Secular Sunday #229  'Solidarity' || 15 May, 2016
Secular Sunday - Atheist Ireland's weekly newsletter
Andrew Devine-RattiganWe now have a new government in the Republic of Ireland, but a reading of the Programme for Government shows no commitment by the state to discontinue it's support for an education system that discriminates against the non-religious and those of minority faiths.

On a positive note, according to an article in the Huffington Post (see below), religious beliefs are in decline across the world. An Arabic translation of the 'The God Delusion' by Richard Dawkins has reportedly been downloaded over ten million times which will hopefully help spread the light of reason across the Arabic speaking world.

This week's opinion piece is from Sarah Haider, co-founder of Ex-Muslims of North America. She talks about the difficulties that muslims face leaving Islam and criticises those on the western left that she assumed would be her allies. We at Atheist Ireland stand in Solidarity with brave ex-muslims like Sarah and with secular and liberal muslims, who along with atheists, agnostics, other freethinkers and followers of minority religions are persecuted, imprisoned and killed in many majority Islamic countries.

Finally, a University report has claimed that watching too much pornography can make you more religious. A section of the report claimed that the most frequent users of porn claimed to pray more than other respondents, but maybe they just needed to find something to do with their hands when taking a break from pleasuring themselves at images of strangers having sex. Personally, I doubt the accuracy of these kinds of reports. However, if there is any truth in it then surely it raises certain philosophical, theological and ethical questions for those religious people who can't keep their hands off themselves. 

For instance  'Is masturbation all part of god's plan to get people back to religion?'  'And if we are created in his 'image and likeness' does this mean that god is a bit of wanker him or herself?' Perhaps, these are the kind of probing questions that inhabit the minds of religious masturbators in the wee hours of the night when their internet connection gets cuts off.

Andrew Devine-Rattigan
Acting Editor


 Atheist Ireland Response to Programme for Government and UN Examination of Ireland

This week saw two significant developments that will affect Atheist Ireland’s work in the coming years: the new Programme for Government, and the UN questioning of Ireland’s human rights record under the Universal Periodic Review process.

Atheist Ireland will continue to promote an ethical, secular Ireland as partners in the ongoing dialogue process between the Government and religious and nonreligious philosophical bodies, and in our international briefing and lobbying at the United Nations, European Union, Council of Europe, OSCE and other international human rights bodies. Read more...

21 Great Lessons from the Rationalist Conference in Tallinn

Here are 21 great lessons taken from the recent Rationalist conference in Tallinn Estonia.  Read more....




Upcoming Events

All events are free and open to everyone unless otherwise stated. Listing is not necessarily an endorsement. Listings sorted alphabetically by county, then chronologically.
Major international events in 2016 can be found at the World Secular Calendar.


All Atheist Ireland events are listed below as well as on our website.



May 21st, 12.00-14.00, Brown Thomas (map)
Atheist Ireland Information Table

May 21st, 14.30-16.30, Kudos Bar and Restaurant (map)
Atheist Ireland Lunch





17 May

International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia

18 May

International Museum Day


20 May

World Metrology Day

21 May

World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development



This Week in History

Anniversaries of momentous events in atheism, science, skepticism, secularism and human rights, plundered shamelessly from Wikipedia and other sources.


20th May

1983: First publications of the discovery of the HIV virus that causes AIDS in the journal Science by Luc Montagnier.


17th May

1749: Edward Jenner (d. 1823). English physician and microbiologist. Pioneer of the world's first vaccine, against smallpox. Arguably responsible for saving more lives than any other human.

18th May

 Bertrand Russell (d. 1970): British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, and social critic.
“I do not pretend to be able to prove that there is no God. I equally cannot prove that Satan is a fiction. The Christian god may exist; so may the gods of Olympus, or of ancient Egypt, or of Babylon. But no one of these hypotheses is more probable than any other: they lie outside the region of even probable knowledge, and therefore there is no reason to consider any of them.”


20th May

1806: John Stuart Mill (d. 1873). English economist, civil servant, and philosopher.  He has been called "the most influential English-speaking philosopher of the nineteenth century"



Material collected from the Irish atheist blogosphere and beyond; used without permission, compensation, liability, guarantee or implied endorsement.


Islam and the Necessity of Liberal Critique

Sarah Haider


Sarah Haider is a writer, speaker and activist and one of the co-founders of Ex-Muslims of North America. This is a transcript of her speech given to the American Humanist Association in 2015

Hi Everyone,

I'm Sarah, and for the last two years I have worked to build an organization for non-theist ex-Muslims, those who once identified themselves with Islam. and now call themselves atheists, agnostics or deists; and the organization is called Ex-Muslims of North America. We are a relatively new organization, but we are growing quickly and we now havecommunities of ex-Muslims in over fifteen cities

As you can imagine, it is notoriously difficult for ex-Muslims to find others like ourselves. Trying to build friendships among people who are often under siege and deep in the closet is incredibly difficult. In the first place, how do you even find people who are often deliberately doing their best to stay undercover? As an organization we work to provide ex-Muslims with much needed support, support to free themselves from the shackles of religion and to be themselves, to learn about each others' suffering, and above all else, endure.

We are in a peculiar situation, my colleagues and I, we are intimately connected with more godless ex-Muslims than likely anyone else in the world. I have heard thousands of stories from hundreds of people, about their experiences with Islam. Some lucky few were able to leave the faith with little consequence, the relationships with their families and friends and communities remained intact. But for most, this was not the case. Our journeys have seen tremendous struggles. For some the cost was only social, loss of friends and families. For others, they risked their health and mental well-being from being locked into psychiatric wards to enduring physical violence from all family members. 

Ex-Muslims, arguably more than any other group, are deeply familiar with the problems entrenched within Muslim communities and inherent within Islamic scriptures. As most of us happen to be both people of color and first- or second- generation immigrants, we are doubly affected, both by hatred and violence from Muslims, but also bigotry and xenophobia from the broader American public. Despite all this, my experience over the last two years has made me wary of speaking up, even to an audience such as this. I always expected feeling unwelcome from Muslim audiences, but I did not anticipate an equal amount of hostility from my allies on the Left. Read More.....


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News and views from Ireland and around the world




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