News

Uganda needs a great many more non-believers – and here’s a damned good reason why

TODAY, while preparing the November issue of the Freethinker for publication, I paged a feature article by one of our most treasured contributors, Dale Debakcy, who wrote an excellent piece entitled Giving without God , which sets out to quash the myth that non-believers have no interest in charitable work.

In need of an illustration for this piece, I found the  delightful photograph below of young African pupils who attend Uganda’s only religion-free school, the Kasese Humanist Primary School, run by Bwambale Robert. This in turn led me to My Secret Atheist Blog, run by a Catholic-fundamentalist-turned-atheist who calls himself “Godless Poutine”.

Kasese

This Canadian blogger is campaigning to raise money for the expansion of the school, which has already attracted enough donations to buy land for future development.

But not everyone is happy about the project.

Here is one comment “Godless Poutine” received:

Please get out of my country. We do not need your atheism. We do not need you to come and bring your Western ideas. We are now independent from Westerners we do not need you meddling anymore, leave us in peace with our God. If you do not believe than woe to you. My people are Christian and religious and they aren’t complaining. Please, leave us alone.

The blogger responded:

I guess she never read that the school was actually started by a Ugandan and is being run entirely by Ugandans! By a Ugandan Humanist organization actually. Oh, and last time I checked, Christianity was most definitely an outside import religion to Uganda.

Bwabale Robert, Director of the Kasese Humanist Primary School

Bwabale Robert, Director of the Kasese Humanist Primary School

Co-incidentally, the National Federation of Atheist, Humanist and Secularist Student Societies (AHS) has announced the launch its 4th annual Non-Prophet Week (NPW), starting on October 28.

Lauded by Lord Harrison in the House of Lords as “an example of atheist and humanist public service”, NPW 2013 is being staged at multiple locations across the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland to continue its annual tradition of irreligious fundraising for charity.

The Non-Prophet week has become an annual fixture in non-religious students’ calendars, and this year the NPW’s focus will again be on emphasising the point that you don’t have to believe in a god to be good. By co-ordinating affiliated student societies, and building on successful fundraising campaigns in previous years to donate to Survivors Voice and Children In Need charities, the AHS has earmarked NPW 2013 as an excellent platform to help raise money for the Against Malaria Foundation.

This will be done by giving affiliated student societies a chance to be part of a nationally coordinated charity drive aimed at raising money via local student body-run sponsored events such as bake sales, runs, swims, Cadbury Crème Egg eat-athons and, of course, personal donations.

Said Rory Fenton, President of the AHS:

We’re extremely proud of the thousands of pounds our members have raised in past years to support vital organisations both here and abroad. Too often the myth that religious people are more charitable than the non-religious goes unchallenged. This is our chance to show students being good without god.

The AHS is an umbrella organisation of non-religious student societies. It provides a network for societies to collaborate, with a shared voice in public life, helping its members to contribute to and be part of the wider national and international movement.

Contact Information:

The AHS,  Moreland Street, London EC1V 8BB

Email: president@ahsstudents.org.uk

Twitter: #NonProphetWeek

Follow @AHSstudents for further details

 

 

27 Responses to “Uganda needs a great many more non-believers – and here’s a damned good reason why”

  1. AgentCormac says:

    What a wonderful thought that young people in Uganda are being given the chance to grow up free from the shackles of superstition. Meanwhile, back in the UK, Michael Gove continues to do all he can to move our schools in the opposite direction.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-24625978

  2. barriejohn says:

    Please get out of my country. We do not need your atheism. We do not need you to come and bring your Western ideas. We are now independent from Westerners we do not need you meddling anymore, leave us in peace with our God. If you do not believe than woe to you. My people are Christian and religious and they aren’t complaining. Please, leave us alone.

    As gay Africans were saying to Stephen Fry in the programme to which I referred recently, if we had done that there would be no homophobic legislation in our former colonies!

    OT Most depressing photo of the week:

    http://db2.stb.s-msn.com/i/57/feac892418fcab81269de63189633e/_h353_w628_m6_ofalse_lfalse.jpg

  3. barriejohn says:

    Re Stephen Fry and Out There, this is interesting:

    http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2013/10/22/review-stephen-fry-out-there/

    The Daily Mail reviewer slated the programmes, and said that a “serious journalist” was required – hahahahaha!!!

    Re the buffoons in that pic: they don’t even seem to realize that William is the Duke cf Cambridge!

  4. AgentCormac says:

    OT Most depressing photo of the week

    Living proof that human beings can be the dumbest animals on the planet.

  5. Aomeara says:

    @barriejohn Was it not westerners that brought your current Relegion to these areas in the first place?

  6. Steve says:

    Why are atheist so evangelical these days? Is it because they think they have a monopoly on “truth”? Is it because they need to save all those “lost souls” following a God who doesn’t exist? No these are characteristics of “FUNDAMENTALISTS” – not “free thinkers”
    No I suspect it’s because they are intolerant of those with a different world view – oops, also sounds a bit fundamentalist. In fact the amount of self righteous, posturing, disrespect for other human beings and hatred in this site would not be out of place on a Christian, Muslim or any other religious fundamental site. The difference between those sites and this is that they claim their views stem from god. What’s your excuse!!!

  7. Barry Duke says:

    Steve: Your “evangelical”accusation is as stupid as it inaccurate.

    Atheists do not think they have a monopoly on truth, but faith-heads are convinced THEY do.

    What campaigning rationalists do, whenever they can, is to protect others from the superstitious bilge spread by Christians and the cruel exploitation of people carried out by REAL evangelicals.

    Last night I had a lengthy conversation with a young white woman married to a Kenyan, and she told me how horrified she was by the harm Christian preachers, many from America, were doing in that country. Not only are they robbing gullible Kenyans of vast amounts of money, but are drumming hatred of homosexuals.

    In the bad old days when Christians told atheists to shut up and show some respect, they did. Those days, thankfully, are gone and we are no longer supine.

    Get that into you Bible-addled brain and go peddle your crap elsewhere!

  8. barriejohn says:

    Aomeara: Not MY religion, but you seem to have misunderstood me. The law in former colonies is still based upon that of the colonialists, added to which European and American evangelicals are stirring up homophobic feeling in countries like Nigeria and Uganda even today. If we really had “left them alone”, as that guy was requesting (and as we ought to have done), they wouldn’t have those laws or attitudes today!

  9. barriejohn says:

    Barry: Speaking of Kenya, one of my “favourite” evangelical preachers arrives in the country to help them celebrate fifty years of independence (oh, the irony!). This man raises people from the dead!

    http://youtu.be/Yz7twtzLdh8

  10. barriejohn says:

    More bollocks from Uganda:

    http://youtu.be/R4llaeDbvu0

    Unbelievable!

  11. Steve says:

    Barry Duke, the evangelical analogy is accurate, you seem to chose not to see it.
    Your response however does illustrate the point I made about self righteous posturing and disrespect for people. As for the evil done in the name of religion, there is no doubt that a great deal of evil has been done and still is. It is however intellectually dishonest to believe that religion is the greatest or only source of evil. Hitler, Stalin and Mao Zedong (all of whom pursued an a-theist agenda) were responsible for approx 100 million deaths. Does that mean that all secular leaders are somehow inherently evil – of course it doesn’t. The same kind of logic however is not applied to people who believe in “fairy tales”. I’ve read Dawkins, Dennett, Harris and a bit of Hitchens. I agree with some of what they say, but they judge all religious people but the extreme nutters at the fringes. If your followers want a really objective scientific assessment on theist , I would recommend “Gods Undertaker: Has science buried god ” by John Lennox, Professor of Mathematics at Oxford University. He does force the reader to think anything, he simply gives the reader information to make up their own mind.
    That said. Barry, I will take your advice and go and peddle my …. elsewhere.
    Good day to you Sir

  12. Stephen Mynett says:

    What a surprise, another passing troll rolls out the Hitler, Stalin etc atheist crap without understanding, one that atheism is simply a non-belief in gods and not a philosophy or a way of leading one’s life and two, Hitler was definately christian and received a lot of support from his own religion, the RCC, and the protestant church.

  13. Matt+Westwood says:

    @Steve: I’m sorry that you feel you’ve been disrespected, you fucking theist prick.

  14. barriejohn says:

    Communism and Nazism are ideologies. Some atheists support certain ideologies and others do not. Re Christianity and Nazism:

    http://atheism.about.com/od/adolfhitlernazigermany/p/NaziChristian.htm

  15. Broga says:

    Steve writes “I would recommend “Gods Undertaker: Has science buried god? ” by John Lennox, Professor of Mathematics at Oxford University”.

    I read the sample of this book on Kindle and I won’t be buying the full version. Any informed reader would be alerted to what was inside by a glowing review on the cover from our old friend Melanie Philips who, her biases never under control, manages in her few words on the cover to put the boot in on Richard Dawkins.

    Lennox, in the sample at least, seems to be obsessed with Dawkins and an attempt to attack Dawkins’ opinions. Lennox never laid a glove on Dawkins and I wondered how much envy there was in attacks. Nor does Lennox have much time for Peter Atkins. However, he speaks warmly of Alistair McGrath that rather gives the game away.

    My religious cousin, in her attempts to convert me, sent me McGraths book “The Dawkins Delusion” and it was hard going and unconvincing. And this is the man whose work Lennox applauds.

    Lennox is a Professor of Mathematics and with his brain I would have expected him to do better that the fudges and obfuscation aparent in the sample. He relies on quotes from scientists offering some support for his views i.e. theistic. Maybe the book gets better. In the context of the sample there is certainly room for improvement although the usual suspects have gathered to lard Lennox’ book with praise. It didn’t do it for me.

  16. remigius says:

    Aomeara: Not MY religion, but you seem to have misunderstood me.

    barriejohn, it is obvious that Amoeba took your comment totally out of context, but a part of me does wish that he/she/it believes YOU personally responsible for the moral decline of an entire continent :)

  17. barriejohn says:

    As I said to Cecil Rhodes on numerous occasions: “Look here, old chap, what you’ve go to do is…”

  18. remigius says:

    Oi, Cecil no!

    Yep, both you and Maggie Thatcher :)

    Oh the 80′s, eh. Classic!

  19. Angela_K says:

    Broga. I haven’t bothered to read Lennox’s diatribe against Prof. Dawkins because of the odious Ms Philip’s enthusiastic endorsement. I have partly read McGrath’s attack on Prof. Dawkins but gave up about a third of the way through because as I expect other Freethinkers found, McGrath rehearses the same tired arguments we see every day from the theists. I saw nothing new in McGrath’s book, nothing that made me question my non=belief and no solid rebuttals of Prof. Dawkins excellent work.

  20. barriejohn says:

    For sheer bile and invective against Prof Dawkins, little beats this so-called book review (for that is what it is supposed to be) by *the late* Charles Moore:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/non_fictionreviews/hardbacknon_fictionreviews/10327138/How-dare-God-disagree-with-Richard-Dawkins.html

    Some of the comments were brilliant:

    This article if rife with smears, distortion, and whining. This is no review. This is a pathetic attempt at character assassination.

  21. Broga says:

    @Angela_K: I think there is an envy in the academic community who have theistic beliefs about Richard Dawkins’ celebrity and literary success. They focus on him in their books, he is prominent in reviews (including the few words from the egregious Ms Philips) and they want to vanquish him in their strained literary efforts.

    On the envy point I made earlier I think the theistic academics are desperate to produce a book that will equal or eclipse what Dawkins’ has written. They are panting for a theistic Dawkins. The muddled and meandering effort by McGrath even resorts, in what I take to be a desperate effort to attract attention and sales, to using Dawkins’ name in the title as well as “delusion” from the title of Dawkins’ best seller.

    These academics are highly intelligent and sometimes eminent in their own field. However, when they attempt to support theism it is like an albatross round their necks. They are weighed down and have to thresh around trying to make the incredible credible, to explain the reality of magic and push the idea that God created the cosmos.

    On the last point, while we may agree that vast and mysterious cosmic forces are operating on the billions of galaxies there is no reason to suppose these in any way equate with the Christian or any other God.

  22. Broga says:

    @barriejohn: Yup, the comments say it all about the pathetic Moore. This one, for example:

    “Moore converted to Roman Catholicism following the Church of England’s decision to allow the ordination of women priests. Moore is the founder-chairman of the Rectory Society which is dedicated to preserving past and present parsonages.” (from Wikipedia)

    In writing his piece Moore shames himself and the Telegraph which indulged him by printing his bile and calling it a review. Moore is like a toddler stamping his feet and desperately lashing out in frustration. And what is the source of the frustration? Quite simply that Richard Dawkins’ continues to run rings round the likes of Moore, demolishes the superstitions that so appeal to Moore and attracts increasing numbers to atheism.

  23. barriejohn says:

    Broga: The problem with many of these people (like Lennox, who hails from Northern Ireland, has an evangelical background, and has worked closely with Dr David Gooding) is that they have a particular world-view, and all evidence has to be interpreted to fit that. (He has said as much himself – though he egregiously pretends that scientists as well as religiots are adapting their beliefs all the time, which is a completely different scenario, as they are not pre-committed to a belief system.) They are only ever going to come to one conclusion, whatever the evidence may say, and unless, like myself, they have a Damascus Road experience and suddenly realize that all that religious bullshit is a load of nonsense, that is what they are going to go on believing, no matter what.

  24. Broga says:

    @barriejohn: I soon realised that Lennox, as you say, had already decided on his conclusions and he had to work towards them. I admit that I am a bit of a sucker when I hear someone is a “Professor of Mathematics” or whatever. I start off biased to accept what they say because I just can’t see how they could not offer something which would make me think afresh, challenge my views.

    However, bullshit is bullshit and you don’t have to be a Professor of anything to recognise it. An open mind and common sense is needed.

    Lennox was the best Steve could find to influence atheists. Oh my Gawd! No wonder the churches are running on dry.