2005 issue 3, July/Aug
Welcome on board to another educative, informative and entertaining edition of the IHEYO YouthSpeak! The Editorial Board is indeed sorry for not been able to publish the May/June edition of this e-newsletter. We sincerely apologise for this failure. In this package, we are poised to serve you our usual segments as well as current news within the Humanist circuit.
We are publishing a rejoinder article written by an Ugandan Humanist in reply to a challenging article titled: “Atheists can only be losers” that was published in the Ugandan newspaper the ‘Monitor’ and written by an Ugandan believer targeted principally against the Ugandan Humanists and Atheists.
There is news on the state of plight of the Ugandan GLBT. And there is the first bits of news on IHEYO after its fourth annual conference. The next issue will give a full report and update on the conference we held in July together with an introduction of some of our new member organisations.
Before signing off, let me on behalf of the editorial board and IHEYO EC, commiserate with the families and friends of the victims of the simultaneous bombings that took place in London and Egypt. These 144 lives are not worth sacrificing on a platter of fighting policies. On our part, we are of the view that ‘Terrorism is a crime against Humanity” and should be treated as such.
Can Atheist only be losers?
Humphrey Musaazi, an atheist and humanist lives in Uganda. He wrote this article in reply to Rodney Muhumuza’s article titled “ATHEIST CAN ONLY BE LOSERS” in Uganda Monitor Newspaper of May 15th , 2005.
As an atheist and humanist, I cannot let Rodney Muhumuza's article ‘Atheists Can Only Be Losers’ (Sunday Monitor, May 15) go unchallenged. There is no single person who thinks deeply about things or whose life is governed by reason 100 percent who believes that there is God. God is the failure by people to discover how life and the universe were created. There is God because there is some kind of in-built desire among so many millions of people to hang onto the supernatural forces. And there is God because so many people have blind, unquestioning faith.
I have to point out at the outset that for people who believe in God, like Muhumuza, they do not need any proof that he exists (which I find terrifically amazing) and those that do not believe in God, no amount of proof can convince them that God exists…because there is no incontrovertible proof. This, therefore, makes it rather difficult to get the winner in this debate. However, reason can show us who is right and wrong.
I'll state my reasons why God does not exist and pose questions about God, which sadly cannot be answered.
The first reason why God does not exist is that no one can show us, not even Benedict XVI, his demonstrable relevance to the people he created. The God that people say is loving, for example, decided -- in his infinite wisdom -- to create a world where only a few people enjoy riches and live in comfort, and the vast majority are suffering. And it is not because all those that are rich are more religious, intelligent and work harder than the rest. No. It is because the vast majority of the rich in the world can use fraud, robbery, theft, deception, deceit, manipulation, treachery, trickery, manoeuvrings, exploitation, and etcetera to get rich.
Do theists want us to believe that God gives these people blessings to get rich because they are doing what he and religion want? America and several parts of western Europe are rich in part because of slave trade. Where was God when this was happening?
Nike is arguably the richest sportswear manufacturer in the world and they employ thousands of children (see ILO reports on child labour) who are not fit to work and who ought to be at school. The children of the executives of this company, whether they believe in God or not, will never experience any suffering. God, if he exists, is witnessing this exploitation of the highest order but has said and done nothing. In whose interests is he doing this?
The second reason why God does not exist is that people do not need more than one religion to worship one God. Religion, it seems to me, created God- pure and simple. That is why it cannot answer the sort of questions I have raised here. Many religions have created more problems than they have solved. Can any theologian or the Muhumuzas of this world tell us why religions keep mushrooming yet there is one God? I have been on planet earth for 33 years and I have never seen any country constructing 10 motorways (read roads) all going to the same place. Why? Because it just doesn't add up.
I have a good deal to write on this subject but there is no sufficient space. There are dozens and dozens of questions I can ask and if Muhumuza read them, he would simply look at me or try to pontificate, as many believers do, about God's actions. But I am writing a book, The Evil God, in which I'll try to show the entire world how God is the vilest being that ever existed.
Atheists may be promoting homosexuality, as Muhumuza alleges, but very many are good people. There are 13 millions of them in the US but they are not the ones wreaking havoc in the world. African leaders, for example, have killed the very people they lead (once too often) yet none of them is an atheist. God is utterly useless because he doesn't exist. Humanity's only hope are the people themselves, humanism, science and realism. I do not need God and religion to be a good guy, which I am. I just have to have saintliness (which I do not need to get through religion) and humane humanness. Over to you believers.
Culled from http://www.theecologist.org/archive_article.html?article=427
Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) Press Release
Uganda Human Rights Activists Violated By Police and LC1
On July 20th, an LC1 Chairman (local government official) and another man forcibly entered the home of J.M. at Kireka, who is a human rights activist and chairperson of SMUG (Sexual Minorities Uganda). They proceeded to search her home without a warrant and to mishandle her friend, a visiting Kenyan activist who they found at the home.
The two men confiscated items from her house and detained the Kenyan activist, treating her in a degrading and humiliating way. She was taken to the police where she was even made to undress.
The action of these officials violated Articles 24 and 27 of the Constitution which prohibit inhuman and degrading treatment, guarantee the right to privacy, and prohibit unlawful searches, respectively. Most importantly, the police action violated J.M.’s basic civil right under Article 29 to freedom of thought, conscience and association and the right to advocate for what she believes in.
Uganda is bound to respect the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights which protects against all forms of discrimination.
SMUG condemns this state-sanctioned police harassment and calls upon all organizations invested in the well-being of all Ugandans to put pressure on the government to respect its own laws respecting human dignity. A strong alliance of Ugandan and international health and human rights organizations have been voicing their commitment to ensure the rights of individuals regardless of their sexual orientation.
SMUG is a member organisation of IHEYO
IHEYO launches online forum!
At our site, the IHEYO Forum has just been launched! It is one of the first results of the 2005 IHEYO Conference in Paris, You can read and discuss with others from all over the world, by visiting http://www.iheyo.org/forum/
IHEYO elects new Executive Committee members
IHEYOs third General Assembly was held in Paris on the 15th of July. Based on the organisation's by-laws, the term of office for all members of the Executive Committee elected In Berlin, 2003 expired at this GA.
The new look IHEYO EC now consists of the following volunteers:
President: Ms. Gea Meijers, Netherlands (re-elected in 2005 for one year)
1st Vice President: Mr. Lars-Petter Helgestad, Norway (re-elected in 2005 for one year)
2nd Vice President: Ms. Silvana Uhlrich, Germany (new, elected in 2005 for two years)
Secretary General: Mr. Ademowo 'Yemi Johnson, Nigeria (re-elected in 2005 for two years)
Treasurer: Mr. Frederik Dezutter, Belgium (re-elected in 2005 for one year)
Boardmember: Mr. Asaba Lawrence, Uganda (elected in 2004 for two years)
Boardmember: Ms. Sara Wastijn, Belgium (new, elected in 2005 for two years)
On a proposal from the Finnish Protu delegation, some of IHEYOs executives were elected for a term of just one year this time. This is to ensure a system of continuity where there is always some with experience among the executives.
The terms ended for former executives Ms. Alina Mänttäri (1st Vice President, Finland), Mr. Wolfgang Huber (Board Member, Austria), Mr. Ramesh Kumar (2nd Vice President, India) and Ms.Marita Eriksen (Board Member, Norway). They where all duly thanked for their time serving to the best for IHEYO since 2003.
More details on the General Assembly will follow in the next edition YouthSpeak!
Join the African Working Group
It gives an amazing feeling to being carried along and making positive contributions to the advancement of a cause you solidly believe in. Here is an opportunity for you assist in forming a viable policy for the growth of Humanism in Africa.
As an African, send an e-mail to asaba.Lawrence@iheyo.org
(the Chairman of the Group) intimating him of your interest in volunteering to serve on the group. As non-African, introduce the group to any young Humanist whom you have had contact with. You can write to firstname.lastname@example.org
for further information.
IHEYO takes stand against BioWeapons!
The Executive Committee of IHEYO decided to join as member the international network BioWeapons Prevention Project (BWPP). This happened in spring 2005 during the 30th Anniversary of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention.
The BioWeapons Prevention Project (BWPP) is dedicated to reinforcing the norm against the weaponization of disease, and acts as a global civil society that tracks governmental and other behaviour under the treaties that codify the norm.
“The threat posed by the misuse of biology and biotechnology for hostile purposes affects many important aspects, like human security, human rights, health security, food security, biodiversity, environmental security etc. Therefore it is important to the Executive Committee of IHEYO that IHEYO takes part in such network”, IHEYOs President Gea Meijers told "YouthSpeak!"s journalist.
At 26th of March 1975 the international treaty that gives norms for the use of bioweapens came into excistence. The Convention have been ratified by 153 states of the world. 16 states have signed the convention but need still to ratify it, and the remaining 25 states hav neither signed nor ratified it. Does your country participate in this treaty? You'll find the list under «resources» at www.bwpp.org.
Report from the World Atheist Congress
By Silvana Uhlrich
I got the chance to speak as a youth representative on behalf of my organisation, the Humanist Freethinkers Brandenburg/Havelland and IHEYO at the World Atheist Conference (January 7th-9th ) in India. That was possible through the organisational relationship between HFH and the Atheist Centre (AC) in Vijayawada based on our international exchange programme.
Due to the fact that I noticed that majority of the presentations made at the Congress are more of theoretical and philosophical speeches, I decided to make my presentation on active work, especially something about youth work and projects.
I gave an overview of our exchange programme, which is now in its 9th year, our experiences through that with another culture and other lifestances and social backgrounds. Furthermore, I also spoke about our membership and work as organisation in IHEYO and the projected activities for the year. It is necessary to do a lot of public work –like with speaking at such conferences- as a good example of international work and to show the results of such a programme. This may be as step that makes it possible to open the interests of others and will become a start for new projects.
Silvana Uhlrich, newly elected 2nd Vice President, IHEYO
A local priest and a pastor were fishing on the side of the road. They thoughtfully made a sign saying, "The End is Near! Turn yourself around now before it's too late!" and showed it to each passing car. One driver who drove by didn't appreciate the sign and shouted at them, "Leave us alone, you religious nuts!"
All of a sudden they heard a big splash, looked at each other, and the priest said to the pastor, "You think maybe we should have just said 'Bridge Out' instead?"
1.He had only one major publication.
2. It was written in Aramaic, not in English.
3. It has no references.
4. It wasn't even published in a refereed journal.
5. There are serious doubts he wrote it himself.
6. It may be true that he created the world, but what has he done since then?
7. His cooperative efforts have been quite limited.
8. The Scientific community has had a hard time replicating his results.
9. He unlawfully performed not only Animal, but *Human* testing.
10. When one experiment went awry, he tried to cover it by drowning his
11. When subjects didn't behave as predicted, he deleted them from
12. He rarely came to class, just told his students to read the book.
13. Some say he had his son to teach the class.
14. He expelled his first two students for learning.
15. Although there were only 10 requirements, most of his students
failed his tests.
16. His office hours were infrequent and usually held on a mountain top.
PHILOSOPHER OF THE QUARTER
Robert Green Ingersoll [1833 - 1899]
Ingersoll was a popular writer. In the Humanist circuit, he is most popular with his book WHY AM I AN AGNOSTIC? Published in 1889. Lets have a sip of the book:
“The same rules or laws of probability must govern in religious questions as in others. There is no subject -- and can be none --concerning which any human being is under any obligation to believe without evidence. Neither is there any intelligent being who can, by any possibility, be flattered by the exercise of ignorancredulity. The man who, without prejudice, reads and understands the Old and New Testaments will cease to be an orthodox Christian.
The intelligent man who investigates the religion of any country without fear and without prejudice will not and cannot be a believer.
Most people, after arriving at the conclusion that Jehovah is not God, that the Bible is not an inspired book, and that the Christian religion, like other religions, is the creation of man, usually say: "There must be a Supreme Being, but Jehovah is not his name, and the Bible is not his word. There must be somewhere an over-ruling Providence or Power."This position is just as untenable as the other. He who cannot harmonize the cruelties of the Bible with the goodness of Jehovah, cannot harmonize the cruelties of Nature with the goodness and wisdom of a supposed Deity.
He will find it impossible to account for pestilence and famine, for earthquake and storm, for slavery, for the triumph of the strong over the weak, for the countless victories of injustice. He will find it impossible to account for martyrs -- for the burning of the good, the noble, the loving, by the ignorant, the malicious, and the infamous.” (from, part 1,”With thoughts beyond the reaches of our souls")
Read more on: http://www.infidels.org/library/historical/robert_ingersoll/index.shtml
IHEYOYouthSpeak!..nothing but Rationality, Human and Scientific development.
Yemi Johnson, Lars-Petter Helgestad, Asaba Lawrence and Gea Meijers
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