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Children of God?

By James Moylan

I have not been so angry for a very long time. When it comes to matters relating to what adults do to other adults then I can generally remain relatively clear headed – but regarding the abuse of children I simply cannot stay level headed and disinterested. Nor do I even want to try.

In the Bible it says:

“If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea” (Matthew 18:6).

However, in an article published today in The Australian, ‘Church knew about 4500 abuse claims’ the following observations are made:

The head of the Catholic Church’s Truth, Justice and Healing Council has held back tears as he talked about the “shocking” and “indefensible” number of alleged child sex abusers revealed by world-first data.

The research released by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse on Monday found almost 4500 people made allegations of child sexual abuse to church authorities over 35 years.

Seven per cent of priests who were members of 75 surveyed Catholic authorities between 1950 and 2010 were alleged offenders.

In one of 10 religious orders examined, the St John of God Brothers, 40.4 per cent of members over the six decades were alleged abusers.

“Between January 1980 and February 2015, 4444 people alleged incidents of child sexual abuse made to 93 Catholic Church authorities,” counsel assisting Gail Furness SC said in Sydney on Monday.

“The average age between the alleged abuse and date a claim was made was 33 years.”

….

These have so far resulted in 27 prosecutions, the royal commission heard.

Surely, as a society, we now have to do something to address this shocking situation?

These deluded, child-molesting, hypocrites, should not be allowed access to children: period.

In what other realm of human activity except for religion would we allow a massive organization where 7% of its employees were engaging in child molestation to continue to operate?

Their own ‘God’ told them that:

“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these” (Matthew 10:14).

However it seems that the only reason that many of these ‘Priests’ enter the profession is so that they can gain access to a never-ending stock of little children to bugger whilst being members of an organization that will protect them in their endeavours!

As a society we have obviously lost sight of common-sense and justice when it comes to the religious organizations that are active within our communities. If you clothe yourself in religious vestments and don an appearance of ‘religious piety’ then, apparently, it also means that you can abuse children and get away with it. Not occasionally, nor as an isolated instance, but rather continually, for years on end, and without any consequences.

The recent reports indicate that about 7% (at least) of the priesthood should currently be behind bars but instead we put them on a pedestal and provide them with tax breaks as well as a megaphone for their hypocritical tosh.

How is this possible? No Australian should be anything but ashamed to admit that they are one of the fools that have been taken in by one of these criminal organizations.

Surely we should all be out in the streets, every Sunday, picketing the churches which harbour these sick criminals and demanding that they all be prosecuted immediately. Or, at the very least, be prevented from ever going near one of our children ever again.

Why haven’t these organizations been branded as being criminal enterprises?

If 7% of the employees in any other organization in our land were engaged in criminal behaviour on a regular basis then it would have long ago been shut down and outlawed.

The next ‘religious’ person who tries to tell me that they are morally superior I will simply abuse. These wrong-headed ‘sheep’ deserve nothing but condemnation, pity, or abuse.

I am utterly aghast!

 

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84 comments

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  1. Peter Stanton

    Tax exemptions for churches should be removed and the proceeds used to provide support for the victims of abuse by the churches. The churches would be able to claim tax exemptions for many spent on charitable causes just as everyone else can.

  2. passum2013

    Peter that sounds very good to me as a lot of money goes out of Australia to Rome and england,the USA also in the name of religion.

  3. Matt

    Apparently St Francis tried to teach the Catholic church Christianity some time ago – unsuccessfully it seems:

  4. Keitha Granville

    I am constantly aghast too James at the revelations that assail us daily of the goings on by those supposed Christians. How dare they use the name ! Drowing them sounds like a great plan, as is the notion of removing tax exempt status.
    Every day we are pounded with the views of “Christians” and why we should have their views as law. Why we continue to even listen to them is beyond me, particularly when their own house is quite obviously NOT in order.
    Something about motes in eyes comes to me from my church school education.

  5. Miriam English

    It is infuriating that these are the same parasitic, morally stunted people who try to say that contraceptives shouldn’t be allowed, that abortion is wrong, that loving gay couples should not be able to marry, that other religions are inferior, and that morality flows from religion. They used to also say that people with dark skin were subhuman and should be slaves the way the Bible teaches.

    I agree with Peter that religion should be taxed and the proceeds earmarked for compensation of their victims. However I expect they would work around this by fiddling the books to appear to never make a “profit”, so I would like to see all religious income and property confiscated. I know it would never happen, but it would be lovely to see one of the most wealthy organisations in the world (the Catholic Church) actually be forced to help society instead of causing endless damage.

  6. Harquebus

    The larger abuse problem is the forced indoctrination of minors to these evil institutions. Break the cycle and terminate this foul disease that is called religion once and for all.
    Cheers.

  7. Gregggo

    I am not that surprised. I believe this goes on across a such religions and has been for hundreds if not thousands of years.

  8. Andreas

    Miriam, agreed. But it will never happen. This sect (I use the term based on less than 20% patronage) has had its tentacles embedded in all levels of Government and Society for eons, by fear. And the threat of eternal hell works perfectly! Really, they should be congratulated: Such an enduring and self-propagating business Donald Trump could only dream of….

  9. susan

    Why are churches so good at conning people? How can churches manage to fool multiple generations of the same families so easily? Even in group homes, this sexual abuse must have been perpetrated with the knowledge of many many so called responsible, religious adults and the saddest thing is that no real steps have been taken to avoid repeating this history.

  10. Kyran

    “Surely, as a society, we now have to do something to address this shocking situation?”
    Whilst more than happy to put a boot into the church, I cannot escape the fact that this most vile, most disgusting, abuse is being studied in isolation.
    How the feck can we have this RC going on, right now, when ‘we’ insist on perpetrating the same abuse of children on an institutional basis? The NT have a problem with youth incarceration, as does Victoria, whereby the facilities are entirely inappropriate for the youths being housed. It’s apparently not the facilities, it’s the youth.
    ‘We’ still consider removing a child from their home is better than getting assistance for the home. A scenario much more prevalent in the homes of our First People.
    ‘We’ still consider that the illegal incarceration of children on remote islands, with all of the documented abuse that they endure NOW, is acceptable.
    Listening to the testimony of survivors before the RC has left me weeping, on more than one occasion. Watching our institutionalisation of the abuse of children, today, right NOW, has left me a tad more than aghast.
    The RC has revealed obscenity at an institutional level. The abuse of children. As long as we can keep it in an historical sense, we can ignore the ongoing abuse of children.
    Thank you, Mr Moylan, and commenters. Take care

  11. Devil's Advocate

    “The churches would be able to claim tax exemptions for many spent on charitable causes just as everyone else can.” Peter, that’s already the way it works. Church activities that are “commercial”, i.e. that turn a profit, are subject to tax as is any other activity in society. The only tax-free activities are those which are registered as charities. Most churches will be registered as charities, so offerings given in the plate on a Sunday morning are not taxed, and church property used solely for church purposes does not occasion rates. The suburban house owned by Church A does not pay rates because the minister lives there. The suburban house owned by Church B *does* pay rates because the church rents it out for rental income (which is also taxed).

    How much money do people expect to claw back from religious institutions in Australia? We do not have many priests living the high life in silk and champagne; most full-time ministry salaries are between $50k and $70k. And do you think that if you start treating churches like businesses, they will not start seeking tax-minimisation strategies like any other business? In business, you tax profits. Most churches do not operate at a profit: that is the definition of being a not-for-profit charity. There are no church-specific provisions in the tax code: to tax churches, you would need to also rescind tax-free status for all other charities, which would surely put some of them out of business. But of course, that’s the end-game for many of those who call for taxing the churches: hurting them, or ideally closing them down.

    If you think the churches are money-making institutions raking in millions of dollars for their owners, sponging off the public purse for no good reason, you are basically wrong. Yes, the Catholic church (and other religious institutions in Australia) have large amounts of assets. But these aren’t owned by the churchgoers, the priests or the church authorities, and they’re used only for the ongoing work of the church. When a priest retires, they lose access to the church assets that were supporting them in their work. You don’t walk away from ministry with a gold-plated Rolls and a harbourside mansion.

    In return for (in most cases, modest) tax allowances, the churches provide a large proportion of healthcare, education and social support services that the government simply could not afford to replace. The value of the small amount of tax income forgone is outweighed by the value of the services provided. The chief contribution of many churches to the Social Good is not the tax-exempt money, but the people who go out and do the work, often for little or no monetary return.

  12. Susan

    Did Tony Abbott remove school counsellors and replace them with priests?

  13. Kyran

    At the risk of being presumptive, Mr Moylan, anger can do that. Having now re-read the earlier article, and comments, I can’t help but note that there are many of like mind. There was a recent article ‘Walk for Freedom’, which was to cumulate in a march on Feb 4, in Canberra. Only a few hundred marchers turned up. There were rallies in most major cities over that weekend. Apparently attended by thousands. You have to search really hard to find any coverage. There were none on the ABC. A few on SBS. One in the Canberra Times.
    With respect, Mr Moylan, don’t we have to identify the atrocity before we can address it?
    The atrocity is child abuse, in my opinion. The churches, institutions, companies, government, whatever, perpetuating that abuse, cannot be the overseers of the rules defining the continuance of that abuse.
    With respect, Mr Moylan, it’s not about addressing one atrocity at a time. It’s about identifying the atrocity, and calling it out in all of its manifestations. We got a long road to walk. Thank you Mr Moylan. Take care.

  14. Kate Ahearne

    Thanks, James. And thanks to Kyran, too, who has reminded us of all sorts of other institutionalised abuses going on right now. These are not secret, they are well-known to us, and for these we all bear responsibility as long as we allow them to continue.

  15. Miriam English

    Devil’s Advocate, I have a feeling you’re wrong about religious money-making being taxed. One of the problems with churches is that I don’t think they’re required to keep financial accounts, so they can say they are non-profit while being a sink for vast amounts of invisible money. In the case of some religions, that money then gets used to bribe politicians (John Howard was renowned for being an easy target for religious bribes).

    As for charities, yes, religious organisations do some charity work, but they do profit from this by spruiking their religion. And most non-profit work is actually done by secular organisations. Religions are just very good at promoting themselves.

    The Salvation Army is a particularly noxious example. Their help is conditional upon being able to project hate into society. In New Zealand during the move to legalise same sex marriage the Salvation Army poured vast amounts of money into an enormous advertising campaign to spread hate against gays and oppose marriage equality. In New York City in the USA the Salvation Army threatened close their shelters and turn homeless people out into the snowbound streets if they could not discriminate against gay couples.

    I’m atheist, but have helped at a religion-based poverty relief organisation in Melbourne. I stopped in disgust when the people had to sit through a sermon before they could eat. That wasn’t charity — that was trade.

    I remember a scandal a while back when the Catholic Church decided to redevelop the properties they owned in a suburb of Sydney, so they evicted hundreds of impoverished families and old folks, many who had been living there their whole lives.

    Look at late night television and all the conmen operating under the camouflage of religion to get rich. The USA is particularly notorious for these grifters. Look at Scientology and all the wealth sucked down by that organisation and all the brainwashing and discord that organisation promotes. Look at the bigotry and extremist right-wing views promoted by religion in general.

    There are many examples of the hate and social damage spread under the guise of charity by religious organisations. Is the small amount of good that they do worth all the social damage? I’m all for charities, but give me the more numerous and more socially beneficial secular ones any day.

  16. Kaye Lee

    Devil’s Advocate,

    “Church activities that are “commercial”, i.e. that turn a profit, are subject to tax as is any other activity in society”

    That is not true in Australia.

    The Catholic Church in Australia reputedly owns $100 billion worth of properties and other assets; and makes $15 billion a year from its education, health and welfare businesses. All of its investment earnings are tax-free; it pays no rates on its properties, nor land tax, and there is no capital gains tax on the sale of its assets.

    https://www.rationalist.com.au/religious-tax-privileges-as-concessions/

    “Most of the country’s religious groups, which make up about $25 billion of the sector, run commercial enterprises. Among them is the Seventh Day Adventists’ cereal giant Sanitarium, which generates more than $300 million a year.

    “Many of the operations have little to do with charitable work but are exempt from various taxes including corporate tax and capital gains tax. The Catholic Church has long opposed reforms such as the creation of a national charities commission to regulate the sector, or charging tax on commercial enterprises.

    “Business enterprises run by religious groups range from pizza chains, insurance companies, wineries, farms, schools, hospitals and aged-care facilities. All are exempt from tax. Australia is one of the few countries in the world where religious groups are not forced to pay tax on business ventures.” (The Australian, July 28, 2008).

  17. Dave

    Bastards should be nailed up on a cross. And forgotten about! Forever. Or until at least the next reported offence. Amen.

  18. Kate Ahearne

    Kaye, I doubt that figures like these could ever be verified. One of the points to consider is that ‘the Catholic Church’ doesn’t actually own all these assets that we’re talking about. Individual parishes own individual assets, and particular charities own others, individual schools own their own properties (although many carry mortgages), and so on. And,of course, Archbishop Pell, as he then was, performed certain acts of separation of assets precisely to limit the financial liability of the church towards victims of abuse.

    I think one thing that could be done would be to petition Pope Francis to divest the Vatican of its treasures. Part of the proceeds could go to victims of abuse, and the rest could go towards the alleviation of poverty all over the world.

  19. Steven Forsyth

    While we keep immigrating religious people, we will always have problems in our good, secular society. We are losing our secular identity and we are all suffering because of it.

  20. Miriam English

    Steven, while I have to admit to some annoyance that we keep getting Christian extremist whackos from USA here in QLD, I have to say targeting immigration risks contaminating the discussion, because Steven, I have a suspicion that you’re suddenly not talking about Christians, but having a xenophobic reaction to Muslims. Now while I share an intense dislike of Islam, as well as all other religions, a desire to paint all Muslims as bad is as wrongheaded as an attempt to paint all Christians as bad. The Christian religion is insane. Islam is even more insane. But the people inside those religions are often pretty harmless and given a chance, tend to shed their beliefs. Muslims make up a vanishingly tiny proportion of our society. Allowing them to become part of our society strengthens and enriches Australia.

    I do agree that extremist Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, and so on probably should be excluded. (I’d make an exception for very devout Jainists — we could always benefit from more of them.)

  21. Ian Ellis

    [i]If I remember, Victoria de-registered some American denomination because of financial fraud. There was absolutely no communal backlash because of this action, either. I wonder if this is because money is felt to be much more important than children? (One would wonder why this de-registration has not been mentioned in relation to sexual abuse of children – if money is not more important.)

    [ii] In the time when the ALP was fiercely pacifist, a small group of Catholic plotters engineered a really malicious attack on this Party – including pulpit denunciations of the ALP, the rants often including snide accusations of ‘communism’, etc. About 40% of this Party’s federal members were Catholics, and the Church pressured each of them to leave the Party and join the ‘Democratic Labor Party’, the ‘Catholic Party’….

    This interference was clearly to ensure that the Liberals remained in government so that ‘Ungodly VietNamese Communists’ could be slaughtered in an illegal USA-inspired invasion. DLP propaganda via TV was frequent, and the ‘war’ was praised. (Perhaps they forgot about the bit that says “Thou shalt not kill”?).

    Why was this never a scandal? What is it that protects this Church? (T Abbott entered Parliament as a DLP senator, and Whitlam is said to have been ‘very rude’ to him on meeting him.)

    [iii] Sexual abuse is very much under-reported, particularly if the victim be a child… Strangely the victim often feels very guilty for some reason, and the reputation of a ‘Man of God’ is so powerful that timidity is also a disincentive. In my opinion, the shocking statistics for this abuse could probably be quadrupled!

    [iv] A Church that deliberately by-passes our courts on receipt of a complaint, and ‘deals’ with serious crime in a pro-paedophile ‘Court’ set up by the Church itself, is acting criminally.
    Is this a reason for de-registering such an evil Church? I would imagine it is!

  22. Devil's Advocate

    Miriam and Kaye, I speak from my own experience as a church treasurer. This includes paying salaries, preparing PAYG summaries for the income tax for our ministry team, preparing quarterly GST BAS statements (which we most certainly do pay), paying the rates on any properties used for commercial purposes and fees for the other council and commercial services we use.

    Certainly, the church for whom I do this voluntary work does not run a pizza chain, a winery or a hospital. More’s the pty! I could handle the occasional freebie pizza or bottle of plonk. 🙂 But the rules about commercial and non-commercial activity are very clear. If there’s a church out there running a commercial entity and not paying tax on its profits, I’m all for that to be addressed. Why should my little suburban corner church have to pay tax on its occasional hire-out of the church hall when a megachurch down the road sells goods or services tax-free? I actually doubt that these enterprises are really tax-free. Possibly tax-minimisation and profit-shifting are in use, as distasteful as that might seem. Call it profit-shifting if you will, but Sanitarium, the commercial company, pays no tax not because they have an exemption, but because they give 100% of profits to the church. They make no profit: ergo, no tax. According to my understanding, if the church had sold the Weet-Bix, the profits would have been taxable, but donations by any business to any charity are not. (There is, of course, GST payable on each purchase of Weet-Bix.)

    Many churches in Australia and around the world are involved in commercial interests – running businesses, staffing op-shops, or simply investing in the share and property markets. So are many non-church charities. These profit-making ventures are intended to safeguard and build the assets of the church to allow for its ongoing work. In most churches of which I am aware, the day-to-day work of the church vs its offerings in the plate operates at a loss, and only the prudent management of assets can ensure the church’s ongoing operation without curtailing its services. Some churches, and church umbrella bodies (Catholic and Anglican church dioceses, for instance) have access to significant amounts of asset value, and arguably they don’t need tax concessions on their investments nearly as much as smaller churches making small amounts of interest on their bank deposits. But it would be hard to justify taxing the one without adversely affecting the other.

    By all means, I applaud any measures to apply oversight to registered charities. Based on the amount of paperwork my little church puts into its financial dealings, no charity should have difficulty proving that it truly is operating a) as a not-for-profit, and b) providing measurable charitable service to its chosen communities.

  23. MichaelW

    I am more than aghast, I am sickened to my stomach. (sorry I’m Welsh).
    How in Gods name was this allowed to happen?
    My grandchild attends Catholic school, I’m worried to death.

    These people are supposed to be doing their Gods work and all we hear about is these sick pieces of shit abusing kids.
    John Lennon was right ‘Imagine no religion’.

  24. Kaye Lee

    DA,

    I cannot speak for what you do but I can link to many many articles about the tax free status of churches in Australia. If you are charging GST for the hall hire then yes, you must pass that on. If you are paying GST on goods and services then you are probably claiming them back. If you have employees you are withholding their income tax to pass on to the government. None of that amounts to the church paying tax.

    https://theconversation.com/election-factcheck-is-the-australian-sex-party-right-about-religious-organisations-tax-and-record-keeping-61427

    http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/churches-reap-the-benefits-of-belief-500-million-in-taxexemptions/2006/04/28/1146198351877.html

    https://www.ato.gov.au/Non-profit/Getting-started/In-detail/Types-of-charities/Religious-institutions–access-to-tax-concessions/

    http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/opinion/religion-in-australia-continues-to-benefit-from-tax-subsidies-despite-preaching-doctrines-that-contradict-modern-societal-norms/news-story/472a57734a806644f4e7292005ed3cdc

  25. wam

    Before the war the church and government institutions had an ample supply of children, often Aborigines, that nobody cared about and the pattern for systemic abuse was set.
    For the pig-iron bob’s era the pommie children were added and church orphanages became a source of child abuse that attracted abusers and hid their excesses. Institutions like Retta Dixon were still operating till the 80’s despite anecdotal evidence in Darwin from past and current inmates of beating and abuse which was accepted as normal discipline, sexual abuse was not revealed nor discussed in the religious context. The church had its own schools and communities but again the missionaries were above suspicion.

    The public schools just loped along safe in full employment and the exclusionary exam system The teachers were oblivious to the non-school traumas of their vulnerable students.(including army, navy and raaf kids) I remember with great regret and guilt a young Aborigine of very soft appearance with the saddest eyes I have ever seen whose demeanour screamed for help and there was none available outside of the church.

    The ability to fool the trusting blind is easy for the men who prey, The intentional blind should bear some of the responsibility for the abuse and no longer allow ourselves to turn our backs and leave helping to others.
    .

  26. Steven Forsyth

    Miriam,

    I’m not being xenophobic. My worry with bringing in vast numbers of religious people, is the thinking process that comes with them. Secular/free thinking people are open to change etc. Religious thinkers aren’t. It’s a nice thought to hope they will become more open minded, but this is simply not happening.
    We already know that this type of thinking is selfish and greedy, ( tens of billions being unmercifully tortured, in unspeakable pain. While you have a great time in heaven/paradise)
    This is why we are seeing the rise of neo-liberalism. Selfish, greedy thinking. They are one and the same, that’s why the conservatives love it.

  27. mustchange

    It breaks my heart to hear what has been done in the name of religion. This RC was so very much needed and we can always thank Julia Gillard for that.

    However, having said that, there are just as many damaged children who suffered physical and emotional abuse by the churches for which there is no claim. Many damaged souls living lives of pain. Research has proven that emotional and physical abuse is just as damaging, if not more, for young children, than sexual abuse. I just wish a pox on all their houses and agree that tax exemption should be immediately removed.

  28. mustchange

    Devils Advocate: In return for (in most cases, modest) tax allowances, the churches provide a large proportion of healthcare, education and social support services that the government simply could not afford to replace. The value of the small amount of tax income forgone is outweighed by the value of the services provided. The chief contribution of many churches to the Social Good is not the tax-exempt money, but the people who go out and do the work, often for little or no monetary return.

    Sorry, I beg to differ. The churches may provide a large proportion of healthcare, education and social support services. But they are funded by the government to perform these services. They don’t just do it out of the goodness of their hearts. The people who do work for no money are usually volunteers who expect nothing. But mark my words, the churches are well compensated for the programs they run.

    Just before Abbott was canned, he defunded and closed down a large number of very successful long-term drug and alcohol programs that had worked with great success. Between then they had hundreds of years of experience with their staff being very knowledgable. He then gave the money to the catholic church to run the programs. And guess how well that’s going.

  29. Deanna Jones

    Steven, you have a funny idea of Muslims and I suspect that you don’t actually know any. They have varying levels of commitment to their faith just like xtians do, sometimes practices like wearing the scarf are more about culture than religion. Some women don’t wear the scarf but still take part in Ramadan for example. You seem to view them as a hive mind and it’s just not like that. I hate religion too and I’m a positive atheist, but to single out Muslims just because they are more visible to you than xtians, is actually xenophobic and contributes to a lot of the discrimination and persecution that Muslim people put up with in this country.

  30. Michael Taylor

    tens of billions being unmercifully tortured, in unspeakable pain.

    Steven, that’s a hell of a lot of people.

    Given that the population of the planet is about 7 billion, I’m wondering where the other tens of billions have come from.

  31. Kate Ahearne

    mustchange, You seem to have a couple of strange ‘facts’. The Catholic charities raise a large proportion of the money they spend into their charities from donations and through various enterprises. The Vinnies op shops are an excellent and well-known example.

  32. Steven Forsyth

    Deanna,

    I didn’t single out Muslims. I’m talking about the thinking process that religion, as a whole, gives people and how it’s incompatible with a secular/free thinking society. We aren’t having completely honest, truthful, fact based conversations about this.
    I see Kaye and Miriam etc, all obviously highly intelligent people way smarter than me, talking on here and providing great facts etc. but as soon as religion comes up, they aren’t being fully fact based. And that’s where the problem is, in all the discourse we have. This happens everywhere, not just on here.
    Selfish, greedy, delusional thinking that is devoid of any truth, honesty and facts cannot help us build a peaceful, intelligent, humane society.
    We have to start being honest about this.

  33. Kate Ahearne

    I think it’s important for us all to acknowledge that it is not actually ‘The Catholic Church’ as such that has been responsible for the sexual abuse of children that has been revealed by the Royal Commission. It’s a bunch of individuals who are guilty of these horrible offences, and a group of individuals that have been responsible for covering it all up. There are a great many ordinary Catholics who live their everyday lives as decently as they can. Many of these people give up their time to work for the charities that carry out essential work that the Government does not fund.

  34. Steven Forsyth

    Michael Taylor,

    There has been about 100 billion people exist all through the ages. Given that the deluded think they still exist in heaven/paradise or hell. It would be natural to assume vast amounts of these people would be getting their “just desserts” in one of those places.

  35. Michael Taylor

    Steven, I think you might be exaggerating.

  36. Steven Forsyth

    Michael,
    Scientists crunched the numbers. It’s true.

  37. Kate Ahearne

    Steven, I’m wondering where you got the idea that Australia is a secular society. When you have so many members of the Parliament who adhere to a religion (mostly some form of what they call ‘Christianity’) and who govern the country according to their religious beliefs, you don’t have a secular society. We are not officially a religious country in the way that, say, Iran is, but we are not secular either.

  38. Kate Ahearne

    Harquebus,, Why on earth would you believe it? And he’s not attacking paedophiles. He’s attacking people that he is ACCUSING of being paedophiles without a shred of evidence.

  39. Steven Forsyth

    I believe that this current parliament is the most religious parliament we have ever had. Which, in this age, is truly horrifying.

    Religion has always been here, obviously. But we are known worldwide as being secular. A banner that we should be proud of.

  40. Harquebus

    Steven Forsyth
    I agree with you in the inability of faith based thinkers to think rationally.
    It is hard to argue rationally with someone who has been brainwashed conditioned from early childhood. This is in my opinion, child abuse. Our politicians being perfect examples of what happens when children are subject to it.

    Kate Ahearne
    You need to go back further on his site but, don’t bother. In this instance, your opinion is good enough for me.

    Cheers.

  41. Miriam English

    Seems between 50 to 110 billion have ever existed, depending on how far back you consider human and how you estimate early population numbers.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_population

    I’m not quite sure of the point you’re making though Steven, I’m sorry. (Maybe I’m a bit thick this morning. I didn’t get much sleep last night.) Tell me if I’m missing your point.

    I think you’re saying we shouldn’t allow religious people in because everybody loses their objectivity and good sense when religion comes into the discussion. Am I right? Yet at the same time you point to the greed and selfishness and desire to keep those people out as an example of that. I would have thought that worked against your point.

    Surely it is better to allow some in (preferably those who are less strongly religious, though I’m not really sure how we judge that) and let the natural secularising process cause the gradual evaporation of their faith delusions. That would allow better relations with the rest of the world, help to fulfil some of our obligations, and benefit our society by improving its diversity.

    All around the world, religion is in retreat. In Islamic countries expanding numbers are misleading because they reflect the higher birthrate and the threat of death if you publicly admit to losing your faith. As education and living standards continue to improve birthrate drops. As Islamic countries remove the death sentence for apostates we will see the numbers of atheists and agnostics in their countries are much higher than are generally admitted now.

    It’s in our interests to allow moderate muslims in so that they can help push this shift in their homelands, as many will return home, carrying their education and secularising attitudes with them.

    Atheists and agnostics are already winning the religion “war”.

  42. nurses1968

    Ian EllisFebruary 6, 2017 at 10:54 pm

    “(T Abbott entered Parliament as a DLP senator, and Whitlam is said to have been ‘very rude’ to him on meeting him.)”

    Your timeline for Abbott is out by 20+ years amd Abbott was always a Lib, getting into Parliament in 1994 as Member for Warringah
    He had an affinity to DLP views but let’s keep the facts straight.
    Now, I may have to fact check your whole comment for validity

  43. Matt

    Devil’s Advocate

    I sympathise with much of what you are saying. However, the truth is that Churches could do so much more. Why not tear down – or at least retrofit – their increasing empty cathedrals and make them homes for the poor? God does not need piles of rocks to glorify Him, and people can pray to Him and praise him anywhere. St Paul’s Cathedral is right next to the Flinders Street homeless camp that was the site of so much conflict lately – why didn’t they throw open the doors and invite all those poor homeless in? Does anyone really think that God would be pleased with priests in large empty buildings looking out at people sleeping on the street – just outside their own door? How does that demonstrate brotherly love? The things of this world – like Church buildings – are of no eternal value – so why guard them as though they were precious? It is people that are important along with our acts of true charity, love and self-sacrifice.

  44. Kate Ahearne

    Thanks, Miriam. I hope you’re right.

    I can’t help thinking, with all the talk we’ve been having about refugees and immigration, that we’re in danger of forgetting that millions of people are in dire need of rescue, and that this desperate need surely trumps any consideration of religious affiliation. Of course we don’t want to be importing terrorists, and of course those refugees seeking shelter in our society need to be vetted. So I suppose what I’m saying is that we’re getting the cart before the horse. The primary consideration is the fact that millions of people have fled their homelands in fear for their lives, and that we need to respond to their need, just as we would hope that they would respond to ours if we were the ones who had been forced to flee.

    Matt, there’s a lot to like about what you say.

  45. Michael Taylor

    We are a secular nation and most citizens are not religious, but we are governed by religious fanatics. It’s an odd relationship.

  46. Ian Ellis

    Dear nurses 1968….. It was Abbott himself who told Australia about Whitlam’s hostile reaction to him. The DLP, its ‘popularity’ in terminal decline, its warmongering purpose fulfilled, ceased to exist very soon after dewy-eyed Abbott entered parliament. Much as I loathe the sexual abuse of this domineering Church, much as I squirm when I hear the ‘apologies’ now being offered, it was this intrusion into our political frame that disgusts me most.

    You attacked me by claiming that MY time frame was askew by 20 years. You don’t impress me as a scholar, I’m afraid.

    Do all the ‘fact-checking’ you are capable of. A hint, however….. The ‘holy’ Catholic Church can be guaranteed to provide you with rose-scented ‘facts’ about its activities. I suspect that this Church will mainly be where you ‘fact check’.

  47. Kate Ahearne

    Ian, The DLP bowed out of Federal politics in 1974 when Abbott was just 16. and I’d be very, very surprised if nurses were to be doing her fact-checking in this matter with the Catholic Church. Why on earth would she do that?

  48. Kaye Lee

    I am the same age as Tony Abbott. We did year 12 in 1975, the year Gough was booted out. Either Tony met him as a schoolkid or after he was no longer PM.

  49. jim

    Opus Dei is a strong defender of the Catholic position on matters of social morality particularly in the realm of marriage, abortion and euthanasia and its members are expected to influence government policies in these areas WHY!. While professing the importance of faith in their agenda, their aim is overwhelmingly to further Catholic teaching………… “Faith is their smokescreen”.

    When you are consumed by superstitious beliefs religion, deny science and logic, how can one be a rational human being ever?……

    And when you mix education with superstitious religious beliefs you lose years of education And when you attack (like the LNP) you spend half of our time (tax payer supplied) on your selfish opinions. LNP you are the most selfish “public?” funded party EVER

    And wasn’t it the LNP that removed some $.Millions from the R/commission into child abuse and gave it to the RC. into unions

  50. Kaye Lee

    Tony Abbott gave as his reason for leaving the seminary…

    “the modern Church — by minimising its mystique and spiritual elan — had eroded any other basis for its undertaking.

    The more they played up lay ministry and ecumenism and played down the unique role of the priest in the one true Church, the more the struggle seemed pointless.

    l felt “had” by a seminary that so stressed ”empathy” with sinners and “dialogue” with the Church’s enemies that the priesthood seemed to have lost its point.”

  51. Steven Forsyth

    Miriam,
    I’m talking about the actual thought process that religious thinking gives people.

    Apologies if you’re having trouble understanding me. My lack of vocabulary is to blame.

  52. Miriam English

    Ian, Kaye, Kate, and nurses, there is another possibility: Tony Abbott, the chronic, compulsive liar, simply lied, or at least misled.

  53. Miriam English

    Steven, yes, I agree that religion tends to muddle people’s thought processes, however that isn’t always the case. One of my closest friends and one of the best thinkers I’ve ever known was also deeply religious. Sister Joan Chittister, a Benedictine nun, has a brilliant mind — to hear her speak about social justice, peace, and self-deception is a wonderful experience. There are some truly amazing religious people, despite the fact that religion tends to have a corrosive effect on thinking and society.

    I think the advantages of gently allowing more diversity in the Australian multicultural experiment outweigh the disadvantages. As I said before, religion is losing everywhere. It might not be long before people look back with puzzlement at the early 21st Century and wonder how people could possibly believe such silly fairytales. It will be similar to how we today look back at those who believed in the Norse gods. That day is coming whether we allow people in or not, but I think we can bring it faster by allowing moderates in.

    I think the biggest dangers are:
    bigotry and xenopobia which prevent those people mixing in society and put them under constant threat
    – and ghettos, which are both caused by xenophobia and further enable it by separating people as a group, making them easier to fear, hate, and attack.

  54. Steve Laing - makeourvoiceheard.com

    Some time ago I listened to a chap who had been abused by a priest as a young adult. Though he had managed to achieve a decent education and was a qualified lawyer, it had seriously ruined his life resulting in broken marriages and at least one period of being homeless. He had concluded that one of the biggest problems was with enforced celibacy meant that any senior churchman who may have strayed off the path (i.e. had a mistress or other affair which is apparently very common) was open to blackmail from paedophile priests as their exposure would have much more serious consequences than for a lay person (i.e. their complete livelihood would be at stake, career; house; pension – the lot), and so it became very common to be able to carry on their disgusting activities with almost complete impunity.

    If this had been in a Muslim organisation, the noise to close it down would be deafening. But because the government is run on both sides by Catholics, nothing major will change. Given the very odd attitudes that some of our politicians have, I wonder how many of them may have been abused and are now exhibiting Stockholm Syndrome? A bit conspiracy theorist perhaps, but it really wouldn’t surprise me.

  55. king1394

    So many of these incidents of child abuse took place in Catholic schools, yet no one seems to want to condemn the context in which this occurs. People continue to struggle to get their children into a Catholic schools because they consider that there is a higher level of pastoral care and better morals taught. They seem to think that these unfortunate events were a long time ago and would not happen now.

    It’s a long time since I myself attended a Catholic school, but the strong impression I am left with to this day is that priests in particular are closer to God than other people, and anything they tell you to do is right. No wonder there is a continuing story of child abuse, and I wonder whether these practices have now stopped, or whether another generation will have the same stories to tell in the future.

  56. Zathras

    The establishment of this Royal Commission was the last official act of then-PM Julia Gillard and was in response to an on-going investigation by a Newcastle newspaper journalist.
    She was pilloried by many for what was said to be an anti-religious stunt by an avowed atheist but I think even she would have been shocked at the revelations and how widespread the findings were.

    It’s an appalling indictment of all organisations that can potentially prey on the weak and defenceless and makes me wonder about what type of person such organisations recruit.

    As well as the hypocrisy of those who join with the aim of satisfying their carnal urges, those organisations that use tax-payer subsidised funds to hide and protect offenders are far worse. The amount they allegedly give to charities is tiny in relation to what they spend on themselves.

    As for Abbott, who else remembers the personal character reference he gave to his seminary buddy John Nestor who was found guilty of the indecent assault of a 15 year old?

  57. Ian Ellis

    Miriam. and fact-checking nurse1968… Gough Whitlam had long ago left parliament when he first met Abbott. It might be mentioned that this story about the former PM’s contempt for the Party that Abbott initially belonged to , told as a joke, was Abbott’s contribution to Whitlam’s funeral.

    I wonder if anybody expected something gracious from this putrid source?

  58. Alan Baird

    Boys and girls, let’s remember that god, in his infinite wisdom, ignored all the kiddie fiddling going on in his name (sorry about my laxity with the three capitals). I may joke but no matter how much wailing and gnashing of teeth, it went on for years and years and there’d STILL be PLENTY of upstanding Oz citizens willing, nay, enthusiastic about forgetting the lot and getting back to strenuous and strict *Catholic “Top Down” doctrine. I haven’t heard Tone calling for a blood letting, nor Cory or George or any other Red State Right Type Pharisees. There are any number of poseur-politicians who would STILL arrange for photographers to be ready for a shot on Sunday as the various hypocrites emerged from their “devotions” eg. Krudd ‘n’ Keneally from the ha ha Left. Oh, and plenty of Oz idiots willing to be taken in by this blatant hypocrisy despite their god having ignored flagrant sexual abuse of minors for decades, allowing a majority of priest-perps no doubt to go comfortably to their graves.
    Nevertheless, we have to look on the bright side. I imagine there are any number of politician-installed “priests-in-schools” ready to “minister” to their young wide-eyed flock in an audacious way. A stroke of genius from Howard in hindsight!
    Yours in His Eternal Peace and Schadenfreude (with oak leaves and diamonds).
    *”Catholic” had to have a capital (for the institution) as lower case would simply mean “universal”. “Catholic wiv a bigC” once meant “universal” but praise the lord, no longer. Sorry, don’t get me wrong. I’m no Prod either.

  59. townsvilleblog

    James, My anger is also at fever pitch. I know a friend who was repeatedly raped by her grandfather from the time she was 6 to the age of 14. The grandfather is long dead, but my friend still crucifies herself on a daily basis because she blames herself for the situation. No I imagine 4,500 souls in a similar position whose lives will never be the same. My friend is 47 in a few days but she still carries the guilt and it tortures her, she is manic/depressant because of her past. She is an intelligent lady and has a university degree but still has self loathing. These monsters even when found like the son of a famous Australian racing car driver in Queensland in the middle of last year, he raped a six year old girl and was handed six months gaol. It makes me wonder whether or not a paedophile ring exists either in our parliaments or our judiciaries because in my book that despicable act with a multiplier effect of 4,500 means a lot of people should be separated from the general community for a long, long time, by fair means or fowl.

  60. Matt

    Alan,

    Well anyone can do anything in someone else’s name – that doesn’t mean they endorse it! It is likely that the Pharisees of Jesus’ day were doing equally evil acts, and he did not smite them immediately, only some 50 years later was the Temple destroyed.

    In any case, according to religious writings this particular crime is taken very seriously by God as evidenced by such phrases as:

    “But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” (Matthew 18:6)

    “Woe to him, who sins against the nature of the little ones! Truly, for him it would be better if he had never been born!” (Great Gospel of John 4:80:5)

  61. Miriam English

    Matt, but not seriously enough for an all-powerful god to do anything to protect the children from his agents.

  62. Matt

    Miriam,

    Yes, but think about it more carefully – Should he also smite murderers on the spot – or even better – as an omniscient God – just before the act? Would the murderer then not be able to claim he was unjustly punished for an act he actually did not commit? Truly if God was to prevent all of mankind’s evil acts there would hardly be person who was not bound in chains for most of the day. Either that or take away their free will – and then they are no longer a person at all – just a machine animated by God himself. Which implies He just gives up on the whole idea of trying to raise free-willed spiritual beings to become like Himself.

    Matt

  63. nurses1968

    Ian Ellis
    I don’t know where you get your information from but I have been reliably informed by one who did attend Gough Whitlams funeral that Abbott said zip sat through the service with Howard, and was about as popular as piles, being booed on arrival by the huge crowd outside. I was directed to one powerful eulogy which I hadn’t seen before, Noel Pearsons

  64. Harquebus

    The real beauty of religion is the fact that, no one will ever come back from the dead to say, “There’s nothing there.”.
    Cheers.

  65. Matt

    Harquebus,

    Well actually Kerry Packer did come back and say exactly that:

    “I’ve been to the other side and let me tell you, son, there’s f***ing nothing there”
    (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kerry_Packer).

    I think it was Father Bob Maguire (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_Maguire) who suggested (from his biography) that it might true that there is nothing but darkness for Kerry on the other side – but as for some of the rest of us – who knows?

  66. Miriam English

    Matt, that was very well answered more than 2,000 years ago:

    Either God wants to abolish evil and cannot, or he can but does not want to.
    Is God willing to prevent evil but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
    Is he able but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
    Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
    Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?
    — Epicurus (341-270 BCE)

    The gods of all religions are so obviously the imaginings of ancient superstitious people who clearly made their gods in their own image. A god with jealousy? Anger? A loving god who wants to torture people forever? An omniscient god who can’t even get his holy books written less ambiguously than an average lawyer? None of it makes any sense unless those gods are mere figments of ancient people’s imaginations.

    There are a couple of simple disproofs all religions.

    One is that no matter what logic and evidence is shown to a religious person they’ll always say that faith is enough, and that it goes beyond logic and evidence. However they themselves demolish their own argument when they discard all other religions, because apparently faith isn’t enough after all.

    Another simple disproof comes when you ask people about the soul. Religious people generally say it is this moral pilot, the me who feels and is conscious. Unfortunately that consciousness is clearly the action of the physical brain and can no more survive death of the brain than the rolling action of a rock persists when, after tumbling down an incline, it has come to a standstill. The roll doesn’t go anywhere, it just isn’t anymore.

    – Each night your consciousness ceases for a while several times between the periods of internally stimulated consciousness called dreaming sleep.

    – If you get hit on the head your consciousness will cease for a while as the stunned nerves in your brain recover.

    – If you have an operation your consciousness ceases for a while during the anaesthetic.

    – If you develop a brain tumour or have an accident that damages part of your brain your consciousness and morality can change radically.

    – If you take psychoactive drugs such as alcohol, or nicotine, or cannabis, or opiates, or any of the speeds, tranquilisers, or hallucinogens you will alter your consciousness for a while. If that drug is addictive then the effects on the nerves in your brain will further alter your consciousness.

    Obviously your consciousness is an action performed by your brain. But, you now change you mind and protest, “No, the immortal soul is something more ephemeral than consciousness.” In that case there is no point to it. If I told you I could preserve your little finger alive forever after you die, you would be unimpressed. You are your consciousness. If that isn’t the soul then all religions collapse.

    Of course there could still be a creator of the universe (though that’s exceedingly unlikely), just that all the world’s religions are wrong about their gods. And this is a good thing. If the petty, cruel, vindictive gods who pretend love but are happy to slaughter, torture, and brainwash people existed they would be monsters, and unworthy of worship.

  67. Matt

    Miriam,

    I don’t pretend that I can add anything new to the “God” arguments – but I can say I was definitely NOT indoctrinated as a young person (my parents could only be described as materialistic heathens – not that I am judging them mind you). I can only share my own experience which is summarised here:

    http://candobetter.net/node/3778

  68. win jeavons

    I was recently chair of a church council and we spent an inordinate amount of time on keeping accurate , audited accounts , Better if churches divested from properties and then more of their giving would support the worthy charities they already sustain . I have also heard parsons promote this idea, which was closer to the early church. Maintenance of aging properties consumes much money and effort.

  69. kerry

    I keep reading in the comments that Australia is a secular society. It isn’t. It is a semi secular society. Whilst we have churches running schools and allow scripture and religious subjects in schools, we are not fully secular. The requirement in some schools and Govt run organisations that for a pledge to God, Monarchy and country, means we are not fully secular. Secular means a separation of church and state not separation with exceptions.

  70. Miriam English

    Matt, I had a read of your page. I have to admit I like the intentions of what you write there and though I don’t think love is the whole answer I do think it is a very large part of it. I should point out that we do have concrete proof of feelings now. We can observe emotions as they light up various parts of the brain in a scanner.

    Love is a necessary emotion. It is required for animals to survive… at least for animals with a distinct brain. While there is evidence that almost all animals with brains are conscious (even ants and mosquitoes), there is less evidence for love. It clearly is shown by birds and mammals, possibly reptiles, and perhaps even fish, but it’s a bit difficult to tell with insects, molluscs, and others. (Some molluscs such as squid and octopus seem to exhibit love, but they’re so alien it is hard to be sure.)

    I don’t understand how you can think that love is proof of a god. It seems to me you’re jumping to the conclusion due to the way bliss can flood the brain with the same sort of chemicals that drugs can mimic in bringing about a feeling of revelation. That isn’t proof; that’s a feeling. Granted, it is truly wonderful to feel it (as I have too) and can impart an incredibly satisfying feeling of oneness with everything. I do understand how it can deliver a feeling of revelation. But to understand what it really is lifts it much higher and makes it even more remarkable. Don’t you feel that letting it stop at being a religious experience caricatures it? …sells it short?

    To see it instead as a remarkable feeling developed by hundreds of millions of years of fumbling evolution to produce in our brain of 86 billion little neurons, each a tiny cloned animal reaching out to respond to thousands of its neighbors’ electric pulses to produce patterns of activation — patterns that are consciousness and feelings of such exquisite emotions that they let us feel that all the other animals are in a genuine sense our brothers and sisters, and that because of how we’ve developed, we have become the agents through which the universe understands itself. In that sense we almost certainly have kinship with other intelligent species elsewhere in the universe — creatures we will almost certainly never meet, but it doesn’t matter because they feel the same oneness with the universe, in a sense spanning the cosmos. It seems to me this gives the feeling so much more glory and depth.

    In comparison, the god description seems a bit like when you see a parent, who rather than explaining something to a child, instead says “Because!”
    It feels deeply unsatisfying to me.

  71. Matt

    Miriam,

    Look that it is your opinion, and I absolutely respect that. However, there is lot more to the story than what I presented in that article. However, there is no point in sharing any more if we are so far apart in our perspectives and beliefs. I have had arguments similar to what you present above before with people whom I know (from working extensively with them on some very tricky problems) are more intelligent than me, but in these matters at least I am utterly convinced that their well developed reasoning ability is failing them.

    Best wishes though,

    Matt

  72. Miriam English

    🙂 Funny that. I feel your reasoning ability is failing you. 😀
    But in the grander scheme of things it doesn’t matter much. You seem like a good guy with loving intentions.
    I hope all the best for you.

    P.S. blissing out on love is a thoroughly worthwhile thing to do (if done without drugs). I highly recommend it. And good on you for having the sincerity to talk about it.

  73. Harquebus

    Love, compassion, generosity, goodwill etc. are human attributes and do not need religion in order for them to dominate their opposites. It is hierarchical institutions such as religions that distort free will and impose their own dehumanizing ideologies. If left alone, we would all mostly get along just fine.
    I’m pretty much with you on this one Miriam.
    Cheers.

  74. LOVO

    What H. said….and what Miriam said re: electro/chemical reactions in defining self…….soul; is an music genre and Faith is self fooling by another name….. Gods are man-made….sorta like Climate Change…only different ? (cue twilight zone music ). 🙂

  75. 245179

    HarquebusFebruary 6, 2017 at 6:31 pm
    The larger abuse problem is the forced indoctrination of minors to these evil institutions. Break the cycle and terminate this foul disease that is called religion once and for all.
    Cheers.

    hear, hear……it’s evil

  76. Annie B

    James Moylan – a good, but horrid in content article – well written.

    And you are correct – these monsters join the orders in Catholic ( and other religions, charities and organisations ), not to do good as is alleged, but to be close to their victims to do damage, and know they will be able to hide behind the churches / organisations, when the shite hits the fan.

    Which it has now. …

    To my horror, when all news broke, and a particular ‘Christian ( the order ) Brother’ ( who is currently serving a 14 year prison term ) was the subject of news … I realised that my two boys were at an Eastern Suburbs – Melbourne, all boys Catholic college at the same time as this mongrel. So I asked my eldest son ( by then in his mid 30’s ) if he or any of the boys ever spoke of it between themselves, or if he indeed knew of this beasts ‘preferences’.

    His reply : “We learned very quickly to watch out for him, watch what he did – to keep our backs to the wall at all times, and not speak about it ” …. Upset, I asked him “Why didn’t you tell us about it at the time”. … He was evasive at first, but finally admitted that he didn’t want to upset me, and didn’t want any repercussions at the school. ( they could be brutal with straps / sticks and other punishment apparently ). … He knew me well enough to know I would have ‘investigated’ the matter, in no uncertain terms. .. He assured me that neither he nor his brother were ever molested. … and I believe him.

    It was during their school years, that my eldest brought home a book from the school library. … It was full of sexual innuendo, filth, and certainly had to do with sodomy and the ‘delights’ of homosexuality ( for school boys ?? ), so I visited the school, with the book and confronted the librarian there, who happened to be a rather nice lady. … She was aghast at the contents of the book, and said it would be withdrawn immediately. … I should have requested of her to go through every book in the library ( a big ask, and not one a parent could ask of one librarian ) to seek out other plants of ideas for the youngsters to read. I can only hope she did just that.

    Every word of the above is true. ….

  77. Annie B

    As for priests not being afforded silk and champagne – think again.

    Many of them live a life a lot of us could only dream of. … Yearly trips to international snow fields for skiing, the best in wines, spirits & foods – the best in sporting equipment, the best of just about everything. … Mind you, they never had a specific family to support and raise, so whatever monies they could get ( including from gambling / race meetings / part ownership of race-horses ) they used for their own upper level life styles.

    Not all priests, but a few too many. …

    I know these things for an absolute fact, having seen it all with my own eyes. …. There are other stories I could tell – all factual and from experience, but will decline.

    I left the Catholic Church, never to return. …. I am now agnostic, and have no connection to formal religion whatsoever.

    ,,,,,,,,,

  78. Zathras

    The argument that morality comes from religion is totally false.

    It’s moral to do “the right thing” for it’s own sake and not the same as doing it in the hope of some sort of “payoff” at the end.

    Basic morality is endemic in people – even children sense the difference between good and bad and morally-based laws are necessary for societies to function and also change over time.

    Religious morality saw nothing wrong with slavery and witch-burning for centuries. These things didn’t stop because religious texts were suddenly re-interpreted, they changed because people came to realise they were immoral acts that no longer had a place in civilised society and also in spite of historical religious resistance at the time.

    As for the Royal Commission findings, remember that these figures as accusations – not proven convictions.
    There must be a lot of people who never came forward with claims or have since died.
    Chances are that the real figures will be much much worse.

  79. Annie B

    Zathras ….

    Agree with you. … Very well expressed comment and observations there.

  80. silkworm

    The Anglican Diocese of Sydney has endorsed the “Connect” scripture material taught in NSW public schools which includes such disturbing features as dissecting an animal, encouraging children to have secrets with adults, linking a man’s blindness to his parents’ sins and reminding scripture teachers not to see children with disabilities as “unintelligent”.

    Scripture teachers were instructed to bring a dead animal to scripture class for dissection, ostensibly as a lesson in “animal sacrifice.” The lesson fits within a framework that requires scripture teachers to tell children that the Bible – both Old and New Testaments – is a “factual, historical document” and all events within it are “historical and true”. The animal dissection lesson, however, also fits in with the goal of demonstrating the “glory of God” that the animal’s innards possesses, as opposed to evolution as an explanation for biological similarities between species.

    The material also includes a lesson requiring children aged 7-9 to list ways to “get rid of” a person, after a Bible story about people “getting rid of” Daniel, and a concluding prayer where children “pray that we may not be like the Israelites”.

    A recently released Queensland review into scripture classes in Qld schools that uses the same material as NSW scripture classes shows that the material, such as having “special friendships” with adults and keeping secrets, which is “consistent with possible grooming behaviour,” putting children at risk of sexual abuse.

    Last year the NSW government did a review into these scripture materials but is refusing to release it to the public.

    http://www.standard.net.au/story/4437070/dead-animal-dissection-and-the-scripture-class/

  81. Annie B

    silkworm ….

    I have to ask, has NSW become some kind of break-away country from Australia ? …. Stupid question, I know. ,,, But I am reading something abhorrent, as that exposed in your comment – and in the link….. No offense intended towards you silkworm – but towards the entire concept of this ‘brain-washing’ technique, being applied in NSW schools.

    From the article link provided : “The NSW Department of Education does not keep a central database of what materials are being used at schools by approved providers.” .. That there, is probably one of the main problems in all this. … They certainly must – as responsiblity, keep a much closer eye on ‘spiritual advisors’ – in particular.

    I am astounded at the Anglican Diocese of Sydney, going along these paths of depravity, having endorsed the “Connect” scripture material http://cepconnect.com.au/curriculum ” Connect is a three-year Religious Education curriculum designed for use in Australian and New Zealand schools.
    It is Bible-based and offers 20 lessons each semester at Infants (ages 5 to 7), Lower Primary (ages 7 to 9) and Upper Primary (ages 10 to 12) levels.
    In each lesson students engage with the truths of the Bible week by week through music, drama, reading and writing, puzzle solving, drawing, and asking questions.”
    – – “truths of the Bible” ????

    Aristotle said ” “Give me a child until he is 7 and I will show you the man”. …. OR as has been attributed to St. Ignatious Loyola :

    ” give us a child till he’s seven and we’ll have him for life..” …

    Let just one over-zealous, bible aficionado and self proclaimed ‘expert’ alone with 3 x classes of 20 – and we have 60 kids, probably mentally injured for life – as they are forced to soak up antiquated barbarism, as a pointer to the way they live the rest of their lives. … This atrocity has to be an excellent reason for getting rid of so-called ‘religious studies’ in schools, altogether. …. There are many many more philosophies and positive ideals that can be taught to children today, and they should be followed.

    I am sickened by this exposé.

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