Category Archives: Mental health

More Dispatches from the Asylum

As I’ve said before, I got on quite well with the posters of the Fighting Fundamental Forums. The forum had a system of allocating likes and dislikes (“greens” and “reds”) and I only ever had about five reds in all the time I was there. Generally I got on with them, albeit that I was ignored by the majority. There are quite a few people who posted there that I would consider to be friends.

However, while they were friendly enough with me, sometimes I had to wonder exactly what their views were on certain issues, and while they seemed normal enough in common discourse, I sometimes had to pinch myself to ensure that I was aware of what kind of people I was dealing with.

For example, courtesy of Eric McDonald, comes a report from a North Carolina pastor who has a “final solution” to the “problem of homosexuality”. Unfortunately I can’t link directly to the video from Eric, but Pastor Worley’s message can be found here, alongside the usual comments.

Response to Pastor Worley can be found here:

Continue reading


What shall we tell the children?

If we are serious about promoting freedom of thought, and about equipping ourselves with the tools to put that thought into action. And if we think that truth is important for its own sake and if we see enormous benefits in understanding reality, not fantasy, then it’s important that, although it might be too late for a lot of us, we should do everything we can to help future generations. It’s not a matter of what to think, more a case of how to think.

Instead, what happens is that any group with any influence works its hardest for the survival of its own thoughts, doctrines and prejudices. Richard Dawkins, quite rightly, is annoyed by this, particularly the labelling of children with an identity that they can’t have developed for themselves.

The point is not to abolish Religious Education. There is value in Religious Education, including Comparative Religion (for anthropologists tell us that religion is a ubiquitous human universal) and the King James Bible as literature (there are so many allusions to it in Shakespeare and other English literature). What is wrong — indeed, arguably a form of mental child abuse — is the INDOCTRINATION of children into one particular faith, which they are informed is THEIR faith, automatically inherited from their parents. Continue reading


God bless the Titanic and all who sail in her

I had at some point in the near future intended to address the arguments that we in the West can account for our morality because we, historically, derive our morals from a residual “Christian culture”, and therefore, although many of us reject the basis of Christianity, are actually borrowing from its standards. Therefore, the story goes, because we by-and-large act morally we are only doing so because of Christian influence and this demonstrates the truth of Christianity somehow.

Of course, there is no such thing as a Christian theory of morality to begin with, so this is not a claim that can be dealt with rationally. All we have to go on is a series of commandments from a supposedly omnibenevolent entity that never shows up in real life. The word “morality” doesn’t even appear in the Bible, at least not the King James version. So, at best, Christian morality is based on a personality, indistinguishable from the imaginations of believers, rather than any principles based on real life. In any case, anyone looking for good examples of how not to behave should look no further than the pages of Leviticus and Deuteronomy, and that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Continue reading


A plague on Tesco

I’ve been kept away from computers for the last week, and tomorrow I fly to Paris. I am conscious, though, that I should reply to a few posts, and also I just have time to say a few words…

More evidence for the existence of God has been forthcoming recently, and unusually, it doesn’t seem to have been picked up by any of the usual atheist bloggers.

Apparently, a Tesco Metro store at Covent Garden in central London has been infested with mice, and has had to be closed down temporarily while the problem is resolved. Some Christian groups, notably Christian Voice, have picked up on this and assigned the blame squarely where it belongs – a donation from Tesco to London Gay Pride (LGP). Continue reading


Prayers work, say British politicians

I admit to being the world’s worst advocate of democracy. It’s 38 years since I became of voting age and in all that time I’ve managed to put my X in the box twice in general elections. I do think that honest abstinence is a legitimate position, though.

I see that David Cameron is on the defensive after his former party treasurer was forced to quit after offering access to the Prime Minister and senior colleagues for money. This is only the latest in a string of scandals going back many years, and only a couple of years ago Parliament’s reputation suffered the biggest blow it has ever probably suffered in the so-called expenses scandal, as MP after MP was exposed systematically cheating or at best breaking the spirit of the law. My own MP, Bill Wiggin, claimed mortgage payments on a “second” home after buying a cheaper property outright.

This is one of the problems with democracy – you have to be very careful who you vote for. Actually the low esteem in which politicians are held is an argument for democracy, insofar as we can get rid of them, albeit sometimes it might seem akin to cleaning out the Augean Stables.

One can see that I’m not particularly enthusiastic about our legislators.  But if I lived and voted in South West Devon, South Luton or Westmorland right now it would just be too embarrassing. The members for these three constituencies are active in the “Christians in Parliament” group, and have written to the Chairman of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) attempting to get the authority to change its adjudication on a Christian group that claimed that God heals illnesses. As these claims were highly specific, naming particular illnesses, this could well be the easiest adjudication that the respected ASA has ever had to make. Continue reading


Dispatches from the Asylum

I thought I would share this from rightwingwatch.org, and already P Z Myers and Jerry Coyne have picked up on it.

Any British viewers would unsurprisingly be quite amazed at the fire-and-brimstone speechifying of Pastor Dennis Terry – for me I think it’s hilarious. Even Ian Paisley in his heyday wasn’t this terrifying. Terry bemoans his lack of opportunity to state his beliefs and pray in public by…stating his beliefs and praying in public. And odious beliefs they are. He should feel lucky to live in a nation that allows him to tell the rest of his countrymen that if they don’t feel like signing up for his own particular brand of bigotry they should get out.

The momentous occasion for the speech was a public endorsement of the candidate for the Republican presidential nominee Rick Santorum. Santorum is seen quietly clapping away in the background. It beggars belief that someone who is seriously entertained as a future President would want anything to do with Terry and his ilk, but there you are. The Republicans are rid of the hapless Perry and the witless Bachman, for which they should be grateful, but we are left with the clueless Santorum. I suppose it would be a worry to think that such a person actually has a chance of winning this year, but realistically Santorum has no chance, except in the minds of the brain-addled. Personally I hope he wins the nomination for the comedy value.