Welcome to DASH
We are DASH: Derbyshire Atheists, Secularists and Humanists.
- As atheists we reject the god idea because we see no need or evidence for it.
- As secularists we campaign for a state free of religious privileges.
- As humanists we try to lead happy, fulfilled and responsible lives.
Please click here to find out more about atheists, secularists and humanists.
We provide a voice in Derbyshire for those with no need of god or religion.
We promote the right of everyone to make a free and informed choice about what to believe.
Look up, the answer lies in the stars!
This image, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, shows a tiny part of the Universe "speckled with galaxies". There are billions of galaxies, each, like our own Milky Way, containing billions of stars. That's a lot of stars! Our Sun is an average, middle-aged star with about 5 billion years of life still to go before it will be recycled in the ever-changing Universe to eventually become part of a new star. The Universe goes on and on - it simply changes form over time.
Want to find out more about us?
Drop us an email and ask any questions you may have. We can arrange one-to-one chats if you wish to find out more.
Time for a chat?
These figures are taken from the British Social Attitudes Survey, 2018.
Only 1% of people between the ages of 18 and 24 identify as Church of England and 52% of the UK population say they don't belong to any religion. Religious decline in Britain is generational; people tend to be less religious than their parents, and on average, their children are even less religious than they are.
Many religious people are concerned about this trend and they are nervous about, or even afraid of, atheists - they think we are "anti-god" and out to "end religion".
Above all, this demonstrates that many religious people have not engaged with articulate atheists and, while they are happy to engage in limited "inter-faith dialogue", they are reluctant to engage with us to clear up the many misunderstandings they may have.
We are great believers in a friendly chat - we don't "tweet" because that rapidly leads to hot-heads shouting at one another - it is counter-productive and encourages entrenched positions. The best way to understand people to to talk to them - face to face.
We are very happy to engage with religious people (we do it all the time!) - so please contact us and we will set something up for individuals or groups.
Don't get us wrong
We recognise that:
- people should be free to believe whatever they wish - with certain conditions - see below.
- good things are done by many religious people - as they are by many non-religious people,
- there are good and bad atheists just as there are good and bad religious people,
- many people are still "searching" for "the meaning of life",
- religious institutions don't necessarily reflect the personal beliefs of religious people,
- many people believe in "something out there" even if they don't define themselves as "religious",
- most people haven't thought about it much.
We have thought about it a lot, we are very well informed, we no longer feel the need to "search" (some of us never felt the need) and we are happy to share what we have found out, and what we believe, with anyone.
Freedom of belief
All freedoms are constrained in one way or another, that's why societies have rules to help us live harmoniously together. Our constraints are:
- Cause no harm.
- Don't call for harm to be caused.
- Don't discriminate based on skin colour, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, disability.
We have left "religion or belief" out of this list because the law allows religions to discriminate. For example, atheists find it hard to get jobs in religious schools which make up over one third of all schools in the UK.
- Don't force your beliefs onto others, particularly children - allow them to make a free and informed choice.
- Allow people the freedom to change their beliefs.
- Support the Liberal Tradition of freedom of belief, thought and speech.
- Don't expect not to be offended - none of us has the right not to be offended.
- Don't expect "respect" for your beliefs - after all, there are many beliefs (fascism, white supremacy, etc.) that don't deserve respect.
This is covered in more depth in our article on "Moral values - good without god".
Are atheists nervous about religion?
We look at the world today and we see:
- the USA where no politician would dare come out as an atheist and where most "Christians" don't seem to have read the New Testament, certainly not the Sermon on The Mount - they seem full of Old Testament vengeance and violence.
- protestant Christian DUP politicians in Northern Ireland denying women the right to control their own fertility.
- the largest Christian sect, the male dominated Roman Catholic church, embroiled in controversy over priestly abuse, denying women the right to control their own fertility and denying people the right to be happy no matter what their gender or sexuality
- the kleptocratic, theocratic dictatorship of Wahabi Islamic Saudi Arabia flogging and imprisoning people who dare to question religion. Atheist Raif Badawi was sentenced to 1,000 lashes and remains in a Saudi Prison seven years after his arrest.
- Buddhism Myanmar (Burma) murdering and expelling Muslim Rohingyas in a massive act of ethnic cleansing.
- the growth of Hindu violence in India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party. In March 2017, 31-year-old A Farooq, who became a rationalist and atheist, was killed in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, by members of a Muslim radical group.
- the state of Israel using the teachings of Judaism to justify its actions against the Palestinian people and against its neighbouring states.
- individuals and groups willing to commit monstrous acts of violence in the name of their god and their religion.
Yes, we are deeply concerned about religion; after over 3,000 years, intra and inter religious violence seems as prevalent today as it ever was.
A few more stars
The image below, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, shows two interacting galaxies over 704 million light years from Earth. To give some sense of distance, light takes eight minutes to reach us from the Sun - so get your calculator out - these two galaxies are a very long way away!
The "dust" around the galaxies isn't "dust" - each grain of "dust" is a star! Note the other, even more distant, galaxies shown in the same photo.
The light at the centre of the each galaxy is not some large star - it is the light from billions of stars that, because of the vast distances involved, cannot be resolved as single stars so they appear to shine as a single source of light.
We have no idea if these galaxies look the same today - after all, the light we see left them 704 millions years ago. When we look up at the stars we are looking deep into the past - so, if our Sun ceased to function it would take eight minutes for us to find out. Nothing we see is what it seems!
You are a strange sort of person if this stuff doesn't leave you gobsmacked!
The video below gives you some idea of where this pair of galaxies is. The bright band across the night sky at the start is our galaxy, the Milky Way. (Go full screen to see it at its best.)
If a god created the Universe, she was certainly very busy!