Thursday, 25 November 2010

I Have Been Remiss

It is true that one needs to start cleaning from one's own house. But, this most  certainly does not mean one should never even try to point to a mess in the neighbourhood. And, especially when one claims not to belong to any one house in particular, that one is completely opposed to even a notion of a house and would much rather sleep under the moon and the stars (the young lady on the left notwithstanding), then one has absolutely no excuse in not pointing out failings in all houses.

Now, having made my excuse, let me tell you what all the prattle above actually means...

You must be aware that I have written excessively about religion - or rather, against it. However, looking back at my writings they are really very much one sided. Yes, I shout from the rooftops about my atheism - and very loudly - but I only ever seem to rant against Christianity. While I fully believe that all of that criticism is well deserved, I can also see how it may appear one sided. So, alongside the (non)excuse above, and another proclamation of my unwavering atheism, let me say loud and clear that the other major religion of our day, Islam, is not one iota better.

Most recent case in point: private weekend Islamic schools appear to teach their pupils some very unsavoury things. Teachings about hell fire awaiting homosexuals, and about how to best amputate a hand of a thief should not have a place in any modern society. I don't find it acceptable to even think of saying "not here in Britain" or "go teach that somewhere else". These sorts of attitudes have absolutely no place in this day and age. Even deeply religious countries should have by now moved on from medieval, or even thousands of years old teachings.

However, it would be also fair to say that teaching children these things in a very secular and modern country like Britain is not just a bad idea, but a criminal one, too. Criminal, because such children, indoctrinated by the seventh century ideas will either auto-segregate, be segregated, or worst of all, find it called for to try to convert or even punish the non-believers around them. Is that what their teachers have in mind?

Even if such children eventually move to countries where such beliefs are still held (or at least enforced by governments or religious leaders - or both) they will presumably need to communicate, trade, or otherwise work with the rest of the world not sharing their "ideals". We see that already when women travel on business to some Middle Eastern countries. Quite apart of all the limitations they face on the streets (e.g. not being allowed to drive, or wear certain kinds of clothes), they sometimes face discrimination in the business meetings when some of their Middle Eastern business partners refuse to address or even look at them.

Finally, I can't even imagine how an openly gay couple can ever manage to spend a satisfying holiday in some of these places. And anyone interested in making money should know that gay couples are the best consumers there is, usually having two incomes, no kids, and often flamboyant life styles.

But, back to the good old Blighty (or any other European country for that matter), there should be no excuse, and no way to be able to teach such discriminating ideas to anyone. Such textbooks, and such teachers, should be banned. Period. Everything they teach and represent goes against the modern idea of human rights, and humane society. We should all also remember that human rights are not just any idea. They are guaranteed by the European Union law, and also by United Nations charter. If someone can be found in breach of Human Rights Act by making a patient wait too long for a treatment, surely teaching that an adulteress should be stoned to death, or a thief should have their hand or foot cut off breaches, too?

So, from now on, please keep in mind that in my view there is no religion that is innocent of stupidity - or worse (often, sadly, much worse). I may again find myself ranting more about one than the other(s), but this will only be because I tend to hear much more about that one than the other(s). I honestly, and deeply, hold all of them in deep contempt. There is no place for such out of touch systems of ideas and teachings in the modern world. They may have had their value hundreds and thousands years ago. They may even be something that has been evolutionary selected in us poor humans, but what has also been strongly selected in us is plain old intelligence and a drive to better ourselves. Happily, the former enables us to see that the latter does not need religion any more. What's more it also tells us that now, the religion can only be a hindrance. Any religion, and without exception.