23 May 2008

The Atheist Delusion

I am fascinated by new technology and the ability to create videos to share and You Tube is a fine example of that.

If you enjoy satire then have a look at this video (which is just over 3 minutes long). Some may say it is clever and some may not. What do you think?

The Atheist Delusion

16 May 2008

Rev Dr Barbara Reynolds' Reply

Rev Dr Barbara Reynolds has responded to her critics by outlining her role in the Wright/Obama story/saga.

I was hoping that she would have responded to her critics on her blogsite, as this was where those who disagreed with her had made their opinions known.

I applaud her for writing this piece, 'My Motive For Wright Breakfast', but still feel she is not as open or transparent as she claims to be due to the fact she has deliberately removed the comments of those who disagreed with her. Of course she is entitled to do as she pleases with her blogsite - she can moderate comments in anyway she sees fit - but it smacks a little of insecurity and taking things personally. If all those comments were positive I suspect they would still be visible to the whole world. But they weren't. And they are not.

11 May 2008

Black Atheist Series: Hubert Henry Harrison

As promised, I now present the first of many in my: Black Atheist Series.

I have taken the liberty to include in this category freethinkers, skeptics, humanists, scientific naturalists and anyone else who debunks the supernatural or promotes rational thinking.

To be any of the above categories in many black communities around the world can invite ridicule, censorship, ostracisation or even worse. I invite you to search the net for 'black atheist' and you may discover how few black atheists are 'out'.
To have someone brave enough to challenge irrational thinking at a time when people were victims (and still are to a great extent) of traditional myths, who stands up and promotes the idea of thinking for oneself, is truly admirable.

Hubert Henry Harrison.
He was a man born in St. Croix, Virgin Islands, in the the Caribbean in 1883. He moved to New York in 1900 after the death of his mother (father unknown, or at least not a feature in his life) and as a 17 year old was shocked by what he saw as the overt racism within the USA. He took low paying jobs after studying, yet attended night school to further his education but was in the main self-taught. He was well respected by his peers due to high articulacy, orator skills and intellect. He wrote articles and letters which were published in the main stream media and lectured at various institutions.

Considering the hurdles he encountered just from being black and male within such a hostile environment he still evaluated and analysed the situations of humans, particularly in relation to religion and concluded he was agnostic.
After dabbling with socialism and concluding that the prominent movements were covertly and overtly racist, moved towards evaluating the plight of black people. He conducted outdoor lectures (similar to Speakers' Corner in London) and his influence and hard work paved the way for movements such as Marcus Garvey's 'Back to Africa'. He decided to place race first as a result of the incessant, unceasing racism experienced at the time.

In 1920 he became the editor of the Negro World, Marcus Garvey's UNIA newspaper and eventually became dissatisfied with Marcus Garvey and was vocally and in print, critical of his messages and movement. He viewed the call to return to Africa as ill conceived, naive and far more based on money making than he felt was necessary. He broke away from the movement after 1922.
He continued to write articles on various subjects, founded another movement for 'race consciousness' - including advocating the creation of a Negro state in America, founding what is now the Schomeberg Center for Research in Black Culture amongst many other notable achievements.

He died in 1927 of appendicitis in a New York hospital.

His legacy can be found amongst the works of novelists, poets, actors and many other black creative artists, especially Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, James Baldwin and many others - right up to the present day.
He observed and highlighted inadequacies and poverty of the mind which existed amongst human beings in relation to religion, race and social mores.

This summary of his life cannot do his legacy complete justice but it may spark your interest in finding out more about his life, works and philosophy.

Hubert Henry Harrison: The first in my series of Black Atheists/Freethinkers, and rightly so.

04 May 2008

Rev Dr Barbara Reynolds - Silencing the Flock

Most of you may have been keeping up-to-date about the saga which is rumbling on regarding Barack Obama, Rev Jeremiah Wright Jr and Rev Dr Barbara Reynolds.

I won't bore you with the details but provide a link to a site where you can obtain a version of events, at your convenience.
The angle I am taking on this story is: How do you deal with people who write things about you which appear on your blog/site which you don't like.

Dr Reynolds has received a slew of negative verbal attacks due to her perceived role in the 'taking down of a brother' - Barack Obama via Rev Wright. Her blog ReynoldsWorldNews had a post supporting Rev Wright which was written prior to this debacle. Interestingly enough most of the comments were post-debacle and contained comments which suggested she was a Judas, 'how can you sleep at night', 'shame on you', etc. The comments were vociferous, clear, emotional and very frank. No misinterpretation of their dissatisfaction with Dr Reynolds was possible. Comment after comment castigated her in no uncertain terms with the odd dissenting voice being quickly fired upon.
Now the interesting point for me was how Rev Reynolds dealt with the barrage of unflattering comments. She did not exercise her right of reply. It is her blog and she could respond in anyway she liked without censor. She, instead, decided to, firstly, remove her post regarding Rev Wright, including all comments.

The next day I checked her site and realised that 'anonymous' persons had written comments on another of her posts -related to the Rev Wright issue.

Today, I notice, all comments have been disabled.

For someone who is/was a journalist, who understand that politics is a dirty, nasty game and if you take a dip in the cesspool you will inevitably be soiled, it is astounding to me that she has decided to silence those who voice their honest opinions. For someone who purports to promote the 'word of god' she represents all that is negative about those who stand on pulpits and preach to the 'flock'. Don't stand up and be different, don't shout out at perceived injustices. Just don't have an opinion of your own.

In a so-called democratic society, I would recommend that in future, Dr Reynolds, you allow, welcome, enable dissenting voices to be heard. Is that not what the Civil Rights Movement was objecting to? - state-sanctioned silencing of those who, rightly, objected to the status quo, those who refused to accept segregation as a natural normal god-given way of life.

Come on, Dr Reynolds, let those voices be heard. Don't silence those who have an opinion. It does you nor the causes you support or promote any favours.