All posts for the topic: Atheism and Religion

The stay against Trump’s travel ban upheld – a closer look at the ruling

[CN: Trump] It’s been a few days since the ninth circuit court of appeals unanimously rejected the Trump administration’s request to reinstate #MuslimBan. There’s been obviously a lot of commentary about where to from here but I wanted to look at the court’s actual ruling to see what arguments were used and whether they shed any interesting light on resistance to fascism in the USA and here in Australia. You can check out the 29 page PDF of the ruling here. In the meantime here’s a quick summary of each section. I. A. N. A. L. Background: A summary of […]

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Racist NIMBYism: anti-eruv “arguments” in Australia

[CN: Racism, propaganda] Yesterday I posted about some far-right anti-mosque propaganda. This type of fear-mongering doesn’t stop there; the campaign against the St Ives eruv shows its wide scope. Unlike the previous post, I should explain what an eruv is. In Orthodox Judaism, it’s essentially forbidden to carry (inc pushing a stroller) on Shabbat except for within one’s home or outside with the aid of an eruv. An eruv consists of boundary demarcations (usually poles/wires), the symbolic acts of renting space from a non-Jew and setting up a communal meal for each Sabbath. More here, and just to make it […]

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Racist NIMBYism: anti-mosque “arguments” in Australia

[CN: Racism, propaganda] Because of various uhm “reasons”, racist nativism is here to stay. One way it bubbles up in Australia is NIMBYism about religious structures by The Other. You’ve probably seen it in terms of opposition to mosque construction, but similar sentiments have come up against the Jewish community (see tomorrow’s post). These differ in how explicit they are but they all take from the same playbook, so it’s good to be familiar with the type of propaganda spread by white supremacist organisations to try turn the “general public” against minority religions. You probably don’t need to be told […]

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Dalai Lama defines religious violence out of existence

This week, the Dalai Lama engaged in more mealy-mouthed bullshit that went viral because it’s telling many people what they want to hear. In condemning religious violence (yay DL?) he said that anyone partaking in violent activities is not a genuine practitioner of their religion. Here’s a quick quote from This Independent article: Buddhist terrorist. Muslim terrorist. That wording is wrong, Any person who wants to indulge in violence is no longer a genuine Buddhist or genuine Muslim, because it is a Muslim teaching that once you are involved in bloodshed, actually you are no longer a genuine practitioner of […]

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Segregated seating on planes: is a non-bigoted compromise possible?

The behaviour of Chareidi (more commonly known as “Ultra-Orthodox”) flight passengers has hit international news a few times, mostly around them not wanting to sit next to women who have at times been asked to switch seats, something El Al is being sued over. There have been some other stories too, eg. Chareidi men who have smashed a flight screen showing an “immodest” movie or flying in plastic bags (such as the ones pictured) which protect their Kohanic selves from the ritual impurity of flying over a cemetery (more info here). The issue of El Al and segregated seating is […]

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Are ISIS Muslims? Insisting “no” is intellectually dishonest.

Last year, the Sydney siege prompted many to demonise people with mental illness and to claim that the perpetrator couldn’t have been a true Muslim (see my post about it for more). With the recent attacks in Europe (and it’s all about Europe), this is recurring on a massive scale. Some examples: Translation: Like McDonald’s, Islam apparently has an official brand, as opposed to being a religion of great diversity. Also, saying ISIS are Muslims means apparently being stuck with the strawman that you think of them as “being”/representing Islam. Translation: ISIS performs atrocities because their combatants are ‘crazy’. People […]

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Science, religion and appropriating metaphors

I haven’t written about the ‘science vs religion’ thing for ages, but an article caught my attention –– first because I thought it was ridiculous and later because it did force me to think about using scientific metaphors, which is always a positive. It’s The Missing Link: The Coessential Nature of Science and Faith by Nicholas Metrakos, appearing in Orthodoxy Today. The relationship between science and religion has been debated for centuries and it’s not going to end anytime soon. But what could possibly be left to say about it? As a beginning scientist and Orthodox Christian, I think the […]

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Denial about Jewish extremism

You may have seen the news about Yishai Schlissel: he stabbed marchers during Jerusalem’s LGBT parade in 2005, served 10 years and did it again as soon as he got out. He stabbed six people at last week’s parade including 16yo Shira Banki who died of her wounds. This has sparked a strong response from both within Israel and Jewish communities around the world. This is great and the more Jewish groups can marginalise such overt, violent homophobia the better. However, that the Jewish tradition has loads of homophobic teachings, I’m disturbed at the fact that almost all Jewish organisations […]

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Atheists don’t exist (if you’re misleading enough)

This is an oldie (from 2014) but a goodie. A legit science website (Science 2.0) publishes an blog post entitled Scientists discover that atheists might not exist, and that’s not a joke by Nury Vittachi. It’s a great example of what happens when you try to be so nuanced and sophisticated that your head gets sucked up into your own ass. The overall premise of the article is that studies seem to show that all people may tacitly hold religious beliefs. And hence people who identify as atheists may not be “true” atheists because subconsciously they still engage in religious […]

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7 things to stop saying about the Sydney siege

With such a tragedy hitting Sydney never has the expression opinions are like assholes –- everyone has one been more apt. Some of that talk has been racism and xenophobia (but not in my social media feeds, yay living in a bubble!) which should of course be condemned. But I’ve seen other, subtler problematic stuff said, across the political spectrum. Here are 7 things I think we should all stop saying: 1. This was definitely terrorism/definitely not terrorism This was a crime committed by a single person who is now dead. Certainly the siege had the effect of terrorising many […]

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