Polly Toynbee on the poisoned heart of religion *

Sep 14th, 2010 | Filed by

Only by suppressing women can priests and imams hold down the power of sex, the flesh and the devil.… Read the rest

Are you calling the pope a witch?

Sep 13th, 2010 6:26 pm | By

The Freethinker tells us of an unusually idiotic outburst even for the Institute of Ideas (which is a refuge for the old Living Marxism gang, who apparently converted from “Revolutionary Communism” to libertarianism as a group and overnight) and Claire Fox. It’s about how the (wait for it) new atheists are demonizing that nice man the pope and (yes really) engaging in a witch hunt.

A New Atheist witch-hunt – in stark contrast to their own professed views on tolerance.

What professed views on tolerance? I, for one, have said many times that I don’t believe in blanket “tolerance”; it depends what is being tolerated and what the tolerance consists in. I don’t profess to tolerate everything. I don’t think … Read the rest

God, Goodness and Morality

Sep 13th, 2010 | By Leo Igwe

An opening address delivered by Leo Igwe at the 2nd Annual conference of the Free Society Institute of South Africa, co-hosted  by the International Humanist and Ethical Union.

Date: September 11 2010 Venue Cape Milner Hotel, Cape Town South Africa

Once again the FSI has demonstrated its commitment to the mission of promoting free thought and free speech in South Africa. Last year we all met in this hall for the first conference of this Institute co-hosted by the International Humanist and Ethical Union. And I must say that last year’s event remains one of the best humanist programs I have attended in Africa. I was deeply impressed by the quality of the presentations, debates, and discussions. I was inspired … Read the rest

“Institute for Ideas” calls “new” atheists witch hunters *

Sep 13th, 2010 | Filed by

Says we should tolerate the pope, complains of hysterical demonization of religious groups.… Read the rest

The attempt to proffer God-conscious responses

Sep 13th, 2010 12:26 pm | By

No really, it’s all been a big misunderstanding. Sharia is

  • not just one thing
  • a matter of ideals rather than law
  • a matter of interpretation
  • subject to change
  • not all that much about punishment
  • full of rules about evidence that make punishment notional
  • inspiring

See? Totally reassuring, right? And all those women being whipped or stoned in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Afghanistan and the like are just having some kind of mass hallucination, because sharia is nice so that kind of thing couldn’t happen.

In short, shariah includes the attempt to proffer God-conscious responses to an ever-changing reality. And in this capacity, many of its rules are subject to change with changes in the circumstances to which it

Read the rest

Ireland: science minister backs anti-evolution book *

Sep 13th, 2010 | Filed by

Conor Lenihan, Ireland’s Minister of State for Science, is to launch a friend’s book that describes evolution as a scientific hoax.… Read the rest

Remember us! a letter from Ashtiani’s children *

Sep 13th, 2010 | Filed by

“We don’t really know what would have become of us if we didn’t have Mr. Kian in Iran, and you abroad.”… Read the rest

Maryam Namazie asks: whose culture? *

Sep 13th, 2010 | Filed by

Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani’s culture (educated until 5th grade) who ‘wants to live’ or that of the Islamic regime of Iran that wants to kill her?… Read the rest

Fella says sharia is just fine *

Sep 13th, 2010 | Filed by

“Rules on such things as adultery or fornication function almost entirely as moral exhortations.” Oh really?… Read the rest


Sep 12th, 2010 4:30 pm | By

Obama says we are one nation under god. But we’re not. That’s factually incorrect.

  1. Not all of us are under god. I’m not. Lots of people I know are not. We don’t think there is any god to be under; we don’t think there is any good reason to think there is any god to be under; we wouldn’t be under it even if we did think it existed.
  2. The government doesn’t get to order us to be under god. It doesn’t get to enlist us into the party of those under god. It is none of the government’s business whether or not we are under god. We get to not be under god if we want to; that
Read the rest

Iran: women on the frontline of the fight for rights *

Sep 12th, 2010 | Filed by

“”They were at the very forefront, leading the chanting of the slogans,” notes Maryam Namazie.… Read the rest

Edge remembers George C Williams *

Sep 12th, 2010 | Filed by

“One of the most brilliant writers in the history of science,” says Steven Pinker.… Read the rest

Why even atheists are defensive about Islam *

Sep 12th, 2010 | Filed by

And a terrific shout-out for the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain.… Read the rest

Nick Cohen: societies without god are more benevolent *

Sep 12th, 2010 | Filed by

If the denunciations of wicked atheists coming from today’s apologists for religion are any guide, the spirit of Iron Age Israel is abroad now.… Read the rest

Beware of people who want to “make room” for things

Sep 11th, 2010 4:54 pm | By

For yet more illiberal bullying from theists and friends-of-theists, you could do worse than to read the comments on this post at the feminist site The F-Word. The post is about C of E priest Miranda Threllfall-Jones saying gosh darn it Jesus was a big ol’ feminist and anyone who says he wasn’t is just a big poopy-head. Our friend Amy Clare, who has written for the F-Word, wrote the first comment to say 1. there is no evidence that Jesus was a feminist and 2. what does it matter anyway? There was some agreement and some disagreement, and then there was a temper tantrum by an outraged entitled Christian.

I am so fed up of people, mostly

Read the rest

Bend the knee or else

Sep 11th, 2010 1:13 pm | By

Yet more astonishingly illiberal bilge, this time from the “rabbinical adviser” of the Jewish Society at Yale – at Yale, generally considered a liberal university in all senses of the word. Yet here is what he has to say:

The president of the United States, like all citizens of this great country, has the right to follow the religion of his or her heart and conscience. As long as our leader pursues peace and justice through faith in the one G-d of us all, a believing president should not only be tolerated but welcomed.

Oh. So if “our leader” fails to have “faith in the one G-d of us all” then an unbelieving president should not be tolerated, … Read the rest

On a sermon at Duke University chapel

Sep 11th, 2010 12:12 pm | By

Guest post by Eric MacDonald

Take the point that he makes just at the end, where he speaks of Jeremiah’s idea of god making constant adaptations. He speaks of the vessel broken in the potter’s hands, and then he says this:

This is the story of Israel: the vessel was broken, the covenant was spoiled, and God made something beautiful by fashioning it into a pot shaped around the Jew named Jesus.

Notice how he simply runs the Jewish scriptures and the Christian Jesus together, without acknowledging the theft, without even acknowledging that Jesus has nothing to do with Jeremiah’s potter, nor with the story of Israel. That was a Christian structure built on Jewish foundations, a clear act of … Read the rest

Yale rabbi says “faith” is mandatory for a president *

Sep 11th, 2010 | Filed by

“Faithlessness and nihilism are the greatest threats to humanity, and a leader who believes in nothing becomes Hitler, Stalin, Mao or Pol Pot.”… Read the rest

Ratzinger on Hawking: we totally love the dude *

Sep 11th, 2010 | Filed by

Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks says we always knew about the gravity thing but we weren’t supposed to tell.… Read the rest

Stoning is not such a great idea *

Sep 11th, 2010 | Filed by

It is the law in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Pakistan, Yemen, the United Arab Emirates, and the 12 Muslim-majority states of northern Nigeria.… Read the rest