First Christopher Hitchens took her down, then we learned that her faith wasn’t as strong as we thought, and now a new study from the Université de Montréal is poised to completely destroy what shreds are left of Mother Teresa’s reputation. She was the winner of the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize, was beatified and is well on her way to becoming a saint, and she’s universally admired. As Wikipedia notes:
[She was] named 18 times in the yearly Gallup’s most admired man and woman poll as one of the ten women around the world that Americans admired most. In 1999, a poll of Americans ranked her first in Gallup’s List of Most Widely Admired People of the 20th Century. In that survey, she out-polled all other volunteered answers by a wide margin, and was in first place in all major demographic categories except the very young.
The criticisms of…
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Surprise! Atheists are discriminated against—legally. Well, we probably knew that about countries like Bangladesh, but it’s been documented by an official survey, reported in Sunday’s New York Times, “Atheists face death in 13 countries, global discrimination: study.” The survey is by the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), and you can find their own summary here. And you can find the entire 244-page IHEU report, “Freedom of thought 2013” free at the link. The bulk of the report is a country-by-country survey of how much freedom of belief (and nonbelief) there is, but there’s also a 19-page preface that you should read.
First the bad news from the full report (in fact, it’s all bad news):
Our results show that the overwhelming majority of countries fail to respect the rights of atheists and freethinkers. There are laws that deny atheists’ right to exist, revoke their…
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The site WZB, which stands for “Wissenschaftzentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung” (my translation: “Berlin Center for Social Science Research”), has conducted a survey whose results were just published in a paper by Ruud Koopmans, “Fundamentalism and out-group hostility Muslim immigrants and Christian natives in Western Europe” (free download at the link; WZB’s summary is here). The motivation for this work was the controversy about whether Muslim immigrants and their descendants living in Western countries had fundamentalist religious beliefs, or were more moderate—perhaps because moderates tended to migrate or, after migration, became tempered by living in Western society. While we know quite a bit about Christian fundamentalists, there has been little attempt to compare Islamic with Christian fundamentalism in the West.
Koopmans’ paper is based on a WBZ-funded survey of 9000 respondents “with a Turkish or Moroccan immigration background” living in six Western countries; Germany, France, Sweden, Belgium…
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Unfortunately, I can’t eat as much as I would like to puke when I read this. I have a son, aged 2, and I sure as hell will never let any of such religious crap anywhere near him! Actually, he’s very interested in how nature works and knows the right names of all local birds. THAT’S what I like him to learn about the world, not this Accelerated Cretinism Education.
Today we have another two-part post, this time on fundamentalism in Europe. This post is on fundamentalism in the UK’s Christian “faith schools,” some of which are funded by the state. To those of you in the UK: why are you tolerating government funding of religious indoctrination? Is there no movement against publicly-funded indoctrination of children?
Whoops, I put the rant before the data. Here are some facts about a set of UK Christian schools that are not state-funded (except for the nursery schools, which are), but which provide a substandard, anti-science education that the UK government accepts as equivalent to a secular education.
Some Christian schools (and homeschooling parents) in the UK use a U.S.-devised learning system called “Accelerated Christian Education,” or ACE. The site Leaving Fundamentalism describes it:
Accelerated Christian Eduction is a fundamentalist curriculum from Texas, distributed in the UK by Christian Education Europe (CEE). There are…
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Jerry’d almost got me there … My initial reaction was “Evidence??? What the dickens …?”
Sam Harris already posted this 7-minute clip on his site, but in case you missed it, this Muslim “peace conference”—held in Norway in May to dispel misconceptions about Islam—has in fact reaffirmed the view that Islam is far from a “religion of peace.”
The video, and the audience reaction, is unbelievable.
At 1:07, the moderator asks why the media is always focusing on the supposedly bad tenets of Islam while ignoring those of Christianity and Judaism. One panelist responds as follows:
“The answer is very simple: Islam is the truth. And Christianity and Judaism are not the truth.”
Can you get any more cocksure or arrogant than that? So much for the claim that religionists are humble.
At about 2:30, Norwegian Islamic leader Fahad Qureshi appears and asks the audience a series of questions.
At 3:30, he asks the audience how many of them are “not radical” but “normal Sunni…
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