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Atheists feel left out

This information comes from a report in the Irish Times on a survey carried out by the Irish School of Ecumenics.  They surveyed 700 faith leaders and 900 lay people about a range of faith related topics.  12% of the lay people self identified as atheist or no religion and and they felt that when they are talking noone is listening.  The report states that this 12% is disproportinate to their numbers in the general population and I find this comment very interesting.  I think that the proportion of atheists in the population is larger and their survey is faulty in the way they selected their sample 

Our survey was obviously limited to people who first of all heard about it (through the various channels we employed), and then were interested enough in the topic to visit our website and had the technical skills to complete it.

The poor design of the last census form practically guarantees that atheists and people of no religion will be underrepresented.  That 12% come through in a survey like this must give us hope that we are making progress.

Irish Times Article

Original report

October Meeting.

Our October meeting will take place as follows:

Date      :               13th October 2009

Time      :               20:00

Venue  :               Carlton Castletroy Park Hotel, Limerick.

 Agenda:

  1. Presentation by Dr. Peter O’Hara – State Registered Partnerships: Independence and Support.  Followed by discussion.
  2. Any other business.

Stop Swine Flu the Bronze Age way

JERUSALEM – Dozens of rabbis and Kabbalah mystics armed with ceremonial trumpets have taken to the skies over Israel to battle the H1N1 flu virus. About 50 Jewish holy men chanted prayers and blew ritual rams’ horns known as shofars in an aircraft circling over the country in the hope of stopping the spread of the virus

Irish Times 12th August 2009 – full article here.

 Can we take this as a test?  If more people get the flu in Israel is it proof of the failure of prayer?

Turkey For The Holidays

A Turkish game show is challenging atheists to reassess their views and win “the biggest prize ever”.

Penitents Compete will bring together an Islamic imam, a Jewish rabbi, a Buddhist monk and a Greek Orthodox priest seeking to convert the atheists.

The prize for any converted contestants is an expenses-paid pilgrimage to a holy site of their chosen faith.

But the producers say the show will also help contestants “find serenity” and raise awareness of the faiths.

Each episode of Penitents Compete will pitch 10 atheists – carefully vetted by a team of theologians to ensure their non-belief – against the four faith leaders.

The imam, rabbi, monk and priest will then seek to persuade the atheists of the merits and truth of their faith.

Adverts for the show promise: “We give you the biggest prize ever; we represent the belief in God. Believe, repent, God will forgive you.”

Full story here

Next Meeting

Our next meeting will be as follows:

Date           7th July 2009

Time           21:00

Venue         Carlton Castletroy Park Hotel

Please note the late start time.  This is to allow people to get the best out of the Summers evening.

Minister Ahern Wins Award!

Dogma Free America is an atheist podcast broadcast every week.  Minister Dermot Ahern has been given the unique distinction of winning their Jackass of the Week award twice.  The first week  (Episode 86 at 41:11) for his proposal to introduce Blasphemy legislation and the second week  (Episode 88 at 04:25) for his “bemused” reaction to criticism of those plans. Well done Dermot!

Blasphemy is a Victimless Crime

The Mid-west Humanists are co-sponsoring a public meeting with Atheist Ireland in an effort to stop the government from reviving a medieval crime and curtailing our freedom of expression.  The Humanist Association of Ireland is currently running a campaign for Equality for the non-Religious.  This is a wide-ranging campaign, covering the constitution, legislation and state practices.  While blasphemy is only a small part of the campaign it is an excellent illustration of why we need a secular constitution and to face up to that need and not be looking for “an Irish solution to an Irish problem” which is what the government seems to be doing.  Anyone who shares our aims should come along and have their say.  Speakers will include Michael Nugent, Chair of Atheist Ireland.  Local politicians will also be invited.

Date     :   Tuesday 16th June 2009 at 19:30

Venue :   Carlton Castletroy Park Hotel, Limerick.

May Meeting

The May meeting will be held as follows:

Date         : 19th May 2009

Time        : 20:00

Venue     : Carlton Castletroy Park Hotel

Please note that this is an evening meeting on a weekday evening – Next Tuesday. 

Differences between Morals and Ethics

On the issue of the difference between Morals and Ethics, Louis also suggested this from asktheatheists.com via  http://boards.ie (both recommended sources).

Morals Ethics
top-down bottom-up
fixed in time evolving
“thou shalt (not)” “first do no harm”
perfect can be improved
do not question, just obey you can argue and contribute
religious teachings and scripture laws and codes of conduct

Open-mindedness

This issue came up at our meeting  yesterday and Louis suggested this video.  Thanks Louis.