In his presentation, Al-Khalili said he believed in the Golden Rule: One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself. The ethical maxim is often attributed to Jesus Christ.
Echoing the thought of philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, a member of the audience said it seemed like secular humanists had killed God but were still doing what he said by adhering to Christian morality and values.
Al-Khalili responded by saying the situation was actually reversed. Christianity had hijacked human values. "For me, that is what defines me as a human, that I have the capacity to love, to empathize, to sympathize, to be kind, he explained.
Yes, those were values that were taken up by the Abrahamic religions and rightly so, because [it was] back at a time when people needed to be told those are important human values. For me, I dont think I need to behave in a certain way because I want to seek the reward of God or because I fear the punishment of God. I do them because Im a human being.
So much NTS..... It's sad.
Although to many scholars his theory seems outlandish, and is sure to upset some believers, Atwill regards his evidence as conclusive and is confident its acceptance is only a matter of time. "I present my work with some ambivalence, as I do not want to directly cause Christians any harm," he acknowledges, "but this is important for our culture. Alert citizens need to know the truth about our past so we can understand how and why governments create false histories and false gods. They often do it to obtain a social order that is against the best interests of the common people."
It's now very common to hear people say, 'I'm rather offended by that.' As if that gives them certain rights. It's actually nothing more... than a whine. 'I find that offensive.' It has no meaning; it has no purpose; it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. 'I am offended by that.' Well, so fucking what.
― Stephen Fry
Already, a thousand blogs and columns insist the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's new report is a rabid concoction of scare stories whose purpose is to destroy the global economy. But it is, in reality, highly conservative.
Reaching agreement among hundreds of authors and reviewers ensures that only the statements which are hardest to dispute are allowed to pass. Even when the scientists have agreed, the report must be tempered in another forge, as politicians question anything they find disagreeable: the new report received 1,855 comments from 32 governments, and the arguments raged through the night before launch.
In other words, it's perhaps the biggest and most rigorous process of peer review conducted in any scientific field, at any point in human history.
There are no radical departures in this report from the previous assessment, published in 2007; just more evidence demonstrating the extent of global temperature rises, the melting of ice sheets and sea ice, the retreat of the glaciers, the rising and acidification of the oceans and the changes in weather patterns. The message is familiar and shattering: "It's as bad as we thought it was."
What the report describes, in its dry, meticulous language, is the collapse of the benign climate in which humans evolved and have prospered, and the loss of the conditions upon which many other lifeforms depend. Climate change and global warming are inadequate terms for what it reveals. The story it tells is of climate breakdown.
What happened to Jennifer amounts to discrimination based on pregnancy status and gender. Why? Because Inside Out learned about its workers' sexual lives by looking at its women workers' bellies. In fact, Jennifer and other women workers who became pregnant had to hide their bellies for as long as possible because they were terrified of being found out and fired. Unmarried men who had sex, and even those who became fathers, had nothing to fear, because of course their bellies wouldn't give them away. In Jennifer's workplace, pregnancy became a "scarlet letter," marking unmarried employees for termination.
The treatment of women workers at Inside Out also subjects women workers to mistreatment based on sex stereotypes. When a person can be thrown out of work because she decides to or must take on motherhood alone, what are we as a society saying about her? That she's unworthy of any further association with her coworkers? That she's unfit to participate in economic life? That she doesn't deserve to be able to eat, or pay rent, or buy gas?
I feel its sad for a society like America that, as a culture, we decided in an extracurricular activity its inappropriate for an adult to lead a prayer voluntarily with students who volunteer to pray with them, said House Speaker Will Weatherford, a Wesley Chapel Republican.
Weatherford said he thought a law passed last year would permit superintendents to set guidelines for such worship activities.
His comments came after the superintendent of Pasco County schools sent a letter Friday to the districts football coaches reminding them that its inappropriate for adults to initiate, lead or participate in prayer with students while serving in their school roles.
Hernando County officials sent similar memos to coaches.
"I'm so frustrated. Just because I'm black/African American doesn't mean I'm Christian. I was raised in a home where we attended church, but during college I decided to officially call myself an atheist. Yet other black people are constantly assuming that I have a 'church home' or saying they will pray for me or telling me to pray about something -- it's like they have never met someone my color who isn't 'saved' before. It's such an assumption, and white people aren't treated the same way. How can I tell the world to stop making this assumption about me without offending and encourage people to think before they put their belief systems on others?" --Annoyed Atheist
I'm not surprised to hear that you're having this experience. After all, according to a Pew poll, black Americans are more likely than members of any other racial or ethnic group in the country to report a formal religious affiliation. And even among those who didn't select a particular religion in that survey, three out of four identified as "religious unaffiliated" (meaning they didn't choose a denomination but said religion was either somewhat or very important in their lives). That's compared with slightly more than one-third of the unaffiliated population overall.
So, the people who are making assumptions about your religious beliefs aren't being particularly sensitive, but they are making a pretty safe bet.
"Plus, if you break it down by gender, black women are the single most religious demographic in the country," journalist Jamila Bey, host of The Sex Politics and Religion Hour: SPAR With Jamila, told me. Bey is an actual poster child for black atheists, having been featured in an African Americans for Humanism campaign showcasing religious skepticism in the black community. ("Doubts about religion? You're one of many" was the advertisement featuring her photo split with one of Frederick Douglass.)
But you're probably on to something to feel that your race is playing a role in what people decide that you believe. "Intraculturally, we look at each other and say, 'I don't see you wearing a headscarf, so clearly you're a Christian' and 'You look like me, so we clearly share a religion,' " says Bey. Your frustration is a reminder that being stereotyped doesn't feel any better just because the offender thinks the assumption he or she is making about you is a positive one (even the most positive one possible, as Christianity likely is to many Americans). And it doesn't make it any better when the offender is the same race, either. So I hope you don't worry too much about being offensive by clarifying that you don't believe in God. You wouldn't apologize for your race or gender, would you? And this is part of your identity just as those factors are.
Earlier this year, as Pope Francis was being elected, the Vatican refused to commit to a statement condemning violence against women at the Commission on the Status of Women. Vatican representatives also slipped in jabs at womens reproductive rights in statements that should have focused on the problems of sexual violence and sustainable development. A mismatch between rhetoric and reality is nothing new. Pope Benedicts guarded approval of condoms as a first step on a path to moral sexual behavior never trickled down to his representatives at the UN, where the Holy See still opposes their inclusion as an HIV prevention method, nor to the vast Catholic-run HIV & AIDS treatment system.
The Vatican is granted a unique level of access to the United National General Assembly and international conferences where global rights and norms are determined. Though it works hard to cultivate the image of speaking for all, the Holy Sees interventions at the UN certainly dont represent the views of all Catholics. Even predominantly Catholic countries have disagreed with the Holy Sees extreme position on contraception, sexuality education and abortion. Why is the Holy See allowed to masquerade as a state and impose the narrowest interpretations of its religious doctrine on everybody? Other religions are treated as NGOs, and many support reproductive rights but are not given the deference or the power the Holy See enjoys.
The Holy See should not be able to trade on its presumed moral authority, but rather should be judged by the actual results of its policies, concludes The See Change Campaign video. In order for the popes new turn to have an impact, the UN must start by recognizing that the Holy See is not a state and should have no greater representation than any other religion. This would go beyond Francis washing the feet of a young Muslim woman or affirming that atheists can be good people. It would require Francis and his representatives around the world to step out of the way so that people of all faiths and belief systems can exercise the right to make their own moral decisions about sex, relationships, and reproductive health. That would indeed be something to celebrate.
I couldn't agree more.
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