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Fact vs Faith – does religion deserve protection?

By Rosemary J36

I have a greater knowledge of the Christian faith, in its many sects, than I do of any of the other world’s major religion. Consequently, I shall primarily concentrate on that faith, while much of what I say might also apply to other religions.

The Old Testament is essentially the history of the monotheistic Jewish people and the development of its faith. The Book of Genesis attempts to describe how the earth and all within it was created – and there are sects which solemnly accept this 7-day creation story as fact.

Science begs to differ, and produces proofs that the age of the earth and its place in our solar system most definitely does not accord with the Bible’s claims.

There are, in fact, many versions of the Bible, because multiple translations have produced a corresponding number of interpretations of what was originally recorded.

There are currently disputes over whether there was some confusion in the translations as between homosexuality and pederasty (or paedophilia), which has led to decades – if not centuries – of condemnation of homosexuality, despite a total acceptance of such relationships in the time of the Ancient Greeks!

Either way, some sects which claim to be Christian, cling obstinately to their preferred interpretation and condemn the LGBTIQ community as an abomination!

Again – science differs and accepts the rainbow spectrum of human sexuality as a natural outcome of the gestation process.

Now the main reason that this sticks in my craw is that I grew up in a Christian family, in an officially Christian country and studied the Scriptures in a Church of England secondary school.

And it was very clear that being a Christian meant accepting and following the teachings of Jesus Christ – who was, of course, a Jew, believing in one God.

And first and foremost, Jesus Christ taught people to love one another.

Example after example can be found in the gospels of the way in which he taught that we should look to making ourselves better before criticising others, how all mankind was of equal value, and his message is totally summed up in his encompassing Commandments 2 to 10 into one – “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself”.

The parable of the Good Samaritan perfectly encapsulated exactly what he meant by a neighbour – and it was clear that those who sanctimoniously regarded themselves as superior in their religious observance did not rate highly in his estimation!

Sadly, Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus led him to a career as a proselytiser who had not known Jesus Christ firsthand and whose teachings seemed to stray too often from his Master’s message of love, to the fire and brimstone of the Old Testament!

I have absolutely no regrets about my Christian upbringing because it exposed me to a moral code – do as you would be done by – with which I have no quarrel.

But I was also educated in science with its need for evidence.

I have many queries about the existence of any gods, but have never found evidence that convinces me of their existence, so I remain an agnostic.

But I am scathingly critical of those who claim to be Christian, yet whose refusal to accept facts arising from post-Biblical-times scientific discoveries leads them to behave in ways that are seriously hurtful to others.

In my eyes, the Israel Folaus of this world falsely claim to be Christian because they do not follow his teaching.

The government’s promise – in exchange for ignoring fierce minority opposition and finally legislating for same-sex marriage (a human rights issue) – to pass legislation to prevent religious discrimination, is an appalling derogation of duty. His own behaviour, when compared with his claims to being a Christian, smack (in my eyes) of blatant hypocrisy!

The proposed legislation looks likely to allow carte blanche for people to demonise difference, by calling themselves Christian, in direct contravention of the teachings of the man they implicitly believe was the Son of God!

I was on the verge of admitting to myself that I was an agnostic, when I spent my first year in the UK as a secondary maths teacher – at a government-funded Convent of the Sacred Heart Girls Grammar School. I was one of many non-Catholic lay teachers recruited because of our specialist teaching disciplines. The school authorities had to meet government education standards and religion was a separate issue.

Australia has been led down a dangerous path in allowing schools to promote the idea that education processes can be determined by religious bodies, and this is leading it now down an even more dangerous path of giving to the religious privileges (including the existing tax-free status for religious organisations) which are not available to the secular community.

We have many religions practised in Australia. Their adherents have a Constitutional right to do so without interference as long as they do not breach the laws of this secular country.

And what did the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse reveal?

And how hard has the government worked to assist those survivors of abuse?

And are the religious and religious institutions being protected by governments just as the banking industry has been?

And is that protection desirable in a secular country where religion is a matter of personal choice?

For me, the answer is a resounding “NO!”

 

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25 comments

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  1. Jacqueline Deacon

    Good one Rosemary! ” Religion gets far too much respect” (I think Christopher Hitchens said that) It seems to me that there is no evidence of churches or religions needing “protection”. They already have more rights than other groups, to discriminate. They also have freedom to practice their religion. And freedom from taxation. Including freedom from taxation on lucrative business enterprises.
    A freedom enthusiastically embraced by many.

  2. pierre wilkinson

    when asked if I thought religion should be taught in schools, I answered in the affirmative, stating that it would be of benefit if pupils learnt of Islam, Buddhism, Hindi and Shinto – the person asking was shocked, they meant that their religion only should be taught!

    the rights of religion should be:
    “I can’t do that as it against my religion”
    not
    “You can’t do that because it is against my religion”

  3. Ill fares the land

    It escapes me why a religious freedom bill needs to be put before the parliament in the absence of clear evidence that religions are being overtly discriminated against. Surely this would be the only reason such a bill would be required, or even considered. Of course, in the eyes of the sanctimonious, “discrimination” and therefore them being “discriminated against” means that their ability to discriminate at will based on their “faith” is compromised; thus they demand that the ability to discriminate be enshrined into law. And Messiah Morrison is only too happy to ensure that religions have the protection of the law.

    In an increasingly secular society, it seems that such things as religions having unlimited power and having a tax exemption for all of its income, whether derived from religious activities or commercial activities needs to be seriously examined. That churches do commercial activities is not, of itself, fatal to charitable status, but when you look at the full scope of the activities of churches and the harm they have done to large numbers of children who suffered abuse AND their ungodly and black-hearted acts to suppress and deny those claims means they can scarcely be described as “charitable”. Their behaviours are much more akin to the acts of a business trying to protect itself against legitimate claimants. In fact, I can see little philosophical difference between the profoundly immoral acts of James Hardie to deny litigants with mesothelioma and the Catholic and Anglican churches in their attacks on the victims of child abuse.

  4. Baby Jewels

    Every comment here makes the point that NO, religion does not deserve protection. So that’s a resounding NO from me as well.

  5. Karen Kyle

    The Religion Freedom Bill will apparently not be put before the Parliament as planned. Chances are it will be forgotten about on purpose. ..

  6. Karen Kyle

    And yes religion does deserve protection. Whether it actually needs it is another matter.

  7. RosemaryJ36

    My UK state-funded C of E high school taught senior students a course in Comparative Religion, recognising that one might ‘believe’ in the teachings of a particular religion but knowledge about all religions is a valid part of education.

  8. crypt0

    Does Satanism count as a religion?
    In any case … No.

  9. Jane Boswell

    A succinct analysis that reflects my attitude as a practising Anglican, still asking the question of what and whom do we need protection from – probably the Folau’s who are the true terrorists

  10. Matters Not

    Pragmatists in the political realm know not to touch what is not broken. On the other hand, Idealogues of the religious variety simply can’t help themselves. Filled with missionary zeal, they see the unbelievers as a challenge to be tackled. It’s called: Doing God’s Work.

    Eventually calm is restored when the runts of the political litter are quietly drowned in a bucket.

    Nevertheless, all students should have some understanding of the religions of the world. Their influence (both good and bad) is immeasurable.

  11. Winifred Jeavons

    I have read studies that suggest that the early Paul did NOT write all that is attributed to him. I t could have been up to 3 men, writing in different decades, which explains different stances on some issues, such as slavery, the role of women

  12. RosemaryJ36

    Ill fares the land: Once you enter the realm of faith, logic goes out of the window!

  13. Matters Not

    Intellectual positions based on faith are not subject to public testability as are conclusions derived from science. Religious beliefs can’t be tested via experimentation. Scientific theories must provide a possibility of testing and be capable of falsification.

    A claim that there are beings living on the moon may (or may not) be true but it is a scientific theory. It’s testable. Conversely, a theory that there are beings living on the moon (but) who disappear when someone tries to count them is NOT a scientific theory because it’s not testable not capable of being falsified. Both theories may prove to be ultimately true (not sure how) but it’s only the first that’s a scientific theory at this moment in time.. Only the first is testable and therefore falsifiable.

  14. Kerri

    The capitulation to Folau just galvanises the beliefs of religious nutters whose “faith” allows them to ride roughshod over scientific fact in the name of something they can neither prove nor justify.

  15. Lambchop Simnel

    I’d love to know the secret details of that deal the Rugby authorities have done with Folau.

    Are the Children of Israel now destined for a land of milk and honey?

    Boy there is some really timid stuff ging down in the lead up to Xmas.

  16. Kerri

    illfarestheland

    I can see one huge difference!
    James Hardie do not claim to be serving an invisible master.
    Their works stem from profit for profits sake.
    #karenkyle
    Religion does not deserve protection!
    Small children deserve protection from those with ill gotten powers to override simple humanity in the name of their own degenerate predilections.
    AND YES TO MANY HERE. religion should be taught in schools to protect kids from con artists.

  17. Karen Kyle

    Rosemary J…..The world does not fit into a nice logical argument Logic belongs to the abstract world of maths and philosophy. Both of very little use when dealing with the often irrational world of people..

    Kerri…..yes small children deserve to be protected. So do many, many other things and people.These are different issues.

  18. Brozza

    I have to say that religion deserves no more protection than any other superstition.
    As for religion being taught in schools.
    Young naive minds are perfect fodder for brainwashing and shouldn’t be subjected to the incessant bullying practices of the deceived in the classroom, until they’re old enough and smart enough to discern the difference between fact and fiction.
    If you tried to teach religion, as truth, to a class of logical, competent, educated adults, you would very soon discover that failure is more than just a word in the dictionary.

  19. Matters Not

    KK re:

    philosophy .. of very little use

    Really? It’s been argued if one really knows the philosophy of the other, then there’s nothing else that’s worth knowing in everyday life interactions.

  20. Lambchop Simnel

    Karen, you know full well Metaphysics as much more complex and interesting than that. The other side of the grave (maybe) and meantime we must make what we can of whats here, now, which is what makes the discipline of philosophy so interesting.

  21. Karen Kyle

    Philosoophy is thinking about thinking.Very valuable from that point of view. But it quickly runs up against the limits of what we can know. It does not answer the questions let alone solve the problems…

  22. Karen Kyle

    And Metaphysics has sharp elbows, a bit like a mafia crime family tryiing to muscle in on the territory of the Jesuit crime family next door..Metaphysics is as close as philosophers can get to religion while eschewing and denying religion and all the while teaming up with some of their scientific mates to become the new priethoood and cock of the walk.

  23. Lambchop Simnel

    Karen, loved the first comment, the second is a long bow. You know these things are processive over life, you more or less said it yourself in the first comment. We get these things when life says, not when we say.

  24. Seriously?

    KK re: ‘ logic only belongs in the abstract world of maths’. You just did a great job of explaining what is wrong with religion in one sentence.

  25. Karen Kyle

    LS…..Perhaps I should have explained it better Logic sounds simple enough, but it is hard to define with accuracy. In Logic’s most abstract form it belongs in the world of.maths. It comes into spoken language in a variety of ways which usually includes the law and philosophy and we can all grasp logic in it’s real world application However it’s real world application is limited and can degenerate into the absurd. Just as the simple arithmetic proposition one plus one equals two does not always work in the natural world and can’t be proved.

    No much use trying to prove or disprove anything. Including religion..

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