There Was Nothing Wrong with Richard Dawkins’ Tweet That “Islam Needs a Feminist Revolution”

[Excerpts from my post at The Friendly Atheist]

By Bo Gardiner

I’ve disagreed with Richard Dawkins before on his insensitivity to women, feminism, and majority privilege. Some of it he’s apologized for, so I’d like to think we’re starting to be heard. I know all too well from environmental campaigns the importance of acknowledging our successes.

And thus, I part with my fellow Friendly Atheist contributor Lauren Nelson in her recent post, which struck out scathingly at Dawkins for the following single tweet:

There is nothing wrong with those words.  The question deserves answers, not attacks.

Lauren wrote:

It’s not unusual for renowned atheist Richard Dawkins to rub people of faith the wrong way. It’s not unheard of for him to get on the bad side of feminists. But it’s not every day that he pisses off the intersection of the two groups. But this week, with a series of tweets, that’s exactly what Dawkins did.

He started the hullabaloo off with this humdinger:  “Islam needs a feminist revolution. It will be hard. What can we do to help?”

When I first saw her headline — “Richard Dawkins Fails Spectacularly on Feminism and Islam” — I sighed and thought “Oh dear, what has he said now?” But when I arrived at his tweet, I kept scanning, looking for the bad part. I couldn’t believe it when I realized that was it. The entire article was a critique on those 15 words, and, in my opinion, it didn’t advance feminist goals, progressive goals, or Humanist goals.

Let’s work through her tally of problems with it.

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Mandisa Thomas’s essay for CNN: Confessions of a Black Atheist

Excerpts from Mandisa Thomas’ essay yesterday for CNN.  She delivers a much-needed message.

mandisa-thomas

Mandisa Thomas founder and current President of Black Nonbelievers, Inc. She also serves on the boards for Foundation Beyond Belief and the Secular Coalition for America.

African-American atheists represent a small but growing segment of American atheists at large.

Most blacks, though, identify as religious, and the church is intricately tied to tradition, history and culture.

I am atheist — and I am black.

Yes, we exist — even if many in the media sometimes don’t notice us. In a CNN special that aired on Tuesday, for example, people of color were not as well-represented as American atheism’s more familiar face: You know, white males.

In fact, African-American atheists represent a still small — though growing — segment of American atheists at large…

Most blacks identify as religious. Belief in God is touted with pride, and the church is intricately tied to tradition, history and culture. It is not uncommon to assume that I attend services as a black woman. The question often isn’t if I go to church — it’s where. And even if one doesn’t go to church, surely they still have faith — because our people have endured and overcome so much hardship that it had to be the work of a god… It can be extremely difficult to discuss religion objectively in the black community. Many have social, emotional and financial stakes invested in this institution, so for one to even say they have doubts is like committing treason. Continue reading

Top Five Reasons God Loves Storms

god was here

Then there are the times we can just let believers make our case for us.

Moody Adams Evangelistic Association, publisher of evangelical videos, tapes, books and a magazine, has just posted The 5 Reasons God Permits Storms.  You will undoubtedly be won over:

5

To scare you until you beg Him for mercy.

hanging onto cross

“Storms are allowed to lead men to seek the Lord:  ‘So persecute them with thy tempest, and make them afraid with thy storm… that they may seek thy name, O LORD… ‘“ Continue reading

What in God’s name are they doing to the children?

Evangelical Christians around the globe are increasingly holding large children’s revivals where they practice a disturbing ritual called “anointing by the holy spirit,” “being slain by the holy spirit,” “catching the holy ghost,” or “falling out.”

It is intimidating, physically coercive, deeply stressful, and emotionally manipulative. Children are under tremendous pressure to cooperate, to mimic the adults’ bizarre behaviors, and to avoid being judged unworthy, disappointing, or worse, under satan’s spell.

The older children and teens are under great peer pressure to fit in. The youngest simply don’t understand they’re supposed to fall over. Their purity and honesty shines through.

Most are acting, consciously or subconsciously, feeling anxiety and guilt long afterward for not having the “genuine” experience they imagine the rest are surely having. Others are infected by the contagion of mass hysteria, a temporary insanity driven by the shouting, the music, and the cacophony of adults “speaking in tongues” (glossolalia) — meaningless babbling with the same origin as the toppling over.

The preachers, of course, are paid for results.

What kind of belief system must force itself on children, long before they are able to understand and decide for themselves?

It is child abuse and should not be permitted.

This video was created by me using all footage uploaded by the various churches to public YouTube or Facebook sites to promote these rituals.

For further information on the current rapid global growth of the groups performing these child rituals, see these links:

Templeton Foundation: How Global Pentecostalism is Changing the World

Pew Forum: Evangelical Beliefs and Practices

Pew Forum: Christian Movements and Denominations

Pew Forum: Regional Distribution of Christians

God’s Not Dead… condensed!

In which we learn that religious bigotry’s not dead either!

Your one-stop Christian source for baseless, sweeping generalizations about the character of a religious minority (atheists) so you can hate them without guilt!

The “atheist professor” star, Kevin Sorbo, is on the talkshow circuit promoting the film’s heartwarming Christian message of anti-atheist dehumanization and hate. His network TV hosts are bravely joining him in defying social conventions against broad attacks on the character of religious minorities.

I’ve added helpful captions just in case there was the slightest subtlety in this film’s anti-atheist message (though none was detected).

Carl Sagan’s “Pale Blue Dot”: Still Timely Excerpts

We all know the famous goosebump-raising, tear-eliciting passage beginning “Look again at that dot…” But there’s much more here to savor. While much of Pale Blue Dot is devoted to summarizing the state of planetary exploration as of 1997, when the book was published, there remain many fascinating observations that are still relevant. I’ve tried to digest these here.

 

spinning blue dot[11]

A rather poetic summary of space exploration so far

Since the advent of successful interplanetary flight in 1962, our machines have flown by, orbited, or landed on more than seventy new worlds. We have wandered among the wanderers. We have found vast volcanic eminences that dwarf the highest mountain on Earth; ancient river valleys on two planets enigmatically one too cold and the other too hot for running water; a giant planet with an interior of liquid metallic hydrogen into which a thousand Earths would fit; whole moons that have melted; a cloud-covered place with an atmosphere of corrosive raids, where even the high plateaus are above the melting point of lead ancient surfaces on which a faithful record of the violent formation of the Solar System is engraved; refugee ice worlds from the transplutonian depths; exquisitely patterned ring systems, marking the subtle harmonies of gravity; and a world surrounded by clouds of complex organic molecules like those that in the earliest history of our planet led to the origin of life.

[p 7-8]

spinning blue dot[13]

Ah yes, the famous bit, from the chapter “You Are Here”

The spacecraft was a long way from home,

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Christians Rush to Exploit Robin Williams’ Death

While media are reporting extremist Muslim tweets that say Robin Williams is in hell, (Buzzfeed: Jihadis Are Tweeting That They Hate Robin Williams), the Internet is rapidly filling with Christian columnists, bloggers and forums either condemning Robin or exploiting his death to advance religion:

Allen West, former U.S. Rep.:  The lesson we must learn from the passing of Robin Williams

… all the awards … mean nothing if God’s peace does not fill one’s life… “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” … that is what God touched me to understand in the death of Robin Williams — and He wanted me to share with you. After all, we can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens us. I pray that Robin came to know our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in those final moments… Continue reading