Over at OzAtheist, yet another apologist is telling me how in the absence of God-belief I have no basis for morality

13 11 2008

Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, two men soaked in God-belief sprayed acid on two schoolgirls.

[UPDATE

And in Somalia, 50 men soaked in God-belief buried a 13-year-old girl up to her neck and threw rocks at her head until she was dead. This occurred in a stadium in front of about 1000 god-soaked spectators. Her crime? She had been gang-raped by three men while traveling on foot to see her grandmother, and attempted to report the incident to the local authorities . . . the local authorities being the Islamist al-Shabab militia. They promptly accused her of adultery, and she was sentenced to death in a Sharia court.]

Link to the OzAtheist post, if you’re interested.





Things they’d have difficulty believing in Salt Lake City XXIII

1 08 2008

Two weeks in fundie . . .

  1. This is an old one, but the title of this World Net Daily article says it all: “Soy is making kids ‘gay.’” (Via Fundies Say the Darndest Things)
  2. Nigerian diners see the name of Allah in a piece of gristle. (Via Fundies Say the Darndest Things)
  3. From September, taxpayer-funded “faith schools” in Britain will be able to reserve head-teacher positions for religious teachers and “and voluntary aided schools [will be able to] require some non-teaching staff to follow a religion.” (British Humanist Association)
  4. Remember Council Nedd and his In God We Trust organisation? They’re urging Barack Obama to condemn the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s “Imagine No Religion” billboards. In God We Trust, which is responsible for a billboard campaign asking “Why Do Atheists Hate America?,” describes the “Imagine No Religion” billboards as “hateful.” (CNSNews)
  5. Britain’s Chief Rabbi blames declining religious belief for “the spread of depression, stress, eating disorders and drug and alcohol abuse.” Because religion causes you to do good things, and nonbelief causes you to do bad things. It’s so simple! (Mail)
  6. The Confraternity of Catholic Clergy is Commanding Contrition from PZ Myers for his Communion Cracker Crucifixion. (Pharyngula)
  7. US organisation Pray At The Pump claims that petrol prices have fallen below $4 a gallon because they (*posthoc* . . . sorry, just had to clear my throat) prayed for it to happen. (Norwich Bulletin)
  8. A poll of Muslim students at British universities suggests that almost a third think that killing in the name of religion is justified, a third support a worldwide Islamic caliphate, and about a quarter believe that men and women are not equal in the name of Allah. (Guardian)
  9. Women were excluded from participating in a parliamentary choir at a special sitting of the Israeli Knesset, held in order to welcome British PM Gordon Brown, in order to placate the cherished beliefs of Haredi parliamentarians. ““I am the director-general of all MKs,” said the Director-General of the Knesset, “and I don’t have any wish to cause situations that would make MKs get up and leave.” Because bigots have feelings, too. (Haaretz)
  10. And bigots with delicate sensitivities that must under no circumstances be upset by inadvertent contact with filthy evil menstruating women, also ride buses. That’s why Egged, Israel’s largest bus company, is continuing to maintain sex-segregation on routes that pass through Haredi districts, where women must sit at the back and men sit at the front. This is in spite of a 2006 incident in which a 50-year-old Canadian woman, on her way to pray at the Western Wall, was set upon by the local Taliban “modesty patrol” who punched, kicked, slapped and pushed her when she refused to sit at the rear of an Egged bus. (All well in keeping with the thesis that religious faith is a prerequisite for moral behaviour, as you can see.) (Jerusalem Post)




Things they’d have difficulty believing in Salt Lake City XX

29 06 2008

Machine Gun Keyboard‘s take on World Youth Day

The week in fundie . . .

  1. Three years after Campus Crusade for Christ spammed the incoming mail of Australian school principals with the creationist propaganda DVD The Privileged Planet, Focus on the Family is doing the same in New Zealand. But whereas the then Australian Education Minister Brendan Nelson welcomed the prospect of creationism being taught in Australian schools “if that is the wish of parents,” the New Zealand Education ministry maintains “the theory of evolution underpins the science curriculum and schools have a responsibility to teach theories that are subject to accepted scientific scrutiny.” According to the NZ Christian newspaper Weekly Challenge, The Discovery Institute’s Jay Richards and Guillermo Gonzalez (authors of The Privileged Planet) will be conducting a speaking tour of that country in October and November to, as the paper puts it, “strengthen our belief in an intelligent and amazing Designer.” Not that Intelligent Design has anything to do with religion, you understand. (Via Pharyngula)
  2. In Ghana, 34-year-old Yussif Abdullarahman killed one of his wives by hitting her on the head with a blunt object and pouring acid over her body because, as he claimed, “she was a witch.” (Happy 98.9 FM)
  3. In the Indian state of Jharkand, three members of a family were beaten to death with bamboo sticks and iron rods after being accused of practising witchcraft. According to Thaiindian News, “over 700 people, mostly women, have been killed over the past few years in Jharkhand after being branded as witches.”
  4. The Anti-Christ will be a German Jew, according to UK Pentecostalist sect RedSky Ministries. Read the rest of this entry »




Things they’d have difficulty believing in Salt Lake City XVI

2 06 2008

The week in fundie . . .

  1. Bartholomew’s Notes on Religion reports on calls from within the evangelical wing of the Church of England to convert British Muslims, on the grounds that “Our nation is rooted in the Christian faith and that is the basis of welcoming people of other faiths,” and despite the fact that in the nineties the Church leadership distanced itself from an organisation established to evangelise Jews (a point on which the evangelicals, Bartholomew notes, remain silent).
  2. The Spanish Inquisition Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has decreed that “anyone trying to ordain a woman and any woman who attempts to receive the ordination would incur automatic excommunication” from the Catholic Church. Kiddy-fiddlers are still welcome, however. (Yahoo News)
  3. When it comes to the separation of church and state and the issue of whether there should be a religious test for public office in the US, Democrat member of the Indiana State House of Representatives David “Dave” Cheatham doesn’t beat around the bush. He argues that “Any public official should have as a top priority the goal of serving God and living a life as a witness for Jesus.” The separation of church and state is, for Cheatham, a “one-way street”:

    Religion and faith should be able to affect government policies and practices, but government should not interfere with legitimate religions. Restricting prayer in school and the reading of the Bible and the Ten Commandments was never intended to be the affect of the 1st amendment. Government has over-stepped their authority. Government’s relation to religion should be one of “benevolent neutrality.”

    “Benevolent neutrality,” means neutrality towards the religions Cheatham is prepared to recognise.

    government should not be used to favor a particular religion over another as long as the religion is a legitimate faith with the belief in God. Cults and other pseudo-religions are not really religions in my mind.

    Via Fundies Say the Darndest Things.

  4. Villagers in Orissa, India bound and gagged a woman they accused of being a witch, dragged her from her home to the local crematorium, and burnt her alive. This happened last week. It happens to dozens of Indian women every year. (Reuters)
  5. At an Anonymous rally in Glasgow, police ordered protesters to take down placards labelling Scientology a cult. Similar action was taken against a protester in London last month. (Sunday Herald)
  6. According to Jason Leopold at OpEdNews, some US soldiers are distributing Bibles and other fundamentalist Christian material translated into Arabic to thousands of Iraqi Muslims, in order to convert them to Christianity. Members of the 101st Airborne Division have been provided with a special military edition of Bible Pathway Ministries‘ Daily Devotional bible study book, and are using them, according to an officer in the division, “to minister to the local residents.” Elaborating upon this blatant violation of the Establishment Clause, Chief Warrant Officer Rene Llanos explains that “We need to pray for protection for our soldiers as they patrol and pray that God would continue to open doors. The soldiers are being placed in strategic places with a purpose. They’re continuing to spread the Word.”
  7. In the Filipino province of Leyte, the Catholic Church is considering tithing in order to keep its parishes afloat financially. This is in a country in which 26.9 percent of families were deemed to be living below the poverty line in 2006. (Inquirer.net)
  8. How much irony can you pack into one story? ABC News Online reports that moderate Muslims rallying in Jakarta in favour of religious tolerance have been attacked . . . by baton-wielding radical Muslims. The moderates were protesting against Indonesian government plans to ban the Ahmadiyah sect, considered heretical by many other Muslims. Read the rest of this entry »




The Bill Muehlenberg Trophy: Iftikhar Ahmad

29 05 2008

Iftikhar Ahmad of the London School of Islamics has (it appears) been spamming blogs and discussion boards with an essay arguing for the state-funding of Islamic schools in the UK as a way of improving the academic lot of British Muslim children. He prophesies that “A day will come when all Muslim children will attend state funded Muslim schools with bilingual Muslim teachers as role model [sic].”

I want to begin by acknowledging the least objectionable, and in some cases semi-reasonable elements of his argument. Islamic schools are not just faith schools, he contends: they are also bilingual schools.

Bilingual Muslim children need to learn standard English to follow the National Curriculum and go for higher studies and research to serve humanity.

Agreed. And I would add the obvious point that proficiency in English will enable these children to function as productive citizens and workers in Anglophone societies like the UK.

They need to be well versed in Arabic to recite and understand the Holy Quran.

Hmmm . . . OK. If a knowledge of Arabic affords one an enriched understanding of Islam and the Koran, and facilitates a critical/heuristic approach to the religion, then by all means should these kids learn Arabic. If the aim is to inculcate a submissive, dogmatic approach, whereby the main objective is for the kids to learn the text by rote, then I can’t see why the UK Government should embrace that as a funding priority.

They need to be well versed in Urdu and other community languages to keep in touch with their cultural roots and enjoy the beauty of their literature and poetry.

Again, that seems valid to me, but there seem to be cognitive advantages to multilingualism that are (in my view) even more important than keeping immigrant children in touch with their cultural roots (not that the latter isn’t a valuable objective). Moreover, as Ahmad rightly points out: “A Muslim is a citizen of this tiny global village.” (Underline the words “global” and “village” here. They will become important later on.) Read the rest of this entry »





Things they’d have difficulty believing in Salt Lake City XIV (updated)

12 05 2008

The week in fundie . . .

  1. No doubt by now you’ve all heard tell of “Sister Mary Bernadett” and “Bishop John Peter Bushey,” who left a dead woman to rot on the toilet in their house. The two have been charged with causing mental harm to a child, after they tried to convince a boy living in the house that “demons” were making it appear as if the decomposing woman was dead, and that if she (the deceased, that is) prayed hard enough she would return to life. (Via Pharyngula)
  2. Sean the Blogonaut blogs on the cultish activities of another Mercy Ministries-style faith-based rehab service: Teen Challenge.
  3. Christian Right leaders in the US are getting awfully uncomfortable about Senate investigations into the finances of certain “mega-ministries”–Benny Hinn, for example, pays no taxes on his seven-bathroom eight-bedroom home because he calls it a “parsonage– and have adopted a time-honoured counterstrategy: wailing about Christian persecution. (Bartholomew’s Notes on Religion)
  4. Bartholomew also blogs on the upcoming carnival of stupid in California involving Creationists and Christian Zionists.
  5. In Malaysia, a religious court has allowed a woman to deconvert from Islam. Don’t applaud: she needed a court’s permission to deconvert. (BBC)
  6. In the Indian state of Gujarat, you’re facing a year in prison for conversion to another religion unless you tell the District Magistrate the time and date of your conversion, the length of time you followed your previous religion, and the reason for your conversion. (Inspire)
  7. The Observer reports on Yemen, “the worst place on earth to be a woman.”




Things they’d have difficulty believing in Salt Lake City XII

29 04 2008

The week in fundie:

  1. Firstly, kudos to Petro Georgiou for his opposition to the Australian citizenship test, an icon of that other but equally virulent form of magical thinking: flag-waving jingoistic nationalism. On the test itself: what Ninglun said. On the fat lot of good this artefact of Howard-era dogwhistle politics has done: “Just 16,024 migrants applied to be citizens between January and March, compared with 38,850 at the same time last year.” (The Age)
  2. The fundamentalist war on women in “liberated” Iraq: how the sharia-based Iraqi constution enables honour killings. (The Independent)
  3. In Pakistan, the anti-blasphemy law enabled Muslim workers in a Karachi leather factory to beat a Hindu worker to death for “defiling the name of the prophet.” They beat him for half an hour. The assailants were charged with . . . (get this) . . . “failure to inform the police that blasphemy was underway.” Now the victim’s family is in danger. (AsiaNews)
  4. Meanwhile, the Pakistan National Assembly unanimously passed resolutions calling upon the Dutch and Danish governments to prosecute Dutch MP and filmmaker Geert Wilders, and urged the UN to “take legal, political and administrative measures to ensure respect for all religions in these societies.” (Pakistan Link)
  5. The Pope’s war on liberal democracy: Benedict urges US bishops to continue heavying Catholic politicians, demanding that they place religious dogma above their responsibilities to the people that elected them. (US News)
  6. The bishops appear to be listening. (New York Times)
  7. Everything you need to know about Expelled (short of watching it) you can find at The Bad Idea Blog. If you’re still not satisfied, visit Expelled Exposed.
  8. Christian students take a stand in favour of anti-gay bigotry and bullying in schools. (Baptist Press News)

The latest Pat Condell








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