Monday, January 28, 2008
Ezra Levant was one of the few publishers in Canada to reprint the notorious "Mohammed cartoons" in 2006. Two years later, he's been hauled before a "human rights officer" to explain why offending the delicate sensibilities of sharia-minded imams is
legal, legitimate and necessary.
The Suicide of Reason in Canada by Heather Cooke
Everyone remembers the Mohammed cartoons. Those ten cartoons, each with its own level of offensiveness towards Muslims. Each an affront to anyone professing to believe in Islam and Mohammed as the messenger of Allah.
Very few publishers in North America chose to reprint the cartoons, which originally appeared in the Danish newspaper Jylland Posten in September 2005. Ezra Levant of the
now-defunct Canadian magazine, The Western Standard, was one. Known for his controversial conservative commentary, pro-Israel stance and libertarian beliefs, Levant believed that publishing the cartoons was a necessary exercise in free speech.
On the very day that the Western Standard with the infamous cartoons was being printed, Levant appeared on Calgary radio to debate Syed Soharwardy, an imam trained at an anti-Semitic Saudi university, who advocates Sharia law in Canada. The debate centered around the cartoons and all the accompanying shouldas, wouldas and couldas. Soharwardy did not know that Levant was about to publish the cartoons (a.k.a. offend Mohammed), but that did not matter. Levant was the clear winner in the debate and that offended Soharwardy, who marched down to a Calgary Police station and demanded that they arrest Levant for offending him during the debate and simply discussing the cartoons in the media.
After the officers explained that they didn't do that in Canada, Soharwardy filed a complaint with the Alberta Human Rights Commission. The Commission is made up of individuals appointed by the government to hear human rights complaints. The commissioners are a mish-mash of lawyers, nurses, politicians, engineers, who may or may not have direct legal experience.
It costs nothing to file a complaint, so Soharwardy could avail himself of it at no charge while the defendant bears the cost of his defense.
Source: Suicide of Reason
I, personally, am hoping that this case goes to the Supreme Court of Canada, and that, apparently is Mr. Levant's intent.
Why should secular democracies be held hostage to the religious and their draconian sensibilities?
If it's offensive to a Christian that women wear heels and a short skirt, are we going to be forced to wear knee length tweed and flats?
If it's offensive to a Jew that someone eats pork in a restaurant, do we stop serving pork?
If it's offensive to a Hindu that someone kills cows, do we stop killing cows, and eating beef?
If it's offensive to a Sikh that we walk around with nothing covering our hair, do we all have to wear hats and head scarves?
If it's offensive to a Muslim that innocuous caricatures of Mohammed are published, do we stop publishing cartoons of Mohammed?
Does anyone else see the ridiculousness of this?
Especially directed to the religious folk.
Do you think this is reasonable?
Why should those of us who are not religious be victim to having others religious sensibilities imposed on us in a secular democratic society?
Written by Trance Gemini of AvC
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Some background on the Danish cartoons controversy from Wikipedia:
On September 30, 2005, the daily newspaper Jyllands-Posten ("The Jutland Post") published an article entitled "Muhammeds ansigt" ("The face of Muhammad"). The article consisted of twelve cartoons (of which only some depicted Muhammad) and an explanatory text, in which Flemming Rose, Jyllands-Posten's culture editor, commented:
The modern, secular society is rejected by some Muslims. They demand a special position, insisting on special consideration of their own religious feelings. It is incompatible with contemporary democracy and freedom of speech, where you must be ready to put up with insults, mockery and ridicule. It is certainly not always attractive and nice to look at, and it does not mean that religious feelings should be made fun of at any price, but that is of minor importance in the present context. [...] we are on our way to a slippery slope where no-one can tell how the self-censorship will end. That is why Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten has invited members of the Danish editorial cartoonists union to draw Muhammad as they see him. [...]
This trend amongst the extremists in the Islamic religion to issue Fatwahs and complaints every time someone does something that offends their delicate fucking sensibilities is becoming tiresome and ridiculous in the extreme.
We live in a democracy and we're allowed to offend, criticize and parody.
To really emphasize this point I'm planning (and have already started) to post anything that has resulted in a Fatwah or some kind of censorship.
This was the reason for the second post, an embedded video of the film, Submission. A film which resulted in Fatwahs issued for the Producer, Van Gogh and the Writer, Ali. Van Gogh was murdered by a Muslim extremist and Ali is currently in hiding.
Starting with my next post, I'll be periodically posting all twelve of the controversial Danish cartoons parodying Muhammed. ;)
And as per usual I won't be identifying myself on any of these posts :).
Thursday, January 10, 2008
There has been a myth generated by some members of the Christian community that Atheists are unpatriotic cowards.
That you won't find an Atheist in a Foxhole during wartime.
Since they essentially build their lives around belief in a myth, it shouldn't surprise anyone that they're also good at fabricating them.
"The scurrilous foxhole canard originated with a god-fearing Catholic chaplain, Father William Thomas Cummings, during World War Two.* Father Cummings, is quoted as uttering these patently bigoted words, “There are no Atheists in the foxholes,” during a field sermon on Bataan in 1942. What he was saying, of course, is that he couldn’t face what was coming without clinging to the fantasy that he would go to heaven and it wouldn’t be a total loss. He projected that fear onto everyone else around him, including those who had no belief in god. How could he possibly know the beliefs of all the millions of men in the service?"
Source: --The Myth Of The Foxhole Atheist
Aside from the fact that this was a lie (WWII had a lot of Atheist soldiers) this myth is used to smear those who disagree with the status quo of Christianity.
The military culture, like the police culture, requires bonding amongst the men and women in a unit. People have to be able to rely on each other to cover each other's backs, particularly in dangerous, life-threatening situations.
When statements like this are made, an atmosphere of mistrust is generated against those who don't fit the status quo, like Atheists. Fragging can occur when this bonding, these very strong ties are broken because of a perceived breach of trust.
The fact is, that the men and women in the military span the entire system of belief and value systems as do Atheists. Being an Atheist simply means you don't believe in God. An Atheist can be a conservative, liberal, leftist, or anything else for that matter. Most have extremely high moral and ethical standards, a few may not, because Atheists establish their own moral and framework based on their ethics and beliefs.
Yes, human beings are capable of doing that! Some of us don't need a God, or a myth to tell us how to be decent human beings.
Pat Tillman (photo above) is a good example of this:
"He was the star National Football League defensive back who, after the 9/11 attacks, walked away from his $3.6 million contract with the Arizona Cardinals to enlist as an elite U.S. Army Ranger and go off to Afghanistan to whip some terrorist ass. No matter what your opinion on the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, or your theory on who was ultimately responsible for the 9/11 attacks, Tillman was clearly acting as a selfless hero in the traditional sense of the word. The media sang only one song at the time-dirtbags in Afghanistan did this to us-and "deterrence" through violent retribution was the only discussable response. Both Tillman and his brother Kevin, like most every American, bought into the program-but they actually volunteered to fight. "
Source: --Who Killed Pat Tillman
Tillman was looking forward to fighting in Afghanistan, to "kick some terrorist butt". He was presented to the world by the Media and the American government as a Hero. Instead he was sent to Iraq. A war he disagreed with, believed was immoral, and by a President who's policies he felt were wrong. He was open about his opinions and months before the Presidential elections in 2004 connected with Noam Chomsky. He wanted Bush voted out of office and there was concern that, due to his Hero status, he would succeed.
On April 24, 2004, Pat Tillman was killed. Three shots to the head. The bullets were American.
The Tillman story is an American tragedy and due to the Media's silence, a travesty and injustice. A full and proper investigation has never been done into his death. Evidence has been destroyed and misinformation has been spun about who he was and what he believed:
"What was deliberately ignored was an incident at his funeral-reported in the May 4, 2004, San Francisco Chronicle and New York Daily News-when Tillman's youngest brother, Rich, took offense at words that Tillman was now "with God"; he stated to the gathering, "Pat isn't with God. He's fucking dead. He wasn't religious." More importantly, what was buried was the complex story of Pat Tillman's opposition to the Iraq war and the Bush agenda."
Source: --Who Killed Pat Tillman
Isn't it time that Pat Tillman, our American Hero, received justice?
Isn't it time that our Atheists In Foxholes received the respect that they deserve?
Pat Tillman Foundation
Playing the Atheism Card Against Pat Tillman’s Family
Ellen Johnson, President Atheist Organization speaks about Pat Tillman
News Report, Army Insults Family Of Tillman
Military Association Of Atheists And FreeThinkers
References and Background Information Provided by Dave of AvC
Written By Trance Gemini of AvC
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
Atheists Prayer 1
My fellow men, turn away from your false God and stride with me
into a broad sunlight plain of enlightenment and understanding.
To be blessed with the understanding of atheism
will cause a mighty change in a person's heart
so that he has no more desire to believe in myths,
but rather desires to seek the things of the real world.
Follow me and I will put a new spirit within you.
Those who believed not in Christ's name
will be reborn, not of blood, but of logic.
Except a man be the torchbearer of the intellect
he cannot enter into the kingdom of mankind.
We can be born again by the mighty force of our intellect
and whosoever is born of this great force
will not continue in the darkness of the sin
of confusion and mythology.
For whatsoever is born of the intellect
overcomes the world.
Have ye yet been born again of intelligence and logic?
if not ye cannot inherit the kingdom of man.
Whosoever believes on my words shall be born again
of me and walk as a giant amongst men.
And I say onto you.
Repent: for the kingdom of intellect is at hand.
And I saith unto all you computer programmers,
follow me, and I will make you programmers of men.
written by Bob600 of AvC
Atheists Prayer 2
Which art in our heads
Treasured be thy name
Thy reasoning come
The best you can do be done
On Earth as it is
Give us this day new insight
To help us resolve conflicts
And ease pain
And lead us not
Into supernatural explanations
Deliver us from denial of logic
For thine is the kingdom of reason
And even though thy powers are limited
And you're not always glorious
You are the best evolutionary adaptation
We have for helping this earth
Now and forever ever
So Be It
My reasons for doing so are mine and mine alone and
do not reflect the beliefs (or lack of beliefs) of other
Any other philosophies or systems of belief that I
hold to be true in addition to (or, in my opinion,
because) of my atheism are also mine and mine alone and
do not reflect the beliefs (or lack of beliefs) of other
If me and another atheist commonly hold another belief
or beliefs to be true, it does not reflect upon atheism.
Whether or not I choose to accept or reject unrelated
beliefs is at my discretion and will have no affect on
my status as an atheist.
At such a time as I accept the premise of god's existence,
I will cease to be an atheist. This will not inherently affect
any other belief I hold, since there are no other beliefs
based strictly on atheism.
Written by Drafterman of AvC.
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
In my explorations, I came across descriptions of the Carvaka philosophy.
Carvaka is a philosophy that's very ancient, Indian in origin, atheist, (lacks a belief in Gods), and secular humanist in nature.
A general description:
The system of philosophy named after its founder, Carvaka, was set out in the Brhaspati Sutra in India probably about 600 BCE. This text has not survived and, like similar philosophies in Greece, much of what we know of it comes from polemics against it and remarks by its critics. There is a further similarity with Greece in that this is a rationalistic and skeptical philosophy, thus undermining the widespread belief in the West that Indian philosophy is primarily religious and mystical. Amartya Sen has argued, in fact, that there is a larger volume of atheistic and agnostic writings in Pali and Sanskrit than in any other classical tradition�Greek, Latin, Hebrew, or Arabic. He adds that this applies also to Buddhism, the only agnostic world religion ever to emerge.
Carvaka's philosophy developed at a time when religious dogma concerning our knowledge of reality, the constitution of the world, and the concept of an afterlife were being increasingly questioned, both in India and elsewhere. Specifically, the school of Carvaka contained within itself a materialism that ruled out the supernatural (lokayata), naturalism (all phenomena described in terms of the properties of the four elements), rejection of the Vedas (nastika), and a skepticism that included rejection of inferential logic, or induction.
Source: Humanist Texts
In addition, Carvaka was opposed to the Caste system and Brahminism.
The following sums it up:
Fire is hot, water cold,
refreshingly cool is the breeze of morning;
By whom came this variety?
They were born of their own nature.
This also has been said by Brhaspati:
There is no heaven, no final liberation,
nor any soul in another world,
Nor do the actions of the four castes,
orders, or priesthoods produce any real effect.
If a beast slain as an offering to the dead
will itself go to heaven,
why does the sacrificer not straightway offer his father?
If offerings to the dead produce gratification
to those who have reached the land of the dead,
why the need to set out provisions
for travelers starting on this journey?
If our offering sacrifices here gratify beings in heaven,
why not make food offerings down below
to gratify those standing on housetops?
While life remains, let a man live happily,
let him feed on butter though he runs in debt;
When once the body becomes ashes,
how can it ever return again?
If he who departs from the body goes to another world,
why does he not come back again,
restless for love of his kinfolk?
It is only as a means of livelihood
that brahmins have established here
abundant ceremonies for the dead -
there is no other fruit anywhere.
Hence for kindness to the mass of living beings
we must fly for refuge in the doctrine of Carvaka.
Source: Daylight Atheism
If you take each verse and extract it's fairly clear cut meaning. The resemblance to current secular humanist approaches is remarkable.
Amartya Sen, an Indian atheist and Nobel Prize winner, writes about Indian Atheism in his book, The Argumentative Indian.
He also indicates that Indian Atheism goes back to approximately 1500 BC. (I'll be buying his book to get further details).
Interview with Amartya Sen.
Some theists, for reasons known only to themselves, are currently pushing three fallacious claims:
1. atheism came into being as a reaction to Christianity.
2. atheism means godless.
3. atheism is a religion.
Of course, all of these claims are false, and I can only assume that they provide the foundation for some anti-atheist argument which they wish to present.
The existence of Indian atheism proves that atheism didn't come into existence as a reaction to Christianity because it predates Christianity. Atheism is the reasonable default position.
The last two are easily disputed by looking up both the term atheism and the term religion in any dictionary and realizing that a lack of belief in god(s) doesn't constitute a religion (a set of beliefs).
Atheism, lack of belief in god(s) has existed for thousands of years because for thousands of years there have been people who believe in reason, science, humanistic principles and not superstition.
Written by Trance Gemini of AvC