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Values, ethics, culture – and hypocrisy!

The Australian Constitution Act, Section 116 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.

* * * * *

Probably, around the time that people started forming into communities, gods were invented to explain natural phenomena. And those who could ‘interpret’ the messages of the gods, gained power as a priest, a shaman, a rabbi or an imam to establish rules by which the community should live.

The Indians, the Greeks and the Romans each had a positive pantheon of gods, as did the Egyptians and the Scandinavians. In fact, you would have difficulty finding any of the early civilisations which did not have several gods, but the Jews and the Arabs were distinguished by only having one god.

Buddhism stands out as recommending a path to enlightenment or Nirvana, rather than belief in an all-powerful god.

The rules by which the community should live were transferred through the priest and eventually many were recorded in the holy books, most of which are still available today.

Clearly, the rules laid down millennia ago were limited to the knowledge available at that time. The food rules still adhered to by those of Jewish faith as well as Muslims were, when devised, very sensible for the most part, bearing in mind the climate, the lack of refrigeration and limited understanding of hygiene.

The Ten Commandments are probably among the most succinctly detailed recorded rules for the community. Jesus Christ reportedly simplified them to two, summing up commandments 2 to 10 as “Thy shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”

This, plus the accompanying parable of the Good Samaritan, forms the foundation of ethical living and, whether or not you believe in a god and whether or not you have any particular faith, this rule if followed would make the world a much more harmonious place IMHO!

And so, we come to the much touted ‘Aussie values’ which our Coalition leaders rabbit on about ad nauseam!

There is only one value, I believe, which has any importance, and it is respect.

Respect for others rights and beliefs, respect for difference and respect for all living things.

There are some behaviours of cultural origin which are based on ignorance or ulterior motives which do not deserve respect. Male circumcision has somewhat obscure beginnings and its value is more cultural than medical.

By contrast, female circumcision, sometimes known as female genital mutilation, is strictly cultural in origin, has no foundation for improving health and can actually be significantly harmful. It is often seen as related to patriarchalism and Australia is quite right to ban this practice. It is not connected with religion, and, although it is practiced in many Muslim countries, it is not mentioned in the Qur’an.

One of the problems with ‘faith’ is the foundation for the beliefs generated. Both Islam and Christianity are practised by many sects and their values and beliefs vary enormously. Some of the Christian fundamentalists still believe in the creation, as documented in the Book of Genesis. Others turn to the Old Testament for their rules for life, ignoring entirely the extent to which the teachings of Christ, more than subtly, changed the emphasis of the teachings. Yet they still call themselves Christian!

The current stand-out example is Israel Folau. Most believe that GoFundMe is an avenue for fund-raising for those in desperate need of funds, often in a matter of life and death. Yet Folau – ignoring the extent to which science has shown the errors of many of the beliefs expressed, in understandable ignorance, by the ancient prophets, and his vilifying of members of the LGBTIQ community – is seeking funds to enable him to appeal a finding that he is guilty of breach of contract, despite having been in receipt of millions through his sponsors!

What hubris!

So – how should Australia handle the issue of values?

Except in so far as a religion might encourage you to live ethically, I do not think religion should enter into the picture.

Living ethically does not require the existence of a god and even those of us who are agnostic or atheist are still possessed of a conscience – unless we are psychopaths!

Knowing who Bradman was is less and less important but understanding the rule of law and the separation of powers is essential – and not yet achieved by many born here! Possibly that is why we elect some of the candidates who are currently gracing the seats in our Parliament!

Really and truly – the only people who have any real right to lay down the rules determining who can migrate to Australia are our First Nations – who had absolutely no choice over being invaded!

And I am sure that being recognised, respected and given a voice would be valued more highly by them than anything else we might imagine!

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  1. whatever

    Redneck slobs want the right to publish their ignorance and rejoice at the ‘bellyflop’ they have caused in the pond of public discourse.

  2. David Bruce

    Australia and most other Western nations have lost their soul by moving further and further away from Nature. When God was removed from the oath of office and religion was removed from daily lives, nothing of substance was there to replace them.

    We as humans need to acknowledge a power greater than ourselves, not just for recovering alcoholics (see 12 step program).

    The cultures and communities of the South Pacific Islands are similar to what we had in Australia in 1970’s and early 1980’s. It has taken Australia 40-50 years to adapt to the needs of feminists, gender equality, LGBTIQ and removing corporal punishment from schools. The Kingdom of Tonga, for example, claim to have never been colonized. Yet the white Australian missionaries certainly left their mark. Shops stay closed on Sunday and no commercial flights are permitted.

    I don’t have a solution to the issues we face in our society as it appears we are being manipulated by the media, political forces and intelligence agencies, all funded by the banking and money masters. The Georgia Guidestones provide their vision of our future.

    One conversation I think would help our nation, would be to open up debate about changing our Constitution to integrate the First Nations code of conduct with the Commonwealth of Australia constitution (1901) and the Australia Act 1986.

  3. Matters Not

    David Bruce – seek help urgently! Otherwise, get off your knees and take personal responsibility.

  4. Keitha Granville

    I was raised as a Christian – but Christ would be the first to throw many out of the temple today who profess to be one. I am doubtful about the existence of an all powerful god, but I wish there was one who would strike down with a thunderbolt all those who are false. Wouldn’t be many left.

    Don’t get me started on Folau – he can have his opinions however abhorrent they are, but how DARE he ask others to give him the money to fight his false claims. There’s the very first one who needs to be “smited “.

  5. Rambings, Rants and Raves

    I wrote this in 2016 and I think it is relevant.
    Having being an atheist most of my life I have never really thought about it. I suppose it is similar to not having a certain skill or ability thereby excluding one from activities where the skill or ability is needed.

    I have lately been taking notice of just how much “God”is being evoked by all manner of people for all manner of reasons. This led me thinking more about,not only “God”, but which “God”. There are so many forms of “God” it seems that He is what one decides suits the purpose of the message one is trying convey.

    Australia has changed radically in beliefs during its short (European) history. The Judo/Christian religions are still the most prominent however although believing in the same God, there are many interpretations of which is the “true” path.

    Similarly another major faith practiced by Muslims have Allah who all Muslims believe in but again different interpretations cause conflict between believers.

    It was much easier in the ancient world, in Greece and Italy there were many Gods to ‘spread the load’ and cover a multitude of activities. Believers could praise or blame a particular god without offending any of the others.

    With all Gods their seems to be one constant; If you have a bad experience it is your fault and you have somehow displeased God and if you have good fortune then it is by God’s will and really had nothing to do with you.

  6. New England Cocky

    The Folau matter is concerning because Folau is on a win and a win situation. If the court action is unsuccessful the the Go Fund Me moneys pay for the Folau court costs.

    If his court action is successful them the ARU pays all the costs and the pledged $3 MILLION Go Fund Me moneys go where? Into his personal pocket??

    There is an opinion that Folau has finally realised that despite being the best Rugby player of his generation, he is still bound by the contract laws of the land. His $4 MILLION playing contract excluded public comment on religious matters, and having identified that Barnyard Joke will go to hell, Folau has offended Nat$ politicians practising “some Sundays only Christianity”.

    I look forward to the legal arguments with some interest.

  7. Kaye Lee

    As Timothy said “Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”

    Issy would do well to do a bit less preaching and a bit more bible reading.

    Romans 14:1-4 As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

    1 Peter 5:2-3
    2 Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; 3 not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.

  8. Jack Russell

    Too many people doing far too many terrible things using the religion defence to hide behind clearly identifies that it is a tool created by predators, for predators, and always has been. No global historical rewrites can obliterate its track record of oppression, theft, suffering, psychopathy, and blood. Religion itself is the scourge.

  9. Kaye Lee

    One bright light…Israel’s GoFundMe page has been shut down and donations will be refunded.

    A spokesperson for GoFundMe said after a “period of evaluation”, the site had ruled Folau’s campaign violated its terms of service.

    The company said it would not tolerate the promotion of discrimination or exclusion.

    “We are absolutely committed to the fight for equality for LGBTIQ+ people and fostering an environment of inclusivity,” GoFundMe’s Australian regional director Nicola Britton said.

  10. Florence Howarth

    There is plenty of substance in my life to sustain me without blind belief in any religions. I have great belief in my fellow man. Like most animals, I have a belief we shouldn’t destroy nature, foul our own nest. I believe we are responsible for our fellow man. Believe we are our brother’s keeper. I don’t need religion for that.

    Most of all, I believe we should leave this world better than we found it.

  11. Kerri

    Let’s face it Folau’s great strengths lie in ball skills. Not logic.
    It offends me greatly that so many bigoted people should donate to fund his opinions being thrust on the world ahead of many more virtuous and “Christian” Go Fund Me campaigns that fundraise for valuable causes.

  12. Paul Davis

    Interesting article on Independent Australia news site re Israel Folau issue (Israel Folau and the anti-gay lobby kicking against the breeze) with fascinating linked discussion on ‘mistranslation’ of key bible passages in both OT and NT including word “arsenokoitai” and the implications for the blanket Jewish/Christian/Islamic condemnation of homosexuality.

    Further googling including scholar reveals research by translators, suggesting that modern practitioners of these religions may need to think again about how their god views consentual sodomy between adult males. Kiddy fiddling is absolutely a no-no, as is lesbianism of course…. better not go there… Speaking of women in the JCI scriptures, it is interesting to note a couple of the ladies mentioned as direct ancestors of Jesus’ mother Mary and stepfather Joseph, most notably Tamar and Bathsheba, who would not be in the Messiah’s lineage without adultery, murder, prostitution and deception. Yes the Lord works in mysterious ways.

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