The rise of ISIS and Islamic extremism is a result of the failure of the West.

The rise of ISIS and Islamic extremism is a result of the failure of the West.

Over the course of the last century there has been unparalleled growth and prosperity. Globally science has delivered huge benefits and technology has created massive profits.

The world has never been more prosperous.

The end result of this is extreme fanaticism, war, overpopulation, poverty, misery and the destruction of the natural environment.


The reasons are very clear:

  • Inequality
  • Inequality
  • Inequality

The system of capitalism has produced winners and losers. The winners are the tiny numbers of businessmen and bankers (almost exclusively men) who have be come multimillionaires, billionaires and trillionaires, the corrupt leaders who cream off the profits, and a few ‘lucky’ individuals who joined the ‘club’ through sport, entertainment or the arts. The losers are, to various degrees, everyone else.

In the West ordinary people enjoy a good lifestyle. They formed unions and fought for social justice. They are still given as little as the ‘bosses’ think will keep them quiet in order to maximise profits.

In the Third World there is a staggering population explosion, no jobs, extreme poverty and early mortality and nothing to look forward to.

Billions of people live on the edge and yet technology now provides them with images of opulence.

People with nothing to lose don’t mind blowing themselves up. People who live in misery buy in to the pernicious philosophy that some fictitious ‘God’ will make it right for them in the end. People without hope latch on to any glimmer for a better future. They will join ISIS and fight ‘a holy war’ for hope of a better life. They are preyed on by religious and political fanatics and radicalised.

They may be in the process of being used by the leaders who seek power but for now they have brotherhood, comradeship and a cause. That’s infinitely better that misery and no hope. They can also vent their spleen against the ‘infidels’ who have ruined their lives.

The sad truth is that we have let them down.

In Britain we have not created an equal society with full integration. Around the world we have not produced a system of fairness and opportunity. We have created third class citizens and fostered the misery. We’ve waged wars, put dictators in place and bolstered up corrupt, vicious tyrannies in order to exploit them.

When the ‘Arab Spring’ happened we let them down.

Desperate people do desperate things.

I have no doubt that both ISIS and the mass migration will come to an end soon. The forces against it are too great. But they are both symptoms of the same disease. Unless we start to deal with the underlying problems of inequality and deal with the global problems of overpopulation, unemployment, war, fundamental religion, environmental degradation, poverty, corruption, pollution, and disease we are sitting on a time-bomb.

So what is stopping us?

The strings are being pulled by the billionaires who run the show and they do not care about anyone else. They are as callous and heartless as ISIS and a thousand times more destructive and vicious.


Atheists have higher IQs and self esteem than religious people…

Atheists have higher IQs and self esteem than religious people…

Sounds reasonable to me! I had to smile when I read this post. I wonder if anybody might like to dispute it?


a recent study shows… Atheists tend to have a higher IQ and fewer self esteem issues..

Psychologists from the University of Rochester define intelligence as ‘ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly, and learn from experience’. They go on to define religion as some sort of involvement in part or all of the aspects of a belief process.

A meta-analysis of 63 studies showed a significant negative association between intelligence and religiosity. The association was stronger for college students and the general population than for participants younger than college age; it was also stronger for religious beliefs than religious behavior. 53 from the 63 studies displayed a ‘reliable negative relation between intelligence and religiosity’, in 10 of the 63 studies that relationship positive.

Three possible interpretations were discussed.

First, intelligent people are less likely to conform and, thus, are more likely to resist religious…

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Burqas/Veils – liberating feminist attire or misogynistic throwback to primitive superstition?

Burqas/Veils – liberating feminist attire or misogynistic throwback to primitive superstition?


It seems that ISIS is selling the wearing of the complete female body veil known as a Burqa as a liberating, feminist experience. Women wearing this all-covering shapeless body garment are no longer sex objects so this is feminism in action.

Except it isn’t is it?

They might not be sexual objects per se as all of them of whatever age, degree of feminine perfection or shape are made equally nondescript. Though it doesn’t stop the single males in a sexually repressed society imagining what lurks underneath that shapeless mass of cloth. But is it feminism?

Obviously not. The sheer fact that there is no choice in the matter is sufficient to remove all of that notion. The fact that this is imposed on all women regardless of their wishes is not, under any guise, freedom. Some may prefer to remain ‘safe’ behind their masks, hidden from view, but that is no excuse for imposition.

The Burqa is a pre-Islamic uniform imposed on women by a repressive, misogynistic middle-eastern culture. It isn’t even Islamic. To claim that it is liberating is merely spin.

We will see feminism when women are afforded the same rights and freedoms as men. When they can drive, go out without escorts or permission, vote, participate fully in commerce, politics and religion as equals, and are not separated off as chattels of the men.

There may well be a reaction to the decadence of many Western females with their scanty attire, promiscuity and intoxicants but at least they are free to do what they choose; even if what they choose is crass.

The women being enticed over to Syria as ‘brides’ of the Islamists are taking a reckless risk. They are being ‘sold’ the idea of being married to a fearless, butch Jihadi warrior, but in actual fact are much more likely to end up as a sex slave of a bunch of ignorant savages.

What do you think?

Belief? What is it? Where does it come from? What use is it?

Belief? What is it? Where does it come from? What use is it?



What is this thing we call belief? Where does it come from? Why do we need it?


I cannot help thinking that if I had been brought up in Saudi Arabia I would be a Sunni Muslim, if in Iran a Shia Muslim, if in India a Hindu, if in Brazil a Christian Catholic and if in Mississippi a Protestant Christian.


If I had been born in Greece a few thousand years ago I would have worshipped Zeus as the god of all gods. If I had lived in Britain three thousand years ago it might have been the Green Man or the Sun. If in Egypt it might have been Isis.


I could list a thousand Gods and Goddesses that mankind has worshipped, sacrificed to, prayed to and beseeched. The forgotten Gods and Goddesses are ten times as numerous.


Belief is built into our genes.


I am fortunate. I was brought up in a loving family with no attempt to indoctrinate me into any religious belief or political persuasion. I was left to investigate myself. My adolescent obsessions with mysticism and belief were tolerated without opposition or ridicule. I was left to think.


I went through my ‘religious phase’ and came to the belief that all religion originated in the minds of men, prayer was pointless and worship a psychological prop.


I believe that religious belief is mankind’s attempt to come to terms with an infinite universe, the mystery of life and death and a purpose for what we do. It comes from a psychological need and a brain that is hard-wired to seek patterns, purpose and a reason. We cannot understand a system with no beginning, no end and no reason.


Do we need belief? No I don’t think so. We can create our own purpose and appreciate the wonder and awe around us. But I do think that belief has played a large part in our development as social beings. It has enabled us to live together in large groups – much larger than that of tribes. It has provided the social cohesion that holds large numbers of people together. I think that is its primary aim. So perhaps we do need belief?


We certainly do not need religion in order to have morality. We can make a far better code of human rights without the hypocrisy and contradictions present in all religions with their obscure pronouncements. We can make a clear code of ethics without the ambiguities.


We can do without belief. Perhaps we have evolved enough to start to do without? Or perhaps we can create some belief system that we can all subscribe to that is based on awe and wonder, contains a strong moral cohesion with aspirations and something to strive towards and is not divisive, fear-ridden or prescriptive? Maybe a cross between the UN Charter of Human Rights and a love of nature?

Fundamental Control – a poem

Fundamental Control


Get your rosaries off our ovaries!

Keep your Kingdom Come away from my bum!

Keep your spirituality off my sexuality!

Keep your habits away from my habits!


Opher – 8.7.2019



Religion should be a personal experience. Unfortunately those with extreme views cannot help by try to impose their fundamentalism on everybody else. They are never content to keep it to themselves.

Imposition and restriction is the way of all fundamentalisms. We see it with every theocracy, every cult and fanatic.

This is what the ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ is all about.

I took my inspiration from a film of a march in which a group of women were marching to protect their sexual freedom. Extremist, fundamentalist religious groups were trying to prevent abortions, stop sex education in schools and prevent contraception. I could identify with the protesting women. It was a cause I could identify with. These conservative religious people were attempting to restrict our rights and put a stop to all the liberal gains we have made over the years. Their vision of the future is a regime of control and austerity. It’s all about power. They need opposing.

One of the women had a poster that read ‘KEEP YOUR ROSARIES OFF OUR OVARIES’. I thought that was great.

Poetry – God too – an antitheist’s view

Poetry – God too – an antitheist’s view

God Too

I’m the power in your sun

The atom and the wind

Giving light its speed

Its colour

And its spin

Arising out of nothing

To make your sunset glow

Organising your bodies

To your neurone flow

I give life its mystery

Creating all the laws

That keep it all in motion

Its perfection

And its flaws

You make me into Gods

Religions and Holy books

But I evade all your

Interpretations of my looks

You will not find me concerned

With how your life should run

Providing you with morals

For what is

Or is not done

I am not a human

Apart from the cosmic flow

I connect you to the mystic

That you cannot know

Your religions try to capture me

As I appear to you all

But I spiral through the words

Of the prayers that you call

Everything you think is real

You create it from the void

And you are doomed

To live the life

With which your dreams have toyed.

Opher 8.2.99

I suppose I think there is some mystery, some mystical element behind the universe. It comes out of nothing in a big bang. From nothing to the universe in a fraction of a second; atoms out of nothing. There is energy flowing through the universe. There is size beyond comprehension. There is infinity and the void from which it comes. There are atoms that cannot wear out and energy that goes on forever. But is there a plan or purpose? Is there a God that is concerned with morals and human destiny? Is there an after-life?

That is where I defer. It is all too human to me. Too convenient. I do not believe in God, purpose or the egotistical view that we are special – just the flow of energy – something full of awe and wonder. The morals and the dogma do not hold with the mystical. I ridicule it. I believe Religion has produced the biggest tyranny. It has held us back for thousands of years, stopping progress, inhibiting ideas, constraining thought, filling us with dread and fear, sin, evil and paradise, Heaven and Hell. It makes no sense to me. So what happens after Heaven? What is that all about? With Mysticism I can equate. But not with Religion.  I believe all religions are used for power and control.    15.2.99  Opher

Poetry – Believers – A poem about religious fanaticism.

Poetry – Believers – A poem about religious fanaticism.



Madmen pose with

Hardware exposed

To elevate their egos

To eternity.

Foolish fools

Believing silly rules,

Eschewing girls from schools

Inflamed with

Dreams of glory.

Endorphins rage

Through synapses

Of the brave.

Adherents ecstatic

With grave zeal

and brotherhood

Of unity;

All built on a book

Of lunacy.

Opher 4.7.2015

Everywhere I look around the world and through the depths of history I see excited young men clutching weapons in one hand and sacred books or political treaties in the other all wild-eyed and crazed; all joined by a cause; all eager to impose their vision on the world.

They butcher and torture until they themselves are numb, callous and cold and their Messianic fire has corrupted into sadistic futility.

All are assured of one thing – their cause is inevitably short-lived. We have seen the crusades, Jihads, Pol Pot, Hitler, Rwanda, and a thousand other massacres, genocides and causes as religions and regimes rise and rapidly fall.

It does not stop the fanaticism. Fascism and the adrenaline of brotherhood of war is a powerful aphrodisiac. It fires the belly and confounds the senses. The crazed believers are prepared to lay down their lives for their pointless cause.  They are easy to recruit and indoctrinate – point and they will go,

It all harks back to those tribal days of young men on hunting parties whose lives depended on their skills, bravery and willingness to support each other in a common aim – whether that be fighting off a ferocious wild cat or bringing down a dangerous buffalo.

Young men, befuddled by hormones, eager for status and glory, easily drawn to a cause, are always gullible.

Young women, equally befuddled, seeking father’s for the eggs they store, are attracted to the strongest. They support the craziness – always gullible.

We are so primitive. We are transparent. Our intelligence, helplessness and stupidity are our constant downfall.

Perhaps one day women will be attracted to men for their neuronal skills and compassion rather than their muscle and brute force. The world would be a different place.

Creationism – a Fundamentalist Nonsense.

I find this blind fundamentalist view as dangerous as that of ISIS and A Qaeda. Indeed, it is the same. It is extreme and uncompromising and has no room for tolerating those with different views.

Creationists believe that:

the world was created by god in six days

Genesis is a literal truth

The Earth is less than 10,000 years old

All life is predesigned by god

Evolution does not occur

The flood created a new start and laid down all the sedimentary rocks

Fossils were implanted in rock strata by god

Carbon dating is wrong

They believe the writings of a tribe of Arabs in the Middle East thousands of years ago are the literal word of god

They believe the creation myths and writings of all other tribes are not the work of god

They believe science has got it all wrong

They probably believe in tooth fairies, Santa Claus and Easter bunnies. There is as much validity in those as the Sumerian creation myths.

These are the people who are wanting to educate our children. I find that alarming.

Education should be illuminating – not stiffling.

Education should be questioning – – not a shut book.


Recommendations – Antitheism and religion – Opher Goodwin

I am not only an atheist but also an antitheist. I believe that religion does more harm than good.

While I am tolerant of all religions (as long as religious people do not indoctrinate children or try to force their views on others) I would prefer to see all religion die away and be replaced with a better set of beliefs.

This is a sacrilegious, humorous attempt at sending up religion. If you fancy a laugh why not give it a read?

In the UK:

In the USA:

Thank you for supporting me and my writing.

Morality is a human attribute – not a religious one.

My parents weren’t religious and I was brought up with a very good moral compass, a good set of values and a sense of compassion, empathy, tolerance and respect.

I am an antitheist. I believe all religions are manmade and do more harm than good. I am also an atheist. I find the whole concept of a god facile.

I live in the UK which is a post-religious country. I contend that its moral compass is at least as good as any religious country – from the USA to Saudi Arabia.

Religion is not the arbiter of morality.

I brought up my children in a atheistic home but they are instilled with more morality and kindness than most. They’ve grown up to be good, honest, well-adjusted people who do not need religion as a crutch.

Religion certainly is not the seat of morality. Morality stems from human nature. We know what is right and wrong.

I think many have it the wrong way round. Morality comes out of human nature and became entrenched in religion. It did not come out of religion and become entrenched in humanity.