Three thoughts

Yesterday I said that 2009 was supposed be the year where I wouldn’t get wound up about religious stupidity. Well, that’s still true. You see, getting wound up about religious stupidity is one thing. Being critical of religion and pointing out its stupidity is something altogether different.

Here are three things I’d like to discuss today.

re: Vows to Allah not allowed

Last year, there was a little stir-up in The Netherlands when some police districts allowed new officers to be sworn in with an vow to Allah. The SGP (a conservative, christian political party that doesn’t allow women to become a member) and the PVV (a right wing, xenophobic outfit) screamed bloody murder, called it a step in the wrong direction, and asked the minister to outlaw this practice.

Today, the minister replied that police officers may not vow to Allah. “So help me God” and “This I declare and affirm” are, and remain, the only legal options. For police officers and civil servants who work for the central government. All army personnel and civil servants who work for a lesser government are allowed to swear to Allah.

So we have a situation where some people working for the government are allowed to invoke Allah when taking a vow, while others are not. There’s probably some logic behind that, but it escapes me. As I’ve said before, I think that you should either be allowed to swear to any god that tickles your fancy, or to no god at all. And I’d prefer that last option.

Bus campaign

Last year, buses were driving through London with a quote from the bible, and an url. On that website it is stated as fact that if you do not accept Jesus as your Lord and Saviour™ you will be condemned to suffer an eternity of torment in hell.

As a reaction to that generous and loving sentiment, Ariane Sherine started a counter campaign. As of today 800 buses with the slogan “There’s probably no god. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life” are riding all through the UK.

There's probably no god. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.

Advocates of religion often claim that without (their) god, life is meaningless. It isn’t. If you don’t believe in gods or an afterlife, this is all you got. And for me, that alone makes it more meaningful than a life where all your strings are pulled by some god or one where you are only doing good because you’re threatened with eternal damnation. Life is not merely a prelude to eternal life in paradise. It is all you got, and you gotta give it meaning yourself.

You can call me faithless

By now, it should come as no surprise that I do not believe in a god. I’ve been there and done that. When I started to really think about it all, it didn’t hold up and I let it go. It’s only that in the last few years, I kept thinking and reading about religion (as it keeps intriguing me) and I started to feel the need to speak out more. So I did.

When I had written some posts on religious issues, I figured I needed an appropriate category. I took a line from the Rush song Faithless, which seemed appropriate, but also has a nice ring to it.

I don’t have faith in faith
I don’t believe in belief
You can call me faithless
You can call me faithless
But I still cling to hope and I believe in love
And that’s faith enough for me