Quick links: Dawkins, religious freedom, blasphemy

It’s been a bit too long since I last posted but I just haven’t been finding time to write, today for example my Japanese started again and I never got around to all the revision I wanted to do. I do have some posts in mind but they take some time to write so to prevent this blog from stagnating I’m posting a few links to some things that you might find interesting.

First up there’s an interview with Richard Dawkins over in Playboy. It’s not the usual place you go for interviews with a well-known scientist and atheist but it does quite a good job.

Then just when I was finishing my post on religious freedom I came upon a similar piece written by Peter Singer. I’ve heard a lot about him but I haven’t seen any of his books in the shops.

Lastly I’ll share a piece about the effects of blasphemy laws. An 11-year-old girl from Pakistan could face the death penalty for supposedly burning a Qur’an. You can read the story by The Guardian or ABC News (on Yahoo!).

Boundaries of religious freedom

Freedom of religion is important. No one should be forced to believe something as long as their beliefs do not impact other people, although that doesn’t mean that unfounded beliefs shouldn’t be challenged. Unfortunately some people don’t realise that their beliefs belong to them and cannot just be passed onto their children, who neither have the knowledge or capabilities to yet understand the arguments, weigh the evidence and come to their own conclusion. At times this imposition of a parent’s religion onto their offspring is relatively harmless but this is not always the case and there is a disturbing precedent where people feel that freedom of religion includes the freedom to impose their beliefs on others.

This can be seen in a recent article in The Telegraph concerning how parents religious beliefs are at times responsible for a child being put through unnecessary suffering when there is nothing more that can be done medically. Continue reading

Jail time for not having a religion

I first mentioned Alexander Aan in my Valentine’s day post then, again, in my follow-ups post. For those that don’t remember, Alexander Aan is an Indonesian who posted a Facebook message that simply said, “God doesn’t exist.” That post was all it took for him to be arrested and for some Muslims to call for his execution. Continue reading