By Alexa Robertson
11th Feb, 2016
Maryam Namazie, of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain, has commented that ‘it is ironic that these ‘minority’ groups demand a safe space when it is the apostates and liberals who need a safe space to go to.’
A safe space or ‘positive space’ is an idea which exists as a policy within many Student Unions across University campuses in the UK. Promoted by the National Union of Students (NUS) this policy operates as a form of protest against supposed discrimination, hatred, exclusion and essentially any form of disagreement. Originating within the Women’s Movement as a space in which women can form a sense of community without feeling judged by men, the safe space now branches out to groups like LGBT and Women’s networks and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) groups. The safe space idea has been implemented to provide an environment for those who would feel more at ease in communicating experiences in isolation from certain stimuli which causes trauma. Therefore the safe space can, in some circumstances, prevent distress and encourage constructive interaction. Yet, it is still the case that the internal dynamics of these groups’ views and opinions is complex and in danger of being generalised by the policy, favouring the simplified narratives presented by those deemed to be representative of the group. (more »)
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 »)
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