My childhood upbringing

There are four years difference in age between my brother and I; he’s four years younger, and we were raised mostly by my mother as my father worked long hours that often went throughout the night so we barely saw him. My mother was brought up well by her parents and passed on her upbringing to me and my atheist brother who’s ironically called Christian. We were taught to be polite, always use our manners, and respect people, and if we disobeyed we were punished in accordance to the severity of the crime.

I once had my mouth washed out with soap and water for cursing at a woman who lived further up the road. My parents were strict, but only because they believe that humans have standards that need to be maintained. They were focused on personal hygiene and always made sure we folded clothes up and made our shoes shine, but that taught us respect. I’m quite sure I resented my parents many times, but their dedication to making their children decent human beings has paid off. Neither of us has ever been in trouble with the law, we both hold down jobs and pay our taxes.

None of this was influenced by any belief in any gods.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say that my parents are atheists as I don’t think the existence of any gods has ever been a concern to them, but we were raised without any religious influence. Like most families in my neighbourhood, god wasn’t really a thing. People had crucifixes in their lounges but often it was passed down from relatives and it was of sentimental value. I went to a Church of England school, and every morning we had assembly where we’d read the Lord’s Prayer, and one day a week we’d have a religious studies class. What I remember the most about those classes was a boy who’s name eluded me, who was removed from the religious syllabus and wasn’t present during Christmas and Easter celebrations. At the time we had no idea why, but it later came to light that he was a Jehovah’s Witness and they don’t accept the Church of England’s views, so he literally became that kid; the outcast. That’s the first time where I experienced a valid argument for secularism as due to his family’s faith he was a minority during Christian teachings and celebrations.

In my early teens a mini bus used to drive around my home town on a Sunday picking up children to take to Sunday school, and in a way it was the church’s attempt to recruit to their church. They used to have a time of Bible reading then one of the teachers would hold a quiz and ask questions about passages we’d read. Every time you answered a question correctly you were awarded with a token which you could redeem at the tuck shop at the end of the class. In other words they were providing children with junk food to attempt to indoctrinate you about their god.

This is where my cynicism and scepticism was born as I saw for the first time how manipulative religion can be.

In my late teens I dated a Catholic girl who wasn’t terribly religious, but was very fearful of her parents who were very devout and both held high positions in a Catholic society. I wasn’t as outspoken by any means then and was only just beginning to understand what atheism was. At dinner one evening out with her parents, Jean, the mother asked if I believed in god. I said that I didn’t, and that my experience with religion hadn’t been positive. She quite aggressively informed me that I was ignorant of god, and if she’d known that I was a heathen she would have forbid her daughter from seeing me. As you can imagine, I didn’t date her for much longer and that encounter encouraged me to question everything.

A retrospective: John Locke

John Locke was a philosopher and physician who was born in Somerset, England in the 17th century, and is credited as the Father of Political Liberalism, and is without a doubt one of the most influential figures in the Age of Enlightenment. He was a strong advocate for the scientific revolution, where the scientific method evolved, and he was a medical researcher, who was concerned with the evidence being gathered empirically. As well as being a researcher in the sciences, he was also a political critique and believed that humans have three basic rights; life, liberty and estate, and he was a keen advocate for the separation of the church and the state; secularism, and heavily influenced the United States of America’s founding documents, especially the first amendment, and the Declaration of Independence.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

In 1689 he published his book, Essay Concerning Human Understanding, which became an instant hit amongst enlightenment thinkers, where he studied that understanding the human consciousness, and knowledge, including moral knowledge, comes from sensory experiences. One of his greatest admirers was Voltaire, who was heavily influenced by his political and ethical philosophy, as well as Sir Francis Bacon and Isaac Newton, and just like Thomas Jefferson claimed, Voltaire believed them to be the three most important thinkers in history.

“All mankind… being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty or possessions.” – John Locke

Locke’s political theory cantered around reason and tolerance, and he claimed that no leader, or monarch had a divine right to rule, and should be removed from power if they failed in their duties, and advocated revolution if the need arose, and scholars claim his ideas had a profound influence on America’s decision of independence. The term liberalism’s origins come from the Latin word Liber, which means free, but it became a very popular philosophy in the 17th century when the focus of equality became a serious subject. Laws were reformed where fair trials were eventually witnessed by juries, speech became freer, as did religious freedom, and freedom from religion.

“The improvement of understanding is for two ends: first, our own increase of knowledge; secondly, to enable us to deliver that knowledge to others.” – John Locke

Despite these things, the subject of ethical rights and freedom were discussed thousands of years before in classical Greece by a wide range of philosophers, including the Stoics, Sophists and the Cynics, who believed virtue was the only path to a great life, as did the Peripatetics, who Aristotle was part of. He clearly had a positive influence and contributed towards liberalism, but as for being the father, I disagree completely, but his scientific works, and his views on how to gain knowledge are still influential to this day.

A retrospective: Donald Trump

Since becoming the 45th President of the United States of America, Donald Trump has become one of the most infamous political figures in history. As the world watches his legacy unfold, the god fearing, gun supporting Christian majority, MAGA Republicans, believe him to be of legendary status, whilst everyone else is bewildered as to how he became the commander-in-chief of one of the most powerful nations in the world, and a resident at the Oval Office of the White House. How has such a controversial figure managed to split America down the middle, and be loved by so many for his disingenuous public displays of egotistical arrogance, and childlike tantrums. Many people were critical of Obama’s policies and claimed that Trump has done more for America in four years than Obama did in eight, but as a political figure, Trump significantly lacks the dignity, and the humbleness of Obama, and he’s a puppet on a string for the Republican Party.

‪It’s really cold outside, they are calling it a major freeze, weeks ahead of normal. Man, we could use a big fat dose of global warming!” – Donald Trump‬

Donald John Trump‘ was born in 1948, in the borough of Queens, New York City, and was the son of the real estate developer ‘Fred Trump‘, who was the son of German immigrants. He was raised as a Presbyterianism because of his mother’s faith, and he claimed in 2015 that he regularly attends Marble Collegiate Church in New York, but the church countered this by claiming he isn’t active, so another lie, and yet he still wins the November 2016 presidential election. The apple certainly didn’t fall far from the tree where Donald and Fred are concerned, and both have been surrounded by accusations of corruption regarding their business models.

“In 1954 Fred was investigated by the Senate Banking Committee for allegedly abusing the loan-guarantee program by deliberately overestimating the costs of his construction projects to secure larger loans from commercial banks, enabling him to keep the difference between the loan amounts and his actual construction costs. – Source

Although he was never officially charged with any crime, it tarnished his reputation, and his conscience got the better of him, and he returned $1.2,000,000. After the accusations, which he admitted to pocketing over $3,000,000 for his own commercial projects, he was denied access to further state loans. In 1974, Donald became president of his father’s empire which he renamed the ‘Trump Organisation‘. Before this happened, both Fred and Donald were accused of racial discrimination towards African Americans who lived at Trump owned housing developments, and they were sued by the Department of Justice. The Trumps immediately countersued as their reputation had been tarnished, and the settlement meant the Trumps never had to admit guilt. Does this mean that Fred genuinely was a member of the Ku Klux Klan, as after all, he was one of seven arrested at a rally in 1927 due to rioting?

‪Sorry losers and haters, but my IQ is one of the highest – and you all know it! Please don’t feel so stupid or insecure, it’s not your fault.” – Donald Trump‬

After taking over his father’s company, Donald expanded it greatly by buying and building hotels, casinos and golf complexes. By 1990 his self estimation of his fortune was around $1.5,000,000,000. Trump has been repeatedly asked to present his tax returns since taking the role of United States President, but he constantly ignores the request. It’s almost like he has something to hide. Throughout his career as a real estate mogul he’s been in the firing line with accusations of racism, misogyny, fraud, false advertising, tax evasion, and breach of contract, but being filthy rich, he can afford the best lawyers who somehow always manage to get deals where he’s held unaccountable. Between 1991 and 2009, the Trump Organisation has filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy no less than six times, which left him with banks refusing to bail him out of trouble, all except the Deutsch bank.

“In fall 2019, after Trump admitted to misusing money raised by his foundation to promote his presidential campaign and settle debts, he was ordered to pay $2,000,000 in damages” – Source

Regarding his presidential campaign, is he truly a Republican, as his political affiliation seems inconsistent, and he’s been a Democrat and the independent Reform party, before rejoining the Republican Party in 2009. He’s since been advised to sell off his business ventures as he’s been accused of violating the Foreign Emoluments Clause, in which it’s unethical to receive funds from foreign governments as it can lead to influence, yet several key governments who are responsible for human rights violations have invested in the Trump organisation. When Trump was in the reform party he was in the running for the presidential race, but after polls claimed that with him running against ‘George W. Bush‘, he had no chance whatsoever as barely anyone supported him, and he dropped out to save himself from future embarrassment. So how was he so successful in November 2016, and what changed? Surely it wasn’t his public persona on the Apprentice that brought him further into the public eye? It’s common knowledge that during his campaign he was accused of pandering to the white supremacists to gain votes, and he had huge support from the Ku Klux Klan as they believed he was prepared to take the country back from immigration and foreign nationals.

You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything….Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.” – Donald Trump

Many of the MAGA crowd, despite claiming to be deeply religious, have far right views on immigration, national patriotism and homosexuality. Trump has been under intense scrutiny since 2016 for a long list of accusations by the Justice Department, with over 20 separate investigations surrounding every area of his presidency, and his business ventures. He’s allegedly paid out many millions of dollars to keep people quiet about incidents he’s supposedly been involved in, most notably having an affair with a porn star, and presidential campaign influence from Russia.

In December 2019 two articles of impeachment were brought to the House of Representatives, and if the Senate reached 2/3rds majority in favour of removing Trump from office, then the Democrats accusation of obstructing Congress would be valid, with ‘Mike Pence‘ automatically becoming President. The trial failed, and was always going to fail, as the Republican Party had the most seats. Out of 44 Presidents, this is only the 3rd time one has faced impeachment, and they include ‘Andrew Johnson‘, ‘Bill Clinton‘ and ‘Donald Trump‘. ‘Richard Nixon‘ was facing impeachment but he resigned before it was set in motion, and as of yet, no American President has been removed from office, but if Trump wins the 2020 election in November, then he’s got another four years to ruin his career once and for all.

If you had any doubt that Donald Trump is an imbecile, then the above video confirms it. The man can barely string a coherent sentence together.