Posted in Agnosticism, Art, Atheism, Blasphemy, Everyday life, Family, Human Rights, Morality, Politics, Religion, The Conscious Disbeliever

Too Young To Wed — the exhibition — begins in New York this week

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and VII Photo Agency are hosting an exhibition called “Too Young to Wed” at the Visitors’ Lobby at the United Nations. This in celebration of  the first inaugural International Day of the Girl Child on October 11, 2012. So if you are in New York City from October 11 through November 29, 2012 don’t skip this exhibition that will feature photography by Stephanie Sinclair and video by Jessica Dimmock.

Let’s put an end to this barbaric custom.

Too Young To Wed — the exhibition — begins in New York next week.

Posted in Agnosticism, Atheism, Blasphemy, Everyday life, Human Rights, Morality, Politics, Religion, Science, The Conscious Disbeliever

Campaign for Free Expression: In Defense of the Right to Free Speech – YouTube

Don’t forget to visit the Center for Inquiry‘s Campaign for Free Expression .

Posted in Agnosticism, Atheism, Blasphemy, Everyday life, Human Rights, Morality, Politics, Religion, The Conscious Disbeliever

Blasphemy Laws and Freedom of Speech

Much has been written about the third-rate film “The Innocence of Muslims” and the senseless violence that erupted in its aftermath. Meanwhile members of the OIC push  for enactment of blasphemy laws.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan:

“Freedom of thought and belief ends where the freedom of thought and belief of others start. You can say anything about your thoughts and beliefs, but you will have to stop when you are at the border of others’ freedoms. I was able to include Islamophobia as a hate crime in the final statement of an international meeting in Warsaw.”

“When it is in the form of a provocation, there should be international legal regulations against attacks on what people deem sacred, on religion. As much as it is possible to adopt international regulations, it should be possible to do something in terms of domestic law.”

That is not a very democratic sentiment. And it denotes a very thin skinned faith that cannot withstand a tiny bit of satire, of criticism. I thought that faith was supposed to move mountains, but it seems to buckle down when something contrary to it is said. I guess omnipotence has its limits, remember the iron chariots. I would like to remind them, that each and everyday they commit blasphemy against other religions, for example when they say that Jesus was a messenger and not the son of God, they commit blasphemy against Christian religions, and Christians do it against Islam when the affirm the contrary. But maybe, just maybe, religion has nothing to do with all this fuss about blasphemy. It could be that it is all about political control.

I prefer something on the following lines:

Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states:

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Ideas do not have humans rights, people do. We must respect people, but ideas are free to be contested.

You may want to read the speech by IHEU representative Josephine Macintosh at the Human Rights Council 21st Session on Tuesday 25 September 2012.

The words spoken by President Obama resonate with anybody that has an inclination towards democracy.

Recognizes that the open public debate of ideas, as well as interfaith and intercultural dialogue, at the local, national and international levels can be among the best protections against religious intolerance and can play a positive role in strengthening democracy and combating religious hatred, and convinced that a continuing dialogue on these issues can help overcome existing misperceptions

UN Human Rights Council resolution 16/18

And don’t forget that September 30th is  International Blasphemy Rights Day  . So go out there and express yourself, exercise your freedom of speech,it will be good for you. In fact swearing has been shown to alleviate  pain:  Why the #$%! Do We Swear? For Pain Relief, and swearing oftentimes includes a healthy bit of blasphemy. Remember that if you offend somebody by this, you are causing them absolutely no harm.

Do you know how many people got killed due to protests about this film?

Yes, you are correct:  ZERO.

See you next time.

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Posted in Agnosticism, Atheism, Everyday life, Human Rights, Morality, Politics, Religion, Science, The Conscious Disbeliever

My morning read: Jill Tarter and Science

I was going through the latest edition of The Morning Heresy from the Center for Inquiry, which is as they state “Your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities” . A very good way to catch up on many interesting topics. Reading this I  came across an excellent quote by Jill Tarter that I will share with you.

Jill Tarter at TED
Jill Tarter at TED (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Science isn’t a popularity contest. Science isn’t what you want to believe. It isn’t what anyone believes. Science is what currently is the best explanation for the data and evidence that we have at hand.”

Jill Tarter

Take a look at her 2009 TED talk on the importance of the  search for alien intelligence (SETI), it is inspiring and puts some perspective on humankind.

See you next time.

Posted in Agnosticism, Atheism, Blasphemy, Everyday life, Family, Human Rights, Morality, Neuroscience, Religion, Science, The Conscious Disbeliever

A+ ? Some thoughts on Atheism+

I came across a post called What’s in a Name? (a.k.a. on Atheism+) on the Subjunctive Morality blog, and later his Confrontationalism and Bridge Burning? (More on Atheism+) post. And this took me to reading some more posts on the matter of this fledgling movement called Atheism+.

I have read with interest the various posts by famous atheists such as Greta Christina , Hemant Mehta and of course the originator of the movement (although some dispute that) Jen McCreight.

And there are more posts by the minute.

Let me start off by saying “I hate you”. I really don’t, but you are making my lapel look like a Boy Scout sash with all the different pins I must wear.

First of all, I consider myself a skeptic (sceptic for those of you in the UK) and a Freethinker. Atheism is only a subset of Freethinking and as has been said elsewhere, the dictionary atheist just does not believe in deities.

But what do I believe?

Well, in matters of what I believe you can call me a Humanist, Humanist with a capital H.

You can also call me a Bright (another one of the lapel pins I regularly wear).

Don’t get me wrong, I am an Atheist and proudly use my scarlet A.

You can be a humanist and believe in deities, but if you are a Humanist, then you are necessarily an Atheist.

If you are a Bright you are also an Atheist, the brights have a Naturalistic worldview free of supernatural and mystical elements, with corresponding ethics and morals.

International Humanist and Ethical Union Minimum Statement on Humanism:

“Humanism is a democratic and ethical life stance, which affirms that human beings have the right and responsibility to give meaning and shape to their own lives. It stands for the building of a more humane society through an ethic based on human and other natural values in the spirit of reason and free inquiry through human capabilities. It is not theistic, and it does not accept supernatural views of reality.”

 

In my opinion Atheism+ is Humanism but done in an outspoken manner  or as I read in a comment by Andy to this post It’s Just Atheism, Part II (or Why A+ Already Exists) “Atheism+ is Humanism on steroids”.

Symbol of the Brights
Symbol of the Brights (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Just a few of the symbols I wear on my lapel (not all at the same time…I was just kidding about the sash).

We can use all the labels that we wish, but let us strive to be true Humanists with respect for the rights of others and not just have a nice declaration on paper. As a friend of mine always says “Being an atheist does not confer superpowers, you can be an atheist and also be a jerk”.

Posted in Agnosticism, Atheism, Blasphemy, Everyday life, Human Rights, Morality, Religion, The Conscious Disbeliever

United Nations Affirms the Human Right to Blaspheme | Politics | Religion Dispatches

English: United Nations postage stamp
English: United Nations postage stamp (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

United Nations Affirms the Human Right to Blaspheme | Politics | Religion Dispatches.

Spanish artist Javier Krahe was found not guilty of the crime of “offending religious feelings” . Who would have thought that in our times, those kinds of laws exist in countries like the ones that are part of the European Union?

They have even adopted it into their constitution:

Section 10

1. The dignity of the person, the inviolable rights which are inherent, the free development of the personality, the respect for the law and for the rights of others are the foundation of political order and social peace.

2. Provisions relating to the fundamental rights and liberties recognized by the Constitution shall be construed in conformity with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international treaties and agreements thereon ratified by Spain.

This is the year 2012 CE, the 21st century, and yet now, some people have not come to the conclusion that ideas do not have rights. Only persons have human rights.

When we express something we are putting forth and idea, and ideas are subject to scrutiny. Upon examination, one can agree or disagree with an idea, adopt it or dismiss it, support it or fight it, all this is within our basic rights.

Many times one finds that heated debate of ideas can be very fun, even when in the end you do not agree and think that your intellectual adversary is a complete idiot (she/he surely thinks the same of you), if only this can be done in a civilized fashion.

I can understand a blasphemy law in a theocracy. How else can they maintain control? But how can it be explained in the Western world’s so-called modern democracies? You will be surprised to see how many democracies have this sort of laws. I would think that maybe we are faced with what Isabel Turrent calls “moral autism”.

This sort of law should be challenged and overturned as soon as possible.

Español: Moneda conmemorativa de 2€ sobre los ...
Español: Moneda conmemorativa de 2€ sobre los Derechos Humas. Finlandia 2008. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

See you next time.