Sunday Assembly is not enough

‘The philosophy of Atheism represents a concept of life without any metaphysical Beyond or Divine Regulator. It is the concept of an actual, real world with its liberating, expanding and beautifying possibilities, as against an unreal world, which, with its spirits, oracles and mean contentment, has kept humanity in helpless degradation.’ – Emma Goldman

In her essay The Philosophy of Atheism Emma Goldman groups religion with other man-made systems of domination.  The essay came to mind recently while reading an Alternet article by Alex Gabriel titled 10 Ways to Make Sure the Atheist Movement Is Not Just for the Wealthy. His experiences with religion were much harsher than mine and the piece is eye-opening to a whole new experience of discovering atheism. One in which the author and his family would have been unable to leave the church if they’d wanted to because of how much they depended upon it for support. In his article Alex tells those claiming to offer ‘alternatives to church’ to offer more, writing:  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