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The Hero Haunted World

By James Moore I do not understand. Perhaps, I never will. Does anyone? As…



When Israel Folau was once more the subject of a report on the evening news, my first response was to start mentally composing a letter, cynically asking the reader to search the Old Testament prophets for predictions about cures for leprosy, invention of carts on wheels mysteriously moving without being pushed or pulled, or strange birds in the sky which, when they landed, disgorged human beings or even that many serious diseases, far from being accepted as God’s will, can be prevented.

It sounds like some of the imaginings from “One thousand and one Arabian Nights” with its mythical rocs and magic flying carpets.

I quickly squashed the idea, because most people are informed enough to be aware that leprosy can be cured, thanks to treatment developed in the 1980s, that automobiles were invented in the lifetime of some of our grandparents, as were aeroplanes, and, in addition to leprosy, a myriad other diseases can now be prevented through vaccination.

In other words, in the 21st century, knowledge, accumulated over decades – indeed, centuries – through scientific research, has enabled us to save lives through enhanced medical knowledge, travel through the air at the speed of sound, communicate wirelessly with the other side of the world and send human beings into space. And, of course, travel to work or play by bicycle, motorbike, car, bus or train!

In even more recent times, science has established that the variations in sexual orientation of human beings are determined before they are born. For many of the LGBTIQ community, because their appearance does not match their own sense of identity, they are unsure of what they are. Young gay teenagers, in particular, are often picked on and bullied because their behaviour does not match their apparent gender.

Now the annals of the Christian Holy Bible, of the Jewish Tanakh and the Islamic Qur’an, as well as others of the world’s major religions, were established long before the scientific discoveries referred to above, so the knowledge we now have concerning many aspects of humanity and technology, being then unknown, could not be discussed.

During the same-sex marriage campaign, it was obvious that many people of faith preferred to rely on their holy books, with their out of date knowledge of human beings, and refused to set aside the prejudices engendered by ignorance. And I do not criticise the ignorance of the ancient prophets, because the knowledge had yet to be revealed. I would be critical of modern human beings who have access to knowledge and refuse to accept it!

When I am ill, I have faith in our doctors to be able to identify and treat whatever ails me. If I were a Jehovah Witness and my child had leukaemia, in all probability my child would die, because the Bible tells me that blood transfusions cannot be allowed, and if I refuse to allow the necessary treatment, I shall then be held to account for the child’s death.

Really – is that reasonable behaviour by a parent? Yet it is happening because he or she is merely doing as the Bible tells him or her.

Israel Folau claims that love drives him to try to save others from paying the price of sin.

But did not his god give us free will?

Folau is idolised as a footballer yet there are many who would disrespect him because his skin is not white. His fame would probably save him from humiliation, but he could, at least, brush it off. But many people of colour suffer because they are ‘other’.

And many of the LGBTIQ community over the centuries – many of whom have been put to death, even in today’s world, tortured, humiliated and excluded because they, too, are ‘other’.

If we refuse to recognise truth, then we put ourselves in the wrong.

Rather than relying on the Old Testament for direction, why not turn to Christ’s ministry?

Matthew 7:1-3 King James Version (KJV)

1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.

2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?


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  1. New England Cocky

    I think the ARU will have legal fun defending a case of the right of an individual to express their own beliefs, especially religious beliefs that many consider to be fairy tales.

    Rather this matter is about the ARU wanting to prevent Paddy Joyce, CEO of QANTAS and an active advocate for Gay Rights, cancelling the corporate sponsorship of ARU travelling teams in the Super Rugby competition played around the Southern hemisphere. Then there is the added bonus of cancelling the four million dollar ($4 MILLION) Folau playing contract.

    As former ARU boss John O’Neill said, the longer this calamity continues the fewer winners will emerge.

  2. Alcibiades

    Rosemary, bonus points for mentioning, ‘Rocs’. Made my day. 🙂

    Ya had me, was in rapture, up until ya quoted scripture. Er, to pre-empt DB’s inevitable post, science has proven a direct inverse proportional causal relationship between Climate Change and the reduction in Pirate numbers globally since the Golden Age of, all praise Her (FSM).

    The Reason Party said it best, #VaticanCan (2016 Fed Election), IMHO (Youtube 3M 26S)

  3. Keitha Granville

    It is not a question of his faith or the lack of it from others, he broke the rules according to the contract he signed, ergo he is in breach and must go. Otherwise any other player could breach the contract and fight to stay on the said that Folau was allowed. Rules are rules, if you sign something you must know it and abide.

    You can pick many pieces of scripture and make them fit your scenario. It is a book of stories, interesting perhaps, insightful, and if you so choose they can be the tenets of your faith. But keep it to yourself, please, and stop trying to apply to everyone else’s life and everyone else’s choice.

  4. Kaye Lee

    Issie should read the story of the sheep and the goats

    Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.

    Or Romans 14: 10 You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister ? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. 11 It is written: “ ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’ ” 12 So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God. 13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.

    (Sorry Alcibiades)

  5. paul walter

    I take it that you are predicting a savage thrashing for the LNP this weekend?

  6. Alcibiades

    Sorry ? Sorry ? One respectfully rejects your sorry and substitutes it with my own sorry, for the following, because :

    I Believe! – The Book of Mormon, Andrew Rannells,Tony Awards 2011 (Youtube 4m 55s), &

    From The FOURTEEN BELIEFS – Of those of us who believe in the one, the only, the one & only True Book … The Book of Zelph (Wayback Machine, Web Archive)

    1 We believe in Zelph the white Lamanite, and in his son Melph, and in the other characters from the Book of Zelph.

    2 We believe that it won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.

    3 We believe that if you want to know what we really believe, you should read this list of official beliefs. After all, if you want to learn about a Toyota, you wouldn’t go to an Audi dealer, would you?

    4) We believe that the first four principles of the Book of Zelph are: First, read the Book of Zelph; second, roll the dice to find out if it is true; third, donate money to Josh Anderson; and fourth, obey Josh Anderson…

  7. guest

    Just today a flyer landed in the letter box. It was entitled “How to vote for Christian Values”.
    It has tick boxes alongside the “values”: keeping the Lord’s prayer in Parliament; opposing assisted suicide; opposing public funding of abortion;opposing radical gay sex and gender programs in schools; support faith-based schools.

    It is a tight little collection which raises its own problems. Discrimination against others, being involved in death in any way, and a deliberate misrepresentation of the role of gays in a program designed to oppose bullying.

    Not much here about loving your neighbor, doing good to those who hate you, or turning the other cheek. It is more about what I want for me and not for what other people want.

    “Faith” is a kind of cover-all word which is used as a matter of identity. It is not always rational, but simply a matter of “believing” if you want to go to heaven – which is the carrot – unlike the stick, which is hell. In between is something called purgatory, where the less pure folks can clean up their act before entering heaven.

    Where or what heaven, purgatory or hell are is not clear, but they could last for thousands of years, they say – or for eternity. And what the inhabitant of these places is like is not clear: angels, demons, spirits,souls, ghosts, physical bodies?

    But we are told Jesus, post-resurrection, could go through a locked door, ate fish with his disciples, disappeared one time, was taken up into heaven another – and now sits on the right hand of god.

    Such blends of humans and gods are common in all kinds of ancient stories, secular and religious. They are often stories told to children at a young age and with a moral purpose, and as they grow older it becomes difficult for them to dismiss them even if they want to. Other people of faith can accommodate them along with an otherwise rational approach to the world. Each to their own. But saying other people will go to hell is not a pleasant thing to say, even with the best of intentions. There must be nicer things to say.

  8. corvus boreus

    For those so-called Christ-ians who support the public braying of personal prayer on the floors of federal parliament;

    (Matthew 6:5 & 6:6) “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.
    But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

    Phuqqen hypocrites.

  9. mark delmege

    I have a lot of religious friends though I’m not. I dont judge them and I hope they dont judge me in those terms. too much has been made of this and the sooner we move on the better. people have a right to all sorts of beliefs – some (though not me) would even say we went to war for that sort of freedom.

  10. Miriam English

    Yesterday I was handing out how-to-vote leaflets at the early-voting place. During the day I had very pleasant conversations with many of the people handing out leaflets for other candidates. One particularly nice woman was named Naomi. She staked out a position near me and made wonderful conversation with me. It made an otherwise painful day (I’m not used to standing up for 6 hours without relief) much more bearable.

    As you all know, I’m a no-fuss atheist. Naomi said that she had strong Christian beliefs. We both felt that all people have strongly held opinions on one thing or another, but the important thing is to be able get along and be civil to one another. It is noteworthy that the only person who was extremely rude there (that I saw) was a very judgmental Christian woman who spoke quite venomously to Naomi.

    I could see Naomi was upset, but I’m fairly deaf, so hadn’t heard what had been said. It turns out that the angry woman was profoundly opposed to all abortion, and considered those who thought differently to be immoral and disgusting. She’d assumed Naomi was her enemy, so was quite contemptuous of her. However Naomi herself was not in favor of abortion, but believed that tolerance in such things is necessary, as she could understand if someone else felt the need for abortion, and that she had no right to oppose them.

    I agreed with Naomi and told her it was a pity I hadn’t understood what the woman had said to her, otherwise I would have been able to point out to her that the Bible speaks of abortion precisely once… and in that single instance it is to recommend it.

    Naomi didn’t know that. Most religious people don’t.

    Christians never used to have a problem with abortion until equal rights made it difficult for the Christian fundamentalists to whip up hate against dark-skinned people. They needed something else to fire up their followers, so they chose abortion.
    Their followers have no idea of how they’ve been manipulated. They just know they hate who they’ve been told to hate.

    On Saturday I’ll be handing out how-to-vote leaflets again. It will be in a different town, and this time for 8 hours. I’m gonna sleep well that night.

  11. John Lord

    ”Science has made in my lifetime, the most staggering achievements and they are embraced, recognised and enjoyed by all sections of society. The only areas that I can think of where science is questioned is in the religious fever of climate change doubters, conservative politics and unconventional religious belief.”

  12. Miriam English

    Funny how religious extremists think religious freedom is the ability of religious organisations to fire anybody for spurious reasons, AND preventing religious nuts (like Israel Folau) from being fired for breaching their contract.

    They want it both ways, so that the law adapts to them, letting them do what they want regardless of how they trample others.

  13. Zathras

    Religious zealots can say whatever they like under the banner of “freedom of speech” but as soon as anyone returns the favour they quickly claim “religious persecution”.

    If Folau was a bit more concise and honest in his claim and legitimately added Jews and Heathens into the mix would that magically change it to Hate Speech?

    In any case the original source did not say homosexuals but Sodomites. The original sodomites were citizens of the mythical city of Sodom and sodomy was the practice of any form of illicit sex (ie sex outside marriage and adultery).
    Puritans later hijacked the word and reclassified it as any form of sex that was not traditional “missionary” sex intended soley for the purpose of procreation.
    It’s since been redefined as something else entirely.

    Perhaps the “L” in LGBTQI should be changed to left-handed people – also once scorned by religion.

    The bottom line is that cherry-picked religion is not used as a reason for intolerance but as a convenient excuse and there will always be those who seek to elevate themselves by trampling on others.

  14. New England Cocky

    @guest: So you would support the National$ “Christian family values” of Adultery, Alcoholism, Avarice, Bigotry, Croneyism, Deception, Egotism, Fornication, Misogyny, Philandering & Racism? Barnyard Joyce would be the ideal candidate for PM of Australia and pigs fly to the moon on water wings every Thursday?

    @Zathras: Us lefties have had enough of the Church imposed discrimination against creativity and individual original thinking, thank you. It is time for the rest of the world to recognise that lefties are about 20% of the population,being many of the leaders, the shakers & movers of society and all round nice people.

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