Imbolc, (pr EEmulk), is an ancient fire festival that marks the end of the dead part of the year. Originally it was celebrated at the midpoint between the Winter Solstice and the Vernal Equinox, and in other traditions on the night of the first full moon after that.
At the Mound of the Hostages on the Hill of Tara, in Ireland, the inner chamber is aligned with the rising sun at the midpoint between solstice and equinox, and so marks the dates of Imbolc and Samhain. Many other megalithic monuments in Northern Europe also have this characteristic, showing how important these dates were. They delineated the dead period of the year, which began at Samhain, when nothing grows and the shades of the dead and other supernatural beings walk freely in the world. Imbolc is the day the Goddess returns, not yet in her full glory and majesty, here a girl full of promise, one of the three forms of a triple-goddess. Continue reading Happy Imbolc!→
Last week, Maajid Nawaz, a United Kingdom Liberal Democratic Party parliamentary candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn, became the centre of an attack from the Islamic fundamentalist right wing because he stood up for free speech. This is not, in itself, unusual; fundamentalists of any religious persuasion detest free speech. Nor is the chorus of death threats raised against Nawaz in any way uncommon from Islamic fanatics. However this case is important because it illustrates a divide which we must not only recognise but decide on which side we stand.
Nawaz’ crime? After taking part in a BBC debate in which two students were seen wearing ‘Jesus and Mo’ tee-shirts, Nawaz tweeted the image, saying, “As a Muslim, I did not feel threatened by it. My God is greater than that”.
I’m going to do a series on words and phrases. Some of these will be ones I made up, others will be borrowed. I’ll tell you which ones those are. First up, one of mine :-
Now before we go any further, let’s make something clear: I don’t hate all religious people, in fact I’m very fond of quite a few of them, even though we will never agree about this. I do have serious issues with some religious people, though, and that’s why I need a new word, to differentiate between the nice people I know who happen also to be religious, and the nutjob fruitcake headbangers whom I would cheerfully strangle if only I were allowed to, in order to get them to shut the fuck up. And stop them trying to interfere in my life, or anyone else’s, because of their absurd delusions. Continue reading Word of the day: Religionard→
Since 2002 I have been researching into something that I felt more than anything else. Something was nagging me. At the time I lived, as I do now, in France, and the signs of Goddess-worship were all around me. Cathedrals were full of images of the Goddess, the art replete with them. I could see this but I couldn’t define it, I couldn’t understand what it meant.
When I returned to Scotland I was a very busy man for a long time, building a house and trying to make ends meet from my freelance work, and also my own mother became ill and died, so the research went on hold. But it was always there in the back of my mind, and as I travelled round Scotland, that epicentre of dry Presbyterianism, I saw again and again the unmistakable mark of the Goddess all over the architecture and in the symbolism.
The Goddess was the principal focus of my Masters’ Degree research and even though I came a long way, I didn’t reach the answer I sought. When I came back to France I began to write, but in April of 2012 I had to stop. I was getting too confused. Continue reading Pursuing the Goddess→
A while ago I lost a friend. I don’t mean to say he died; he didn’t. I hope he is well, and has a long life. But we aren’t friends any more. It was because of his ‘faith’.
My friend, whom we shall just call David, was close. For many years he had been a pretty permanent part of my life. We operated a non-audited favour system; whenever he needed something, like help with his computer, or moving his stuff or, well, whatever, he called me and I helped. And if I needed some help, for example when I was building my house, David turned to. There was no imbalance, and while we often argued about matters of philosophy, we are both educated Scots; argument is in our blood.
Anti-apologism 1: The ‘Ontological Argument’= busted.
When dealing with religious apologists it’s always better to nail them into the real world and insist on the same standard of evidence that is required for Gravity, Plate Tectonics or Evolution, because no apologist can ever provide these. Insisting on real scientific proof is a perfectly legitimate position, any time that someone is proposing the existence of something in the real world, including a god.
However, it is worth knowing about some of the more ridiculous philosophical ideas you might find used by apologists, and I’d like to discuss a few.
45% of Americans—well, people in the United States of America, which is, as far as they seem to be concerned, all of America—are retards. Not only is this truth shocking, it is dangerous and threatens all of us.
That 45% of Americans are so gravely afflicted has already caused pause for many commentators, including other Americans. The scientist and media personality, Bill Nye, for example, lamented it publicly, and not for the first time, in a YouTube video posted yesterday.
The god proposition is supported not by fact, but by faith.
At the end of the day, the final word that the religiously-disposed have is to say that “It is so because I believe it to be so,” before covering their ears. For them, this trumps everything.
This is the hook that caught Descartes when he confronted the issue, and then backed off very quickly. “I think,” he said, “Therefore I am.” This is fine. He is self-aware therefore he is sure he exists. He cannot be entirely sure that he exists as he perceives himself or that anything that is around him is as he perceives it, but he does make a very convincing argument, based on the progression of rational logic, that it is so (and thus takes several hundred pages to confirm what any pragmatist already knows. But that’s an aside.) However, when confronted by the idea of God, God must exist, he says “Because he cannot imagine a world in which he does not.” Oops. Continue reading God proposition: god true or god false?→