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UCLan to pay tribute to Sir Terry Pratchett

Publication5Original Article by Lyndsey Boardman

Students and staff from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) are inviting people to join them as they pay tribute to the late author Sir Terry Pratchett.

Following the death of the award-winning author last week, several UCLan student societies have teamed up with Alzheimer’s Research UK to host an event on Thursday 19 March to celebrate the life and work of Sir Terry Pratchett.

Event organiser Glen Carrigan, who is a Masters by Research Student in UCLan’s School of Psychology, will share a reading from Sir Terry’s 2013 humanist of the year acceptance speech which will be followed by the screening of two films; Terry Pratchett:Shaking Hands with Death and The Colour of Magic.

Glen commented: “Sir Terry Pratchett was a fantastic and unique individual, talented and conscientious, as well as a beloved patron of humanism.“He leaves behind not only a wealth of literary works that many of us have enjoyed from childhood through to this present day, but also a legacy in ethical and compassionate charitable and social efforts including supporting assisted dying, and raising awareness of Alzheimer’s disease.This event will celebrate the life and work of Sir Terry Pratchett as we hope he would have wanted it; with humour, reflection and a feeling of only slight embuggerance.”

The event will take place in UCLan’s Darwin Building Lecture Theatre from 6pm – 8pm. It is free to attend but the organisers welcome donations to Alzheimer’s Research UK. People can book via EventbriteFor more information contact Glen on GACarrigan1@uclan.ac.uk or call 01772 893775. The tribute evening will be run in association with the British Humanist Association, the UCLan Students’ Union Atheist, Humanist, and Secularist Societies and Alzheimer’s Research UK.

Lancashire Evening Post Coverage.

via UCLan to pay tribute to Sir Terry Pratchett.

A Religion of Peace or War: Both Actually.

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Calling any religion, a religion of peace is a problem. We might wish they were, and our media takes every opportunity to tell us that they are despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, but that isn’t the same as it being true. Blanket statements to the effect that they are, negate any need for criticism or improvement and for this reason are not just misleading, but dangerous. Tony Blair would have us believe that violence in the name of religion is  an ‘abuse of religion’ and a ‘perversion of faith.’ This is probably a well intentioned attempt at preserving community cohesion, but it’s anything but true as Ian Reader, a Professor of Religious Studies at Lancaster University succinctly points out. Such sentiments enable the ‘moderate’ believer to rest easy, knowing that they’re unlikely to have to change their opinions, but then the fanatic can equally believe that they don’t need to either, because after all, theirs is a religion of peace too.

Freedom of Religion, and Freedom from Religion

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Bangladesh arrests atheist bloggers

 Credit; Euronews

For those concerned with recent events in Bangladesh with regards to the suppression of free expression and prosecution of atheist bloggers. Below is a letter I have sent to the High Commission of Bangladesh in order to help raise awareness of these events and others across the world. These individuals need our help to protect their freedom of expression and right not to believe. If you feel moved by, or feel that such a struggle represents your views, I implore you to take action in any way available to you such as sending a letter to their ambassadors or joining a local protest. The International Humanist and Ethical Union can provide resources for such a letter writing campaign. The demands of those that persecute the bloggers as well as Christians in the country (Muslims) can be seen here. Their justifications predictably come from God and their chants are savage including “one point, one demand, atheists must be hanged”. It is only through our action, that the values of a free, democratic, secular society can be protected.
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To speak or not to speak…. Speak; Reform section 5

Thanks to all involved in preserving free speech in the UK. We can now have a frank debate on important issues without risking prosectution just for having a difference of opinion. Such differences of opinion have, by some individuals and groups been the target of legitimate legal action by being deemed a source of “insult”. This insult has often justified in the minds of the insulted: violence, prejudice, censorship and immunity from criticism of their opinions on a broad range of topics from religion and LGBT rights to equality, education, political and ideological issues. This reform translates into an ability to be critical of eachother, ideas, beliefs and practices within the sphere of constructive debate in order to make for a better democratic society in 2013 and beyond.

For further information visit; Reform Section 5 – Feel free to insult me

Stand up and be counted

The president of Atheist Alliance International describes the opposition to Atheists being counted

On December 7th 2012 Atheist Alliance International launched an atheist census. I think as a group of like minded individuals we have the right to express ourselves and count our number within our community. Some people seemingly think that, is somehow out of order. The census was the victim of a denial of service attack after only 17 hours of being online and I and many others didn’t even get a look in. What have those outside of the atheist community got to fear exactly other than a rational world that denounces absurd ideologies and in some cases barbaric practices (recent focus on genital mutilation in Malaysia). I feel this is an affront to my right to freedom of expression, want to see the survey back online and be pushed out into the world. Read the rest of this entry

Does God make us ignorant?

I know there are many more religions that these!

One of the most interesting and perplexing things I have ever come across in life is the notion of religion.  Those groups of people who seem to vie for control as to one monotheistic belief. Who says belief is intrinsically valuable anyway? The advocates of it, that’s who those who pick and choose to highlight only those parts of their religious laws that are positive in the light of the general populace and gloss over all the horrendous parts. Now I’m not saying all kinds of belief are a bad thing, quite the opposite actually. Belief in oneself is valuable as it motivates us to strive to better ourselves and belief in a tangible just cause may also have merit. The type of belief I think harms us as a species is the one where people choose to believe something just because they believe in the face of evidence, claim that they are the victims of prejudice just because others don’t hold their beliefs, use it as an excuse to make war and seek to keep man rooted in the past using the old “it has always been so it shall always be thus” argument… Gods. Read the rest of this entry

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