The popular monotheistic religions have an established history of violent outbursts in response to perceived transgressions. One faith in particular stands out at this moment in time for its refusal to join the enlightenment.
Some may recall the reports of Qur’ans being desecrated by U.S guards at Guantanamo in 2005. This sparked deadly riots throughout the Muslim world.
Twitter’s ability to bring you the latest news before ‘the news’ gets around to it can be mentally (and emotionally) hazardous if your areas of interest are religious fanaticism and global terror.
Shortly after the Stockholm truck attack which left 4 people dead and many more injured, images of the carnage began to burn themselves into our brains, tweet by tweet. Scenes that belong in the 6th century were now being captured on the streets of Europe via 21st century technology. Some things cannot be unseen.
Author and activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali has cancelled her Australian and New Zealand speaking tour, citing ‘security concerns’ according to reports:
Ali said in a statement she regretted that, “for a number of reasons including security concerns”, she had to cancel her upcoming appearances.
“She is very disappointed indeed about this but was left with no alternative following a succession of organisational lapses on the part of the event organisers, Think Inc,” the statement read.
She was due to speak at events in Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and Auckland. Leading up to the scheduled talks, petitions were signed and anti-Ayaan videos were made. Labels such as ‘hate speech’, ‘Islamophobe’ and ‘white supremacy’ were invoked in order to mask what amounts to an attempt to enforce Islamic blasphemy law.
This all took place to the backdrop of Islamists in Australia being exposed for advocating death for those who leave Islam, as Ayaan Hirsi Ali did.
I wouldn’t know the name ‘Andy Kindler’ had I not noticed his bizarre Twitter obsession with Ricky Gervais some time ago. It appears Andy has a problem with vocal critics of religion and is unable to separate dislike of ideas from bigotry towards actual people. He’s also a comedian, I’m told.
It seems Sam Harris has also been on the receiving end of the same sort of treatment for quite some time too:
Chairperson of Atheist Ireland, Michael Nugent debated Christian Theologian William Lane Craig on Tuesday. You can now see the debate it in full below by clicking on the image (YouTube):
I’ve not been able to watch it yet, but plan to do so this weekend. From what I have read of Michael’s opening statements, it seems like he came incredibly well prepared.
I was fortunate enough to speak to Michael Nugent on my podcast back in April 2016. I have a huge amount of admiration for the clarity and compassion you will consistently find in his writing and speaking.
I have long been frustrated with the way in which people engage William Lane Craig’s arguments in debate. I don’t believe he has particularly good arguments, but rather he is able to employ them in a manner that is very effective in the eyes of an uninitiated audience.
I’ve noticed Craig leans heavily on ‘gish gallop’ and cherry picks quotes out of context in service of his claims. Sean Carroll did a fantastic job of exposing the latter technique in a debate from 2014:
Please let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
Stephen Knight is host of The #GSPodcast. You can listen to The Godless Spellchecker Podcast here, and support it by becoming a patron here.