Ideological Persecution Complex and Gambling on the Oppressed

Many ideologies are shaped in reaction to real social ills and real oppression. They are in fact inspired by oppression, they are a plea for justice in an unjust situation. They are most of the times revolutionary ideologies, meant to overthrow and oppressive regime or social system. They are naturally considered liberating forces and attract well-meaning people who support them and leagues of angry supporters. Then a revolution happens, and that ideology becomes the regime or it becomes the dominant ideology. Then, to everyone’s surprise, it’ll turn out to be actually as repressive as the previous system or more, and soon it will lose all the respect it held as a liberating ideology.

But why? Was it because the power corrupted them? Was it because they were never sincere? I think among some individual believers this is possible, but ultimately the problem is somewhere else, somewhere integral to all revolutionary ideologies which makes them potential oppressive opportunities, and what makes them appealing in the first place.

[Read more...]

Link Round-Up 8/17/2014

Story of the week: Robin Williams passed away. David Wong of Cracked has a moving article on the link between comedy and depression. Salon has an interesting compilation of his best moments and Vulture has more moments. Jerry Coyne has the best overview of the reactions of the atheist community to his death. Ashley Miller discusses the role of depression in the light of his death. This is some teachers inspired by his role in Dead Poets Society, a sentiment I expressed in my own obituary as well.

JT Ebehard and Dan Fincke have both touching tributes.

Lauren Bacall was another great actor we lost. Here is a review of her great career. Richard Brody explains how being a strong woman shaped her career. This NPR article includes some of her interview highlights. But my favorite article after her death was Amy Davidson’s. And you can see her life narrated in pictures.

[Read more...]

Welcome All the New FTB Bloggers

Yesterday I welcomed Hiba whom I very glad and honored to call a friend, but FTB has now two new fresh bloggers as well.

One is Heina Dadabhoy who used to blog for Skepchick and has a very sharp vision and strong argumentative powers, and also a major voice on ex-Muslim issues. The addition of Hiba and Heina makes me very happy because if we think that ex-Muslim voices are underrepresented in today’s atheist discourse (they are) then a major blog network giving space to them is a very important step. No matter what criticism you might have of FTB, I think we can all agree that no other network has FTB’s international scope and global concern, and this is a major strong point, in my book.

So – talking of Heina, this is her author bio:

Heina Dadabhoy spent her childhood as a practicing Muslim who never in her right mind would have believed that she would grow up to be an atheist feminist secular humanist. She has been an active participant in atheist organizations and events in and around Orange County, CA since 2007, and on the national stage since 2011. She is currently writing A Skeptic’s Guide to Islam. You can follow her on Twitter at @heinousdealings,Tumblr, or Facebook.

You can read her blog Heinous Dealings here.

Now I’m ashamed to confess that I wasn’t familiar with Consider the Tea Cosy but to be fair, that is the purpose of moving to blog networks, to expand your readers’ base. I’m very excited and look forward to read Aoife O’Riordan’s blog.

I’m Aoife (think Eva with an F, but only if you’re pronouncing Eva to rhyme with TREE-vah). If you’re looking for descriptors, I’m a queer Irish feminist with a social science background and a bucketload of opinions. This year I founded the Bi+ Ireland Network, and I ain’t kidding when I say it’s the thing that I’m proudest of. I’ll write about all of those things, but- being honest, since we’re friends here- I’ll mostly be thinking about roller derby. Sometimes you’ve just gotta strap on a pair of skates and hit some people, y’know?

Read Consider the Tea Cosy here.

Link Round Up 7/26/2014

The Story of the Week: Our friends over at Skptic Ink publish a joint book. Read about it here. Skeptic Ink writers visit Skeptic Canary Show to discuss their new book. I personally don’t have access to the book, but you might want to check it out.

Other Story of the Week: Make sure to continue reading the Ex-Hijabi Photo Journal. This is Mahmoud’s story about sneaking in food, for example.

[Read more...]

The Subtlety Illusion

I had this atheist friend who used to be mean to every religious person he came across. He would call religious people “stupid”, simply for believing in religion, and mocking them in a mean spirited manner. I confronted him on multiple times over this, and he always argued reasonably – he even sometimes confronted other atheists when they said things like “If you weren’t stupid you wouldn’t be religious”. He was always nuanced, saying things like “We criticize the religious thought and ideology and do not negatively judge believers”. But he always judged believers negatively, and ultimately I came to the conclusion that his opinions are more nuanced and subtled than his actual mentality and attitude. He had a moderate brain, but an extremist heart. His ideas were nuanced and tolerant, but he himself was intolerant and abusive. When I came to this conclusion, I ended my friendship with him.

[Read more...]

Link Round-Up 7/12/2014

Headline Story of the week: Mubarak Bala is a Nigerian openly atheist who has run into problem for leaving Islam. Read the report here and here.

Story of the Week: Eduard Shevardnadze (1928-2014), the former Georgian president and the foreign minister of USSR during Gorbachev passed away last week. Read New Yorker obituary written by a Georgian, BBC obituary, and New York Times obituary, all give great views of this man’s life. History may judge his impact positive or negative, but it will never judge it small.

[Read more...]

Culture is the Problem

Part of this post has been copy pasted from a Facebook discussion but not the majority of it.

A strange thing that I have noticed in many western liberals, and I find it perplexing, is a respect for culture as a concept. Personally not only I think culture is not a good thing, I think it’s the real source of all our problems, at least here in Middle East.

[Read more...]

I Will Miss the Honor of Being on the Same Network as Kate Donovan

Kate Donovan is leaving FTB to host her own weblog. Via her goodbye post:

Hello, wonderful commenters, readers, and other-people-peering-at-this.

I’m writing with bittersweet news: G&H is moving, this time to a standalone location. I have adored being here. I have gotten to write next to some of my favorite people in the world, and it has been and important and warm and loving community. There aren’t grand reasons I’m moving–it’s just that as time has passed, I’ve been writing to an increasingly different audience, and having my own space seems an inevitable, but sad part of that.

So. With that, I’ll see you over here.

So make sure to set your bookmarks and to change your bookmarks and RSS subscription. Shouldn’t miss her blog posts! She already has uploaded a new article too.

I completely understand her reasons for moving and fully support them, of course, but the truth is that FTB will become less rich by losing such a voice as hers, and I will certainly miss and regret the fact that I can’t claim that I’m on the same network.

Since I became familiar with atheist blogsphere through Facebook and Twitter and later joined FTB, catching up on all the things I had missed, I have been involved with many bloggers, and many of them have greatly influenced the way I look at the world. I’m sure you can see by my posts that Dan Fincke and Miri Mogilevsky are among them. One of the chief influences of mine has been Kate. I couldn’t even write responses to her or to acknowledge where exactly her writing shaped my thought, because the learning has been completely one way: I have learned and she has taught. And I have learned much from her.

Kate is compassionate, rational, a great writer, and a great teacher. I will make sure to continue to learn from her.

Also this is a video I found very useful and taught me a lot. Make sure to watch it.

Libertarian Is Not an Insult Part 2

I posted something yesterday about some progressives using dehumanizing language about libertarians, and sadly the comments appearing at the bottom provided tangible examples of what I was talking about in vague terms. Just as I’m sure such comments have not changed the mind of any libertarian, they have not changed my mind either, but quite the opposite.

I want to take my opportunity to explain my own position better.

[Read more...]