Created on Friday, 21 November 2014 04:22
WRITTEN BY BERKELEY STUDENT FRANCES HUANG WITH MARK KOLSEN, AAI NEWS TEAM
Does it make sense to talk of ‘secular spirituality’? Well-known atheist and author Dr Sam Harris thinks it does. I attended Harris’s San Francisco lecture on 17 September which coincided with the release of his new book Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion. The lecture series (also presented in Los Angeles and New York) tried (and mostly succeeded) in getting to the core of human consciousness, mindfulness and secular spirituality.
First, Harris skilfully argued that since the very beginning, suffering has its origins in the illusion of self. This ‘self’ claims to be the thinker of our thoughts and the experiencer of our experiences. When we are wandering in our thoughts, those little persons in our heads are the ‘selves’ that we seem to experience. However, as Harris pointed out in both the lecture and the new book, ‘a persistent and unified self’ is merely an illusion since it is the whole brain and the firing of neuronal networks that make us who we are. Our thoughts and our behaviors are wholly caused by our brain, which also changes with time. As Harris argued in his book Free Will (2012), free will, like the sense of self, is also an illusion.
Created on Wednesday, 12 November 2014 06:27
WRITTEN BY MARK KOLSEN, AAI NEWS TEAM
In his 1776 pamphlet Common Sense, Thomas Paine argued that the colonies should replace the English monarchy with a representative democracy. Although he offered few details on how the U.S. constitution should be structured, Paine argued that when deciding on laws, representatives “are supposed to have the same concerns” as the people who elected them, and when voting on laws, should “act in the same manner as (the people) would act were they present.” To ensure the representatives’ “fidelity” to the public, Paine said that Americans should have “elections often,” that is, annual elections as done typically in colonial legislatures. To Paine, “the strength of the government and the happiness of the governed” depends on the people and their representatives having a “common interest.”
Created on Saturday, 08 November 2014 11:32
Ali A. Rizvi wrote a realistic letter to moderate Muslims in Huffington Post. It is worth reading:
Let's start with what I'm not going to do.
I'm not going to accuse you of staying silent in the face of the horrific atrocities being committed around the world by your co-religionists. Most of you have loudly and unequivocally condemned groups like the Islamic State (ISIS), and gone out of your way to dissociate yourselves from them. You have helped successfully isolate ISIS and significantly damage its credibility.
Created on Sunday, 02 November 2014 19:23
WRITTEN BY ANNE KELLEY, AAI NEWS TEAM
Religious institutions are continuing to push religion into public schools – in all sorts of devious ways - despite the high court rulings against the Australian Government's placement of chaplains in schools as replacements for counsellors.
Recently in Newcastle, a scripture group called "Scripture at School" filmed children at Newcastle East State School without their parents’ consent. The footage clearly showed students’ faces. Notable statements from one 11-year-old boy included: "[I am] blessed because my family are Christian and I have been brought up to love and know Jesus. Unfortunately, it is a very different story for most of my friends. With the help of Scripture at School I hope that can change.”
Of course it transpires that this boy is actually not a student. Whilst the Department of Education for Newcastle has asked for the video to be taken down, it has been able to be viewed up to the point of writing of this article.
Created on Sunday, 19 October 2014 20:57
By: Sameen Qazi
A few days ago, social media went rife with people praising Ben Affleck. “Batman comes to the rescue” was the general sentiment tweeted by everyone and my friends happily posted the link to the clip from Bill Maher’s show. People were ecstatic that an American, a prominent actor at that, finally stood up for Islam on a highly rated TV show.
The clip did not just cause a sensation in Pakistan; it opened a debate online with prominent analysts like Reza Aslan and Fareed Zakaria taking up sides and expressing their opinions.
Created on Saturday, 11 October 2014 19:25
According to International Business Time, there are growing concerns that the Islamic State jihadists may use Ebola virus as a bio terror weapon to attack the West. According to some experts, the ISIS fanatics may try to infect themselves with Ebola virus to become carriers and attack others.
The virus is rampant in West Africa and already killed 4,000 people in the past few months
Created on Sunday, 19 October 2014 21:19
Parishioners at an Alabama church have filed a lawsuit against their pastor who is accused of having sex with congregation members while knowing he had AIDS.
The members of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church of Montgomery hope to oust longtime pastor Juan McFarland.
Created on Monday, 13 October 2014 23:12
Government to hold referendum to delete offence from Constitution in 2015
According to Irish Times, Exactly half the electorate supports the abolition of the offence of blasphemy from the Constitution, but a substantial number of people have not made up their minds on the issue, according to the poll.
Created on Monday, 13 October 2014 07:53
By: Alexander Smith
According to NBCNews, Kevani Kanda was just six years old when her family accused her of being a witch. She was being molested by a relative and the trauma made her wet the bed and sleepwalk.
But instead of trying to find out what was wrong, Kanda's family were convinced she was possessed by an evil spirit. For the next five years, she was starved, forced to eat her own vomit, beaten repeatedly and given suppositories containing spices to "get rid of the evil spirits." And the torture occurred in a London suburb.
Created on Friday, 10 October 2014 21:41
By: Tom Elliott
70,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses are set to arrive in Melbourne next week for a massive conference at Etihad Stadium. I’ve done some research into this religion and what I’ve discovered has convinced me that scepticism about blind faith is absolutely the right path.
Despite their earnest efforts to convert people via doorknocking, “Witnessing Jehovah” is an extremely exclusive religion. Among other things, the Jehovah’s Witnesses say that only 144,000 people globally will eventually ascend into heaven. That means that 99.99999% of the population will go somewhere far less pleasant if Judgment Day ever arrives.