Jesus ‘n’ Mo ‘n’ humanism

Today’s Jesus and Mo, called “best,” came with this accompanying note in the email:

This one is in response to a story this week about the British Humanist Association sending out books to schools in the UK, and the ironic clerical reaction to it.

There’s a religious curriculum in these schools, and the humanists are trying to add humanism to it.  The story, in The Freethinker, is about this book being sent to schools by the Northern Ireland Humanists (click on screenshot to go to book). It’s being challenged by a Presbyterian minister because of its contents:

The books are being delivered to upper primary and lower secondary pupils following a crowdfunding campaign.

Northern Ireland Humanists, part of the British Humanist Association (BHA) charity, represent non-religious people in Northern Ireland.

The book also features content provided by broadcaster Stephen Fry, writer and broadcaster Natalie Haynes, and best-selling author Philip Pullman, who are all patrons of the BHA.

McIlveen, who has retired from Sandown Free Presbyterian Church in east Belfast, said that while it’s important not to censor literature, there is also a right to challenge the contents of the book.

I feel that for a child of primary school age, humanism is not something that should be put into their mind.

I think that they are far too young to even make that decision as to the rights and wrongs of humanism and I think this is an exploitation of young people to try and indoctrinate them into a view that many people in Northern Ireland would reject.

He added that he feels strongly that:

There should be a clear barrier between the message of humanism and impressionable minds.

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No comment is necessary as Jesus and Mo undermine their own faiths:

2017-02-22

29 Comments

  1. GBJames
    Posted February 22, 2017 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    sub

  2. Garry VanGelderen
    Posted February 22, 2017 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    Oh, the irony…! I believe Richard Dawkins compared religious indoctrination of children through their parent’s parenting ‘child abuse’.

    • darrelle
      Posted February 22, 2017 at 9:33 am | Permalink

      I agree with Dawkins, and this McIlveen is an excellent example of why.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted February 22, 2017 at 9:34 am | Permalink

      Yes, I think Richard Dawkins was one of the first to openly regard religious schooling at a young age, truly abusive, and rightly so. It is the key to the success of religion as well.

    • eric
      Posted February 22, 2017 at 10:11 am | Permalink

      Yes exactly. For an Irish Catholic priest to say that about humanism in order to defend religious teaching in school…goodness, the irony.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted February 22, 2017 at 10:56 am | Permalink

        I believe he’s a Presbyterian minister. Your point would likely be as apt on the other side of the “peace wall,” but you might want to avoid that mistake in Belfast. 🙂

        • eric
          Posted February 22, 2017 at 11:49 am | Permalink

          You’re right! I missed that bit. Though I guess given the mistake, a “mea culpa” would be the wrong response…

          • TJR
            Posted February 22, 2017 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

            Say three Hail Marys and we’ll say no more about it.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted February 27, 2017 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

          you might want to avoid that mistake in Belfast.

          Where, if you choose the wrong place to get interrogated, you might hear your religious affiliations questioned as “But are you a protestant atheist or a catholic atheist?”

      • rickflick
        Posted February 22, 2017 at 10:56 am | Permalink

        That guy’s frontal lobes must be twisted in the shape of crucifix be so oblivious to the irony.

  3. darrelle
    Posted February 22, 2017 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    Holy shit. Literally.

    I wonder if McIlveen is suffering from a stunning lack of self awareness or a stunning abundance of hypocrisy. Either way his strong feelings about Humanism are stunningly ironic.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted February 22, 2017 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

      +1!!!

  4. zoolady
    Posted February 22, 2017 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    Everywhere you look, fools dismiss/misuse/have superstitious fears of Humanism. Think any of them have read anything about it?

    • darrelle
      Posted February 22, 2017 at 9:47 am | Permalink

      It’s the outrageous hubris of thinking that humans can be competent without magic help from sky-daddy. And of spurning the ultimate authority, biting the hand that feeds.

      It’s funny. A true believer thinks it is immoral for me to not grovel before their god while I think it is immoral to be expected to grovel before anything. And I’m the bad guy.

  5. Posted February 22, 2017 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    McIlveen said:

    I think that they are far too young to even make that decision as to the rights and wrongs of humanism and I think this is an exploitation of young people to try and indoctrinate them into a view that many people in Northern Ireland would reject.

    McIlveen also raged, when attacking the Humanist bus adverts, which said “Please Don’t Label Me. Let Me Grow Up And Choose For Myself”, which is an appeal to stop indoctrination:

    It is none of their business how people bring up their children. It is the height of arrogance that the BHA would even assume to tell people not to instruct their children in the religion.

    (http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/humanist-poster-stirs-up-religious-storm-28504355.html)

    It’s pretty stunning how these people can’t see the contradictions in their approach to worldviews; one rule for mine, another for everyone else’s.

    • Posted February 22, 2017 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

      As one of the commenters on the Freethinker article noted, you can just send that right back at him:

      I think that they are far too young to even make that decision as to the rights and wrongs of religion and I think this is an exploitation of young people to try and indoctrinate them into a view that many people in society would reject.

      /@

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted February 27, 2017 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

      It’s pretty stunning how these people can’t see the contradictions in their approach to worldviews; one rule for mine, another for everyone else’s.

      It’s almost as if mote in your eye might prevent them from seeing the beam in their eye. (I stole the metaphor from some Lebanese hotel book.)

  6. eric
    Posted February 22, 2017 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    I feel that for a child of primary school age, humanism is not something that should be put into their mind.

    Is he saying he doesn’t want teachers to tell kids to be humanists, or is he saying he doesn’t want kids to even be made aware humanism is a thing that exists? I could agree with the former, but the purpose of the educational unit is the latter.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted February 27, 2017 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

      He was saying the latter.

  7. Posted February 22, 2017 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    “many people in Northern Ireland would reject.”

    Note the appeal to populism, too. Amazing how brazen *that* is …

  8. Claudia Baker
    Posted February 22, 2017 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    “…the rights and wrongs of humanism”?! Are there any “wrongs”?

  9. Dave
    Posted February 22, 2017 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    Very few people in the UK outside Northern Ireland would take this idiot seriously. Many on the UK mainland view NI as a kind of giant offshore lunatic asylum, where ideologies and obsessions long-extinct in the rest of the country still roam free – a kind of religious Jurassic Park. That’s probably very unfair to the many people in NI who aren’t bonkers, but this McIlveen character is a perfect example of why that attitude exists.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted February 22, 2017 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

      “That’s probably very unfair to the many people in NI who aren’t bonkers,”

      What, all 17 of them?

      cr
      (sorry, prob’ly bein’ unfair to Northern Ireland there, but I couldn’t help myself)

  10. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted February 22, 2017 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    The situation with Christianity is both worse and better than indicated in this cartoon depending on the school of thought.

    The Christian story of sin and salvational sacrifice actually undermines, distorts and poisons what is relatively decent in Christian ethics. It is worse than an implausible add-on. It poisons the well of the natural humanist elements of Christian ethics.

    This is a pivotal thesis of Ludwig Feuerbach’s 1841 book “The Essence of Christianity”- ““Wherever morality is based on theology, wherever right is made dependent on divine authority, the most immoral, unjust, infamous things can be justified and established.” [Shameless plug- my father wrote a well-known book on LF
    “Feuerbach and the Interpretation of Religion”]

    However, versions of Christianity that reject the immoral and draconian “penal substitution” interpretation of Jesus’ death more often wind up dealing in a form of moral discourse that is easier for outsiders to relate to. This would include both Eastern Orthodoxy and modernist liberal Protestantism.

    I am fairly convinced the reason that secularists can relate to the fiction of religious authors like Leo Tolstoy and Dostoevsky (both Russian Orthodox) or John Updike (a modernist liberal Protestant [and a fave of Ian McKewan]) is because their Christianity is not based on the ugly and immoral notion of Jesus’ death as a penal satisfaction of the wrath of God.

    Even C.S. Lewis semi-covertly rejected this. In the Narnia series he reverts to the early Christian view that the death of Jesus (or Aslan) is a ransom paid to the forces of evil rather than a satisfaction of the justice of God. That may still be mystical mumbo-jumbo but is far more morally coherent than the belief of modern evangelical Christians. And it goes a long way to explain why the Narnia books have a popular following among non-religious audiences.

  11. Posted February 22, 2017 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    Make no mistake about it. You can either be a theist and then your deity will be the center of your existence, or you can be an atheist and then well the center of your life can be something other than some deity… like maybe humanism. I am not surprised that theists oppose humanism as it is diametrically opposed to their world view (that humans exist to please the deity), what is a bit of a surprise is the hypocrisy when asserting, “I think that they are far too young to even make that decision as to the rights and wrongs of humanism and I think this is an exploitation of young people to try and indoctrinate them into a view that many people in Northern Ireland would reject.

    There should be a clear barrier between the message of humanism and impressionable minds.”

  12. Mike
    Posted February 23, 2017 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    So it’s ok to fill their heads with religious bullshit , but not reason.?

  13. Barney
    Posted February 23, 2017 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    And one of the authors, Michael Rosen, was appointed Children’s Laureate in the UK for a couple of years – http://www.childrenslaureate.org.uk/previous-laureates/michael-rosen/ . So basically he’s one of the most respected authors for children in the country (and that stretches from purely fun books to an award-winning book about grieving). There’s probably no one more suitable for writing a book about “the big questions” for children without indoctrination. This would be like saying “don’t give children Richard Dawkins’ The Magic of Reality – there should be a barrier between science and impressionable minds”.

  14. Paul
    Posted February 23, 2017 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    “Those humanists are going to indoctrinate the minds innocent, defenceless children… and that’s MY job!”


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