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October 8, 2009

Allow me to introduce myself!

I’m Pete, a complex evolved mammalian creature full of contradictions and lot of other interesting things. I’m originally from the UK (Scarborough, North Yorkshire) but have been living in The Netherlands for the past eight years and think I’ve found the place and person (hi Rich !) I’d like to be with for the rest of my time on our insignificant little planet. I have varied interests including photography, reading, history, travel, languages, equal rights for all, techie stuff including all things Canon and Apple, Sci-fi, walking my dog Molly, good food and good conversation with friends. I’m a bit of a polymath and jack of all trades and flit from one interest to another, but always seem to come back to the ones above.

Why do a blog ? Well I’ve been toying with the idea for the past few months and have been inspired to finally get it off the crowd by some of the wonderful people I know and have met on Twitter. I’m regularly to be found there twittering away and more on that will certainly follow. The main thing I twitter about is, as you’ve probably guessed already from the title of this blog is Atheism and the damage that I believe religions of all types inflict on children, society and our world today. This damage has wide ranging implications and those will frequently be pointed out in further entries !

I consider myself one of the “New Atheists’. I’m not keen on the title but it’s the one that’s used (as well as “Godless Heathen” which I quite like actually!).

Us “New Atheists” are typically concerned with defending (at least) the following theses:

  • It is almost certain that there is no God.
  • Religions are dangerous and do not automatically deserve respect.
  • Religious belief has a genetic or evolutionary explanation/excuse!
  • Belief in God and evolution are not compatible.
  • Religion tends to subvert science.
  • Secular morality is possible; believing in God does not automatically give you morals or moral superiority.
  • Life is not meaningless without belief in God.
  • Religious education of children is a form of child abuse.

Much has been written about the growth of “New” Atheism as more and more people are “coming out” and being more open about their non-belief and consequently this contemporary atheist “backlash” (as the fundamentalist Christians term it) can be seen as an attempt to achieve at least two goals: firstly, to guarantee the integrity and safety of science in society ; and secondly, to strongly discourage religion and encourage its obsolescence (or at least privatization) in order to safeguard the rule of secular law, to which we New Atheists believe religion poses a serious present threat. My main concern is that all organized religions seem to be anti-intellectual, irrational, authoritarian, and violent, thus posing a threat to liberty, equal rights and now personal security.

Another term that is bandied about by our religious friends is “militant atheist”. These terms, though very new sounding, as everything seems to be “militant” since 9/11, has a history going back to at least 1894.Recently, the term has been used to describe atheists such as Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris amongst others.

Julian Baggini defines militant atheism as “Atheism which is actively hostile to religion”, which “requires more than strong disagreement with religion – it requires something verging on hatred and is characterised by a desire to wipe out all forms of religious belief. Militant atheists tend to make one or both of two claims that moderate atheists do not. The first is that religion is demonstrably false or nonsense and the second is that it is usually or always harmful”. I find myself in complete agreement with those statements from Julian and hence call myself the “Rabid” Atheist, as my righteous ire from reading the lies, misconceptions, evil deeds, greed and other heinous acts spewed out and perpetrated by theists of all types literally makes me foam at the mouth!!!!

I recently read a quote about militant atheists that resonates

“The term militant atheist is sometimes used pejoratively by theists to describe people believed to campaign actively or outspokenly for atheism and against religion. The linguist Larry Trask suggests that the word militant “is used all too freely in the feebler sense of ‘holding or expressing views which are unpopular or which I don’t like’.” He notes that Richard Dawkins is “accused by tabloid newspapers and other commentators of being a ‘militant atheist'”

If Richard Dawkins et al are termed militant atheists then I am happy to count myself amongst them, their reason, patience and willingness to stand up to organized religion in all it’s many flavours makes them almost heroes of mine.

So welcome to my blog, all comments, reasoned arguments, feedback are welcome !!!

9 Comments leave one →
  1. October 16, 2009 15:45

    I really don’t understand how you can use the word “militant” in the same sentence as Sam Harris or Richard Dawkins. They are the two most soft-spoken, understanding, intelligent atheists I know. Christopher Hitchens, maybe, although oddly he’s not really lumped in with that term. I think it’s just this modern day effort to rebrand words for effect, like how the word “terrorist” is used on anyone in oppoisition or behaving out of line.

    Ever since 9/11 I’ve noticed here in the U.S. people being arrested for “terroristic threats” which is no different than what it ever was…threatening someone with bodily harm. I usually see this in relation to domestic situations or oddly, in schools, “A 17-year old Millard South Student accused of making a hit list of fellow students appeared in court for the first time Thursday. Michael Murphy is charged with two felony counts of making terroristic threats.” What this kid is alleged to have done is bad, yes, but using the word “terroristic” makes the average idiot population believe he’s some type of Al Quaeda operative working undercover in a public school.

  2. October 16, 2009 15:46

    lol, that was strange…your blog theme changed in the middle of my posting that comment. I thought my browser went haywire! 🙂

  3. Cary permalink
    October 16, 2009 16:44

    I would argue one point in point in your list of characteristics for ‘new atheists’.

    I think life is without meaning in any objective sense. Only we can bring meaning to it by our choices and actions. We assign significance to its aspects.

    In essence, this is precisely what religion does, it just then tries to dictate what it deems important to others, which isn’t necessarily bad if there’s objective truth to it, but… blah blah, you know the rest. 😉

  4. cafewitteveen permalink
    October 16, 2009 17:48

    Awesome Pete! Glad you’re blogging. Everything looks great. Looking forward to seeing it all come together.

    I’ve been called a militant atheist, but I feel hardly militant when there is no violence involved. I mean I’ve been told flat out that I’m hell bound to roast and be tortured for eternity. I don’t have any empty threats to offer anyone for not agreeing with me.

    So along the lines that you’re drawing militarism, I’m proud to call myself militant too!


  5. NeuroPunk permalink
    October 21, 2009 17:05

    Ok, I feel horrible that it took me this long to get caught up on your blog Peter. But having done so I can say, great blog man! I have added it to my Delicious bookmarks and RSS feed so I’ll be constantly reminded to visit!

    Loved the CoE economic teardown smackdown btw!!

  6. October 21, 2009 18:33

    Thanks everyone for taking the time to read and comment ! Much appreciated !

  7. January 11, 2010 13:55

    I wasn’t aware of the “New Atheism” until like a few months ago when I watched the YouTube video. But “Godless heathen” is an awesome name for atheism, old or new. Ever considered new heathenism? 😛

  8. January 11, 2010 14:28

    Hi Tim

    I do use Godless Heathen a lot…and I do like the term New Heathenism…mmm I may do a blog post with that very title !

    Welcome to the site by the way !

  9. January 11, 2010 16:48

    Haha. New Heathenism actually begs to be used as an article title… Speaking of infidels and heathens, doesn’t the word heretic come from the Greek word hairetos meaning “able to choose”?

    I’ll put you in my blog roll if you don’t mind. In case New Heathenism becomes like real famous, I might win a Nobel Prize. lol

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