Posts Tagged Atheism

A Word From Our Man In Ottawa…

Humanist Dave with beard and taped photo

Humanist Dave with beard and taped photo

Last month, MSS member Chris jetted off to a bright future and a new life in Canada. I think. I mean the brighter future bit, not the Canada bit – I know he’s in Canada. Or at least he said he is, I’ve no real hard evidence. Hmm. Anyway, in his first overseas missive, Chris introduces us to the Canada Humanist scene and their own Atheist Bus Campaign…

Greetings from Canada! Coincidentally, just as Ariane Sherine prepared to make her way to my old stomping-ground in Liverpool I attended my first meeting of the Humanist Association of Ottawa (HAO) at which the topic was the Atheist Bus Campaign. I thought it worth mentioning not only because of the fact that it was relevant to a Merseyside meeting, but also because it raises some issues that haven’t been so important in the UK. Read the rest of this entry »

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There’s Probably No Santa, So Stop Worrying and Forget About The Beard

Next week we have the lovely Ariane Sherine coming up to Liverpool Skeptics In The Pub, when she will be talking about how she created the Atheist Bus Campaign, and about her new book The Atheist’s Guide To Christmas. The book is a great read, featuring essays by 42 famous atheists from different walks of life. Contributors include Richard Dawkins, Charlie Brooker, Simon Singh, Josie Long and many, many more. I thoroughly recommend it.

Anyway, in tribute to the book and Ariane’s upcoming talk (which will be fab, so please come along!), I thought I’d stick my oar in and have a bit of a blog about atheism myself. As far back as I can remember, I’ve never believed in a God. Lately, I’ve heard and read a lot of stories by people of their conversions to athiesm, or from atheism to theism, or of their struggle to ‘come out’ as an atheist, particularly in religious households; but I have no such story to tell. No-one in my family is religious or cares much either way about whether a God exists or not, and the friends I grew up with seem to have been in the same boat, so far as I know. It’s simply never been an issue for me, to the extent that I’ve never even really thought of myself as an atheist. It would be like giving myself a label based around the fact I have arms, or have never owned a chicken. Read the rest of this entry »

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Answering The Big Questions – Atheist Groundhog Day

Alex Gibson,  friend of the MSS and board member of the National Federation of Atheist, Humanist and Secular Student Societies, drops in to offer his thoughts on the same old arguments faced by atheists:

Right, I’ve just finished watching Chloe’s sterling performance for AHS on the BBC’s “The Big Questions” (it’s on iPlayer) and am chewing my own arm in frustration. I am absolutely sick and tired of the sheer amount of time wasted on programmes like this dealing with basic, basic misunderstandings about atheism and weak poorly-reasoned arguments that have been bludgeoned to death about a million times in print and on television. Enough! From now on, if you ever want to discuss religion with me – or just generally – you should take these three points as read. They are done, over, talked to death, and repeating them will make you look like an idiot. Read the rest of this entry »

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Question of the Week: What would you sell your soul for?

For blues musicians Tommy Johnson and Robert Johnson (no relation), it was the ability to play the guitar better than any man who came before them.  For Stanley Moon in the 1967 film Bedazzled, it was the love of a waitress in a Wimpy restaurant.  For Keanu Reeves it was the chance to work in a top law firm (not, as perhaps would have been wiser, a degree of acting ability).  And for Homer Simpson, it was a donut.  It seems we all have a price, and the Devil is a pretty shrewd negotiator.

Personally, I’d really test the fella, see how far he could go.  If I could sell my soul for, say, a guarantee that hell would stop being such a crappy place to spend eternity, I think that would be a decent deal.  You know, scatter a few cushions, stick in a pool table, get rid of all that fire and brimstone and gnashing of teeth, and Hades could really be a decent hang-out.  It’s essentially a bit of an eternal fixer-upper.  Plus, I can imagine I’d get some serious respect from the population of Hell for putting an end to their eternal damnation and torture, so that would really start me out on the right foot, socially-speaking.

So, with this in mind, what would you enter into a Faustian pact with the horned-one for?  What would you trade-in your immortal soul for?  And what impact might that have on your day to day life?

Leave your answers, as weird, wacky and wonderful as you like, below the fold.

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Freudian CiF: Errors of an Old Guardian Bloggist


What do you know about Freud?

Good. That’s more than me. Probably. I know very little about Freud. What I do know is a mixture of his beliefs, and the caricatures of his beliefs that others have presented me. In essence, it is this: young boys lust after their mothers and want to kill their fathers, a perversion that leads to a large part of the malaise and despair intrinsic to being a grown-up. Young girls are broken and weird, a perversion that leads to a large part of the malaise and despair intrinsic to being a grown up.

There. That’s it.

Andrew Brown!

What do you know about Andrew Brown? All I know is a mixture of his beliefs, and the caricatures of his beliefs that he so bizarrely and inanely presents to Guardian readers on the occasions when another fantastical grudge against atheists springs into his mind. In essence, it is this: Andrew Brown is part of the malaise and despair intrinsic to being a grown up. Plus he thinks that new atheists are broken, weird and perverted. Or something like that.

I’m therefore approaching Andrew Brown’s recent blog post without a great deal of expertise of the subject I’m dealing with.

Luckily, if he doesn’t need expertise, nor do I. Read the rest of this entry »

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Atheism 101: Pascal’s Wager

Here at MSS HQ, we’re always looking for ways to grow and expand the group.  Having guest speakers come down and talk to us is high on our list, as a big name from the world of science and skepticism is always going to draw more of a crowd than the promise of a pint with Marshall.  Wonderful company though he is.

To this end, we’ve been compiling a short-list of people we’d love to invite down to talk to us.  Some have spoken at “Skeptics in the Pub” events around the UK; some are just people we think it would be cool to hear speak about science.  I was researching a guest from this latter category (to whom I shall refer only as John Smith) when I was met by two surprises in quick succession.

The first surprise was reading that John Smith apparently finds Pascal’s Wager to be a compelling argument.  The second surprise was discovering that Marshall, our publicist, resident psychic-basher, and Skepchick-fan has no idea what Pascal’s Wager is.
Read the rest of this entry »

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