Richard Dawkins on the Big Debate

Jonathan Dimbleby and a panel of experts come together to debate the controversial subject of religion in Britain’s schools.

The role of religion in education is a subject rarely out of the headlines. Despite Britain’s multi-faith society, schools are still required to include a collective act of worship of a Christian nature, while faith schools and religious academies have raised fears about community cohesion and covert selection.

Claims by some religious educationalists that faith is the best way to teach moral values is challenged by others in schools who believe religious morality to be outdated and dangerous.

Dimbleby is joined by Professor Richard Dawkins, Schools Select Committee chairman Barry Sheerman MP, and a multi-faith studio audience.

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This is why I loath religion

Parents sacrifice 4-yr-old girl to become rich

Sanjay Pandey, Lucknow, Aug 18, DHNS: Wednesday, August 18, 2010

 
Lust for wealth drove a poverty- stricken couple to sacrifice their own four-year-old daughter at a village in Uttar Pradesh’s backward Sitapur district, about 90 km from here.
The couple, identified as Srikrishna and Ramdevi, were told by a “tantrik” (exorcist)that they would become rich if they sacrificed their daughter, according to police sources here. 

Acting on the advice of a “tantrik”, a “havana kund”(a pit in which the fire is lit and yajna is performed), was prepared in the courtyard of the couple for the rituals late on Monday night.

The parents then put their daughter Kanni into the pit amid chanting of “mantra” and lit the fire. The girl, who was also mercillessely beaten, was half buried in the pit.

The parents had stuffed a piece of cloth in the mouth of the little girl so that her cries could not be heard by any one in the village, sources said.

The badly burnt body of the girl was later buried on the same spot by digging a deep pit, sources said. The grandmother of the girl was also present during the rituals, sources said.

The ghastly incident came to light on Tuesday when neighbours found vermillion, flowers, incense sticks and other items used in the rituals and suspected that some “exorcism rituals” might have been performed there.

As the crowds of villagers swelled before Srikrishna’s house, the couple, sensing trouble, and others fled from there through the back door.

The villagers informed the police, which dug the area and brought out the badly burnt body of Kanni. “The body had injury marks on the head and neck, which shows that she must have been beaten for offering resistance,” according to the police.

A case had been registered by the police and a massive manhunt had been launched to nab the culprits, who have been absconding.

Barely a couple of days back a nine- year-old girl was buried alive by her own uncle in Uttar Pradesh’s Gonda district to please the goddess so that he could become rich.


An open reply to hate mail

UPDATE

August 24th, 2010

Travis… um, or maybe you prefer Lorena? Whichever.

Don’t you think that you’re taking this out of proportion? Dude! SEVEN EMAILS? SERIOUSLY? And the last one, TWICE! SERIOUSLY??

So you don’t like what your bible says about your sexual preferences? I have a present for you from my favorite book of the bible:

Leviticus 18:22: Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.

In short, your god detests you. I don’t – I advocate for the rights of people like you.

… and you’re calling us atheists, “hypocrites,” and engaged in a fight defending religion? RELIGION??!!  Don’t you see how ridiculous your argument is? Get a grip, man.

Next time I will expose your email address and have you know what massive hate mail is. I’m done with you.

*****************************************

August 23rd, 2010

So after our Twitter Sunday School I got this email:

———- Forwarded message ———- From: **** **** Date: Sun, Aug 22, 2010 at 2:19 PM Subject: Wow. To: me Sunday school…. What hatred. Umm hypocrite much?

And today I got this new one:

———- Forwarded message ———- On Mon, Aug 23, 2010 at 6:40 PM, **** *****

wrote:

Confused and lost? If you despise religion, and humans practice religion, then you are asserting that you hate peoples’ beliefs, which in turn can hurt a persons feelings. Knowing that a person hates/despises who and what they are, and believe inevitably brings them down. Remember, “Practice compassion & remember that everyone you meet loves something, is afraid of something, misses something & has lost something. ♥”

I am a male gay Christian. My partner is an atheist. You’re a hypocrite. Ha!

What what?

So, here is my reply:

Greetings sir,

Thanks for taking the time to write this missive, I appreciate your efforts.

I take it that you’re replying to this tweet of mine: “So in RE. to your mail: Not hatred nor hypocrisy. Everything I said in Sunday School is true, I don’t hate religion – I despise it.

Aye – I do despise religion, not people, not people’s beliefs, the fact that religion enslaves people’s minds. I am not trying, though, to change anyone’s mind. I find it saddening, that you feel that you have the right to call me a hypocrite, but I understand that you’re frustrated, and maybe, just maybe, afraid of losing your faith.

On the other hand, I don’t appreciate the way you have treated me. You, as a Christian, should find in your heart enough goodness to forgive my inability to believe in any gods. You are not a very good Christian, I suppose, since you must have read that verse in your holy book that explicitly says that you’re not supposed to marry, let alone just have intercourse out of wedlock, with a person of a different set of beliefs, much worse an atheist infidel, and for as unbelievable as you might think it is, much much worse in a gay relationship. But that is none of my business, right?

Just for your enjoyment I am going to show you what I’m referring to:

2 Corinthians 6:14-15: “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?” (KJV)

1 Corinthians 6:9-10: “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”

Do you still believe that you have the right to call me a hypocrite?

No, sir, I am not confused, it seems to me that you are.

I do practice compassion, and believe in every word I say publicly and privately. I am a humanist, I respect people.

You didn’t take in consideration that I didn’t expose either your name nor your email address in my tweet, and I’m not doing it here either. That should show you a little bit of the type of person that I am.

I don’t have to respect religion, I think it is a bad thing, but I also know that, since your mind is enslaved, you won’t accept any of the facts that I could present to you to make you understand why I think this way, I know that religion has caused much harm, not just your religion, religion in general.

I am glad that you read my tweets, I suppose you do like at least half of them, so thanks for that too. I hope they don’t bring you down too much. By the way, does your ‘atheist partner’ know that you’re emailing me this?

Point in case, thank you for your time, I think you should leave a comment here, my email address is for more productive and amicable things. If you want to debate, I am here for you.

Good day, sir.