Hadiya Masieh was recruited by Hizb ut-Tahrir radicals, but 7/7 bombings five years ago opened her eyes

Hadiya Masieh was recruited by Hizb ut-Tahrir radicals, but 7/7 bombings five years ago opened her eyes http://ow.ly/26UdF

Humanists attend White House meeting on “Advancing Interfaith and Community Service on College and University Campuses”

On Monday, June 7th, the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships sponsored a meeting on “Advancing Interfaith and Community Service on College and University Campuses.” Amongst those in attendance were Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, Christians, Muslims and humanists. http://huff.to/bw9Vsp

[Secular humanist] “Allan Hayes is a gentle, charming man – a natural chaplain

[Secular humanist] “Allan Hayes is a gentle, charming man – a natural chaplain. He has no blanket hostility to religion; indeed he also runs the local Sea of Faith group, which discusses religion’s philosophical and ethical legacy” http://bit.ly/bhRvZu

We should be careful about drawing rash conclusions from the correlation between religiosity and societal breakdown

In the Guardian Susan Blackmore takes a look at new research by Gregory Paul that compares ‘popular religiosity’ for developed nations against the ‘successful societies scale’ (SSS) which includes such things such as homicides, the proportion of people incarcerated, infant mortality, sexually transmitted diseases, teenage births and abortions, corruption, income inequality, and many others.

She writes that we should be careful about drawing rash conclusions from the correlation between religiosity and societal breakdown

Holocaust Memorial Day – rescuers

“Only a few Evangelicals, a few Catholics a few Orthodox, a few agnostics, and a few atheists (and not necessarily in that order) helped the Jewish people during their persecution.

Varian Fry, a bespectacled, frail, moody intellectual; a man who would seem to be a most unlikely candidate to stand against the Gestapo, succeeded in organising the escape of approximately fifteen hundred men and women from Nazi occupied France in 1940-41. A man who appeared to have no religious motivation, Fry explained to his mother that he stayed because it took courage and ‘courage us a quality I hadn’t previous been sure I possessed’. To his wife he wrote: ‘Now I think I can say that I possess an ordinary amount of courage’

Source: Rausch, David A. (2000) ‘Hard Questions Asked by the Holocaust’ in Rittner, Carol, Smith, Stephen D., Steinfeldt, Irena (eds) The Holocaust and the Christian World Continuum: New York

Holocaust Memorial Day – Primo Levi the unbeliever

Primo Levi (1919-1987) was one of the most famous Survivors of the Holocaust. Levi, born in Turin, Italy and trained as a chemist, was arrested during the as a member of the anti-Fascist resistance and deported to Auschwitz in 1944. His experience in the death camp and his subsequent travels through Eastern Europe were the subject of powerful memoirs, fiction and poetry.

Although he came from families who had been observant Jews up to a generation or so before, they were no longer so and Levi was a life-long atheist. His only recollection of ever having any religious feelings was a brief period when he studied for his bar mitzvah, and tried to seek contact with God, “but when he sought that contact, he’d found nothing. Continue reading

Holocaust Memorial Day – The exploitation of religion

Armaments Minster Albert Speer describes how Hitler considered the church as something “that could be useful to him” and “indispensable to political life”. (Speer 1970: p148 ) It appears he did not want the church replaced by any “party religion” and he was opposed to the alternative mysticism (that was popular amongst some Nazis) that might take its place. However the Christianity that Hitler wanted to preserve, was one that leant to adapt to the political goals of National Socialism” (p149).

Instead the Church tried to oppose his plans and the Nazi party and SS instructed his followers to leave the Church. But even then Hitler appeared to want to maintain some ties by ordering Goering and Goebels to remain, as he did himself until his death. Continue reading