Saturday, 26 April 2008

Hate Speech in the Quran

2.10: Disbelievers are diseased.
2.88 Allah has cursed them for their unbelief.
2.89 The curse of Allah is on disbelievers.
2.99 Disbelievers are evil.
2.104 For disbelievers is a painful doom.
2.121 Disbelievers are losers.
2.171 Disbelievers are deaf dumb and blind.
3.28 Believers should not take disbelievers for their friends.
3.73And do not believe except as those who follow your religion.
3.118 Muslims Take not as friends those outside your religion (pagans, Jews, Christians, and hypocrites) since they will not fail to do their best to corrupt you. They desire to harm you severely. Hatred has already appeared from their mouths, but what their breasts conceal is far worse.
4.89 Kill the apostates wherever you find them.
4.101Verily, the disbelievers are ever unto you open enemies.
5.51 Muslims do not take jews and Christians as your friends. If you do you will be considered as one of them.
5.53 Jews and Christians are losers.
5.60 those (Jews) who incurred the Curse of Allah and His Wrath He transformed into monkeys and swines.
8.22 Disbelievers are the worst creatures.
8.55 Surely, the worst of beasts in the sight of ALLAH are the disbelievers.
9.23 O you who believe, do not ally yourselves even with your parents and your siblings, if they are not muslims
9.28 Non muslims are dirty.
9.30 Jews and Christians are perverts.
16.39 Disbelievers are liars.
24.55 Disbelievers are miscreants.
58.20 Disbelievers are the lowest creatures.
80.42 Disbelievers are wicked.
Above was a brief sampling of the hate speech against non muslims in Quran.

Sunday, 13 April 2008

To Live at All is Miracle Enough

We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here.

Richard Dawkins


The Improbability of God

Much of what people do is done in the name of God. Irishmen blow each other up in his name. Arabs blow themselves up in his name. Imams and ayatollahs oppress women in his name. Celibate popes and priests mess up people's sex lives in his name. Jewish shohets cut live animals' throats in his name. The achievements of religion in past history -- bloody crusades, torturing inquisitions, mass-murdering conquistadors, culture-destroying missionaries, legally enforced resistance to each new piece of scientific truth until the last possible moment -- are even more impressive. And what has it all been in aid of? I believe it is becoming increasingly clear that the answer is absolutely nothing at all. There is no reason for believing that any sort of gods exist and quite good reason for believing that they do not exist and never have. It has all been a gigantic waste of time and a waste of life. It would be a joke of cosmic proportions if it weren't so tragic.

Richard Dawkins


Friday, 11 April 2008

The Myth of the Historical Jesus

No.2 in the series Understanding the History of the Christian Church

There is absolutely no historical evidence that Jesus, Joseph or Mary ever existed, let alone that Joseph was a carpenter or that Jesus was born in Bethlehem and lived in Nazareth.

We who are atheists:

Take great joy in freethinking and open-minded enquiry. Apart from the company of others, the greatest reward in life is to investigate, to learn and to attempt to understand the universe around us. We positively enjoy not knowing - and finding out.

Are human with human weaknesses. We don't claim to be perfect and we are not hypocrites when we aren't!

Are humanists - we put the welfare of people first, last and everywhere in between and we place great emphasise on social and personal responsibility based on a strong moral and ethical code which pre-dates all the world's religions and is shared with most of them.

Accept the cycle of birth, life and death. We have no problem with mortality and after death our atoms are recycled.

Have no need to invent a god to explain those things which we do not yet understand.
have no need of the rewards of a heaven or the punishments of a hell to encourage the living of a good life.

Why do we care? Why don't we just let religions get on with their mumbo jumbo?
We care because we see things done in the name of religion that threaten our freedom and, in some cases, our lives.

We would be happy to let the religious get on with it in private - and that's the key - when their beliefs and delusions start to impose on what we can do, or even on what we are allowed to think and say, then we draw the line.

Every day around the world, we can see people being killed, maimed, raped, having their homes destroyed, being made refugees - all in the name of religion.

Religion is the elephant in the room - and it is time we did something about it.

It is religious terrorism and religious sectarian violence that is killing people - and the people who do it use their religion, their holy books and their religious leaders to justify it.

Religion is extremism and has always led to conflict, terrorism, violence and war - no matter how much the liberal, tolerant, sensitive, middle classes try to claim otherwise.

Respect and tolerance - Limits to our tolerance
We place certain reasonable conditions on our tolerance of the religious:

They should not attempt to impose their beliefs on others.
Examples include extremist Christians trying to impose views on contraception, abortion and stem-cell research as well as Muslims trying to dictate what people wear and how women behave.

They should not attempt to indoctrinate children in their beliefs. There is no such thing as a "Catholic child" or a "Muslim child" - there are only "Catholic parents" and "Muslim parents." No-one is born a Catholic or a Muslim - becoming one requires information, freedom of choice and decision making - or indoctrination.

Adults can make up their own minds about religion but children should not be pressurised to believe, or not believe.

We oppose the existence of socially divisive "faith" schools. For example, Catholic and Protestant schools in Northern Ireland; Catholic, Church of England, Muslim, Judaist and extremist evangelical Christian schools in England.

About 1/3rd of schools are already faith schools - and we taxpayers pay 100% of their costs.

Their actions should not bring harm to others.
Examples include religious persecution, religious wars and physical/intellectual religious terrorism - which we see every day on the news.

They should be tolerant of other beliefs and they should not set their religion above all other beliefs - religious or non-religious
Religious arrogance leads to religious fundamentalism which leads to religious intolerance which leads to religious terrorism which leads to religious war.

There is no doubt that the views of non-believers are totally unfairly represented in our national institutions - simply because church and religious leaders (often self-appointed and totally undemocratic) are given public appointments by default.

They should accept that religion is about ideas - and all ideas should be open to criticism, satire and ridicule.
We oppose all forms of discrimination against individuals based on race, sex, sexuality, age, disability or religious belief. However, religious ideas have no protection against our right to free speech.

Zero tolerance towards the intolerant
Muslims are demanding protection against "Islamaphobia" and "moderates" everywhere are calling for "tolerance" and "respect".

Everyone has the right to believe what they wish but our position is simple: you have to earn respect by your actions and we will not tolerate the intolerant.

It does not matter whether it is "moderate" or "extremist", whether it is Islam, Christianity, Judaism or whatever, we will not tolerate you if:

you condemn homosexuality so that homosexuals in your religion live in fear of being outed;

you force particular dress styles on women through your preachings or through the pressure of your religious community;

you force women into arranged marriages;

you deny a woman the right to control her own body and to choose for herself about abortion;

you discriminate in any way against anyone on the basis of their sex or sexual orientation;

you deny contraceptives to other people on the basis of your religious beliefs;
you demand the right to educate your children separately from children of other beliefs;

you attempt to indoctrinate children into your belief without given them the chance to study other religions and non-belief systems;

your aim is to establish a state which is run by the rules of religion;

you condemn people who choose to leave your religion;

Religion is an idea and, like any idea, is subject to continuous criticism, satire and mockery.

There can be no protection under the law for "the Muslim race" (you are not born a Muslim) and there can be no protection under the law for an idea. The Race Relations Act defined Jews as a racial group (technically debatable) but the protection is not for the belief some of them share (Judaism) but for their racial group. The Act created an anomaly when it defined Sikhs in the same way simply to avoid problems that arise from the wearing of turbans.

You make a deliberate choice when you select your religion - in the full knowledge that others will criticise and mock your beliefs. Just because a belief is "profoundly held" and "at the core of our community" does not mean that it is right nor that it should not be mocked.

So, as with all intellectual debate, if you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen.


People may or may not be entitled to respect - it depends on how they behave and what they do.

Abstract ideas, such as those behind religions, are never entitled to respect - they should be open to testing, to challenge, to criticism - and often to mockery and ridicule.

We are deeply upset and offended when the religious behave as if they have some special insight into humanity and some monopoly on morality that allows them to dictate what we should think and how we should behave.

We respect the ideas of religion as much as we respect the idea that the earth is flat or that fairies live at the bottom of the garden. We view supernatural religious ideas as a relic of the superstitious beliefs of the early iron age when they met the needs of those who understood little of the universe.

We fully understand why some people have a personal need for a religion - however, we have no such need. To us religion is a force that has cost millions of lives over the last two millennia - people killed in the name of religion. One glance at the news shows that religions continue to kill in religious wars and religious terrorism.

St. Augustine has a lot to answer for

No.1 in the 'Understanding the History of Religion' Series

The most influential writer of the early Christian church was the bishop who became known as Saint Augustine. In the absence of anything better, his writings on a wide range of subjects seemed to satisfy the need for a comprehensive explanation of the Bible. Augustine's writings became sacred in their own way. His books still form the backbone of Catholic philosophy today. He died during the barbarian invasions around the year 430. Augustine wrote ...

When the question is asked, what we are to believe in regard to religion, it is not necessary to probe into the nature of things, as was done by the Greek scientists. We need not be alarmed should the Christian not know the number of elements; the motion of the heavenly bodies; the shape of the cosmos; the species of animals and plants; the nature of stones, rivers, and mountains; about time and distance; the signs of coming storms; or about a thousand other things which these scientists have either found out, or think they have found out.

For even these men themselves, endowed as they are with so much genius, burning with zeal, abounding in leisure, tracking some things by the aid of human conjecture, searching into others with the aids of history and experience, have not found out all things; and even their boasted discoveries are more often mere guesses rather than certain knowledge.

It is enough for the Christian to believe that the only cause of all created things, whether heavenly or earthly, visible or invisible, is the goodness of the creator, the one true God; and that nothing exists but Himself that does not derive its existence from Him. And that he is the Trinity, meaning he is the Father, and the Son begotten of the Father, and the Holy Spirit proceeding from the Father, all being one and the same spirit.

Augustine knew that Christianity was not compatible with science. For Christians, there was no need for new discoveries. Everything that mankind would ever need to know about God, nature, or humanity was to be found in the Bible. The process of discovery that began in ancient Greece had come to an end. Books would be destroyed and knowledge would be lost, marking the beginning of a Dark Age that would last for the next thousand years.


God Loves You

Religion has actually convinced people that there's an invisible man -- living in the sky -- who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do.. And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever 'til the end of time! ..But He loves you.

George Carlin