A just punishment?

I swore to myself i wouldn't get angry.

I tried, so hard to avoid watching or reading about this story as I knew it would get me angry... Breath deeply, relax, don't think about it...

No, no good. I saw the news and had to watch the story about the Teacher in Sudan. You know, the one who could face the lash after 'insulting Islam' and 'inciting hatred.'

Hienous crimes indeed. So, what did she do? What act of terror, oppression or racial hatred did she engage in to bring the wrath of Islamic law (and lets not beat about the bush here - for a purportedly 'peaceful' religion, Islam takes punishment very seriously. And why wouldn't it? Such cruel punishments were commonplace around the world at the time the koran was written. If your beliefs require you to freeze time and live your life according to a book written during the dark ages and not significantly altered since the 13th century, then dark age punishments are entirely appropriate!) down upon herself?

She allowed her class of children to name a teddy bear Mohamed.

Yes, read it again if you haven't seen this story.

She allowed her class of children to name a teddy bear Mohamed.

OH NO! Fucking hang the bitch! How dare she insult the saintly person or spirit of the great prophet (peace be upon him).

The lash is too good for this evil witch! She will surely, Allah being merciful, burn in the fires of hell for all eternity!

And lets think about the poor kids here, shall we?

They've been brought up, by parents who no doubt have the best intentions, to love the prophet and love Allah - to revere the prophet above all others, loving him more than their own families.

Think about it - through a child's eyes, what is wrong with personifying this love by naming a cute teddy bear after the object of your affections?

Don't children often name pets or toys after a friend? What will those children be thinking and feeling, to know that their teacher could be physically punished for allowing it? How will their parents explain to them what she did wrong?

Perhaps the poor teacher should have known better: - you live and learn at least, even if she will be scarred for life if they carry out this punishment.

How many 'moderate' British muslims are squirming over this story? All of you I hope!

How many of you find it funny?

How many find it ridiculous and would rather the Sudanese court quietly dropped it?

It doesn't matter, because all of you know, in your heart of hearts, that the Sudanese court is just obeying the laws that Islam has imposed upon it. They are not 'in the wrong' as far as Islamic law is concerned. If they truly believe in the word of the Koran (at least whichever abritrary interpretation of it they favour - I'm sure someone will tell me the predominant Sudanese sect) they must carry out the law and punish her accordingly.

We observers in our westenised, modern, enlightened societies - whatever our professed 'faith' - find this story tragic, amusing, or alarming. This is because our cultures have spent centuries quietly and diligently finding out about the real world, and inded the rest of the Universe, instead of taking it as read that some book or other thrown together over the course of several centuries, with texts abritrarily cobbled together whilst others are discarded, holds all the truth and knowledge we require to live.

Time and again, the established position of the mainstream religions has had to adapt to accommodate new knowledge. We now have enough knowledge to completely discard as false any of the creation myths related in any of the holy texts, from every culture the world has produced. (See, I'm not just singling out Islam!)We can effectively right off as false, and historically inaccurate, most if not all of what is written in the Abrahamic texts, therefore there is no justifiable reason to use what is written in them as the basis for a way of life.

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Hi to all and thanks for taking a look at this blog.

I'm going to use this blog to talk about who I am, what I do, and why I'm blogging!

My name's Dave and I live in London, UK. I'm married, have no kids (yet) and work as assistant manager for a large pub company.

Well, that's who I am and what I do (lol), now for the longer bit about why I'm blogging.

I've used the internet passively a lot - browsing, reading what other people think about things - but have never before bothered to take a more proactive stance and write stuff, save for the occasional comment on a forum (e.g. www.richarddawkins.net).

I have been an atheist for a long time - effectively since my teens. Prior to this I had never given religion any thought and merely accepted without question what I had learned as a matter of course in my C of E primary school. These things will be familar to those who had the same schooling: - there is a God who created everything, giving man special privelege over all other creatures; he sent his son, who is also himself, down to Earth to redeem the past and future sins of all men, be they long dead or yet to be born; God loves you whatever you do, and watches your every move and thought. He listens to your prayers and will answer them if He sees fit; God judges you at the time of your death and decides whether your life has been lived well by his standards - he may allow you into heaven, where you may enjoy his love forever, or send you to hell, where you will be apart from God and will suffer torment for ever.

Similar standards apply for the other two Abrahamic religions, of course with the subtraction of Him sending His son to redeem us. To the Jews, Jesus is just a heretic iconoclast - they are still waiting for their Messiah; to the Muslims Jesus was just a prophet, of similar importance to the old testament prophets and certainly not the son of God.

Great, you all say, so what? We all know this much already!

Well I'll let you know in due course what I think and why I'm an atheist - suffice to say for now that I have arrived at atheism after thinking about religion, Life, the Universe and Everything a great deal.

None of the contradictory and mutually exclusive holy texts or creation myths produced by any of the world's cultures can satisfactorily explain the existence of the Universe, this planet, and life upon it. All of them can be shown to be false by the overwhelming quantities of scientific evidence amassed through centuries of painstaking research and experiment.

I will speak more of this, but this is only intended as an introduction for now.

I welcome comment, debate and criticism. Please remember that if you're only way to respond is by being angry and abusive, you have effectively admitted that you have no argument.

Debate me by all means - try to change my mind if you think you can, but insult me and you admit defeat.

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