Here’s your Canadian Atheist Weekly Update for to .
 Demanding Kinder Classrooms Doesn’t Make You a Snowflake
At last a strong academic argument against the Jordan Peterson-style stupidity popular on the right that claims that students nowadays need to “toughen up” and tolerate their professors treating them like shit. Justice’s rebuttal is elegant in its simplicity: it’s not the students who live in a bubble isolated from the harsh realities of the world… it’s the professors. The students don’t need to “wake up” to the fact that not everyone is going to respect their gender identity – seriously, of course the fuck not, because they live in a world where their gender identity is almost universally not respected. They are not snowflakes for demanding that their classrooms be the one place where they are respected. It’s the professors who refuse to respect them who are out of touch with reality.
 Witness who stood up to neo-Nazi still angry after Muslim family insulted
For me, the most horrifying part of this story has to be the atheists who justified the Nazi’s harassment of the Muslim woman.
 Conservative senator asks colleague to explain strange Facebook activity
Strange Facebook activityis apparently Conservative for “liking hate groups”.
 We White Atheists Need to Start Giving A Damn About Racial Justice
A strong argument calling on atheists – and particularly white atheists – to start taking concerns about racism and intolerance more seriously.
 Religious rights may dominate remaining weeks of NDP leadership campaign: Hébert
The NDPhave to win in Québec if they want a shot even at being the Opposition… but to do that, the leadership candidates are flirting with bigotry and intolerance.
 Rewriting history? That’s how history is written in the first place
Those protesting the removal of Sir John A. Macdonald’s name from schools are making some terrible arguments. A freethinker should reject all dogma – not just religious dogma, but also historical dogma as well.
 Petition to change B.C. village of Moricetown to traditional name
If you are one of the people objecting to the removal of Sir John A. Macdonald’s name from schools, I’m curious to know where you stand on this case.
 Facebook has more people than any major religion except Christianity
At first, this is just an amusing factoid you can use to cite the declining relevance of religion. But read a little deeper, and Zuckerberg is making a pretty astute point: You can’t just eliminate religion; it’s just far too pervasive, and far too much of the mechanics of society rely on it. We need to replace all the things that religion provides society before religion will finally be completely superfluous. But is Facebook the best way to replace the functions of religion? From what I’ve seen of it, it’s a cesspool, and even worse, it’s a cesspool where your privacy and identity are being plumbed for profit. Surely we can do better.
 How a Canadian priest became the most effective disseminator of Nazi propaganda in America
The intersection of Christianity and Nazism is not news… but the amount of Canadian involvement is.
 Youth radicalization is on the rise. Here’s what we know about why.
Once again, research is showing that it is not the ideology itself that leads to radicalization, but rather the social context. It doesn’t matter if the ideology is alt-right white nationalism or Daesh-inspired Islamism. What matters is that young people (particularly men) are feeling marginalized, disadvantaged, directionless, or otherwise downtrodden, and that the ideology can be sold by its proponents as a means to find meaning and righting their grievances.
 Daphne Bramham: Vancouver Pride float protesting Sharia law acceptable in 2011, but banned in 2017
Predictably this is being spun by right-wing bigots as – and I find this phrase hysterical –
social justice creep. But the reality is, as usual, much more mundane. It wasn’t the fact that they were criticizing Islamism, Islam, or sharia law. It was the fact that they were doing it in such a careless, flippant way in the middle of a rising wave of violence and intolerance toward Muslims.
 Why is British Columbia so secular?
Some interesting ideas about why BC is so non-religious compared to the rest of Canada.
 Quebec Offered Texas Aid, But the Sec. of State Said They Just Needed Prayers
While there are legitimate reasons for refusing aid, that doesn’t excuse the silliness of requesting “prayers” instead.
 Car torched after Muslim cemetery announcement
Holy shit, by this point I should be jaded to the level of islamophobia in Canada – and particularly Québec – yet I continue to be horrified. This actually happened three weeks ago, and was kept quiet for the sake of protecting the mosque and its worshippers. And it wasn’t an isolated incident – it was only one of a number of attacks since the shooting in January.
 Quebec City pressed to ramp up fight against anti-Muslim attacks
There is increasing criticism that authorities are not taking islamophobia seriously enough, even in light of the January massacre.
 The mean old message of the Christian right
Michael Coren has been waffling back and forth from Catholic apologist to Protestant, largely on the strength of his concerns about Christianity’s stand on LGBT rights. Gotta give credit where it’s due. He’s still clinging to Christianity – currently as an Anglican – with the desperation of a drowning man clinging to flotsam. But when he starts using language calling Christianity’s determination to stick to its anti-LGBT positions as
declaration of war, one has to wonder how long he can manage to justify his half-assed moral stance.
 Former White Supremacists In Canada Give ‘Triage’ To Racist Radicals
There is a lot of very fascinating insight here from former white nationalists about how to pull people away from racist extremism. But buried deep in the article is a very interesting observation. One of the more powerful ways to influence people away from extremism is to have the targets of your extremist ire engage you compassionately. In other words, if you’re a Jew-hating Nazi, having Jewish people actually engage with you – talking with you, becoming your friend, showing compassion and empathy – can go a long way toward unravelling your bigotry. Given that atheists are frequently the targets of hate by religious extremists, one wonders how much more effective we could be at undermining their beliefs by talking to them as people, rather than writing them off as failed human beings.
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RE: Why is BC So Secular
Quoting from the second review:
“In other words, Cascadians spend a lot of time wondering exactly who they are. Spiritually speaking, most Cascadians drift, albeit often rather contentedly”
This is stupid. “Wondering who they are” is a dog whistle for the religious folks. I don’t wonder who I am. Nor do I “drift” which is another dog whistle. Just a stupid comment. You can see the gist of the perspective they’re talking from rather than writing objectively.
Still, understanding a cause for increased secularity is very interesting. I guess you can say that drifting spiritually is difficult for people who have no awareness of anything spiritual.
Barren desert areas seem to be the hotbeds for spiritual experiences. Just the sand beneath your feet and the sky above your head. Of course there are the drugs and alcohol avenues to spirituality., if just poor and insufficient nutrition can’t do the trick.
There is probably nothing very spiritual about a confrontation with a big bear, at least not in my experience.
My position about spirituality is that the idea has to be accepted before any spiritual event would ever be experienced. As soon as the idea of spiritualism is rejected the possibility of having a spiritual experience evaporates.
On the bright side you are still open to other delusions and they will always be experiential. Delusions exist, praise human frailty.
Eh, I don’t see it as a religious dog-whistle so much as someone trying to express an idea that we don’t really have any non-religious language for. This is actually a problem with several ideas, like “spiritual”: the word “spiritual” is just loaded with religious baggage, but what it describes isn’t necessarily religious. The feeling you get when contemplating the vastness of the universe, the interconnectedness of everything (“we are all star stuff”), and the incredible beauty of science and mathematics… we don’t really have a word for that other than “spiritual”. (Einstein was *terrible* for using loaded religious language for what were really secular ideas.)
Not being religious doesn’t mean you have metaphysical certainty, nor does it imply that you’ve “solved” the question of the meaning of life. It’s actually perfectly in line with secular humanism to be searching for meaning in your own life.
“Jordan Peterson-style stupidity popular on the right”
You plainly haven’t listened to Jordan for any length of time. He’s a very intelligent person, and he’s quite popular on the left as well, in spite of that.
I’m sorry but I can’t allow you to smuggle in speech codes with the threat of fines and other punishments as “kindness”. There’s no indication Jordan has been unkind, even though that’s not his responsibility.
“start taking concerns about racism and intolerance more seriously”
I already do. Our government is officially racist. And when only certain races can will their estates to members of their same race, and others (i.e. white) cannot, that is a racism that endures across generations.
I don’t think atheists have any particular need to address this issue, and because I’m not a racist I don’t think any particular race has a duty to address this issue more than others, but certainly as Canadians, everyone must address this so that we can start moving toward equality, instead of away from it.
“any leader sporting religious headwear would face stiff voter resistance”
As well they should. There is no requirement to wear any particular headwear, and the free choice to do so is clearly a statement that the person views themselves as in some way exceptional (typically better) in relation to the rest of us. And of course it signifies adoption of a certain set of ideas. It’s been in vogue of late to promote Sikhs as these sort of Tom Cruise types who go around saving the world. Tell it to Air India.
ALL religion is dangerous, and we should be especially wary of those who want it to be the very first thing you know about them, no matter which religion it is.
“A freethinker should reject all dogma”
Physician, heal thyself!
“I’m curious to know where you stand on this case.”
Nobody knows anything about Moricetown or Morice, so who cares? Get back to me after they make the feature film, TV miniseries, Broadway musical about him (played by a black woman of course).
“it’s a cesspool, and even worse, it’s a cesspool where….”
… where certain people think theirs don’t stink, and kick other people out.
“Once again, research is showing that it is not the ideology itself that leads to radicalization”
Absolutely wrong. Rather, although it is a central factor, it’s not the only factor. Fire requires fuel, and oxidizer, and a spark. Fundamentalism is the fuel.