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Australian society is under threat from the rise of Christianism

We are told over and over again that Christianity has shaped our history and our values.  Retired high court judge and chair of the Royal Commission into trade union governance and corruption, Dyson Heydon, had this to say on the matter:

“The public voices of modern elites are not humble. They conceive themselves to have entitlements and rights, not blessings. And they do not feel any gratitude to Almighty God for their entitlements and rights.

Now the modern elites – the tyrants of tolerance – in seeking to marginalise or silence Christianity are not only rejecting the cultural tradition of Christianity.

Not only are they rejecting a large part of the entire life and history of the nation – because Christianity is so integrated with the national life and history that to annihilate it is to destroy that national life, which can live only in memory.

They are also rejecting that fundamental part of the Christian tradition which is the source of the modern world and of their own favoured position within it.”

Pardon me?  Did this arbiter of the law just say that Christianity confers privilege?  Is he asking me to thank God for the workplace entitlements and social advances won by unions and collective action?  Is he saying that if I choose not to be a Christian I am destroying our national life?

When Scott Morrison gave his first speech in parliament, he opined that “Australia is not a secular country” quoting a US Senator who said “the Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, not from religion.”

Okay, but does that mean religion should play a role in our politics?

In an interview in 2013, Pope Francis expressed his firm opinion that it should not.

“I say that politics is the most important of the civil activities and has its own field of action, which is not that of religion. Political institutions are secular by definition and operate in independent spheres.”

The Catholic hierarchy has been knocked sideways by the emergence of Pope Francis and his eschewal of their fixation on homosexuality, contraception and abortion.

We have been told by ignorant bigots and politicians who wish to exploit fear for political gain that we are under threat from Islamism but it is actually Christianism that is far more prevalent and detrimental to Australian society.

Christianism means particular doctrines of Christianity made into a political system for the pursuit of worldly power, to be distinguished from Christianity.

In 2003, blogger Andrew Sullivan wrote “I have a new term for those on the fringes of the religious right who have used the Gospels to perpetuate their own aspirations for power, control and oppression: Christianists. They are as anathema to true Christians as the Islamists are to true Islam.”

Pentacostal leaders, who believe the ascension of Scott Morrison to the top job was divinely inspired, are mobilising to make sure he stays there.

Adam F Thompson from Voice of Fire Ministries said last month, “I really see that the body of Christ is going to have influence in the arena of – the political arena of this nation.  [But] if the prime minister right now doesn’t get elected in this next election there’s going to be darkness coming.”

Thompson exhorted the congregation that, if they truly wanted a Pentecostal revival and reformation in Australia, they must mobilise now.

Adrian Beale from Everrest Ministries said “Lord, we pray that the whole of the body of Christ in Australia would grasp the value of what you’ve done, Lord, and get behind our new leader … and that the next election would be won so that godly principles would be put into place, rather than the enemy having his way.”

Warwick Marsh from the Australian Christian Values Institute claimed three days of prayer and fasting had been answered with two miracles – the voting down of the euthanasia in the territories proposal and the rise of Morrison to PM.

“It would seem that this is a direct answer to our prayers, as we prayed against the erosion of our Christian freedoms under the forthcoming Ruddock report.”

No doubt the recent rain will be seen as another miracle in response to Scott’s prayer, though those who were devastated by fierce hailstorms may wish he would tackle climate change instead.

So emboldened are the Christianists that they feel they can dictate to government about the supposed fallacy of global warming.

In October 2010, the Senate’s Environment and Communications Legislation Committee agreed to table a letter from Cardinal Pell which quoted heavily from Ian Plimer’s book Heaven and Earth to claim there were “good reasons for doubting that carbon dioxide causes warmer temperatures”.

In Victoria, 28-year-old Marcus Bastiaan, who has flooded the Victorian Liberal Party with Christian and Mormon recruits, was reportedly planning to seek the party presidency when Michael Kroger steps down next year but announced last month that, due to family illness, he and his wife “have decided to step aside from our key roles in the Liberal Party for the time being”.

According to the Age, “Mr Bastiaan’s faction is confident it holds the numbers to anoint a replacement at the coming assembly meeting.”

While successive governments have endorsed placing religious chaplains in our public schools, Pope Francis condemns proselytism.

“Proselytism is solemn nonsense, it makes no sense. We need to get to know each other, listen to each other and improve our knowledge of the world around us.”

Australia is still secular, but it has a form of secularism where religion is allowed in the public sphere. As long as religion remains one voice among many and one option among many Australia will remain a secular country.

But should the Christianists continue the expansion of their political power, human rights in Australia will come under serious threat.


189 comments

  1. New England Cocky

    Fundamentalist anything is dangerous, whether it be it a religion, a political ideology or a tiddlywinks coach.

    The combination of uncritical unthinking by uninvolved persons “inspired” by self-serving MSM reflects the same scenario as occurred in Germany after the 1933 democratic elections. Fascism is upon us and being practised today in the Liarabral Notional$ misgovernment.

    Women supporting Adultery support National$

  2. pierre wilkinson

    funny how out of 7000 religions currently being practiced in the world today, the right wing christianists believe that only they chose the right god
    funny how his demands are so aligned with theirs too

  3. MikeW

    Another articulate and well researched article Kaye Lee, you never cease to amaze me.
    I’m surprised you haven’t been snapped up by the MSM, excluding News Corp of course they don’t believe in research and facts.

  4. Matters Not

    So Pope Francis condemns proselytism. He also condemns the devil:

    the Pope has been suggesting that Catholics pray for the whole month of October to tackle Satan, who his holiness thinks is responsible for the scourge of child abuse in the Roman Catholic Church. Just to make things a little more interesting, Bishop Cullinane of Waterford and Lismore is reportedly planning an exorcism response to reiki and everyday evil in his diocese — it must be nearly Halloween

    And Paul Horan goes on:

    The Devil isn’t responsible for clerical child abuse. Wicked evil clerics are. Satan didn’t do any of this and neither did he request that it happen.

    But Pope Francis is one of the good guys isn’t he? Horan is possibly Satan in another guise.

    https://www.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/views/yourview/readers-blog-pope-francis-blaming-the-devil-isnt-credible-875450.html

  5. Kaye Lee

    MN,

    I found this interview with Pope Francis very interesting.

    http://www.repubblica.it/cultura/2013/10/01/news/pope_s_conversation_with_scalfari_english-67643118/?ref=HRER3-1&refresh_ce

    He is, after all, a religious man so there will be a lot of God vs Satan stuff but I think, within the constraints of his religion, he is trying to make change.

    “I don’t like the word narcissism”, the Pope said, “it indicates an excessive love for oneself and this is not good, it can produce serious damage not only to the soul of those affected but also in relationship with others, with the society in which one lives. The real trouble is that those most affected by this – which is actually a kind of mental disorder – are people who have a lot of power. Often bosses are narcissists. Heads of the Church have often been narcissists, flattered and thrilled by their courtiers. The court is the leprosy of the papacy.”

  6. Karen Kyle

    I read the article written about the speech delivered by the Judge and nothing he said is actually wrong. It would be impossible to separate our laws and cultural norms from Christian thought. What the Judge failed to say was that there are also many other influences that go to make up modern western thinking. Christianity is just one and so is Judaism the ancestor of Christianity.

    I suspect that the USA type of Fundamentalist Christianity will not gain a lot of traction in Australia. Australians don’t like extremism by and large nor are we particularly religious as a people And many extremist sects from the US have come to Australia and failed miserably and gone home.. That won’t stop the remaining fanatics from trying just as they are trying and making alarming inroads with some issues in the US. But that is the USA is not Australia. We are very different.

    What we have to watch is the attitude of the Conservative Libs in case they think the Extremist Christian vote is worth having and invite them into the Party as the GOP did in the USA, whereupon they became far too powerful. And the fanatics of any religion become powerful when there are not enough of the ordinary faithful left to push the extremists to the margins and hold them there.

    The Judge was also right when he said that Christian views are no longer tolerated by many in the community. This was demonstrated during the Same Sex marriage debate. It really didn’t matter what the Churches had to say. They have lost a lot of their influence and few listen to them these days. And the Church is the Church.They will have their own point of view. So let them have it. It is who they are and in these days of declining influence it is no skin of anyone’s nose.

  7. Babyjewels

    I for one, will be fighting tooth and nail against the Christianists expanding their power in Australian if only by pointing out their so obvious hypocrisy and failings at every opportunity.

  8. Win jeavons

    Somebody should ask these pretend christians where the Labour movement began! In Wesleyan Methodism! It was a product of Wesley’s emphasis on social justice and the fact that workers are equally the children of God.

  9. Kaye Lee

    Karen,

    In my opinion, the Christian Church (along with most other religions) is even more guilty of howling down opposing opinion than those they accuse of trying to silence them. I think the vast majority of Australians are of the view to each his own. Live your life as you please. But that usually comes with the proviso of as long as it does not interfere with others’ right to do the same.

    I will fight for the right of people to worship as they see fit whilst holding a personal view that worship is the greatest waste of time and money known. I see it as a total con, a way to maintain power and accumulate wealth. But hey, if it feels good then go for it. I much prefer to enjoy the sense of community that the church offers and the good deeds that it does and the encouragement to do the right thing because it is right rather than for reward. The church community works together to help those who need it. I also think we must all know how to forgive but I don’t think chanting helps.

    But I am shown no similar latitude. My family still try to convince my adult children that they should rectify my mistake and go and get baptised. My kids respect their relatives’ beliefs and will occasionally go to Mass because they know it means a lot to some members of the family. They are all really good people – be they religious or not – but one side respects the others choices and one side doesn’t. They are convinced that it is their duty to drag everyone to know the Lord.

    That is not the important part though. What is wrong is when religious beliefs dictate laws that all must follow – the euthanasia option being one.

  10. nonsibicunctis

    Religion is nothing more than primitive superstition developed by human beings into various dogmas.

    It has always been used as a convenient tool for inducing submission of the general populace by those who have power. The alliance of State and Church is nothing new, nor surprising, though its format and strength may vary over time.

    Given a human race that willingly and even proudly spends trillions of dollars on armaments and the millions of personnel needed to administer, deploy, and use them whilst, in comparison, spending trivial amounts of time, energy or money on collaborating to devise a means of abolishing armed conflict and enabling all peoples to live in harmony, this disjunct, all too often caused by the misplaced respect given to religions is unlikely to disappear anytime soon.

    As long as we have millions of individuals who fail to make use of their intellect but instead choose to accept all manner of moronic myth and mystique and the dogma through which it is purveyed as a legitimate and reasonable explanation for our existence, even to the extent of giving it a privileged status, then there will neither be peace nor progress in the affective domain of human existence.

    Morrison’s religiosity simply reinforces what is already clear from his right-wing adherence and mentality, i.e. that he believes that privilege is acceptable, regardless of how many human beings suffer to provide it. It also points to a self-centered selfishness such as is a characteristic of all religiosity.

    The supposed distinction between ‘Christianity’ and ‘Christianism’ is specious and only serves to continue the pitiful acceptance and support of religions as representative of fundamental truth, as opposed to the superstitious but convenient nonsense they provide to excuse personal or collective responsibility for human action.

    It makes no matter what term you wish to use to describe the phenomenon, as long as people are feeble-minded enough to consider that religious dogma has any validity or usefulness, let alone consider it to provide an explanation for our existence, then human ethics and morality will continue to be distorted. Human knowledge long since reached a point of clarity that nothing about us or our world or universe requires some mythical and omniscient entity to have created it. In fact, all evidence indicates to the contrary.

  11. Matters Not

    Yes Kl, the interview is certainly worth a read (and in my case the odd reread or two). While I am no longer a ‘believer’, I am of the view that religion, broadly defined, plays an important role in who we are, how we arrived and where we might go.

    In my younger days, many of my teachers were Augustinian priests, a few of whom were very good thinkers. At university, one of my lecturers (me a mature aged student) was an ex Jesuit – a refugee from South Africa because of his connection to the Black Consciousness Movement and his close relationship with Steve Biko. He literally had to flee for his life because of those connections – fled under the cover of darkness to a waiting boat. He was a fountain of knowledge when it came to Liberation Theology and the like. Many discussions beyond the campus over the odd glass or two.

    Certainly the interview gave an insight into the Pope’s (deep) thinking that is not normally displayed when speaking with the faithful. In particular, this statement resonates:

    “Each of us has a vision of good and of evil. We have to encourage people to move towards what they think is Good.”

    In particular – “what they think is good” aligns with my view of personal responsibility and the acceptance of same. It is as the author records:

    The conscience is autonomous, you said, and everyone must obey his conscience. I think that’s one of the most courageous steps taken by a Pope.

    “And I repeat it here. Everyone has his own idea of good and evil and must choose to follow the good and fight evil as he conceives them. That would be enough to make the world a better place.”

    It’s not the first time I’ve heard that argument from a religious, indeed I heard it from one (only) of my teachers in my teenage years. Found it appealing then – as I do now.

    Yes the interview is well worth a read and some reflection particularly if you disregard the religious mumbo jumbo (which I always find very annoying.)

  12. Karen Kyle

    Kaye.

    Your family are worried about the condition of your immortal soul. Absurd to you but not to them. Be kind to them, they are obviously genuine.

    And there are plenty of instances where secular authorities crack down on the religious. For example some European countries have banned Kosher kills and the ripples go all the way to Israel. Israel does not have the land for cattle grazing so they bought most of their Kosher meat from Europe. And increasing numbers of European countries want to ban male circumcision except for health reasons. That puts Muslims and Jews in a bind and means it will probably be done illegally. Whether parents will be prosecuted is doubtful. Policing such a law would be difficult. And it may well be a breach of religious freedom. It would probably have to be decided in the courts.

    As for Euthanasia, I thought we had that sorted in Victoria owing to ground breaking legislation by the Andrews Government. Where one state goes the rest usually follow, although they might have to wait for the right State Labor Government. In a pluralist society the Church has a right to express an opinion, just as you have the right to disagree with it. Some things take a little time and patience.

  13. Egalitarian

    I couldn’t agree with you more nonsibicunctis. If I had my way I’d appoint you the Wise Old Man; Left of Centre office in Parliament; just for a little perspective.

  14. Michael Taylor

    You said it for me, Egalitarian.

  15. Kaye Lee

    I have a kind of hybrid philosophy when it comes to immortal souls. I do think we live on through the influence that our actions and interactions with other people have had. One small act of kindness reverberates around the world like ripples in a pond kind of thing. I also appreciate the Aboriginal connection to the land and their view that we are custodians.

    I don’t understand the need for rituals about food but, provided it is done humanely and does not involve transporting live animals in atrocious conditions, then ok I guess. I am a meat eater who is in denial of how the food gets on my table. I can’t even go fishing but I happily eat it once its cooked.

    I would prefer to listen to the medical people about medical procedures than the religious people.

  16. Andrew Smith

    There are odd parallels with Conservative libertarians or neo libs need for deregulation for their own self interest, and Conservative Christians’ disdain for secularism (ignorantly viewed as anti-Christian).

    In fact Christians developed secularism, in ‘Secularism is Christianity’s gift to the world’

    ‘secularism identifies the conditions in which authentic beliefs should be formed and defended. It provides the gateway to beliefs properly so called, making it possible to distinguish inner conviction from mere external conformity.’

    https://thinktheology.co.uk/blog/article/secularism_is_christianitys_gift_to_the_world

  17. FireWWM

    Perhaps the myth of the “good pope” should be taken with a pinch of salt:
    https://www.globalresearch.ca/washingtons-pope-who-is-francis-i-cardinal-jorge-mario-bergoglio-and-argentinas-dirty-war/5326675

    “Religion is nothing more than primitive superstition developed by human beings into various dogmas.”
    Very true. But the biggest problem is that these dogmas have been rather hurtful to society (especially Christianity):

    The social principles of Christianity have had eighteen centuries in which to develop.

    The social principles of Christianity justified the slavery of classical days;
    they glorified medieval serfdom; and they are able whenever the need arises to defend the oppression of the proletariat. The social principles of Christianity proclaim the need for the existence of a ruling class and a subjugated class, being content to express the pious hope that the former will deal philanthropically with the latter.The social principles of Christianity assume that there will be compensation in heaven for all the infamies committed on earth, and thereby justify the persistence of these infamies here below.

    The social principles of Christianity explain that the atrocities perpetrated by the oppressors on the oppressed are either just punishments for original or orher sins, or else trials which the Lord in his wisdom ordains for the redeemed.
    The social principles of Christianity preach cowardice, self-contempt, abasement, submission, humility -in a word, all the qualities of the canaille; and the proletariat, which will not allow itself to be treated as canaille, needs courage, self-confidence, pride, a sense of personal dignity and independence, even more than it needs daily bread.

    The social principles of Christianity are lickspittle, whereas the proletariat is revolutionary.So much for the social principles of Cistianity!
    (Karl Marx)

  18. Leah

    Oh the dark irony!
    Dyson gave his speech in which he criticized the “elites” to a very elite gathering of movers and shakers from the spheres of “religion”, industry, finance and commerce – quite literally the power elites or captains of industry who really do decide who is going to live or die, and which region or country is going to be the next inevitable sacrifice zone, as described in this truth-telling essay. Note the unspeakably dreadful snuff/splatter film which is being reviewed, in which the “hero”, representing every living-breathing-feeling human being, and humankind altogether is systematically beaten to death.
    Remember that at the time this film was promoted as a superb missionary tool for promoting the “good news” of the gospel.
    http://www.logosjournal.com/hammer_kellner.htm

  19. Karen Kyle

    Andrew. Bravo! The New Testament…”Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and render unto God the things that are Gods.” In other words pay the taxes to the Romans instructed Jesus, anxious not to upset any Roman spies in the crowd. That was probably a political statement and not a religious statement there being no division between religion and government at the time. But at least it did point the way to the difference which would be recognised and embraced centuries later.
    .
    And if you want to know the roots of the UN Declaration of Human Rights try Googling Deuteronomy and Human Rights. That’s right our oh so modern ideas of Human Rights came straight from the Hebrew Bible. I can’t post links because my computer won’t do it but you shouldn’t have any trouble. The Jews have known about it forever, but they are too polite to burst our self satisfied bubble and claim the credit.

  20. Kay Schieren

    It’s all just such a load of twaddle from people who like to write stuff because they have nothing else to do. If anyone actually had read the new testament through a couple of times when they were were straight, healthy and sober, they would find something useful to do and shut their lid / phone down, whatever. God help us. Australia is such a nation of loud idiots – used to be quiet achievers once!

  21. Kronomex

    Like scientology, the christian religions (and others) are slowly but surely bleeding believers and as they become more irrelevant they become more strident and rabid in their decline. Sooner or later they will all go the way of the dodo. I think we can put up with the religious nutter in charge, horrible thought that it is, and his gang of crooks and thugs are removed.

  22. Karen Kyle

    Fire WWM

    I wouldn’t take any notice of what you read on that excruciating propagandist site Global Research. And where do you think Marx got his radical egalitarian ideas? Why he got them from Judaism which along with Christianity is both subversive and revolutionary. Beat Marx by thousands of years. And Marx was the product of hundreds of generations of Jews. His parents conversion to Protestant Christianity would not have made a dent in that Jewish culture and cast of mind. Marxism could probably only have come from a Jew. Briliant diagnostics of Capitalism and wrong solution.

  23. Zathras

    The Evangelical Right want to drag society back to the days of “good old-time religion” but ignore the fact that it was also about witch burning, oppression and slavery – all quite acceptable at one time and perhaps not as long ago as they may try to forget.

    Those ignorant days have gone, along with the outdated and irrelevant dogma that poisoned them and lives on only in the memories of corrupt tele-evangelists and other predatory opportunists.

  24. Miriam English

    Religion is delusional. It is wishful thinking. But I know many people who don’t let their delusions get in the way of them being good people. I’m perfectly okay with them. It strikes me as a waste of life and intelligence, but it’s their life; it’s not really up to me to tell them how to live it.

    What scares me is when horrible people want to push their delusions on us all. We can’t expect them to see how wrong and how incredibly dangerous that is — after all, they’re deluded. They’ll probably never understand. But we need to have the strength to hold our ground so that we can have freedom from religion.

    The numbers are finally shifting our way. We might be able to hold back the dangers of religion this time. We have to. So much depends on us. We’ve seen before how things go when religion controls society: a thousand years of Dark Ages with humanity lost in stagnation, corruption, fear, and superstition. More recently the Nazi obscenity was powered by fervent Christianity. And in the current day we find the stench of religion in Boko Haram, ISIS, Myanmar, the Taliban, Ukraine, and USA Republicans should make us fear the thirst for power of the Australian Christian extremists. Extreme religion can turn peaceful people into monsters as soon as they think they have the power to rule and control how others live their lives.

  25. Miriam English

    I long for the day when religious belief will automatically disqualify people from many positions. Such delusions indicate something is broken.

    Study Links Religious Belief To Poor Understanding Of Physical World
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/progressivesecularhumanist/2016/10/study-links-religious-belief-to-poor-understanding-of-physical-world/

    The results showed that supernatural beliefs correlated with all variables that were included, namely, with low systemizing, poor intuitive physics skills, poor mechanical ability, poor mental rotation, low school grades in mathematics and physics, poor common knowledge about physical and biological phenomena, intuitive and analytical thinking styles, and in particular, with assigning mentality to non-mental phenomena.

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/acp.3248/abstract

  26. Karen Kyle

    I read the study and I have to say that secular humanism is an extremist view all on it’s own. I also read the comments on the study and was not surprised to find that most people know many people of faith who don’t fit into the described categories at all. I am not surprised. I live next door to a retired cleric who happens to be one of the most intelligent people I have ever met.

    What I can’t understand is the vicious hatred towards religion. It is not rational. It isn’t even sensible. And such haters have to whip themselves up to a high degree of wrath by concentrating on the negative aspects of religion (of which there are plenty) and ignoring the positives and the good. No institutions or organisations comprising people are ever wholly good or bad.

    Science takes things apart to see how they work. Religion stitches things together to create meaning. Both are entirely valid mental processes. As a species we wouldn’t have got very far without both. And we continue to stitch things together to create meaning, we continue to mythologise and tell each other stories. Life would be bleak if we didn’t.

    It is the nasty habit of mythologising without the break of reason or common sense that causes trouble among the ignorant. Where do you think all the outrageous conspiracy theories come from? And science wouldn’t have got very far at all without the scientists ability to hypothesise, in other words to use controlled imagination, and sometimes to chuck controls and let the imagination range free.

  27. Kaye Lee

    Scientists hypothesise then look for proof to support or reject their hypothesis.

    This article was about the rising push for political influence by Christianists in this country. People may believe as they see fit but they may NOT force their beliefs on others.

    Karen, you seem like an intelligent reasonabe person and I am happy for you that your faith gives your life meaning. Personally, I have no need for chanting responses or burning of incense or dressing up in robes or arcane rituals like communion to give my life meaning. I do the best I can to make the world a better safer kinder place. I don’t need the promise of reward or the threat of punishment to do that.

  28. Terence Mills

    Former High Court Judge Michael Kirby noted last week that the reluctance of the Morrison government to release the Ruddock Report and their enthusiasm for throwing money at religious schools is a threat to the secular nature of Australian society :

    “Secularism is one of the greatest gifts that grew out of British history, out of the religious wars. They solved that by saying that, in the public space, we respect all religions or no religion. It’s at risk in the US but there, they’ve got constitutional protection. It’s also at risk in Australia but our constitutional protections have been interpreted very narrowly. We’ve got to be very alert to the benefits of secularism for all of us, including people of faith.”

    I agree with Michael Kirby and we should cherish our secular heritage.

  29. Karen Kyle

    Yes scientists do look for proof of their hypothesis. But first they must imagine before they can hypothesise.

    And it might surprise you to know that I have no religion. I am agnostic. However I don’t despise religion. I have had a great time reading the history of religion and it is fascinating. It is a sort of a road map of human mental/emotional/cultural /development. It is the history of human civilisations and some of those ideas which came into existence in antiquity are with us still. I call that thrilling. We have things in common with our remote forbears and despite the barbarism they were more civilised than we knew. My gratitude to good scholars is boundless. They did all the work and I do all the reading. An unequal partnership and I am the beneficiary. That makes me happy..

  30. Kaye Lee

    Karen, I was a member of the church for many years. My grandparents were very religious but my parents were not. I made my own decision to be involved and I enjoyed much of it. It was the worship, greed and intolerance that drove me away. The last straw was when neither the Catholic nor Anglican churches would christen my children unless I signed up to their specific brand – no welcome to the House of the Lord, just drumming up numbers for their own exclusive club. It was an eye-opener.

  31. Karen Kyle

    What a pity your experience wasn’t good. If you had gone to the Uniting Church they might have been different, but I am guessing. Really I don’t know but minority Churches are usually pleased to get anyone.

    As a teenager I was a member of the Anglican Church. We had a Welsh Minister who sang the services and a full choir. The services were wonderful. I used to come out of there at the age of fourteen as high as a kite on poetry and music. I had to go every week to get my fix and I loved Evensong the best. The atheist Christopher Hitchens also loved Evensong and would go whenever he was in England. Then the Minister retired and a new one came who didn’t sing the service and the choir was gone. He muttered. He was as boring as a house brick and I was so furious at being done out of a beautiful and moving religious experience that I never went back. And that was it, But I am glad I had that experience. No regrets apart from the muttering Minister.

  32. Miriam English

    Karen, it doesn’t make sense to call secular humanism extremist. I know many religious people who believe in various gods and spirits. They’re still my friends and I enjoy their company. As I said above, “I know many people who don’t let their delusions get in the way of them being good people. I’m perfectly okay with them. It strikes me as a waste of life and intelligence, but it’s their life; it’s not really up to me to tell them how to live it.” That isn’t extremist.

    Sure, there are some atheists who genuinely hate religion, and there are almost certainly some who hate religious people (I don’t think I know any of the latter), but that’s the fault of dogma, not atheism or secular humanism.

    I can understand why some people have a deep hatred for religion when many religious people repeatedly try to destroy their lives. Some of my gay friends can finally(!!!!) have their loving relationships formalised and protected by the law. At the moment a small number of religious extremists in government are trying to extend ways for them to abuse LGBT people.

    I’ve been personally insulted many times by religious people while trying to gently point out that being same-sex attracted is entirely natural and that they really have no right to hate us. It’s really water off a duck’s back for me, but I can understand why other people get very upset over it.

    It isn’t right for some non-religious people to hate religious people, but I can understand why they react like that. Here is an image of some nice Christians messaging an atheist recently:

    Now THAT’s extreme.

    When many religious people behave the way they did during the marriage equality vote, it is easy to see why there is a strong feeling that power should be kept away from religious haters.

    As for religion and imagination, sorry, but you’re wrong. Imagination has absolutely nothing to do with the difference between religious and scientific mindsets. I have an extremely scientific/engineering mindset, yet look at my website and see if you think I lack imagination. I don’t have a religious bone in my body.

    Belief in religion and superstition has to do with perception of false positives. It used to have genuine survival value way back in our primitive past. I’ll explain that further if you want me to. I don’t want this post to be too long.

  33. Karen Kyle

    Yes that screenshot is rough. And it is hateful. Few people would say such things face to face. They are cowards. And they should never have political power. You miss read what I said. about scientists and imagination. I said a person can’t be a good scientist unless they have imagination.

  34. Zathras

    At their core religions are just repackaged hate-groups providing excuses and reinforcement for personal prejudices as well as being totally amoral.

    All have an “us-and-them” mentality, have self-proclaimed enemies, see themselves as struggling victims while having a fetish for persecution and martyrdom and all “good deeds” are really done for the purpose of personal reward.

    The dangling everlasting-life carrot is totally non-transferable and the ultimate aim of all adherents. Without that prize there would be no point and no followers. I could be selling immortality pills on the Internet offering “satisfaction or double your money back” with the same degree of sincerity.

    Recent revelations of systemic abuse have peeled back a few layers of what they really are.

    To have people with such cognitive dissonance running the country is not a good idea.

  35. DrakeN

    Karen,

    most of the religious people that I know lack ‘imagination’ both in the real world and their religious adherence.

    For the main part, they just go along with whatever they learned from their upbringing, rarely devoting time and/or effort into questioning their early indoctrination.

  36. Karen Kyle

    Zathras… Jesus! You are bleak. Don’t tar them all with the same brush please.

  37. Karen Kyle

    Drake N
    I dunno. Some great music has been composed by religious people. And buildings like magnificent Churches and Mosques. Some marvellous poetry including scriptures. Great stories that never die. No imagination eh?

  38. helvityni

    We would not have anything worthwhile without imagination, no science, great literature, art, humour,architecture, not even beautiful gardens, clothes, or tasty food…

  39. Karen Kyle

    I agree.

  40. guest

    It has already been pointed out that Dyson Heydon frequently uses the word ‘elite’ in his 2017 speech. It is a very pejorative Murdoch word, sometimes used in the abbreviated form (‘leets). It applies to anyone not on their side, such as Lefties and atheists and even academics, but not to the Right, who are not ‘elites’ at all (so they say).

    Heydon gives a list of ideas from Jesus which make Jesus a revolutionary. No one, apparently, not even Cicero, had come up with such an array of ethics before:

    “*He showed concern for the ill, the socially marginalised, the outsider, the destitute.” You know, the “leaners”. Remember?
    *”He opposed self-righteous and hypocrisy.” Not easily done consistently.
    *” He had no concern to associate with wealth, power and celebrity. His associate were humbler. many of them were women.” You know: “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man…” And there were no quotas on the number of women – which was not many.
    * “He saw little children as heirs to the Kingdom of Heaven.” Well, quite a few children missed out on that one.
    * “He encouraged a search for the beam in one’s own eye before identifying the mote in someone else’s.” Ya reckon?
    * “He urged his followers not merely to love their friends and neighbours, but also to forgive their enemies.” Really. Turn the other cheek? How about “Toughen up”?
    *”He urged them not to meet violence with violence.” Darling, I’ve done another war!

    Somehow, real Christianity seems just too hard.

    Dyson is upset because some people have been rude and belligerent, Someone has said: “Burn Churches, not gays.” Seems reasonable to me. And someone else wrote: “Crucify ‘No’ Voters.”

    Well I have something to say about burning. The English tried Joan of Arc when they defeated her in order to prove she was heretic because she had said God was on her side while the English claimed God was on their side. So they burnt her at the stake.

    Then there is the tragedy of the death of George Duncan, a gay academic, drowned in the River Torrens, Adelaide, in the 1970s, some say by the police.

    Such is the obsession of some with sexuality,especially gays,, something banned as sinful in scripture. That is, by an ancient scribe who knew nothing about the nature of human sexuality. Even though God creates gays, but religious people say gays choose to be gays.

    Consequently, despite the result of the plebiscite on Same Sex Marriage, there are still religious people who want to continue freedom of religion which vilifies gays. I think they have forgotten what Jesus told them all those years ago.

  41. Brien Doyle

    When they show evidence to prove the existence of their gods, then and only then will we give religions a place of credibility –
    Until then – it is CHILD ABUSE !!

  42. Zathras

    Imagination is indeed a wonderful human ability.
    It’s given us fictional characters like Gandalf and Harry Potter.
    However I’m not prepared to die or kill others just to prove who I believe is the only true wizard.

    Like those two characters, people get most of their highly sanitised and selective religious history through the distorted lens of Hollywood.

    September 11th is remembered only for the Twin Towers but was also the date of the Mountain Meadows Massacre where 170 men, women and children over the age of six were murdered by Mormons dressed up as Indians as they tried to travel through Utah – just to name one example among thousands of incidents arising from intolerance.

  43. Kyran

    Soooo, wait a minute. Are we talking about freedom of religions, or freedom of religion? We all agree to live by the laws of the land and, if we don’t, we expect at least a ‘tut-tut’ if we transgress. Yes? Assaulting people (physical or verbal), robbing people, raping, pillaging, sodomizing children, all the usual transgressions are there. Society often makes these laws and defines the relevant punishments. They are the rules we are bound by, whether we agree with them or not. Which is fair enough.
    Religions generally espouse an additional ‘moral’ code, one defined by their gods or in their scriptures, which hold their adherents to a higher standard, not a lesser one. For us unreligious, the state provides that we are entitled to defend ourselves in the event of a physical attack. The higher ‘religious’ code requires you ‘turn the other cheek’. The higher code is a moral one that says if you respond to violence with violence, you are no better than the perpetrator.
    The ‘state’ code says that a woman has a right over her own body (well, most states, anyway). The ‘higher moral code’ says she doesn’t. If a woman chooses to abide by that ‘higher code’, fair play to her.
    If you choose to adhere to a ‘higher standard’, no harm, no foul. Fair play to you.
    The various churches have, over the period of their existence, sought to apply these lofty standards to their adherents, whilst transgressing the most basic and fundamental of the lower standards, the laws of the land, at every other echelon. Administrative, financial, behavioural, whatever. In modern speak, that’s a PR nightmare.
    Whatever ‘authority’ these moral bastions may have once had is gone. It is in that light that discussing the granting of further exemptions from ‘state law’, a minimum standard, is abhorrent to so many. The abhorrence of their aberrance is just too great.
    As for the distinction between ‘participating in a church’ and being ‘religious’ or ‘spiritual’, they are portrayed as mutually exclusive. Participation in churches is dwindling, yet people with principle and conviction get traction, no longer confined by the unbelievable hypocrisy of failed institutions.
    Having met many scientists at the CSIRO (a while back) I was amazed at the number of scientists who had no trouble at all with the ‘paranormal’ or ‘spiritual’. I thought they were mad. Many years later, at the birth of our first child, I was amazed. I knew many of the ‘medical’ and ‘scientific’ facts about how it happened, even evolution. There had been ‘medical problems’ in the last trimester, which made both of us very wary about how it would go. I’ll take that dichotomy to the grave, knowing no science will ever define or categorise it, and no solace or explanation will ever be sought from a religious institution or a proponent thereof.
    “We are told over and over again that Christianity has shaped our history and our values.”
    Ms Kyle, a self declared agnostic christian, seems to epitomise modern christianity. The performance, the entertainment, one hour a week at your local church, is meant to carry you through the next week. Perhaps that’s why so many people are becoming humanitarians. It’s an inverted math. One hour out of 168 maketh a Christian. 168 hours out of 168 maketh a humanitarian.
    As for the bit, “… in seeking to marginalise or silence Christianity …”, that’s the bit, for the life of me, I don’t get. It seems to me that members of religious institutions are the ones throwing as much shite about as they can to marginalize themselves. Thank goodness our kids have a grasp on things.

    https://www.sbs.com.au/news/australian-students-support-expression-of-sexuality-at-school-study-shows

    Appalling Pauline has moved a motion in the senate, with the government’s support, to say it’s ok to be white. It was narrowly defeated.
    It is not until standards become so deplorably low that idiot’s utterances gain credence. The only upside in this is that we have the most miserable proponents of blatant stupidity trying to enunciate anything even vaguely resembling discussion, let alone argument. The PM is currently threatening people in Wentworth with chaos if they don’t vote for the status quo. We have had chaos for six years, and now he wants to make that a threat?
    Who are we kidding here? Of all the thing’s facing society, us, we need to give a second thought to the rights of idiots who want to discuss idiocy?
    Apologies for the rant, Ms Lee and commenters. Can we start talking about tomorrow, instead of justifying yesterday? Take care

  44. Karen Kyle

    Who was the last authority who asked you to die for a “true wizard’?

  45. Karen Kyle

    Kyran….good comment sort of. And I know what I am and it ain’t Christian, And I was 14 when I went to Church, or 14 when I stopped. Haven’t been back since. So I guess you could say I lapsed. Is that okay with you? Not offended? Not disgusted? Do you mind? Too bad if you do. I don’t turn the other cheek. More inclined to slap back.

  46. Kyran

    With respect, Ms Kyle, your beliefs or convictions should never require my, or any one else’s, permission. That is the very indecency this ‘government’ seeks to promote.
    As to offence or disgust, I’ll leave you to be the arbiter. I can only speak for myself. I am deeply offended and often disgusted by people claiming religious protections for offensive and disgusting behavior. To each their own, I suppose.
    My suggestion that your non-beliefs were borne in Christianity wasn’t so much due to your claimed wide reading, as to your reference to church, rather than synagogue or mosque.
    There are some books that enunciate more clearly what I was referring to. Dava Sobel’s “Galileo’s Daughter”, or Fynn’s “Mister God, This is Anna”, or Tim Winton’s “The Shepherd’s Hut”.
    The notion there is a connection between the gods and the unfortunate circumstance of their subjects is one that has entertained us for millennia. Jared Diamond’s series of books are nothing short of mind-blowing in that regard. Yet, right now, our ‘elected’ PM is praying for rain.
    I meant no disrespect and, if any was taken, I apologise, without reservation. I do not, however, resile from the basic tenets of my proposition – “I am deeply offended and often disgusted by people claiming religious protections for offensive and disgusting behavior”.
    That so many of these ‘people’ occupy our parliament, like a refuge for the morally depraved, is beyond offense or disgust. I don’t need a Sunday outing in any hallowed hall to make me feel better about that.
    If these ‘people’ wish religious protection, they should first seek something worth protecting. ‘God’ just ain’t gonna cut it right now.
    All the very best, Ms Kyle. As Dave Allen would say, ‘May your god go with you’. As an agnostic, it is probably the most appropriate salutation. Take care

  47. Diannaart

    “The invisible and the non-existent look very much alike”

    Delos B. McKown

  48. Karen Kyle

    Thank you for your post. I am pretty sure religious will not be protected for disgusting behaviour. The chickens seem to be coming home to roost and fewer people these days put clergy on a pedestal and the Fundamentalists are not powerful in Australia. Not yet and maybe not ever. Relax.

  49. Kronomex

    I am an atheist, and have been for as long as I can remember. I am prepared to listen to other points of view from people of religious leanings IF, and I stress IF, they are willing to reciprocate. If not then it’s “Toodle-pip old bean.”

    Case in point: Back the mid-80’s while, I was living in Lutwyche in Brisbane, one Sunday morning at around seven I was woken up, after a long night of videos and Risk with friends, by a knock on the door and this man (his wife was at the bottom of the stairs) started immediately on the “Do you belive in god and jesus?” spiel. I was going to slam the door shut but had a thought and the conversation went something like this –

    “No I don’t.”
    “The bible says,” he said as he opened it. “That…
    “Hang on for a second, how about you tell me WHAT you think?”
    “Um, I think,” as he started to read from the book again.
    “No. I want to know WHAT your thoughts are about it.”
    His wife was looking decidedly nervous.
    “The bible says…”
    “I want to know WHAT YOU THINK,” and I leaned forward slightly and closed the book. He was genuinely stumped and fidgeted and did not know what to say. His wife ended it by coming up the stairs and grabbed him by the arm and mumbled something about having to go. As the they went through the front gate he turned and asked me, “Do you believe in god?”
    “No, I’m an atheist.” I really did want to know what he thought but…
    Every Sunday after that for six weeks a different couple showed up at my front door because they’d heard about this and I quote, “We heard there was a godless heathen living here and it’s our duty to do something about it.” Let’s just say that they were not treated kindly. I have no idea what version of “christianity” they followed but it was not one of tolerance.

    The classic dodge in most christian religions is prayer –
    “If you pray to god he’ll grant your prayer.”
    “So if I pray for a million dollars he’ll give it to me?”
    “Yes.”
    Next day, “I prayed for the money last night and nothing happened.”
    “Oh, you don’t have faith and don’t go to church every week, that’s why you didn’t get it.”
    Sigh. What a pathetic cop out.

    I have over the years had a few good conversations with people who were prepared to listen to a different viewpoint and make good arguments about what they believe without trying to proselytise. Sadly, those were/are few and far between. Now I just say I’m an atheist and leave it at that and walk away.

  50. Lord John

    It sounds like you are missing them Kronomex.

  51. Miriam English

    Diannaart, I love that quote. It went straight into my quotes folder. 🙂

  52. Miriam English

    I’ve just been reading and watching videos in the last few days about the fact that most of the New Testament is fake.

    Of the 27 books in the New Testament, only 7 are genuinely written by Paul of Tarsus, 6 are forgeries written by people pretending to be Paul. That leaves 14 other books, of which 5 are forgeries, 8 are anonymous (we have no idea who wrote them — they weren’t written by the apostles they’re named for), and only 1 is genuine — John’s crazy Revelation.

    So only 8 of the 27 are genuinely from who they say they are. But even then, these are copies of copies of copies, with numerous errors and alterations. We don’t have the original texts — only derivative stuff from a hundred or many hundreds of years later.

    Yeah, the inerrant word of god. [rolls eyes]

    Hard to understand why people still actually believe this nuttiness in the 21st Century.

  53. Diannaart

    Am rather fond of this quote myself. 😃

  54. Miriam English

    For those interested these are the New Testament books I was speaking of.

    x – Matthew
    x – Mark
    x – Luke
    x – John
    f – Acts
    ✔ – Romans
    ✔ – 1 Corinthians
    ✔ – 2 Corinthians
    ✔ – Galatians
    f – Ephesians
    ✔ – Philippians
    f – Colossians
    ✔ – 1 Thessalonians
    f – 2 Thessalonians
    f – 1 Timothy
    f – 2 Timothy
    f – Titus
    ✔ – Philemon
    x – Hebrews
    f – James
    f – 1 Peter
    f – 2 Peter
    x – 1 John
    x – 2 John
    x – 3 John
    f – Jude
    ✔ – Revelation

    key:
    x – we don’t know who wrote them; it wasn’t the people bearing their name
    f – forgery
    ✔ – genuine

  55. Diannaart

    I can never go past the Annotated Guide to the old & new Torah/Bible/Quran.

    A thorough and accessible deconstruction, revealing the inconsistencies, the truly awful and even a few nice bits contained in the musings of desert dwellers from a few thousand years ago.

    https://skepticsannotatedbible.com

  56. Karen Kyle

    Miriam.

    Can you quote sources? Looks like a fairly wonky list to me, Especially Acts which has Paul’s fingerprints all over it and scholars attribute it to him And why is Revelation genuine? It is totally different to the rest of the collection. What is it doing there? And James (James the Just) brother of Jesus and leader of the Church in Jerusalem and documented as such by the Jews. What of James?

  57. Miriam English

    Diannaart, yeah, 🙂 I often refer to the Skeptics Annotated Bible site. I haven’t used it for the other two works yet though.

    Karen Kyle the best source is Bart Ehrman. He is probably the top Biblical studies researcher in the world today and has written many books on the Bible.

    He wrote a book, “Forged: Writing in the Name of God–Why the Bible’s Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are”. He’s not alone in this; it’s generally accepted that only 7 of the books professing to be written by Paul actually are, and that the others are forgeries. As for the other books, they were all written much later and we have no idea who their authors were. They certainly weren’t the apostles. Biblical scholars all know this, but it’s not generally told to the general population.

    You might like to watch some of Bart Ehrman’s talks in which he explains:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63QvWMBxsW4 (at Cambridge)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRrq3s3P3Pw (a much longer talk)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-cZncVmtIU (short but very good)
    There are many more on the net.

  58. Kaye Lee

    I’m just wondering why it matters who wrote them. I truly don’t think we should be basing our laws on the Bible. In parts, it gives guidance on how to live successfully in a growing society where tribes were increasingly coming across one another. But I think we need to move on from the ancient god’s reward and punishment mantra as a reason to dictate morals, ethics and laws. It would be great if we could cut the ceremony and worship stuff too. It makes no sense even if you embrace spirituality.

  59. Karen Kyle

    Kaye Lee…….We don’t base our laws on the Bible. We base our laws on the moral underpinning of the Bible. Would you have us disrespect the rights of the individual?. The rights of the individual comes from the belief that we are all made in the image of god, therefore we are all equally important.And that the life of each one of us is sacred. And no-one has the right to imprison us, arrest us without reason, or to stop us from doing anything within the law. That’s called freedom.. And because we are equal in the eyes of god and that great religious doctrine is translated into the great democratic principle of equality before the law which led in turn to the presumption of innocence and a host of laws to protect the individual including those who face criminal charges. Which led into the injunction to “Love your neighbour” and we have Human Rights and race laws, the eventual abolition of slavery and supposedly the care of refugees etc.

    So we have Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. Do you want a society with none of this morality built into the law? Can you even imagine a society without these values? As for ceremony and worship, why does it bother you? Ceremony has been practised by all human societies at all times and it is very important for reasons of mental health to start with. Now that we no longer engage much in elaborate ceremonies which are a form of self soothing as part of a community we need psychologists, antidepressants and anxiety medication. If you don’t like ceremony or worship you can give it a miss. Most do. .

  60. Karen Kyle

    Miriam

    Thanks for the links. And I think Kaye Lee is right. It really doesn’t matter who wrote them. It took the Jews a thousand years to write the Hebrew Bible so we will never know how many people were engaged in the work. Obviously scribes and religious scholars but their names are lost and we don’t have to pay them royalties.

    Ehrman uses the word “forgeries” to describe most of the New Testament. And that is an accurate word meaning an object or scripture not written by the people who are said to have been responsible for the work. You have to remember that some forgeries are very good. There is many an Art Gallery who discovered to their dismay that a lot of their pictures are forgeries.

    Ehrrman is interesting but he doesn’t say anything new.Most of this information has been in the public arena for some time. In fact it began at the end of the 19th century when the Higher and Lower Criticism of the Bible was finished by German Scholars. And it is at last beginning to trickle out into the broader community thanks to popular writers and the internet. Your use of the word “fake” puts the Bible into the same category as a $20 Rolex watch. Given that western society is underpinned by values embedded in the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament and these are lasting achievements the use of the word “fake” is not appropriate.

    We will never know who, or how many people wrote bits of the New Testament, but whoever wrote the Sermon on the Mount was something of a religious genius. Highly educated in Judaism and damned clever. All fascinating stuff.

  61. Diannaart

    Yep, the Sermon on the Mount was one of the good bits.

    However, I don’t accept humans, flawed as we are, would’ve required the teachings of disparate desert tribes from the Middle East to establish ethics. I mean the rest of the world also managed to aspire to a humane society as the way to go.

    Globally, humanity remains very much a work in progress.

  62. Karen Kyle

    Dianaart. Those disparate desert tribes invented the wheel, invented the alphabet, invented writing, invented agriculture, invented cities, invented law invented astronomy, invented empire, invented government and the rules of war, invented irrigation, began optics, invented some branches of maths and invented the three monotheist religions and a few others besides. A staggering achievement for disparate desert tribes.

    The rest of the world moved compassion and caring to the front and centre in that great age of transformation “The Axial Age” which took place from 1600 to 900 BCE. And ii is well nigh miraculous that most of the world cultures achieved this incredible aim, Does the world yet live in a compassionate society? We do not. As you said global humanity continues to be a work in progress..The West continues to be an evolving work in progress with the science and technology, theory of Government, economics and political ideologies we have developed dominating human thought on a global scale.

  63. Kaye Lee

    “The rights of the individual comes from the belief that we are all made in the image of god”

    I completely disagree with that. The idea that we are good to each other because we look like God is just ridiculous.

    “As for ceremony and worship, why does it bother you? ”

    Mainly because it is really silly to have men (and only men) dress up in robes and jewellery and funny hats and chant and burn incense and pretend that will fix anything. The whole system is designed to subjugate women to the role of vessels and vassals. You say it is based on love but it is also largely based on fear of some unknown force waiting to punish you. They have spent centuries arguing about trans- substantiation and whether we should genuflect to Mary. Enormous money is wasted on magnificent cathedrals and art works and accumulating great wealth through property and shares while people the world over are starving. They try to drum up membership for their own version of worship and ceremony. It is not the ideals that matter, it is the club you belong to apparently.

  64. Zathras

    Morality isn’t something that magically comes from “on high” – it’s a social agreement to ensure mutual protection and survival and changes over time.
    For example, witch burning and slavery were once considered morally acceptable and were not ended because of some sort of sudden religious revelation but because of other reasons, in spite of the Biblical instruction that promotes both.

    The adoption of same sex marriage and tolerance of homosexuality is another example, despite the explicit Biblical instruction that such people should be “put to death”. The majority no longer promote that belief, something not thought possible only a decade ago.

    It’s only the carrot-and-stick approach of religion that society really adopts – namely the threat of the consequences of what are considered mutually agreed transgressions at that point in time.

    The supposed magical influence of robes, chants and ritual are no different from the feathered shaman dancing around the campfire and are also losing their impact and the “in His image” concept is probably much like prehistoric cave paintings of animals to ensure a successful hunt by making God “in our image”.

    Morality exists in spite of religion but is a fluid concept

  65. Karen Kyle

    Kaye Lee. This must be the first time you have heard it and it is a culture shock of some magnitude, hence your reaction. However it is well documented in historical terms and generally acknowledged by Western Scholarship. Even our modern day Labour and contract law has it’s roots in the Hebrew Bible. Try Googling Jewish Labor Law. You will find an article written by a man named Perry that will knock your socks off.

    The ritual you are describing is Islamic. The rise of Fundamentalism in all of the three monotheistic religions is what happens when things go horribly wrong.

    And….being made in the image of god does not mean “looking like god” You are much too literal in this respect just like the Fundamentalists. Being made in the image of god has to do with the human ability to be creative, and thus it is said we emulate and to some extent are like god the claimed creator. The divine spark etc and stuff like that.

  66. Adrianne Haddow

    Karen Kyle, I think you will find the Chinese invented the wheel, writing, or at least ink, and paper.
    The same with agriculture and irrigation, vaccination and a whole host of other goodies, and some baddies, such as gunpowder.

    Not sure if you could call them a disparate desert tribe.

  67. Kaye Lee

    “This must be the first time you have heard it and it is a culture shock of some magnitude, hence your reaction.”

    Heard what? What is well-documented? I studied the Bible for many years. You have told me nothing I haven’t heard, and rejected, before. I at no stage described any sort of Islamic ritual. Perhaps YOU are unaware that transsubstantiation and the worship of Mary are what has kept the Catholics and Protestants arguing for centuries. And I do not think our creativity comes from some ethereal being any more than I think our morals are dictated from on high.

    Having an opposable thumb was far more instrumental in our evolution to dominance in the animal kingdom than any notion of preferment by some god.

  68. DrakeN

    “Those disparate desert tribes invented the wheel, invented the alphabet, invented writing, invented agriculture, invented cities, invented law invented astronomy, invented empire, invented government and the rules of war, invented irrigation, began optics, invented some branches of maths and invented the three monotheist religions and a few others besides. A staggering achievement for disparate desert tribes.”

    That, Ms. Kyle, is unmitigated bovine manure.

    You seem to have no knowledge of the history of Arabic and pre-Islamic academe, nor of the prehistoric development of agrigulture in regions which are only more recently inhabited by ‘desert tribes’.

    My own studies are somewhat sketchy, but yours appear to be restricted to just a few limited and narrow streams.

    I would not normally “attack the Messenger” but when the messenger and the author are one and the same, I do make the occasional exception.

  69. Karen Kyle

    Zathras you are right. What religion did re morality was to move it to a central place in society and codify it or write it down. The point being to get everybody on the same page and working together with the same ideas. This is the way civilisations are built, and it too can go horribly wrong. Think Hitler, and Stalin. Religion was the basis for the first and most necessary forms of societal organisation.

    And of course morality changes over time and our laws match the current thinking. The Jews spent 1000 years writing their Bible.Then they spent 1000 years writing a commentary on the Bible updating and rethinking the whole lot and then they wrote a commentary on the commentary. That took up 3000 years of intensive thinking and development. Christianity was also further developed changed and adapted to changing circumstances by people like Bede, Saint Augustine and others. If religious thinking and development stops one of the consequences is Fundamentalism and especially a very nasty Islamic version of it.

    Christianity is at the moment undergoing a further convulsive re examination which thanks to the scholars, historians and archeaologists is interesting and we are gradually seeing the results of that investigation and scholarship coming into the public arena. Christian and Islamic Fundamentalists (Jews as well) have all applied a theological full stop to further developmental thinking which means they could kill the religion and the society which fostered it as well.

  70. Karen Kyle

    Adrienne Harrow. Your assertion that the Chinese invented the wheel is arguable. They certainly invented writing and paper and many of these inventions like writing happened independently at different places in the world at different times. Just as today two scientists at the opposite end of the earth make the same discovery.Charles Darwin put off publishing The Evolution of Species because he was afraid of bringing the religious world down on his head. Eventually he had to race into print to beat an Italian Scientist who had come to the same conclusions and was about to publish. Oh and the alphabet was invented only once, they are all variations of the same. I don’t know about the Chinese and Japanese.

  71. Karen Kyle

    Drake N…..so tell me about pre Islamic Arabic academe

  72. Miriam English

    Karen Kyle, I’m amazed that you view everything through a Christian lens. The thing is, the golden rule (do to others as you’d have them do to you) has arisen in pretty-much every society. It has to, or those societies quickly degenerate into abusive, destructive groups that are unable to survive for long.

    Democracy came from the Ancient Greeks, long before the Jews and Christians imagined it.

    Theocracy has produced the most corrupt and destructive systems in history. And religion always works to stealthily bring about theocracy, not democracy.

    Throughout history all people have had to fight for their rights against religions. As Zathras mentioned above, modern secular morality is far, far better than the awful “morality” of the Bible. Because of secular morality, religious people have come around to understanding how crazy are their Biblical instructions to enslave others and to murder people for absurd infractions such as exerting themselves on the Sabbath, talking back to one’s parents, loving someone of the wrong gender, and much more.

    We know that women are not meant to be second-class citizens, kept as possessions by men. We understand that children have rights, that people of other races deserve exactly the same rights that we do, and that other animals have rights too. This is due to secular morality, and it was always resisted by religion — it still is.

    It’s funny how the idea of being in the image of god doesn’t actually protect anybody from religious excesses. Somehow, as in Orwell’s “Animal Farm”, some are always more equal than others. The Crusaders were perfectly happy to rape and pillage in the name of god. The Inquisitors thought it was important to torture people to death to extract confessions, so that those people’s non-existent souls could go to imaginary heaven instead of imaginary hell. Priests have raped children for centuries without concern for their likeness to god. Nuns beat children to death in workhouses disguised as orphanages without thought of their godliness. The church has amassed vast fortunes, while spending a mere pittance on charity while crowing aloud how good and giving they are. (Secular charities outnumber religious ones and more of the money actually benefits the intended recipients. Religious charities spend most of the donated money on their own bureaucracy.)

    Christianity, and all the other religions have been a blight upon humanity’s existence. They do crazy things for bad reasons on behalf of imaginary beings at the insistence of self-deluded, self-serving preachers. That generally doesn’t end well.

    As Voltaire put it so well, “Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.”

    Nobody ever created oppressive, murderous regimes in the name of skeptical thinking, free thought, and scientific inquiry. The worst societies are based upon blind adherence to dogma, usually, but not always, religious dogma.

    Kaye, I think it matters that we have no idea who wrote much of the Bible, and that so much of it is forged, because it undercuts its authority. When it is merely another collection of writing, we are free to take any good bits from it and ignore all the bad parts without any compulsion implicit in a god’s word. The religious fundamentalists are the most dangerous people in any society. Taking away their authority is the best way to bring about their collapse, I think.

  73. Karen Kyle

    Kaye Lee. I am aware of the Catholic Protestant divide. You studied the Bible for years. Fine. But did you study what Biblical scholars have to say about the Bible without the religious context. purely in the historical investigative sense. As a book. As a text? And did you then trace the ideas we unthinkingly use every day back to a source? I assumed you were talking about Islam re ritual. If you were not I apologise. And yes a flexible thumb is a mighty handy bit of equipment. But if you have a science degree you are trained in science and not history and especially not history of religion which is why you find these ideas hard to believe. We are all products of our education and the trick is to educate minds to be flexible enough to be able to see more than one point of view.

  74. Diannaart

    Christianity did not invent everything. As has been pointed out, the Chinese contributed much technology as well as philosophy and ethics.

    The wheel cannot be traced to a specific place and point in time, although there are claims the Romans invented it. However, this is from recorded history and the Romans before Constantine’s conversion, were multi god worshippers. They most certainly popularised and spread the wheel to nations they conquered.

    There are many civilisations older than the Judeo one, in which many inventions were made and lost. The Christian church stood in the way of much enlightenment, think Galileo, think opposition still today to much scientific thought,

    Maths was adopted by the Arabs by way of India.

    Also Buddha preached love 5 centuries before Jesus.

    “Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world. By non-hatred alone is hatred appeased. This is a law eternal.” The Buddha

    Ergo, Western culture is neither the repository nor even the beginning of wisdom.

  75. Karen Kyle

    Miriam. Western societies have many roots including Greek and Roman as well as borrowings from every culture and language we encountered. And yes The Golden Rule was manifest all around the world in a many different societies as I pointed out in my post about the Axial Age when compassion and care for others was moved to front and centre 1600 to 9000 BCE. See Karen Armstrong “The Great Transformation” As a species we seem to move through stages of development often pretty close in time to one another….sometimes independently sometimes as a result of cross cultural fertllisation via trade routes etc.

  76. Miriam English

    The first crude alphabet seems to have been produced in Egypt, and was further developed by the Phoenicians. It then exploded in many different directions. It gave rise in particular to Aramaic which became the written language of the Persians. The Greeks were the first to make the next big invention: vowels. They did so by adapting the Phoenician alphabet. Ancient Greek gave us all the modern western written languages. “Alphabet” in fact comes from the Greek names of its first two letters: Alpha and Beta.

    But the Chinese were writing at about the same time as the Egyptians invented their writing.

    During the Dark Ages, when for more than a thousand years Christianity destroyed everything it could get its hands on, and wallowed in corruption, ignorance, and superstition, the Persians preserved much of the Ancient Greeks’ science. Unfortunately, when Europe woke from its mad slumber and broke into the Renaissance, the Arabic world seemed to slip bit by bit backwards, losing their tolerant society and love of scientific inquiry. They seem about ready to emerge from their own Dark Age.

    It’s worth noting that our so-called “Arabic” numbers actually came from India, but travelled through Persia to reach Europe. (Oops, Diannart noted that.)

  77. Kaye Lee

    I have been studying all my life Karen – many things including other religions. I remember a very interesting philosphical debate about the reasons for men claiming immaculate conception in the context of the social (and political) mores of the time. I do find the bible an interesting study in how men seek and maintain power. Which brings us back to what this article was about – the pursuit of power by religious men.

  78. Karen Kyle

    Diaanaart. I did not say Christianity invented everything. I did not say Judaism invented everything. And the wheel is much much older than the Roman Civilisation. Maths also had a crucial beginning in Greece as did Philosophy and natural science…..and the Greeks invented a computer. The thing about science and technology and the development of, is, that in most civilisations it quickly ran out of steam and stopped. In the West it has not stopped probably because human knowledge had progressed to the point where it could take off in the West almost unimpeded. The Chinese technological development stopped. As did the Islamic and Roman and Greek for that matter And one day it wlll stop in the West. According to science we are unable to fuel our brains with sufficient nutrients and oxygen to grow brains much bigger..Development will continue for a time but it is not endless. AI might be of some use what how much use if AI can solve problems but we can’t understand what it says?

  79. Miriam English

    Oooh. 🙂 [rubbing hands together] Artificial Intelligence (AI) is my favorite topic.

    I think AI will help us become much smarter, just as we help each other become smarter. I don’t think it will take very long for AI to exceed our intelligence, but that they will continue to assist us. Spanners, washing machines, airplanes, cars, electric lights, and many more inventions exceeded human abilities in many ways, but we didn’t really lose anything in the process; we gained greater abilities.

    Computers have enabled me to explore amazing mathematical structures despite the fact that I’m almost innumerate. That deficiency is no longer a block for me; I can surpass it and come to understand things that, left to my intrinsic inabilities, I’d never have a hope of understanding.

    After I finish writing my current novel, I want to spend some time getting back into AI with the hope of building something to help me as my mind starts to unravel. My Mum has Alzheimer’s and her two sisters died of it, and I expect to be next. I’m pretty certain that AI will be a giant step for humanity comparable to the invention of language.

  80. Karen Kyle

    Miriam…. The Egyptians invented a form of picture writing a bit like Chinese and Japanese. Not writing that we understand in sense of it today.There seems to have been two independent strands in the development of writing. One oriental i.e. picture grams and one based ultimately on letters which are not pictorial.

  81. Kaye Lee

    The mathematician in me would like to point out that writing emerged from counting and accounting.

    “Writing was used exclusively for accounting until the third millennium BC, when the Sumerian concern for the afterlife paved the way to literature by using writing for funerary inscriptions.”

  82. Karen Kyle

    Miriam…..during the Dark Ages Christianity did not destroy everything it could get it’s hands on. On the contrary many monastic Libraries and kept old manuscripts with the old knowledge safe. And the church was the only source of education for anyone so they kept that alive. And they often (and it is documented) went into bat against the nobility for widows whose property was about to be plundered by dastardly nobles and they took care of orphans. And they ran hospitals. The only hospitals. And they gave alms to the poor, the only form of social security. My History Lecturer Enid Barclay insisted that the Church was the only light in the darkness during the Dark Ages.

    There is a disturbing brand of self hatred surrounding the West in some quarters today. There is much about our history to regret and to correct and we are constantly trying to redeem ourselves for example saying sorry to Australian Aboriginals. And that can only be good. Self hatred and contempt for ones own history is dangerously negative. We need to be aware and critical but not filled with contempt.

  83. Karen Kyle

    Kaye Lee…….development of writing for accounting purposes… YEP!

  84. Diannaart

    @Karen Kyle

    Nor did I claim the Romans invented the wheel, just that they exported it around Europe. Please reread my comments.

    So what were you claiming that Judeo/Christian culture was the font for?

    Here’s your claim:

    Those disparate desert tribes invented the wheel, invented the alphabet, invented writing, invented agriculture, invented cities, invented law invented astronomy, invented empire, invented government and the rules of war, invented irrigation, began optics, invented some branches of maths and invented the three monotheist religions and a few others besides. A staggering achievement for disparate desert tribes.

    As subsequent respondents have shown, the tribes of the Middle East were not the originators but rather the adopters of what went before them.

    As for Chinese technology stopping, no it met up with other cultures as people travelled, explored, migrated and exchanged ideas.

    No single culture can claim to be any more creative or inventive than the other. It is about values, what is considered valuable and what is rejected. The West rejects (not just salmon 😋) but for a very long time the East and continues to ignore knowledge such as the understanding of stewardship of the land by First Nation Peoples.

    Planet Earth is the font and originator of human knowledge, not just a single religion or culture or continent.

  85. Miriam English

    The picture writing (hieroglyphics) of the Egyptians seems to have given rise to the more versatile lettering system used by the working classes, which was later adopted by the Phoenicians. Something similar seems to have happened in China, though I don’t think the little pictures became as simplified as anything like an alphabet, until the Japanese split off, made their own Kanji variant and then developed their more flexible syllabic hiragana and katakana (kana scripts). I don’t know whether the kana are simplified from the more complex kanji.

    Something quite different happened in Korea, where the story goes that a king got sick of his people not being able to write so invented a very logical syllabic writing form that let anybody write if they could speak the language (so I’m told by a Korean friend). That’s still in use today.

    Writing was invented independently in Mesopotamia as cuneiform under the Sumerians. I don’t know much about it.

    Writing also was invented in Meso-America about the same time, I think. I don’t know much about it either.

  86. Diannaart

    Miriam

    The point being many inventions occurred independently from each other in both parallel and different times and locations.

  87. Karen Kyle

    Diannaan Read Jarod Diamonds Guns Germs and Steel. An explanation of why many things began in the ME. based on Geography. And I don’t agree with the proposition that all cultures have contributed to the prevailing culture today. Some have contributed much others nothing. And all of the negative stuff (often justified) which has been written about European Colonialism ignores the fact that Europeans especially the Brits were fascinated by the cultures they encountered and studied them intensively. In many cases like India the Indians were unaware of their own rich culture and buried ancient cities. The Brits took much from India but they did give them back their ancient and venerable history. The development of Archeaology was a purely European idea. We find those who spend their lives studying other cultures do it because they admire them. And of all the world’s empires only the Europeans have bothered to interest themselves in others.

  88. Diannaart

    Karen Kyle

    I get you. There’s a cosmic scorecard and Western Culture/Christianity has the most points … so far as you know.

    PS

    Europeans only interested themselves in imperialism; conquest and profits, and converting the pagans into something more controllable, AKA spreading the “good” book.

  89. Karen Kyle

    Dannaart, A sarcastic comment isn’t an argument. And you are well laced with Marxist dogma I see.

    I suspect that puts you in the minority. Most people in the world are not Marxists and for very good reasons. And you have the hide to accuse all and sundry of murder and mayhem and rivers of blood as well as lying duplicity. Tsk tsk tsk.

  90. Kaye Lee

    Oh geeze. Marxist dogma???? And here I was thinking we were having a sensible conversation. You wouldn’t be from the Ramsey Centre by any chance would you Karen?

    “Brits were fascinated by the cultures they encountered and studied them intensively”

    Studying the skulls of people you have slaughtered is hardly something to be proud of.,

  91. The AIM Network

    Karen Kyle said:

    Dannaart, A sarcastic comment isn’t an argument. And you are well laced with Marxist dogma I see.

    I suspect that puts you in the minority. Most people in the world are not Marxists and for very good reasons. And you have the hide to accuse all and sundry of murder and mayhem and rivers of blood as well as lying duplicity. Tsk tsk tsk

    Karen, that’s a fairly ridiculous comment, wouldn’t you agree?

  92. Kaye Lee

    In 1800 Governor King (the third governor of New South Wales) had reported to the British government that the advance of the British settlement was marked by a ‘line of blood’, and that the number of Aboriginal peoples killed in fighting was far greater than the number of British people killed.

    Someone is regurgitating dogma and it isn’t diannaart.

  93. Karen Kyle

    Kay Lee WE know about that. We acknowledge and accept the shame and the guilt.

  94. Kaye Lee

    So you concede that murder and mayhem and rivers of blood was actually a more accurate description than being “fascinated by the cultures” even though, at no stage, did diannaart say the things you suggest she did.

    I’m curious. Where did the ‘Marxist’ comment come from? It was a total non-sequiter that smacks of indoctrination. Who is WE? Are you really from the Ramsey Centre? I said that as a joke but now I am wondering.

  95. Diannaart

    This is hilarious, thank you Karen, its been interesting if little else and I’m sincere.

    For your edification, it was FireWWM who mentioned Marx. I guess our names being so similar … easy to make a mistake … yes, I am being sarcastic this time. 😋

    And nowhere have I mentioned “rivers of blood” … that was Enoch Powell, you know, the British Pauline Hanson.

    As for being in a minority, not at AIM I’m not.

  96. Karen Kyle

    So it would have been better and fairer if an equal number of British had died? The Aboriginals were out gunned literally. There was only ever going to be one conclusion. And I don’t know what the Ramsey Centre is. And the Brits did a whole lot more than studying the skulls of people they slaughtered.They usually did that to skeletons of great antiquity. You know, science.

    Thankfully the age of Empires should have come to an end except that it hasn’t. Europeans gave up Empire after WW2. But Turkey seems to be anxious to re establish the Ottoman Caliphate.

    And Russia’s ambitions to be a dominating world power has not diminished. Russia now seems to be run by former members of the KGB and they want the Soviet Territory back. We are yet to finish with Empire.

    Why is it that in any argument there is always the sound of one hand clapping. There is always careful selection of certain facts while others are ignored. There is no balance and no real desire to uncover the truth of any situation. And there is abundant bigotry. Pity..

  97. Karen Kyle

    Imperialism, Conquests profits and the good book. Standard Marxist stuff

  98. Karen Kyle

    Murder, mayhem and rivers of blood…..Revolution in Russia and China. Million died and we don’t really know how many.

  99. Kaye Lee

    Is this a lesson on Gish Gallop? With a touch of gaslighting?

  100. Kaye Lee

    “So it would have been better and fairer if an equal number of British had died? The Aboriginals were out gunned literally. There was only ever going to be one conclusion.”

    Wow. So there is domination or extermination. No. It would have been good if Tommy never brought his guns, diseases and alcohol.

    “Governor Phillip wanted to avoid unnecessary conflict with the Aboriginal peoples by treating them with kindness and ordering his soldiers not to shoot at them. He captured several Aboriginals, including Bennelong. Phillip wanted them to learn English and act as translators between the Indigenous groups and the British.”

    Gee. Why could they not see he was kidnapping them to be kind and so they could explain to their countrymen that they would be shot if they set foot on the land stolen by the British. I suppose it never occurred to him to learn the local tribe’s langauge and to come to some sort of equitable sharing arrangement. The women were, of course, as in the bible, the reward for the conqueror.

    I suppose that smacks of Marxism and feminism???

  101. Michael Taylor

    And the Brits did a whole lot more than studying the skulls of people they slaughtered.They usually did that to skeletons of great antiquity. You know, science.

    Wow. Your ignorance is breathtaking.

    Though I can’t blame you for it. It’s not your fault that you were taught only a semblance of what really happened.

  102. Karen Kyle

    It would have been good if Tommy had not bought his guns diseases or alcohol. How likely was that? It would have been good if Pol Pot, Mao and Stalin had not starved and murdered and imprisoned millions. So many we can’t count them but estimates range from 40 to 110 million. Just as bad as Fascism.

  103. Kaye Lee

    Deflection again. Your reactions are really telling. How long until you start railing against “socialism”. Isn’t that the next line in the script?

  104. Michael Taylor

    The study of skulls – phrenology – was primarily a way for obtaining ‘evidence’ that Aborigines were inferior to Europeans. Phrenology helped strengthen the racist doctrines of Social Darwinism and The Great Chain of Being.

  105. Karen Kyle

    A despicable ideology. Much worse than Colonialism. Trouble is you have to use Colonialism and Imperialism as your only hook and beat it up for all it’s worth. It’s all you have. Never mind that it has been gone for more than half a century. And the Soviet Union was Imperialist, dominating and controlling in the extreme as well as murderous. Pot calling the kettle black I think.

  106. Karen Kyle

    I support Socialism. I support a mixed economy. And pointing out the shortcomings of Communist Governments is hardly deflecting. Right on the nail I would have said.

    Michael Taylor…….yeah lots of really bad stuff in those days. Lets hope they are gone.

  107. Kaye Lee

    What do Communist governments have to do with the treatment of Aboriginals? And when you say “pot calling kettle black” am I supposed to infer that you think we are communists? This is getting seriously weird. Back in the 70s Tony Abbott and his bovver boys used to call me a communist feminist lesbian. I am having flashbacks.

  108. Kaye Lee

    “Trouble is you have to use Colonialism and Imperialism as your only hook and beat it up for all it’s worth. ”

    Let’s discuss how Aborigines were used as slave labour with their wages withheld so they could not take part in the growth of wealth in this country. This continued until the 1970s.

    Let’s discuss how they were not counted in the census until I was 14 years old.

    Let’s discuss how. in the town I came from, Aborigines had to sit down the front in a special roped off area at the pictures. Let’s discuss how they weren’t allowed into the pub my family owned but we still sold them alcohol through the back door.

    I could go on and on and on. Colonialism was just the start of our racist inhumanity and discrimination and subjugation and theft.

  109. Karen Kyle

    What do Communist Governments have to do with the treatment of Aboriginals? What they have in common is the bad treatment of those they dominate and rule. And murder of course. Chilling. And most of you sound like Marxists to me. And some of the stuff you publish is pure plain Marxist ranting. That isn’t a problem in a pluralist society as long as Marxists stay on the fringes. But your negativity and contempt for the West and for religion is telling. Most people couldn’t care less about religion and they leave it alone and don’t even think about it often. To single it out for special negative attention with underlying malice and hatred is just plain weird.

  110. Karen Kyle

    Yeah I know about the Aborigines. A large Aboriginal family came with my uncle who married an Aboriginal girl. One of the best. They told us their stories. Two members of her family ended up with Phd and were University Professors.They worked for years in Aboriginal co operatives (running them ) in Victoria. Fine people.

  111. Kaye Lee

    “most of you sound like Marxists to me”

    What does a Marxist sound like? Perhaps you could show me what I have said that makes you think I am some sort of adherent to anybody’s ideology, be it political or religious.

    “Most people couldn’t care less about religion and they leave it alone and don’t even think about it often. To single it out for special negative attention with underlying malice and hatred is just plain weird.”

    Perhaps you have forgotten what this article was about. If religious people “stayed on the fringes” then no problemo. When they try to infiltrate our secular government to influence the laws that will affect me then they get my attention.

    Just to remind you….

    “As long as religion remains one voice among many and one option among many Australia will remain a secular country.

    But should the Christianists continue the expansion of their political power, human rights in Australia will come under serious threat.”

  112. Karen Kyle

    Okay fair enough, but what you fear isn’t very likely. Australians wouldn’t stand for it As a nation we are just plain not religious. I hope Tony Abbott is the closest we come to that. I suspect your fears are groundless and a little OTT. The posts I have seen on the subject don’t inspire much confidence talking about religious being delusional etc. Just bigotry and general nastiness.

  113. Kronomex

    “…dominating and controlling in the extreme as well as murderous.” Tell us Karen, how many millions of people has religion murdered or cause to be murdered through either being non-religious of of the wrong religion? How many innocent women did the catholics and other christians murder because they were thought to be witches?

  114. Kaye Lee

    “I suspect your fears are groundless and a little OTT.”

    It took the Australian public to drag our overly religious government kicking and screaming to legislate for marriage equality and they are punishing us by thinking of ways to inscribe discrimination into legislation under the guise of “religious freedom”.

    Abortion is still a criminal offence in Qld and NSW

    Dying with dignity will only become an option in Victoria next year for those few who satisfy the rules. The government has shut down territory attempts to pass similar legislation and other state governments are too scared to listen to the majority for fear of the backlash from the religious.

    We pay a quarter of a billion for school chaplains in state schools with the specific proviso that these secular schools may not use secular counsellors – they MUST be religious (training in youth counselling unnecessary and irrelevant).

    After all the experts saying we must get rid of special deals and base education funding on need, the Catholics used their political clout to demand, and get, a special deal.

    That will do for now. You may call me OTT. But I hate being conned.

  115. Kyran

    With respect, Ms Kyle (at 1.49), your reference to Jared Diamond’s book is a tad disingenuous. In ‘Guns, Germs and Steel’, he went to great pains to explain the earth is 4.5bill years old, has survived many extinctions and we have only recently decided the only history worth acknowledgment or recording is the last 11,000 years. It was in that context he pointed to the ME, the central Americas and our First People.

    http://jareddiamond.org/Jared_Diamond/Guns,_Germs,_and_Steel.html

    He specifically referenced ‘religious teachings’ in a subsequent book, as being one more example of a societal structure based on ‘pecking orders’, in which predominance is given to ‘the elite’, whether they be ‘kings’ or ‘priests’, to the detriment of those they claimed to serve, based on the authority of mysticism. He went to great lengths to point out the folly of repeating this structure. The book was called ‘Collapse’ for rather obvious reasons. At the core of that book was the idiocy of looking at history through a ‘western lens’, to the exclusion of all other histories.

    http://jareddiamond.org/Jared_Diamond/Collapse.html

    Your agnostic Christian prevarications are confusing to the extent that you claim history is illuminating, yet you insist on relying solely on the history of a mere few thousand years. Even then, you wish to limit the discourse to a few texts. Your religion seems to be confined to the structured lectures of the ‘established’ churches, yet deny any sense of spirituality.
    The advantage this country has, different to any other ‘civilisation’ or ‘culture’ on the planet (none of which are more than a few thousand years old), is our First People’s continuum of 60,000 years of evolution and development. Bruce Pascoe’s book, ‘Dark Emu’, is of great significance. It doesn’t refer to great big churches, with great big books, all of which are adorned in gold, as a testimony for credibility. It refers to wisdom and counsel that can only be developed over time, with a far greater understanding of spirituality.
    Diannaart summed it up well. “This is hilarious …. and I’m sincere.”
    The Simpson’s movie had an interesting bit towards the end – the apocalypse. A church is beside a pub. When the hour of doom approaches, the inebriates from the pub rush into the church, seeking salvation in their inebriated state. The congregation from the church, in their sobriety and in the face of eternal damnation, seek intoxication. The recent IPCC report says that that choice will have to be made sooner, rather than later.
    Ms English at 12.32 “Oooh. 🙂 [rubbing hands together] Artificial Intelligence (AI) is my favorite topic.” I haven’t gotten to Mr Hawking’s final writing’s, but his suggestion seems to be that, for all of the advantages of such magic, there is a stern warning. Giving such power to those in charge at the moment may be a problem. They are still trying to accommodate the possibilities of 3D printing, while science is looking at 4D printing.
    Ms Lee, as always, get’s to the nub.
    “Perhaps you have forgotten what this article was about. If religious people “stayed on the fringes” then no problemo. When they try to infiltrate our secular government to influence the laws that will affect me then they get my attention.”
    Today’s parliament was just another disgrace in a litany of disgraces. Ministers lied to parliament, the Nauruans threw out another doctor, we reversed decades of bipartisan support for a ‘two state solution in the middle east, the ‘Ruddock’ report is still under lock and key. Oversight? Pfft. Accountability? Pfft.
    If I’m not mistaken, this article was about “Australian society is under threat..”
    Where to from here?
    Thank you Ms Lee and commenters. Take care.

  116. Karen Kyle

    Religion is often roped in and used as a justification for violence. It’s an extra layer of paranoid self justification and burning women as witches may have been community hysteria coupled with religious extremism. There is plenty that is bad about religious history and plenty that is good. My objection is that some only ever see the negative and they revel in it. A good reason to lash themselves into hate for something that happened in another time and another place.. Weird and probably not genuine. And some people carry grudges that are centuries and even thousands of years old. Once a man nearly cried in my presence over slavery in the Old Testament. He hates religion and he can get worked up over the Old Testament. What is the matter with people? There are enough serious worried about today I would have thought.

  117. Kaye Lee

    ” My objection is that some only ever see the negative and they revel in it.”

    Sheesh. I looked back and got sick of it after a couple of comments but, to quote me, rather than being verballed….

    “I found this interview with Pope Francis very interesting. He is, after all, a religious man so there will be a lot of God vs Satan stuff but I think, within the constraints of his religion, he is trying to make change.”

    ” I think the vast majority of Australians are of the view to each his own. Live your life as you please. But that usually comes with the proviso of as long as it does not interfere with others’ right to do the same. I will fight for the right of people to worship as they see fit”

    “Karen, you seem like an intelligent reasonabe person and I am happy for you that your faith gives your life meaning.”

    “Karen, I was a member of the church for many years. My grandparents were very religious but my parents were not. I made my own decision to be involved and I enjoyed much of it. “

  118. Karen Kyle

    I wasn’t talking about you Kaye Lee. Some of your more outspoken friends.

  119. Karen Kyle

    Kyran…….good grief. The only history we can study with any hope of getting things even remotely accurate is our own. The last 11,000 years. And the other sciences help to fill in some of the pieces. And I did say that geography was the basis for the early development of the ME. I don’t much like our chances of studying vast vanished long extinct civilisation. We have enough trouble with those who leave buildings etc behind. I am so sorry that whatever poor knowledge I have is limited to about the last 5000 years or so. I will try and do better.

  120. Kaye Lee

    Every commenter here is entitled to their opinion provided they do so repectfully. And that is, I guess my point. Religious people cannot tolerate other views because they feel it their mission in life to impose their beliefs, or save my immortal soul, depending on your viewpoint.

    Would it trouble you for me to say I consider you a swinging voter in all this? You like to engage. You like history. Those are both good things. I will not chastise you for having an opinion but I will certainly resist any attempt to shut down those with other opinions.

    I think you are new here? People here like facts We don’t tend to do the herd thing and will disagree with each other at times. The commonality is wanting to know the truth. If I looked for a collective term politically, we tend to be progressives. But we also argue with each other. These people are well-informed. Group-think is not what anyone wants

    “The only history we can study with any hope of getting things even remotely accurate is our own. The last 11,000 years.”

    So wrong. Speak to geologists, paleontologists, astronomers, climate scientists etc. So much to learn.

  121. Karen Kyle

    It has been my experience with religious that they can and do tolerate other opinions, well some of them do. Not Fundamentalists. I don’t know what you mean by a swinging voter. Did I try to shut down people with other opinions? Pretty hard to do on a computer. And yeah I like facts. Thats why I like history. Built on facts. You sometimes get some sort of clarity and you may sometimes not only know what happened but why. That satisfies me. That makes me excited. And what makes me truly excited is tracing ideas back to their source. I love that connection with people of the past. They were just like us only they were different.

    As for the herd mentality. I have encountered these negatives re religion many times before. They are common these days. Very much herd mentality. Christianity is about worn out in Europe and Australia New Zealand etc but not the USA. Under these circumstances religions usually change. If I live long enough I might see what happens next.

  122. Kaye Lee

    My questioning of religion has absolutely NOTHING to do with any herd and has been a very personal journey as I think it has been for many people my age. Once again gaslighting. It is religions that REQUIRE herd mentality. When I called you a swinging voter I was not referring to politics. I thought you might be receptive to honest debate. But perhaps the indoctrination is too deep.

  123. Karen Kyle

    KayLee you seem to think my comments are directed towards you and you take them personally. Not so. And Gaslighting????????????. I am not gaslighting and you also made a remark about coning. I hate conning. Wow. Open to honest debate? yeah sure. But I won’t always agree.

  124. Kaye Lee

    Karen,

    When you have been a barmaid, a bookmakers clerk, a casual maths teacher and a political blogger, you learn to take nothing personally. When you say things like “I suspect your fears are groundless and a little OTT” I will respond with an explanation. I am not motivated to answer because I feel personal affront – I do so to share information. (You suggesting I am upset is a form of gaslighting though I will accept unwitting.)

  125. Kaye Lee

    My husband makes me laugh. He just walked past, had a brief look at what was going on, looked at me, and said “Word” and walked off. I get his message as I chuckle to myself – he knows (and moderates/complements) me so well.

  126. Miriam English

    Karen, I’m one of the friends you were probably speaking of. Yes, I condemn religion for the terrible things it has done and continues to do, but I don’t paint all religious people with the same brush. I specifically said that I know many people who don’t let religion get in the way of them being good folk. I’m honored to call many of them friends.

    I think you misunderstand the ease with which people here point out the failings of Western civilisation and Christianity. We are generally equally quick to denounce the failings of other cultures and religions. Most of us here enthusiastically praise science and mathematics, which we generally consider human endeavors, rather than specially Western ones. It is true that many of the recorded early beginnings of science seem to be rooted in Ancient Greek culture, but it isn’t exclusively theirs. The Ancient Egyptians were avidly interested in astronomy and mathematics and medicine. The ancient Indians mastered mathematics well before the rest of the world and had built brilliant astronomical observatories. The Ancient Chinese built a highly advanced civilisation that invented an astounding array of things — cast iron, matches, porcelain, rockets, movable type printing, paper money, and much more. Each of these societies had their day, then stagnated under either religion or repressive dogmatic states. And science and maths today is a worldwide human venture. Just look at the names of authors in modern science and math papers.

    On this site I’ve often spoken about the wave of extermination that accompanied humans as they advanced across the globe. Whenever humans entered a land all the megafauna disappeared. The Americas, Australia, New Zealand… anywhere we humans set foot. I don’t see any group of humans as particularly better than any other. We are just humans. We have some very bad features, and we have some wonderfully redeeming ones.

    You take issue with me calling religion “delusion”. Yet what would you call being certain of something without any evidence? I call that delusion.

    Was the universe created by some intelligence? I don’t know. I seriously doubt it, but in the end I just don’t have enough information to say. But nobody else knows either. Anybody who says they know is lying to themself. That’s delusion. (I examine a way there could actually being a god in my short play Grace — free to read.)

    Are any of the manmade gods real? No. I can say definitively that they are not. For that we have plenty of evidence. Anybody who believes in any of the manmade gods is deluded. All the religions contradict each other, themselves, and scientific knowledge about the real world. Religion is delusion.

  127. Miriam English

    I should add that I don’t much care if people delude themselves. That’s their business. I think it’s a bit of a waste, but it really is none of my concern… UNTIL they start enacting insane laws that restrict me on the basis of who I love, or discriminating against me and other people for other spurious religious reasons. Then it is the concern of everybody interested in living in a free society.

    Kaye — Woo hoo!!! Finally! There has been so much work behind the scenes pressuring the bloody politicians to remove those stupid anti-abortion laws. Wow! They finally listened.

  128. Michael Taylor

    11,000 years?

    Where did you pluck that figure from?

  129. Matters Not

    Not the first time that Labor’s looked at the question of abortion in the Queensland Parliament.

    https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/goss-labor-betrays-abortion-promise

    How times have changed. Back then it was the first Labor Government in 32 years and Labor MPs were walking on eggshells. Note also, there’s been no prosecution in all those years. A (predictive) point made by Goss way back then which influenced the thinking of Cabinet and subsequent vote at that time.

  130. Kyran

    With decreasing respect, Ms Kyle, I’ll type this slowly. Have you read any of your own posts?
    “The only history we can study with any hope of getting things even remotely accurate is our own. The last 11,000 years. And the other sciences help to fill in some of the pieces. And I did say that geography was the basis for the early development of the ME. I don’t much like our chances of studying vast vanished long extinct civilisation.”
    It was you who incorrectly cited Jared Diamond’s book to incorrectly justify the absurdity of defining ‘our history’ as being a finite of 11,000 years. It was the other ‘sciences’ that corrected the nonsense to a period of 4.5bill years. As for the comment that ‘geography was the basis for the early development of the ME’, I’m not sure what you are digesting or inhaling, but I strongly recommend you stop.
    As for the nonsense of ‘studying vast vanished long extinct civilisation’, such studies are generally considered informative, as you seem to be aware. For reasons that are blatantly obvious, however informative they are, they are not to be recommended as instructive. ‘Extinct’ should be a reasonable hint.
    I’m unsure as to whether there is a possible double entendre in your reference ‘studying vast vanished long extinct civilisation’ and your lack of regard for our First People’s history and culture. Just to make it explicitly clear, despite our best efforts, our First People are not extinct. We don’t actually have to study them as an extinct or near extinct species. We have the incredible opportunity of listening to them.
    Books 3,000 years old and of dubious authorship? Expensive. Accessibility to 60,000 years of learning? Priceless.
    It’s interesting. Over and over we have to find some justification for religion informing our moral sensibilities. Then, out of nowhere, 2018 arrives from the middle ages.
    “Nineteenth-century laws making abortion illegal in Queensland have been scrapped”

    http://www.abc.net.au/triplej/programs/hack/abortion-in-australia/8286896

    If I’m not mistaken, that just leaves NSW with abortion in the criminal code, Tasmania with the ‘Irish solution’ (travel to the mainland) and the civilized states grappling with the rights of religious zealots to throw shite and abuse at any one wanting to access a family clinic.
    Is Australian society really under threat? May all our gods help us. It’s not like the CSIRO or BoM would know anything. Take care

  131. paul walter

    Did Karen Kyle call us “Marxists”

    Thanks for the compliment.

    In the past due to McCarthyism ignorant and bigoted people called others who thought more deeply “Marxists”, as a sort of insult.

    I am so glad I don’t have to call you something nasty for saying something really ignorant and prejudiced, probably because of some bias inculcated prior to investigation.

    Or do I?

    …………………………………….

    If you have time for Xtianity, perhaps I’ll just dismiss you as credible because some Fundamentalists would also have time for it.

  132. Diannaart

    Why I do not feel alone:

    Kyran:

    We have the incredible opportunity of listening to them. (First Nation Australians)
    Books 3,000 years old and of dubious authorship? Expensive. Accessibility to 60,000 years of learning? Priceless.

    Miriam:

    UNTIL they (fundamentalists) start enacting insane laws that restrict me on the basis of who I love, or discriminating against me and other people for other spurious religious reasons. Then it is the concern of everybody interested in living in a free society.

    Kaye Lee

    People here like facts We don’t tend to do the herd thing and will disagree with each other at times. The commonality is wanting to know the truth. If I looked for a collective term politically, we tend to be progressives. But we also argue with each other.

    It’s true, we have all disagreed with each other at some point, often passionately.

    Why I get to laugh out loud:

    I love that connection with people of the past. They were just like us only they were different.

    And yeah I like facts. Thats why I like history. Built on facts.

    History is always factual?

    Thank you, Karen.

    Rossleigh, I think you have some competition.

  133. Karen Kyle

    Kyran….according to Jarod Diamond 11000 years ago corresponds to the end of the hunter gatherer period. And by our own history I meant the period which pertains to our development as a mixed people eventually capable of developing civilisation. I study the ME because it interests me and I like history. Okay? And I don’t have time to study the history of 4.5 billion years, and when people write history books they don’t start them from 4.5 billion years ago. Do they?

    If you want to do that fine. Do it but don’t lay down the law about what in your opinion others should do. As for the history of our First Nation I will happily do that when I have finished with the ME and that will take some time. There is a lot of it even if one does not go back 4.5 billion.years. Please allow me my indulgences and eccentricities. They are really only my business.
    .

  134. Kaye Lee

    And that is the whole point Karen. You can indulge away to your heart’s content. But when Christianists try to dictate laws, then it becomes other’s business.

    But don’t be surprised when you get pulled up for saying stuff like “by our own history I meant the period which pertains to our development as a mixed people eventually capable of developing civilisation”. No you don’t. You mean the period that you are interested in, as you point out. Others are saying there was civilisation here long before that and that we can benefit from their knowledge.

  135. Karen Kyle

    Kaye Lee, maybe there was. I will just stick with what is already known by most historians etc. I suppose there is proof of earlier civilisations satellite photographs etc.?

  136. Kaye Lee

    Ok. I see you do not want to listen or learn or consider other’s views.. Goodbye.

  137. Kronomex

    Karen, read “The God Delsion” by Richard Dawkins then come back and tell us what you think. If you don’t want to read it because it makes you uncomfortable then you might consider not returning.

    History, like Science is fluid, it continually changes when new discoveries are made and the knowledge base is updated to reflect those discoveries.

  138. Kaye Lee

    Indigenous Australians most ancient civilisation on Earth, DNA study confirms

    Claims that Indigenous Australians are the most ancient continuous civilisation on Earth have been backed by the first extensive study of their DNA, which dates their origins to more than 50,000 years ago.

    Adding to this picture, a second study found that the advent of modern human behaviours around 100,000 years ago, indicated by cave art and more sophisticated tools, does not appear to have been accompanied by any notable genetic mutations.

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/sep/21/indigenous-australians-most-ancient-civilisation-on-earth-dna-study-confirms

  139. Karen Kyle

    Miriam, Thank you for the post and explanation. It was decent of you. I take issue with calling the religious delusional because plainly most are not and because I think it is ludicrous for anyone to demand evidence for something for which there is no evidence.
    I recall Richard Dawkins on TV shouting “Show me the evidence, show me the evidence etc etc etc” He sounded and was behaving like a demented toddler.

    I always thought that “the new atheists” were missing the point and their behaviour wasn’t much better than groups of atheists and religious who swear and hurl abuse at each other at demonstrations etc.

    The point is that religious experience is very common in the population. It happens all the time all round the world. These are not blinding road to Damascus experiences but small, strange experiences often of great comfort and often of wonder. Such experiences are not anything you can hang your hat on. You can’t build a life or a religion on them, but somehow certain things have been shown to you. And they don’t seem to fit into any one religious category but might involve several over time depending I guess on what people have been exposed to. Sometimes there is no religious category at all.i.e. they are not Christian, Buddhist etc.

    A psychologist came into my office at work. Before he left told me he had just seen a woman who “got a buzz in church” I asked if she was sick,suffering from a mental illness and he said no……she just got a buzz.. By that he meant she had a religious experience in church. I was amazed. I didn’t discount a religious experience at all. I just didn’t think they would happen in church.

    And there is Carl Jung who had such vivid and prolonged transandental experiences that he assured an interviewer that he didn’t believe in god. He knew. And he knew with great cheerfulness and certainty.

    And I have a sister in law with a lifetime of nursing experience with the dying who states that strange things can happen and she would not rule anything out.

    So these experiences are common but I am fairly certain some people don’t have them. I can only speak from my own experience and the experience of my friends. They are not earth shattering. They don’t change who you are. But they make me smile. If you would like to listen to a song describing such as experience try Leonard Cohen Love Itself. You can google it.

  140. Michael Taylor

    I will just stick with what is already known …

    And yet there is so much that is unknown. Just imagine what you will miss out on.

    Karen, yesterday I said that you were not to blame for your ignorance. I was wrong. You are to blame.

  141. Diannaart

    Credit where it is due.

    Well said, Karen.

    A sense of the numinous may occur to religious, agnostics or atheists. We live in an extraordinary world within an, apparently, infinite universe. While I do not believe the entity described in biblical texts as the singular creator – such a being presents more as an authoritarian male (funny about that) than a being capable of the sophistication and intelligence required for creating life, the universe and everything.

    The search for truth is a journey which brings about change, just as science is always revising its knowledge, so too is history always changing as we learn more than just what has been written by the winners, for example, the bounty of knowledge from our First Nation people.

  142. Karen Kyle

    Thank you sweetheart. While I can read I don’t see myself missing out on anything. The world is huge and full of interesting stuff. And it is mine to dip into at will.

  143. Karen Kyle

    Diannaar

    Thank you for your comments. I am convinced that it is probably safe to scrap all the edifice built up around formal religion and just BE.

    But we should not throw scripture away. We should keep it and mine it for practical and spiritual wisdom because it exists there in abundance. Not that I think this is ever likely to happen. But it can be done on a private individual level. Why sacrifice the work of ages and generations?

  144. Michael Taylor

    Kaye, 50,000 years begins to touch the surface.

    The oldest archaeological remains are dated at 63,000 years, found at a rock shelter in Queensland.

    We will never know how far back the occupation goes as 17% of ancient Australia is now under water, and with it the archaeological remains of a much earlier time.

    If – and that’s a big if – the First Australians concentrated their occupation along the coast before heading inland, it’s fair to say that we’re looking at 70,000 years plus.

  145. Kaye Lee

    “The key contention in Pascoe’s book is that the whole distinction between the farming colonist and the hunter-gatherer indigene is based on a radical, and frankly self-serving, misunderstanding of the way that the Indigenous peoples of Australia lived in their countries. Pascoe assembles a persuasive case that Indigenous Australians farmed their land, lived in villages, built houses, harvested cereals, built complex aquaculture systems — possibly the earliest stone structures in human history — and led the kind of sedentary agricultural lives that were meant only to have arrived with Europeans in 1788.”

    https://theconversation.com/friday-essay-dark-emu-and-the-blindness-of-australian-agriculture-97444

    History written by white men tends to always make them the “civilised” winners.

  146. Diannaart

    Kaye Lee

    “Dark Emu” is on my to read list. However, I am open to learning, Pascoe’s book needs to be read and understood by the likes of the LNP, Hanson and anyone who believes white man’s history is the only history.

    @ Karen

    You ask why sacrifice the work of ages and generations, I find the opportunity to learn about and from a culture 70,000 years old exhilarating.

  147. Karen Kyle

    Diannaart,

    Yes it is exhilarating. But we shouldn’t neglect our own systems of wisdom.
    I remember reading a story some years ago about scientist doing some investigative work in the bush. The local Aboriginals told the scientists that the land they were looking at was once open woodland. The scientists were sceptical, but upon investigation they found that it was true. But it was so far in the past that they didn’t know how the Aboriginals could possibly know. It was a mystery.

    It seems that human memory via stories and songs will only go back about 30,000 years. And what seems to be missing from Aboriginal culture are the myths that speak of their arrival. It is possible given the length of time in this land that all memories of their trek into Australia have been lost. My memory of the details is hazy and I may not have it right regarding the time span of memory.

    According to Jarod Diamond agriculture and a village lifestyle did not develop in Australia because there were no seeds or animals suitable for domestication. It will be interesting to see what future discoveries reveal.

  148. Michael Taylor

    And what seems to be missing from Aboriginal culture are the myths that speak of their arrival.

    Myths? Huh.

  149. paul walter

    Karen Kyle, much of what you write indicates a fertile mind. I just thought the stuff about “Marxism” seemed to make for a curious stumble from an otherwise intelligent person.

  150. Michael Taylor

    It will be interesting to see what future discoveries reveal.

    Karen, you needn’t concern yourself with that. After all, it was you who wrote:

    I will just stick with what is already known …

  151. Karen Kyle

    I will stick with what is already known about the ME.It is a well studied area, but no doubt there is still much to learn.

    You are irritable aren’t you?

  152. Michael Taylor

    I’m not irritable. Not at all. I’m only questioning you.

    Obviously you don’t like being questioned.

  153. Karen Kyle

    Paul Walter….. AIMN does publish stuff written by Marxists. Three that I know of. And the religious hatred and the anti colonial stuff is right out of the Marxist playbook. If I got it wrong or half wrong I apologise.

  154. Karen Kyle

    Michael….questions with a derisory edge. Listen mate, you can’t intimidate or upset me. I am probably tougher than you.

  155. Michael Taylor

    AIMN does publish stuff written by Marxists. Three that I know of.

    And who might they be?

  156. Diannaart

    First off I have never read anything by Karl Marx. Nor studied Marxism. Ergo, I am not a Marxist.

    But WTF is your problem with Marxism, Karen? It is a part of Western cultural thought. That white male bastion of thought which pervades so much of Australian culture.

    The only person here pushing a dogmatic singular line is someone who is promoting Christian thought above and beyond all else … not only boring and repetitive, but a closed circle.

    Christianity, as with other religions, does not evolve or grow with change. It seeks to remain in stasis. Religion is a suffocation of the intellect and the human spirit. In Australia, it is Christianity which is clinging desperately to a narrow perception and refusing to take off its blindfolds and see.

    There are different points of view, as valid or more valid than just the old texts of the tribes of Abraham.

  157. Michael Taylor

    Well said, Dianna. Spot on.

  158. Miriam English

    Marxists — not me. I don’t even know what a Marxist is.

    I’m strongly anti-religion, but that shouldn’t surprise anybody. From an early age finding science and technology thrilling and not being a “normal” hetero person made me realise early on how dangerous religion is.

    I remember in primary school talking to our scripture teacher (who was also the local priest) and asking him why couldn’t the universe have simply always been — no god needed. He answered that everything has to have a beginning. I thought this absurd and asked him who created god then. Of course he answered that god existed forever. I don’t think he even realised the stupidity of that response.

    At that point I’d already been hungrily consuming science books for years and had learned how the delusion of religion manufactured fake certainty and had threatened free thought and scientific advances from Socrates (poisoned for questioning gods), through Giordano Bruno (burned alive for realising the Earth went around the Sun), onward through countless burnings of people for the imaginary crime of being witches, to today where people fly planes into buildings, force women to die rather than allow abortions, suppress life-saving stem-cell research, institutionalise pedophilia, attempt to criminalise people for loving someone of the same sex, prevent use of condoms (condemning millions to slow death from AIDS), and on and on… The list of terrible things resulting from the illegitimate certainty of religion is almost endless.

    Karen, you gave a number anecdotes of people who derive pleasure from religion. I know a number of people too who think they derive pleasure from it. They’re deceiving themselves about that too. I experience great joy when contemplating or overcoming an exquisite problem in science, or computing, or in one of my stories. I understand that pleasure. It doesn’t really come from religion; it comes from our own minds and we can trigger it in any of numerous ways.

    You suggest that because religion is common that gives it legitimacy. I don’t see how that can be so. During Nazi Germany it was common for people to be stridently antisemitic and racist. Does that make it legitimate? During the same time Emperor Hirohito was deified by the vast majority of people in Japan. Does that legitimise it? People are always getting the cold. It is very common. Should it then not be fought against? I have suffered dangerously high fever from the common cold, and it kills countless people every year.

    I have a dear friend who holds quite repellent racist views. I didn’t realise that until quite recently. He never seemed deluded, but he certainly is. Just because people can operate normally while harboring the religion delusion doesn’t mean that religion is not a delusion. It certainly is, as I illustrated earlier. It is the belief that something is, when it clearly is not. That is delusion.

    Of course I should reiterate that I have many religious friends and even a few religious family members. I don’t detest them for their delusion. In most other attributes they are good people and I’m very glad they call me their friend. I’ve also met religious people who are poisoned by their religion… though none of those call me their friend, nor I them.

    [Oh god, I wish I wouldn’t write such long replies. Sorry.]

  159. Michael Taylor

    According to our friends at Google a Marxist is: a supporter of the political and economic theories of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.

    I guess that rules me out.

  160. Diannaart

    Miriam, your writing flows, no need to apologise.

    Michael

    I do know Marx and Engels concerned themselves with the working class, not in the way religion (suffering is good for you), or capitalists (work of any sort is good for for you) or authoritarians (I know what is good for you) concerns themselves. No, these men of the 19th C were concerned with the wellbeing of the working class. I see nothing wrong with that. Our Labor party is supposed to be concerned about the working class, although not as much as they used to be. Therefore, I am puzzled as to Karen’s clear hatred for Marxism. Surely caring for the powerless, the vulnerable is a good thing, a thing which Jesus was reputed to do.

  161. Kaye Lee

    Engels has a very interesting theory that capitalism came about with the move to monogamy. As men became possessive about their belongings, they wanted to pass them on their genetic progeny so women had to become monogamous so men would know the kid was theirs so they could leave them their special spear/basket/stone.

    We went from it takes a village to raise a child to piss off it’s mine.

  162. Kaye Lee

    Marx also makes very astute observations about how capitalism is dependent on a doclie workforce – keep them ignorant and in debt and scared they will lose their job and they will slave away to make the owners of the capital rich.

    Marxist feminists were also very vocal in challenging the idea that women were the possession of their fathers and then husbands whose role was to procreate and be a domestic slave.

    This throwing around of the term Marxist like it is some sort of perjorative is typical Young Liberals stuff. They don’t even know what it means, just that it is scary bears. Harking back to Bob Santamaria rubbish.

  163. Diannaart

    Good one, Kaye Lee.

  164. paul walter

    Modern crit theory proposes that cultural commodification derives to some extent, of the Sexual Division of Labour and the profound changes of lifestyle that came with Industrialisation alienating men and women.

    I’ve always thought Joseph Conrad gave a good picture of this in the form of the uncertain young men wedded to the Company contrasted to the ornamental prize, the “Intended”, banished to the drawing room while the thwarted colonialist males got about their conquest and plunder with no consolation from something psychically healthier to be had in their lives.

    The ancestors are the company Men depicted in Apocalypse Now, where WASP culture is played out. Reich and Marcus theorised much on mutual sexual alienation as a driving force within capitalism, as did the Weber/Tawney thesis concerning Protestantism and the rise of capitalism.

    Make love, not war…

  165. Miriam English

    Diannaart,

    Marx and Engels concerned themselves with the working class, not in the way religion (suffering is good for you), or capitalists (work of any sort is good for for you) or authoritarians (I know what is good for you) concerns themselves.

    That is very neat. Into my quotes folder. 🙂

    Kaye, hmmm… I didn’t know that. Maybe I’ll have to download some books from Project Gutenberg and read some… I don’t know when though…. supposed to be finishing my current SF novel and haven’t been giving myself enough time to read New Scientist or Scientific American lately, let alone the odd paper downloaded from Sci-Hub.

    Eeek! Time is going past too quickly. I need to live a few more centuries.

  166. Diannaart

    Miriam

    Blush … but thank you ☺️

  167. paul walter

    Read Karen’s and Michael’s comments on what passes for a conversation on Marxism. I can’t be bothered with someone as closed minded as Karen yet Michael’s comment disappoints me even more as coming from someone who knows better, as a tacit endorsement of the incredibly narrow Karen Kyle line.

    Karen, try to seek help for a deprogramming, the phobic stuff is almost embarrassing.

  168. Michael Taylor

    Paul, I’m tired and thus even more intolerant of fools than I usually are. 😉

    I’ve had 4 hours sleep in the last 40 days. 😇

  169. paul walter

    Well, why, de facto, did you endorse Karen then?

    I mean Karen Kyle: “AIMN does publish stuff written by Marxists” and the rest of the rubbish re Joe McCarthy, 1956.

    This is a seriously brainwashed person.

    DESERVES refutation.

    Hope you feel better after your snooze.

  170. Miriam English

    Paul, that’s a bit rough. I don’t see where Michael said anything wrong. And Karen, as misguided in some things as she may be, still means well. I think it’s up to us to patiently explain any errors she makes, not sneer at her for them.

    Yes, she put a foot wrong when becoming exasperated at our apparently unified tsunami of denial of the validity of religion. But who hasn’t got temporarily shitty when bewildered by something like that? On the whole she’s tried to honestly say what she thinks.

    She’s not Neil of Sydney [shudder] or that lunatic preacher in Adelaide who thinks gays are Nazis. Unlike them she is a moderate who (I think) has some mistaken views. Hell, I probably have my fair share of mistaken views on various topics too. [Nah, I’m never wrong. 🙂 ]

  171. Diannaart

    Is there something wrong with publishing articles by Marxists?

    😳

  172. paul walter

    Thank you, Diannart.

    Ok, I was a little picky with Michael, but felt a direct refutation would have been a lot better than that comment ending with “..guess that rules me out”, don’t you think?

    Diannaart is far closer to the nub of it, particularly this late into the twenty-first century.

    Miriam, don’t you think the Karen Kyle’s reply to me is just bit deranged paranoid, as if being Marxist infers hatred of religion rather than merely exhibiting a misuse of it (thought exercises) by the system for the ideological boostering of authority? As for anti-colonialism is WRONG, wtf??

    Seriously, the kid is sadly deluded.

  173. Michael Taylor

    Paul, “I guess that rules me out” was meant as a jibe at Karen, who was going at great pains to stereotype us. 👍

  174. Diannaart

    Paul,

    The subsequent discussion in which we have been engaging indicates our concern for Karen’s lack of knowledge regarding Marx.

    As for whether we have even lit a single watt in the muddied darkness remains unknown.

    🌥

  175. Kaye Lee

    We all get tetchy at times, particularly about the things we are passionate about.

  176. Miriam English

    Paul, well, naturally I think she was wrong, and I do think she overreacted a little a couple of times, but hell, I expect she felt she was under siege a bit, with all of us coming out to deny everything she said. She was pretty restrained, all things considered.

    And of course the idea that colonialism is okay is a bit on the nose. An awful lot of harm was propagated by colonialism — mass murder, starvation, slavery, oppression, land-theft, homophobic laws, and more. Nevertheless I can see where she’s coming from. I mean, I’m no fan of the brutal tribal life. I’d much rather be cooking frozen veges in my microwave oven while writing my seventh novel on my computer, sitting at home in my jammies listening to electronic music, expecting to live to 90 or even 100 instead of dying in my 30s or 40s. People like to idealise the native life, but it was horrible. If diseases, or septic wounds, or starvation didn’t get you then you had a good chance of death at the hands of your fellow human in inter-tribal payback.

    Perhaps she didn’t explain it well, or perhaps she was too forgiving of the failures of Western (and Christian) society, but she’s no Pauline Hanson. Apart from a few panicked missteps, she was mostly fairly polite. And she did excuse her ignorance on other topics by admitting she mostly studies history from a Christian perspective. Shouldn’t it then fall to us to show her that there’s much more beyond?

    Her use of Marxism as a kind of insult did make me smile a bit, but I’m happy to forgive her that. I assume she’s led a pretty sheltered life. I get the feeling she doesn’t know any more about Marxism than I do (none), and that the use of it as an insult came originally from someone else’s lips (husband? father? teacher?). She’s only to blame for admiring that person and using their words uncritically. I think we’ve all done that at some time.

  177. paul walter

    Exactly Miriam.. It is what I found a bit disturbing about some of the comments

    I said earlier I don’t dispute that there is native IQ there, but boy, who are her influences and where are the honesty levels?

    Anyway, enough of it.

    But it is hairy to think of it being common place, unless the name is just a sock puppet for a mischief maker.

  178. Diannaart

    Paul

    The “evil, beware, evil, Marxism” is a common refrain from the right. As I am sure you are aware. Seems to me Karen was simply repeating this time worn rhetoric. I don’t know as much as I believe I should about Marx or Engels, however I do know enough they are not the big bad RWNJ’s delight in projecting.

    Miriam

    You are correct, it must’ve looked like a wall of leftist rants, given our similar take on Karen’s comments. Like, “oh, my god, lefties really are just programmed automatons.” Scary. Doesn’t mean I will not deconstruct utter nonsense such as tales from Abraham as being the font of all wisdom, my outrage towards those LNP freaks who wish to dictate our education curriculum in schools and universities means I do not suffer fools.

  179. Matters Not

    Perhaps a Marxism for Dummies might be useful?

    https://www.nyu.edu/projects/ollman/docs/what_is_marxism.php

    Seems like it’s a bit late to enter this apparent mass debate. One wonders whether it’s possible these days to have any discussion without consciously or unconsciously employing concepts developed by Marx.

  180. Kronomex

    I’m a dyed in the wool hardcore Marxist. Nothing beats Chico, Groucho, and Harpo.

  181. Michael Taylor

    I must admit that I knew little of Marx until I went back to uni 20 years ago. Until then I had no idea of the influence he had over the Western world and the world that has been shaped for us.

    At uni he was revered, and I can see why.

  182. paul walter

    Just lost a long and involved reply to Diannaart and also those folk I may have offended. I am not going to rewrite.

    Briefly, I am not against any religion. Of course I AM interested in origins, purpose and destination for the simple reason that I find mere existence itself more than passing strange. I however believe that Argument From Design as discussed by some one like Lord Russell requires me least of all to have to subscribe to a given religious narrative that is unprovable this side of the grave although, believe it or not, I find ( NT) Xtianity, with its accent on leadership by example and other humane moral values more compelling aqs a narrative than just the idea of someone pointlessly zapping round the sky hurling lightning bolts at folk. The best of Xtianity and other Religions of the Book and also things like Bhuddism Confucianism and Hinduism as well as deep Greek agnostic philosophy, of course has influenced modern thinking, perhaps most all Marxian thinking and its offshoots. Thought evolves, is not necessarily compartmentalised, unrelated and segmented meaningless in relation to the whole, apart, but also one point leads to another- a dialectic and documentation of humanity through history.

    I would like to keep on good terms with all who publish here and apologise for for any offence given earlier.

    I am tired, screwed over on a computer breakdown and then trying to sort this out and deeply pissed at then losing the post I wanted to send. Off to bed, at past four in the morning.

  183. Winston Smythe

    I will join any ist’s or ism because; I feel safer living in an ideological prison.

  184. Diannaart

    Paul

    Just lost a long and involved reply to Diannaart and also those folk I may have offended. I am not going to rewrite.

    We’ve all been there … no, not replying to moi … losing our hard work.

    Hope you are catching up on sleep right now as I write.

    I have no issue with your comments here, on this thread, right here, right now.

    And I can’t always say that to you, Paul. 😋

  185. Zathras

    Marx got his inspiration from seeing the oppression and exploitation suffered by workers during the British Industrial Revolution. There was also a significant class structure and a huge gap between the privileged and the poor.

    It seems those same conditions and sentiments are returning and people feeling under pressure tend to look for a champion so it’s not surprising that Marx is regaining some popularity.

    I’ve seen plenty of Che Guevara posters but never a single one of Batista.

    Historically, revolutions and the internal overthrow of regimes don’t come from a popular vote but from a desperate response to bad conditions.

  186. Miriam English

    Paul, I use a simple text editor to write my comments, saving them to my computer as I write, then when I’m finished I copy and paste what I’ve written into the blog comment. I’ve lost too many long-winded comments to be able to face the risk of losing them if my web browser plays up.

    By text editor I mean the very small, simple editors. If you’re on Linux, “leafpad” is my preference as it’s one of the simplest and best; if you’re on MSWindows [shame on you] then NotePad is probably the simplest and all versions of Windows have it already installed.

    Specifically, use text editors, NOT wordprocessors such as Microsoft Word or LibreOffice Writer, or OpenOffice Writer. They’re too big and use up too many of your computer’s resources, making other applications (like web browsers) potentially unstable.

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