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Let’s get religion off the agenda – NOW

The dictionary meaning of ‘to believe’

1 accept that (something) is true, especially without proof.

“the superintendent believed Lancaster’s story”

2 hold (something) as an opinion; think.

“I believe we’ve already met”

I was recently listening to a discussion on radio between members of various religious groups in relation to the latest revision of the proposed Bill to protect the freedom to practice religion.

Hold on!

I know – and you know – that there are much more important issues to be discussing – and so should the government.

Their agenda ignores our best interests and concentrates on keeping their supporters happy while Australia burns.

So, it is clear that our job is to ensure that religion takes a back seat (hopefully, permanently) while the government makes a very late start on guaranteeing the future for our children.

To get the ball rolling, let’s get this pesky subject of religion out in the open and settled, once and for all, and then forget it!

Section 116 of the Australian Constitution states:

The Commonwealth shall not make any law for establishing any religion, or for imposing any religious observance, or for prohibiting the free exercise of any religion, and no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth. (My emphasis)

Now I could ‘believe’ that the moon is made of green cheese, and you could point out that mankind’s technology has enabled it to land a spaceship on the moon, and the exploration there did not even suggest the existence of any green cheese.

So other people might not agree with my belief but, as I am unlikely to ever go to the moon, that need not stop me from believing that I am right. And we can still all be happy with our own conclusions. Please note that the definition at the beginning shows that lack of proof or acceptable evidence does not inhibit belief.

Many people all around the world believe in the existence of one or more gods who, the people believe, can somehow act to affect the people’s lives. Some of the people even claim to have had experiences which prove to their satisfaction that their beliefs are well-founded.

They believe they have been given directions as to how their gods expect them to behave and some of these directions were recorded centuries ago, in many cases in languages no longer in common use. Over the years there has been much discussion as to the accuracy of the translations and also as to the meanings of the transcripts.

The major monotheistic religions are Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and, again over the years, followers of these religions have splintered into multiple sects which frequently disagree violently with each other.

That alone would lead me to have grave doubts as to the values of these religions if, despite their claims to the contrary, they are responsible for so much strife.

In the radio discussion I referred to, there were representatives of different Christian sects, and, in my opinion, the one who spoke from the perspective of the Uniting Church made most sense, suggesting that what we need is a Bill of Rights, which incorporates all human rights – including religion – something most other advanced nations have already achieved.

Because the Australian States have retained certain powers following federation, s 116 could be interpreted as meaning that the states can do what they like about religion but the Commonwealth is to some extent restricted.

And until the issue of same-sex marriage, itself a human rights issue – the Commonwealth was not unduly interfering on religious issues. It had allowed schools and other institutions established by religious organisations to have exemptions from some of the sections of discrimination acts – unwisely, in my view, in a country which is supposed to have a secular government, which implicitly overrules canon law!

Now we get to the nitty-gritty!

Our knowledge of our world, the universe, life on earth, evolution – an endless list – is incomplete, and we are making new discoveries and correcting past misunderstandings every day.

Many Christians believe that everything in their Holy Bible is the word of god and is truth which cannot be denied.

Some of them realise that this cannot be true, because we know the sun does not go around the earth and we have discovered a few other errors as well.

Looking back to my reference as to our knowledge being amended and added to as and when new discoveries are made, then rational thinking says that facts, as stated 2 or 3 thousand years ago, might well be open to revision.

And when it comes to human sexuality, it is only in the last few years that we have been able to understand that variations from binary are a natural phenomenon and members of the LGBTIQ+ community are ‘normal’ human beings whose uniqueness as individuals is no more surprising than is true of skin or hair colour.

Now we have come to the nub of the problem!

It people’s religious beliefs are so rigid that they refuse to accept that the Bible got it wrong, homosexuality is not an abomination, and all human beings have the right to love another without being confined to the traditional male/female bonding, then it is the rational non-religious members of the community who need protection from their bigotry and ignorance.

Let’s be honest!

It is no skin off my nose if my best friend is lesbian and she lives with another lesbian.

As long as she accepts that I am a straight female, then live and let live.

The only exception in this area is in relation to paedophiles.

Why? Because, if they follow their predilections and seek a sexual relationship with a child, they are doing a massive amount of harm, and we must ensure that this be prevented or punished.

All of us, if we wish to live in a harmonious community, must respect the rights and needs of others in a reciprocal way. If you want to follow a religion, just please leave me to live my life in my way.

I know when I studied law a decade or two ago, a Bill of Rights was, and remains, a contentious issue. But the lack of a Bill of Rights is now encouraging our government to concentrate on satisfying the minority who opposed same-sex marriage, to assure them that they will be protected if they speak in a derogatory fashion or refuse to employ an individual who does not conform to their definition of ‘normal’ as regards sexuality.

Look at what the Royal Commission exposed of the damage done by religious paedophiles. Think about the resignation of the headmaster of St Kevin’s College, Melbourne for effectively supporting a paedophile and punishing his victim!

When you hide criminal activity beneath a religious cloak, we are all at risk!

What is it about religion in Australia? In 1957 I was employed to teach maths in the Sacred Heart Grammar School for Girls in Hammersmith, and discussed progress with my classes with the Mother Superior, who was the Head Mistress, despite my being a non-Catholic! I was employed for my academic qualifications and was not involved in any way in religion.

Even Eire is divorcing government from religion more effectively that we seem to be doing!

Get this issue off the drawing board and concentrate on trying to prevent temperatures rising to unlivable levels!

Prime Minister: Please forget about protecting those who practice religion, concentrate on implementing an effective plan to phase out fossil fuels while creating new job opportunities for those who will be displaced, and get the lawyers on to developing a really good Bill of Rights which will ensure that I – as an agnostic – am not at risk from religious bigots!

PS: Much of the above applies to other religious groups who cling on to habits founded generations ago, and no longer valid in the modern world. And when it comes to their recognising equality of the rainbow range of genders – there is a long way to go!

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  1. Phil Pryor

    In any civilised nation (where are they? ) religion, especially the catholic one, would be banned. The great stupidity of superstition is that it holds back human development for a dangerous future, which we have made. Living a lie, living in a false world that never existed, living out fantasies, frauds, fakery and filth, is detrimental to us all. Morrison is one of many that make up rules, invents any position, abides by stupidities, because of the brainless flexibility in superstitious belief. “Saved, chosen, selected,” these turds think they are gold bar souls. The victims are us, all of us, logic, truth, science, facts, human interaction, peace. The world is thus in decline…

  2. Grumpy Geezer

    It is amusing how those who believe that their holy texts, the bible, the torah, the koran, whatever, are the literal, unambiguous word of their omipotent deity. Never mind the contradictions within, it’s the omissions. Given their Big Guy supposedly created the universe where are the references to the other planets, the galaxies or sub-atomic particles, electricity, magnetism, or to dinosaurs? No doubt they’ll claim their god wants us to discover this stuff for ourselves, while having to be told, via talking snakes or burning bushes, that we shall not mow the lawn on a Sunday/Friday.

    Apparently, too, we humans are made in god’s image. Why does the Big Guy (and it’s a guy mostly) who invented light need eyeballs? Why a digestive system? And if he is male, what’s with the meat and 2 veg?

    That last one tends to convince the door-knocking prosletysers that i am not the kind of person they want joining their flock.

    We have a creationist PM and a dominance of religious nutters believing literally in superstitions who are in parliament making laws. This is not amusing. It’s the 21st century FFS.

  3. Sir Scotchmistery

    What is it, serious question, that makes that athletics person at St Kevin’s, a paedophile?

    Plenty of priests clambering over the bones of our pubescent children are, but my understanding is that his victim was 15, and also was not touched sexualy.

    My question is about the use of the word please note, since our governments as a rule use the 2 game changers of child sexual assault and terrorism to get us on board their slippery slope campaigns against all of us.

  4. Jennifer Demas

    Rosemary J36, then Thomas Jefferson, “In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with despots, abelling his abuses in return for protection to his own” and George Washington “The USA should have a foundation free from the influence of clergy” jeez wonder what they would make of the State of play today not just there but here and else where.

  5. Thomas

    Scomo is not going to listen to anybody from the voting public. At least not those who cant afford to make signifigant donations to the Lying Nutjob Party. Unfortunately this legislation will be the catalyst for more hate. In both directions. Yes, towards so called “christians” too. What is it you say again..”Reap what you sow”.

  6. Pingback: Let’s get religion off the agenda – NOW #auspol - News Oz

  7. Roland Flickett

    The ace cynic Ambrose Bierce put it best in the Devils Dictionary, with his definition of Faith:
    ‘Belief without evidence in things told by people without knowledge or experience of events without parallel.’
    Someone m, once upon a time, suggested there might be something supernatural, and someone else twigged there might be a quid in it.
    For the origins and lunacy of all religions and the garish uniforms they adopt, I can’t do any better than recommend a Red Dwarf episode in which the Cat’s ancestors worshipped Cloister…

  8. DrakeN

    Religion is one of the utensils in the toolbox of those who wish to control the population in order to gain and maintain wealth and priviledge.
    It is the most successful and longest running confidence trick ever imposed on humankind.
    “Have Faith, my Child” is the standardised response to any questioning of their legitimacy.

  9. RomeoCharlie29

    Well said RJ, I have for a long time been concerned about the impact religion has on government at every level in Australia. The influence of the Catholic Church on many politicians has been responsible, I believe, in holding back necessary change in many areas of social life. The opposition to abortion, to euthanasia, to recognition of homosexuality and other aspects of lgbtqi+ reform, or such atrocities as the chaplains in schools programme. Religious influence played a significant part in the development and growth of the non-government schools system with both the subsequent inequitable funding arrangements and the sexual predations ( these not necessarily ranked in order of significance). There has long been a religious cohort in government whose behaviours have had deleterious effects on our lives, thinking here of the Kevin Andrews led overturning of the NT’s Rights if the Terminally I’ll Act. There is, currently within our Federal Parliament a coterie of adherents to a relious sect, Pentecostalists, which I believe has a pernicious negative influence on its adherents in regard to their legislative programme, including the continuous scapegoating of so-called welfare recipients. Of course that could also be just part of the cruel and heartless LNP ideology.

  10. DrakeN

    L&NP ideology is fundamentally about self interest and is a massive “Game of Mates”.
    Religions, of course are of much the same philosphy – in practice rather than claimed principle.
    For many folk “What’s in it for me” is the guiding mantra in all things; political, financial and religious.

  11. Jack sprat

    I belong to a non prophet organization with no invisible means of support . Putting lightning rods on church steeples shows either a lack of faith or a triumph of science over superstition which in the latter case is a rarity in these neo conservative times .

  12. RosemaryJ36

    Sir ScotchmisteryFebruary 20, 2020 at 10:56 am

    ‘What is it, serious question, that makes that athletics person at St Kevin’s, a paedophile?

    Plenty of priests clambering over the bones of our pubescent children are, but my understanding is that his victim was 15, and also was not touched sexualy.’

    He was charged and found guilty of grooming and put on the sexual offenders list. And 15 is below the age of consent.

    Perhaps he was not technically a paedophile but he IMHO shares significant characteristics with them.

    His behaviour was clearly very damaging – even more so because from the victim;’s perspective the behaviour was being seen as acceptable by the Principal

  13. Pagnol

    If intelligent life with which we earthlings are able to (reasonably) easily communicate is discovered on another planet in another star system, did Jesus die for their sins? Does the Bible hold true for that civilisation? A bit of an old chestnut hypothetical I admit. But it highlights the flat earth mentality of a people aligning themselves with a philosophy ( religion as we know it) which originated in a world that thought itself the centre of “ creation”. As others have said we need Freedom From Religion legislation.

  14. guest

    Grumpy Geezer,

    You ask: “Apparently, too, we humans are made in god’s image….Why a digestive system?”

    A really good question. There has been much talk about religious belief and how much religious people can shout their beliefs at other people and how much non-believers can question those beliefs. I saw an outline of Christian belief which told us that Christ rose bodily after the crucifixion and now sits bodily on the right hand of god. Before he rose into heaven, he ate food with disciples. I wonder if he still eats in heaven. Do they have toilets in heaven?

    Colossians 2:9 tells us that in Christ dwells all the fullness (Gk. pleroma) of the godhead bodily (Gk. somatikos). So is god also in heaven alongside Christ, bodily?

    Am I asking the wrong questions? Have I missed something? Am I even allowed to ask such questions?

  15. DrakeN

    @ guest: “Do they have toilets in heaven?”

    Like the tale of the religious instruction class –

    Pupil One: ” ‘scuse me Miss, Do they make love in Heaven?”
    Pupil Two: “Do they fuc’nhell! ”
    Teacher: “One question at a time please, children.”

  16. Josephus

    Love all these comments.

    Once I posted on our network that Jesus and Mary were encircling the moon or sun for ever, somehow alive without air and food, but my comment was not accepted.

    Atheism has existed since at least the Greeks, but my favourite text is that by the French atheist priest Jean Meslier, (late 1600s to early 1700s), whose lifelong magnum opus was his Testament, a manuscript in three copies that he left for posterity. I had read a printed version of it (the English translation dates from only c 2009 however, can you believe it!).

    But nothing had prepared me for the powerful feeling of holding and reading one of the 3 mss in my hands in a Paris library. The faded brown ink became a vehemently scratched outburst now and then ; his anger overcame the years . While his arguments were insuperable, the cynicism and greed of the various self- serving cultists he described crossed the centuries also.

  17. johno

    If there are toilets in heaven I hope both are catered for, squat and sit-on.

  18. corvusboreus

    Thanks boobby.

  19. Ray Tinkler

    There is, or very much should be, a full awareness, that the Prime Minister we now have, got into politics, not primarily because of any political beliefs, but because of his religious ones. He is, by nature, a very ambitious individual. Exceedingly ambitious is how I would put it. Those ambitions too are all about his religion but more importantly, how it can advance him. He believes in the reward of eternal life, so anything he does here and now, must be with the aim of securing for himself, the greatest reward/s in that future eternal life. He believes also that this world is coming to it’s end, rapidly. He believes the events of this summer are the signs that this is so. His Royal Commission into climate change will specifically NOT consider how to deal with that, but only with how to adapt i.e. live with it. For those with a modicum of insight will see how well that fits with those beliefs. No point in doing anything to try to stop or curtail C.C., just do enough till it’s all over. Keep those that are ‘lost’ busy in the meantime.

    That his religion also has this wealthiness is next to godliness apparent attitude, obviously fits in well with his political affiliations and that also explains why when challenged with those Biblical passages, e.g. the parable of the “Eye of the needle”, the “Rich young man” etc, Pentecostals seem to discount them. There also must be a belief that, yes, you can take your wealth with you. As they don’t expect to die at the 2nd coming, why would they not so believe. Anyone who has looked into this religion would also know of it’s close connection to the belief of Jerusalem’s importance in these events too. Do you remember one of his earliest moves once gaining the LNP leadership re Jerusalem. Everybody dismissed it as just to boost David Sharma’s chances in Wentworth. Think again. It hasn’t gone away, just on the backburner. Our PM’s ambitions stretch way, way, much further than this life. This is only the proving ground to greater things for him.

    There is much else in what this PM does/says that points, I believe, to what a threat this man’s religion is to the accepted Australian way of life and it’s democracy. Get rid of religion in our politics? Not under this govt.

  20. RosemaryJ36

    RomeoCharlie29: Guy Fawke’s Night, when I was growing up in England, epitomised the average English attitude in the area where I lived towards the Catholics. When Attlee became Labour Prime Minister, after WWII, when local secondary schools only went to school leaving age, those parents wanting their children better educated sent them to a range of private schools, topped, of course, by Eton and Harrow etc, with fees depending on their prestige, and mostly linked to some sect of Christianity. I am not quite sure when the somewhat flawed 11+ system was initiated (Infant school was from 5 – 6 years old, Junior school was for 7 – 11 years old) but the 11+ exams were taken to determine those children ‘most suited’ to continue education up to university entrance level. Those who passed at the highest level got their first choice of a secondary school from a pool of schools which normally charged fees, for which the local education department then provided a scholarship.
    Attlee offered all those private schools that agreed to come under the National Education Department’s authority that all their costs would be covered, they could only charge for optional excursions, all teacher’s salaries were paid under the Burnham Scale, all student’s textbooks and stationery were provided, free of charge, and the school could still operate under its charter providing that did not conflict with the national curriculum.
    I do not know whether there were private Catholic infant and junior schools, but some of my friends at the Council junior school were Catholic which I only found out when they went on to secondary school. And the secondary girls school I went to was a C of E one (charter required us to attend church on Ash Wednesday and Ascension Day and study the scriptures) and a fellow student had parents who ‘converted’ to RC but she remained at the C of E school! The Catholic Secondary schools came under the government umbrella and the first school I taught at after completing a maths degree at Imperial College was a Catholic girls secondary school. I was appointed on academic qualifications and exempted from pastoral care.
    I agree with you that the Catholic church has had too great an influence on government and laid the groundwork for religion to have too much influence in government.
    The saving grace in my secondary education was that in the senior years we studied Comparative Religion – which should be part of all education! Perspective is so important.

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