Sunday, 31 January 2010

Undoing Enforced Religion

This article was originally posted on my previous blog and has been transferred to this one. Below, I have added an additional paragraph, so I can respond to the many useful comments I recieved after posting this originally.

This page was inspired by the following video on YouTube (part of the 'F*** Fox News' series). Take a look and subscribe to 'C0ct0pusPrime'- he's rather good and isn't afraid to say what anyone who reads this page is thinking.

The video features Fox News' Glenn Beck's patronising, dim-witted and condescending views on attempts to take prayer out of American schools. The first of many major mistakes he makes in this attempt to, once again, slur atheism is that he alleges that to remove God from the American Constitution and the state school system is enforcing atheism on the population. This is utter nonsense. Anyone living in a country with a constitution (or a variation forthwith) is forced to state that they believe in God. For people who actually believe in God, this is fine, as it is reflecting their beliefs anyway. However, for those agnostics or atheists in somewhere like America, they are forced into, on the surface at least, believing in God. This is an example of religion being enforced on the people.

This, of course, is wrong, as the hypocrites at Fox News apparently fail to realise, as it enforces religion on the population, not allowing those who would not believe in supernatural beings to hold their own beliefs. However, what these so-called 'journalists' suggest is that to take 'under God' (or a related phrase) out of the constitution would be forcing atheism on the people. This, again, is completely untrue, as, in a country which doesn't mention religion in its constitution, state or laws, people who are religious are still allowed to believe in God and worship freely. Likewise, people who don't believe in such things are also not penalsied for their beliefs. Taking talk of 'God' out of constitutions doesn't force anyone who would believe in God not to, it simply ensures that those who don't believe in God don't have their views and beliefs forcibly changed. It is rather hypocritical of Fox News, after all their comments about 'free speech', to support a system that doesn't allow atheists to be atheists.

If the American constitution (or that of any other country) was altered to say something along the lines of 'God doesnt exist', then THAT would be enforcing atheism on the people, and that, of course, is wrong. However, that is the opposite equivalent of what most countries' systems do now, so maybe those religious crackpots, fascists and zealots over in the grand old US of A deserve their comeuppance, even if it is only temporary- then we can concentrate on getting a system in place that doesn't enforce any values or beliefs on anyone.

This isn't a phenominan limited to America, though, for the Christian world at least (though I hate that term for obvious reasons, as no countries should have any religion assigned to them, as this enforces it on the populus) America is the worst offender. It is the same problem visible in Britain's schools, and one that has recently come to a head in places like France- having religion as part of the state enforces it upon even those impressionable children who wouldn't otherwise believe in God, and forcibly changes their viewpoint. Surely anything that warps the minds and views of people at such an impressionable age must be evil, whether it is meant with good intentions or not. Enforcing atheism on children would be exactly the same. If religion and God is removed from the school system, it doesn't enforce atheism on a single person, and it allows those who will believe in God to do so freely, with those who don't also allowed to believe what they believe. Parents can also enforce their views on children- and frequently do- but that would be something much harder to stop.

People may say that we can't know that God exists, but, in any other walk of life, when there is no evidence for something (and the Bible, with all its moral stories, is not evidence for the existence of God any more than the Harry Potter books are evidence for the existence of wizards) we assume it doesn't exist, so why should that be any different for religion. We don't KNOW FOR SURE that Santa doesn't exist- he may just be lurking around the corner- and we don't KNOW FOR SURE that there isn't one black swan among all the white ones that has simply stayed away from all humans, but we consider ourselves to know they don't exist because there is no evidence for them. This, of course, is a philosophical viewpoint, and is where people who say that there is no evidence against God completely fall flat- there is no evidence against ANYTHING apart from mathematical impossibilities. In the rest of life, we take a lack of evidence for something's existence to be evidence against, so why should religion be any different?

Last of all, the prize-moron Beck even suggests, in the above video, that atheists "worship brooms". Is this the reliable source you want delivering your news and current affairs?

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: One of the major replies I got about this message was about C0ct0pus himself; yes, he swears a lot, but he does choose worthy targets, and he does make very good points!

The Immigration Myth has been Busted

This article was originally posted on my previous blog and has been transferred to this one. Below, I have added an additional paragraph, so I can respond to the many useful comments I recieved after posting this originally.

After years and years of grossly misinformed people claiming that immigrants (usually written as 'immigrunts' as they can't spell...) "taking their jobs" or "being in their country", one of the myths surrounding this has been well and truly dispelled by a study carried out by the Independent. Aside from the obvious questions of why this has taken so long- in which time such ridiculous beliefs and opinions have become well and truly entrenched- this is a fantastic development for all concerned, especially the innocent victims of such ignorance.

So often I have heard people saying that (white) English people have been randomly turfed out of their own houses with very little notice, in order to make way for families of immigrants who have about eight children. I have always known that almost all of these claims would turn out to be completely untrue, as there would be scant logic in it were it to actually happen, and therefore there is no reason for it to happen.

Finally, such uneducated opinions have been dispelled by a study by the Independent. The Equality and Human Rights Commission found that, of all the people searching for, and living in, housing afforded to them by the government, only 1.8% had moved to the UK in the previous five years. That means that over 98% had lived here for over five years. On top of this, 87.8% were UK born, presumably with most of them as British citizens. So the myth that immigrants get fast-tracked onto the housing and benefit systems seems even more ridiculous than it already did.

The most stupid assertion about immigrants? (I'm not making this up)... I have actually heard someone allege that they get given a house straight away, a job, food vouchers, a mobile phone and a leather jacket... WHAT???

As far as I'm concerned, there is nothing to say that Britain is only for the British, even before the above statistics were released). As anyone who knows me will realise, I am the least patriotic person in existence. We are all people. We all matter the same. We weren't put by a deity in a special place already earmarked England, because we were 'meant' to live there... this place is called England because the people living there (over time) decided to call it so. And those people are called English BECAUSE they live in England. It sounds extremely simple, but you would be surprised how many people don't even recognise that simple fact. Hopefully, most of you reading this blog won't need this additional help, but you can never be too careful... Basically my point is that we all have the right to live anywhere in the world... these aren't 'our' jobs or 'our' houses, or even 'our' country.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Originally, in reply to this article, one of the replies I got was from a very stupid BNP voter (what a surprise!), who didn't reply to any of my points, and simply abused me, saying I should move to Basra, despite the fact that I didn't talk about wanting to move abroad in my article, let alone there! Hopefully that doesn't reflect on the intelligence of my readership!

The Potential Merits of NOT Voting

This article was originally posted on my previous blog and has been transferred to this one. Below, I have added an additional paragraph, so I can respond to the many useful comments I recieved after posting this originally.

We've all heard it said... "If you don't vote, you have no right to complain when those in power do something you dont like" and "If you don't vote, you don't have a voice in how this country is run". But is this always the case? Is it even the case at all? Is it possible for a member of the public's choice not to vote to be their damning judgement on a system that has not only become counterproductive to its original intentions, but become a choice between parties which often espouse surprisingly similar values, often contrary to what each traditionally advocated.

Picture the scene. It is a scene being witnessed by many today- June the 4th, polling day for Members of the European Parliament (MEPs)- you step up to your ballot paper and read the list of candidates. You'll see the Conservative nominations- a party vying with UKIP for the far right vote, which shows how far to the right Cameron's party has drifted, Labour and the Lib Dems drifting aimlessly into the centrist/centre-right slot that the Conservatives can still sometimes appeal to, the BNP, English Democrats, and Libertas filling a crowded far right, and Scargills Socialist Labour Party, The Socialist Party of Great Britain and No2Eu representing the far left, on top of countless independents and small parties. This is a mark of how much the three 'major' parties have drifted away from their core support, especially Labour. This has left a massive vacuum in the centre left, a spot Labour used to fill, but that New Labour began to dismantle from 1997 wth privatisation and alienation of core support.

So you are looking down your ballot paper and there is no candidates which properly reflect your own values. What best to do? To vote for the least of all the evils? Or to make a statement against all the candidates by defacing your ballot paper or not voting. Some may say that makes a mockery of the system. But is a system which encourages people to vote for someone simply because they disagree with them the least worth keeping and protecting? If there is noone you agree with, there is noone you should vote for, which is why, back in Tony Blair's Premiership, it was so important that John Prescott's plans to make voting compulsory were rebuffed- which of course they were.

These weren't the only of Prescott's plans that, had they gone through, would have made a mockery of Labour's traditional values and this party's claim to represent the working classes and underprivalaged in society. Under Tony Blair, Prescott also drew up schemes to outlaw striking, which would have been the final step of New Labour alienating the Unions. A positive can come out of Labour's expected hefty defeat at these European and local elections- it may force the Labour Party to take up a more traditional position on the centre-left of the political spectrum, thus appealing more to its core support and preventing Cameron's Conservatives from getting a sustained spell in charge of the country- something that would be a disaster from the entire world.

A poor voter turnout may not be a bad thing at forthcoming elections. It could represent people's distrust and dissatisfaction with the current system, forcing politicans to change. Here's hoping...

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: One of the most prominant features of the replies I got to this was a misinterpretation, based on an idea the article accidentally conveyed. It is true that a much better idea, and therefore what I am advocating, is spoiling the ballot paper, not simply not turning up to vote. If a large majority of the population fail to even submit a ballot, that makes it look like they are apathetic to who is in charge. If, however, you are, as many of us are, unhappy at all the choices given to us, perceiving them as being so similar to each other that it is barely worth choosing between them, then the best course of action is to submit a spoiled ballot paper. This avoids giving the false impression that the electorate is apathetic to politics, and conveys the true image that they feel none of the candidates truly represents them.