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The Rational Razor
Posted 21 January 2015
Some words and occupations carry with them an assumed prestige, or a positive association that might add to their allure. Alas, atheism is not one of them.
Those of us who lack faith in God(s) usually make the admission quietly so as not to spoil the barbecue.
Atheist Alliance International | 4th Quarter 2014
IN THIS EDITION:
The Delusion of a Personal Relationship with “God”
Recognising NonReligious Singaporeans
LGBT Rights and Religious Intolerance in Africa
God at the Centre of Zambia’s Independence Celebration
Feminism & Secularism
The Germ Theory of Religion & Culture
.. and more!
IN PHOTOS: HAPI-Baguio attends UP Youth Fair, discusses secularism
Humanist Alliance Philippines, International-Baguio officers and members attended the University of the Philippines (UP) Youth Fair on October 10, 2014.
HAPI-Baguio was invited by the Forum for Family Planning and Development as among the participants of the Fair.
The Youth Fair was sponsored and organized by the student council of UP Baguio and the Alternatibong Katipunan ng mga Mag-aaral sa UP (AKMA).
Open Letter To Karen Armstrong on ‘The Myth of Religious Violence’
September 29, 2014 | Centre for Inquiry
Karen Armstrong is a former Roman Catholic sister who has written a string of historical books about religion. Her latest book, Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence , was published on Friday along with an accompanying Guardian article ‘The Myth of Religious Violence’.
In your recent Guardian article you suggest that:
(i) religious conflicts often involve other, non-religious factors (that’s a fairly uncontroversial claim with which I can agree),
(ii) the violence of Isis has ‘nothing to do with Islam’ (I consider the suggestion it has nothing at all to do with Islam silly, but will let it pass), and,
(iii) while secularism has been of ‘value’ to the West, it has a history of being oppressive and unjust, particularly towards the religious, producing a violent fundamentalist backlash.
Recent media misrepresentations of the atheist movement, and the role of PZ Myers in the culture of demonising people
by MICHAEL NUGENT on SEPTEMBER 17, 2014
Let me preface this post by saying that I accept that I might be mistaken in anything that I write, and that I am open to changing my mind on the basis of reasonable civil discussion. Also, I assume that I have done variations of at least some of the things I am complaining about others doing here.
I believe that atheist and skeptic people and groups, like all people and groups within society, should promote compassion, empathy, fairness, justice, equality and respect for people, combined with robust rational analysis of ideas. I believe that this should include tackling sexism, racism, homophobia and other discriminatory biases in society.
Brian Morris: Progressive West European countries have abandoned the ancient divisive dogmas of man-made religions
BRIAN MORRIS THE ADVERTISER SEPTEMBER 17, 2014
THE barbaric beheadings and crucifixions by ISIL show Islam is prone to cruel and merciless interpretations.
But Christianity might also reflect on its own barbarity: seven crusades, the conquistadors and centuries of merciless Inquisitions – all based on absolute intolerance of those who rejected Jesus Christ.
Since the “Enlightenment’’ a rising tide of doubt has surrounded Christianity, the Bible’s authenticity and Jesus.
Don’t merge human rights with religion, even in Africa
Posted: Fri, 15 Aug 2014 09:36 by Achieng Maureen Akena
Political religion, particularly that exported from the US, is impeding the struggle for universal human rights in Africa and the two must be kept separate, argues Achieng Maureen Akena.
Earlier on open Global Rights, Indian journalist Parsa Rao argued that Asian and African societies must “frame the human rights debate through their own intellectual and cultural traditions.” I agree; for too long, our societies have seen human rights as an external and foreign concept.
Religion without a church? Humanism almost qualifies
Andrew Brown | theguardian.com, Tuesday 12 August 2014
Organised humanism has unified beliefs and practices – and the world’s most sentimental hymn: John Lennon’s Imagine
The World Humanist Conference in Oxford at the weekend struck me as a completely religious gathering, even though it is predicated on atheism. If it hadn’t been for the words of the sermons, we might have been at any Protestant missionary society.
Part of this was the architecture. The old parts of Oxford University date from the time when there was no clear distinction between religion and society, and most of them now have a faintly sacerdotal air. Part of it was the people: lots of beards, formidable middle-aged women and younger gay men. Everyone was united and sharing in a sense of relief at being in a safe space where what was important to them was no longer strange or dangerous. But there was much more than that. We heard un-sermons, listened to choirs singing un-hymns, and applauded un-mission partners whose heroism and suffering were an inspiration to those of us in comfortable England.
Does capitalism promote social mobility?
Posted by Jonathan MS Pearce on Aug 11, 2014
In debating this topic on another blog post with Geoff Roberts, I came across this book review of a book which seems to deal very much with this question. I think this review makes for a fascinating read. Let me know what you think:
The storyline of capitalism—and the technological innovation that simultaneously supports and drives it forward—is almost always one of ever-greater personal freedom and opportunity. Slaves and serfs, whose families had been chained to the plows of noble-born landowners generation after generation, are transformed into wage earners who sell their services in demand-driven labor markets. Wage owners pull themselves up by their bootstraps and educate their children, who then enter the professional ranks. With the liberal application of hard work, inventiveness, or entrepreneurial chutzpah, anyone can rise through the ranks of society. The sky is the limit. Or is it?
Atheists are disliked — but new data shows interfaith dialogue can help
Chris Stedman | Jul 21, 2014
For the last two weeks of July, Faitheist is being guest hosted by Sarah Jones, Communications Associate for Americans United for Separation of Church and State. The piece below is written by Jones; the views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of her employer.
Last week, the Pew Research Center released its latest look at religion in the United States. The poll, which measured positive and negative feelings toward a variety of religious and nonreligious groups, reveals that atheists and Muslims are tied as the least favorably viewed belief traditions in the United States.
Has American Secularism Succeeded or Failed?
July 9, 2014 | Centre for Inquiry
I have, over the past 10 years, lived in radically different places governed by differing forms of secularism. In the U.S., where I grew up, secularism is purportedly enshrined in the Constitution — emanating from the First Amendment guarantee regarding the non-establishment of a state religion. Yet as we know, the U.S. remains a highly religious culture among industrialized nations. This is a puzzle to many of us who grew up without religion or who have left it. Why does it thrive and flourish in our culture?
Moreover, how might the Establishment Clause be used to guard against real existential threats that come from such a high degree of religiosity? In The Netherlands, where I lived for 6 years, secularism appears to be thriving, and the decline of religious beliefs seems to attest to it. It is perhaps one of the most irreligious states in Europe, with a level of non-affiliation well over 50%. The Netherlands have long protected religious liberties legally, and stood as a refuge for those fleeing religious persecution (like the Huguenots and the Puritans).
Culturally, the Dutch have long embraced a social norm that makes discussion of and publicity about one’s religion frowned upon. Finally, In Mexico where I now live, secularism has long been enshrined by law which strictly separates church from state. Yet, as with many Latin American countries, the rate of religiosity remains high. Catholicism dominates, and minority religions remain small and quiet.
Atheism snookered by moral snap-judgements
19 May 2014 | Rob Brooks
When Jack was young, he began inflicting harm on animals. It started with just pulling the wings off flies, but eventually progressed to torturing squirrels and stray cats in his neighbourhood.
As an adult, Jack found that he did not get much thrill from harming animals, so he began hurting people instead. He has killed 5 homeless people that he abducted from poor neighbourhoods in his home city. Their dismembered bodies are currently buried in his basement.
Now, knowing what I have just told you about Jack, is it more probable that Jack is: A) A teacher. Or B) A teacher who does not believe in God?
Former Muslim Alom Shaha: Why atheists should care about anti-Muslim prejudice
Chris Stedman | May 1, 2014
In the wake of Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s recently rescinded Brandeis honorary doctorate, long-running discussions about Islamophobia—whether or not it exists, and whether or not the term is problematic—have been revived.
This week, atheist writer Ali A. Rizvi published a piece arguing that “the phobia of being called ‘Islamophobic’ is on the rise—and it’s becoming much more rampant, powerful, and dangerous than Islamophobia itself.” The piece received praise from Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris, among others.
What To Do About Consciousness
Posted on April 23, 2014 by Massimo Pigliucci
For people who are not spiritual dualists, we have to eye matter a bit warily. Matter used to be pretty mundane stuff. It sat around and did more or less nothing until some spirit came along to make it think and move. Then the feeble matter would eventually wear out, and the spirit would move on, to be reincarnated, or find another plane of existence, or do whatever it is that spirits do. We now find that we live in a world where matter itself seems to pull itself upright and think on its own. It really is kind of unnerving sometimes.
If you look closely at the mud, sometimes you find it wiggling, because it’s full of other bits of matter which is more or less just mud itself, but has decided for some reason to crawl around and be all movey and squirmy. And the same sort of matter which makes the mud and the creepy crawlies is exactly the same stuff which our brains are made out of, and there are no spirits living in our brain, which means that, somehow, inherent in the very nature of mud and dust and grime, is the ability to feel emotions, have conscious thoughts, and think about stuff.
New social media campaign to spread awareness of Humanism
March 17, 2014 | Filed under: Newswire, Secular Press Releases, UK & Europe | Posted by: British Humanist Association
The British Humanist Association (BHA) has launched a month long social media campaign to raise awareness of Humanism today.
At the centre of the ‘That’s Humanism!’ campaign are four short animated YouTube videos narrated by Stephen Fry. They each give a humanist response to a ‘big question’: ‘How do we know what’s true?’, ‘What should we think about death?’, ‘How can I be happy?’, and ‘What makes something right or wrong?’
In addition, a range of online adverts featuring humanists from George Eliot to Terry Pratchett, Ricky Gervais, Polly Toynbee, Charles Darwin, and others, will be released one a day over the coming month on Twitter and Facebook.
Steven Pinker and Rebecca Newberger Goldstein: The long reach of reason
Published on 17 Mar 2014
Here’s a TED first: an animated Socratic dialog! In a time when irrationality seems to rule both politics and culture, has reasoned thinking finally lost its power? Watch as psychologist Steven Pinker is gradually, brilliantly persuaded by philosopher Rebecca Newberger Goldstein that reason is actually the key driver of human moral progress, even if its effect sometimes takes generations to unfold. The dialog was recorded live at TED, and animated, in incredible, often hilarious, detail by Cognitive.
Alcoholics Anonymous, Now Available Without God
February 24, 2014 | By Terry Firma
If I were addicted and wanted help, I might rather suffer the consequences of abusing drugs or alcohol than pretend that the required verbal ablutions in Alcoholics Anonymous meant anything to me at all.
Six or seven of the famous twelve steps refer to God or to prayer. The final step is to achieve sobriety and experience it as a “spiritual awakening.” Through it all, prayer is a staple at almost every AA meeting.
The Pleasure of Changing My Mind
Blog post 29 February 2014 | Sam Harris
My recent collision with Daniel Dennett on the topic of free will has caused me to reflect on how best to publicly resolve differences of opinion. In fact, this has been a recurring theme of late. In August, I launched the Moral Landscape Challenge, an essay contest in which I invited readers to attack my conception of moral truth. I received more than 400 entries, and I look forward to publishing the winning essay later this year. Not everyone gets the opportunity to put his views on the line like this, and it is an experience that I greatly value. I spend a lot of time trying to change people’s beliefs, but I’m also in the business of changing my own. And I don’t want to be wrong for a moment longer than I have to be.
My Christian Mingle Dating Profile
Rich Wisken | 10th February 2014
Dear Christian Mingle,
As a fervent believer in the one true God, I assumed your internet dating site would be the ideal place for me to find my future wife. However, just four days after signing up, I received this email from you.
Secular Coalition of Australia | Open Letter to Bill Nye
2nd February 2014 | SECOA
Bill Nye Open Letter
An open letter to Bill Nye, the Science Guy
Dear Bill, Sunday 2nd Feb 2014
We’re sorry. We’re really sorry.
We know how you American rationalists think of us Aussies. You think we’re all so busy clinging on to the bottom of the world with our fingertips that we don’t have time to waste concerning ourselves with silly creationist ideas – that we’re a haven of straightforward logical thinking, secular education, free healthcare and good-looking half-clothed beach bunnies.
“http://secoa.org/media/bill-nye-open-letter/” – No longer available
Reflections on FREE WILL
A Review by Daniel C. Dennett | January 26, 2014
Daniel Dennett and I agree about many things, but we do not agree about free will. Dan has been threatening to set me straight on this topic for several years now, and I have always encouraged him to do so, preferably in public and in writing. He has finally produced a review of my book Free Will that is nearly as long as the book itself. I am grateful to Dan for taking the time to engage me this fully, and I will respond in the coming weeks.—SH –
What you think is right may actually be wrong – here’s why
The Conversation | 16 January 2014 | Peter Ellerton
Lecturer in Critical Thinking at University of Queensland
We like to think that we reach conclusions by reviewing facts, weighing evidence and analysing arguments. But this is not how humans usually operate, particularly when decisions are important or need to be made quickly.
What we usually do is arrive at a conclusion independently of conscious reasoning and then, and only if required, search for reasons as to why we might be right.
The first process, drawing a conclusion from evidence or facts, is called inferring; the second process, searching for reasons as to why we might believe something to be true, is called rationalising.
Rationalise vs infer
That we rationalise more than we infer seems counter-intuitive, or at least uncomfortable, to a species that prides itself on its ability to reason, but it is borne out by the work of many researchers, including the US psychologist and Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman (most recently in his book Thinking Fast and Slow).
We tend to prefer conclusions that fit our existing world-view, and that don’t require us to change a pleasant and familiar narrative. We are also more inclined to accept these conclusions, intuitively leaping to them when they are presented, and to offer resistance to conclusions that require us to change or seriously examine existing beliefs.
End Ban on Female Fans in Iran; Stadiums for All
Politics by Maryam Namazie | 16th January 2014
Today, over 130 distinguished signatories are calling for “Stadiums for All” and an end to the Islamic Republic of Iran’s 34-year ban on female fans in the run-up to the June 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
Forthright defence of atheism
DAMON YOUNG | THE AUSTRALIAN | 18 JANUARY 2014
“LISTEN to me! for I am thus and thus,” wrote Friedrich Nietzsche in Ecce Homo. “Do not, above all, confound me with what I am not!”
The often private Nietzsche made a bold request here: to be comprehended before he was judged. The philosopher also swung his hammer at Christianity, nationalism and much of the 19th-century’s moral and metaphysical architecture – but overall, the author was asking for recognition.
It is a request familiar to many atheists, bickering with believers: sure, we can argue about Anselm – just stop comparing me with Mao. Help comes in 50 Great Myths About Atheism, by philosophers Russell Blackford and Udo Schuklenk.
IHEU condemns “heinous” abandonment of gay rights in Nigeria
Submitted by admin on 13 January, 2014 – 17:02
In the face of international criticism, the president of Nigeria, Jonathan Goodluck, has signed a law into effect which criminalises all same-sex “amorous relationships”, rules out any prospect of same-sex marriage, and bans all membership of gay rights organizations.
“any pretense Goodluck may once have had to reputable international statesmanship” is destroyed
The bill, widely known as the “jail the gays” bill, has been condemned by human rights groups around the world. It was hoped that the president might refuse to sign it, after its successful passage through parliament in December 2013.
10 Ways to Make Sure the Atheist Movement Is Not Just for the Wealthy
January 10, 2014 | AlterNet | By Alex Gabriel
Life without God shouldn’t have to be a luxury.
When I wrote on my atheist blog that I was once homeless, response was good, including, to my surprise, from colleagues with affluent backgrounds. What’s not surprising is how many of my colleagues’ backgrounds were affluent. The secular movement is notoriously exclusive, and even internal moves for change have met resistance.
Demands we talk about class from those unwilling to adjust their politics have at times derailed gender and race debates, but it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. A friend sought suggestions last week about how to be more economically inclusive. Here are my suggestions.
Photographic Research on Witchcraft & Skating Teens – Uganda
Email from Kato Mukasa of HALEA in Uganda, received 10th January 2014
In November 2013, HALEA received Mr. Daniel Ali a researcher and photographer from the UK whose mission was to do photographic research on witch craft and teens doing skating in the slums of Kampala. HALEA assisted him to carry out his planned activities and below is a link to show you his works. Daniel got to know about HALEA through Bob
Churchill, the Communications Officer of IHEU.
Please find time and see the works of Daniel Ali: http://www.danielali.co.uk/
NOTE: HALEA welcomes all individuals interested to do research and other activities within our line of operation ( see HALEA Pillars on our website) to contact us and we shall enable them do so in Uganda. Humanists and Atheists are particularly encouraged to join us especially as interns and volunteers, researchers, peer educators, teachers etc
Executive Director, HALEA Youth Support Centre
“One Generation Plants a Tree, Another Generation Gets a Shade”
The Freedom of Thought Report 2013
Posted 10th December 2013, IHEU International Humanist and Ethical Union
A Global Report on Discrimination Against Humanists, Atheists and the Nonreligious
Morality and the Christian God
November 6th, 2013, The Blog, by Sam Harris
An Invitation to Animators and Filmmakers.
Age of intolerance: the war on religion
November 24, 2013, The Age, by Barney Zwartz
As Christian villager Asia Bibi languished in a Pakistani jail awaiting death by hanging for drinking water from a Muslim cup, two suicide bombers killed 85 worshippers in a Peshawar church.
For Egypt’s Copts, who risk having the small cross-tattoos many wear on their wrists burnt off with acid by militant Muslims, the Arab Spring has been wintry.
Is anger irrational?
10th September 2013 by Christina Helen
Today I want to talk about the role of emotion in argument, or more generally in response to important issues (whether or not an argument is involved). I’ve been thinking about this for a long time in relation to feminism, but this week I’ve seen it crop up in relation to politics as well. I’m going to talk about anger in feminism and anger in politics side by side, since it strikes me that the very same mistakes are being made in both cases.
First, let’s get clear on the issue. I want to focus on two kinds of anger in this post: feminist anger and Labor-supporter anger in the lead-up to and wake of Saturday’s federal election here in Australia. I’m sure you are familiar with the cliché of angry feminists. If you live in Australia then you are probably also familiar with this week’s angry Labor supporters. My facebook feed on Saturday night and Sunday was certainly abuzz with angry posts about idiot voters.
Losing my religion
June 30, 2013, Jane Caro, Columnist, The Sydney Morning Helrald
For Jane Caro, there is no higher power. She explains why she’s an atheist to her bootstraps.
I’m an atheist for the same reason that most believers are members of their particular faith: I was born into a family of unbelievers.
I have had flirtations with religious belief. I was a precocious reader and many of my favourite authors were profoundly religious Victorians (George Eliot, the Brontës, Mrs Gaskell). Heavily influenced by their spiritual world view, I used to try saying prayers secretly at night, waiting for some kind of momentous spiritual experience (I was also a horribly melodramatic and exceedingly morbid child). As far as revelations went, however, I experienced nothing and, as a result, grew bored with my own grandiosity and soon gave it up.
An Atheist Muslim’s Perspective on the ‘Root Causes’ of Islamist Jihadism and the Politics of Islamophobia
Ali A. Rizvi, Pakistani-Canadian writer, physician and musician, 05/03/2013
The ambassador answered us that [their right] was founded on the Laws of the Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have answered their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as prisoners, and that every Mussulman who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise.
The above passage is not a reference to a declaration by al Qaeda or some Iranian fatwa. They are the words of Thomas Jefferson, then the U.S. ambassador to France, reporting to Secretary of State John Jay a conversation he’d had with Sidi Haji Abdul Rahman Adja, Tripoli’s envoy to London, in 1786 — more than two and a quarter centuries ago.
Are Liberals Going to Finally Get It This Time About Islam?
RDFRS by Sean Faircloth posted on May 02, 2013
I’m a liberal American. I see my liberal friends eagerly condemn the Christian Right every hour of every day on Facebook and twitter.
I wrote a book with a strategy for how we can push back against the many religiously biased American laws, so I’m glad liberals boldly condemn Christian fundamentalism’s impositions on the rest of society.
Atheists Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris face Islamophobia backlash
JEROME TAYLOR, FRIDAY 12 APRIL 2013, The Independant
Dawkins surprised his fans and critics when he admitted he had not read the Koran
They are often described as “The Unholy Trinity” – a trio of ferociously bright and pugilistic academics who use science to decimate what they believe to be the world’s greatest folly: religion.
But now Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris are on the receiving end of stinging criticism from fellow liberal non-believers who say their particular brand of atheism has swung from being a scientifically rigorous attack on all religions to a populist and crude hatred of Islam.
Sam Harris, the New Atheists, and anti-Muslim animus
Glenn Greenwald, guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 3 April 2013
A long overdue debate breaks out about whether rational atheism is being used as a cover for Islamophobia and US militarism.
Two columns have been published in the past week harshly criticizing the so-called “New Atheists” such as Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens: this one by Nathan Lean in Salon, and this one by Murtaza Hussain in Al Jazeera. The crux of those columns is that these advocates have increasingly embraced a toxic form of anti-Muslim bigotry masquerading as rational atheism. Yesterday, I posted a tweet to Hussain’s article without comment except to highlight what I called a “very revealing quote” flagged by Hussain, one in which Harris opined that “the people who speak most sensibly about the threat that Islam poses to Europe are actually fascists.”
Shortly after posting the tweet, I received an angry email from Harris, who claimed that Hussain’s column was “garbage”, and he eventually said the same thing about Lean’s column in Salon. That then led to a somewhat lengthy email exchange with Harris in which I did not attempt to defend every claim in those columns from his attacks because I didn’t make those claims: the authors of those columns can defend themselves perfectly well. If Harris had problems with what those columns claim, he should go take it up with them.
“Islamofascism”: A Real Term for a Real Problem
Submitted by isocr on 2013, March 23, by Lev Lafayette and Matt Bush
Excuses for the abuse of universal rights are never acceptable, even if the abuses are carried out by religious or ethnic groups which they themselves can be subject to discrimination. It is ridiculous to describe a person as bigoted, or even more inaccurately and unscientifically as “racist”, when the gross abuses of human rights committed under the name of Islam are noted, or when theocratic organisations of the same ilk are described as “Islamofascist”. The use of the term may be abused by religious bigots of other denominations. It may be abused by warmongers who desire access to a country’s resources that are under the control of an Islamic dictatorship, or by bigots who assign all Muslims under the banner . But this does not address the main points of similarity where it does exist, such as those once illustrated by Christopher Hitchens ; a glorification of death and murder, a hostility to modernity and nostalgia for a medieval past, anti-Jewish paranoia, commitment to sexual and gender repression, and opposition to artistic expression. In short, a rejection of individual rights and civil liberties. It is no accident that such organisations and regimes are collectivist and organised through an elite vanguard.
Iraqi atheists demand recognition, guarantee of their rights
Ali Mamouri | March 6, 2014
Atheism might seem like a strange phenomenon in a country such as Iraq, considered one of the most religious on earth, where the degree of interest in religion is very high. This perception is also held in the Gulf, as noted by Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi in his March 3 article about the growing visibility of atheists there. Yet, you do encounter people here who identify themselves as atheists and who demand that their rights be safeguarded in accordance with UN resolutions that guarantee freedom of belief. In this regard, previous surveys have indicated the existence of a growing agnostic movement in the country, which continues to expand at a remarkable pace.
Atheists Persecuted In Many Muslim Countries: Report
International Business Times, by Maya Shwayder | February 26 2013
A new report presented by the International Humanist and Ethical Union to the U.N. Human Rights Council for consideration on Monday, detailed stories of abuse and discrimination that atheists around the world face, particularly in Muslim countries.
The document says that “atheism is explicitly or effectively outlawed in many states, where people are forced to adopt a religion … or where leaving a religion, in particular Islam, is itself criminalized,” the IHEU press release said.
The criminalization of atheism is contrary to Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the report argued, which protects “the universal human right to freedom of thought …[and] the freedom of conscience of every human being.”
Discrimination against non-believers
United Nations General Assembly, 12 February 2013
The universal human right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, as laid down in
Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and subsequent treaties, protects
the freedom of conscience of every human being. Just as freedom of religion or belief
protects the right of the individual to follow a religion, it also protects the right to reject any
religion or belief, to identify as humanist or non-religious, and to manifest non-religious
convictions through expression, teaching and practice. Whilst this fundamental right
includes the right not to reveal your beliefs or religious identification, and the right not to
take part in religious ceremonies, it also includes the freedom to argue for those beliefs in
public, and to seek to persuade others of the merits of your beliefs, or the flaws of theirs,
through debate and criticism.
The right to criticize religion is protected also by Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right
includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart
information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” Atheist speech is
therefore protected by both Articles 18 and 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human
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