Archive for November, 2012

Malala: free speech against religious repression

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

This is a wonderful five-minute video about 15-year-old Malala Yousafzai and her courage to speak out against the oppression of women, of human beings, by religious fanatics. Stand up for free thought and free speech. Refuse to be bullied by any religion that seeks to control you or to deny your human rights. Think for yourself. Speak your mind. Be inspired by Malala’s leadership, humanity and courage.

The Pale Blue Dot

Friday, November 16th, 2012

Take a minute out to watch and listen to The Pale Blue Dot, scientist Carl Sagan’s reflections on the tiny speck that is the beautiful earth in the midst of the vastness of the universe. Awe is a human experience – it is not the preserve of people stuck within myopic religious constructs. Don’t let irrationalists hijack it. Be human. Experience wonder. Enjoy life.

Richard Dawkins Foundation promotes Joe Armstrong’s documentary

Monday, November 12th, 2012

The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science has promoted my documentary on its website, and provides a direct link to the RTE Radio 1 website where you can listen to the 40-minute audio story of how three guys who joined the Marist Fathers’ seminary in Dublin in 1980 transitioned through insight, personal crisis, realization and personal decision from devout belief to happy and contented unbelief.

Happy unbeliever

Friday, November 9th, 2012

I’m glad I no longer believe in God. I’m glad I’ve given up that foolishness, that escapism, that childishness. Adults accept the real world as it is: they re-wire their brain if they’ve been thought to believe in gods and leprechauns or the tooth fairy. Now is good. Live it and enjoy it to the full.

Norah Casey The Meaning of Life

Monday, November 5th, 2012

That was a very moving final episode of the current series of Gay Byrne’s (RTE 1 television ) The Meaning of Life in which Gaybo interviewed Norah Casey, one year after the sad and sudden death of her beloved husband. It was touching, sad, honest, true and insightful, marred only by Gaybo’s cultural conditioning within Catholicism and seeming inability to transcend that limited and relatively recent (loopy) worldview. However, he remains a master of his broadcasting craft, verging on the peerless in fact. And I’m pretty sure I saw his eyes well up too at the raw grief evident still of Norah’s sad loss. It is true that Catholicism offers tools to help deal with grief – whether rattling off rosaries like a mantra, or the music and colour of the requiem mass. It’s just a pity that it often seems to hijack the human inevitability of death, as if the Catholic way is the only language of handling death when it clearly isn’t. And when, as is the case now, increasing numbers of people no longer believe in Catholic dogmas – happily – it can leave people floundering for an alternative rite of passage which is meaningful for post-Christians/unbelievers. True, humanists offer secular funeral services but as yet not so many people know about these. And Catholics have the advantage of dry/warm/sheltered church buildings in which to hold ceremonies for the bereaved. I wonder if they are sufficiently ‘catholic/universal’ to allow non-Catholics or former Catholics to shelter there from the elements on cold, rainy days to conduct secular funerals for bereaved fellow humans? Finally, Gaybo mentioned he’d never been present at anyone’s death and Norah seemed surprised. I was lucky/privileged enough to be present at the death of my father and my father-in-law, profound experiences both. Regardless of one’s religious/secular worldview, death is the one thing that unites us all. Each of us must die. How appalling that some religious people exclude people, even in death. It is not long ago that unbaptized infants could not be buried in ‘consecrated’ cemeteries and when crazy religious thinking¬† deemed such infants left to fester in ‘Limbo’. What unmitigated nonsense was taught to us and we, with our brains parked somewhere other than inside our heads, believed such waffle.

religion warps thinking

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

I sometimes wonder what my life would have been like had I never been told the lie that ‘God’ exists. Imagine a life without picking up all that negative made-up, loopy thinking about ‘sin’, ‘sex’, ‘Hell’, ‘guilt’, ‘damnation’. Religious thinking warps normal thought. It leaves us believing in mythical beings. We choose things on the basis of false information. We make life decisions based on the biggest lie of all. Little wonder, then, that once we realize that God doesn’t exist that it takes a long time to shake off all that warped thinking.

The Emperor has no clothes. Yet people place religious leaders like the Pope on a pedestal, even though he is peddling nonsense and piffle.

When you think of the history of religions, their rise and fall, it is inexorable that all current religions will decline and fall. What’s happening in Ireland these days, and in much of the Western world, is a gradual realization that, in Christianity, in Catholicism, in Protestantism, we’ve been sold a pup. That which we once believed in is, we now see, literally incredible. That a carpenter rose from the dead. That a child was conceived in a female human by an angel. That the Pope – heavens forbid! – is infallible.

The West is waking up and realizing this. It’s a painful realization. Catholicism has all but shed the great openness introduced by Pope John XXIII: like the collapse of the Soviet Union, they see that once freedom and honest thought is introduced, most reasonable people leave. And so they clasp at the past, wind back the clock, retreat to conservatism and control and ostracizing the thinkers. Where, for a while, it seems people could engage with theology, now they are not to think but merely to submit their uncritical minds to the party line. That is no future! That is the death of any organization and any religion. Their own leaders will strangle it, twist life from its body politic. And, in the process, they will warp more lives, as mainly those too lazy or unable to think critically will respond to the dodgy invitation to pay up and shut up and park their brains outside the increasingly empty and chilly churches.