Posts Tagged ‘perspective’

New Perspective website launches

Sunday, October 31st, 2010 | Foundation, News

Perspective website

We’re pleased to announce the launch of the new Perspective Course website! During interfaith week we will be launching the new version of the Perspective Course Leader’s Guide which will be made freely available to groups which are interested in running their own version of the course. You can request a pack for your group from the website.

Scientology and me

Sunday, April 4th, 2010 | Events, Foundation, Religion & Politics

For the final session of this year’s Perspective we invited Sam Butler over from the Church of Scientology in Manchester. It was really interesting to hear what he had to say and get a good insight into the beliefs that Scientologists hold.

Unfortunately it wasn’t chaired well and we ended up not getting any real chance for questions which was a disappointment. Also I managed to mess up the focus on my camera and so half the photos were out of focus. Still, the first of hopefully more such Perspectives.

Perspective looks at Islam

Sunday, March 14th, 2010 | Religion & Politics

With out speaker from the Muslim Debate Initiative having canceled us on the night before, a speaker from the Leeds Makkah Mosque kindly stepped in at the last minute to present the session on Islam. I found it a really good session, there were some excellent questions asked and interesting answers given.

Sikhism in review

Monday, February 22nd, 2010 | Humanism, Religion & Politics

Last Friday we were joined by a representative of the Sikh faith at Perspective.

While Sikhism is often seen as preferable to the major monotheist religions, I think it falls into the same trap as Paganism in that it mixes some good stuff in with a load of rubbish and then tries to use the plausible aspects as all true. At least Christianity offers you wholesale bullshit, you either accept the whole idea of Jesus or you don’t, there is no trying to force a square peg into a round hole.

First off, I want to say that in general, the concept that most people used to describe it this time (which is actually something I coined last year 😉 ), that Sikhism is just “Humanism plus god”, I agree with. I was perhaps a bit harsh in my initial review in The Old bar on Friday night about my thoughts on it. However, I stand by my stance that it is very much disagreeable.

Firstly, it has a concept of god, or “the Devine” but it doesn’t actually define what this is. According to the speaker, their holy book contains about 4,000 pages explain what god isn’t, but never explains what god is. This seems very confusing an ill-defined when it comes to building a belief structure around it.

It has the concept of a traditional family unit – you are commanded to get married and have kids. This is common among many other religions, especially Catholicism and Judaism and inevitably leads to an intolerance of homosexuals and even on a more general level creates judgement in the community of those that don’t choose to live as a traditional nuclear family.

They don’t cut their hair or shave. There is just no reason for this. You might be able to come up with some justification as to why this is done in terms of being one with nature but any such justification would almost certainly indicate you should do this with all your body – yet they are quite happy to cut their nails or shower for example.

Finally, they fall back on the favourite religious past time of trying to suppress and control natural human behaviour in order to exhort control over the follower’s life.

The best example of this is that Sikhs are forbidden from indulging in anything that could be harmful to their bodies – such as drugs, alcohol or meat. Not only to most people naturally crave these things but actually, there is nothing wrong with having meat or alcohol as part of a balanced diet and many studies have shown that they have a positive impact on your health. Particularly because I have Sikh friends who regularly eat at McDonald’s (having the vegetarian option of course but it’s still fast food1) so the rules then seem to become rather less meaningful.

1 I should point out that McDonald’s does not identify as a fast food restaurant. I use that term to describe the kind of food McDonald’s serves but they never call themselves it so don’t get arsey next time you’re waiting a whole three minutes for your food and making sarcastic comments like “you call this fast food?” because we don’t call it that, we never promised you it would be fast, we’re just so damn good at it that nine times out of ten we do have it all ready in under a minute.

Paganism and curry

Sunday, February 7th, 2010 | Events, Religion & Politics

On Friday we invited the Pentagram society to Perspective to talk about Paganism. It was a very interesting talk although I have to say I’m not a fan of Paganism, or certainly that brand of Paganism because it’s too wishy washy new age. While religions such as Christianity are clear they are making crazy claims in a take it or leave it fashion, the views expressed were very much trying to force a square peg into a round hole and say it fits.

For example one of the things suggested was that what we called magic thirty years ago is now called neuro-linguistic programming and so a lot of Paganism is things science simply doesn’t understand yet. That would almost be an argument if it wasn’t for the fact that NLP is for the most part unproven bullshit. More importantly it really smacks of when alternative medicine practitioners try to attribute something that clearly doesn’t work but they are still trying to sell as being something to do with quantum theory, taking advantage of the lack of public understanding of the topic.

It was also interesting to witness the fact they couldn’t actually work out what they believed in. Most religions have differences in their beliefs – just look at the amount of different denominations of Christianity (or even Islam which now has more and more developing despite stricter controls over it and even, unbelievably, Scientology) but they do at least have some common beliefs. 100% of Christians believe in Jesus for example whereas the Pagans didn’t seem to be able to give us anything they could say 100% of Pagans believed in which, as Chris Tedd did, raises the question “how do you even know your a Pagan?”

Finally I also felt there was a lack of internal consistency in the beliefs, probably resulting in the fact that they can’t really work out what it is they believe in. For example they started by talking about reincarnation and then later talked about talking to dead ancestors so Heini raised the question “how can you talk to dead ancestors if they have been reincarnated?”

A much better approach to take to the belief system I felt was the one presented to us at last year’s session on Paganism where out speaker basically said “I’m not going to lie to you, we made it all up in the 60s, but it works for me.” Never the less, it was a very interesting evening and well worth attending.

Magic underwear

Sunday, January 31st, 2010 | Events, Humanism, Life

On Friday, the new season of Perspective kicked off in Leeds with representatives from the Mormon faith coming down to talk to us. I was actually surprised how interesting and informative it is, there is actually quite a lot of deviation from traditional Christianity that is not immediately apparent.

We weren’t best prepared for the course not having things like plates but the food was never the less good and with Essentials now open until 10pm we even managed to source some coffee (Extras stocked it but they only had decaff so I just walked out).

Perspective Leader’s Guide now available

Sunday, November 15th, 2009 | Foundation

Perspective When we launched the Perspective course in 2009, we had no idea it would be such a huge success. Of course you hope that it will be a popular event but the interest we received in the course was far better than we thought we could hope for.

It proved to be popular with both members of the society and with the religious speakers who came to give the talks. Not only that but it even proved popular with your rank and file religious followers who wanted to learn about what religions other than their own believed and it wasn’t long before our events were packed out to capacity.

Given the course had worked so well we set about, as we have with all our courses, developing a leader’s guide so that the course could be run by other societies around the country and even the world. This suffered some delays over the summer but finally we have it in a state ready to ship out – as such we are now officially launching the guide!

So if anyone is interested in running a Perspective course at their local community do not hesitate to get in touch with us for a copy.

Perspective: Humanism

Saturday, March 21st, 2009 | Humanism

Norm having asked the BHA to provide a speaker for the Humanism session of Perspective he seen got an email from the BHA asking him if we would be able to speak at an A-Soc event at the university. He stepped up to the plate and agreed, so there was our Humanist speaker sorted.

While it was of course BHA brand Humanism it was never the less an interesting session and we got to test the catering urn so given how bad attendance could have been given it was the last day of term, I was quite impressed with how it went.

Perspective: Humanism Laura and Chris The Old Bar

Perspective: Paganism

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009 | Events, Humanism, Religion & Politics

Friday saw our Perspective session on Paganism with a practicing witch coming into to talk to us. You have to respect the guy’s honestly, he opening said “it’s all made up” and was created about 30-40 years ago. However it is apparently a belief system that works for him and he has seen it working with his coven using the power of their mind to change reality. Fair enough I guess.

Zoltan provided the food this week and did a rather nice vegeterian dish. We also had meeting room 8 rather than meeting room 5 so we actually had enough space for once. All in all, a very nice session if I do say so myself.

Perspective: Paganism Perspective: Paganism Perspective: Paganism


Wednesday, March 4th, 2009 | Religion & Politics

So it turns out that Sikhism is just Humanism.

It has a bit extra, some stuff about “the Divine” but basically they believe that everything is god pantheism style so basically there isn’t a god and we should just all be nice to each other.

The other fact we learnt about Sikhism is that it’s followers are not big fans of sandwiches. We made a lot of sandwiches most of which went uneaten. Luckily however the CU were right next door and so gave us a hand with the whole sandwich consumption thing.

It’s interestingly really because it goes back to the whole Atheists and Christians are united by their love of sandwiches. We really need to do some kind of joint sandwich event in the future.

Perspective: Sikhism Perspective: Sikhism Perspective: Sikhism