Thursday, 10 April 2008

Juggling with Kittens

Well last night I debated on the motion ‘Religion should be given respect’ I was speaking against you might have guessed. Speaking for the motion was Tom, a Christian, a brave decision on his behalf as this was a Liverpool Humanist Group Meeting.

The usual weak arguments for religion were trotted out one of which caused a great deal of outrage and anger which I will briefly deal with it now.

Without religion there would be no morality.

A nonsensical and insulting argument. The Bible, Koran, Tora may have many ‘nice’ stories but they are more than compensated by numerous passages of the most awful morality.
A classic I read the other day was Kings 2. Elijah had parted the waves of a river (God loves that trick) then gives him a ride on a chariot of fire (Yawn). The interesting bit is were a group of children take the Mick out of Elijah because he has a bald head (Probably ancient Hoodies). Anyway for this ridicule God sent 2 bears to kill all 42 of the children. Now that’s justice god style he probably said on completion "I’ll be back.." A very very moral tale I’m sure you will agree.

This is just one example there are innumerable examples of Godly Petulance and of course Godly Genocide within the good book but I won’t bore you all with them here that’s a priest or Mullahs job.

Christian fundamentalists would have no problem with the Kings 2 passage. The book is THE WORD OF GOD. Less ignorant Christians would though. Fundamentalists are easy to deal with – just ridicule these deluded fools. Less ignorant, non-literal Christians are more slippery customers. They are eelish.

‘Liberal’ less ignorant Christians would argue that the bible should not be taken literally. One should just believe the nice bits. It’s a bit like saying; forget the death camp and the millions killed in the war by Hitler– but let's accentuate the positive. He did make the trains run on time and invented the VW Beetle.

There were unbelievably cruel evil experiments done on the victims in the death camps that even today the results of which would benefit the understanding of the human body. Quite rightly the UN has stopped the use of these results not because of their intrinsic worth but because ethically it would be wrong and an insult to those that were tortured and killed to achieve them. Should we just forget the bad bits and look for the nice bits? I don’t think so.
Religion gives a veneer of respectability to a lot of corrosive attitudes in our society – homophobia and sexism to name but two but there are plenty more’

So next time one of these less ignorant Christians give you the benefit of their deluded opinion ask them the question that will always stump them.

Name one thing that is morally good in your holy book that is dependent on God?

Goodness is dependent on humanity.

My advice dear readers is, give religion the respect it deserves!

And if you have to debate with one remember its easier to juggle with kittens.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Video Nazi?

The controversial film 'Fitna' by right wing Dutch MP Geert Wilders was briefly on the internet. It has since been taken off but I'm sure you could still find it somewhere on Youtube, if you must. In the film Wilders argues that Islamic Ideology's goal is to destroy freedom and it will do this through violent means as dictated in the Koran. After the launch of it there were protests in Indonesia, outside the Dutch Embassy, by Muslims calling for Wilders death. How dare he call them ignorant violent nutters! Irony must be unislamic.

Now although I agree Wilders makes some points of merit, unfortunately I feel his film is both clumsy and nasty. Not just by its use of gross and deeply offensive imagery but also with its unbalanced and over simplistic message. It was, put simply, hateful. This wasn't just someone opposed to the nonsense and dangers of religion but rather it seemed to me to smack of racism. I felt it was very similar to the anti Jewish Nazi propaganda films of the Twenties and Thirties.
The film's purpose was not to educate or elucidate but to increase loathing and fear in its audience of all things Islamic/foreign. I half expected the film to end with the Grinning Gorgeous Aryan Bombshell Geert asking us for our vote. Sieg Heil!

One of the problems of actively fighting for secularism in this age of Islamist terror campaigns* is that the Nazi fleas will soon start cosying up. As a humanist I think all racism is wrong and have actively fought against it for over 30 years. I will not follow the creed of the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Nazis are not and never will be my friend nor the friend of freedom and humanity. It is something we Secular Humanists need to challenge whenever it raises its ugly head. Humanism is a positive philosophy of life, mean spirited xenophobia has no place in it.
So watch the film if you want. It is gruesome in content and more importantly I feel, in intent.

*I know, I know, for some reason we don't call Bush and Blair's war in Iraq a Christian terror campaign. Islamists torture, Christians just go in for a bit of rendition. Islamist bombers are cowardly murderers – Christian B52 bombers who kill by the thousand, are heroes. It must be true it's on the telly.