Reddit Post – Life can be Cruel, it is us who make it less so

Honestly, I don’t want points, because this sucks, I just want to be sad and sort of angry.

One of my best friends just found out that their unborn child has a rare condition called acrania. Basically, the fetus does not have a proper skull. The mortality rate is 100% when brought to term. They are terminating the pregnancy because the condition is incompatible with life.

This kind of thing blows my mind. There are so many diseases, illnesses, and conditions that make life miserable for the afflicted, many of which are only sustainable because of modern science.

How can god possibly exist when these kinds of things happen? God is either a dickhead, weak, or non-existent. If we happen to be wrong and god actually exists, then I want nothing to do with him. My friend is religious though and will probably be in church all week.

I’m angry because life can truly be miserable. No one should ever have to go through this kind of thing. I’ll never speak a word of my feelings about this to them, all I can do is be there for my friend…

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A Response to Damian Thompson – ISIS and Iraq

I have made it no secret that I have a mysterious history with Iraq. I have been there on holiday, I have been there as a refugee and I have been there for a variety of reasons.

Iraq is where I picked up my nom de plume. Well the Middle East, there are a lot of Ibn Sina Hospitals out there and as part of my vague past, I was born in one and I have lived in one while my parents worked.

I have long said that Islam is a fractured faith. That the greatest victims of Islam are Muslims. That the religion’s fervour, and fanaticism lead it to be rigid and unchanging. And that with the rise of Saudi Wahabbism and wealth, the language and progress of Islam is being re-written to emphasise the glory of the bedouin tribals whose conservative Islam has become the blue print to aim for.

When the ideal Muslim is portrayed as fundamentalist, then what you see is people trying to beat each other in fundamentalism to be the man on top. Just as the Christians try to beat each other in “piety” and being holy, you see the Muslims do the same. Except the Muslim Ideal in many parts of the world is Jihadi. Young men are encouraged to be brainless, violent thugs and this is glorified. I have been to the camps in Palestine. I have been to Pakistan. I have seen people laud Osama Bin Laden and Lakshar, Hamaas and Hezbollah as heroes. Sure there are other reasons for their popularity (Lakshar are seen as freedom fighters, Hamaas and Hezbollah were the only ones to stand up to aggressive loss of land. Put it this way?  [Read more...]

An Answer

I’ve recently started to shun my religious upbringing and it has already led to some great improvements in my life. I was just wondering how you guys personally deal with the fact that there is no afterlife? Do you just try to live the most out of everyday? How do you console yourself, or do you face the truth head on? Sorry if the questions are stupid, like I said, I’m new. Thanks in advance.

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Age of Kali – On Sati And History

“Despite my general opposition to the British Raj, I very much like Sir Charles Napier’s reply to Indians defending suttee: “You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: When men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours.” – Masked Avenger

I figured that this was a good time to deal with an interesting part of history. Let us say this. Atheists know precious little about Indian culture or Hinduism. What we know about Islam in general is rather appalling and Hinduism? Well let us just say that when I started out? When I looked for “Ex-Hindu Atheists” the only place I found was the then silent Nirmukhta. I started writing because I saw no one else represent a group of atheists who are small but who do have a different view on the issues and different issues with the views.

I am an atheist. A pretty strong one. However? I also grew up Hindu. It is part of me. My girlfriend (Hera) still goes to the Temple and believes even if I do not. And I do not begrudge her or bemoan her faith. I think if we know the truth about our old religions we can take on the wisdom and ignore the ignorance. And one such is Sati.

Sati to me is a puzzling thing to discuss.

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On The Home’s Children and the Catholic Church

What institutions require is oversight. Self awareness. A lot of institutions run across the globe have stellar care. I can put up my own “Spastic Society” work as an example of care within disability (where a lot of the emphasis is inter disabled care and promotion of ability in a society where there are few options for abled people let alone the disabled). So running businesses and workshops and even training people for call centres (You don’t need to be physically able to operate a phone). Donate if you like! They take Paypal!

We may fear the institute, but here is the thing. All the good institutes? Never make the news. For the same reason we think that “Catholic Priest” = “Paedophile” when the incidence is the same among Catholic Priests and Teachers. The issue is the protection and hypocrisy afforded to the priests rather than the prevalence. The reason teachers don’t “get away with it” as often is we have no qualms about arresting one and schools are vested in their interests to owning up while the Church covers up. We only hear the bad things.

However? Remember the role religion plays in society as moral leaders? That’s the big problem. The fact that while claiming to be moral, the church’s unassailable position (in their own minds) allowed them to perpetrate atrocity while thinking what they were doing was good.

The terrifying thing is something I noticed from the article when I wrote about the topic. 
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Applied Theology – Avicenna (the original dude) would Weep

There is a word from the “His Dark Materials” trilogy.

Applied Theology. The notion that we can simply apply theology to the visible world and thus make sense of it.

This is how we lived most of our lives until the scientific revolutions. It was easier to explain things by gods and demons and ghosts than by thinking about events. It is why we tried to reason with the storm by creating gods such as Thor and Indra and indeed Jehovah himself who may have begun as a Storm god.

These beings were seen as agents which we could petition to influence the world to our favour.

We know better now. But people still attempt to do so. The Creationists are a great example. Even holding up real fossils of carnivorous dinosaurs and laughably claiming they ate watermelons with jaws designed to kill other animals. But this is particularly seen in the Muslim World. Where there are major attempts to square the natural world with the writing within the Koran.

And it has effects on the mentally ill. For example? This paper.

Schizophrenia is typically a life-long condition characterized by acute symptom exacerbations and widely varying degrees of functional disability. Some of its symptoms, such as delusions and hallucinations, produce great subjective psychological pain. The most common delusion types are as follows: “My feelings and movements are controlled by others in a certain way” and “They put thoughts in my head that are not mine.” Hallucinatory experiences are generally voices talking to the patient or among themselves. Hallucinations are a cardinal positive symptom of schizophrenia which deserves careful study in the hope it will give information about the pathophysiology of the disorder. We thought that many so-called hallucinations in schizophrenia are really illusions related to a real environmental stimulus. One approach to this hallucination problem is to consider the possibility of a demonic world. Demons are unseen creatures that are believed to exist in all major religions and have the power to possess humans and control their body. Demonic possession can manifest with a range of bizarre behaviors which could be interpreted as a number of different psychotic disorders with delusions and hallucinations. The hallucination in schizophrenia may therefore be an illusion—a false interpretation of a real sensory image formed by demons. A local faith healer in our region helps the patients with schizophrenia. His method of treatment seems to be successful because his patients become symptom free after 3 months. Therefore, it would be useful for medical professions to work together with faith healers to define better treatment pathways for schizophrenia.

Yes. I kid you not. This is discussing the potential cause of mental illness as “demons”. Literal rather than the metaphorical ones.

“Hallucinations are a cardinal positive symptom of schizophrenia which deserves careful study in the hope it will give information about the pathophysiology of the disorder. We thought that many so-called hallucinations in schizophrenia are really illusions related to a real environmental stimulus. One approach to this hallucination problem is to consider the possibility of a demonic world. Demons are unseen creatures that are believed to exist in all major religions and have the power to possess humans and control their body. Demonic possession can manifest with a range of bizarre behaviors which could be interpreted as a number of different psychotic disorders with delusions and hallucinations. The hallucination in schizophrenia may therefore be an illusion—a false interpretation of a real sensory image formed by demons.”

Dr. Irmak thus creates a dialogue where patients can be abused and mistreated by faith healers rather than real medicine. It enables quackery while treating a major medical issue with quack science.

It is what you get when you drag applied theology to its logical conclusion. Demons Exist. Demons Possess People. Demons Were Traditionally Regarded As the Cause of Mental Illness. Therefore Demons are Real and Exorcism + Faith Healing is real.

In order to prop up their version of Islam, the entire science of psychiatry and the patients it helps are sacrificed. Many Arab hospitals take on the name of Ibn Sina in memory of the Golden Age Islamic scholar. He is widely regarded as the father of Evidence Based Medicine due to being the first known doctor (he was a polymath to be fair) to recommend proper experimentation and comparison between treatments.

Imagine taking his name and producing something as vapid and scientifically unsound as this to prop up your religious views?