30 March 2008

Religious Groomers

I have had cause to consider how much of a link there is between religious evangelizing and 'grooming'. There appears to be a link to me and it makes me shudder to think of the same predatory tactics used by people with unsavoury intentions are to engage and manipulate young minds into behaviours which the children are unable to give full consensual permission.

People who evangelize to young children, i.e. those under the age of consent, say less than 18 years old, should be prosecuted as breaking the law. The damage they do is similar to the damage done by paedophiles who have violated their victims without their informed consent.

Let's take an anecdotal look at their similar modi operandi:
They present a friendly face to youngsters. Set up youth friendly facilities or activities which will enable them to get closer to their subjects. Become interested in the things that the young people are interested in. Make available items like chocolate, colouring books, sweeties/candy, etc. They introduce a topic that the predator has as a main focus , either sexual interest or their religion. They spend time making their subject feel comfortable. The groomer convinces themselves that they are doing what they do because they want to share the love they have.
Don't forget paedophiles sometimes abuse children in their own families - just like religious groomers. Those children are trapped and unable to remove themselves from their abusive homes and their abusers.
Any adult, whether part of a religious organisation or not, who grooms minors, whether knowingly or unknowingly, should be prosecuted. Laws should be created to protect minors from them.
It is the same as if a person had an inappropriate relationship with a minor - poisoning a child's mind with dogmatic fairy stories designed, essentially, to confuse and create long-term damage.

Children's minds are like sponges, they are receptive to all kinds of stimuli and experiences and especially dogma. We, as adults, have a responsibility to put aside our personal views and prejudices which could have a negative impact on children who come into contact with us.

I am not someone who believes that you should not talk to children about religion - it is important to inform children of the belief systems of the world we live in but we have a duty to do that responsibly. That means ensuring our responses to their questions are age-appropriate, relevant, unbiased and are based on facts as we know them. Let children decide what they want to know. Let them teach us how they want to be taught.

Do you know someone who is a religious 'groomer'? Are you comfortable with what they do?

29 March 2008

White English Minority in England?

I read Twining's blog (a black police officer in England) and noticed comments by a woman who complained about being a white person in England and feeling that she was being displaced in the country of her birth - where she felt she should have more rights than the 'minorities'. She used the Notting Hill Carnival to illustrate how black people were able to visibly celebrate their culture yet white people weren't able to do that. She felt in a minority.

I suddenly had an urge to discover more about the festivities in England which were part of the white culture and look at how and where they conducted these celebrations. Most of the festivities found took place in rural communities and had been established over some time. Some of them their origins were obscure but it didn't matter; this somehow mattered not a jot to the enjoyment of the activities.

Here are just some of the festivities which, to me, celebrate the English-ness of England:

The Gloucestershire Cheese Rolling Festival may see very odd to some. Over 40,000 spectators watch a 7lb block of cheese being thrown down a steep hill and people (men, in the main) scrambling down the hill as fast as they can - the first to the bottom wins the cheese!
Here is the You Tube video which illustrates this tradition the best...

The Gloucestershire Cheese Rolling Festival 2007

Other festivities are: The Sealed Knot, the Nettle Eating Contest, the Pearly King Harvest Festival, Tar Barrels in Northumberland (yes, another one!), the Great Yorkshire Show, Heddington & Stockley Steam Rally & Country Fair and not forgetting Morris Dancers appearing all over the country. These are just a few of the hundreds of 'English' celebrations occurring each year without being defined as 'celebrating English culture' - it just is.

The Notting Hill Carnival arose out of extreme oppression by the English people to the newly arrived, predominantly Caribbean people, and is enjoyed by people from all over the world. It is an example of people transcending race and just having fun for a couple of days. It is English as it has arisen from experiences in England. It is a positive part of the culture which should be applauded, not derided, considering its origins. All races take part. There are food stalls selling food from Brazil, China, France, Jamaica, Africa and many other cultural cuisines. A broad range of music, dancing, merriment, colourful floats and costumes. You go and enjoy yourself or don't attend at all. Just like the cheese-rolling competitions.

England is changing because all regions of the world experience change - it is part of the evolution of humans. There are more benefits than negatives to new fresh immigrants going into countries like the UK and the USA. If you listen to the tat-media they would have you believe otherwise.
England and Britain has a long way to go with regards to race. Ignorance, unfortunately, will be with us for a long time to come

26 March 2008


There seems to be an old idea running through the black community that you should 'respect your elders'. I hear that quite a lot. In fact, that was a strong feature in my childhood. You didn't ever dare call someone of my parents generation (say) by their first name, they always had a title - Mr So-and So or Mrs or Miss. If they were part of a church they were known as Brother or Sister So-and-So. Never did you call them by their first name only. Not allowed. That was an example of respecting someone.
This has me thinking about this issue of 'respect'. Being respected is a big issue. Even I have found myself, in past moments of being totally pathetic, moaning that someone doesn't respect me. Now what does that actually mean?
How do you respect someone? Why is it important, if it is, to be respected? How does respect manifest itself? Does feeling respected feel differently from not being respected? - and how can you tell the difference?
In London I have seen so many instances of people having some kind of conflict where one person felt that they weren't being given 'due respect'. I have observed hip-hop artists, for example, pushing the idea that respect is paramount. Why?
My view is it starts with feeling powerless and is an attempt to control the small world around us. I think it is to do with a lack of self-worth, poverty of the mind, lack of education, poor quality peer groups, poor parenting - all wrapped up with a view of the world not based on reality but fantasy.
If people were taught to communicate effectively and they could adapt critical thinking skills into their lives, where they did not view the bible (for example) as the word of a god, where social morals were there for them to freely choose, where people could be who they wanted to be, where the focus was on their child being given the tools to enable them to understand the world without bias nor a belief in scary stories, without fear yet with a critical eye, questioning everything (can you imagine such a scenario?) then I think the issue of respect would lose its importance.
I have featured pictures of young children being abused by supernaturalistsand their ideas on this blog.The high-level, worldwide, state sanctioned child abuse must stop. It must stop or nothing will change. I try and imagine the world without the supernatural and all its manifestations.
Although, my concern is not necessarily for myself it is sad to think that with all the marvellous, new and innovative technological advances we are still stuck where we are.

What is there to respect? Some young black men are harming themselves and others because of this idea of 'respect'. It is a stronghold that must be broken. Lives are being destroyed because of this very thing. It is easy to believe something because our parents and previous generations believed it. That is exactly why we are in the mess we are in today. Don't respect your elders just because they are older. Don't respect traditions. Don't respect old ideas.
Don't respect - think!

20 March 2008

The Speech by Barack Obama

Barack Obama - 'A More Perfect Union'- Philadelphia, 18 March 2008

I thought I would spend some time digesting this speech and all its probable implications. So in case you missed it in its entirety...

One thing I can say about Barack Obama was his speech touched a raw nerve for a lot of people. Not only in the USA but around the world. Friends of mine, blog writers, newspapers columnists realised, or rather, hoped that a turning point had arrived. The genie was being taken out of the bottle - for some there was pain and for others, none.

16 March 2008

A Letter to Dr James...

I am part of another net group and chanced upon a comment by a man who is a theist. He has a website page where he talks about abortion being wrong and ungodly. He has given his views of when an abortion is appropriate and inappropriate. His name is Reverend James McBean, a minister in Florida. Here's a link to his page on How To Deal with Abortion.

I decided to respond to him in the form of a letter.

Now, my letter to Dr James is not to personally attack him because I understand the historical, religious and social dynamics which enable people to feel this way about abortion.

Dear Dr James,

I started writing a response to you but thought I would reply to you on
my blog. I want to share my comments with visitors to my blog as I feel this is
a serious issue.

I will lay my cards on the table:
I am an atheist. That means I don't believe in any form of the
supernatural. I don't believe in god/gods, astrology, witchcraft, voodoo, obeah,
numerology, reincarnation, the rapture, the bible, koran or anything remotely
So, that means that I don't believe in 'souls' either.I believe we
are all animals, mammals, still in the evolutionary process and there is nothing
special about us. When we die we die. Finito.

If a woman finds herself in a position where she is pregnant with an
unwanted child then I will support her in anyway that I can. As there is no such
thing as 'hell', or the devil or divine retribution, in my mind - a woman can do
what she likes and so can everyone else. Saying that, having an abortion can be
a very traumatic time for a woman. Yes, she may grieve and feel distressed about
that decision but her life can move on. Life is just like that.
I want women to feel in control of what happens to their bodies, take control to the point of preventing unwanted pregnancies in the first place, but we are human animals and accidents happen. I'm not going to berate a woman for her difficult choice.

Our collective aims as human beings should be to try and be empathetic to a
persons personal circumstances and respect what they want to do with their
We only have one life. This is it. There is no other regardless of what we have been taught. If you look at the problems in the world today how much, what percentage would you attribute to a belief in the supernatural?

Also, I understand where you are coming from because I have connections
with the country which has the highest number of churches per capita in the
world - Jamaica. How did that happen? The colonial powers that was/is had a grip
so tight that their imposed religion was seen as the only respite during a
barbaric and horrible period. We don't have to live in it anymore. We can free
our minds and our children's minds by questioning the status quo. Parents aren't
always right - in fact with regard to their own faiths they did what they were
told to do - what was socially acceptable but worse...they actually believed it
I am an atheist and I am free. Free to make my own decisions. Free to
decide my life's directions without having some imaginary god watching my every
move, listening to my every thought and deciding when I die whether I will go to
hell or not. I'm so not concerned.

I am concerned about the high level of child abuse (yes, child abuse) we
are visiting on the future generations. It is like a clever, tragic hoax which
has been foisted onto generations for thousands of years and it still continues

We have the power to change things Joe Holman did - he was a minister who changed his life. We should focus on today and only give a fleeting nod to the past, if we have to. Live for now. Live for today. Live in the moment. The bible doesn't help you to do that.

A quote I saw today stopped me in my tracks as I realised the depth and
meaning of it:

"I freed hundreds of slaves. I could have freed hundreds more, if they had only known that they were slaves."

- Harriet Tubman.

Hoping that you view this letter as one which can inspire dialogue and change.



15 March 2008

British Atheist Speaks...

Pimping For Jesus - Video

One of the great things about the internet is how it enables people to connect and share information right across the globe. What a fabulous medium!

I recently joined a group Black Atheists at Yahoo and received an email from a member pointing me in the direction of a video by Pat Condell, a British atheist. He has a really dry wit, classic British humour, which some people may not always appreciate! I chose this video as a good starting point to understand his worldview. You may actually agree with him on some fronts.


14 March 2008

Religion and Child Abuse

Some people have taken issue with me due to my belief that teaching your child, indoctrinating your child into your religious belief system, is abuse.

Let me make it clear:
if you are part of a religious organisation or even if you believe in 'the Flying Teapot' the onus is on you to ensure that your child is brought up aware of the following:

1. Alternative views;
2. The pros and cons of your belief;
3. Critical thinking skills and how to apply them.

Now considering the above 3 points: How many people can honestly say that they have guardianship of a child, are believers in god/gods/universal spirits/or some such and have applied all of the above points throughout that child's life? Very few.

The damage inflicted on children exposed to irrational thinking lead to all the negative -isms we experience today.

Being a parent is one of the most difficult jobs there is. Not enough credit is given to those who care for and raise babies into adulthood. A child looks up to their parent or guardian for guidance, love, support and is hardwired to believe what the parent/guardian says is true. If you then follow belief systems based on fallacy which does not and will not stand up to critical analysis, then this is what the child will believe.

No one is born a 'believer' - we are like sponges at birth, ready to absorb all the influences and experiences around us. We are naturally curious about this strange environment we find ourselves in called 'the world'. Nature and nurture have a major impact on how we perceive the now and the future. If our parents enable us to explore and engage with the world critically we are not weighed down by excess baggage, which includes theism and all forms of the supernatural.

In the black communities I have experienced, religion is embedded within the cultures. Black people are not a homogenous group but disparate populations, varying in size from minute to gigantic, even so religion has become a deeply ingrained part of 'black life'. If you reject religion in its various forms then you are seen as outside of 'the black experience'. I have been accused of not 'being black enough' (whatever that means!). I am considered a pariah and often times black people have offered to pray for me to help me to see the light.

Why are these belief systems so much a part of the black experience? Anecdotal evidence suggests: slavery, control and systematic abuse, social cohesion, peer pressure, lack of quality scientific education and so on. None of these are exclusive to the black community - not even slavery.

I don't object to theists. My concern is the impact that theism has on the scientific and social advancements of human beings, the damage inflicted on those who have been conditioned to view alternative views as representing 'the devil' or some other negative entity - consequently these ideas are passed on, like a virus, to our children.
If we are concerned about providing future generations with tools to action the progressive changes which are sorely needed, then how can we inflict this form of abuse on them?

11 March 2008

Black Female Atheists

As promised I am conducting some research regarding black atheists and thought I would salute the first person who had a video worth watching. It proves there are women who happen to be black who are thinking for themselves and throwing off the shackles called theism. This woman was raised a Jehovah's Witness and after years of indoctrination was able to free her mind.

If you are a theist you could too. My aim is to make this blog a haven for all people who are freethinkers/atheists. Religion has become part of the social fabric of most black communities and it is wrong. But this site is not for black people, nor is it particularly about black people. I have a worldview that includes all - I just don't want to be part of the system that causes atheists to remain in the closet for fear of losing their job, their livelihoods, their support systems and I stand ready for all the verbal attacks coming from the mouths/pens of theists. If I don't speak up to highlight the horrors visited on humanity in the name of supernatural who will? I refuse to see 'racism' as the focal problem. It goes deeper than that. When you have a system which uses fake texts to subjugate people, when those same texts are misogynistic and racist amongst another thing and then the very people who cry foul about how 'people of colour' are treated 'praise the Lord' you know humans are in bad shape. All people.

I'm immensely pleased that black atheists are becoming more visible. I am pleased that I am one of them.

10 March 2008

Where Are We...?

I have been trying to find black atheists on the internet and am dismayed at how few black people, particularly in the highly populated USA, are willing to publicly acknowledge themselves as rational, freethinking atheists. It is worrying.

Then like an oasis in the desert I came across Frank the Financially Savvy Atheist who's blog entry dated 6 March 2006 I have reproduced in full below:

'Where the hell are they?
Stop. Think about a famous atheist you know. My personal finance readers might have thought about
Michael Newdow, the atheist who is trying to get the words "under god" taken out of the Pledge of Allegiance.

My atheist readers might have thought about Sam Harris, Isaac Asimov, or Bertrand Russell.

"Hold it!" my female atheist readers protest, "There are several famous women atheist as well". Examples include Margaret Sanger, Susan B. Anthony, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton (HT: Escape from the Meme Machine). Right you are my female atheist readers. (free thought mom and Atheist Mama)

But my question is this: Where the hell are all the black atheists famous and otherwise?

When you think of some of the famous black people in the media (that are NOT rap artists or athletes) and you have Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, quite far from atheism. There's Colin Powell and Condi, who's (ex)-boss probably required them to be Christian in order to get the job. Who else is there? Oh wait, the rest are media personalities that prey on gullible housewives (Oprah), atheletes, or rap stars. Rap stars who are at least nominally theistic who can thank god when winning awards and giving them so much "bling", while at the same time glorifying a nihilistic life-style that blacks who try to emulate it will find themselves ignorant, debt-ridden, and thinking that the lottery is the best way to get rich.

Blacks are almost always portrayed as devout believers in the media. I remember when I still went to church in high school, our pastor would rant and rave that Michael Jordan wouldn't thank god for winning games/being such a great player like he [Jordan] should. Did you get that? So it was our duty as "good black people" to penalize the "bad black people" for not praising the same god that put us in slave chains for all those years. What a crock of sh*t.

There needs to be a new spokesperson for blacks in America. Not another god-damned hypocritical preacher in the vein of the Sharptons and the Jacksons. A rational spokesperson. Someone that is not afraid to be an intelligent black person who can speak English and can evoke actions from other blacks without relying on antiquated religious notions. This person, man or woman, will be the face for the black freethinkers: the black atheist, the black agnostic, the black materialist, and everything else in-between. He/she will be a foil for the vapid, idotic, untrue sound-bites from our religious counterparts (example: see here)

No longer will rap stars, idiot preachers, and a cultish day-time talk show hostess define us to the rest of America. We will redefine what it means to be a black american. We will rise above the mediocracy that has plagued our race. We will fulfill our potential for greatenss. We will do it all without relying on unnecessary, irrational, and destructive beliefs.

But, before we can, we need to answer this question: Where the hell are the black atheists?''

The amazing thing is this is an old post that is still even more relevant 2 years later. Where are we? Why are we not brave enough to break through the mould set by those who wish to control? If we spend our time thrashing out against racism and don't see just how insidiously wicked all forms of the supernatural are to our well being, then why bother?

I will follow up on the people who made comments on Frank's blog updating us about the black atheists. You might care to do the same. I'll continue my research and do a write up on my findings shortly.

08 March 2008

A New Dawn

Yesterday I re-connected with a friend who, for various reasons, I had not had much contact with over the last year or so. We went for a drink and a bite to eat in a very nice environment in the nearest town.

Over the few years of knowing each other we shared our views about many things. This woman is an academic with a sharp brain and could out-argue me with words to spare on any topic. I believed she was a theist and our views differed, but/and she was someone who I still regarded as a friend.

On the way driving together to our destination she told me she now describes herself as an atheist. Well...if I wasn't seated I would have fallen over. A thousand questions jostled for first place in my mind but I decided to listen to her reasons as to why she now described herself as an atheist.

She relayed what had been happening in her life, books she had recently read and how these had had an impact on her current thinking. In short, she had freed herself from the shackled, abusive, unscientific thinking and had now fully embraced the fact that she was a scientist by profession and realised the inaccurate 'truths' of all forms of theism.

Whilst enjoying each others company she advised me to watch a film, available on the internet, called 'Zeitgeist'. I checked the internet this morning and am looking forward to watching this 2hours and 2 min streaming film tonight. Here's the link for those of you who want to be informed about alternative views: Zeitgeist - The Movie. Maybe you will care to watch it and we can openly share our views of it.

What is interesting for me is how someone can have an open mind at any age. My friend is somewhat angry about the damage theism has inflicted on the world and understands that we have to live in this moment, not for the here-after but now, in this second.

If anything will 'free' black people, in fact all peoples, then this is it.

Dispelling beliefs in the supernatural can fundamentally change the world - not mythological beliefs. The escape routes have been closed by theism - if you think outside their box then you are a sinner and will suffer painful repercussions when you die.

How sad. How sick. How wasteful. How wicked.

06 March 2008

Where Do We Go From Here?

I have been having a bit of a ding-dong with a group of African-American women on the net who seem so obsessed by race. Having been there I can honestly say it is not the healthiest route that black people can take. Of course, I don't understand everything about the American culture, nor can I really understand what it must be like to live in a society where you are defined by your race and gender so overtly as in the US.

But...I know that the way to make changes within any society is to make changes within yourself first. Attacking those who you deem to be attacking you may be the way to go until things calm down. I want black people to get smarter in terms of asking some questions before we dive in fists flying: What? Why? Where? When? Which? and How?

If we strategise, mobilise, cogitate, support, and educate with a cool head those changes which are necessary will materialise quicker than we think. Although that is not to say if someone is being physically attacked by ignorant people based on the victim's race that we should stand idly by and let it happen. No. Again whilst dealing with any issue or problem we should still keep a cool head.Whilst trying to move a woman out of a dangerous situation we should still keep a cool head. Whilst wiping dog shit off the mat - posted as a 'loving' gift from the local non-vocal racist neighbour' we should still keep a cool head. We should be cool.

Because only those who make a stand and think will succeed. Why waste energy raising your blood pressure, damaging your vital organs and enabling others to set your agenda and then nothing changes?

I now know that people are sheep and they think what they have been taught to think - hence religions. People are primarily sheep. If you go along to a meeting where everyone is having a 'love fest', basically there to be told how wonderful they are and you are the sole dissenting voice - see how many will support you, even though you are raising issues which are difficult and especially if you are focusing on the bigger picture. Answer: Very few.

It takes guts to go amongst a group of people and mention things they don't want to hear. It takes guts to draw people to the fact that race and racial differences are stupid.

Since the civil rights movement, how much has really changed? Has racism disappeared? Have black women's values been raised amongst societies, especially within black American culture? Not when you see Lil Kim, Beyonce and the like promoting and profiteering from the 'black woman sexual animal' stereotypes. Not when the images that young people of any race see are of black hip-hop artists 'bitching down' black women and flaunting the proceeds through 'bling'. These images are pumped into their brains on a daily basis.

Attacking me for raising my hand and saying 'hang on a minute' or 'what's the big deal?' isn't the answer. The answer lies within us. If you have children you have a responsibility to think about the kind of the world you want to raise them in.

Maybe you should consider how polarised your own life is. How do you talk about other people? Do you have friends who are a natural normal part of your life who happen to be of another 'race'? Do you have people who happen to be gay or bisexual in your life - or have you dismissed them because of some biblical text telling you 'it's against God's law'? Honestly ask yourself the question: Am I sheep? An open mind is just that - open.

Your children weren't/aren't born stupid - they may become that way by adults pushing them away from critical reasoning - away from analysing situations and reaching logical conclusions and also relating to people as people. They are a product of you.

Living your life by example is a good start. The great thing is you don't have to agree with me for me to have a dialogue with you. You don't have to agree with me for you to be my dearest friend. In fact, some of my friends are hardcore theists and I love them regardless. I see and understand their experiences and we share our views without heat and anger. Maybe you could try some of that today and tomorrow.

05 March 2008

'Bless You'

I have decided to try my best to ignore the American politics for the moment - as hard as it is and share with you my take on another issue: Superstition.

When I sneeze and some one says 'Bless you' what am I supposed to say? I am an atheist, I don't believe in god or gods, I don't touch wood, I don't believe in universal consciousness or that we are here for a purpose but...is it impolite not to say 'thank you' to a 'bless you' comment?

It got me thinking also about superstitions and where they originated and so I decided to dig around for some ideas regarding the origins of saying 'bless you' to sneezes.
It would appear that throughout many cultures of the world making some kind of comment after someone has sneezed is viewed as good manners. Usually, '(God) bless you' or 'Live long' etc.
From primitive times sneezing was viewed as either the spirit or soul leaving the body and was a sign from the gods foretelling good or bad fortune - words are said to counter or enhance this.

Wikipedia has a quick summary of sneezing and has a link to an excerpt from an interesting book The Origins of Popular Superstitions and Customs.

So what do I say as an atheist? I don't say anything. I cannot see the point. On occasions when I have not said anything I watch as the person waits for me to say 'bless you' and after a big pause a few people have said for and to themselves, 'Bless me' - very funny.
What do you say when someone sneezes?