Secular Sunday #84 – An August Occasion

We have a small amount of big(ish) news this week, as well as a substantial amount of smaller news. And some cracking blog posts. And details of upcoming events. All of it’s worth reading on for. This part is mostly just filler. So you can skip it if you like. Although if you’ve read this far you might as well continue to the end. Which is here.

– Derek Walsh, Editor



  • Atheist Ireland’s fifth Annual General Meeting will take place on Saturday 21 September in Galway. Details of the venue, time and agenda will be announced shortly.
  • Michael Nugent will be a panelist on Vincent Browne’s new TV series, Challenging God, on TV3 at 11:00 pm tonight Sunday 4 August. This episode discusses: ‘Did God make humans or did humans make God?’ The other panelists are theologian and author James Mackey, and lecturer at the Mater Dei Institute Fáinche Ryan.
  • Alex Gabriel of the Heresy Club, has compiled a list of 100 of Britain and Ireland’s secular thinkers you should know about, who aren’t white men. Not that there’s anything wrong with being a white man, but we don’t have any difficulties getting ourselves noticed. Atheist Ireland’s Education Policy Officer Jane Donnelly has made the list, as have fellow Irish women Ivana Bacik (senator, barrister, professor and campaigner), Jen Keane (scientist, web developer and blogger),Sinéad Kennedy (teacher and abortion rights campaigner), Aoife McLysaght(geneticist at Trinity College, Dublin), Anthea McTeirnan (journalist and reproductive rights advocate) and Myra Zepf (author and blogger). There are loads of other interesting names on the list.

Media Watch


Thanks to Barbara Monea for spotting and collecting the above news items and many more which can be found at her blog, updated frequently.

If you spot anything in the media that you think may be of interest to our readers, send us an e-mail about it.


All events are free and open to everyone unless otherwise stated.

  • Sunday 11 August, 12:00 noon, Trinity Capital Hotel, Pearse St., Dublin 2 (map)
    Atheist Ireland’s monthly Second Sunday brunch. A family-friendly social event. Facebook event page
  • Sunday 11 August, 12:00 noon, A Casa Mia, Tobergal Lane, Sligo (map)
    As above, but for people in or around Sligo. Facebook event page
  • Wednesday 21 August, 8:00 pm, Absolute Hotel, Sir Harry’s Mall, Limerick (map)
    The Mid West Humanists are meeting. They’ll be talking about life as an atheist or humanist in a religious world, as well as their plans to meet with local TDs concerning the Constitutional Convention.
  • Friday 30 August – Sunday 1 September, Carlingford Heritage Centre, Carlingford, Co Louth (map)
    All-Ireland Humanist Summer School. Organised jointly by theHumanist Association of Irelandand the Humanist Association of Northern Ireland. Prices vary.
  • Saturday 21 September, Galway
    Atheist Ireland AGM. Further details to be announced.


The religions of the world are in serious decline. Each generation is less religious than the last and the grip of the Church is being steadily weakened. Ireland used to be the most religious country in Europe, yet even here religion is being eroded away. The simple fact is that religion’s future is one of decline into insignificance as the older generations die off and young fail to take their place. – Robert Nielsen on the future of religion

By dehumanising your opponent it makes it easier to deny them rights, behave cruelly and violently, and in the worst cases, enslavement and death. It’s a technique which has been used since antiquity when ancient civilisations wanted to rationalise their perceived racial superiority and the enslavement of other peoples. – Peter Ferguson on how religious propaganda dehumanises gay people.

“I think many are underestimating the great message of hope the Bishop of Rome is offering to young, gay Catholics. As long as they’re male.” Padre Roddy defended. “Before today they would have felt trapped by restrictions that promised only a life without romantic love. A lonely road of self denial under the label of ‘fundamentally disordered’. All that has changed. Well, not all, obviously. But the Vicar of Christ has offered a vision of gay men, gay men who live in community with purpose to their lives, gay men who he does not judge.” –Geoff Lillis offers a tongue-in-cheek analysis of the Pope’s recent comments

Secular Sunday