The Enlightenment – An overview

The Enlightenment – An overview

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The Enlightenment came about in the 18th century and freed Western civilisation from the stranglehold of religious fundamentalism. It enabled all the progress we now take for granted.

Prior to this time there was a type of extreme fundamentalism that was akin to ISIS. It was illegal to oppose Christian religious belief. Europe was a theocracy. The word of god was the only rule. Heretics, or those the Church/establishment deemed to be heretic could be tortured to death to save their souls. All methods of torture were devised and deployed including the most barbaric that can be imagined.

To even publish the Bible in English was an offence punishable by death. The Church wanted the power and that resided with the clergy. It was not right for ordinary people to have access to the teachings; they could misinterpret the meaning.

It was a regular event to have blasphemers, witches and heretics publicly burnt to death. Science and rationalism were not permitted.

What is obvious is that all this was much more to do with power than religion.

In the 1620s there was a scientific revolution which brought about a wave of rationalism and doubt. The theological certainties of flat earth, earth at the centre of creation and even man in god’s image were brought into question.

In the 18th Century philosophers such as Kant developed the philosophy of rationalism. This grew among the intellectual classes and led to a movement to create a society based on reason. This led to the separation of religion from politics and the formation of a secular culture.

Secular politics was based on tolerance and reason.

The philosopher Locke the radical idea that government should be through the consent of the people and not the imposition of religious dogma.

This led to a flourishing of the Arts and Science which created the greatest impetus of social development in the history of the world. The West flourished.

The enlightenment led to the ethos of the French Revolution – Equality, Liberty and Fraternity.

It separated the state from religion.

It led to the American revolution and the enshrined doctrine of freedom, religious freedom and individuality.

It has enabled the West to create democracy, pluralism, tolerance, freedom, science, liberalisation, the arts and a diverse and vital culture.

If we had not had an enlightenment and reformation we would still be in medieval costume burning Catholics, Muslims and anyone who was different in our public squares.

Long Live the Enlightenment! Something worth fighting for!

My beliefs – Faith Schools – How about if we had Fascist and Communist Schools?

My beliefs – Faith Schools – How about if we had Fascist and Communist Schools?

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I do not believe any faith schools, Sunday schools or madrassas should be allowed by law.

I believe indoctrinating children with religion or politics is an abuse. It should be a crime.

There are many religions and institutes that are dying to get their hands on our children and fill their heads with dogma. As the Jesuits used to say ‘give me a child until the age of seven and I’ll give you the man’. Unfortunately that is true. Once the impressionable minds have been poisoned with pernicious ideology they can never break free. They are stuck with it for life.

I believe children should be free to develop. They should not be indoctrinated.

I believe parents should bring up their children in a moral background with love, tolerance and equality as the basis. They should be taught to respect all people, races, faiths and creeds.

I believe schools should concern themselves with educating children, not indoctrinating them. Religion should be taught as a subject which covers all religions factually, never giving credibility or weight to one over another. I believe atheism and humanism should be part of that curriculum and given equal weight.

I believe assemblies should never be religious. They should be moral.

I believe that when a child reaches adulthood – I would suggest at sixteen- their brains are sufficiently developed for them to handle concepts as weighty as belief. Only then should they be subjected to religious belief.

I think that is people substituted politics for religion and we had communist or fascist schools set up to instil their dogma into our children we, as a society, might have a view. For me religion is even more pervasive and pernicious.

Poetry – Prehistoric policing

Prehistoric policing

 

Put on your veil!

Pray each day

And obey without ceasing!

Or else

You’ll be subject to

Prehistoric policing!

 

Read the scripture!

Follow the dogma!

Not to do so is a sin!

If you do not

You’ll be hammered with

Prehistoric policing!

 

Do not question

The tenets of faith!

Throw all logic in the bin!

Faith is not rational.

It needs to be enforced

With prehistoric policing!

 

Opher – 2.11.2019

 

 

I was driven to write this poem by a video clip of a poor woman who was shot through the head for going to the market without her veil. The Nazi religious police stopped her, beat her and forced her to her knees. They recited verse, gathered a crowd, put a gun to her head and blew her brains out – all because her face was not covered.

Across the world millions of women and children are subject to prehistoric policing. They are forced to spend hours memorising scripture. They are forced to wear heavy robes and full face veils.

This is not religious freedom. This is slavery.

These religious fanatics create a fascist tyranny! Their misogynistic view of religion is draconian and prehistoric.

Religion should be a matter of choice – not coercion.

The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth!

I believe there is truth. It might not be absolute but it is near enough.
Science has brought us an amazing advancement in technology that has altered the world and transformed our lives. Some of that is for the best and some of that is far worse. Mostly it has improved.
We are always very keen to seize the fruits of this work – transport, energy, computers, medicine, materials, gadgets……… but we are keen to bash scientists and experts if they are not one hundred percent certain.
We have gone from the horse and cart and oil lanterns to nuclear fusion and space stations in no time at all.
So we will place our trust in the latest jet-liner but will reject evolution. We will try the latest cancer drug treatment but deny climate change.

And science is still in its infancy.

The truth? What is that? It has many levels. Is it a factual concept of what has occurred, how it has occurred and how that operates?
That is what we are investigating. We are in the infancy of science. We have understood so much so quickly. We still have a lot to learn. But we have made great progress. Scientists and experts have a pretty good handle on what is going on – far better than any of the ‘public’ or politicians.

I contend that Social Cohesion is much more important than the careers of politicians.

We need to put an end to this politicisation of information – both the perversion of science and the constant crying of Fake News and Project Fear. It is tearing apart the fabric of society.

Populism is destroying cohesion. It is tearing our societies apart and playing into the hands of those who want us to fall.
It’s time we put more faith into scientists and experts. They do not all talk rubbish.
Species extinction is real.
Climate change is real.
Evolution is real.
Brexit will badly damage our country.
Trump is actively causing division and hatred.

A healthy scepticism is one thing. Total rejection of all the evidence is something else. We are throwing the baby out with the bath water and allowing the religious lunatics and political extremists to spout their stupidity unopposed.
Look at the lunatics that are raising their heads with their fundamentalist claptrap!

Medieval – a poem

Medieval

 

Medieval customs;

Beliefs passed down from ages past.

Medieval costumes:

From the splendid to absurd.

Medieval superstition;

Posing as the rational.

From the Dark Ages

Into the darkness of thought.

Shackling our breath

To a system that counts for nought.

Medieval thoughts

From medieval minds

Masqueradinf as sense.

Medieval values

From prescientific times

From there to thence.

Mass hallucinations

Reinforcing a multitude of sins.

 

Opher – 28.12.2018

 

I wrote this a year ago for all those who follow fundamentalist religions. Their intolerance is abhorrent. Their intransigence is exclusive.

They seem stuck firmly in the ancient past. They need to move on.

 

Asia Bibi – The Intolerance of the Extreme Muslims.

The whole business with Asia Bibi has displayed the rank intolerance of the Extreme Muslims in Pakistan.

For a supposedly civilised country this has been an appalling display of intolerance and injustice.

What started as a minor dispute was escalated into a death sentence. Asia is a Christian and was working with in the fields Muslim women from her village. These women refused to drink from a water bucket that Asia had touched because they claimed it was now unclean. They demanded she convert to Islam and she refused. In the heated argument that followed they claimed she insulted the prophet Muhammad.

Asia was arrested under blasphemy laws and absurdly sentenced to death.

This is not the only travesty of justice. In 2009, politician Salman Taseer was shot dead by his own bodyguard, Mumtaz Qadri, after he spoke out in support of Ms Bibi and openly condemned Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. The loathsome Qadri was celebrated as a hero!

She has now served eight years in prison before an appeals court released her.

Now we have thousands of extreme Muslims taking to the streets demanding her execution!

What is going on!! These religious extremists need locking up!! The blasphemy laws need repealing!!

No civilised country can allow this extreme violence and mob rule!! Intolerance of this nature cannot be permitted!!

It is time for Imran Khan to use the army to stamp down on this appalling extremism!

Pakistan needs to move into the 21st Century. Religious intolerance cannot be allowed to exist.

 

The Story of Religion

The Story of Religion

Once upon a time there was god. He came from nowhere spontaneously, or was always there. He existed, all powerful, in the midst of nothing for all time. He was powerful beyond all human understanding. He was also inherently kind and loving.
He decided that he would make the whole universe of more galaxies than the human mind could comprehend and so he did.
He thought it and it came into being out of nothing, just like he himself had done before.
He made the whole universe, with its zillions of galaxies, each made of trillions of stars, just so that he could place some humans on a small planet in an average galaxy that was in itself completely insignificant.
These humans were the focus of everything. They were the purpose for the existence of the whole universe and gave god a purpose too.
He gave them free will but warned them that if they did not obey his instructions and commands to the letter, (despite the fact that he was loving and kind), he would cast them into everlasting agony. But then he told them that if they did obey his every demand to the last full stop, they would have everlasting joy in heaven – for god had a purpose and a plan for them that was beyond their understanding.
Then god proceeded to allow different versions of his often confusing and contradictory instructions to be distributed to different people in different parts of the world all purporting to be the only truth – the holy word of god.
It created fear and confusion but god did not interfere.
Some people believed that god was manifest in rocks, trees, sun and moon, while others believed that he was a series of gods and goddesses living in the sky, while others thought he was three and some that he was one.
The only thing they all agreed on was that all the other versions were wrong, heretical and evil and had to be eradicated; that any deviation from the word of the script was to be punished with death.
The different tribes fought and killed in the name of their own god. They fiercely brought up their children to believe in their version and fight fiercely in his name. They were determined to enforce the version of the rules they had been given.
God watched as they butchered, slaughtered, sacrificed and tortured.
He had an unknowable plan.
Perhaps the suffering and death was all part of it?
It would all work out in the end. All the tribes had faith – different faith – but faith none the less.
God did nothing to intervene – not a word.
He had given humanity the universe, a place of wonder and awe, created out of nothing, but he was nowhere to be seen, doing nothing.
This is the story of religion.
It all makes perfect sense to me.

Ban the Burka??? Burn the Niqab???

Hijabs, Niqabs, Burkas, religion, misogyny and modesty.

 

I have a dilemma when it comes to the clothing restrictions made on women in Islam.

I do not like it. I think it is misogynistic. I do not believe it is Islamic; it is pre-Islamic. I see it as a process of subordination and oppression of women that stems from the Arabic, Abrahamic tradition; straight out of medieval tribalism.

I do not think women should be treated as sex objects. I think they are equal. But they should be allowed to express their sexuality. I do not like repression in any form.

I despise the imposition of dress codes on women and become furious when I read of women being whipped or beaten for not complying.

I feel it is grossly unfair when I see men walking around free to wear what they like while their women are constrained.

I know that some women want to wear these costumes from long ago. They say it gives them confidence and they do not like men’s eyes on them. I can understand that.

I know some women feel that it is a religious duty to comply.

I know that some women wear hijabs that are highly decorative and that it is attractive.

I do not find it so. I find it a symbol of repression, control and un-emancipation. It is like a woman is being forced to wear shackles.

It stinks.

I have enough trouble with the absurdity of religion without the primitive, sexist, misogynistic overtones.

Then I hit the dilemma.

I also believe that people should be free to wear what they like, dress how they like and believe what they like.

I just wish that women in this country would appreciate the plight of their disenfranchised sisters and show a bit of solidarity! We have a culture of equality, tolerance, freedom and democracy.

I believe that costume challenges those values.

In the UK – paperback and digital:

In the USA in both paperback and digital:

My Best Antitheist Books – Please Take a Look!!

I have written a number of books about religion. I do not think religion has been a positive force in human history. I believe it to be a fiction created by man to try to explain the mystical, spiritual and unknown aspects of the universe, life and death.

They are, in my opinion, mysteries that are not captured by the dogma of any religions. All religions have been used for power, hate and accruing of wealth. They are not among man’s best ideas.

These are my best Antitheist Books:

 

In the UK:

 

The Antitheists Dictionary

 

A humorous set of definitions of religious terms.

https://authorcentral.amazon.com/gp/books/book-detail-page?ie=UTF8&bookASIN=B00MOLZLE8&index=default&pn=irid82031849

 

The Book of Ginny

 

A novel about a religious cult.

 

https://authorcentral.amazon.com/gp/books/book-detail-page?ie=UTF8&bookASIN=B00MW8IHUS&index=default&pn=irid82031849

 

In the USA:

 

The Antitheist’s Dictionary

 

A humorous set of definitions of religious terms

 

https://www.amazon.com/Antitheists-Dictionary-Opher-Goodwin-ebook/dp/B00MOLZLE8/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1531382684&sr=1-1&keywords=Opher+Goodwin

 

The Book of Ginny

 

A novel about a religious cult.

 

Well done Ireland!!! A great Yes Vote!!

It was great to see Ireland moving forward into a modern mentality and beginning to shake off the claustrophobic shackles of the Catholic Church. Well done Ireland!!

Sour faced women and dour men represent the old ways. The new is vital and alive!

Women have the right to decide! That is right! It’s a personal choice!

I believe the Catholic Church, which has strangled the vitality of the Irish for long, is finally on the wane.

Too many priests have been found abusing children.

Too many nuns were guilty of great cruelty and callousness to unmarried mothers.

There have been too many bad policies on things such as tampons, contraception and sexuality.

Those have all undermined the authority of the church. How can anybody believe when it is obvious that the clergy do not?

The Catholic church is looking to overrun the world with kids. That has to stop. The population is far too big. We need to reduce it.

I am not a great believer in abortion. I think it is a difficult decision. I do think that both the baby and the father have to be taken into account when making that decision. But I do believe that it is right of the mother to have the final word. It is not for the church, or any pressure group, to dictate.

I would suggest that the best way forward is readily available contraception and the morning after pill for mistakes is far preferable to having an abortion.

With sex goes responsibility!

Now it is time to get all Irish children out from Catholic indoctrination! Get the church out of schools!! 90% of primary education is from the church!! That should never be allowed!! They just want to get their hands on children and indoctrinate them. I think that is child abuse in itself!