Secular Sunday #114 - Alive and Kicking || 2 March, 2014
Secular Sunday - Atheist Ireland's weekly newsletter
Derek Walsh
As well as all the usual bits you've come to know and love, this week's issue has an extra section contributed by Atheist Ireland member Dave Kiernan. I'm always on the look out for original content or other assistance, so if you're interested in contributing, be it on a once-off, occasional or regular basis let me know. There's no pay but you do  get the satisfaction of having helped and of seeing your name in bold print.

- Derek Walsh, Editor



Civil Registration Act

Since the Civil Registration Act was amended last year to allow marriages to be solemnised by non-religious bodies, Atheist Ireland has been endeavouring to determine the criteria by which such bodies are judged. A summary of our correspondence on the matter and our findings to date can be found here.

Alive Alive O

Alive! is a Catholic Monthly Newspaper distributed in Ireland. Dave Kiernan has looked at February's issue so you don't have to. Available here in case you feel the need.
All text below except that in square brackets is taken directly from
Alive! Emphasis added unless otherwise stated.

Politicians must save their souls not just their seats

An Irish moral theologian has stressed that all Catholics, including politicians, are called to live their faith in the workplace.  And he noted that they must refuse to do what is evil,  whatever it may cost them. Catholics should be involved in politics,  but need to remember “they are there not simply to save their seats but also their souls,” Fr. John Harris told a Dublin symposium. [...] In an implicit criticism of [Taoiseach Enda] Kenny and others on the left,  he remarked that “those who view the moral duty of Christians to act according to their conscience as something that disqualifies them from political life” are “guilty of intolerant secularism”.

Say what we like, God is with us anyway

Irish Author John Waters drew on his own experience of losing and rediscovering his Catholic faith when he addressed a huge gathering in Rome some months ago. Standing beside Pope Francis, he proposed Christ and the resurrection as the only alternative to the hopeless vision of life offered by the modern world. Built inside the mysterious world given to mankind by the Creator, today`s manmade world “makes us feel safer,  yet less hopeful, makes us feel more intelligent, yet brings us closer to despairing” said Waters. 
The other speaker at the gathering was Paul Bhatti from Pakistan,  whose brother Shabaz,  a Government Minister, was assassinated by Muslim extremists in March 2013. Members of Pakistans Catholic minority, both brothers were outspoken critics of the country’s grossly unjust blasphemy laws. [[Sauce for the goose is obviously not sauce for the gander - DK]].



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.



Sunday 9 March, 12:00 noon, Trinity Capital Hotel, Pearse St., Dublin 2 (map)
Secular Sunday Brunch. Facebook event page


Wednesday 19 March, 8:00 pm, Absolute Hotel, Sir Harry's Mall, Limerick (map)
The Mid West Humanists will meet. (Ask at the hotel reception for a card key to get up the lift to the meeting, which is usually on the third floor.)


Sunday 9 February, 12:00 noon, A Casa Mia, Tobergal Lane, Sligo (map)
Secular Sunday brunch.



3 March

World Wildlife Day

6 March

European day of the Righteous, commemorates those who have stood up against crimes against humanity and totalitarianism with their own moral responsibility.

8 March

International Women's Day

This Week in History

6 March

1869: Dmitri Mendeleev presents the first periodic table to the Russian Chemical Society.

7 March

1989: Iran and the United Kingdom break diplomatic relations after a row over Salman Rushdie and his controversial novel, The Satanic Verses.

8 March

1978: The first radio episode of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams, is transmitted on BBC Radio 4.



3 March


Prof Brian Cox

1968: Brian Cox. British particle physicist, a Royal Society research fellow, and a professor at the University of Manchester. He also works on the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider, CERN near Geneva, Switzerland. He is best known to the public as the presenter of a number of science programmes for the BBC.

4 March

1923: Patrick Moore (d. 2012). English astronomer. Presenter of the BBC television show The Sky at Night from 1955 until shortly before his death.

5 March

1938: Lynn Margulis (d. 2011).  American biologist. A major contributor to endosymbiotic theory.

1955: Penn Jillette, American magician, actor, author and skeptic.


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

Iona Irrationality

by Conor Farrell

Conor Farrell

If you were listening to Marian Finucane on RTE Radio One over the weekend you may have heard her chatting with with Breda O’Brien, patron of the lobby group the Iona Institute (a business name for Lolek Ltd). During the interview she stated that the Iona Institute is not a Catholic group. My eyebrow was certainly raised at this, and it echoes what her fellow Iona patron, Patricia Casey said to Matt Cooper on Today FM early last year. Read more


How the right to die improves the quality of life of rational dying people and their loved ones

by Michael Nugent

Michael NugentToday’s Irish court judgment, in which Waterford man Gerald Vollrath was given a suspended sentence for attempting to murder his dying mother in a nursing home, shows the type of tragedy that will inevitably occur when we criminalize something that is morally good, and indeed that some people see as a moral obligation, which is helping a dying loved one to avoid unnecessary suffering. Read more

Professor Patricia Casey & the Iona Institute: The Rantings of an Atheist to a Religious Psychiatrist

by Cyril Butler

The Cyril Butleraccount of Abram’s willingness to slaughter is son Issac to appease god was seen as a highly honourable trait in the book of genesis.  God is so pleased with the readiness of Abram to make this sacrificial offering that he sends an angel to intervene and tell Abram that the killing of his son will no longer be necessary. Instead, a ram that has been caught in nearby bushes is deemed to be an acceptable substitute and is slaughtered in the place of Issac.  Abraham was to take a central position in the establishment of Judeo- Christian tradition and subsequently is mentioned in the Koran as a prophet within Islam. Read more

Media Watch

News and views from Ireland and around the world



Copyright © 2014 Atheist Ireland, All rights reserved.