“I desire not to keep my place in this government an hour longer than I may preserve England in its just rights, and may protect the people of God in such a just liberty of their consciences…”–Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658)

This is a guest blog post written by Geoffrey and Mika. You can find their blog by following the link.
Thank you very much for allowing me to republish your blog post here.
How often have I heard it said that it is the precepts of Christianity that are the foundation of Western civilization? My typical response when confronted with this claim has been to roll my eyes and think “that old chestnut.” This has particularly been the case when the claim is framed so egregiously by the likes of Glenn Beck who stated, in referring to origins of the United States, “it is God’s finger that wrote the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. This is God’s country; these are God’s rights. I have no idea what he wants us to do with them, other than protect them, and stand with Him.” (As cited in Tony’s Curricublog) While it is easy to dismiss such claims as stuff and nonsense, it is worth considering the role of religious belief in the growth and development of Western civilization, its transition from the primacy of Christian doctrine in public life to the rise of liberal democracy and the rule of law in the secular nation state, though not in the way many religious folk, such as Glenn Beck, imagine it to be.
I have an interest in the study of religion as a social phenomenon, having studied the sociology of religion an undergraduate at Queen’s University, and being an ex-Catholic, I have a good knowledge of Christianity. History remains a subject for which I maintain a great interest too. My ancestors hail from the British Isles, so it should come as no surprise that I am especially interested in English history, particularly as it pertains to the rise of Western civilization. Christianity was introduced to the British Isles by missionaries in the 2nd Century A.D. King Henry VIII established Protestantism as the state religion in 1534, in breaking from the Papacy, founding the Church of England, and making the Sovereign head of the English Church. Henry VIII assumed dictatorial powers, used the Church of England, its hierarchy of bishops and vicars, and the Reformation Parliament (Parliament existed only at the will of the Sovereign at the time) as a means of consolidating his rule. Christian doctrine was pervasive in public life in shaping the mores of English society in Tudor England. This organization of English society was accepted by the English as having been divinely ordained.
By the 17th century new thinking in Protestantism, natural rights and the role of Parliament had taken hold leading to a struggle between King and Parliament culminating in the English Civil War (1642-1651). The primary figures in this struggle were Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658) and King Charles I (1600-1649). Both men were Christian and deeply religious, but had opposing views in matters of doctrine. Cromwell was a Puritan, an adherent of Calvinism (decidedly anti-Catholic) who had no use for the hierarchy and sacramental liturgies of the Church of England; whereas Charles I sought to employ the sacramental liturgies and Church hierarchy to consolidate his rule. Cromwell was a Parliamentarian and sought a greater role for Parliament in advancing his dream of a godly nation. Cromwell remained true to his faith and vision for the nation. In a speech he delivered on April 3, 1657 he stated:
If anyone whatsoever think the interest of Christians and the interest of the nation inconsistent, or two different things, I wish my soul may never enter into their secrets … And upon these two interests, if God shall account me worthy, I shall live and die. And … if I were to give an account before a greater tribunal than any earthly one; and if I were asked why I have engaged all along in the late war, I could give no answer but it  would be a wicked one if it did not comprehend these two ends. (as cited in Oliver Cromwell and Parliaments)
Charles I sought to rule without Parliament and was able to do so as was the case during the reign of Henry VIII, Parliament existed only at the will of the Sovereign. In doing so, Charles I believed he ruled by divine right, that in the divine order of society his subjects were not to have a say in how they were governed. His obstinance in this belief led to the English Civil War, his defeat and ultimately his trial and execution on January 29, 1649. He offered as his defense at his trial the following:
I would know by what power I am called hither … I would know by what authority, I mean lawful; there are many unlawful authorities in the world; thieves and robbers by the high-ways … Remember, I am your King, your lawful King, and what sins you bring upon your heads, and the judgement of God upon this land. Think well upon it, I say, think well upon it, before you go further from one sin to a greater … I have a trust committed to me by God, by old and lawful descent, I will not betray it, to answer a new unlawful authority; therefore resolve me that, and you shall hear more of me.
The trial and execution of Charles I put paid to the belief that the King ruled by divine right, but Oliver Cromwell’s vision of a godly English society never came to pass either. However, what did emerge from the English Civil War was the ascendency of the idea of natural rights. A faction in the Parliamentary side in the conflict, known as the Levellers, put forth the idea of natural rights, that is “… all men were born free and equal and possessed natural rights that resided in the individual, not the government. They believed that each man should have freedom limited only by regard for the freedom of others.  They believed the law should equally protect the poor and the wealthy.” (History of the Levellers) While Cromwell suppressed the Levellers, they resorted to mutiny (BanburyMutiny) in putting forth their demands. Three of their leaders, Cornet James Thompson, Corporal Perkins and John Church, were executed by firing squad May 17, 1649, but the idea of natural rights prevailed and was taken up by the men of the Enlightenment, Voltaire, Rousseau, Thomas Paine, Diderot, John Locke, and Adam Smith, for example.
In the century that followed the idea of natural rights was applied in establishing England as a constitutional monarchy (the monarchy was restored following Cromwell’s death), and the founding of the republic of the United States of America, where in both societies civil law, the rights of the individual and equality before the law has replaced the old order where Christian doctrine once had primacy in public life.
by Geoffrey

The Long Reach of Reason

Great video about morality and the impact reason has had on moral progress throughout human history. Here’s the description:

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.

Give it a watch. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.


Answering The Criticism of my Blog Post: How Come Atheists Never Sue Muslims?

Reasons why atheism is terrible
I’ve taken some heat in the comment section of my last post. Instead of trying to answer each one individually in bite-sized comments, I felt I could better address the comments in a separate post.

Blazing Catfur had this to say:

You’re a very poorly read person. Have you not heard of the TDSB’s acquiescence to Sharia law? And it isn’t only them, other school boards in Ontario have also appeased Islam in the same fashion. Google Mosqueteria.

I find it telling that the post starts with an ad-hominem attack.  The comment suggests that if I haven’t read everything, I’m somehow ‘poorly read’.

However, I did take the suggestion seriously and Googled ‘mosqueteria’. I found Blazing Catfur’s blog reporting on it, but very few legitimate news agencies. What I did find were signs of people protesting this religious treatment, which was exactly my original point – if they broke the law more often, people would sue or call out their behavior more often. If Muslim’s broke the law as often as Christians do in North America, you’d see them getting sued more often.

For example, The Blaze wrote:

“To provide more in-depth details, the Toronto District School Board has been under fire for allowing an imam to hold Friday prayer services for Muslim students. These weekly religious meetings occur in Valley Park Middle School’s (again, a public educational facility) cafeteria. Between 300 and 400 of the school’s 1,200 students take part in the weekly meeting.”

The bolded portion illustrates my point – they were under fire. People just didn’t sit around and allow it to happen. The same thing happened here as would happen if a Christian was inflicting their religion on students in a public school.

Right now, Christians have the numbers in North America. For every story you can post about Muslim’s breaking a law in North America, I could post 10 or more of Christians doing the same. There are whole sites dedicated to pointing out religious extremism, and the North American ones are littered with daily stories of Christians trying to impose their faith on other people. You might find a story or two on those sites like this one, but not very many.

Also, it’s telling that the person commenting had to go back to 2011 for a story. I wonder if they’re as outraged by, say, the recent stories of Russia’s treatment of homosexuals or Uganda’s law against the LGBT community that allows the government to throw them in jail for life?

Whether they are as outraged by these behaviors as I am is really besides the point – the fact remains that my original point stands. The reason why atheists don’t sue Muslim’s more often is because they’re not breaking the law as often as Christians in North America. They just don’t have the numbers to do it.

G said:

BCF? Don’t waste time talking to this asshole. He’s made up his mind and nothing is going to sway him, so fuck it.

As far as him being an atheist? Maybe. But really I think he just has a weed up his ass about Christians. 

Oh and really? When some gets called a coward then denies they are a coward. THEN proceeds to give a 600 word explanation on WHY they aren’t a coward……..They’re probably a coward.

That entire comment is an ad-hominem attack.  The person even seems reluctant to believe me when I say I’m an atheist, despite not knowing me at all.

I also think they missed the entire point of the article. I wasn’t called a coward. The piece wasn’t trying to explain why I’m not a coward. It was a piece explaining why Muslim’s don’t get sued in North America as often as Christians. It has nothing to do with cowardice, and everything to do with the volume of offenses against the law.

opinionater said:

Athiests, pick on Christians, for one reason only, they turn the other cheek unlike Muslims who love lawfare and revenge. Thankfully, I have some honest atheist friends in my circle who tell it like it is and are the first to state that Muslims are much more dangerous to society than Christians ever were or could be. Very poor and transparent rationalization on your part.

The first part of the comment was basically a repeat of what Blazing Catfur said. The last part I quoted above.

I’m not sure who these anonymous ‘atheists’ are that said this, but they don’t speak for me. They might believe that, but I don’t.

As far as Muslim’s being more dangerous to society than Christians ever could be, I’d like to point you towards a history book. You can start with things like The Inquisition and The Crusades.

At this juncture, I would agree that worldwide, Islam is more dangerous. Christianity went through the Enlightenment, while Islam has not. But your claim that Christianity couldn’t be as dangerous is flat out wrong. Both are Abrahamic religions. Both are built on ancient dogma and superstition.

G Then said:

Atheists fear muslims so they treat them with far greater deference than they do Christians. If atheists do not like that little fact, tough shit. It IS a fact. 

You’re throwing around the word ‘fact’ but I’m not sure you understand what it means. It’s not a fact. I routinely confront Muslims on their religious dogma and I do it in the same manner I do Christians. Muslims and Christians are still human beings and I treat them as such. It has nothing to do with their religion.

 Del Evans said:

Did you write this while sleeping?

I clicked the link attached to this person’s name, and it took me to their Google+ account, where I was bombarded by hate. If you’re reading this, you can do the same and decide for yourself.

On his account are various videos and comments he’s made on videos, such as:

Palidogs. They are sub human. Treat them accordingly 


 It should be legal to shoot and kill everyone there


They should be terrorized daily until they leave Britain.Death to Islam

Excuse me if I don’t take anything you say seriously. I don’t endorse terrorism or the use of violence.

Last but not least, Anonymous said:

Give the blogger a break. After all our own politicians are to stupid to see what Islam is . Importing half a million people whose only goal is to lie, cheat than kill us if not paid, to let us live another day.The MSM pimps for this cult of human sacrifice. Even pastors or priests are fooled. Islam is less a Religion than a political system of authoritarianism for desert raiders.Using a god to permit there barbarity towards Women, gays, children.Most Atheists would pee there pants in an Islamic Nation. They fear it all right. because there is no love or mercy from Muslims.He probably doesn’t know that prayer in school has been banned but not gays with oral sex posters in a grade 6 class. The many many people now under investigation at the TDSB for sex crimes, including making child porn.The Bible is banned in schools except not the Koran.Our law that derived its moral stand on the ten commandments are being removed from courts. Mean while sharia law is being pushed on us daily by even our own companies. Cambell’s halal soup any one?Because free speech is under attack from Socialists to stop us from learning about how monstrous Islam is world wide to any Religion or individual.
This blogger is a Jonesie. He likes his cool-aide with double the arsenic.With a set of blinders

Not sure if that was an attempt to come to my rescue…but that’s one attempt I could do without.

I also don’t think he read the article he’s commenting on. I’m not sure any of them got past the first paragraph or two before flaming me. I wonder if they read the post two down from the original one, titled:  Does Religion Deserve Respect?

I hope you’ll excuse me if I’m not comforted by the argument that one religions adherents would treat me better than another’s. Both religions have an abysmal record when it comes to how they treat homosexuals, women and/or atheists.

I also mentioned a story in the article where an atheist was severely beaten by Muslims for writing ‘God doesn’t exist’ on the Internet.

None of the laws we have were based on the Ten Commandments, either. If they were, you’d be killing your kids if they talked back to you. Three of the Ten are about worshiping your God. In a secular country, you are not forced to worship a specific deity. The other ones were around before Christianity was.

I will reiterate my original position: I think both religions are harmful. I think they both teach people to act badly, and reinforce that behavior with a God. Muslims don’t get sued in North America as much as Christians, because there are more Christians and therefore, more Christians breaking the law.

How Come Atheists Never Sue Muslims?

The question on Twitter

Some Christians on Twitter (and elsewhere) like to ask why atheists don’t sue Muslims, but instead only sue Christians. Basically, they’re saying atheists are scared of Muslims, which is why organizations like the ACLU and the FFRF don’t sue Muslims.

The real reason why these organizations don’t sue Muslims is pretty simple – it isn’t cowardice…it’s simply that they’re not breaking the law in North America, while Christians break the law on a regular basis.

Islam isn’t the dominant religion here in North America. In fact, if a Muslim group were to try and do some of the things Christians like to do on a regular basis, Christians would probably be screaming ‘separation of church and state’ as loudly as any atheist.

Could you imagine a Muslim group insisting children pray to Allah in the classroom? Or if they had the audacity to read from the Qur’an in a public space, such as a school or public event payed for by the taxpayer?

There would be hell to pay.

Muslim’s tried to have a reality show that showcased them being as normal as the rest of the population, and they were slammed by the Christian community.

Muslim’s aren’t the ones trying to erect their religious icons on courthouse lawns. They’re not the ones forcing creationism in the science classroom and there is no ‘under Allah’ on currency or ‘In Allah we Trust’ in the pledge of allegiance. If we could somehow sue Islamic countries for the atrocities they commit against their citizens in the name of religion, we probably would. Unfortunately, that’s not how the real world works.

In fact, in many Islamic countries, you can get a beating or worse for admitting you’re an atheist:

A MOB attacked Alexander Aan even before an Indonesian court in June jailed him for two and a half years for “inciting religious hatred”. His crime was to write “God does not exist” on a Facebook group he had founded for atheists in Minang, a province of the world’s most populous Muslim nation. Like most non-believers in Islamic regions, he was brought up as a Muslim. And like many who profess godlessness openly, he has been punished.

In a handful of majority-Muslim countries atheists can live safely, if quietly; Turkey is one example, Lebanon another. None makes atheism a specific crime. But none gives atheists legal protection or recognition. Indonesia, for example, demands that people declare themselves as one of six religions; atheism and agnosticism do not count. Egypt’s draft constitution makes room for only three faiths: Christianity, Judaism and Islam.

Look, I’ve written about Islam on this blog. I think their religion is as dangerous and superstitious as Christianity. In my opinion, they’re both harmful to society, but I live in North America. In North America, Christianity holds sway.

The question I wish Christians would ask instead of ‘why are atheists not suing Muslims?’, is ‘why are Christians breaking the law so often they need to be sued in the first place?’.

Agnostics ARE Atheists?

Here’s a pretty neat video by Jaclyn Glenn about the meaning of the words agnostic, Gnostic, and atheist. I have to agree with her. I’ve also been stymied by both atheists and religious people when trying to explain the definitions and their misuse of them. I think it might be because atheists don’t want to use the stigmatized word ‘atheist’ and prefer to go with ‘agnostic’ because it’s deemed a more respectable position.

However, you either believe in God or you don’t. That view could change in the future. A religious person might become an atheist or an atheist might be swayed by a religious argument and become religious themselves.

For example, I’m technically an agnostic-atheist. I just don’t bother with the agnostic part because I want to de-stigmatize the word ‘atheist’ and I don’t want religious people to misinterpret my stance on belief and think I’m merely an agnostic. I also know the word ‘atheist’ is offensive to some religious people. Frankly, that is even more reason to use the word when describing myself.

I do hope there comes a day when the word is no longer necessary. Just like it’s not necessary to describe yourself as an a-unicornist or a-dragonist.

Enjoy the video!


Things Christians Should Stop Saying

There’s an article on the Huffington Post that’s written by a Christian called, ‘The One Thing Christians Should Stop Saying‘. It’s not a bad piece and I urge you to go give it a read.

However, I’d like to add to that list. There are several things I think Christians should stop saying. Let’s start with what the author said in his original article though, before jumping ahead to my commentary. The original author (

Scott Dannemiller) makes the case that Christians should stop saying they’re ‘blessed’ when they have good fortune.

For example:


I’ve noticed a trend among Christians, myself included, and it troubles me. Our rote response to material windfalls is to call ourselves blessed. Like the “amen” at the end of a prayer.


“This new car is such a blessing.”


“Finally closed on the house. Feeling blessed.”


“Just got back from a mission trip. Realizing how blessed we are here in this country.”


On the surface, the phrase seems harmless. Faithful even. Why wouldn’t I want to give God the glory for everything I have? Isn’t that the right thing to do?




I agree with the author. It does make believers seem arrogant and short-sighted, especially when millions of children starve while crying out to God.

But this is only the tip of the iceberg. There are so many things that I wish religious people would stop saying. Some are far more damaging to their image than saying they’re ‘blessed’.

I’ll pray for you: This is usually said when a religious person gets angry and has no real response to a question or challenge. It’s sort of a way to say ‘screw you’ without actually saying it. When said to an atheist, it can be mildly annoying or a complete waste of breath.

You’re going to hell: This sentence or similar ones make you look like a complete prick who delights in the pain of others. If I don’t believe in your God, I’m not going to be afraid of the make-believe realm you believe in either.
However, I am going to believe in you and your glee at the prospect of my eternal torture.
Homosexuality is unnatural and a choice: Like slavery, religion and the religious are usually on the wrong side of history with this one. The hateful things religion promotes concerning the LGBT community has led to the oppression of homosexuals around the world. From Russia’s to Uganda’s anti-gay laws, religion is contributing to the misery of millions of homosexuals around the world. It’s time it stopped.
Christianity is based on evidence: Considering your leaders trumpet the need for faith, this is a weird statement for religious people to be making. If it’s true, please produce the evidence. Otherwise, finally admit it’s based on faith and wishful thinking.
Atheists believe in nothing OR they believe in other unproven things: Neither of these statements are correct. I believe in many things. I am also not required to believe unproven things to be an atheist. If the religious would take a second to think about it, they would realize that they also don’t have to believe in things that aren’t proven in order to not believe in unicorns or dragons. They also do believe in other things, even if they don’t believe in unicorns or dragons.
It’s common sense.
You can be an atheist and be a good person. The best answer to a question where the answer is unknowable is to say ‘I don’t know’. Making things up isn’t an answer worth having.


The Passionate Eye: Hunted in Russia

On the weekend I watched a documentary called “Hunted in Russia” that I wish everyone could see, including those who use their religious dogma to discriminate against homosexuals. It’s painful to watch, as homosexuals are hunted through the streets of Russia and openly discriminated against. Many people in Russia use the same ‘reasoning’ as right wing religious groups here in North America, such as homosexuality is linked (or the same as) to pedophilia or it’s against God’s will.

Here’s a descriptor of the documentary from the CBC website:

In 2013, the Russian parliament unanimously passed a loosely worded propaganda law that banned all positive or neutral references to ‘non-traditional’ relationships that anyone under 18 years old could see. The law officially sanctions the idea that homosexuality is wrong and poses a threat to children. It is being interpreted as a call to action by homophobic vigilante groups. 

Many Russians believe homosexuality is a lifestyle choice and see it as a direct attack on family values. It is often seen as a poison that is corrupting society and weakening Russia. Hunted: Gays in Russia exposes a world of widespread repression and extreme violence: a world of cold fear. It provides a terrifying portrait of gay life in Russia that is in bold contrast to the glitz of the Sochi Winter Olympics.

By following the link above, you can watch this enormously important documentary yourself.

This is why homophobia must be fought. This is why outdated dogma can be so dangerous.