed, Allah is ever Knowing and Wise.
In 4:25 there’s a clear link between being a slave girls and the phrase “whom your right hand possesses” – this is clear that the phrase does mean slaves. And here, again, slavery is clearly presumed, because if you can’t afford to marry a free believing woman, you can marry a believing slave.
And whoever among you cannot [find] the means to marry free, believing women, then [he may marry] from those whom your right hands possess of believing slave girls. And Allah is most knowing about your faith. You [believers] are of one another. So marry them with the permission of their people and give them their due compensation according to what is acceptable. [They should be] chaste, neither [of] those who commit unlawful intercourse randomly nor those who take [secret] lovers. But once they are sheltered in marriage, if they should commit adultery, then for them is half the punishment for free [unmarried] women. This [allowance] is for him among you who fears sin, but to be patient is better for you. And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.
In 4:92 it’s again specifically believing slaves – not non-believing slaves? So, implicit here is that you can own non-believing slaves, and believing slaves.
And never is it for a believer to kill a believer except by mistake. And whoever kills a believer by mistake – then the freeing of a BELIEVING slave and a compensation payment presented to the deceased’s family [is required] unless they give [up their right as] charity. But if the deceased was from a people at war with you and he was a believer – then [only] the freeing of a believing slave; and if he was from a people with whom you have a treaty – then a compensation payment presented to his family and the freeing of a believing slave. And whoever does not find [one or cannot afford to buy one] – then [instead], a fast for two months consecutively, [seeking] acceptance of repentance from Allah . And Allah is ever Knowing and Wise.
Moving on, in 24:33 Mohammed talks about “your slave girls” again. I guess while it’s okay for you to have sex with them, prostituting them out is a bit much, even for a slavery endorsing warlord. So thoughtful.
But let them who find not [the means for] marriage abstain [from sexual relations] until Allah enriches them from His bounty. And those who seek a contract [for eventual emancipation] from among whom your right hands possess – then make a contract with them if you know there is within them goodness and give them from the wealth of Allah which He has given you. And do not compel your slave girls to prostitution, if they desire chastity, to seek [thereby] the temporary interests of worldly life. And if someone should compel them, then indeed, Allah is [to them], after their compulsion, Forgiving and Merciful.
Again, in 58:3, you can’t free slaves you don’t have. Mohammed clearly expects slaves to be owned.
And those who pronounce thihar from their wives and then [wish to] go back on what they said – then [there must be] the freeing of a slave before they touch one another. That is what you are admonished thereby; and Allah is Acquainted with what you do.
These are just a few examples that show that Mohammed didn’t have a problem with slavery as such. Perhaps he recited verse 2:177 on a weekend.
The Last and Missing Revelation?
Even in the last verses revealed there’d have been the opportunity to to make adjustments, for an almighty deity that’s keen on revealing inerrant and final truths for all time.
Oh, yeah, Mohammed, slipped my mind, but I notice you guys still have slaves. Let me make it clear, when Allah said free them, he didn’t mean just now and then. He meant free them all, and take no more.
But, you said he said we could marry slaves, and use them as currency to pay debts of honour, or for piety bonus points. How can we do that if we don’t have any slaves? What’s the point of those revelations?
Oh, yeah. Let me get back to you on that. I’m sure there’s a perfectly good explanation.
A number of ‘lefties’ have gone missing in action. The precise point they went missing is telling.
Jeremy Corbyn, still the leader of HM Opposition, Labour, seems to go missing shortly after the outbreak of ‘WWIII with Iran’, around the time the Iranians shoot down flight PS752.
Here he is on the 3rd, when WWIII supposedly starts.
10:55 AM · Jan 3, 2020 – The US assassination of Qasem Soleimani is an extremely serious and dangerous escalation of conflict with global significance. The UK government should urge restraint on the part of both Iran and the US, and stand up to the belligerent actions and rhetoric coming from the US.
This is true to form. Attacks on astonishingly bad regimes are met with Corbyn’s dismay that WWIII is about to start, while these terrible regimes otherwise get little attention from Corbyn … unless they are Marxist Socialist regimes.
Next, Jeremy is miffed that Boris hasn’t included Jezbollah in any briefings on the ‘assasination’ … nobody seems to know why, not even PressTV.
7:02 PM · Jan 3, 2020 – I’ve written to Boris Johnson requesting an urgent Privy Council briefing and answers to questions following the US assassination of Qassem Suleimani. [Letter attached]
On the 4th he justifiably and rightly tweets about the murder of a taxi driver in Finsbury.
But nothing on Iran.
On the 5th he retweets his own tweet with a comment. “Two days …”, which will become an ironic tweet as days go by without further comment from Jezbollah on events in Iran.
8:35 AM · Jan 5, 2020 – Two days since I asked Boris Johnson these vital questions about the US assassination of Qasem Soleimani and its consequences. And no answer.
Jeremy seems not to like anyone being thankful that the Middle East is rid of Soleimani. A pity Jezza thinks more of what the theocratic state’s TV has to say than the persecuted Iranian people who seem to be very grateful the “reckless and lawless” Soleimani is gone.
4:07 PM · Jan 5, 2020 – Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab’s declaration of ‘sympathy’ for Trump’s reckless and lawless killing of Iranian general Qassem Suleimani is craven and dangerous. Boris Johnson’s government must oppose this escalation towards another devastating war in the Middle East.
On the 6th and 7th he has a couple of tweets on other topics, and then …
5:27 PM · Jan 7, 2020 – The government must rule out plunging our country into yet another devastating war. [speech in Parliament attached]
This is his most statesmen-like comment that doesn’t come too close to support for Iran, and in Parliament he even manages to mention of British citizen, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe. It’s good to know how often he has tweeted support for Nazanin by mentioning her name prior to this … three times.
Nov 2017 – Nearly 18 months months since her arrest, and the tweet was a vehicle for having a dig at Johnson for his comments.
Jan 2019 – One that appears to have been prompted by Emily Thormberry’s tweet on Nazanin’s hunger strike.
Jun 2019 – A photo op with Richard Radcliffe. While it’s great that he brings publicity to the case you might wonder who he thinks the publicity is benefiting, given how little he has publicised the case since Nazanin’s arrest.
True to form, the real reason for mentioning Nazanin is opportunism – a chance to have a go at Boris.
In Iran on the 7th, at the contrived burial procession for Soleimani, the state killed at least 56 people and injured over 200. Nothing from Jeremy? You’d think he’d show sorrow for such a loss of life, as he usually does. However, this is a diplomatic nightmare for Jezbollah, star of Iranian state TV, well wisher of the homecoming of a ‘brother’ terrorist’s return to Iran.
Here’s Jeremy posting comments on Johnson, on the 8th. But nothing on Iran events.
4:15 PM · Jan 8, 2020 – The Prime Minister is unable to stand up to President Trump because he’s hitched his wagon to a trade deal with the United States. #PMQs
In the above he talks about the problem of losing out on the Iran nuclear deal – this from a man whose negotiation would simply give up the UK’s nuclear arms unilaterally, and then expect the mad mullahs to reciprocate.
Also on the 8th, the Iranians fire missiles, supposedly at US bases in Iraq, and PS752 goes down, killing all on board. In the end, not quite the glorious day the regime and its supporters hoped for.
Where’s Jeremy? He’s usually out of the trap with a rocket up his own up his ass when there are condolences to be given. Nothing.
On the 10th he manages a retweet on the sorry state of the NHS.
And also on the 10th he emerges from his WWIII war room bunker, to congratulate his mates in NI on … a Labour legacy??? But if it’s a Labour legacy at all, it’s specifically one of Blair’s, and here’s me thinking all all the far left of Labour thought Blair was a war criminal or something. Oh, sorry, Jezza isn’t referring to Blair, he’s referring to all the superb work he did himself for The Cause, when he held the crucial cross party conference, grave side of Bobby Sands.
5:44 PM · Jan 10, 2020 – I congratulate those in Northern Ireland who have worked to reach agreement to allow a return to power sharing at Stormont. The Good Friday Agreement and peace process in Northern Ireland is a proud Labour legacy we are committed to support and protect.
On the 11th he retweets an upcoming CND rally to oppose the impending WWIII – nothing but thorough, but it won’t matter that WWIII fizzled out when the Iranians shot down a passenger plane while inflicting zero casualties on the Great Satan’s bases.
5:57 PM · Jan 9, 2020 – We’re delighted to announce that CND vice-president Jeremy Corbyn will be addressing the #NoWarOnIran demonstration this Saturday in London. Gather 12 noon outside the BBC hq on Portland Place.
Where the heck are those words of condolences we’re so used to seeing? Where is he? Waiting for approval or something?
Oh, here it comes …
Finally, he can say something.
2:11 PM · Jan 11, 2020 – My thoughts are with the family and friends of those killed in the Ukrainian plane crash in Tehran, including the three British nationals on board. [Image of his Facebook post]
WTF!?? It wasn’t merely a crash??? Even the mullahs are saying they shot down the plane.
And what about the #FreeIran2020 protests now making news everywhere except on ‘lefty’ accounts?
We last hear from Jeremy’s Twitter account on the 12th
It’s the 14th as I write this. So much for his complaints about Johnson’s two days in getting back to YOU, Jezbollah. The man can’t even acknowledge his precious theocratic regime shot down a passenger plane. Where’s his outrage at that? Oh, it was merely an unfortunate crash.
Jeremy Corbyn got rid of Sarah Champion from the Labour front bench because she spoke out about the Muslim grooming gangs in Rotherham.
Sammy Woodhouse and other victims tried to raise cross party support for their case for compensation, for the years of neglect by politicians and police, mostly in Labour held councils, where the grooming gangs were not only allowed to operate in the open, but were protected from prosecution for so long (that’s why we now see cases historic abuse in such large numbers).
And yet, Corbynistas are still blind to Corbyn’s part in the cover-up.
It’s January 2020 as I write this, and Corbyn has had more to say about the killing of butcher Soleimani over the last few days than he ever has about the victims of Muslim grooming gangs in the UK.
And then let this sink in …
The 2017 article quoting Saraha Champion …
For too long we have ignored he race of these abusers and, worse, tried to cover it up.
No more. These people are predators and the common denominator is their ethnic heritage.
We have to have grown-up conversations, however unpalatable, or in six months’ time we will be having this same scenario all over again.
This was in relation to sex crimes only between 1999 and 2001 in Champion’s constituency of Rotherham. At least 1,400 children had been sexually exploited in the town.
In Telford, MP Lucy Allen continues her long campaign to uncover the truth, despite being blocked by those that don’t want to see it exposed.
I will also be here to ensure Telford’s Child Sexual Exploitation Inquiry goes ahead and is not kicked into the long grass because those in authority would rather it did not happen. It seems extraordinary that even though we have a Chairman in place road blocks still exist preventing him from moving forward with the work of the inquiry. I have already joined the Department of Justice support group to ensure that the legislation preventing the early release of serious sexual offenders passes through Parliament at an early stage in the Parliament.
Lucy Allan, A New Parliament – My Priorities, December 2019
But still, nothing from Corbyn and his Labour chumps.
But, surely he has more to say about grooming gangs in Telford … you’d think an opportunity to have a dig at the Tories on this issue might be of interest. I mean, he has plenty to say about other social issues in Telford (but not Rotherham, Rochdale, where infamous grooming gangs have also operated).
Of course not. That would only expose his covering up the issue in Labour areas.
This is not the only failing of Corbyn and Labour. Ever wondered why they are considered to be antisemites? They will have plenty to say about the killing of Palestinians by Israeli troops, but nothing about Hamas attacks on Israel. FFS, they can’t even defend Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan and the UK, because that would upset their Islamic support.
Surely they will show support for Uyghur Muslims in China …
Sorry, that would mean criticising a socialist state … even Muslims aren’t worth that much to Corbyn. So, you grooming gang victims don’t stand a chance.
The last bit, “Based in London”, and it’s name, “Demos”, might be the only true parts of that bio line.
Think tank? Well, I’ve a couple of other posts related to their thinking. I’m not impressed. These were about a really sloppy piece on the Victoria Derbyshire, on the BBC News channel, and Carl Miller, of Demos, and their dubious ‘research’ milking the ‘Islamophobia’ craze.
Britain’s leading independent cross-party think tank? Really? Independent and Cross Party?
Well, they have done work for more than one party, but to say they are cross-party is a bit of a stretch. Independent? Not of thought.
From the Wiki page:
Demos was founded in 1993 by former Marxism Today editor Martin Jacques, and Geoff Mulgan, who became its first director.
In the run-up to the 1997 general election it was seen as being close to the Labour Party, in particular its then leader Tony Blair.
On 9 August 2006, in a speech at a Demos conference, British Home Secretary Dr John Reid stated that Britons ‘may have to modify their notion of freedom’, as a result of his plans, claiming that freedom is ‘misused and abused by terrorists.’
I can’t pretend to know everything Demos get up to, but to me, and having seen the work of the fabulous Carl Miller, it looks like a bunch of people that can’t get proper jobs so they sell their souls to anyone that will buy them and enjoy playing around in the dubious charity money-go-round, and call the work ‘research’.
So, what about their director, Polly Mackenzie? How much thinking does this head of a think tank do? More to the point, what’s the quality of this thinking?
Polly Mackenzie joined Demos as the new Director in January 2018. She previously worked for Nick Clegg from 2006 to 2015, helping to write the 2010 Coalition Agreement, and served as Director of Policy to the Deputy Prime Minister from 2010-15
Well, that didn’t go too well did it.
Just curious, but did Polly have anything to with forming Nick Clegg’s opinions on the EU. Yes, I know her time with him was up to 2015, before Brexit EU Ref, but, well, ideas aren’t formed over night, are they, and when Nick Clegg laid into Nigel Farage about how saying there would be an EU Army was a dangerous fantasy, Nifty Nick had buggered off to Facebook just before Merkel and significant EU figures started telling us that not only was the EU starting an EU Army, but political and military fusion ought to be a future goal.
Anyway, whatever contribution Polly made towards Nicky Know Nothing’s demise, at least she is able to put her own thoughts down. Sadly, it doesn’t get any better.
Case 1 – Letting Children Vote – And Proxy Parental Votes
Children 10 and above should be able to vote. How hard is it for a ten year old to make a cross in the right place on a piece of paper?
Children under 10 shouldn’t be able to vote (come on, Polly’s not mad, you know). Instead, their parents should be able to cast a proxy vote on behalf of the infant (I presume only one parent gets to vote for each child, but which one? Not sure Polly has think-tanked this through).
You can read the delusional reasoning yourself. But here, for Polly’s benefit, are some objections.
The notion of a proxy vote is entirely counter to the principle of one-person-one-vote. Large families, religious conservative families, would in fact give multiple votes to the parents, as proxies. To say that such proxy voting parents were casting a vote for the children themselves is delusional. They would be casing a vote for themselves and their of how the world should be.
Childless people will be disenfranchised, because parents get 2 or more times their vote.
As for children themselves voting, there are several reasons why they should not, not least of which are the following.
We have limits on parent power. Parents cannot abuse their children. An anathema to this is the indoctrination of children into political and religious ideologies. We are not raising independently minded adults, but pre-programmed adults. It takes a lot of learning to realise the extent to which you’ve been indoctrinated, and some never get out of it. Jess Phillips, Labour MP, describes how she was taught a visceral hatred of Tories. The indoctrination of children into our main religious cults is a disgrace to civil society. Until both political and religious indoctrination are criminalised, and a rounded education in reason and science becomes the standard, we will not be producing independent minded rational adults, but victims and perpetrators of the tribal party and religious politics we have today.
Young teenagers are naturally rebellious, and are wide open to the political indoctrination by extremists. Labour’s Momentum know this – Corbyn’s Kids is not a neutral educational programme but a mind programming school. Many young people were so easily indoctrinated into extreme Islam, and left home to join ISIS. The Orthodox Jewish communities keep a tight control of their children, as do Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Roman Catholics, and even ‘moderate’ Islam.
Read Poly’s article. But just for fun, here’s a sample of Polly’s think-tanking.
“Will you let them drink and smoke, too?” – This is usually the first response I get when I propose enfranchising all citizens under the age of 18. The answer is, obviously, no. We have laws that prevent young people from drinking and smoking because these things are harmful. voting, by contrast, is not harmful; drawing an X on a ballot paper is substantially less dangerous than inhaling toxic smoke into your lungs.”
What? So, coerced voting of ten year olds, indoctrinated ten year olds, isn’t a danger? To society, and the better judgement of those children that have to live in the world they were coerced into voting for?
Polly, putting an unlit cigarette in a child’s hands and to a child’s lips is no more dangerous than putting a pencil in the mouth after drawing a cross on a piece of paper. However, to the child personally, the former could have longer term implications for the individual, if they were coerced to light it; but the latter could cause a far wider danger to themselves and society, if they were coerced to vote a particular way.
There are now many people that were indoctrinated into voting Labour – “I’m a life long Labour supporter.” But many such supporters are overcoming their own indoctrination because they can see before their eyes how Corbyn and Communist McDonnell are changing the party, and they have figured out that in their opinion they don’t like it. The same has been true of may Conservative voters. Many adults learn to change their minds for themselves.
Children cannot. Do you imagine a ten year old having a conversation about the subtleties of Labour’s Socialism, McDonnell’s Communism, the entryism that’s been going on in the Labour Party for generations? No. They won’t even take an arbitrary lucky dip vote. Their parents will coerce them into voting for the parent’s preference.
And all the above doesn’t even begin to take into account the actual issues of brain development and maturity.
We should be worried about the indoctrinating abuse of children and their use in political vote rigging only somewhat less than psychological child abuse.
No, children should not be allowed to vote, and their parents should definitely NOT get extra votes because they have kids.
This piece by Mackenzie is idiotic. Yet she’s the director of Demos? And Carl Pilkington, sorry, Carl Miller (apologies to Carl Pilkington) is their Research Director, Centre for the Analysis of Social Media? Would you trust ANY of their output?
I can see why conspiracy theorists look to Soros. Throwing money at this bunch of clowns is top rate trolling.
Case 2 – Free Stuff Utopian Dreams
It was at this point I thought I’d have a look at Polly on Twitter. Interesting. Following what was obviously a quick lesson in economics by Labour’s John McDonnell’s free stuff promises, Polly gave it a critical eye.
Tweet – Nationalising Openreach is perfectly plausible. But why should broadband be free and not – for example – water, food, heating, clothes, all of which are rather more essential to the human condition.
You’d think Demos might have a director that have some feel for economics. Apparently not.
But, not to worry, Utopia is within reach for Polly …
Which manifesto? Only given Polly’s eagerness to indoctrinate voting children there are several to choose from.
So, for Polly’s benefit, what’s wrong with free stuff, state control and the removal of wages?
Eventually, workers don’t need money because everything is free.
But workers are then dependent on the state alone.
Result: oppression of workers that can have no independent means of survival so must comply with the state.
Check out some history. Hint: Soviet Union and its oppressed satellites; Moa’s China. The brutality of the party and the Dear Leader.
Political Utopias are no better than religious fantasies – they are used to control people.
There’s always some point in a discussion, having had a dig at Islam, there comes a necessary aside. So here it is, for future reference.
“Why do you pick on Islam? What about Sikhs, Hindus? What about Christianity?”
This question inevitably follows. I don’t only pick on Islam, but it does attract greater attention now.
Because, after a lifetime of opposing Christianity and seeing secular success in taming it, Islam has burst on the scene in the UK and undone much of the work of secular liberal progress. To the point that in support of ‘minorities’ (but not minorities within minorities – FGM victims, persecuted and killed for honour, apostates) the second largest religion in the world gets a free pass on way too much of its own bigotry.
The rhetoric of ‘Victim Islam’ (fake Islamophobia) has even contributed to many young people rejecting secular liberal values like free speech, in favour of the dangerous ‘hate speech’ laws.
It started with Blair, funding self-appointed Islamic organisations, several later shut down for their links to extremists. It has continued after 9/11, with excessive and poor attempts to ‘protect’ Muslims in the UK, with ridiculous statements like “Nothing to do with Islam”. Lies like that have only increased anti-Muslim sentiment as well as opposition to Islam.
So, yes. I oppose Christianity and Islam, explicitly. I find them both antithetical to Humanist liberal values. I won’t support their legal outlaw, or any violence against their followers. But I do oppose them and argue against their support.
As for Hindu and Sikh religions … I do criticise them, when the need arises. In the UK we occasionally have reason to criticise. But, anecdotally, personally, I find they accept the secular nature of the UK more readily. So, while I’d probably disagree with them on some grounds, I don’t know enough or find I’ve needed to know enough to make an issue of it.
Islam and Christianity are in my face constantly. Fair enough – proselytise by all means. But expect a response. And don’t think I’ll look the other way, as many police, politicians and press have done, actively, in the face of evil done in the name of or under the cover of religion.
You can tell I’m not one of the passive aggressive atheists that complain more about atheists like me, in some daft deference to religion. Religions deserve ZERO deference. They are ideologies, like any other. To be criticised and ridiculed, like any other. There is a ‘spiritual’ aspect, but religions are NOT about spirituality, but about propagating THEIR particular dogmas, politically.
There are many very nice Christians, Muslims and other religious people that follow their religion and don’t ram it down my throat, and don’t try to impose their personal ideas of sexual propriety on others (it’s always about sex). Many in my own family are like that. I’ll argue the toss over religion, if they like, but otherwise, their beliefs are their business.
I’ll even agree that some, a few, religious people are far nicer than most non-religious people. There’s a reason. Nice people are attracted to the sales pitch of religion, and naturally cherry pick just the Goldilocks parts of the doctrine. The bad people in religion I’d say were already religious, and somehow manage to convince themselves there’s no incongruity: Roman Catholic Mafia gangsters, paedophile priests. So, anyone that is seriously lacking in empathy isn’t going to be attracted to the nice religious sales pitch, and if they have no need for religion, they will boost the number of evil non-religious people: the non-religious killing regimes of Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot.
But on the whole, and very specifically too in some cases, religion is a divisive force that I oppose.
That’s how it is. I value Global Liberal Secular Democratic Humanism. Not religion. Certainly not Islam.
So, an atheist kills a bunch of religious people, and the religious can now cite an example that shows that their religion isn’t that bad after all.
Not so fast.
Atheism vs Theism
Both Atheism and Theism are simply opposing philosophical positions. Any other system’s metaphysical philosophy is ‘atheistic’ if it rejects theism.
A particular theism might be vary vague – “I believe there is one, and possibly more gods, but I don’t know whether any of the religions are true …”.
Or it might be specific yet still ‘other worldly’ – “I believe that there must have been a creator god, but I have no idea what he intends for us, and I offer no moral guidance based on my belief that there is a god.”
Or it might be committed to the variable claims about the god or gods of a particular religion, which may have many sects.
Atheism is pretty much opposition to these sorts of theism, usually on the grounds that there is no evidence or reason to believe specific claims, or support the level of hopefulness that the ‘spiritual’ seem to be clinging onto. In this respect Atheism is a negative position: it simply rejects the claim that there are gods.
Note that Atheism does not assert that there are definitely no gods.
Some atheists might assert that there are absolutely no gods, but that isn’t much better than asserting absolutely that there are gods. You might call such an atheism a ‘faith’ based atheism. But if you take the trouble to pin atheists down they generally agree that they do not hold such a strong opinion, but merely act as if they do because that’s often easier to express.
But this acting as if there are no gods is a fair position to take. Christians act as if there are no Norse gods. They act as if there are no fairies or Santa. (Note that playing along with such fantasies for the fun they provide for children isn’t acting with true belief.)
Religions are a subset of Theism …
[Agnostics may not deny the existence of god, but they don’t positively assert there are gods either.]
Religions take the basic philosophical position of theism, thinking there are some teleological entities that created our universe, and add many more specific claims:
Our god is the only god.
Our god cares about us.
Our god dictates our moral codes.
Our god wants us to punish people that don’t follow his codes.
Our god wants us to punish people that don’t believe in him.
Our god doesn’t want us to eat pig meat and thinks it a moral obligation that we don’t.
Our god wants us to punish people that have sex outside the specific type of union sanctioned by our god (monogamy for Christians, up to four wives, but one husband for Muslims)
Our god will not remarry divorcees – old school Catholic; god changes his mind sometimes; he’s fickle; or humans decide he changed his mind.
Most religious people are born into, indoctrinated into, their religion. And the religion may provide many social benefits if it’s a large religious community.
But there can also be great costs for those that simply cannot continue to believe. In some more fundamentalist communities, ex-believers can be ostracised, might suffer social and economic hardship if rejected by the community, and might even risk death. If the religion prescribes death for apostates, as is the case for Islam, then even if the religion isn’t the state authority, believers are easily persuaded to take it upon themselves.
The list of additional beliefs on top of basic theism, including the many moral prescriptions and proscriptions, is long. It depends on the religion, the sect within the religion, and the personal willingness of individuals to follow the rules of the religion.
This becomes a little tricky for the religious that try to divert criticism away from their religion, when opinions differ so widely within:
God changes his mind often, it seems, judging by how religious opinions change.
Individuals make up their own minds what they take from their religion … you’d think the religious would therefore appreciate how atheists make up their own minds about morality.
The greatest opponents to a particular religious believer’s views are … other religious people. Islamic terrorism? Many victims are other Muslims, for being the wrong type of Muslim.
The variety of religious belief is often greater than the difference between Atheism and a particular Religion. Modern Anglicans that accept secular liberal democracy, have no problem with homosexuality, even in the church, are for full gender equality, and gender identity. They have much more in common with the social and political leanings of many atheists, than with even their fundamentalist Christian brethren, let alone than with people of other faiths.
And yet, the religious stick together. It only takes the whiff of an atheist with a strong opinion for the ‘interfaith’ community to band together in offended outrage. And let anyone speak out about the Islam of the Islamic extremists and even moderate Muslims will come to Islam’s defence as much as agree with an atheist that there might be a problem with the religion.
[Update 5/12/2017] There was greater outrage that Trump retweeted a lead figure one of Britain First’s outspoken anti-Islam activists than at the content of the videos the activist posted. One was ‘fake news’, but the other two were of Muslims persecuting others. Despite the acts of the Muslims, this was actually seen as anti-Muslim bigotry. Take a moment. Here’s the upshot: every tweet condemning German neo-Nazis is anti-German bigotry; every tweet showing and condemning videos of Britain First are anti-British bigotry, and by extension, anti-Muslim bigotry, since, as is belaboured painfully, British Muslims are British. This is the state of play in 2017, where any criticism of Islam is interpreted as ‘Islamophobia’, ‘anti-Muslim bigotry’ … and yes, ‘racism’.
Political Ideologies of Hitler, Stalin, Mao, …
Whenever an atheist argues with Christians or Muslims, it’s not long before we get the Hitler, Stalin, Fascism, Nazism, Communism line thrown at us. And no matter how often it’s pointed out that this isn’t a valid argument, it still keeps on coming up. Often from the same people that have had this pointed out before.
Political ideologies can of course cross boundaries of Atheism-Theism. Christians can be socialists. In the 70s it was quite common for Islamists to lean towards socialism … maybe they hadn’t realised how far right Islam really is … or maybe they had.
And, Hitler was not an atheist. He might not have favoured the established churches that opposed his thugs, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t religious. Many Nazi ideas were based on the old Teutonic ideals of religiously motivated knights.
Communism? Don’t think that political ideology stops you believing in a personal god … it just becomes less convenient and maybe a little dangerous to admit to one, but Communism does not preclude theism.
These political ideologies tell us little about the wide variety of atheists. The Atheism that some political ideologies might embrace informs the ideology with nothing other than the fact that there is no evidence for any god.
Religious Political Ideologies
Some political ideologies are religious ones.
And most religious ideologies are political – they are inherently so because they dictate the behaviours of people, and that’s a very political thing to do. And they usually have a lot to say on social issues … not all good. Homophobia, sex outside marriage, modesty, … religions can be obsessed with sex, particularly with regard to women, and if feminism isn’t a political matter I’m not sure what is.
It is possible to believe in a religion and treat it as an entirely personal belief system that determines how you live your own life, without you making any claims about what it implies for anyone else.
But this is rare. Most religions, and especially religious organisations, are very keen on telling: religious believers how they should act; non-believers that they are anything from misguided to evil; the religious what they should do to the non-believers: killing apostates, bombing abortion clinics, punishing people for blasphemy (the modern version is imprisoning people for ‘hate speech’).
Christianity, as supposedly expressed by Jesus, is a “render unto Caesar” kind of religion – a reasonable basis of separation of church and state. However, the Catholic church in Rome put a swift stop to that. Christianity, especially through many bishops and popes, made state business very much church business. The US continues this tradition by distorting the intentions of the founding fathers and making it the godly nation the founding fathers tried to avoid – they’d seen enough of that in Europe.
Islam is very specifically, inherently, by design, a political ideology. Only Muslims can hold certain offices of state. Muslims and non-Muslims are taxed differently.
Many Muslims will try to pull a fast one by telling you that Islam insists that Muslims follow the laws of the the land in which they find themselves … where Muslims are a minority that does not hold power. But Islam also requires Muslims to spread Islam … which means it would eventually become a majority. This is why many opponents of Islam also oppose too much immigration from Muslim countries.
Of course many Muslims don’t want a dominant Islam any more than non-Muslims do. Many escape the domination of Islam of their homelands, and are quite happy to live in secular democracies where they can practice their religion in peace.
But then we also see a lot of duplicitous language from supposedly ‘moderate’ Muslims that think homosexuality should be illegal, and make excuses for their more extreme brothers and sisters (“Nothing to do with Islam”).
In Europe the atheists and secularists have been opposing the power of the church for centuries, letting the humanistic principles take precedence. There’s still plenty of religious protectionism that goes on – a refusal to give up the reigns of power, as diminished as they are. Why the heck do Bishops get seats in the UK House of Lords – and why is there even such an unelected house still?
But I’ve seen and heard much more of the stranglehold religion has in some parts of the US, where the mark of a good plumber is whether he’s a good Christian or not. “In God We Trust” – indeed they do.
So, religions are political, and as such are as fair game for criticism and ridicule as any non-religious political ideology.
And being offended when religions are criticised is just one more political tool the religious try to pull. It may be a genuine feeling, and so they try to give it moral weight. Hence, critics of Islam are labelled haters of Muslims.
But, realising that atheists tend not to be impressed by the special pleading for the religion, that atheists aren’t taken in by the piety, the hurt feelings, what are the religious to do? Compare their religion to atheism? They can’t. They are not comparable.
So, religious friends, you can’t really compare Atheism with your religion.
You can compare Atheism with Theism, if you’re talking only about the philosophy, reason, evidence, to support either case.
But you can’t compare Atheism as such with Christianity or Islam. Yes, I know that atheists argue against Christianity and Islam, but they do so on two quite separate grounds:
1 – A disagreement with the underlying theistic claims of your religion. If your religion relies on a claim that there is one or more gods, and there isn’t, then 2 is irrelevant. But, we humour you anyway and so …
2 – A disagreement with the moral assertions that you think your imaginary god has prescribed. It’s not like we disagree with all your moral positions, we just hold those we agree on for different reasons, for which we don’t need an imaginary god. But those Humanist atheists also find many of the moral guides of religion to be immoral, barbaric at times, and remnants of ancient codes of conduct prescribed at the time of the religion’s inception.
The thing is, Atheism prescribes no moral position whatsoever. It really is merely the rejection of your unsubstantiated claims about your god.
And this, of course, leads to another failure to understand atheism: “Atheists have no morals. They are nihilists.” Not so.
We have morals. We just don’t think some imaginary friend dictates them; and we very specifically reject many of the immoral codes that gods supposedly do dictate.
But you’re nearly right. it’s not our atheism that determines our morals, it’s something else.
Many atheists find other reasons for their morality – many simply acknowledging that harming others isn’t nice. People and animals don’t like to suffer harm, so we prefer to minimise that. It seems a very simple idea, but it’s amazing how far you can go with just that basic starting point. And it also avoids the need to punish people for daft reasons – such as for having sex outside marriage, for not being heterosexual, for drinking, for working on the Sabbath.
[In the UK the Shops Bill 1986 was defeated; the Sunday Trading Act 1994 eventually introduced limited Sunday trading … so strong was Christianity’s hold over British life. Now we’re finding we have to start again, with Islam.]
Many atheists want to live by their own moral ideals, and many collect these ideas about living a moral life into a set of codes. It’s not that these codes are necessary, but they are helpful in declaring some minimal set of behaviours we agree to abide by.
And one example of such a guide is the Humanist Manifesto. Take a look at it. You’ll find no diktats about women being lesser than men, or how to deal with the evil of homosexuality, or what the best way is to kill apostates. Humanists don’t have to look for ‘nuance’ and ‘scholarship’ to explain away inconvenient passages ‘revealed’ through some desert warlord or hippy.
So, if you want to carry out any comparisons I’d suggest you try these:
– Atheism vs Theism
– Humansim vs Christianity, Islam, …
You might find that many atheists tell you they don’t belong to any Humanist organisation, because they would rather not belong to any group that sets their ethical standards for them, as they can figure it out for themselves. They have a point. We are free to decide our own moral codes, and put them to the test in our societies.
My personal subscription to Humanism is one of convenience, and support for many of the programs of Humanists UK (formerly British Humanist Association).
Other atheists might join other groups of common interest, such as the many secular and skeptical societies around the world. Ex-Muslims have a shared experience that brings them together in various groups – often with the added benefit of providing a safe community to those ex-Muslims that are still at risk from their families.
Let that sink in, and imagine a child of Humanists being ostracised, forced into marriage, threatened with death, killed. I don’t know of any such incident. Has one ever made the news?
The next time you’re arguing with atheists on Twitter, they are unlikely to be Nazis. So when you pull the “What about Hitler, Stalin ..” it’s a Straw Man. If you want to argue for your religion, why don’t you try coming up with good reasons for it, not excusing the bad stuff by dragging in some irrelevant comparison.
And for pities sake, give up on trying to defend the indefensible. Your religious texts are full of ancient stuff that really doesn’t stand up to our moral standards today. Some religious passages are outright contraventions of the human rights that most people would want to sign up to. Stop defending that crap with ‘nuance’ and ‘scholarship’ – it makes you look like damned fools that are fooling no one but themselves.
And that atheist killer you want to call a terrorist because you’re sick of hearing about Islamic terrorists? Could be they are genuinely crazy, or have some motive other than their hate for religion.
And even if they carried out the heinous act because they hate religion and religious believers, there’s no Atheist Bible, and nothing in the Humanist Manifesto to suggest they should … unlike your religious books. Not even The God Delusion, Letter to a Christian Nation, or any of the New Atheist books.
If some killers that are atheists really are killing for atheism, there’s nothing in atheism, or Humanism, that can be removed that would stop them. There are no doctrines we can reject. There’s no “Believers are children of Satan” sermons going on. Pointing out the problems with religion doesn’t automatically create Atheist Killers. Sadly it does all too often create killers of atheists.
But, hey, if someone has a terrorist agenda, against believers, for atheism, then pretty much all humanist atheists will oppose them. I’ll happily denounce any such terrorists. But I won’t be able to point to any atheist texts that has incited them. I can only point to Humanist texts that are very short and very explicit in their opposition to doing harm. There is no Humanist Prophet whose example I should follow that includes his beheading of enemies.
The Humanist Manifesto is so clear in rejecting doing harm to others there’s no way you can mistakenly or otherwise derive some crazy idea that it’s a good idea to kill believers.
This cannot be said of the books of Christianity and Islam. Alongside all the lovely stuff is some seriously dark and immoral doctrine.
Look, if you want to call some atheist killer an atheist terrorist, knock yourself out. Any disagreement from atheists will be on a technicality, not for some fear of having to explain away our inconvenient texts. Let me help you out with A Guide To Terrorists For Idiots.
I’m often told, “You Should Read The Quran.” – Really? Why? Islamic specialism seems to presume I’d be enlightened by one particular holy text, but not by others.
I’m an atheist that doesn’t see any merit in holy books that claim to be inspired by or revealed by imaginary friends. I don’t swallow the presuppositional existence of a deity that such inspiration or revelation demands. There are just too many religions, and sects within religions, to make ANY of the claims credible – and there is NEVER any evidence to back up the claims. Continue reading “You Should Read The Quran – Really? Why?”→
I have been asked by a ‘liberal’ friend, “What’s your problem with Islam?”
I now have to put ‘liberal’ in scare quotes because the word no longer means what one might expect it to mean. I consider myself to be a liberal: a secular liberal democratic atheist Humanist sums up my political persuasion.
That I have to spell this out today is pretty much entirely down to the matter of Islam.
White supremacism! Eurocentrism! Murticulturalism! Western Values! …
Endorse, deplore, assert, denounce, support any of these, vociferously, emotionally? Want to promote freedom and equality without stumbling over these dilemmas? Read on.
Richard Spencer is an ‘Identitarian’, in his own terms – though not all ‘Identitarians’ are quite like Richard Spencer. He’s a white separatist; white nationalist; whatever he wants to call it; but, it’s about being white. He values ‘White European’ values.
His ideas are based on a fallacy, because what we really value, what Spencer pretends to value, is not whiteness, or anything associated with the rather poor attribution of being white. His is really an ancient tribalism, something that we acknowledge the human race went through naturally, but not something that’s worth hanging on to.
The origins of the ‘Identitarian movement‘ suggest something more specific than just being white, but rather the desire, one which many ethnic groups aspire to, to have an ethnicity and culture remain intact. Other ethnicities cling to their ‘ethnic identity’ without receiving any push back. White Identitarians (and Jews) do seem to take a lot of flack for expressing what other ethnicities do.
I’m not a ‘white Identitarian’. As you’ll see when I get to the thought experiment later. I can understand some of the concerns – they are mostly related to opposition to the political ideology of Islam. Now, that I do oppose.
The problem I have with the ‘White Identitarian’ movement is the specificity of the ‘white’ aspect. I know, it arose arose in opposition to the perceived non-white Islamification of France. However, it erroneously conflates a difference that matters, culture, with one that does not, ethnicity. I doubt very much the ‘White Identitarian’ movement would be much of a thing (outside Richard Spencer’s tiny mind) had it not been for Merkel’s open door policy. But, let’s put that aside, and focus on the fallacy of the ‘whiteness’.
When Spencer uses the qualifier ‘White European’, when referring to culture, he’s doing so to pretend to loftier things, but he’s really about nothing more than base tribalism.
What’s worth valuing is something else other than racist ‘whiteness’; or even anything specifically ‘European’, despite Europe being historically the most localised origin of what we do value … and here I presume ‘we’ value freedom and equality, though I recongnise some do not.
It sounds like (look at the url) it’s about getting the social media companies to tackle hate speech. But that begins to look like a thin disguise for a hit job … or perhaps the person being made example of is an unlucky target. That will depend on your perspective.
Christian faith starts with One who literally (that misused word) rose from the dead.
So much for the hard work of all those sophisticated theologians (h/t Jerry Coyne) that have been trying to dissuade people from reading books like The God Delusion by Dawkins, “because nobody believes it that literally”.
Literal belief is literally real.
And the depths of irony in Welby’s ‘that misused word’ has my head spinning. Here’s a summary of Christian theology
Jesus literally rose from the dead … allegorically … such that there’s no actual evidence that he did … and no real requirement to provide evidence … except that if you have faith, and believe it, it will be literally true …
And so the nonsense goes on like the endless Easter parades I used to watch as countless churches gathered and marched to bands.
Laid stone cold dead in Joseph’s tomb on Friday, on Sunday morning the tomb is empty, he is physically, bodily, tangibly alive. Why would we presume to know better than these first witnesses what took place?
Let me see …. because there were no witnesses? Because there is no evidence of witness to the death let alone any resurrection? Because a fourth century Emperor got tired of all the conflicting stories and with a bit of arguing and a game of eenie-meanie-miny-mo (there’s as much evidence of that as there is of the resurrection) chose which fairy tales would make the least implausible gospels?
Welby knows damned well how flaky Christian history is. He knows damned well that none of the gospels represent a true interpretation of what little biblical ‘original sources’ exist.
It happened: the witnesses are those who met him. Today the calling of every Christian is to be a witness to the Resurrection.
Let that sink in. “Today the calling of every Christian is to be a witness to the Resurrection” As much a ‘literally happened’ witness as any original person that happened to live around the time Jesus is supposed to have died and been resurrected … by himself.
How do you do that, resurrect yourself, when you’re dead without not really being dead, as in dead dead, not an undeadable deity pretending to be dead? God did it? But Jesus IS God? Miracle! Maybe Harry Potter is literally true by the same sort of miracle.
The idiocy of Christian belief is palpable – and a damned sight more literal than the theological nonsense.
In our reading from Acts, Peter speaks of events that are only a couple of years in the past … It was a testimony easily checked, easily dismissed.
No it is not easily checked. This is an utter lie. There is no way to check that. Even if there were multiple records that were used as evidence that Peter actually said what he is supposed to have said, that would be no verification whatsoever that what he said was true – it would be hearsay, nothing more. Likewise Josephus, that supposed ‘witness’ to Christian truths that merely told us what Christians were telling someone else. Hearsay!
We are used to facts being contested. We are even used to facts being reduced to the level of opinion. So individualised are our news cycles that our opinions are in themselves the only facts that seem to count. However, what brings the faithful out to worship in Tanta and Alexandria is truth. It happened. The resurrection is an event which – although never experienced before or since – changes everything because it happened.
This is an unbelievably stupid thing to say. It happened because Welby and a bunch of other gullible or dishonest people proclaim that it did. He has nothing else.
Events claimed to be fact are reduced to opinion when there is no evidence to support the claim that the events took place. Just as in the case of the resurrection, or the cruciFICTION, or most other stories about Jesus. So many are so obviously trumped up they out-trump Trump.
You know what this bit is …?
However, what brings the faithful out to worship in Tanta and Alexandria is truth. It happened.
That’s an infant mind throwing it’s toys and stamping its feet because it can’t have its own way. That’s all that is. It really is that childish a statement, especially in the context of the paragraph as a whole.
We atheists often point out how Islamism, the politicised Islam, is actually plain old Islam, because Islam is a political religion. But next we have Welby making the political claim for Christianity:
Yet it was not on the lists of important dates for me to learn at school. It is not in the politics text books, although it defines the aims and ends of politics. It is not in the economics lessons, although economics is transformed by it. It is not in the geography courses, although human geography was changed more by this than any event that has ever happened. It is not on courses at military academies, although war and peace are judged by it.
He’ll be asking to ‘teach the controversy’ of of Design over Evolution next, the dimwit.
Bear that in mind when political leaders that are religious tell you they are ‘informed’ by their religion but don’t let it interfere with their politics. Looking at you, Tim Farron, my dear leader of the Liberal Democrats. [I may be a bit harsh on poor old Tim, but I’d rather keep imaginary friends right out of politics.]
And talking of political Islam, here’s Welby’s back stabbing ode to it … inter-faith respect, my arse.
The greatest mystery is that the greatest event went almost unnoticed and spread to conquer the known world without drawing a sword, without taking a life, winning an election or starting a campaign.
Welby headed his sermon with references to St George’s church Tanta and St Mark’s church Alexandria, sites of Islamist killing of Christians. No such barbarity from Christianity! … except …
Actually, it’s no mystery that the ‘greatest event’ went almost unnoticed. It didn’t happen. And neither is it a mystery that it ‘spread to conquer the known world without drawing a sword’, because of course swords were well and truly drawn in its spread, from the early Roman emperors converted to Christianity, through warring popes and kings and queens, and on through the western empires that that forced Christianity on the wider world. A bit like Islam really, just better at it … so far. Heads up!
At the resurrection the world did not merely shift, a new world emerged in embryo …
Funny that nobody noticed until many years later, with many twists to the tales. Just like a myth, really.
Consider the women; they thought death ruled, that despair had conquered, that stones could not be moved. They were wrong on everything. Death was conquered, despair fled, the stone was rolled away.
This is what the religious do. They feign doubt, talk about opinions, present objections as if unimportant, … and then go right on an act as if it’s all totally documented, triple signed and on record, with photographic evidence that has passed umpteen tests for photoshop trickery true.
Because God acted and raised Jesus everything is different: we know the truth about God, through the resurrection.
Stupid, stupid, stupid. Did I say stupid? This little circle is tighter than Jesus’s sphincter when the nails went in.
Look, you cannot have a supposed revelation (in a book, the word of a person, or the content of a myth) that claims to be the source of its own truth.
If liar came up to you and said, “Hi, I tell the truth. I never lie.” And then a truthful person came up to you and said, “Hi, I tell the truth. I never lie.” How would you know which was telling the truth? How would you even know they were not actually both liars, if all you had to go on was that I told you one of them was telling the truth … you’d then be relying on me telling the truth too … and so it goes. This rhetoricaly BS from Welby is stupid … did I say that?
“This is the holy book. Revealed by God. To the man. The man that is handing it to you now. A book in which it tells you that God is real, and that did the revealing, … a book that totally wasn’t made up by the man. … honest!”
More on that topic … The Liar’s Holy Book – Your book, your god’s revelation, cannot contain the proof of the truth of its own claims. You have to presuppose a god that does the revealing; and a presupposition isn’t proof of anything, it’s you making shit up.
After a couple of paragraphs of more mumbo jumbo meaningless Alice in Wonderland prose, Welby comes up with this:
But be under no illusion, this is utterly counter to how the world runs itself, and so we live in the now of a world in which the resurrection has happened, and the not yet of a world where there is still evil.
Illusion? It’s not an illusion. It’s a fully fledged and taken flight of fantasy delusion.
But, the words Jesus says on that first Easter day he says to you and me now; ‘Do not be afraid’….
But of course there is no known record of Jesus having said anything.
There is only one finality: Jesus the crucified one is alive. … blah-dy-blah-dy-blah … joy and light in the face of suffering bullshit … blah-dy blah … it happened, Jesus is alive.
Here’s Justin welby as a little girl explaining his theology:
In arguments with theists and in the books of theologians the theists often proclaim we atheists don’t udnerstand God. Well, it’s a fair comment since theists don’t understand god either – they are inconsistent about it, and often provide really poor explanations of what they mean by ‘god’.
The funny thing is that while making such a claim about why they are not understood, they also go on to tell us what atheism is. They are very often dead wrong.
This is a short and simple explanation, for theists.
Kinds of Atheist
It is worth remembering that the only meaning to ‘atheism’ that makes sense is what is often termed the pejoratively ‘Dictionary Atheism’.
The trouble is that ‘atheism’ really is simply ‘a-theism’, the rejection of assertions of theists for lack of supporting evidence, or reason, for their theism.
Unfortunately ‘atheism’ doesn’t give us the slightest clue about what else one thinks. Here are some some systems and modes of living that are atheistic:
– Humanist – (capital H). Of course the religious can be ‘humanistic’ (small h), but Humanism is a system of principles that relies on evidence and reason and sees nothing that convinces us there are any gods. That’s the reason Humanism is atheistic. If it ever turns out there is a god remotely like the gods we are told about by most religions then Humanists will probably oppose such a god’s oppressive and cruel nature.
– Secularism – This is often mistaken for atheism, but it isn’t. It simply means conforming to the principle of separation of the state from religious institutions. Religious people can be secularists. The benefit of secularism when embraced by the state is that it avoids the state favouring any particualr religions. The USA was supposed to be a secular state, but the religious have managed to get god on the bank notes, and prayers where they are not supposed to be. Of course conservative Chrisitans in the USA don’t like secularism, so they conflate it with atheism, and imply that a secular state is an atheist state … like Communism (next). It’s a means of bad mouthing atheism by lying about it – so much for the moral principles of the religious.
– Marxist Communist – Since this system included a perspective on religion that wasn’t particularly favourable it is atheistic in nature. Further, it’s the go-to example of the horrors of Communism, but thos same horrors are then attributed to atheism. But there is nothing in actual a-theism, the rejection of theism, that requires any additional belief. Of course you could be a Communist and religious, if you take the socialist political ideology and marry it with a belief in god. Many Christian Democrats and Socialists seem to manage this quite well – up to a point. Nevertheless, the lie that atheism = Communism is a common one among the religious.
– New Atheism – This was a term attributed to a few atheists that became more outspoken about the atrocities that had occurred in the name of religion, which rose to greater prominance on 11th September 2001. Not that Islam hadn’t been throwing up examples of extremism and terrorism prior to that. With the rise of the internet religious nuts across the USA were also getting more air time, volunteering their views of being exposed for them. New Atheism was first a reactionary term from the religious that didn’t like the ‘stridency’ or Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris. Many movements that that are given pejoritive labels go on to embrace them, such use of the term ‘queer’ byt the gay community. Even when New Atheists like Dawkins explained they weren’t particulary fond of the label, they were just atheists that spoke out against the religions, they pretty much had to accept it.
– Atheist+ – This an other variations came about when some atheists decided atheism needed to be more than just, well, atheism. Why? We already have Humanism. The real reason this happened was that a few spats occurred among atheists, with those that didn’t like the ‘stridency’ or Hitchens and Harris. When Dawkins upset them with his ‘Dear Muslima’ letter he became another target. Most were in or around the Free Though Blogs crowd, particular Myers. He went on to gather around him some of the nastiest atheists I’ve come across.
– Sceptics – These are often atheists, but apply the scepticism they have for religion to other cults and myths. James Randi has been a prominent figure, and Center for Inquiry a leading organisation in the early 2000s.
So, all you need to know is that atheism is the rejection of the claims of theists, which inevitably means they reject the claims of organised religions like Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, etc. Particular atheists might focus one one or more religions, depending on their intersts and experience.
You’ll often hear, “You criticise X religion, why not Y?” Mostly when Western atheists are criticisng Islam: “You criticise Islam, why not Christianity?” Well, we do. But globally, Islam has attracted lots of cricism for the number of Islamic terrorists it manages to inspire, the dreadful way it treats women, not just in Islamic states but in the West, and for the inherent antisemitism that has infected it since Mohammed’s time. So, yeah, some of us criticise Christianity, but do focus a lot on Islam, with plenty of justification. We also support ex-Muslims, many of whom become atheists, though not all do.
Measures of Atheism
There are measures of atheistic claims that range from bad to good.
1 – “I know there is no god. I can just tell. I have a sense for it. I KNOW!” – Such claims to certain knowledge based on no evidence or reason are really inadequate, and such people are best ignored, unless you want to help them overcome their certainty. The same applies for the religious that claim ‘sensus divinitatis’ – i.e. Alvin Plantinga.
2 – “I see no evidence of God, so I know there can’t be one. I have faith that there isn’t one.” – Faith is a really poor reason for believing anything, and that applies to atheists too. Of course, they do base that faith on there being no evidence for god, while believers use faith in spite of there being no evidence of a god; so at least they are not that bad.
3 – “I can prove there is no god.” – I doubt it. It’s hard to say whether this is better or worse than faith based atheism. Probably worse in an intelligent person because you know they don’t have a good grasp on reality; slightly less an indictment of a poorly educated person duped into thinking you can prove such things – at least there’s hope they might learn.
4 – “There is no evidence or reason for god – and that’s the only way we know there isn’t one. On that basis I claim there really isn’t one.” – This isn’t that bad. It’s quite pragmatic. It’s only flaw is a technical one: in matters of philosophy and metaphysics you shouldn’t really make solid claims based on the lack of evidence or reason so far. You might be prepared to bet your shirt on there being no god. See next.
5 – “There is no evidence or reason for god – and that’s why it’s reasonable to act ‘as if’ there isn’t a god. It’s reasonable to NOT pretend that religious claims there is one should give credence to the supposed moralistic demands of this unevidence god. … [and so on].” – This is the only strictly logical position to take, though it’s still pragmatically reasonable to take the previous position.
Arguing With Atheists
For the theist making statements like this:
These atheist fundies act exactly like traditional religious fundies in every way, and yet they deny their religion
they really need to come to terms with the fact that they are likely to be arguing with atheists in 4 or 5.
Atheism really isn’t like a religion – unless you stumble upon the rare 1, 2 or 3, but then if there’s a discussion going on rather than a shouting match you’re probably not interacting with one of those.
Some more points a theist my want to consider when engaging with some atheists: My Atheism.
What links the BBC News channel, a prime BBC program & reporter, Victoria Derbyshire, with Catrin Nye, the BBC Asian Network, and a shoddy piece of ‘research’ by Demos and their claims to have exposed 7,000 Islamophobic tweets right after the Nice Westernphobia* Kaffarphobia* attack in Nice?
*All aboard the phobia bandwagon.
The BBC News is the BBC’s TV dedicated news channel. Pretty important, the best of BBC news reporting, you’d think.
When that channel gives over a two hour chunk to one programme, that bears the name of the main presenter, Victoria Derbyshire, you think they’d invested in a pretty reliable and thorough journalist, right?