We rational people know about Richard Dawkins’s excellent answer to a stupid ‘what if you’re wrong’ question. Now let’s enjoy the art. And let the believers think about what Dawkins says until they get back their rational logical mind.
Susan Sarandon said that as a child, she had many questions about religion — questions that got her into trouble and ultimately made her rethink her relationship with religion as an adult. She said some of the Catholic teachings she never understood and she shared what happened when she asked innocent questions to better understand her religion.
She said, “I was a very quiet kid, a very wanting-to-please kid.But certain things didn’t make sense to me and when I questioned them, there was a problem.”
The religious teachings Sarandon questioned was the rule that marriage must take place in the Catholic Church. She wanted to know how Joseph and Mary were married, since Jesus didn’t make it up until later. She got punishment for questioning religion. She had to go stand in the hallway. She was in third grade.
Sarandon was looking for answers that made sense to her. She said “I was not trying to be a wise-ass, I just didn’t understand why they would put babies in limbo just because they weren’t baptized..Why would they say every other religion was bad. I think that all religions at their core have some really magnificent teachings, and most of them are very similar. It’s the institutionalization of these religious principles that don’t serve me well.”
And what do I think? I think all the magnificent teachings religion have are not owned by religion. Those teachings or ethic code or morality already exited in every society before religion was created. Religion just hijacked those teachings without mentioning the source. We should give credits to the philosophers and wise men/women of ancient society for those magnificent teachings. Let’s read some of ancient teachings or the golden rule that existed long before religion.
The Golden Rule existed among all the major philosophical schools of Ancient China: Mohism, Taoism, and Confucianism. Examples of the concept include:
“Zi Gong asked, saying, “Is there one word that may serve as a rule of practice for all one’s life?” The Master said, “Is not reciprocity such a word?” – Confucius
“Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself.” – Confucius
“If people regarded other people’s families in the same way that they regard their own, who then would incite their own family to attack that of another? For one would do for others as one would do for oneself.” – Mozi
“The sage has no interest of his own, but takes the interests of the people as his own. He is kind to the kind; he is also kind to the unkind: for Virtue is kind. He is faithful to the faithful; he is also faithful to the unfaithful: for Virtue is faithful.” –Laozi
“Regard your neighbor’s gain as your own gain, and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss.” –Laozi
An early example of the Golden Rule that reflects the Ancient Egyptian concept of Maat appears in the story of The Eloquent Peasant, which dates to the Middle Kingdom (c. 2040–1650 BC): “Now this is the command: Do to the doer to cause that he do thus to you.” An example from a Late Period (c. 664 BC – 323 BC) papyrus: “That which you hate to be done to you, do not do to another.”
The Golden Rule in its prohibitive form was a common principle in ancient Greek philosophy. Examples of the general concept include:
“Do not do to your neighbor what you would take ill from him.” – Pittacus (c. 640–568 BC)
“Avoid doing what you would blame others for doing.” – Thales (c. 624 BC – c. 546 BC)
“What you do not want to happen to you, do not do it yourself either. ” – Sextus the Pythagorean. The oldest extant reference to Sextus is by Origen in the third century of the common era.
“Do not do to others what would anger you if done to you by others.” – Isocrates (436–338 BC)
“What thou avoidest suffering thyself seek not to impose on others.” – Epictetus
“It is impossible to live a pleasant life without living wisely and well and justly (agreeing ‘neither to harm nor be harmed’), and it is impossible to live wisely and well and justly without living a pleasant life.” – Epicurus
“…it has been shown that to injure anyone is never just anywhere.” – Socrates, in Plato’s Republic. Plato is the first person known to have said this.
Seneca, maybe following Publilius Syrus, told “ab alio expectes alteri quod feceris” (expect from others what you did to them) and “non est quod credas quemquam fieri aliena infelicitate felicem” (it is not so, as you might believe, that one is made happy through the unhappiness of others).
The good teachings do not belong to religion, some of the bad teachings against humanity and some of the lies and ignorance about the universe do.
I am going to give you a very good news. The news is, humanist weddings have become increasingly popular in Scotland, and they may outnumber Church of Scotland weddings if current trends continue. Bravo Scotland!
I have been to a few humanist wedding in Germany and Sweden in ’90s. If I were not against marriage, I would have chosen to have a humanist wedding for myself. I personally know some officiants in Europe who perform secular humanist celebrancy services for weddings, funerals, child naming, confirmation, coming of age ceremonies and other rituals. People in every country should have options to have humanist celebrations for social events.
Humanists want no religious celebrations. ‘Humanists believe that human experience and rational thinking provide the only source of both knowledge and a moral code to live by. They reject the idea of knowledge ‘revealed’ to human beings by gods, or in special books. Most humanists think science provides the only reliable source of knowledge about the universe. And people can live ethical and fulfilling lives without religious beliefs.’
1. Humanism is ethical. It affirms the worth, dignity and autonomy of the individual and the right of every human being to the greatest possible freedom compatible with the rights of others. Humanists have a duty of care to all of humanity including future generations. Humanists believe that morality is an intrinsic part of human nature based on understanding and a concern for others, needing no external sanction.
2. Humanism is rational. It seeks to use science creatively, not destructively. Humanists believe that the solutions to the world’s problems lie in human thought and action rather than divine intervention. Humanism advocates the application of the methods of science and free inquiry to the problems of human welfare. But Humanists also believe that the application of science and technology must be tempered by human values. Science gives us the means but human values must propose the ends.
3. Humanism supports democracy and human rights. Humanism aims at the fullest possible development of every human being. It holds that democracy and human development are matters of right. The principles of democracy and human rights can be applied to many human relationships and are not restricted to methods of government.
4. Humanism insists that personal liberty must be combined with social responsibility. Humanism ventures to build a world on the idea of the free person responsible to society, and recognizes our dependence on and responsibility for the natural world. Humanism is undogmatic, imposing no creed upon its adherents. It is thus committed to education free from indoctrination.
5. Humanism is a response to the widespread demand for an alternative to dogmatic religion. The world’s major religions claim to be based on revelations fixed for all time, and many seek to impose their world-views on all of humanity. Humanism recognizes that reliable knowledge of the world and ourselves arises through a continuing process. of observation, evaluation and revision.
6. Humanism values artistic creativity and imagination and recognizes the transforming power of art. Humanism affirms the importance of literature, music, and the visual and performing arts for personal development and fulfillment.
7. Humanism is a life stance aiming at the maximum possible fulfillment through the cultivation of ethical and creative living and offers an ethical and rational means of addressing the challenges of our times. Humanism can be a way of life for everyone everywhere.
Atheists, secularists, and humanists should reject religious ceremonies for their weddings, funerals, confirmations etc. Humanist ceremonies are much better, more rational, more meaningful and more beautiful than religious ceremonies.
Almost 80% of Egyptian Muslims say they favour religious freedom and a similar number favour sharia law. Of that group, almost 90% also think people who renounce Islam should be put to death.
Probably we do not expect much from Afghanistan and Pakistan. But What about Bangladesh? Atheists and Islamists have recently been fighting in that country, officially people’s republic with a bizarre state religion. I have no idea whether Bangladesh showed the same conservatism like Egypt or liberal like Turkey. If you do not secularize your country for decades, you will get a disturbing data soon or later. Mubarak didn’t actually do much for secularization. If he did, Egypt would not have become a country of Islamists so quickly. Ex-communist countries are showing the best results so far. Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Bosnia, Russia, Albania are making a bit of sense than most Muslim countries. It is the reward of practicing atheism during communist era. Turkey is also better than many others. It is the result of, I believe, Kamal Ataturk’s efforts on secularization of Turkey that started almost a century ago.
You are wrong if you believe you as an authority should continue building religious schools and prayer halls and continue indoctrinating people to accept that ‘god exists, religion is true, it is a crime to hurt anyone’s religious feelings, infidels should die,’ but people should not turn to be religious terrorists.
Islamic countries are shifting themselves away from the civilized world. They will soon be an isolated monster with their sharia laws and laws against blasphemy. They will either destroy the entire world or they will be destroyed by themselves. It is so alarming!
I know it is politically incorrect to say against democracy. But I am not worried for being called incorrect. The truth is, I sometimes think democracy is not good for some countries, specially not for Muslim countries, where most people are brainwashed with Islamic doctrine. I know I am wrong, I am going against people’s freedom. I must not deny even the brainwashed people’s right to choose. But I can not totally wipe out my thoughts, that, it would be ultimately good for Muslim countries if they get dedicated and honest, non-corrupt and super-strict atheist or secular dictators. May be they do not want to be good. They want to be worst. They want to make their wheels go backwards. I am just a stupid dreamer!
This homeless man in the USA is holding a sign that says ‘which religion cares the most about the homeless?’ and he put nine begging bowls in front of him.
Each bowl is labelled as ‘Muslim’, ‘atheist’, ‘Hindu’, ‘Jewish’, ‘Buddhist’, ‘spiritual’, ‘agnostic’, ‘pagan’, and ‘Christian.
The homeless man says, ”The atheists are winning”. It means atheists are giving him more money than others.
Religious people generally help the poor more than atheists. But they do it to get rewards in afterlife. Most of them are simply selfish and greedy. They do not help to really help others, they help others to help themselves. Mostly they donate money to build churches, mosques, temples, gurudwaras, pagodas, synagogues. They do not give a damn to the eradication of poverty programs. When atheists help, they help out of sympathy and solidarity, love and compassion. They do it to make the world a better place. They do not do it to go to heaven. They have no bad selfish motive behind helping others. Atheists’ help is real cool and clean help. Bill Gates and Warren Buffett have given billions of dollars to charities. Both of them are atheists.
Like everyone I was born an atheist. I didn’t know that I was an atheist until the early ’70s.
I have been slapped, punched, kicked, harassed, assaulted, abused, banned, banished and threatened with death, but I never shut my mouth.
Don’t shut your mouth. Question everything. Protest against lies and superstitions. Fight dogmas. Don’t let the ignorant faith-heads ruin our world.
Be atheists, new atheists.
Mukto Mona freethinkers, a group of Bengali atheists, issued a statement: Bangladesh government squishing freedom of speech by arresting and harassing young bloggers inside the country
We are drawing your attention to an ominous development that is taking place right now in Bangladesh. To appease a handful of radical islamist preachers, the government has embarked on a campaign to curtail freedom of speech. To this effect, the police under government dictate have arrested three bloggers (Subrata Adhikari Shuvo, Mashiur Rahman Biplob and Rasel Parvez) in Dhaka, and then several others including one popular atheist blogger, Asif Mohiuddin in the following day. They were interrogated by police and further remanded in custody for seven more days. Torture in police custody is commonplace in Bangladesh for the detainees, often to extract incriminating statements. This time, several hapless bloggers are at the receiving end of government’s wrath. The government claims that these young bloggers have offended Islam and Muhammad, Islam’s holy prophet. It is worth noting that Bangladesh has no blasphemy law and the nation’s constitution allows the “freedom of thought, conscience and expression” as a fundamental right. In the aftermath of a popular protest in February and March 2013 known as Shahbag Movement, which was organized by bloggers and cyber writers, a section of Islamists have waged a disinformation campaign to label the bloggers ‘atheists’. The government is now trying to appease these Islamists. The government has made a list of nearly 100 bloggers and cyber forum participants who they labeled atheists and defamers of Islam. Through interview given to popular press, a spokesperson for the government has announced that the government will arrest and prosecute these “errant” bloggers. Although there is no law against atheism in Bangladesh, the government is persecuting these bloggers on charges of offending Islam and its Prophet. The government has already blocked a few popular websites to curtail free flow of information and promises to do even more to appease the Islamists. Since the constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh ensures freedom of speech and expression [article 39 (1, 2) of chapter-3], we believe Bangladesh Government’s heinous action against the popular bloggers is unconstitutional and a gross violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in 1948, which clearly states, “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression”).
We urge you to look into this serious matter and join with us in expressing grave concern so that bloggers and writers are not harassed and persecuted by state machinery because of the views they hold on religion and other such matters. The government has taken this easy route to appease a handful of rouge Mullahs whose support they need to win the upcoming election. We hope you understand the gravity of the situation which is worsening by the day.
Political parties in Bangladesh do not hesitate to kill people and destroy the country in order of remain in power. They appease Islamic fundamentalists for votes. This can’t be a democracy. A group of hypocrites will leave, another group of hypocrites will come. It has been happening for ages. It is time to stop electing hypocrites. The problem is, every politician is a hypocrite.
Fanatics and fascists are united. Freethinkers are not. Freethinkers almost always let fanatics and fascists go unopposed.
Will they protest now to save Bangladesh from being completely ruined and Islamized?
The present government of Bangladesh is called ‘secular’.
People who do not know the meaning of secular call this government ‘secular’.
His blog was banned by the government a few days ago.
His yesterday’s facebook message was:
Yesterday 3 bloggers of Bangla blog community have been arrested for not believing in any organized religion and for criticizing of the religious fundamentalism, religious institutions and religious Dogmas. Few days back, 84 freethinker bloggers were listed by some religious fundamentalist groups named ‘Hefajat e Islam” and the list was submitted to the government to arrest them and to impose Blasphemy law on them. I’m one of the listed bloggers, and In January, I was stabbed brutally by some Al-Qaeda terrorist group in Dhaka. And after one month, Blogger Rajib Haidar was slaughtered by the same group. Now our co called secular government are doing the rest of the job. May be they will arrest me today or tomorrow morning.
There was a time in the 17-18th century in Europe when women who excelled in knowledge, science and philosophy more than men were blamed for witchcraft and were burned alive by the churches and their theocratic government. Education and thus advancement for women has always been a threat for radicalism so this is why the church and the government indulged in burning the progressive women by branding them as witches.
The exact same situation is in Bangladesh right now. The whole new generation who brought in a revolution in Bangla blog community with their advancement in science, philosophy and critical mind, who wrote against the religious fundamentalism and in favor of our great liberation war, freedom of speech, secularism and democracy will be burned alive just like witch-hunt in the late middle ages.
Religious sentiments are so easy to be offended, that sentiment is always ready to be hurt. Religious fundamentalist always search google, facebook and youtube for the contents that hurts their sentiment and always cry to stop those Blasphemy! I don’t know who told them to search those things and hurt themselves! This is so ridiculous and nonsense.
Religious feelings can be hurt in a number of ways. The mass slaughter of cows at Muslim ‘Qurbani’ festivals may be offensive for the Hindus who worship the Cows as gods. Similarly, public worship of idols, celebrating the Bangla New Year and giving flowers at the Shahid Minar in a Muslim-dominated country can offend a true follower of Islam because all of the cultures are forbidden in Islam. Moreover, followers of other religion might not accept or feel insulted when someone says that ‘Islam is the best religion in the world’, or it might hurt Muslims when a Hindu person claims that all humans are born as Hindus. So as a matter of fact, if you want to prohibit the criticism on religion, you have to prohibit the statements that go in favor of the religion also.
The general people who take religion as a part of humanism, aren’t really interested in such propaganda that relates to religious ignominy but when things like these are used in political deceptive maneuvers, they make people believe that their own religion is endangered and to protect it they have to take part in war, murder, rape and what not. This was exactly how the genocide of 1971 was planned in Bangladesh, in the name of Islam, Pakistan army killed 3000000 of our people and raped more than 200000 women.
So Insulting religion is obviously a political issue, political leaders just want to use religions for their dirty politics and to save the religion, they want middle aged laws to be imposed and to promote religion based education system which is not compatible with modern age. The listed bloggers were solely doing the right job to separate religion from politics and the state. When religion remains out of the politics which gets dirty at times, it will remain sacred and then no one will ever want to disrespect it, or insult it.
To drag religion into politics and playing with it like a football is the real offense towards religion. So separating the religion from the state is the primary concern of the Blogger community in Bangladesh, also to save the religions from being insulted.
Just a couple of days ago, four Islamists were arrested for stabbing Asif.
Today Asif was arrested.
Does the government try to prove that Asif is as guilty as the Islamists who tried to murder him?
Asif wrote blogs expressing his thoughts on atheism, secularism and humanism. He did not kill anyone in the name of atheism. He asked no one to kill anyone to save atheism. He used his keyboard or pen to tell the truth. Islamists nearly killed Asif with knives. The government of Bangladesh thinks there is no difference between Asif, the freethinker and a bunch of murderers.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was a soft-core Islamist. She is now trying to be a hard-core Islamist. She is helping the Islamists for their dreams–of turning Bangladesh into a fundamentalist country–come true.
Sheikh Hasina has been preventing me from entering my country because I am an atheist and a feminist. She put enlightened bloggers in prison because those bloggers do not believe in God.
‘What is the difference between Islamists and Sheikh Hasina?’ I asked.
A friend of mine said, ‘the difference between Islamists and Sheikh Hasina is that Islamists do not pretend to be secular.’
Bangladesh has been banning blogs that criticize Islam and Muhammad. It is nothing but a horror story.
Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission sent a letter to amarblog.com asking for information about six of its bloggers. But amarblog.com refused to do so.
As per Bangladesh Telecommunication Control Act, BTRC can ask for information from anyone having telecommunication license or any Internet user to ensure proper usage of information technology,” BTRC said in the statement.
It also said according to law, not providing it with the sought information was a punishable crime.
The government has already formed a committee in wake of the recent allegations against some blogs and Facebook pages that they were hurting people’s religious feeling misusing social networking sites. The committee will recommend taking actions against those involved in such acts.
Atheists are under attack.
Why do we have to save the ass of a charlatan for centuries?
Who do Muslim countries think it is their right to violate people’s human rights and the right to freedom of expression?
And, why do the international community think they all should shut their mouth when enlightened atheists get jailed,banned, mutilated and slaughtered for the sake of 7th century myths?
‘It is time to refuse to tiptoe around people who claim respect, consideration, special treatment, on the grounds that they have a religious faith, as if having a faith were a privilege endowing virtue, as if it were noble to believe in unsupported claims and ancient superstitions.’ – A. C. Grayling
It seems a group of Islamists is fighting against another group of Islamists in Bangladesh. The government created a panel to check comments on Islam and the prophet.