Saturday, 30 March 2013

Humanism

"The tradition of ethical thought stemming from classical antiquity is the foundation of humanism (and is a thousand years older than Christianity)—the study of these ideas suggests their living applicability to life, and I have been keen to alert people to this fact. Often people ask “what is the alternative to religion as a philosophy of life,” and the emphatic answer is: humanism.
Humanism is a philosophical starting point for reflection on how one should live, according to one’s own talents and interests and under the government of respecting others and not doing them harm, allowing them their own quest for an individual good life.The tradition of ethical thought stemming from classical antiquity is the foundation of humanism (and is a thousand years older than Christianity)—the study of these ideas suggests their living applicability to life, and I have been keen to alert people to this fact. Often people ask “what is the alternative to religion as a philosophy of life,” and the emphatic answer is: humanism.
Humanism is a philosophical starting point for reflection on how one should live, according to one’s own talents and interests and under the government of respecting others and not doing them harm, allowing them their own quest for an individual good life." 
~ A. C. Grayling. From an interview with Sam Harris

Friday, 22 March 2013

The Young Atheists' Handbook

Growing up in a strict Muslim community in south-east London, Alom Shaha learnt that religion was not to be questioned. Reciting the Qur'an without understanding what it meant was simply a part of life; so, too, was obeying the imam and enduring beatings when he failed to attend the local mosque. Shaha was more drawn to science and its power to illuminate. As a teen, he lived between two worlds: the home controlled by his authoritarian father, and a school alive with books and ideas. In a charming blend of memoir, philosophy, and science, Shaha explores the questions about faith and the afterlife that we all ponder. Through a series of loose lessons , he tells his own compelling story, drawing on the theories of some of history's greatest thinkers and interrogating the fallacies that have impeded humanity for centuries. Shaha recounts how his education and formative experiences led him to question how to live without being tied to what his parents, priests, or teachers told him to believe, and offers insights so that others may do the same. This is a book for anyone who thinks about what they should believe and how they should live. It s for those who may need the facts and the ideas, as well as the courage, to break free from inherited beliefs. In this powerful narrative, Shaha shows that it is possible to live a compassionate, fulfilling, and meaningful life without God.

The British Humanist Association would like to put a copy of The Young Atheist's Handbook (Reviews Here) in every secondary school library in England and Wales.
This means raising the funds to buy, package and post copies. and so make it available to students to read if they so choose.

Many young people are brought up in the faith of their family, without ever really having the chance to choose for themselves. School is where we go to learn how to ask questions. Making the book available through school libraries is a good first step in educating young people so that they can choose to exercise their freedom of choice. 

The costs over-all are heavily discounted thanks to Biteback Publishing, for each book to be packaged and sent to a secondary school library.

If you would like to help this BHA project there is an easy way of donating online through this JustGiving page. And please tell your friends and family about the campaign if you feel able. 

Thursday, 21 March 2013

An Ignostic Argument

The Kalam Cosmological Argument attracts a lot of attention from faithists and sceptics alike because of its superficial simplicity. Here is the case for ignosticism presented in similar format:-

1. The statement that an immaterial, timeless 'something' exists is without discernible meaning.
2. God is a 'something' defined by theists as having the properties of immateriality and timelessness.
3. Conclusion; the statement "God exists" has no discernible meaning.

-oOo-
See also:-

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Militancy

It is possible to be a militant antitheist, as was Christopher Hitchens. It is no more possible to be a militant atheist than it is to be a militant non-stamp collector. ~ A C Grayling

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Early doubts

"Concerning the gods I cannot know either that they exist or that they do not exist, or what form they might have, for there is much to prevent one's knowing: the obscurity of the subject and the shortness of man's life." ~ Protagoras 5 BCE.

Monday, 11 March 2013

The Holy Parrot

If I choose to believe in an invisible parrot that perches on my shoulder and accompanies me everywhere whispering words of advice & comfort in my ear, I would be rightly regarded as delusional. If I claim this parrot exists outside time & space, created the Universe and is called "God" I'm apparently considered by the religiosa as completely normal.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Isaac Asimov

"To surrender to ignorance and call it God has always been premature. It remains premature today"