Weekly Update: to

Here’s your Canadian Atheist Weekly Update for to .

[Photo of David Eggen]
David Eggen
  • [] The problem of Christians becoming atheists

    I won’t be surprised if the title of this series gets your hackles up – what, really, is the “problem” with becoming atheist, right? But this extended interview – spanning 3 articles (part 2, part 3) – with John Marriott is actually quite an interesting read. Marriott is not the usual pulpit-pounding pundit we hear “concerns” about the hemorrhaging of believers from Christianity, insisting that it can be stopped if they just Jesused people harder. Marriott actually has a pretty decent grip on why people are evacuating the churches. Now… whether his solutions are workable… I’d love to hear your opinion on that.

  • [] Montreal priest found guilty of sexual assault, sexual touching

    This report of Boucher’s sentencing is mostly dry and factual, and it doesn’t capture the true horror of the allegations. For starters, the allegations span 15 years and 3 victims (the charges in this case were only for one of the alleged victims – there are future trials coming up for the other ones). And Boucher’s “defence” – which the judge rightly dismissed as fucking ludicrous – were that the victim (in this case, never mind the other two) had made up the allegations simply because he wanted to get back at Boucher for yelling at him. But that’s all just the tip of the iceberg. Because it turns out that years before the charges, the people in his parish knew he was a fucking monster… and still sent their kids into his care. They knew that he was verbally and even physically abusive to the kids – to the point that the kids were afraid of him. And there are even rumours that they knew he was rapey! One parent even said that a different priest had warned her that the Church knew about accusations of raping children… while he was still working with kids.

  • [] Pope Suggests It’s Better to Be an Atheist Than to Live Like a Hypocritical Christian

    As per usual when Pope Frank says something apparently mostly-not-evil, the world falls over themselves to fawn over the man and declare him the most enlightened person EVAR!!1!11! Don’t be fooled. This is just a nasty slur against atheists, nothing more, nothing less. What he’s saying is that if you’re morally weak, you should be an atheist. If you’re going to be an asshole, you should be an atheist, because otherwise you’re giving Catholics a bad name. That’s the Pope’s message. There’s nothing tolerant, progressive, or enlightened about it; it’s just another flavour of classic bigotry like: “people are only atheists because they want to sin”. When he goes low, we should go high… but fuck that. I say we start telling all nonreligious rapists: “Look, if you’re going to rape, you might as well become Catholic. At least there you’ll be in like-minded company, and they’ll even help cover up your raping from secular authorities!”

  • [] Link between brain damage and religious fundamentalism established by scientists

    Yipes! 😂 Now, to be absolutely clear, the study hasn’t found a link between brain damage and religion. It has found a link between brain damage and fundamentalism. That link is via cognitive flexibility and openness – people with less of that end to be more fundamentalist, and thus brain damage that inhibits those abilities tends to lead to fundamentalism. Theoretically, if there were such a thing as “atheist fundamentalism”, then it would be the case that brain damage could also lead to that… but since the majority of atheists today became atheists after deconverting from a religion, there can’t be all that many who are atheists because that’s what their parents told them they were and they’re stickin’ to it.

  • [] Education minister asks public religious schools for employment agreements

    Damn and double damn, every story I read about Eggen makes me like him more. Okay, so the background here is that a couple weeks back, stories broke in multiple Alberta Catholic school districts that employees were being forced to sign discriminatory (particularly anti-LGBTQ) contracts. Following the revelations, the NDP government made the usual noises rah-rah-discrimination-is-bad rah-rah-we’ll-look-into-it. Normally that would be the end of it – the government would make a show of caring as long as the story was in the news cycle, but ultimately nothing would be done. But now it looks like Eggen is actually looking into it. And he’s not just looking into Catholic schools – he’s looking into all religious schools and programs under public systems. Unfortunately it’s not all perfect: Eggen says that while he doesn’t support discrimination on the basis of sexual preference, he does support religious discrimination. I don’t know how he can square that circle, personally.

  • [] Canada will grant asylum to Saudi woman fleeing alleged abuse: Trudeau

    This past week, one of the biggest stories on social media was the plight of Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun. Al-Qunun was stopped by authorities in Thailand and stripped of her passport after fleeing her Saudi Arabian family during a visit to Kuwait; she had hoped to escape to Australia. Al-Qunun, only 18, had renounced Islam – a capital crime in Saudi Arabia – and had allegedly already been the victim of abuse when she fled. She was stopped in Thailand, apparently after her family informed the authorities, and ended up barricading herself in a hotel room to avoid being put on a flight back to Kuwait. That’s when she appealed to Twitter for help… and her story went viral. Eventually the Thai government relented, saying they weren’t going to forcefully put her on a plane back to Kuwait, and even the United Nations stepped in, granting al-Qunun refugee status (as I understand it, and I admit I don’t know much about this field, the UN can grant refugee status in situations where specific countries cannot – for example, Australia can’t grant her refugee status until she’s in Australia and asks for it, and Thailand is blocking her from leaving so she can’t get there… but the UN can grant refugee status from anywhere, which would then obligate Thailand to let her travel to Australia). It was Canada who finally stepped up to grant her asylum, and now she is safely in Toronto. (It’s not clear why she came to Canada rather than Australia. I’ve heard whispers that the UN had originally been working to send her to Australia, but then withdrew their recommendation that she go there. I haven’t heard anything more about why.) Al-Qunun deleted her Twitter account due to death threats, but a friend has promised she intends to open it back up once things have settled a bit.

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