Some things I Think

Some of these things I don't normally say mostly because I'm don't want to offend people but today je suis Charlie and if people are going to take offence at this they should be offended. These are some things that I mostly don't say where I know or think that there might be people who disagree or might be offended. Comments are enabled for you to express your disagreement.

Father Christmas doesn't exist (OK I only avoid saying this around children).

God doesn't exist. And this statement shouldn't be more shocking than the previous one even if you disagree.

Unquestioning belief is harmful. If you are on a mission from god how can that be reasoned with and debated.

If you believe in god I find it hard to see how it can be anything other than unquestioning (pre-renaissance god or gods might have appeared logical).

Unquestioning belief combined with power is scary (I'm thinking Tony Blair and GW Bush here in addition to those with power in ISIS).

Religion does more harm than good. It divides us unnecessarily, justifies wars and hatreds. (It is not the only thing that does those bad things and there are good things done in the name of religion). It is undeniable that harm and good are done

Atheism does not imply a lack of ethics just because they are not from an ancient book. This does not mean that the ancient books cannot be used for inspiration but that they don't in and of themselves justify the ethical framework. I would certainly recommend certain things apparently taught by Jesus about our behaviour to each other, not because they are in the bible but because they can help towards a better nicer world.

Only a subset of ethics should be turned into laws. Equally everyone should apply their own sense of ethics to their actions above and beyond what is set down in law.

It is OK to be wrong, but it is also OK for people to tell you that.

It is OK to think other people are wrong and to tell them.

I don't have to respect your belief and you don't have to respect my opinions. I do have to respect your right to have a belief and talk about it. That it is a belief and religious does not mean it can't be laughed at.

Every time I pass a sign or a poster saying "Jesus Saves". I'm being told I'm wrong. Every time a prayer is said that refers to god I'm being told I'm wrong. I don't like it. I deal with it. You have the right to say that and I don't want to stop you.

Anyone who thinks atheists are pushing their views down others throats don't notice the pervasiveness of religion in society. Public atheism stands out because it is not the normal.

I don't hate religious people, I pity them, they are the main victims of their religions. At best they waste their time trying to appease their deity with prayer, in other cases they are oppressed for their gender or sexuality, taught to hate aspects of themselves or others. At the worst they are abused, murdered or tortured for not believing in the right way.

I expect the nicer religious people may pity me because I'm missing out on the love of god/Jesus/Allah and/or am going to go to hell. They may even pray for me. If they try to "save" me I will try save them.

If your sacred book gives instructions feel free to follow them while not causing harm to others but don't expect others to follow them to or to make your religious laws

Torture is wrong and criminal, even when it is done by democratic powers. Everyone from the person actually carrying it out up to the highest authority that was aware of it and did nothing to stop it should be charged.

I'm privileged to be an atheist and not to have been brought up in a religion.

I'm unprivileged to live in society where prayers are accepted in schools, where Bishops get seats in the legislature, where I could not attend scouts as a teenager because I could not in good conscience take the scout promise (although there is now a suitable alternative the fact that it and everything except the god one are a variation and you need to ask for special treatment to use it rather than it being expressed as a free choice of equal options is an example of the religious privilege that remains. I still have a problem with the bit about the Queen but that is mostly a different issue and if I could regard my duty to her as being only the same as to any other human I could probably rationalise that away with a bit of sophistry).

I'm unprivileged to live in a society where I have to decide whether to make my son separate and different at school and cause disruption for the school or whether a "daily act of worship mainly Christian in nature" should be inflicted on him. This isn't a religious school (though I oppose them too).

I do not bow before your god. I'll take the risk that she/he/it will strike me down for my insolence. (Exceptions may be made when I'm in your sacred place (as I would adapt my behaviour to your customs in your home) or attending a funeral where I would want to respect the deceased's wishes for it's conduct and if that included offering a prayer to their god so be it).

PHP and MongoDB are unsafe and should not be used by anyone if they can help it. Techy aside that may offend a different group of people.

Some Things I Really Don't Know What to Think About

What is the best way to minimise damage done by religion? Is it by encouraging and standing up for non-belief. Will arguing with believers make them dig their heals in? Given that I have already said that the members of religious groups are victims can I argue against their beliefs without them being (or feeling) further victimised.

Where is the line between disagreement/dissent and harassment? Some things are obvious and others are not. The line is also fuzzy because of the combined effect of the actions of a group and the power relationships involved. Some behaviours and actions are clearly on one side or the other but there is a very large grey area.

The problem gets even worse when thinking about other parts of the world. To what extent can Western Christian/secular/infidel countries make things better rather than worse when dealing with the worst religious extremists like ISIS.

That is awful, something must be done, this is something is a dangerous logical chain that has potential to do great harm. Consequences not just intentions do matter.

It is not a nice thing to pick on the weakest in society but the Church of England does relatively little harm so other groups get criticised more. I criticise all religions including the C of E particularly for its power and its privilege and because it lends credence to the position that religions are special and get special respect and rights over other beliefs and organisations. It also puts a reasonable looking face on unreasonable beliefs, demands access to schools claims a unique moral position and teaches silly ideas (the existance of god itself) to millions of people.

Charlie Hebdo Cartoon Below - Scroll Down

I feel the need to share this to say "stuff you" to those would use fear and intimidation to suppress it. If you don't want to see it, don't scroll down.