By Martin Smith
26th Jan, 2016
“As an undergraduate student in psychology, I was taught that multiple personalities were a very rare and bizarre disorder. That is all that I was taught on … It soon became apparent that what I had been taught was simply not true. Not only was I meeting people with multiplicity; these individuals entering my life were normal human beings with much to offer. They were simply people who had endured more than their share of pain in this life and were struggling to make sense of it.”
― Deborah Bray Haddock, The Dissociative Identity Disorder Sourcebook
Sometimes that struggle is too much.
I have spent some time these past few months asking myself why this is the case. Are humanists more likely to suffer mental health issues than people who have a religion? Nihilism is hardly comforting, is it? We are all faced with this question and we may not like the answer. At the same time, we cannot be religious and betray our reason, sense and intellect. So what are we to do? Well as one man once said ‘there can be no progress without head-on confrontation’. That head-on confrontation is what I propose we do.
Together we have the power to really make a difference. (more »)
By Hari Parekh
28th Nov, 2015
What is the need for Atheist, Humanist and Secular student societies at UK and Republic of Ireland (ROI) universities? The decline in religiosity in England and Wales was documented in the 2011 Census. This suggests an increasing need for institutions of higher education in the UK and ROI to provide an alternative point of view to those espoused by traditionalised religious societies, by creating a community for people to belong to. The National Federation of Atheist, Humanist and Secular Student Societies (AHS) is the optimum way of achieving this at UK and ROI universities.
The objective of the AHS, to have societies at every institute of higher education in the UK and ROI, is a sound objective to have (and in my role as new societies officer, I am trying to do so!), but what is the significance of this objective? The need to provide students with an alternative view at universities is paramount, as the purpose of having AHS societies on university campuses is to promote rationality, discussion and debate. This is essential to the university experience, and for students! An additional purpose is, for AHS societies to act as a network for people that are non-religious or agnostic: in particular apostates within the apostate-tripartite model. (more »)
By Caitlin Greenwood
6th Nov, 2015
Charity is often considered to be a specifically Christian virtue, which is a tradition dating back at least to Thomas Aquinas. Aquinas stated that charity was the love between god and man, and between man and his neighbour. The 1822 New Catholic Catechism reaffirmed this: “Charity is the theological virtue by which we love God above all things for his own sake, and our neighbour as ourselves for the love of God”. While some other Christian traditions have defined charity in a more restricted way, better reflecting the modern definition, they are in a somewhat of a minority worldwide.
The origin, then, of “Christian charity” seems to be a conflation of a specific theological term, with a more generally used definition. But what of all those Victorian philanthropists, wasn’t their charity directed by Christian morals? Andrew Carnegie, perhaps the most famous philanthropist, was a member of a Presbyterian church, and surely he stands for so many others, too numerous to name? (Leaving aside, of course, the fact that Carnegie avoided theism for the first half of his life, and joined the church well after beginning his philanthropic efforts.)
Unfortunately, it is not quite so simple as all that. Simply wanting to do good does not mean one automatically does good. (more »)
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