"Our society is not simply secular; nor is it simply religious; it is both religious and secular in complex ways. If it is to work well there needs to be huge numbers of conversations and collaborations across religious and secular boundaries."
Professor David Ford.
In the late 20th century and the beginnings of the 21st century, many people may have thought we had reached a true age of Enlightenment. That religion and its fairy tales and myths had been consigned to the dustbin where they belong
What’s the point in joining an atheist or humanist group society?
Some may say if God exists you are moving in the wrong direction and if God doesn’t exist then you are surely wasting your time!
Unfortunately, what other people believe also affects your life and the way in which you live it. If an individual believes something about the world that isn’t true and consequently ends up impinging on the lives of everyone else then suddenly we all have a problem.
What if vital medical research that could go a long way to curing a host of ghastly diseases is being held back?
What if a deadly sexually transmitted virus is left to run rampant anywhere and especially in the third world because people are taught that contraception is wrong?
What if people, caught up too heavily in archaic mythology, turn against their neighbours and call for violence in the streets?
What if faced with major prolonged pain and suffering you wanted the choice to end your own life but were not allowed to do so because someone else didn't agree with that themselves and so prevented you having that choice.
What if people who are born with a sexual orientation other than heterosexual are punished, excluded or even murdered because of it.
What if people who have a certain belief. They think that it is not sufficient for them alone to have that belief but think you should have that belief too. And if you choose not to have that belief they think it is acceptable to take your life.
What if the cause of each of these atrocities is based upon a myth or fairy tale without any empirical evidence to support it that is drilled into children from an early age, who are promised punishment for themselves and for their loved ones for even having alternative thought?
What if millions and millions and millions of pounds of your hard earned taxes are used (which they most definitely are), without you having a choice in the matter, to support and promote these ancient myths. Most World Governments and the UK HMRC consider the advancement of religion a worthwhile charitable action.
Approved religions pay no taxes on income and lots more besides apparently. A group in the USA has estimated that US churches get tax exemptions in excess of $71 BILLION. They stopped counting at $71 billion but it was suggested that additional work would uncover significantly more. There is no reason the think that the situation in the UK is dissimilar and an equivalent amount in the UK would be around £15 billion. As promoting the religion is considered worthwhile charitable work it is unknown how much money actually does anything other than that. Countless millions of taxpayers’ money spent on discrimination in schools. The NHS supports the CofE chaplaincy service costing taxpayers millions every year. Local Authorities spend millions and millions of pounds of taxpayers money providing FREE public transport for exclusively for certain religious groups.
What if religious organisations are given unelected political position just because they members of a particular religious organisations. This is what happens in the House of Lords.
What if religious organisations are given the right to ignore laws that apply to the rest of us because they are religious organisations? Well they are.
Churches were exempt from discrimination legislation when appointing priests and other “religious” posts, but that they must comply with its terms for “non-religious” jobs, such as youth workers or accountants. Although that was enshrined in law in 2003, it has been ignored by many organisations, which have interpreted the exemption to cover all posts.
You don’t have to be a rampant atheist (or an atheist at all) to think that these negative effects or unearned or unwarranted privileges of various religions are unfair. Perhaps you feel the only way to fix these problems is to remove the dogma of religions and encourage secularity? Or maybe you feel religion comes with enough benefits to make it worth keeping around, and so should be the tool used to change people’s minds and shun intolerance.
LWASS is a group intended to bring people together for discussion and debate about atheism, humanism, religion, secularity and all related topics. We meet once a week for a social, ranging from drinks to themed meals out, all aimed to create a meeting point for those interested in atheism and humanism. We do of course concern ourselves with intellectual events too, such as the screening of relevant documentaries, hosting guest speakers and holding debates with other faith groups. What other people believe matters, which is why joining LWASS and contributing to the discussion is so important.
Attending a meeting of an Atheist Humanist Secularist group doesn’t make you an atheist - it makes you open-minded.