Monthly Archives: February 2008

Which is the way to god please?

A few weeks ago Hemant posted about a German children’s book, which he termed “the god delusion for kids“. A couple of days ago he posted that the book is now available in English for free. The pictures can be viewed separately here.

The book tells the story of how piglet and hedgehog find a poster which says “He who knows not God, is missing something!”. So piglet and hedgehog go on a journey to find God and in the process  talk to a rabbi, a bishop and a mufti. In the end they decide they weren’t missing anything in their lives after all.

The books aims are to make children realise they are not missing out on anything without religion and God, and that respect has to be earned, not assumed.

Some people have stated the book badly caricatures the three religions and their leaders. Personally I thought it was hilarious and had some very valid messages.

Download yourself a copy of the book and have a read, make sure you look at the accompanying pictures. Piglet looks a tad worried in this one:

thecross

Happy reading, let me know what you think.

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Filed under atheism, atheist, beliefs, books, religion

Let us bow our heads in thanks for atheists

From the Kansas City Star comes an excellent article praising atheists. With headings like:

Atheists are well-behaved.
Atheists make good neighbors.
Atheists will not infringe upon your life uninvited.

You know you are in for some good reading.  I particularly liked the ending statement:

Right-wing Christianity shook the atheist community out of its complacency with its relentless rhetorical badgering and attempts to co-opt the country.

There’s truth and irony in that, the more the right-wing fundies bleat and moan, or attempt to force their ideals on the rest of society, the more the atheist community is likely to speak out against them.

Thanks to PossumMomma for the heads-up.

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Filed under atheism, atheist, christianity, news, religion

Tagged. sort of

Plonka is spreading the page 123 meme. Seeing as he thanked me nicely for putting him on to Windows Live Writer (review shortly), I thought I’d do his tag.

Rules

1. Grab the nearest book (that is at least 123 pages long).
2. Open to page 123.
3. Go down to the 5th sentence.
4. Type in the following 3 sentences.
5. Tag five people.

To start with, there are quite a few books in the bookshelf next to me. They are mostly IT books, but I’m sure you are not interested in page 123 of any of my old MCSE study guides, or any book on programming or Web Design, so I didn’t pick any of those. The rest of the books are my atheist book collection (see side bar) but I couldn’t decide which one to choose. So I changed rule 1 to grabbing the book I’m currently reading – The Golden Compass.

I have the version, which has all three books of the His Dark Materials trilogy in one volume. I’m actually part way through book three already, and have enjoyed it immensely so far. Anyway here are the sentences:

“There may be others, but that’s the one I’ve seen.”
“I bet there’s one in Bodley’s Library in Oxford,” she said.
She could hardly take her eyes off Farder Coram’s daemon, who was the most beautiful daemon she’d ever seen.

So that’s it. I’m going to ignore rule 5, but if any of my readers want to tag themselves, go right ahead, just send us a trackback.

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Filed under atheism, atheist, blog, meme, Tag, Tagged

Census Submission – follow up

Got an interesting email today regarding my submission to the ABS for changes to the religion question in Census 2011. This is the full text of the message:

Dear Census Client

Mr Brian Pink, the Australian Statistician, recently highlighted to the government that the ABS budget situation for 2008-09 and beyond involved insufficient funds to sustain continuation of our current work program and provided us with no capacity to take on additional work.

Last week Mr Pink confirmed that we would not be able to obtain relief in the 2008-09 budget, and indicated that the ABS would need to cut work programs as a consequence. We regret to advise one of the work programs affected is the Census Program.

The impact on this program is that the questions for the 2011 Census of Population and Housing will be comparable to those asked in the 2006 Census. This action will not compromise the integrity and quality of ABS Census data.

We are not expecting changes or disruption to the ongoing output schedule of products and services from the 2006 Census.

While the number or frequency of some statistical products may reduce marginally, the ABS will still produce an extensive range of statistical information.

ABS thanks all who have made topic submissions for the 2011 Census. These submissions will be reconsidered as part of the consultation process post 2011.

For further information please telephone 1300 175 070 or email 2011.census@abs.gov.au.

Yours sincerely

Paul Lowe
Head
Population Census Branch

So, it seems it was all a waste of time. Someone, somewhere, has decided to cut funding to the ABS. So the ABS has decided to cut the Census 2011 program, in particular submissions for changes to it.

The ABS web site doesn’t seem to have a report about this, but the Census 2011 links have all disappeared.

I’m at a bit of a loss what to say or do. I may consider writing to the Federal Government expressing my concern that a valuable service such as the ABS has had its funding cut, but I don’t know if it’s worth the effort?

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Filed under ABS, atheism, atheist, census, census 2011, government funding, politics

Tagged

I knew this was coming when I read Thinkers’ Podium blog recently. When you frequent each other’s blogs and see one of them start a meme, you just know eventually you’ll get tagged. So, not surprisingly, I’ve been tagged by AV at Five Public Opinions with the “Give three reasons why you Blog” meme. I’m always slow in responding to these memes, maybe because it’s more personal, introspection has never been one of my strong suites. Anyway here goes:

Firstly, I’d like to point out I partly answered this back in October 2007, when I’d been asked “why do you do it?“. My answer back then, and still is, is:

to reduce the negative impact religion has on everyone’s day-to-day lives

So on to the three reasons:

  1. To have a voice. I’ve always been a bit opinionated, and happy to jump in with my ‘2 cents worth’. My opinions have not always been well thought out, or based on facts, but I still like to say them. Which leads to point 2.
  2. To improve my thinking and writing skills. Both Thinker’s and Five said much the same thing. The more I blog, and comment on other blogs, the more I have had to really think about what I am saying, and, where possible, research my material beforehand. I’m still learning, and realise I may never reach the high level of essay writing I see on other blogs, or comments I see here and elsewhere, but I’ll keep trying.
  3. To get the message out there. I first started this blog (just over 5 months ago) as a bit of a ‘something to do’ exercise. I wanted to assist, in some way,  in the promotion of atheism. Since I’ve been blogging I’ve come to realise how much sway the religious community has over so many things. I’ve always been of the opinion that ‘the more the merrier’ and think that the more atheists speak out, the more it will be realised how many of us there actually are. This, I hope, will lead to my original answer from why do you do it.

OK, now to the formalities:

Rule 1) List three reasons for your blogging.

Rule 2)  List the rules.

Rule 3) Tag three others with the meme.

In accordance with rule three, I tag WineyMomma, Australian Atheist and Fiery.

I know not everyone is into memes so there’s no obligation to commit to this tag. Though, I’d be interested in Winey’s answer as I don’t think her motives will be as similar as Thinkers’, Five’s, Australian’s, Fiery’s and mine.

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Filed under atheism, atheist, blog, meme

A Big Day in History

Well, that was a big day in Australia’s history yesterday. The Australian Government finally apologised to the indigenous community for the Stolen Generations.

I’m sure there are going to be lots of news sites, blogs and forums discussing this, and from responses I’ve already seen, it’s going to be a hot topic for a while. 

If you are interested in seeing the videos of Rudd’s speech, or reading the text of Rudd’s and Nelson’s speeches, most of the major newspaper sites have them. They are also all available, directly or via links, at Five Public Opinions.

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Filed under politics, sorry, Stolen Generations

Census 2011 – Religious Affiliation

As discussed the other day, on my Christianity – a declining population blog, the last census showed 18% to 30% of the Australian population were non-religious. I discussed how there were problems with the wording of the current census question which could result in a higher percentage of religious people than there actually are.

Today I submitted my suggestions to the ABS for changes to the Religious Affiliation question in the upcoming Census 2011, including some reasons why. A copy of my submission is available here, feel free to copy any of it if you also want to send a submission to the ABS (try not to use my exact wording). You have until 31 March 2008 to send submissions. I encourage you all to get involved, your answers don’t have to be as wordy as mine.  🙂

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Filed under atheism, atheist, census, census 2011, religion