I cannot conceive of a God who rewards and punishes his creatures, or has a will of the type of which we are conscious in ourselves. An individual who [c]ould survive his physical death is beyond my comprehension, nor do I wish it otherwise; such notions are for the fears or absurd egotism of feeble souls. Enough for me the mystery of the eternity of life, and the inkling of the marvellous structure of reality.
From Albert Einstein “TheWorldAsISeeit” The Thinkers Library, No. 79, 1935
We can’t bring him back but we can ensure his legacy lives on. Follow Einstein’s example and join the Rationalist Association today. For more information and to become a member visit newhumanist.org.uk/ra or email email@example.com
The Annual General Meeting of the Rationalist Association will be held 28th May 2012.
From 6.30pm The Library The Bishopsgate Institute 230 Bishopsgate London EC2M 4QH
(A short walk from Liverpool St Station)
RATionalist rat illustrations © 2012 MAY & JUNE 2012
REGULARS 5 Editorial Pork, alcohol, sex 6 Godless globe 9 Witness Martin Robbins,
Angela Saini, Owen Hatherley, Eliane Glaser 12 Yours sceptically Readers’
letters 49 Chris Maslanka’s Quiz 50 Endgame Laurie Taylor has his very own Euro crisis FEATURES 14 Phony war When did secularism become a dirty word? asks Paul Sims 16 Cult following James Gray explores Britain’s growing religious sects 20 No more lies Alom Shaha explains why he wrote The Young Atheist’s Handbook 24 Curiouser and curiouser
Where would science be without the burning urge to know? asks Philip Ball 26 Purring sycophants with an agenda Ralph Steadman’s celebration of man’s best enemy – the domestic cat 28 Is your brain right-wing?
Neuroscience is revealing fascinating things about our politics, argues Chris Mooney 31 Saint for all seasons
Might Joan of Arc hold the key to the French elections? asks Sally Feldman 34 Profile: Helen Bamber Her experiences with survivors of Belsen still drive the 86-year-old torture campaigner 36 Rites & responsibilities
Sarah Ditum explores what can be done to combat belief in witches and the abuse that can ensue 31 Books interview: Richard
Holloway The former Bishop of
Alom Shaha’s toolkit for young atheists
Can she save France again?
Edinburgh on his journey through religion and out the other side
13 Q&A: Shazia Mirza on life as a foul-mouthed Muslim comic 19 Chown’s Cosmos Sunset on
44 Keith Kahn-Harris on trouble-making Judaism 46 Francis Beckett savours a new edition of a classic 47 Richard Wilson on an important exposé of religious abuse 48 Will Wiles enjoys an ice-cool
Peter Stamm novel 48 Stephen Sedley judges the memoirs of a jaded lawyer
Where does the Church go after Rowan?
Church go after Church go after Rowan?Rowan?