Shams Bandar: Why Do We Pin All Our Problems on the West?


I’d never heard of Saudi-born singer Shams Bandar before, but after watching the brief clip of her in discussion below, I’d be pleased to hear from her again.


“Why do we pin all our problems on the West? For 1,400 years we have been slaughtering one another, just because one of us prays one way and another prays a different way.”

Of course, The West deserves its share of criticism for meddling in foreign affairs, but as Bandar points out, this excuse simply will not fly as the sole explanation for every atrocity and human rights violation in Muslim countries.

It should be clear to anyone by now why theocracy and man-made ideology strives to subjugate women and deny them a voice. Religious zealots are afraid of smart, vocal women like Bandar. And they should be.

h\t to Ali A Rizvi

Stephen Knight is host of The #GSPodcast. You can listen to The Godless Spellchecker Podcast here, and support it by becoming a patron here.

You Can’t Fight Segregation and Support Faith Schools Mr. Cameron


The Conservative Conference is currently taking place in my home city of Manchester. Aside from it playing havoc with my morning commute, David Cameron has had some things of note to say about extremism and religious fundamentalism. There’s a more detailed summary over at The Telegraph, but I thought I’d post some of the paper’s highlights here.

On Jeremy Corbyn

Cameron says, of Corbyn:

“My friends, we cannot let that man inflict his security-threatening, terrorist-sympathising, Britain-hating ideology on the country we love”


He also chastises Corbyn for describing the death of Bin Laden as a ‘tragedy’. Full context of that can be found here.

I’ve expressed my own dissatisfaction with the current Labour Leader on a recent episode of Taking The Myth. You can read a bit more about some of my shared concerns in this open letter to him on Left Foot Forward.

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Taking The Myth – 04 Oct Edition

This week on Taking The Myth, Stephen Knight and A Scotsman Abroad discuss the big topics with guest callers. Topics include: The UCC Oregon shooting, Craig Stephen Hicks and The Pope. Dean Obeidallah and The Pope are this week’s ASLAN contenders. A Scotsman Abroad also blames something on religion. We also pay our respects to Glen Carrigan. Also, correction – ‘Rand’ is a male name…

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The Views And Potential Motivations Of Craig Hicks


Yet another school shooting has taken place earlier this week in The USA. How often can you keep labelling these events as ‘shocking’ before ‘routine’ seems more appropriate?

Reports suggest the killer quizzed his victims on their religious convictions before gunning down those identifying as Christians. The usual liberal regressive apologists have been out in force, finger-waving at ‘New Atheism’. And worse, sanctimonious atheists have been penning obnoxious ‘atheists, we need to talk’ type blogs. The fact is: We know very little about this shooting. We also know very little about this killer. All that these over-opinionated individuals are doing is blowing a trumpet in a concerto of uninformed noise.

There may well be many things to discuss with atheists, and non-atheists alike over this horrific mass murder – however, I think the gravity of the event deserves a more responsible approach. It is for this reason I shall wait until there has been an investigation before joining the orchestra.

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Goodbye Glen Carrigan


Glen Carrigan, a well respected activist in humanist and secular circles has left us too soon. I didn’t know him well, and don’t have all the details concerning his death, but I thought I’d pay my respects here.

I met Glen in May1 during a double recording of The BBC’s The Big Questions  (pictured together above). Glen blogged about that experience, as well as many other things of interest over at his ‘Homoscientificus’ site. We had a few hours break in between episodes so decided to chance a local Warrington pub for some lunch. He left an impression. Funny, charming, knowledgeable and passionate about his activism and humanism. We were both giddy at managing to sneak in some microphone time at the end of our first recording and bonded over having both studied at UCLAN. I got the distinct impression he’d studied much harder though.

He struck me as someone who had the intelligence and personality to achieve great things. I felt optimistic about the future of scepticism knowing that someone like Glen was running UCLAN’s Atheist, Humanist and Secularist Society. He handed me his business card and explained that he wasn’t sure whether to have a serious card, or a light-hearted one – so settled on a double-sided solution. Smart.


My thoughts are with his friends and family.

Stephen Knight is host of The #GSPodcast. You can listen to The Godless Spellchecker Podcast here, and support it by becoming a patron here.

  1. Albeit largely trivial, in the interest of accuracy I’ve just noticed my chronology is a little off. I actually met Glen for the first time in April at QED Con. Though I remember our conversation there clearly, I wrongly ordered that event in my memory as coming later

The Pope Thanks Kim Davis For Her ‘Courage’


I’ve never quite understood why many of my fellow secularists fawn over Pope Francis. There seems to be an unexplainable consensus that this Pope is some sort of uber-liberal who’ll spearhead an era of progressiveness within the Catholic Church.

He is no such thing. His public rhetoric may be more palatable, but the edicts and dogma remain the same. This is simply a new era of savvy public relations, rather than anything of actual substance.

This is evidenced in the Pope’s reported sit-down time with Kim Davis recently.

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