In a world dominated by magical thinking, superstition and misinformation, give yourself the benefit of doubt. This is one skeptic's view of the Universe.

"Tell people there’s an invisible man in the sky who created the universe, and the vast majority believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure."

-George Carlin

“If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed”.

-Albert Einstein

“Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense.”

-Carl Sagan

The person who is certain, and who claims divine warrant for his certainty, belongs now to the infancy of our species. It may be a long farewell, but it has begun and, like all farewells, should not be protracted.

-Christopher Hitchens

 

carpediamn asked
I saw the video you posted with ISIS, and I just wanted to tell you that that is not Islam. Islam does not allow for killing people based on religion, and strictly tells us that it is our obligation to protect people of other religions and to not damage any places of prayer, even non-Muslim. ISIS is not muslim, it's an extremist religion. Don't let them make you look at the rest if Islam badly. What they are doing is disgusting and is in no way justified in Islam.

Well, they have their Islam and you have yours. As for the “true” Islam, that doesn’t exist. Every religious believer thinks they have the right view or they would have a different one. And maybe these actions are not justified in your Islam (and your fellow humans thank you for that), but their Quran contains verses such as these below which, meh- could go either way I suppose.

If only there was a way for god to deliver a message of love and tolerance that wasn’t steeped in violent hyperbole. But since Yahweh got his start in the role of war god in a polytheistic pantheon, it’s not all that surprising that he would slip into homicidal metaphors now and then…


Quran (2:191-193) - And kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out. And Al-Fitnah [disbelief] is worse than killing

Quran (4:104) - And be not weak hearted in pursuit of the enemy; if you suffer pain, then surely they (too) suffer pain as you suffer pain…

Quran (8:12) - I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them

Quran (8:15) - O ye who believe! When ye meet those who disbelieve in battle, turn not your backs to them. (16)Whoso on that day turneth his back to them, unless maneuvering for battle or intent to join a company, he truly hath incurred wrath from Allah, and his habitation will be hell, a hapless journey’s end.

Quran (9:5) - So when the sacred months have passed away, then slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captive and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush, then if they repent and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, leave their way free to them.

There seem to be at least 104 more of these.

ISIL/ISIS Propaganda Video

Every sentence that falls out of this imbecile’s face is preceded with the qualification “insh’allah…” (God willing) and is punctuated with “…humdallah” (Praise God). Every sentence.

It gets just a little bit repetitive. I picture this Allah character going, “ALRIGHT! For fuck’s sake, I get it!”

I’d blow my fucking brains out if I had to listen to this shit all day. Or more likely, they would do it for me, once I tried to tell them how idiotic it is.

Fox News’ No. 1 fear: Atheists

In a recent online video for Crossfire, CNN political pundit and self-proclaimed atheist S.E. Cupp claimed conservative atheists are “better” than liberal atheists, and said she does not believe the “myth” that conservatism is “hostile” to atheism. “In fact, I’d go so far as to say conservatism is far more intellectually honest and respectful of atheism than liberalism has been,” she said.

Wait, what?

Cupp says she believes it is atheists who are disseminating “the idea that they are somehow disenfranchised or left out of the political process,” but that has not been her experience as a conservative.

Now, CNN is not Fox News, but she acts like she has never heard of the Republican Party’s media arm: Fox News.

For the past few years, Fox News and its right-wing talking heads have waged a relentless war on atheism. Their annual war on Christmas spoof-ganza is their reverse victimhood effort to convince viewers that America’s godless community is coming to take away your toys and your right to say, “Merry Christmas.” In other words, bah humbug.

Comparing atheists to Dr. Seuss’ Grinch is one thing, but on Wednesday Fox News host Elisabeth Hasselbeck asserted that Christianity should be kept in schools because Islamic militants in Iraq were persecuting Christians. Ipso facto, atheists are as dangerous as al-Qaeda, which is exactly what they want their conservative audience to believe without Fox News having to actually say it.

After reading a select few comments from viewers who accused atheists of demanding to have more rights than Christians, Hasselbeck connected the situation to violence in Iraq. “You know, in light of what’s going on in the world and the persecution of Christians right now, how close do we want to get to eliminating religious freedom in the globe?” she asked.

It’s so accidently Orwellian it’s almost adorable. Or more likely she was reading from a script handed down to her from the string-pullers high above. The only way she could’ve been less subtle was if she said, “Some people say atheists are terrorists.”….

..On Fox News, Obama is coming for your guns; Madonna is coming for your straight kids; immigrants are coming for your jobs; liberals are coming for your way of life; and atheists are coming for your Bibles..

…Since atheists represent such a small percentage of the population, and an even smaller percentage of both the conservative base and the network’s audience, it’s a no-brainer to blame the decline of American civilization on atheists who wish to take away school prayer, rather than talk about problems whose solutions require a pro-government response i.e. safety nets, regulation, workers’ rights, and environmental protection.

Cleverly, Fox News conflates atheism with big government i.e. secular government officials want to take away your religious freedom. The narrative becomes: atheists are bad, the government is atheists, and therefore the government is not part of the solution, the government is the problem….

Islamic State: What do young British Muslims think about ISIS and the Caliphate? BBC News

Man Gets 80 Lashes For Electricity Blasphemy


BEIRUT: Islamist militiamen in Syria’s Hama province have publicly lashed a man for committing blasphemy when he cursed the electricity situation, pro-opposition websites said Tuesday.

The accused, identified as Mutasim Dahrouj, was removing illegal connections to the electricity grid in the town of Latamneh, Hama, when he uttered a standard curse, which translates literally as “may the religion of electricity be damned” (yilaan din al-kahraba).

The court ordered that he receive 80 lashes, have his head shaved and be imprisoned for three days.

A video on YouTube purports to show the man being punished, and displays copies of the Shariah court paperwork connected to the case. A commentator on YouTube objected to the punishment, noting that “electricity doesn’t have a religion.”

(Source: dailystar.com.lb)

Who Are the Yazidis, the Ancient, Persecuted Religious Minority Struggling to Survive in Iraq?

The Yazidi religion is often misunderstood, as it does not fit neatly into Iraq’s sectarian mosaic. Most Yazidis are Kurdish speakers, and while the majority consider themselves ethnically Kurdish, Yazidis are religiously distinct from Iraq’s predominantly Sunni Kurdish population. Yazidism is an ancient faith, with a rich oral tradition that mixes with Islam some elements of Zoroastrianism, the ancient Persian religion, and Mithraism, a mystery religion originating in the Eastern Mediterranean. This combining of various belief systems, known religiously as syncretism, was part of what branded them as heretics among Muslims. While its exact origins are a matter of dispute, some scholars believe that Yazidism was formed when the Sufi leader Adi ibn Musafir settled in Kurdistan in the 12th century, and founded a community that mixed elements of Islam with local Zoroastrian beliefs.

…Yazidis began to face accusations of devil worship from Muslims beginning in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. While the Yazidis believe in one god, a central figure in their faith is Tawusî Melek, an angel who defies God and serves as an intermediary between man and the divine. To Muslims, the Yazidi account of Tawusî Melek often sounds like the Quranic rendering of Shaytan—the devil—even though Tawusî Melek is a force for good in the Yazidi religion.

“To this day, many Muslims consider them to be devil worshipers,” says Thomas Schmidinger, an expert on Kurdish politics the University of Vienna. “So in the face of religious persecution, Yazidis have concentrated in strongholds located in remote mountain regions,” he adds.

Islamic Extremists Now Crucifying People in Syria—and Tweeting Out the Pictures

The jihadist group so radical it got kicked out of al Qaeda has apparently hit a new and shocking low: It’s allegedly crucifying its enemies.

breakingnews:

Christians in Iraq flee militants as onslaught continues
BBC News:Islamic militants in Iraq have captured Iraq’s largest Christian town causing thousands to flee the group which has declared itself an Islamic State
Photo: File photo of Islamic State militants (AFP)

breakingnews:

Christians in Iraq flee militants as onslaught continues

BBC News:Islamic militants in Iraq have captured Iraq’s largest Christian town causing thousands to flee the group which has declared itself an Islamic State

Photo: File photo of Islamic State militants (AFP)

Nigerian put in mental hospital for atheism


A Nigerian man has been sent to a mental institute in Kano state after he declared that he did not believe in God, according to a humanist charity.

Mubarak Bala was being held against his will at the hospital after his Muslim family took him there, it said.

The hospital said it was treating Mr Bala, 29, for a “challenging psychological condition”, and would not keep him longer than necessary.

Kano is a mainly Muslim state and adopted Islamic law in 2000.

The International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) says that when Mr Bala told relatives he did not believe in God, they asked a doctor if he was mentally ill.

Despite being told that he was not unwell, Mr Bala’s family then went to a second doctor, who declared that his atheism was a side-effect of suffering a personality change, the group says.

Mr Bala, a chemical engineering graduate, was forcibly committed to a psychiatric ward at the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, but was able to contact activists using a smuggled phone, it says.

IHEU spokesman Bob Churchill said the group was concerned about his “deteriorating condition” and called for his “swift release”.

The hospital said in a statement that Mr Bala was “comfortable and conscious”.

He had been admitted because he required treatment under supervision, it added.

Mr Bala’s lawyer Mohammed Bello told the BBC he intended to arrange for an independent psychological evaluation of his client because of conflicting accounts of his health.

(Source: bbc.com)

iranianatheist:

shadowkin56:

iranianatheist:

Join the group to see more of the couregous act and support them on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/StealthyFreedom

- Iranian Atheist (http://iranianatheist.tumblr.com/)

Key point in case anyone missed it.  Dressing this way is a crime in Iran.  These people are taking pictures of themselves in criminal activity in a fight for freedom.  Ballsey as shit.

That’s right! Show your hair in public and not conforming to the archaic and misogynist forceful Islamic dress code can get you in a lot of trouble in Iran. Most Iranian women in this generation strongly oppose that.

Religion Has No Answer for Sectarianism

In Iraq, we are witnessing yet again the tremendous harm caused by religious fanaticism. One interesting aspect of the present conflict is that it largely pits Muslim against Muslim, with some fanatics in the Sunni tradition battling devoted adherents of the Shia tradition. Both traditions, of course, rely on the Quran as the ultimate authoritative text. So why the conflict?

Well, why not? History has witnessed many conflicts between religious groups who purport to rely on the same authoritative text. For the most part, different sects of Christians no longer kill each other, but the bloodshed between Protestants and Catholics only dribbled to a halt in the early nineteenth century — that is, apart from Northern Ireland.

And this phenomenon should not be surprising. In fact, the phenomenon of intra-religious strife highlights the key problem with using religious texts and doctrines to address ethical issues in general, and in particular, how we treat other human beings. All holy texts, and the doctrines derived from such texts, are infinitely malleable. Which is another way of saying that, in themselves, they are useless as ethical guides. The Bible and the Quran represent a hodgepodge of thoughts and observations and, in the case of the Bible, a hodgepodge of thoughts and observations extending over centuries of time. Believers who want to advocate a particular position can cherry-pick whatever scriptural passage or snippet of doctrine they find useful for making their point. If the apparent literal meaning of the text does not quite fit the position, no problem! They can make it fit by giving the text a “symbolic” interpretation or appealing to “context.” Think of any position you want. You can pick some passage in the Bible or Quran to support it….

Saudi Arabia attempts to silence NGO at Human Rights Council

Saudi Arabia repeatedly interrupted an American NGO at an extraordinary meeting of the UN Human Rights Council on Monday, as the organisation read out a statement criticising their imprisoning of a man on charges of atheism and running a liberal online forum.

The Center for Inquiry, a US non-profit advocating secular and humanist values, was stopped from speaking on three occasions by the delegation from Saudi Arabia who protested against their raising of specific incidents of alleged human rights abuse.

The case raised was that of Raif Badawi, co-founder of the Saudi Arabian Free Liberals website, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison, 1,000 lashes and a $266,000 fine in May. He was convicted of violating Islamic values and slurring Saudi Arabia’s religious symbols, which drew the ire of Amnesty International who described the ruling as “outrageous”.

The Center criticised Badawi’s conviction at the Council, saying “Mr Badawi is a prisoner of conscience who is guilty of nothing more than daring to create a public forum for discussion and peacefully exercising the right to freedom of expression,” which prompted the Saudi delegation to interrupt the statement….