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Anders Breivik and the Culture of Islamophobia

Published on: Author: Callum Brown Leave a comment

      I have just been reading an excellent  study of the Norwegian mass killer Anders Breivik. In this, a social anthropologist, Sindre Bangstad, argues that the scary thing about this man’s murder of 77 people on 22 July 2011 was not the capacity for a single human being to turn hatred of a… Continue reading

Problems for the non-believer? Defining religion and non-religion

Published on: Author: Callum Brown Leave a comment

    Various legal definitions of belief have emerged recently from parliaments and at least one law court in the UK. Each causes problems, especially for many of those with no religious belief. These definitions have been undertaken in good faith (a surprise use of the term, perhaps). The wish is to extend and better… Continue reading

Christian Country – yes or no? Ten seconds to make up your mind

Published on: Author: Callum Brown 1 Comment

      A lot of air, and sometimes a bit of light, have been shone on the issue that David Cameron triggered two weeks’ ago. Demands for definitive statements on whether UK (or a part of it, usually England) is a “Christian country” have been rather insistent from media callers. Statistics are being bandied… Continue reading

Christian country? Or does Britain just talk about it a lot?

Published on: Author: Callum Brown 2 Comments

      David Cameron seems to be taking a bit of a surge towards Christianity. Several years ago, he reported his Christian faith as being a “bit like the reception for Magic FM in the Chilterns: it sort of comes and goes”. In his recent article in the Anglican-aligned Church Times, he still says:… Continue reading

Getting angry with BBC’s “Thought for the day”

Published on: Author: Callum Brown 2 Comments

    Nothing exercises the ire of British humanists and atheists more than religionists’ monopoly of the “Thought for the Day” slot on BBC Radio 4’s “Today” programme.  Less than 4 minutes’ long, I have found on visiting Humanist groups around the UK that this irritates British secularists in the same way as Americans get… Continue reading

Is being “spiritual” to be “non secular”?

Published on: Author: Callum Brown Leave a comment

   Yoga at English Bay, Vancouver, 2009 A recent judgement (December 2013) [http://www.supremecourt.gov.uk/decided-cases/docs/UKSC_2013_0030_Judgment.pdf] by the British Supreme Court raises an interesting point about the epistemology of the secular. Whilst the judgement of their Lordships was undoubtedly right, since it ended one form of religious discrimination, the terms of their ruling exposed a shortfall in understanding contemporary… Continue reading

Gay marriage can divide humanists

Published on: Author: Callum Brown Leave a comment

Gay marriage is generally supported by the worldwide movement of humanists, and generally also groups of atheists, secularists and freethinkers. But there are some who oppose it. Since 2009, I have interviewed over 70 atheists, humanists and secularists, and a small proportion of these opposed extending gay rights. As part of my oral history of humanism, I… Continue reading