» Imaginary friends ¦ What You Can Get Away With

Sometimes it’s just too easy:

Tony Blair avoided talking about his religious views while in office for fear of being labelled “a nutter”, the former prime minister has revealed.

Yes, because there’s absolutely nothing nutterish at all about this, is there?:

Holidaying on the Mexican Riviera in August 2001, they underwent a “rebirthing ritual” in a temazcal – a Mayan steam bath which represents the womb. Herb-infused water was thrown over heated lava rocks to create a cleansing sweat and balance the Blairs’ “energy flow”, while their therapist, Nancy Aguilar, told the credulous couple to imagine animal-shapes in the steam and explained what such visions meant.

The Prime Minister of Great Britain and his wife, a Crown Court judge, wished for peace on earth, then screamed to signify the pain of rebirth before venturing outside again.

They were offered watermelon and papaya, then told to smear any uneaten fruit over each other’s bodies, along with mud from the jungle outside. They then walked hand in hand down the beach to swim in the sea.

Via Graham Linehan, the USA gets its first atheist member of Congress, Pete Stark of California:

Stark, who is a Unitarian, is the highest-ranking American politician to openly declare that he is nontheist. Although Stark denies a belief in a god, he was quick to note that the Stark family does recognize a supreme being: Mrs. Stark.

Though it does help to confirm my belief that a Unitarian is just an atheist who likes to go to church.

Watching Richard Dawkins meet Derren Brown on The Enemies Of Reason documentary, I was struck by the idea that if it were fiction, they’d likely then use that as a basis to team up and fight irrationality-based crime.

Is it still ultra stylish to use the phrase ‘blogging up a storm’ or is it rather infra dig? Well, whatever may be the phrase of the moment applies to Alex Wilcock, who’s written a series of excellent posts on religion and anti-discrimination laws here, here and here.

To Tobias Jones et al: The next time you want to write an article about the ‘secular fundamentalist’ conspiracy, could you try to come up with one that doesn’t use an argument on the lines of ‘ooh, that Richard Dawkins is a bit rude’ as a piece of supposed evidence?

To Richard Dawkins et al: If there is a conspiracy, could you invite me along to one of the meetings, as I could do with a bit of fun?

Welcome to the 15th Carnival of the Godless! We’ve all sorts of attractions for you, like the Damned to Hell with Dawkins Dodgems, the Fundamentalist Ferris Wheel and the Wacky Wahhabist Waltzer, all for you to have fun on with no worries about the consequences.

And around all those attractios, there’s all sorts of stalls, games and arcades to amuse and entertain you. All of them have set up shop specially to entertain you, so why not reward them with your custom? They’ll appreciate it!

Micketymoc offers an interesting game of ‘Kill Your Idols’, suggesting that one should welcome any attacks on your personal Perfect Truth, rather than trying to drive them away, for if it is true then it needs no defence. It’s interesting to note how, in this context at least, Mill’s On Liberty could be said to be influenced by Buddhism.

Next door, ROFASix offers a similar game, asking you to choose whether the basis of marality is blind faith or blind feelings. He’s doing a roaring trade, as most eople have failed to notice that he’s offering a  third option separate from those two. Caveat emptor, and keep your eyes open.

That Goddam Liberal offers two games in one – either spot the Missing Sock or spot the flaw in his argument. It’s a nice little parody of creationist thinking, though the image of a primordial Earth buried beneath a layer of missing socks does sound like something by Douglas Adams. I’m not boasting, but I buy my socks in threes. Not for any salacious purposes, but so I’ve got a spare when one goes missing.

Remember that when taking part in any Carnival games, it’s good to be sceptical rather than gullible, so take a few moments to look at Peter Fredson’s Rueful Look at Gullibility. Oh, and keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times too. If you trust me when I say that, that is.

Ooh! A guessing game! They’re always fun. Carnival stalwarts The Two Percent Company ask How Many Licks Does It Take To Get To The Centre Of A Creationist? They present all the evidence, and you can make your own minds up, which is the opposite solution to that suggested by the creationists Intelligent Design advocates they’re quoting.

Carrying on round, we discover that an evangelist has set up a tent to proclaim his beliefs. There’s no need to call security (not that we have any round here, anyway) because it’s just the Evangelical Atheist offering us his Statements of (Dis)Belief. I’d advise you to stick around and listen to the whole thing because otherwise he’ll get angry and damn you to … well, I guess we’ll have to get back to you on that. I have the same problem recruiting people for door-to-door atheism – it’s very hard to get people to spend their nights arguing on strangers’ doorsteps when there isn’t a giant invisible metaphysical stick hanging over their head.

There don’t seem to be too many games over in this corner of the Carnival, because next to the evangelicals are the revolutionaries. Still, it’s just the Atheist Revolution and they’re being eminently practical by offering a set of useful tips for people looking to start their own atheist blogs. And if you do follow their advice, remember to keep submitting posts to the Carnival of the Godless – the more we get, the bigger we grow!

Nearby, Charlie Killian’s Shades of Grey is reporting on an altogether scarier bunch of revolutionaries and warning us to never underestimate the power of the Religious Right who are talking about moving en masse to South Carolina. While that might seem like a good thing to us, it doesn’t sound like it’ll be much fun for anyone already there who might disagree with them.

After the evangelists and the revolutionaries, I can only suppose that the Mutant Cat must represent the freakshow. (That sudden movement you sense is me ducking to avoid Michelle throwing things at me for calling her blog a freakshow) Distract her from throwing stuff by going to read why drugs are better than God. One other reason is that gods are clearly more insecure than drugs – after all, various gods supposedly say don’t take drugs, but have you ever heard a drug say a bad word about religion? When the beer starts talking, it’s not because it wants to critique the finer points of theology, is it?

Jugglers! Yep, Nickie Goomba’s got all sorts of tricks going on with a copy of the Koran.  Send fatwas there, not here, thank you very much.

Something for everything here, as Hellbound Alleee gives us some performance art by reading other people’s diaries and wondering ‘Why Do They Believe?‘ How can you go wrong with someone who wonders whether a God-shaped hole is comparable to Bugs Bunny?

Moving on we find some Respectful Insolence and the corruption of a 14-year old. Well, it wouldn’t be a proper carnival without children learning about the strange new world of the carny folk. Orac offers some advice to a 14-year old creationist. He’s rather kind about the whole thing and offers some good advice and information for any 14-year olds (physically and mentally) who might happen to be reading this.

Ah, this tent looks familiar, probably because it’s one I helped to put up. Yes, it’s John Band over at The Sharpener with an exhibition of Little Netherlanders and Islamophobic Buffoons, combining his usual skills of statistical analysis and rhetorical abuse. Hey, it’s a carnival so why not show off what you do best?

Finally, before you leave, take this last opportunity to Kill The Afterlife with a look at the comforting evidence people use to justify their belief in the existence of an afterlife.

Well, that concludes our tour around the latest Carnival of the Godless. Hope you’ve enjoed it and found enough to entertain you within it. As with all Carnivals, it must move on eventually, and in two weeks time you can find it at Positive Liberty. See you there!