The One with the Thoughts of Frans

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Oaths Are Silly

To a nice observer, it would have been worth while to remark the difference in tone and manner between the Resident and Havelaar on this occasion. Both had often attended such a solemnity [the reading of the decree of the Governor-General, whereby Mr. Max Havelaar was appointed Assistant Resident]; the difference which I refer to was not, therefore, occasioned by their being more or less affected by a novel and unwonted spectacle, but was only a consequence of the very different characters of the two persons. The Resident, it is true, spoke a little quicker than he was used to do, because he only had to read the decree and oaths, which saved him the trouble of seeking for the last words of what he had to say; but still all went on with a gravity and a seriousness which must have inspired the superficial spectator with a very high idea of the importance which he attached to this matter.

Havelaar, on the contrary, had something in expression of countenance, voice, and mien, when with uplifted finger he repeated the oath, as if he would say, “Of course, without ‘any oath,’ I should do that.” Any one having a knowledge of men would have had more confidence in his freedom from constraint than in the sedateness of the Resident. Is it not ridiculous indeed to think that the man whose vocation it is to do justice, the man into whose hands is given the weal or woe of thousands, should think himself bound by a few uttered sounds, if his heart does not feel itself obliged even without those sounds to do so (emphasis mine)?

We believe of Havelaar, that he would have protected the poor and oppressed wheresoever he might meet them, even if he had promised by “God Almighty” the reverse (emphasis mine).

From Max Havelaar by Multatuli.

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Feminism and Atheism

It’s amazing how often I see the same information posted on both the feminist and atheist blogs I follow. Religion is not good to women.

On a very related note, I would highly recommend anyone to read Infidel, the autobiography of Ayaan Hirsi Ali. These issues all come down to treating people equally and fairly regardless of sexuality, gender, race, religion or any other reason, but religion is often in direct opposition with those values. For illustration I’ll quote the devil of whom I just spoke:

Feminists need to be wary of the celebration of “cultural diversity” unless they want to inadvertently celebrate polygamy, child-marriage, marital rape, honor killings, wife beating, selective abortion of female fetuses and other traditions that are now legitimized in the name of culture.

To end this quick post I’ll link to some of my favorite atheist blogs.

  • Pharyngula, no doubt well-known to many. The amount of time he spends debunking quacks is to be admired – or to be pitied. Regardless, his blog is intelligent and provocative and an excellent source of rationality.
  • Friendly Atheist isn’t as entertaining as Pharyngula, but heck, not everything can be.
  • Heaving Dead Cats also hails from the US and telltales of living in a society that sounds like the 1950s to my Dutch ears.

I’ll end this post with Bill & Ted’s idiom, aka the Golden Rule: be excellent to each other.