By David Stanley
24th Jun, 2016
I have been President of the University of Southampton Atheist Society for the past year, and was Secretary for the year before that, whilst I’ve been studying for an MEng in Mechanical Engineering. Even as Secretary I was heavily involved with the running of the society. I helped organise our Reason Week for 2015 which included talks from two speakers and three other events, as well as events throughout the year, which included an Atheist Cocktail Night, Rant Nights, Film Nights and talks from four further speakers. My contributions in this regard increased throughout the year. As President I helped organise our Reason Week for 2016 which included an Ex-Muslim and Black Atheists Panel Discussion between four speakers, as well as three talks from further speakers and another event. I also helped organise with our Christian Union a debate between our societies which was attended by well over a hundred people. As well as our usual events, my year as President included a further three talks from speakers, as well as a film screening with Q&A presented by its creator and director. Some of you may remember me from the Regional Convention that Reading held back along or from the AGM last summer and I’m glad of the opportunity to get to know you all better over the course of this Training Day and EGM weekend. (more »)
Introduction and Motivation
Hello! I’m Helen and I would love to be the new AHS Head of Membership. I’ve just graduated from Durham University with a masters degree in physics, and am moving on to work and study in the NHS as a medical physicist. I’ve been involved with the Durham AHS society (DASH) since 2013, and attended my first national AHS event in early 2015. I’ve absolutely loved my time being involved since then, and have endeavored to be part of as much as possible!
I would really relish the opportunity to hold this position as the AHS is something I am really passionate about. I had a pretty intensive Catholic upbringing, and as a teenager struggled to find faith despite trying really hard, even to the point where I became the student chaplain of my secondary school. On leaving for university I became less and less sure of what I wanted or believed in. I was unready to call myself an atheist as it seemed too negative at the time, and it was only through becoming involved with DASH that I found what I was looking for. I wanted somewhere that gave me a sense of community, but which was populated by similar minded people; people who rejected supernatural claims, who believed that living things were important and humans working together could achieve great things and who enjoyed debate and discussion. (more »)
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 »)