Category Archives: Catholic

Reasons why Religion is Wrong

Nun Excommunicated For Allowing Abortion – http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=126985072&sc=17&f=1001

Gay couple jailed for 14 years – with hard labour http://www.smh.com.au/world/gay-couple-jailed-for-14-years–with-hard-labour-20100521-vrux.html?autostart=1

Search for leaders of doomsday cult http://www.smh.com.au/national/search-for-leaders-of-doomsday-cult-20100521-vv5y.html

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Ethics and Religious Education

The St James Centre has been trialling, successfully from what little I’ve heard, ethics classes in schools as an alternative to religious education (RE) classes. Why RE is being taught in PUBLIC schools is beyond me, but that’s not the main point. The point is the religious don’t want these ethics classes. Why? Heaven forbid (TIC) that children will be taught ethics, but that doesn’t seem to be the main problem the religious have with the program, as pointed out in this article on smh.com.au

THE Anglican Archbishop of Sydney has privately lobbied the Premier, Kristina Keneally, against the permanent introduction of secular ethics classes in public schools, saying they would jeopardise the future of religious education. (emphasis mine)

Or should that last word be indoctrination? ūüôā

Why is the Archbishop worried? Probably because he knows that old adage “give me the child until he is seven and I’ll give you the man” and is worried he and his cronies won’t be able to continue to brainwash young children into specific religious dogmas.

I have no major problem with comparative religion being taught in schools in a social science type class. Where children are taught the histories and beliefs of all religions as concepts not as truths. Where they can be taught issues related to freedom of religion and freedom from religion, as well as the separation of church and state; among other religious issues that impact everyone on a secular nature.

from Jason via email:

The Christian rent-a-crowd have been busy inundating NSW MLC Penny Sharpe’s inbox, pleading with the government to kill the St James Centre NSW ethics classes so they won’t compete with scripture classes. (from Penny’s twitter timeline http://twitter.com/PennySharpemlc/status/12190784832 )

We need to let Penny know that there is support in the community for the ethics classes in NSW. Please consider sending her a personalised message of support on why you think this is an important initiative.

You can contact her by email: http://pennysharpe.com/contact

Or you can tweet her @PennySharpemlc (please use twitter hashtag #nswethics )

Or send her a message on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pennysharpemlc

Government at all levels needs to know that many people approve of the ethics classes being taught as an alternative to the RE classes. Senior clergy should not be allowed to sway the decision making process as they have a very obvious bias toward being allowed to indoctrinate young children into their specific religion. Please contact Penny and other parliamentarians (particularly your local MP) and let them know that you want alternatives to RE classes and that the ethics classes should be taught in all schools. Don’t let the religious rent-a-crowd hijack another excellent program, a program which can only be a good thing for children to learn,

Media coverage of the issue and related issues (thanks again to Jason and others)

http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/find-these-kids-an-alternative-for-gods-sake-20100411-s0c7.html

http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/keneally-allows-anglican-church-to-vet-content-of-ethics-lessons-20100412-s43m.html

http://www.smh.com.au/national/education/bishop-enters-battle-against-secular-ethics-classes-20100413-s7pp.html

http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/you-cant-teach-ethics-without-referring-to-christianity-20100409-rxai.html

http://www.atheistfoundation.org.au/media-releases/ethics-classes-not-attack-religion

http://www.smh.com.au/national/letters/churches-have-nothing-to-fear-from-clear-thinking-20100413-s7dj.html

http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2010/s2871823.htm

http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/how-the-west-was-lost-a-lack-of-faith-in-civilisation-20100411-s0ow.html

http://www.smh.com.au/national/the-diary/top-cop-leads-god-squad-20100411-s0wp.html

http://twitter.com/PennySharpemlc (Penny’s twitter timeline)

There are some amazing, and a little scary, stories from parents particularly in the comments on the first link.

I don’t have, and never had, children in school but that doesn’t stop me from wanting to discuss this issue and help stop the religious having undue influence over young and impressionable minds.

update 26 July 2010

Here are a few more links for all things SRE, RI (RE), NSCP and Ethics Classes .

http://www.highcourtchallenge.com/index.html

http://www.stopthenscp.org/religioninpolitics.htm

http://www.backintheact.com/index.html

http://campaign.specialethicseducation.com.au/index.php

http://parents4ethics.org/

http://www.australiansecularlobby.com/

Note that Queensland has slightly different laws when it comes to Religious Instruction (RI) (sometime wrongly labelled as ‘Religious Education’ (RE)) compared to NSW and it’s Special Religious Education (SRE). From what I gather the National Schools Chaplaincy Program (NSCP) is above and beyond RI and SRE?

Religious Education – it should be taught by religious people in religious places (NOT public schools, or any other public or government institution) to people who want to learn it, not to people who have no choice (ie. children who are ‘forced’ to attend).

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Filed under Anglican Church, atheism, atheist, Catholic, ethics, religion, religious school, secular

Fuck you Pell

I could almost agree with the first six paragraphs of this article written by Cardinal Pell, but the next two paragraphs are …. words fail me; but feel free to insert you own.

“The many excellent government agencies are religiously neutral, secular and not anti-God, paid for largely by the taxes of the Christian majority,” Cardinal Pell said.

“But we find no community services sponsored by the atheists.”

WFT? WTF? Pell please get your head out of your arse!

How can two sentences contain so much wrong? It’s beyond me. OK, bit by bit.

The many excellent government agencies are religiously neutral

Not strictly true, bordering on outright false. Parliament, and even some councils, start with prayer sessions,¬†Christian¬†based ones mostly. Governments have awarded various (again, as far as I’m aware, all Christian)¬†religious¬†organisations all sorts of government contracts, including a family planning one!

secular and not anti-God

Secular, barely. Not anti-God definitely because of all the god-botherers in senior positions!

paid for largely by the taxes of the Christian majority

Oh , fuck right off Pell you¬†ignoramus! Every worker, religious or not, pays taxes to keep this country and it’s government agencies running; not just your “Christian majority”. On top of that all us non-religious people, about 1/3 of the populace by the way Pell you ignorant fool, pays taxes for your tax free, and tax break, status that religions get. That nice company car you drive Mr Pell is partly paid for by my non-religious taxes.

“But we find no community services sponsored by the atheists.”

That’s partly¬†because¬†we don’t get tax breaks for doing so! Additionally there are quite a few non-religious charitable organisations that do an awful lot of good in the community, and the world, but unlike you religious people we don’t generally shout from the rafters¬†what¬†wonderful people we are for doing what should come naturally to people anyway (which is helping your fellow beings). There are also many non-religious community services which probably are sponsored by atheists however their non-religiosity¬†is not advertised. PS. yes I do donate to charity each year, but only non-religious ones.

</rant>

I am normally fairly civil in my blog posts, but in this instance I’m not holding back.

Written late at night after a few glasses of wine and whilst just a tad upset (at Pell’s article) so apologies it it’s a little incoherent and without much¬†factual¬†basis (though I’m sure I could back up most of my claims with a¬†little time and effort), and thankfully spell check works. ūüôā

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Superstition


Roman Catholic bishops in the Philippines have criticised the traditional Easter rituals of people publicly whipping themselves or having themselves crucified.

It should not be done as an act of superstition,” Monsignor Pedro Quitorio, the bishops’ spokesman, said in a statement.

from ABC News

Which made me smirk a little, and think “isn’t all of religion an act of superstition?”. I wondered, how can a senior religious figure tell his followers not to conduct any acts of superstition, when one could consider everything about religion is a superstition? Perhaps I had incorrectly remembered the definition of superstition, so I thought I better find a definition and check. From Wikipedia:

Superstition is a credulous belief or notion, not based on reason, knowledge, or experience.

So my first reaction was correct, but then I read the rest of the Wikipedia entry. Not surprisingly this line in Wikipedia intrigued me, “religious believers have often seen other religions as superstition” which is like the oft used phrase “We’re all atheists, I just believe in one less god than you do”. It’s that amazing ability of religious people to look skeptically at other beliefs but not their own.

This sentence in the Wikipedia entry for Superstition also intrigued me:

Religion and superstition are usually considered separated because while superstitions are based on fear, uncertainty and insecurity in the future and in peril, religious people can feel secure and safe under the protection of their God(s), thus actually making them fearless and resilient to calamity.

But isn’t a fair portion of most faiths based on the fear and uncertainty of what happens in the afterlife? Don’t a lot of religions teach that the followers better be good or else they’ll go to hell when they die. Isn’t that then the definition of superstition per “fear, uncertainty and insecurity in the future”?

Then I got to the bit about the Catholic Churches take on superstition, which explains why the bishops in the Philippines criticised some of their followers who whip and/or crucify themselves at Easter.

The Roman Catholic Church considers superstition to be sinful in the sense that it denotes a lack of trust in the divine providence of God and, as such, is a violation of the first of the Ten Commandments.

But what constitutes superstition for the Catholic Church?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states superstition “in some sense represents a perverse excess of religion” (para. #2110); or this “a deviation of religious feeling” (para. #2111).

So according to the Catholic church its only a superstition if your too religious? ūüėČ

A lot of people have superstitions about all sorts of weird things, but as long as you don’t let them rule your life, or worse make your superstitions rule other people’s lives, then they are probably reasonably harmless.

Then there’s always this fantastic Superstition:

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Another example of why religion is so fucked up

Normally I’m not quite so abusive about religion but this story just highlights the despicable nature that religion can become.

Brazil’s influential Catholic Church raged against an abortion carried out on a nine-year-old girl who had been pregnant with twins after allegedly being raped by her stepfather.

An archbishop for the northern region where the termination was conducted, Father Jose Cardoso Sobrinho, said the church was excommunicating all those responsible for the abortion: the medical team and the girl’s mother. from abc.net.au/news

So this little child gets raped and the only thing their church can do is excommunicate those responsible for the abortion. No mention of excommunicating the odious excuse for a person that raped the child. I understand having an abortion is not to be taken lightly, but not only was this child raped and is only nine years old, but

The operation [was carried out] because of doctors’ fears the slender girl might die if she carried the foetuses to term

But the Catholic Church still thinks it’s a crime to have an abortion. Hey dickheads what about the crime of letting the child, and quite likely the baby, die during childbirth?

The odious excuse for a person that raped this nine year old child is a very despicable excuse for a human being, he also allegedly sexually abused the girl’s physically handicapped 14-year-old sister. Still no mention of excommunication for him. The Catholic Church really has it’s priorities all wrong.

Now to you and I excommunication might not seem such a big deal, but from my (limited) research and discussions with Catholics, excommunication can be a very severe form of punishment. In very Catholic communities excommunicated people can become pariahs and be shunned by their family and friends, this could be very devastating to those who have been excommunicated.

That’s a problem with a dogmatic religion which refuses to modernise, change or accommodate for extenuating circumstances, they are completely out-of-touch with modern society; and some might say out-of-touch with reality.

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Filed under abortion, atheism, Catholic, religion

what I found today

Bad Ass Popes – the six most awful Popes, via Five Public Opinions

Soft toys for boys – teach your child how to conduct Mass, via Nullifidian

Proposition 8 the Musical – satirical look at Prop 8, via Matt’s Notepad, via Pharyngula

Tim Minchin is funny – and doesn’t mind saying what he thinks about religion, via Sean the Blogonaut

20 Unusual Churches – say what you like about the religious, they build some amazing churches, via Stumbleupon

From the same site as above comes the following road sign:

M Yass

M Yass

Yass is a town in rural New South Wales, Australia.

No Clean Feed video – Priceless, via efa_oz on Twitter

Infallibility – The Catholic church explains how it infallible (yeah right!), found when researching for the comment I made at Five Public Opinions (see above). The two main proofs of the churches infallibility:

  • Proof from Scripture
  • Proof from Tradition

Such great proofs </sarcasm>

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Aussie Atheist Bus Campaign – an update

A couple of days ago it came to my attention that the AFA’s Atheist Bus Campaign has hit another snag. From the transcript of the Religion Report radio broadcast the other day:

… the Atheist Foundation of Australia, who have been refused permission to buy advertising space on public transport.

You might have read in recent weeks that the British Humanist Association, assisted by crusading atheist Richard Dawkins, have been raising money to put their message on London buses. The ads, planned for January, will read, ‘There’s probably no god, now stop worrying and enjoy your life.’

And in Washington, buses are already trundling around with a Christmas message from the American Humanist Association: ‘Why believe in a god? Just be good, for goodness’ sake’.

Well the Atheist Foundation of Australia wants to mount its own campaign, and says that its members and supporters have pledged $16,000 to fund advertisements on buses in Australia. So they’ve approached APN Outdoor, the company that manages public transport advertising in most Australian capitals.

According to the Atheist Foundation’s president, David Nicholls, APN Outdoor said that they had problems with the wording of the proposed message. But then after the Foundation made two sets of changes to the wording, APN Outdoor said they simply weren’t able to accommodate them.

WHY? Just because. David speculates that APN has rejected any and all atheist bus slogans because of the cultural belief that religion has some sort of privileged status. Even mild criticism of religion is shunned.

I suggest you have a read of the transcript or listen to the podcast, it’s quite interesting, After the host finsishes talking to David he contunes the discussion with Greg Clarke, Director of the Macquarie Christian Studies Institute who is open to allowing the atheist bus slogans “as long as it’s done with a level of civility”, which it was.

The radio show continues with a discussion about a new book, ‘In Your Shoes: Interfaith Education for Australian Religious Educators’, which provides advice for teaching students about different religious traditions. Some interesting comments from the author.

Back to APN censoring advertising, it appears that it’s not just atheist slogans they refuse to advertise. APN has also refused to carry the Catholic’s Respect Life Office (RLO) anti-abortion adverts which were going to display graphic pictures [to scare women into not having abortions]. Whilst I think the idea of showing graphic pictures and trying to scare women into not having an abortion is not very productive and amounts to not much more than psycological warfare against women at a time they can be very vulnerable, I’m not sure it’s really up to the advertisers to be censors? Or is it? Who should be ultimately responsible for what gets advertised?

In the article about the RLO’s advertising ban, I thought it was ironic that the RLO are worried about women’s mental health following an abortion. According to them:

Many women seeking help had experienced substance abuse, anxiety, sleep disorders, suicidal thoughts, psychiatric illness, risk-taking behaviour and relationship problems as a result of their abortion.

Well I’ve heard the same thing about women who had found out they were pregnant and didn’t want the child. I’ve also heard of womens lives that have been completely ruined because they were coerced into having a child they didn’t really want, some of these women have experienced the exact same symptoms the RLO described. So who is right and who is wrong? Should abortion be banned because some women feel bad afterwards? NO, I don’t think so, in fact I think if abortion wasn’t so stigmatised, especially by the religious, and women were provided with non-judgemental guidance before, and afterwards if required, a lot less women would have psychological problems with abortion. What do you think?

One more Bus advert banned by APN, ‘The Chasers War on Everything’ DVD release was going to carry the slogan:

“The only good thing to come out of APEC.”

with pictures of their APEC stunt. However APN has banned the advert for being “too political”.

I’m starting to wonder how APN makes any money, as they seem to not want to advertise anything even remotely political or anti-religious.

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Filed under abortion, activism, APEC, APN, atheism, atheist, Atheist Bus Campaign, billboard, Catholic, censorship, christianity, freedom of speech, politics, religion