Saturday, February 25

Reflections of a Pakistani Atheist

Blog of the day - Reflections of a Pakistani Atheist.

I am a Pakistani Atheist; an ex-Muslim in Pakistan. I was born and raised here and hail from a fairly devout Muslim family. Like all Atheists in Pakistan – I am a closet Atheist in that most people do not know that I do not hold belief in God. Pakistan – a nation with 95% of the population being Muslim - is an indescribably intolerant place to be for a non-Muslim – and especially so for an Atheist. Dangers of coming out with one’s lack of belief range from ridicule to death threats to actually getting murdered!

So how many so called devout muslims are atheists and agnostics who are too frightened to speak out for fear of their lives? For that matter, how many devout christians in the USA are atheists who live in fear?

Friday, February 24

Religion is Dying Out in Britain

According to figures from National Centre for Social Research only a third of young people described themselves as belonging to a religion, with the majority, just over a quarter, belonging to a Christian religion. Two thirds did not regard themselves as belonging to any religion, an increase of ten percentage points in as many years (from 55 per cent in 1994 to 65 per cent in 2003).

Among 18 to 24 year olds, 60 per cent said they did not belong to a religion (as did 56 per cent of 25 to 34 year olds). These findings largely reflect generational differences in religious attachment, with younger generations being both less likely than their predecessors to define themselves as religious and maintaining this distinctiveness as they themselves get older. Consequently, the proportion of people in Britain who see themselves as belonging to a religious group will continue to fall over time. Indeed, between 1994 and 2003, the proportion of adults with no religious affiliation has grown from 39 to 43 per cent.

So don't believe the lies, this country is going secular, unlike the USA, where atheists are only just coming out of the closet. Also see this USA based comment on the recent Dawkins TV programme.

Found via the NSS web site.

Tags , , ,

If Voting Changed Anything, They'd Abolish It

The fragility of this country's democracy has been demonstrated today. An unelected body has today removed our elected mayor, Ken Livingstone, following a complaint by the British Board of Deputies. At a comment he made to a journalist from a nasty right wing newspaper who was hounding him. The newspaper in question is owned by a family which is imfamous for its historical support of British fascists and the German Nazis.

That a popular democratic leader should be deposed by pressure from an unrepresentative religious organisation should ring alarm bells all round the UK. The parallels with the cartoon protests, a religious grouping protesting about an insult, are worrying.

I like Ken, he's brash and says what he thinks. That is refreshing in a politician. Unlike all the members of the House of Lords, and the British Board of Deputies he has been elected by popular vote.

Pickled Politics gets it spot on and Wot I Fink has more background to the comments.

Tags , , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, February 22

Pickled Politics

A breath of fresh air - Pickled Politics

The voices here are quite diverse and some of Asian origin, some not. The key word is ‘progressive’. For too long has the voice of the British Asian community dominated by religious bodies or other middle-aged men who have little regard for what the younger generation, or women in general, are saying. We aim to offer an alternative voice and challenge the hegemony.

Tags , , , ,

Saturday, February 18

spheric lounge

Wonderful new podcast discovery - improvised German ambient electronic music.

what is spheric lounge?

primarily it is an offer to participate! we prefer to call it a live electronic ambient project. an open circle of friends and creative people that meets several times a month to do jam sessions, parties or public gigs. what started as an electronic jam session at a bar in munich has now become a regular and well-known part of the munich music scene. improvised music, creative visuals, improvised dance and dimmed light melt into a communicative atmosphere that is unique in munich. we do not make money, we want to make music and have fun. the style "electronic ambient" serves as a musical frame. a core of sound that can be accompanied by guitar, saxophone, trumpet or other instruments. within the spheric lounge, every music is fully improvised. we do not practice or rehearse our music. every session gets recorded and the best snippets are available as mp3 for download. meanwhile we have over 200 titles online which is approximately 26 hours of music. if you want to participate you are invited to join us! with synthesizer, laptop, beamer, violin or whatever you like to bring with you. everybody brings his own equipment. if you want to contribute from a larger distance, you can help in the postproduction process, edit the raw audio-material and release songs.

Tags , , , ,

Atheist Revolution

The god squad are scoring own goals according to this post Atheist Revolution: Religious Extremism Great Advertisement for Atheism.

This post also lead me to the Freedom from Religion Foundation and their Freethought of the Day.

February 18, 2006
"The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way. Persecution is used in theology, not in arithmetic."
-- Bertrand Russell (1872-1970), British author, philosopher, "An Outline in Intellectual Rubbish," Unpopular Essays (1950)

Tags , ,

Infidel Action Committee

With the self appointed Muslim Action Committee demanding curbs on free speech, it's time for us "infidels" to step up our demands for curbs on the privileges of religion.
Keith Porteous Wood, Executive Director of the National Secular Society, said: "We must not allow the present controversy, which has been whipped up by religious extremists, to rush us into actions that would impose near-Islamic laws on to countries that are not Islamic. Regardless of whether such countries restrict free speech for themselves, they should not be permitted to roll out those repressive measures on to the rest of us. We will be urging the European media to reject or ignore any code of conduct that requires them to limit further what they say on legitimate matters of interest. And we will join any campaign of resistance to Islamist demands at the United Nations to restrict free expression."

Support the National Secular Society in it's work to protect us from religion.

Tags , , , , , ,

Spreading the Darwin Day Meme

A China Teapot has attracted its first blog link, appropriately enough from a meme tag. NVNC ID VIDES, NVNC NE VIDES: Survival of the Stubbornest picked up the Today is Darwin Day post and passed it on.

Tags , , , ,

Thursday, February 16

Platitude of the Day

Platitude of the Day a regular commentary on Thought for the Day.

Thanks to BHA News for this gem.


Monday, February 13

Memetic Engineering vs Religion

A good evening was had by all at the UCL Darwin lecture theatre tonight. Dr Susan Blackmore was in fine form, clearly relaxing as the audience started to join in, possibly helped by the presence of her partner Adam Hart-Davis in a wonderful harlequin suit.

During the questions that followed the subject of memetic engineering came up. Richard Dawkins then put out a plea for all memetic engineers to join forces to combat religion.

Tags , , , , , &

Chip Bok

Cartoonist Chip Bok has entered the fray - it's great to read a cartoonist's take on the arguments.


Sunday, February 12

Today is Darwin Day

Today is the birthday of Charles Darwin, and is being celebrated as Darwin Day around the world. I'm off to see Dr Susan Blackmore give the British Humanist Association Darwin Day Lecture tomorrow, "Darwin's meme: or the origin of culture by means of natural selection" at UCL. Professor Richard Dawkins will be chairing the meeting.

Tags , , , , &

Saturday, February 11

A Blackcap

This week I saw a new visitor to our bird feeder.

As far as I can tell from my 1981 Reader's Digest "Field Guide to the Birds of Britain" it is a
Blackcap, and a migrating bird which has started over wintering in southern England.


"I Ain't Afraid"

I've probably been introduced to Holly Near at some point in my life, but I don't remember when. I rediscovered her when I heard Roy Bailey talking about singing "I Ain't Afraid" at a festival in Canada a year or so ago. We need songs like "I Ain't Afraid" more than ever now.

I ain't afraid of your Yahweh
I ain't afraid of your Allah
I ain't afraid of your Jesus
I'm afraid of what you do in the name of your God

Listen to mp3


Buy Danish!

Whilst fundamentalist Muslim countries are calling for a boycott of Danish goods, the Freethinker is pushing the idea of a Buy Danish campaign in support of free speech, which it links to The American Thinker.

Shame I don't eat bacon....