Atheism, Bible, British Government, Christianity, Christopher Hitchens, Church, Faith, free speech, philosophy, Religion, UK politics, Uncategorized, USA

Thomas Paine: British Revolutionary, French Prisoner, American anti-hero.

Giving just a few simplistic reasons as to why we should admire Thomas Paine, is in many ways as facile as writing “Twelve reasons why Napoleon was an important man.” The list of his experiences & influence are too numerous for one volume. Any well-known writer or politician in such an influential time will be packed with dates of significance or meetings of importance. Yet Paine isn’t afforded the same worthy praise or even discussion as his peers. I believe this is due to his secular views in a religiously dominated time.

I write this because, for some reason, Thomas Paine has seemed to vanish from the common lexicon – whereas many of his contemporaries, who may or may not be as deserving are still present in the zeitgeist. Names like Thomas Jefferson, William Pitt the younger, Benjamin Franklin & John Adams. I understand that one might say these men all held high office, but in terms of impact it could be argued quite easily that Paine held much more sway in the creation of the United States – and additionally – in revolutionary democracy around the world than the other four combined – and that doesn’t begin to touch his influence in regards to deism.

It is notable that on a Blue Plaque which hangs outside the White Hart Hotel in East Sussex, in honour of Mr Pain* (he didn’t add the “e” until his emigration to the British American colonies) it states;

“THOMAS PAINE 1737-1809
HERE EXPOUNDED HIS REVOLUTIONARY POLITICS. THIS INN IS REGARDED AS A CRADLE OF AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE WHICH HE HELPED TO FOUND WITH PEN AND SWORD.”

*Italics are my own.

The inclusion of “pen” is no small point, if any human can be given as evidence of the saying “The pen is mightier than the sword.” Let it be Paine.

Within two years of arriving in British America Paine had written “Common Sense – 1776” a best-selling – anonymous – pamphlet that carefully spread a positive, persuasive & most importantly brand new case to be made for not only a new way of political life in the colonies – but one of clear independence from the super power of Britain. Something which had been virtually unthinkable before then. Imagine for a second how astonishing it is, that this best-selling work of prose not only first created the idea of an independent United States; then gain swathes of popularity – but within less than six months – the declaration of independence would be signed. Has any writer changed the course of the world in such a short time?

The only other occasion, which is even by my account much less important & somewhat facetious, is the fact George Orwell’s 1984 was published in 1948. Within months The Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea was “founded” – as Christopher Hitchens says:

George Orwell’s 1984 was published at about the time that Kim Il Sung set up his system, and it really is as if he got hold of an early copy of the novel and used it as a blueprint. (“Hmmm … good book. Let’s see if we can make it work.”)

Two major points from the early pages of Paine’s Common Sense, is a repudiation of the United Kingdom’s constitution; he claimed that the idea of a monarchical & aristocratic structure seemed the complete antithesis to human rights & fair governance. He only agreed to the idea of government at all by way of necessary evil. Understanding a fundamental system must be put in place to stop the carnal desires of men, but a system that is ruled by debate & reason with limited power – as not to fall into a new tyranny that is monarchical in all but name. This is one reason why he believed in a form of Deism also. If only he had more belief in his fellow man to be moral. Paine wrote in a vulgar form, or common tone. To the point that his work was easier to digest for the masses. At this point in history most could not read or comprehend intellectual literature. His writing used anger, humour & what could be described in the most respectful way as “tabloid”. He knew how to engage his wider audience & that was not by removing them from the debate by acting like he was addressing the intellectuals. He knew the power of the people – so address the people directly.

At the time of his writing, upward mobility was something of fairy tale – regardless of gains – a King was divine, his court less so but above all else; the poor were poor & all this was formed by hereditary lines. Paine argued that “all men are created equal”, which may not sound it now, but was such an incendiary statement at the time that he nearly lost his head for it whilst living in France – It’s a kin to claiming one is an atheist in Saudi Arabia today. Words like this, unspeakable to most, carry a death sentence. His books were in many ways a call for revolution in Both America & France, with a hope to influence as far as Germany & all other European states. The work, in time, led him to being arrested for Treason – The French took a hard line on faith at the time.

After his success shaping the American Revolution he moved to France to try & achieve similar goals in the French Revolution – but the tide turned against him. He began as an honorary citizen of France & soon become a prisoner. His incarceration in France for Treason is made only the more interesting when one notices that he only survived due to an unbelievable mistake. Prisoner’s cell doors were marked with chalk to denote execution by guillotine later that day, on Paine’s day, he had a visitor, so his door was left open. The official, marking cells, had accidentally marked the inside, not the outside of the cell door – therefore when Mr Paine shut his door it was clear. The chalk denoting execution could only be seen by Thomas on the inside. Luckiest man in history? Or most idiotic prison guard? You decide.

‘The Age of Reason; Being an Investigation of True & Fabulous Theology’ was another notable work of Paine. More controversial than his earlier book, but oddly, somehow not unique. Deism was well known in British society at the time. The book, written in three parts between 1794, 1795 & 1807, was in some ways a polemic & overall challenge to the claims of biblical mythology & organised religion. His attack on the “institution” of religion was most scathing; in essence calling out the rich & powerful faith leaders using their flock for personal gain – being “Christ like” in no true sense. One could say this was just an extension of his views of monarchical society & upper class hierarchy.

Paine’s argument that Christianity, was essentially an invention of man & not inspired by a deity, drew fierce opposition from nearly all corners. In shocking terms he basically laughed off biblical stories as childish & illogical myths, which may sound benign to us, but I would compare it to holding a “Draw a homosexual Prophet Mohammed” competition today. Let’s not forget he lived & died through the Spanish Inquisition, so The Catholic Church killing people for beliefs of the religious kind was par for the course.

The two main factors often debated about the backlash to this work are as follows:
– Due to his fame, and ability to be loved by the wider public, the powers that be saw his writing as a genuine attack & force for change against their concrete hold on the masses.

– His style of writing was so brash, vulgar & offensive that it added fuel to the flames of his opinions. Ironically it was his vulgar tone which drove him to success, as many cite (and as I have done previously) the style was well understood by the vast majority including the underclass of society. Whereas a public reading of Voltaire or Socrates, may have been far more confusing & harder to empathise with – in effect – wasted on an uneducated public.

In Britain a litany of replies to his biblical stance occurred. Most of them with the usual apologetics of the time; some with vicious personal attacks. In a similar vain that one would expect from evangelicals today claiming the validity of Noah’s Ark or that anyone who doesn’t believe in the Bible could not be a moral human. The very same bible that advocates slavery, torture, drowning of all but one family & much more. It still baffles me that we have these debates today – as Christopher Hitchens once said;

“Human decency isn’t derived from religion, it precedes it.”

The moral panic in Britain due to this book cannot be understated. Publishers were prosecuted just for printing the work. Richard Carlile, a publisher of the book, was put on trial in 1818. The trial in a sense backfired & led to an increase in sales to the tune of some 4000 copies. In a moment of sheer defiance & intellectual brilliance, Richard chose as his testimony to read the book, in its entirety on the stand – ensuring that if the book would be censored from this day forth – anyone reporting on the court case would have to in some sense also publish the work. Carlile failed in his case & was found guilty of blasphemy. His sentence of one year was extended to six as he would not accept any legal conditions on his release. What a man!

Common Sense – being a book to influence revolution in both The United States, France & then wider Europe – which failed in all but one instance. The Age of Reason however, was geared towards a French audience more specifically. Sadly these views were well known in France & had in most circles been ignored as a legitimate ideology for some time. To Paine’s dismay, the French had no interest in this anti-biblical stance.

Paine felt France’s revolutionary bent would lead them without his help, into atheism, something he feared greatly. As even the most secular of the time would believe a country without religious safe guarding would fall to a tyranny of vices. Paine attempted in vain to create his own ‘Church of Theophilanthropy’. As expected the Church had no priesthood hierarchy. Any sermon given would be a scientific lecture or philosophical reading – in this alone I feel Paine was at least 200-300 years ahead of his time. He saw to supplant the faith by fear tactics of old & implement a society of free thinkers. This had him branded an atheist, even against his own wishes. In an ironic act of hierarchical power grabbing, Paine’s Church was dissolved in a small sense by his minute corrugation & in a massive sense by the Concordat between The Vatican & Napoleon. This agreement found Napoleon with even more power & gave the Roman Catholic Church it’s place as the state faith once again. The Church was allowed to come out of hiding & Napoleon was allowed to not only select bishops but have a hand in church finances. It’s hard to figure who gained more from this Concordat. Many such agreements have been made since then but the most important I would argue was that of The Vatican & Adolf Hitler – being his first signing of legislation as Chancellor. A fact often ignored by those who believe Hitler an Atheist.

At the time of its publication in the US, The book, initially spoken of highly, quickly fell to attacks of the sort seen in Britain & then vanished from memory for most. It is noted that again, although Paine classed himself as a Deist, this book was so blasphemous in nature that his anti-god credentials lasted for longer than any could expect. He was known as;

“The filthy little atheist.”

By Theodore Roosevelt.

Over one hundred years later this work continued to tarnish his name.

Whenever the Age of Reason showed signs of popularity in the US it was countered by powerful reprisals. By 1796 every student at Harvard was given a copy of Bishop Watson’s rebuttal to The Age of Reason, regardless if the students had read Paine or not. The attacks against him led his popularity to decline, his name to be dragged through the mud, and part 3 of the work could not be published until 1807. Within just thirty years Paine went from a hero of the American revolution to one of the country’s first enemies. Named in the press as “The Scavenger of faction” a “loathsome reptile” a “demi-human archbeast” and more.

The backlash & eventual creation of Thomas Paine as a hateful & evil figure didn’t lessen his resolve – if anything he doubled down. His beliefs stuck with him, regardless of their popularity or consequences. He enjoyed being a hero for his work early in his career not for the status but because he believed in its inherent truth. In his later life he endured the toxicity of being an alienated & mostly hated figure for the same reasons – he would not go back on his word for riches or public acceptance – he stood for what he believed in, no matter the cost.

On his death bed, a woman came to visit him claiming that God himself had instructed her to save his soul. Paine is said to have dismissed her immediately with:

“pooh, pooh, it is not true. You were not sent with any such impertinent message … Pshaw, He would not send such a foolish ugly old woman as you about with His message.”

I’ve never felt closer to any man, than I do when reading this. His stance, dismissal & choice of attack is such like my own I find it uncanny to read – I would admit my English is usually not so, terse, or polite in such situations.

Not until Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species in 1859 did Paine’s Age of Reason really flourish. Darwin also took a bullet for his beliefs & a widespread reading of Deism soon ensued in Britain.

Still to this day I believe the ideas within The Age of Reason should be prescribed reading for all teenagers or university students – or as I would call it, anyone over the “age of reason”.

Between the publication of these two works. Paine’s articles regarding the French Revolution & his political views regarding the rights of people, were compiled into maybe his most known work ‘Rights of Man: Answer to Mr. Burke’s Attack on the French Revolution’

It was a reply to Edmund Burke’s ‘Reflections on the Revolution in France’ from the year before. Burke being of the opposite, conservative side of the argument, to Paine, led to a fierce disagreement. Burke’s book appealed to the wealthy & sold upwards of 30,000 copies but Mr Paine knew how to entice his audience. Although the book was originally withdrawn from publication due to fear of prosecution. It eventually got published on 16th of March 1791. It is said that it sold as many as 1,000,000 copies utterly eclipsing that of his opponent. Rights of Man grew in readership among intellectual reformers; protestants, democrats, craftsman & factory workers of the new industrial North of England.

Oddly in this work Paine seems to distance himself from some of his anti monarchical views. He claimed the view that all should be united, even that of a king & his people. This could have been from fear of his life or much like his governmental beliefs of earlier works, he felt the King itself was not the problem but the disparity in wealth & power between the two factions of society – and the idea it was based upon parentage & not merit.

The book champions what he believes are inherent rights of humans to decide their own fate. He dismisses the current belief that the nobility had inherent wisdom passed down to them through hereditary lines. Claiming that nations have a right to form governments of the people by the people. The right to govern must not be inherited & the upper class is in no way more morally superior to the lower class. All they seemed to lack was the social standing & wealth to fit such a position.

It was dedicated to both George Washington of The United States of America & Marquis de Lafayette of France.
It is no coincidence that the self evident truths of Human Rights to which Paine consistently wrote of ended up not only influencing two revolutions, but became the back bone of both country’s revolutionary documents.  The Declaration of Independence can see lines & in some cases entire paragraphs that are taken directly from his writings. The declaration of the Rights of Man & of the Citizen, set by France’s National Constituent Assembly, although written by Lafayette, Honore Mirabeau & in parts by the American Thomas Jefferson – was highly shaped by the writing of Paine & his contemporary enlightenment authors.

Paine’s Rights of Man like his other work caused havoc against the patriarchy in England most notably due to the affect it could have had on the Crown. His talks of a social welfare state where the poorest could be cared for by the wealthiest – was essentially a crime. For the reasons above & more, yet none with specificity, he was tried in absentia & convicted of seditious libel against the crown. Thankfully at the time he was in France & not able to attend his own hanging in London.

Again, it is silly of me to distill the work or life of Thomas Paine. This is just an overview of his most notable works & their shaping of modern history. I would urge all not only to read his writing but find time to study a man whom I feel is in some sense, a hero to us all. I don’t agree with everything he believed of course, but I do strongly feel that every human can find something within his books to truly inspire them. The courage to stand against the fear of execution in writing that humans are all created equal – is what every philosopher & political writer aspires to. To change the course of history in such a way without any sadness to his loss of fame, or lack of riches from his work – is the epitome of Kipling’s “If”. Thomas Paine is what it is to be good. Moral. Lionhearted and resolute, even when it’s easier to sell our “souls” for a safer life. A hero isn’t just someone who puts his life on the line for another, but someone who can put his life on the line for people who won’t even appreciate his sacrifice until long after it may have vanished from memory. Is it not the highest moral standing to do what is right, in the face of harm & without the expectation of praise? After all, how can one be moral if they only act morally in fear of a vengeful God or angry mob?

Thomas Paine died on the 8th of June, 1809 in New York. After a career of such repute & a legacy of fame & then infamy within his own years. He changed the course of the world from the creation of the United States of America due to his revolutionary pamphlets; to the deistic & enlightenment beliefs of the western world. He died penniless, hated & cursed for the most part. Only six people attended his funeral.

His ridicule of the supernatural claims of the Bible & Christianity on the whole led to being ostracized by a community that simply didn’t understand how valuable this man was to them – or how much the lives of themselves & their children would be shaped in the millennium that followed. However inconsequential & nationalistic it sounds, I am proud that Thomas Paine was born an Englishman; and however silly it may sound I am equally proud that he died an American – for without Thomas Paine, what even is it to be “an American?”

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Christianity, philosophy, Uncategorized

What is True? Sam Harris v Jordan B Peterson

I sit in my office, just before 9PM with a cup of tea, hardly any milk, no sugar. This I believe I can be sure of. I would usually class this as a true statement – until now. I’ve just finished listening to Sam Harris’ Waking Up podcast with Jordan B Peterson, which has left me with both a headache & a moment of clarity – very similar to the Cenk Uygur v Sam Harris debate. Although at least this time it had two genuinely intelligent people instead of one.

I think many would be tired, to say the least, with Sam spending 2 hours basically repeating the same claim with different examples at 4 minute intervals. In fairness I think he was correct to do so. When discussing any topic of debate there must be a level ground of understanding. When I debate the idea of God with Muslims or Christians, it’s best to define what that God is. You can spend 3 hours debating how immoral a being this “man” is, only to be told by your opponent that his version of God is not a being at all – much more a silent mover outside the material & testable realm. In this case a new 2 hour debate can ensue with these new parameters.

Clarity is key.

Sam seems to believe in the simple notion that Truth is a basic premise, what is true is not false. A man wearing glasses is truly wearing glasses. Whereas Jordan seems to propose the man is only wearing glasses on a micro level, but in a deeper field of philosophy, the statement can only be true if certain unknown factors are met. And here lies Jordan’s fault. When pushed on this, he can never clarify what exactly those parameters are. Only that truth must be contingent on the betterment of the human species. His biggest failure here, is that his version of truth only seems to hold water in the case of one species of hominid. What about the rest? What if the truth was in fact great for the survival of humans but terrible for the survival of, let’s say, insects. How can this have any bearing on a statement being true or false? I claim it does not.

There are of course, Newtonian, Darwinian & many more views that propose different causal outlines for scientific truth, but on a base level they cannot subjugate the very nature of the word. If Jordan would like to use a different word (irony intended) to describe his view, that is fine. But claiming, as he has, that a woman having an affair because she is found in bed with a man other than her husband, is not in fact having said affair – due to evidence that shows her husband treated her horribly in previous years – makes absolutely no sense. The affair happened regardless of whether or not she had a right to stray from the marital bed. Truth is truth. Anything other than this is absurdity.

In philosophy classes around the world, there can be no doubt that many professors are working on the old “Is this jar empty?” trick, only to add pebbles & ask again, then to add smaller stones & ask again; then sand. Finally to propose the matter & space inside the jar must be accounted for. Each one of the answers given to this would have in some way be both true & false – but only in a separate context. I believe Mr Peterson calls this “micro”  “macro”, which scarily reminds me of Ray Comfort trying to deny evolution. As clarity is key, I do not mean to compare these men in any intellectual way. Jordan B Peterson is a very intelligent man, with many reasoned arguments – especially when it comes to political & social oversight. Sadly on this topic he is wrong.

In the same way we can say a woman wearing a purple dress, is truly wearing a purple dress. Only to magnify the fibers & find the dress is made of both Magenta & Cyan thread. This is semantics, although it does remind us of the scientific standpoint that nothing is ever truly certain. The point I think Sam should make is the difference between contexts. From normal eye-line, the dress is purple, the threads themselves may not be – but that is a different question altogether – not an alternative truth. Once the basic premise that all further correspondence with Jordan B Peterson can be examined on the micro level, is found. I think this will alleviate any trouble going onto the topics of religion & morality. One hopes.

Either way I will still listen as it’s a fascinating discussion. And one that reminds me that even though everyday I am the smartest I have ever been, I am not the smartest there has ever been – truly.

Please head over to the podcast & give it a listen if you haven’t:

Also here are the social media links for both men:

Sam Harris Twitter

Jordan B Peterson Twitter

 

 

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Anti-Gay, Atheism, Bible, Bigotry, Christianity, Church, Faith, gay, Homosexuality, Ireland Gay Marriage, Ireland Yes Vote, LGBT, Religion, UK politics, USA

Love is all you need

I have debated many Christians & Muslims on the issue of gay marriage, or marriage as good people call it. The rising tide of embarrassment and public shaming of any anti-gay rhetoric has created a situation were lots of believers have now changed their argument to seem more inclusive, or dare I say compassionate. What used to be ”They’re demons” or ”gays are evil” or ”they must be killed” or ”they’re unnatural” has now turned into ”They’re sick … but God loves them and we can help” or ”if they hold back their urges we can accept them” or ”they’re sinners but can be forgiven” my personal worst “we can pray away the gay”

In fairness, not all Christians feel this way, just many who frequent the public forum, but it is important as it only goes to show they are still stuck to their hatred, instead they now use condescension within their argument. Either way, the believers are wrong.

Every single argument goes back to ”because the bible says…” So if this is a point you hear often, please remember the following as I always debunk this idea in the same way. (separate example given)

”Do you believe slavery is a good thing?”

”No, not at all.”

”OK do you think the 10 commandments are good?”

”Yes of course!”

”OK, Well slavery is sanctioned in the bible & not only that but certain verses explain how hard you can beat your slave! How do you answer this?”

”That doesn’t count! That is the old testament, which is basically null, we have a new testament, a new covenant of Jesus!”

”Ah but you believe the 10 commandments are good?”

”YES”

”Well that is the old testament too…”

”…”

Take out slavery and input homosexuality. There is no reason to be anti-gay from a biblical perspective unless you are also pro-slavery & pro-killing of adulterers etc. As soon as a Christian can choose to ignore slavery but adhere to the anti-gay or the 10 commandments they are now being intellectually dishonest & cherry picking. If you disregard any of the old testament then do away with all of it to be at the very least intellectually consistent. Never again mention Moses & the 10 commandments or Genesis & Adam & Eve; never use your belief that evolution is wrong based on the start of Genesis as you have already accepted that some parts of that perfectly inspired & divine book is complete nonsense.

The only reason to be anti-gay and not pro-slavery in this regard, is clear bigotry. You personally hate gays or think it is yucky, so you find something within your holy book to bolster your hatred, but logic defeats you. Gladly this hatred won’t last much longer; the fact that vitriol has turned into a more seemingly humane care for gays to change gives me hope that the next step is acceptance, through gritted teeth.

Many have used natural disasters to prove that god is on their side. Maybe god has evolved in his opinion of gays, much like politicians in the EU or US (once the the population passed 50% of support) because on the day that Ireland voted for gay marriage to be made legal, a beautiful rainbow was cast above the emerald isle; whereas in Texas (which had been outraged at the outcome of the vote) there had been a massive flood of near biblical proportion. I guess God finally chose a side. If you are anti-gay there is no rational evidence for your belief, from any perspective and if you still hold this view in 2015 – you most certainly are a bigot.

Lastly, for any of my gay brothers & sisters, friends & family I hope I can call you. Always remember that Love has no colour; it has no sexual orientation or societal responsibility; nor is it blind, in fact it is based on the evidence that we can be convinced that we are meant to be with someone we care for, even when everyone else seems convinced of the opposite. Love is not a privilege for a select few or a right for only the religious to hold, it is a staple of why we are so special as a species. It is what separates us from our cousins in the animal kingdom who don’t have the capacity or language to convey such feelings, we must defend this with all we hold dear; Not just straight Love or Gay Love or interracial Love – But Love in all its glorious and fantastical forms. A human should not have to defend the right to love another human, whatever their differences.

A supporter holds a sign reading 'Thank You - You're All Invited to the Wedding' as he celebrates outside Dublin Castle following the result of the same-sex marriage referendum in Dublin on May 23, 2015. Ireland on Saturday became the first country in the world to approve gay marriage by popular vote as crowds cheered in Dublin in a spectacular setback for the once all-powerful Catholic Church.    AFP PHOTO /  PAUL FAITH

A supporter holds a sign reading ‘Thank You – You’re All Invited to the Wedding’ as he celebrates outside Dublin Castle following the result of the same-sex marriage referendum in Dublin on May 23, 2015. Ireland on Saturday became the first country in the world to approve gay marriage by popular vote as crowds cheered in Dublin in a spectacular setback for the once all-powerful Catholic Church. AFP PHOTO / PAUL FAITH

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Atheism, Christianity, free speech, gay, USA

Freedom to discriminate

Freedom of/from religion was a beautiful idea, supposed to rid the world of idiotic shamanism and inspire scepticism, or at best a move towards deism.

Sadly, the beauty of an idea is only as great as its safeguards. None of which were put in place; therefore freedom of religion or non-religion led to privatised preaching. The uneducated were sold lies by richer charlatans who not only had freedom to say whatever bigoted or outdated thing they professed to believe, but had tax incentives to boot. The hole left by deregulation was filled by the very thing the country stood against. Now the U.S. is arguably one of the most religious countries in the world. Regarding deregulation you only need to look at the banking crisis of recent years; the free reign of children for priests in the church; the misuse of billions by right-wing Christians in the U.S. taken from pious believers ; All of this possible when regulatory powers are taken away from higher bodies.

This recent misuse of freedom has resulted in anti-gay laws in the U.S. Obviously nothing new, the U.S. has always had some sort of anti-homosexual tendencies, from the ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ armed forces attitude, to the mental disorder diagnosed to gays in the U.S. until 1974; truly disgusting.

These laws are different; in Indiana (and other states that have began to follow suit) companies are placing signs in their front windows proclaiming ‘No admission to Gays’, ‘No Gays allowed’, or my favourite of the bunch – a rainbow symbolising the LGBT community with a red X through it. (who puts an X through a rainbow? I mean really?)

Of course, the law is named ‘Religious Freedom Restoration act’; to put it mildly, having the “freedom” to refuse queers is a symbol of a broken society – and america is a broken society. The Nazi’s had plaques to refuse Jews; not too long ago the U.S. had plaques to refuse coloreds and now the same for gays. In one respect the Jewish statement diverts, as to be of Jewish ancestry is hardly a choice, although to practise is; in any event to cast away a part of society for something they are unable to “fix” is diabolical. Blacks can’t help that they are beautiful, and Gays cannot help that they are fabulous, they just are.

How can the soil where we planted the greatest seed of human integrity, be defiled by the cruel footprints of segregation – yet again!

I have the freedom to swing my arm, but that freedom only extents to a few inches from someone else’s face – I cannot overstep that boundary. Your freedom of religion is yours to cherish, and ends right before it discriminates another human being. This law is not freedom but clear discrimination. Not only is it bad for business, but it’s bad for humanity.

I can, and have, mocked the undoubted disgusting beliefs of middle-eastern faiths (all of them); I can do this on the basis that I am morally superior to them in every single way. I do not hate by the colour of someone’s skin, I do not kill due to the “sect” someone is born to, this gives me the moral high-ground. Slowly but surely the United States has lost its moral high-ground. No more can they throw stones at the middle east and say “look at those barbaric people” as long as a man or woman can be publicly abused by their fellow neighbours for their sexual orientation, all because of a book of laughable tales of genocide and incest. As long as these laws exist, you are no different to those you point the finger at. You shout “look at the hatred Mohammed has given them” they shout back “look at the nastiness of those who follow Jesus”, when both of you need to look at yourselves in disgust.

Not only do these laws need to be tackled but regulations need to be enforced to stop them from arising again. There must be an education given regarding the different between free speech and hate speech, freedom and discrimination.

The people in certain states stand behind nonsense of the sort due to indoctrination, home-schooling, faith schools & acceptance open bigotry, even on the political spectrum. Educating these inbreeds would be a great start to achieving equality; so let’s start there!

Let us then ask the bible belt of america to explain why they are so vehemently against gays, yet they watch the most gay pornography of any of the states! A massive majority of these anti-gay half-wits are viewing gay porn regularly on an unprecedented scale, so let’s ask them about it! (start with the preachers)

On a serious note, I can’t imagine what it would be like to wake up tomorrow and be gay, or black for that matter. It horrifies me to say, I would be completely anxious of the world I would have to face; I hate that others have to live this existence.

If you live in America, please boycott these business, you may miss your favourite burger house – but your morality and integrity depends on it. Please write to your local representatives and be counted as one who opposes this bigotry. If given the opportunity, try and make someone else’s life better by letting them know how you feel.

It costs you nothing to walk up to a gay couple who have been turned away and give some kind words “If you can’t eat here, nor will my family – we are with you”. A few words could change the outlook of someone utterly humiliated and depressed.

Please make sure you make your voice heard, because the freedoms of ordinary humans, and the honour of your country is in the balance. Black children in the U.S.A can look at their president and say “I can achieve that”, what hope do gays have until they can say the same?

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Atheism, British Government, Christianity, Religion, UK politics

The Godless Race

I am rather occupied with politics all year round, by my own accord I might add, but even I get a headache leading up to an election. At the same time I get to laugh at the utter stupidity of the Ted Cruz nomination in the US, I also get to listen to David Cameron drone on about a “Greater Britain”. I keep hoping he will say “it will be great if twats like me piss off”, alas, he won’t.

Hearing the same arguments & scaremongering over and over is tiresome, maybe even a little futile if you believe the “nothing really changes” rhetoric, which I don’t. Each day a new point being made, a new position to be haggled over. Personal attacks are thrown around as fair game. The constant admission of “hard decisions” that need to be made, yet I never saw the PM look skinny due to under-eating. We must accept that the PM makes the tough decisions and the people live with the aftermath of those decisions – I guess that is life.

On top of all the nonsense and boring statistical white lies, I constantly find myself heaving a sigh of relief regarding the complete silence of god.

Luckily for me and my country I can sit back and watch with complete indifference the show that is U.S. politics. Politicians having to claim they believe in silly stories like Noah’s Ark, even though there is no evidence such story ever occurred – and plenty to say it never. Senators who swear that climate change is a hoax or still up for debate, even though the debate has been had by scientists and they all agree – It exists, its current form is due to human involvement – the debate is over. Every speech includes ‘our friends in Israel’ or ‘God as my witness’ or ‘as a Christian’ – What the fuck does this have to do with a secular policy in a secular nation?

Gladly, the UK race is godless (for the minute). Cameron doesn’t have to pander to the lunatics & low information voters regarding god, although he does regarding immigration. Ed Miliband refuses to mention his personal beliefs at every turn; people in the U.S. must wonder how on earth he makes his policy ideas without asking an invisible man.

George Bush Jr told us he asked god if he should go into Iraq, regardless of your position, we can hardly say god gave the right advice can we?

Either way, I get what I want. I can watch the witless politics of the U.S. with a smile of astonishment, whilst banging my head against the wall at the childlike attempts of gaining followers by the U.K. politicians.

At the end of the day I am happy that my guys are basing their judgements on Realpolitik, on statistics (which favour themselves obviously) and on what they feel is best for the country and their interests. At no point am I bombarded with claims of god being on their side, or even slight nods to one (true) religious sect.

That I am proud of. Let is keep it that way; there is enough bullshit in the news as it is to include religious fairy-tales.

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Atheism, Christianity, Christopher Hitchens

The Curse of Christopher Hitchens: Great Expectations

Recently I have been ultimately disappointed by one of my heroes. I’m not sure that there is any way I could truly convey my sadness, maybe there are secularists or atheists out there who feel my pain. I had become a big fan of the orator, Christopher Hitchens, maybe a year before his passing. I have spent most of my time since admiring the man who could not only structure arguments with wit and sharpness, but also switch from dry humour to utter vengeance without a moments notice. His intellect and use of the spoken word, I am sure, has done more for atheists in the 21st century than Galileo.

Now I can take his balls out of my mouth and start my saddening critique.

With many things that I look forward to, I wait as long as I can to taste the fruits of excitement. From films, TV shows, and books – I have a thing of leaving the best till last, or at least giving myself a sense of tension and patience. With Hitchens, I have seen most likely every single debate of his on youtube more than once, I have learned many things from him including how to debate, and most importantly how not to fall into using logical fallacies. I have now finally got around to reading his books. All I can say is, I wish I hadn’t.

I know many will say the same of my books, but I doubt anyone looks up to me as a hero. Firstly I read ‘god is not Great’, I expected so much, and in turn felt I received so little. I often found myself bored and underwhelmed by his arguments. Where had his fierce nature gone to? I almost didn’t hear a peep in his book about Islam, he barely even touched on the utter absurdity of the 3 main monolithic faiths – although he took some good shots at Mormonism. On stage, in front of a crowd he could literally destroy Judaism, Christianity and Islam in 5 minutes or less – and would do so strikingly. Yet in this book, he almost sounds like an apologist, I kept thinking any minute now he will get angry and tell me what he really thinks. Instead of the whiskey & smoke fuelled attack I was used to, I got some vegan excuse for atheism. In many chapters I found it hard to understand on what side of the fence he stood – those who know Hitch from only his debates will be shocked to read this, and probably regard these statements as untrue. Be that as it may, all I can give is my account.

If I had to put up ‘god is not Great’ against the likes of ‘Infidel’ which I read directly before hand, I would have to say the latter surpassed the former by a substantial margin. I believe the curse has to be that the style of spoken word, the use of language on the spot, the sheer charisma – and it must be mentioned – utter raw sexuality of the “who gives a fuck what you think” attitude, has marred what one would expect to be an equal writing style. In its stead is a system of printed information that goes simply over my head. Where did the wit go? Where can I find the stinging rebuttals?

Next was ‘The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory & Practise’

This also fell short. I do know that reviews online are simply dazzling for both these titles, but I must admit, I do feel Hitchens’ fanbase may be the driving force behind such. If not I am astounded at how much I missed the boat. Although the attack on Teresa has its warrants and validity, it seemed dull in comparison to Hitch’s own TV show that preceded the book. By condensing the information and using his conversational skills, he was gripping and informative – the book is neither in my opinion. One thing I have to admit, although this is of my own fault and not his, I simply find too many Latin phrases being used. My education has given me a few well known catch phrases of the Latin ilk, but on nearly every page I am subjected to a reminder of how bad my education really was – If I wanted to know about Mother Teresa in a dead language I would have read the Latin translation. That is neither here nor there. Worst of all has to be the fact I knew of many sentences before they appeared. By the half way mark I understood many of Hitchens’ famous phrases were not on the stop genius but thought out statements which he used in his books. At first glance of a chapter I knew there would be a certain sentence about this or that copied from one of his many debates – verbatim. This disappointed me the most. My heart sank when I noticed I was a step ahead of him. All it took was a suspicious eye to see him mention the Nazi’s, and I could taste the bitterness of a sentence that would be coming soon regarding the only excommunicated Nazi (Joseph Goebbels) and not for his crimes against humanity, but for his marriage to a protestant “you see, they do have standards”.

This skin crawling self theft happened on all too familiar basis.

Both of those books have left me cold; I am hoping the next title ‘The Trial of Henry Kissinger’ will bring back my admiration. In truth, it will never go, as a man, he is a legend in my eyes; as a writer of non-fiction regarding politics and religion, I am not convinced.

I will be the first to admit, my misunderstanding of the brilliance of Hitchens’ written work is most likely a lack on my part – but I cannot force myself to enjoy what I do not enjoy.

Did anyone else feel this way? I am genuinely interested in finding out. Can I be the only one? Maybe my standards and expectations were just too damn high – maybe I should have thought of him more human and less heroic. I wanted Hitch Slaps and I got a man who seemed to caress religion with a soft paw – it must be harder to be angry when looking at a computer and not William Lane Craig.

Who am I kidding. The man was a genius. The fault is clearly my own.

Back to normal folks or as Hitchens would say “tergum ut Northmanni”

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Atheism, Bible, Christianity, pope, pope francis, Religion, USA

The bible – comedy of errors from line one

Before being sent hate mail for stealing someone else’s work – I would like to say this piece is inspired by an episode of ‘the atheist experience’. According to reddit a speech about the comedy of errors in the bible was created by Matt Dillahuanty, but in a recent episode one of the other hosts also made this point (which inspired me). I am at no point claiming this as an original thought, although I will go into further detail, I will also start a little earlier than they did.

In the beginning…

“God created the heaven and earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the spirit of god moved upon the face of the waters.”

How, if the world was without form, can there be a “deep”? A deep what? How does something without form have a deep face? Google “form” if you need to clarify the definition. Furthermore where the fuck did these “waters” come from? There is no form, god has not made any water yet – Fail #1

“God said let there be light” I would allow this, but we notice 8 verses later god “let(s) there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from night;”

Not only does this incorrectly explain how days and nights occur (yes, god would fail a 5 year old’s science exam – on the topic of a world he created), but it also makes absolutely no sense. If these lights in the heavens (let’s call them stars – the only place natural light comes from) were created in the 14th verse, where did the light come from in the 3rd verse? Without stars there is no source of light at all – therefore god either lied about the 3rd verse, or he relayed the message to his followers incorrectly, or the story is bollocks. Before you think the second point could be true, remember you would be concluding that this perfect god made a massive mistake literally a few words into his own book.

So here we are only 6 verses into a “perfect” book, finding numerous illogical statements and clear falsehoods. I ask of you how can a thinking person get past these initial verses without firstly noticing the problems & secondly ignore them to accept the account as reputable – this is intellectual deceit. One must relieve themselves of mental faculty and put aside any rationality they hold to agree to the validity of this book. Hand on heart I can confirm, as many others before me have, not a page can be turned within the bible without finding one single fallacy, incorrect statement or morally foul passage. I hope I don’t have to document each individually, but I may do pop back into the deep well of errors from time to time.

The Bible is a comedy of errors. God creates the world with only 1 person…and that turns out to be a mistake, so he makes a companion. Two people in the world, one rule…whoops, that failed. Let’s kick them out and make life more difficult, in the hopes that this will work…whoops, that failed. OK, let’s drown everyone on the planet except for the one most righteous family…whoops, that failed. As a punishment of supposedly exploration let’s confuse their languages so they can never understand each other… that failed. Cast them on different continents to segregate them … that failed. Let’s pick just one small group as the chosen group and swear to protect them whilst mandating them certain pieces of land… that failed. Let’s ignore them for a while, maybe that will make them better … that failed. Let’s pick and guide one king…fail. Let’s send ourselves down and take human form in order to sacrifice ourselves to ourselves as a loophole for a rule that we made…epic fail. Let’s create humans sick and demand them to not only be well, but force that they firstly feel guilty and seek repentance for an ill cast upon hem without their knowledge or say so … fail.

I admit much of this is out-of-order, but here is a quick overview of a few random fails from within the arc of the bible. There are hundreds more and that is a conservative number, I assure you.

Join me next time for more biblical errors. Please like, share and comment if you would be so kind. (especially share on theist pages)

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