Category Archives: atheism

A Few Truths

Why do Christians lie so much? What is this “lying for Jesus” all about. A means to an end is not always the morally right thing to do.

There are several Christian lobby groups around these days with The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) and Access Ministries being two very vocal, and apparently quite powerful, examples. The idea of a Christian lobby group should worry every right thinking person, religious or not. Why Christians need lobby groups is a thing to ponder, what ever happened to religious groups just doing what they do best – sings songs in churches and do a little charity work. When did they become so powerful? Are we seeing the march to a theocracy in this country?

ACL wrote this small article titled “A few truths of the religion in schools debate” supporting a Bishop who had written an article in Online Opinion (OO) complaining about The Age’s reporting of Christian Religious Education.

OzAz wrote the following comment in reply to the ACL:

Truth? You wouldn’t know the meaning of the word Truth.

If, as you’d like to portray, Christianity is the predominant religion in Australia (at last census about 60%, BUT only about 20% actual practitioners) then how can you cry “oppression”?

Australians, by and large, aren’t fearful of religion, most just don’t care either way. What we do fear is right wing fundamentalist religious organisations using tax payer funded money (for which they are totally unaccountable for!) to promote their narrow minded view of the world based on, what many believe, to be an out-dated book.

Even adherents of the various holy books do not adhere to everything written in them, so why should the rest of us adhere to anything written in them?

Some may suspect that the only reason your group, and other groups like yours, are so keen to use tax payers and parishioners money to lobby government to spend even more tax payer dollars on allowing CRE, Chaplains in schools and other forms of ensuring you get a foothold into schools and therefore young and impressionable minds is to procure more followers. The more followers the more money you can make. Pity this money isn’t always used for good charitable works.

PS I have copied this and will paste it to various other blogs and forums as I suspect you won’t have the dignity or adhere to freedom of speech and allow this comment to be posted to your site.

OzAz has forwarded this comment to me for inclusion in my blog, as he suspects the ACL will not moderate his comment as the ACL seem to have a habit of not allowing any comment which questions them in any way shape or form.

As usual Chrys Stevenson has written an excellent response to Nicholas Tuohy’s article in OO, I recommend you read it.

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Filed under atheism, beliefs, bible, censorship, christianity, church, politics, religion, religious school, secular

NSCP – I’ve had my say

Now have yours.

The Department of Education, Employment, and Workplace Relations has posted an online survey requesting feedback on the National Schools Chaplaincy Program(NSCP), which Godless Business has posted about before. The survey asks 15 questions, some of which are check boxes the remainder require a short written answer.

My responses are as follows:

1 – Yes
2 – No, I think the minimum qualification should be higher
3 – Bachelor / University degree
4 – Youth work, Negotiation skills, Counselling skills, Other: Secular, Non-religious.
5 – Currently there is no requirement for chaplains to be qualified, this is a complete disgrace considering we are talking about vulnerable and impressionable children. Aside from the fact there should NOT be chaplains in public schools in the first place, school counsellors should have appropriate counselling qualifications, such as a Degree in psychology or similar.
6 – Yes
7 – Service providers should be suitably qualified to deal with all problems children may experience. They should, as much as possible, be free from any and all biases. Religious chaplains, due to the dogmas of their respective churches, carry biases, such as anti-abortion, anti-homosexuality, that may make it more difficult for them to provide unbiased information to some children.
8 – Service providers should have qualifications that are recognised by applicable government medical authorities.
9 – Definitely not. The whole NSCP should be scrapped and replaced with a system that employs suitably qualified youth workers and/or psychologists. Counsellors should not be employed solely on the basis that are religious.
10 – Yes. And no. This question is loaded, in fact this whole questionnaire is loaded. It is being presented as though a chaplain is the best/only solution, and offering an option to include a non-faith based support worker is somehow being generous. You are avoiding the whole issue – it should not be about faith based versus non-faith based, it should be about employing the best people for the job regardless of their superstitions.
11 – Having support workers chosen based purely on their religious leanings is discriminatory and does not enable a school to choose the best, most suitably qualified, person for the job.
12 – An administration model that provides as many suitably qualified psychologists as possible, backed up by suitably qualified youth workers, and where requested suitably qualified pastoral care workers.
13 – Pooled funding
14 – The current system is not innovative in any way shape or form, having a system that employs religious chaplains as workers in schools harks back to the dark ages rather than the 21 century.
Computer based delivery systems could be utilised that provide guidance and information for common problems, that then link a child to a suitably qualified psychologist. For rural/remote areas, systems such as skype could be a cheap and effective one-to-one delivery system for initial consultations. A pool of suitably qualified support workers could be on hand to go to areas of need as required.
15 – Why is our government even supporting a chaplaincy program in the first place? Surely this program is both unconstitutional and discriminatory? The concept of “chaplain” implies a very Christian centred program, what about other religions and non-religious children? Doesn’t the current program discriminate against them in some way? The whole NSCP should be scrapped and a new secular program instigated that provides personnel who are suitably trained to look after the needs of all children in a non-discriminatory, non-religious, non-judgemental, non-proselytising, non-evangelising, non-biased way.

Feel free to use my responses as an aid in responding yourself, additional responses can be found at the AFA Forum on this thread, which can also be used to assist you in writing your own responses.

H/T to askegg from Godless Business for the opening paragraph and information about the NSCP and ideas for answers to the survey.

Now go and fill in the survey yourself.

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Not religious now?

The Mark NO RELIGION on the 2011 Census, take religion OUT of politics web site is now live. Check it out for lots of FAQs and reasons why you should mark “No Religion” on the 2011 Census if you are no longer religious, and why you should mark “No Religion” for your children.

The census categorises people into age brackets, the following link accesses the .xls spreadsheet for religion by age for Australia for 1996, 2001, & 2006. As you’ll note the first age bracket is 0 -14 years old. From the Atheist Foundation of Australia’s (AFA) Census No Religion web site:

Generally an adult fills in the questionnaire and may mark young and adolescent children as having a religious belief without their input. The largest percentage of people who hold no religious view are in the adolescence to young adulthood range, which may be as high as 50%.

Many children have not decided which set of religious beliefs they will accept as true, or thought through the ramifications of those beliefs. We therefore believe it is unfair and inaccurate to label these children has belonging to a religion. However, if you are certain the child in question truly believes the tenets of a religion, please select the appropriate option.

Just because your child was born into your religion doesn’t automatically make them a follower or believer of that religion. I’m no expert, but I doubt any child under the age of 5 can seriously make a considered decision, after taking into account all the facts and being provided with all the options, about what religion they are. In fact I doubt most children under the age of 14 can. So please, unless your child seriously claims they are a follower of a particular religion, mark them as “No Religion” on the 2011 Census.

H/T to RealityRules on the AFA forum for the link to the spreadsheet.

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NSCP – Have Your Say

The Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations is conducting a survey into the National Schools Chaplaincy Program (NSCP). Please take a few minutes and have your say, you have until 18 March 2011. There’s 15 questions with about a third of them just ‘tick a box’, the rest require comments but you don’t need to write a lot if you don’t want to. As long as they get a lot of replies indicating school chaplains should have some sort of minimum qualification, and those qualifications being relevant to youth counselling rather than belief in imaginary beings then we have at least tried to ‘do our bit’ in the campaign against the NSCP program.

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Census 2011 UK

As stated in my previous post Census 2011, the UK also have a census this year and also have a census campaign. On the AFA Forum member Davo posted this great youtube video from the UK campaign. Apart from some of the items mentioned in the “used to justify the following policies” section, this video is also very relevant to the Australian Census and the AFA’s Census 2011 campaign.

Watch it and leave comments, particularly like to know what an equivalent one should mention in the ‘justify the following policies’ section.

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Why Do Good

“where does the desire to do good come from”

Bradley left a comment on my FAQ 1 page – The Ten Commandments and Morality – as follows:

I just have a question, not a comment. If there is no transcendental being from whom we get at least some inspiration to do good, where does the desire to do good come from, and why would we have any preferences any way? I know that certain things are just naturally disliked, but what makes it uncomfortable or not to be liked?

Rather than clog up my FAQ page I’ve copied this to a new post so I can answer the question, as well as make it easier for others to answer or comment.

Well Bradley to put it simply, the desire to do good has just been bred into us, the human race would not have survived if at least most of us hadn’t wanted to instinctively do good. How long do you think humankind would last if everyone wanted to rape, steal, lie, cheat, harm or kill? Not long.

Much like you assert that “certain things are just naturally disliked” so are certain things just naturally liked.

Apart from the evolution of society needing to (mainly) do good to each other to survive [read some literature on the ethic of reciprocity, which by the way was NOT invented by Christians as some are want to believe, as to why] science has also found various chemicals in the brain, and brain functions, that indicate the desire to do good is a physical property of the body. Have a read of some articles about Oxytoxin for example.

I don’t know about you Bradley, but I find when I do something good I feel good, I get a little “kick” out of doing something good, and it makes me happy. Why would this be? Perhaps it’s chemicals in the brain? Perhaps it’s because of the knowledge that I’ve made someone happy or improved their life in some way. But why be altruistic (which is what we are talking about when we discuss doing good things for no apparent reason or expectation of return)? We know that most religions cite altruism as a virtue, but I don’t consider that religion has a ‘hold’ on altruism. In fact it has been shown that many species of animals act in an altruistic manner and that there is an evolutionary explanation for altruism.

I consider it wholly possible to do good without any transcendental being providing inspiration. Anyway, how would we know a transcendental being provided the inspiration? Could it not be that any supposed transcendental inspiration is actually our own innate goodness and inspiration? That due to a lack of knowledge, or a lack of thought, this inspiration was deemed to have come from a transcendental being only because there didn’t seem to be any other way to explain it’s existence?

Time and again science has discovered reasons for things that people thought were the actions of a transcendental being, pushing the reason for a need, or the possibility, of any transcendental being further and further into non-existence. Perhaps one day science will prove where the desire to do good comes from (from what little I’ve read they pretty well already have) or perhaps there are some things that just are. Either way I see no reason to bring any transcendental being into the equation.

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Filed under atheism, beliefs, christianity, compassion, evolution, golden rule, religion, science

Books – August 2010

Just added a new page called Books (see header) which lists all the Atheism, Philosophy, Science, Theism, and related topics, books that I own (and have, mostly, read – see Legend), updated and current as of August 2010.

Most of these used to be listed in a text widget in the sidebar, which has now been deleted.

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Filed under atheism, atheist, books, Philosophy, science, theism