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Religion, War, and Malala

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I have been thinking about the role of religion in war torn countries lately, as I have recently become a volunteer tutor for refugee high schoolers and religious extremism has caused some of them to flee their countries. I think it’s interesting that they still believe in the religion that has caused them so many difficulties. I don’t understand this, but it is okay. I feel completely inspired by these students. Despite all the difficulties they have been through, they are rising above it and working on their education.

Malala Yousafzai is a personal hero of mine. She is a strong Muslim, I am an atheist. But this is okay. She may not know it, but she is fighting for my cause. Education teaches you to think critically and once you got that happening, atheism is the natural conclusion. Or at least it was for me. I can’t believe that she is still holding onto this religion that caused her to get shot, the religion that’s tearing apart countries, terrorising people and opposing the very thing she is fighting for.

Education and development go hand in hand, as it seems, does atheism and development. Highly developed countries such as Sweden and Norway, tend to have high levels of atheism. There seems to be a strong relationship between atheism, development and education.

Keep fighting, Malala. For human rights, for development and for education.




About Ellen Rose

Blogger curious about how travel helps us to lead more meaningful lives.

19 responses »

  1. “I’m a fairy”

    Disturbing, sad & amusing.

  2. I don’t know. . . . It isn’t hard to find Marxist/Communist countries, for whom atheism has been an official position, that have – at best – a questionable trajectory of development.

    I think religion is only one of many places where you can find symptoms of the essential human problem.

    • criticofchristianity

      But there’s a big difference between having an atheistic state and having a population that have reached atheism through their own critical thinking and education.

      • I doubt your observation: “There seems to be a strong relationship between atheism, development, and education.” I don’t think history has made it clear that atheism has distinguished itself in that way.

      • criticofchristianity

        Well I’m no history expert but I’m pretty sure atheism began to grow during the Renaissance, when thinkers like Immanuel Kant came along. This was also a time of great development. There just seems to be an interesting correlation.

      • “there’s a big difference between having an atheistic state and having a population that have reached atheism through their own critical thinking and education” Excellent point!

      • What do you think it is about that purer (not state-imposed) form of atheism that makes it uniquely conducive to development and education?

        I’m no history expert either, but I don’t think Kant is a mascot for atheism. And, I’d be interested to hear what people might identify as the unique, core principle(s) of atheism that drove the Renaissance.

      • criticofchristianity

        Because it means the people have taken a critical look at the Bible and through analysis and evaluation they have decided it is not true. Critical thinking, analysis, evaluation – they’re all skills taught in schools. These sorts of skills also play a role in development. They help us work out better ways of running the place.

        Christianity is growing rapidly in underdeveloped countries. Countries where these skills of critical evaluation aren’t as common. And in some cases, the people are being exploited because of this.

        If atheism is state imposed then people aren’t necessarily going through the same thinking process, rather they’re just accepting something the state wants them to believe. There’s little critical thinking or evaluation, so it’s not going to have the same link with higher education and development.

        Yeah, my sociology teacher said he was a leader in atheistic thought and challenging the church, but I just googled it and apparently he was trying to save religion from the challenges of science. My bad, lol.

        Nevertheless it seems there was a growth of atheistic and humanistic thought in philosophy during the Renaissance and Enlightenment. At least in comparison to the dark ages. Hardly anyone would actually admit to being an atheist, but it was at least a thought on the table.

        Anyway, there are higher levels of atheism in the 21st century and a high level of development, at least in the western world (where atheism is the most prominent). It just seems to me like there’s a link.

        I wouldn’t say that atheism drove the Renaissance, I’m just saying that the Renaissance and Enlightenment showed a higher level of thinking and development than the middle ages did, and that it’s interesting that atheism becomes a more widely discussed and a less horrifying alternative.

        I don’t know enough about the history of atheism to really be certain here. Haha I’m just going on google searches and what I learnt in school.

      • Thanks very much for this response.

        What really helps me is when I hear you putting your thoughts in a story context — the story of people. For example, it helps me to hear what developments you’re noticing in the Renaissance and Enlightenment, and how you see those developments gaining momentum into the 21st century. (By the way, even though I don’t think Kant is a great mascot for atheism, I know that some people think that his idea of Categorical Imperatives helps establish morality apart from any god. So, your sociology teacher might have been on to something!)

        You’ve seen what I’m doing on my blog; sharing humanity’s story, as told in The Bible. However, I think it could be great if my blog became a place where stories could be compared. Would you have any interest in starting an atheistic version of The Big Story on my blog?

        A big challenge — but it could be done in a simple format:

        Origins: Where did we come from?
        Exposition: What events/developments are important to notice in the story of human beings?
        Direction: Where is the story of humanity headed?

        I would guess that other people would jump in and contribute once the atheistic version of the story began.

      • criticofchristianity

        That would be really interesting and is definitely an awesome idea. I’m not sure I know enough about the science of our origins or our history to really do it justice though. The atheistic worldview and story isn’t written down in one book and there are lots of disagreements over what is important and what is not. You might need to find an atheist that’s a bit more knowledgeable than I am.

      • I’d love it if you’d give it a shot — and I think you could do it. I’ll take your word for it when you say that you don’t know enough about the science of our origins or our history to do it justice, but I think you probably know enough to offer a short, broad story.

        And that could be a great start!

        One of the first posts I did was called “Big Story, Short Version.” You can find it in the “Welcome” category on my blog. It’s the story of the cosmos and humanity, as I understand it, in 335 words. No question, there’s a lot missing from that rendition of our story!

        But, it gives you a helpful picture of the context within which I believe I’m living my life.

        I would love to get that kind of picture from you. I’ve heard arguments from an atheistic perspective, but I haven’t heard much narrative. I think narrative — a story — could be really helpful.

        And, if you offer a simple, skeletal version of The Big Story from an atheistic perspective, maybe some more knowledgeable atheists will show up to put meat on the bones, over time.

        You’re right, it “is definitely an awesome idea.” Do you want to try it?

      • criticofchristianity

        I’ll give it a shot but no guarantees that it will be any good. Also, I’ll have to do quite a bit of research so it might take me a while to get it done. Thank you for inviting me to be a part of this! πŸ™‚

      • Thank you!

        I’ll get in touch with you by email. That will probably be a better way to communicate about this as you put the story together.

      • criticofchristianity

        Okay sounds good πŸ™‚

  3. Exactly. In fact, there should be no need to promote atheism. Promoting science and education should do the trick.

  4. I do agree with education being of vital importance, but I think there’s more. I imagine South Africa when there was apartheid. Many people have grown up within the system without questioning that. Black and white people went to separate schools. One thing I would like is for schools not to be Catholic, Protestant, Hindu or whatever. School should be a place where you meet a lot of different people.

    • criticofchristianity

      Yeah, that is a good point. In my history lecture today we were watching a documentary about North Korea and we saw kids at school being taught the three aspects in which their dictator is great. That was more like indoctrination than education. So I think it definitely depends on the type of education they receive.

      Thanks for the comment πŸ™‚

  5. Pingback: revolutionising education | violetwisp

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