Whatever floats your godless boat

I am non-religious. I always have been despite the best efforts of a Church of England Primary School, and those two or so years I spent in the company of Spiritualist friends, seduced by their ideas of an afterlife. I’m a happy non-religious, non-worshiping, atheist human being with as much good as bad to my name. When I turned my back on tempting religious ideas I didn’t find it a struggle and I know that I am fortunate because of this. I know that many people are isolated, excluded and cast out when they doubt religious teachings. For some, identifying as an atheist is a life changing event – sometimes even a life-endangering event. I think it’s important not to judge people who approach their atheism in different ways than I do, but sometimes it’s difficult. Sometimes other atheists make it difficult. Continue reading

Today is towel day and the answer is 42

towel day photo

Today is not only International Geek Pride day, it is also Towel Day on which fans of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (HGG) carry a towel around as a tribute to author Douglas Adams who tragically passed away aged 49 in 2001. In fact, it was just weeks after his death that the first Towel Day happened and it has been happening ever since. I came upon HGG in around 2008 or 2009 and fell in love with the books straight away. I don’t know, there was just something about the wit and observations that struck a chord within me that resonates to this very day. The only other books that have ever changed the way I think about and behave in the world around me are the Discworld Novels. Tiffany Aching is my homegirl. Continue reading

Infighting: reflections from my childhood

When I was young I would often get into fights with the kids from other streets in the village I grew up in. The kids in my street would considered ourselves to often be ‘at war’ with the kids from the next street over and I can remember my parents constantly telling me off after fights and explaining how the best action was to ‘ignore them’. I would try, of course, but it didn’t mean they went away. We’d still see them taunting us, hear them shouting at us, and they’d throw stones from no mans land (the alley that linked our streets).

My friends and I would talk about how stupid they were and what they were probably plotting against us in secret, and each group of kids would get so wound up by the other group that eventually we would fight, call each other names and kick each others bikes. Our parents would pull us aside (often by our ears) and tell us to ‘ignore them’ all over again. We were kids, we were immature and petty, but eventually we wised up and learned to move past our differences. Years later my mum would admit to me that ignoring people didn’t necessarily solve problems, but that their advice was a temporary measure until we were mature enough to realise what the better course of action was. Continue reading

Offensive adverts vs. misleading adverts

Some people seem shocked that I don’t agree with the recent decision to not run the ‘gay cure’ advert on London buses because I made a complaint about the Christian groups ‘Healing on the Streets‘ and an advert they were handing out. Let me explain why very briefly…

The ‘gay cure’ advert is offensive and horrid, but we all have a right to be offensive but not to have our offence catered to. Remember the recent controversy over the Jesus and Mo cartoon being used by Atheist groups on University Campuses and how most of us non-believers were outraged that one group could use their offence to this to censor the other group? Remember being angry that Rhys Morgan could be threatened by his school with expulsion if he didn’t remove the offensive cartoon from his personal blog? Well, those atheists and skeptics who were angry in those instances but protested the ‘gay cure’ ad and are happy that the ‘gay cure’ advert has been blocked are being hypocritical.

The ‘Healing on the Streets’ advert was different because the claims were found by the ASA to be misleading and in breach of CAP codes, and as a result, they were told not to use those adverts anymore. That wasn’t an issue of censorship because they are still allowed to do what they do, they’re just not allowed to make specific health-based claims on the adverts.

Hopefully, the adverts for the ‘gay cure’ weren’t rejected because of social pressure by those who were offended. Hopefully, they would have been rejected anyway because they breach CAP codes or are misleading (i.e. being gay isn’t an illness), but if not and they were blocked because people were offended, that’s just a shame.