God and Disaster

A C Grayling has written a few thoughts that are well worth pondering over, here is an extract.

One thinks with sorrow of the hundreds of thousands whose lives have been horrendously lost or affected by the great Japanese earthquake and tsunami, which will put a black mark against this year 2011 in the annals, coming so soon after the earthquake that hit Christchurch in New Zealand. The events are almost certainly linked tectonically, reminding us of the vast forces of nature that are normal for the planet itself but inimical to human life, especially when lived dangerously close to the jigsaw cracks of the earth’s surface.

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Shahbaz Bhatti assassinated

The sad report in the International Herald Tribune reads as follows … Federal Minister for Minority affairs Shahbaz Bhatti was killed in the I-8/3 area of Islamabad on Wednesday morning by three unidentified gunmen. According to reports, the Tehrik-i-Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack on the minister. Screen captures of the pamphlet can be viewed here. … Read more

UK Census Guidance from an Anglican priest

The Anglican priest, George Pitcher, writes in today’s Telegraph some truly bizarre guidance for folks to consider when filling out the 2011 census forms in the UK. As you might expect, its all focused on the Infamous Question 10 … the religious one. Apparently, according to him, the British Humanist Association is not being “fair” because it is about to launch its campaign to stop respondents to the ten-yearly national Census on 27 March saying they’re religious when thy are not.

To that I say WTF … the BHA are not being “fair”??

He also claims that the New Atheists have been beside themselves with rage since the 2001 Census, when 72 per cent of people in England described themselves as Christian. Now that deserves a second WTF … rage?

He appears to be simply making this stuff up, but then when you consider that his full-time career involves the propagation of a superstitious fantasy for which there is not one jot of evidence, I guess I should not be surprised to find him making more stuff up.

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Are you a Jedi knight?

Yep its that glorious once in a decade UK moment when we all have the joy of filling in the census forms that allow us to declare our details for future historians to churn through and turn into a Ph.D or two. To translate, its the moment when vast swathes of the UK population declare themselves to be Jedi Knights.

Now least you wonder about this and don’t understand, but instead scratch your head muttering WTF, well let me explain. Most normal populations have folks who simply tick the “No Religion” box, but here we delight in doing what is best described as “talking the piss” out of this entire process.

Back in 2001 during the last UK census, over 400,000 people declared themselves to be Jedi. The net effect is that its now an official UK religion, and not just a tiny one, but the fourth largest, bigger than Judaism, even bigger than Buddhism.

Its caught on, others are at it now. Here is a link to a site in NZ that encourages folks there to declare their Jedi faith. They explain …

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Tea Party = Religions Kooks

If you drink the mainstream media cool-aid then you would perceive the Tea party to be focused on economic reform and are a welcome break from the previous incarnation of conservative thinking that was clearly very religious. Ah but who funds them? Some of the deepest pockets behind Tea Party groups such as Americans for Prosperity, FreedomWorks and Citizens for a Sound Economy belong to the Koch brothers. They are radical libertarians who don’t seem to care much one way or another about traditional social conservatism, but in fact, they have given quietly  more than a hundred million dollars to right-wing causes.

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Is freedom a religious or secular idea?

Paula Kirby has written a fabulous and thought provoking article in Today’s Washington Post. Paula, like myself, is a former Christian, so she can view this from all sides. Here is how it starts …

Is freedom a religious idea? As John McEnroe would have said, “You cannot be serious.”

If you value freedom, you should flee from religion as the antelope flees the lion. Religion is the very antithesis of freedom, insisting on our complete subjugation to the unachievable demands of an invisible but supremely powerful overlord. Think of Islam, whose very name means ‘submission’! Think of Christianity, which claims it is disobedience that brought original sin into the world, with all that entails in terms of suffering and injustice and even earthquakes and tsunamis. Imagine! To claim that human obedience is so imperative that the purposes of an omnipotent deity and the very fabric of the planet, if not the whole universe, depend upon it and can be catastrophically disrupted at the first whiff of rebellion – and then to claim that such a religion is the source of human freedom!

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