Posts Tagged ‘faith’

I was trying to describe to my 17 year old son why we were suffering expansion of christian trash bringing ignorance into our political system today and it boils down to, “it’s our fault” (I have to warm readers this became a very convoluted conversation and I tried to cover most of the ins and outs here, it waft on a bit).

Well no, not all our fault, maybe the new backlash against progressive humanist secular policy is our fault. When I say our fault I mean we-asked-to-be-recognised-and-have-equality and for some reason they think we don’t deserve it. Our fault obviously. Well no, when you go over it, after you work through the reasons and possible solutions, it’s not our fault at all. It turns out that they were always like this and we simply opened peoples eyes and minds to the reality of the situation.

That’s not our fault, what is?

Proof that Vegemite is god.

Proof that Vegemite is god.

Religious and political bigotry, power seeking and wealth cravings were always there for those looking at it with their eyes open or suffering at its hands. What’s new is visibility. The actions and behaviours of those behind religious and political bigotry, power seeking and wealth cravings have become public knowledge and people are proving willing to dispute it. Because of societies increasing acceptance of secular humanism and awareness of our environment religion is loosing it grip on humanity. The witch hunting and inquisition were always there and they still are where religion influences education, society and politics. When your power is based on an untenable position I guess you it has to force itself on people and crush descent. Religion it seems has proven to be the worst and most repressive of doctrines as political doctrines fall as easily as the people running them. Invisible entities with repressive doctrines are not as easy to target.

Wherever we look at human history we find repressive religion close to those in power or in power itself. The buddhists, hindi, jews, Romans, Incas, Aztecs, even the ancient Greeks who all controlled relatively small parts of the world controlled with or alongside repressive religions using doctrines of war, caste, slavery, torture and indoctrination to drive their causes. Finally with bullets at their disposal, christians became the dominant religion controlling significantly more of the world than any religion before it. Again they used the tried and tested methods of the past to bring people to their cause. In the past our civilizations were controlled this way but we fought for and won our freedom, religion almost took the back seat. We were on the right track before political and economic freedom made us soft and took the fight out of us (sorry, I am Australian, our long fort for rights are being diminished and we barely raise our eye brows let alone our fists, this may not go for everyone). Our increased personal freedom and human rights allowed religion to returned with a new crazy and greater financing. In the past it was religion that had the most crushing grip on society but today we have the power to keep them out of power if we continue to exercise it.

This is not inventive history, the record is there for all to see and in support of my argument, to remind us of what the world was like when religion ran things, the middle east has islam and its crazies. The most celebrated of these, ISIS, and before it the Taliban, are doing nothing less for no more justifiable a reason than the religions before it (okay so it’s not all muslims but then it wasn’t all christians participating in the inquisitions, I discussed my thoughts on moderate religion in a previous post – https://antitheocrat.wordpress.com/2014/11/24/i-dont-believe-in-moderate-theism/ – if you lend your weight to a cause and fail to speak or act against it you are still more to blame than the victim). Generations behind the west in religious and social development (but able to learn from our mistakes and catch up fast) the islamic world is a vision of what the christian world was prior to the Enlightenment and a reminder of why we need to keep religion in its place.

While islam catches up the world has already changed for the rest of us. Liberalism, acceptance of minorities and being allowed to express ourselves have become accepted practice and maybe that is where we are at fault. We stopped letting them torture and kill us into silent submission so it must be our fault that we are no longer accepting the place they set for us in society and staying in it? Theists love to tell we atheists that we should be quiet and that we shouldn’t discuss their beliefs, we are terrible people for not letting them attack us with fairy tales. It was okay when they ran things to force belief on people, even today street preachers and door knockers are allowed to practice freely but if an atheist discuss their beliefs the atheist have to be silent and show respect.

It is quite true that once, in a time before colour television, long before the magic interweb, people sat in their homes minding their own business and complaining about the women, gays and blacks, making trouble and demanding change. That wasn’t until society grew of age and their own sons and daughters came out as homosexual, married a person with a different skin texture or worse, another religion that a whole new world came to their attention. Things they had never before considered suddenly demanded their personal attention and sometimes demanded they make a choice between much loved children and long established doctrines. Then came we non-religious folk, not new but suddenly more vocal, wanting our share of the equality. We became stopped being isolated individuals. We became a global community linked by new media and as that media access became available for our use we did use it. We started questioning for all to see. Questioning not only human rights abuses but the very theistic foundations of their lounging world.

Sometimes you just have to wear the stupid things people say about you.

Sometimes you just have to wear the stupid things people say about you.

Back then even I was respectful. I was raised in a time when we didn’t swear and it was considered impolite to discuss religion and politics. The right thing to do was be respectful of other people’s beliefs and I did that for far too long, only questioning religion when religious people tried to push it on me and never bringing the topic up myself. It took some time for me to break that conditioning but I, with our society, saw change coming and I moved with it. I was amongst those who demanded people not only accept their sons and daughters for who they were, but question why they were not being accepted in the first place. I for one will never go back to the days of being respectful and I will never tell others that being disrespectful is wrong. No belief or doctrine should stand higher in importance than our planet and those – all animal species – who reside on it. I don’t say sorry taking this position and the people I want as friends take me for who I am not for what they want me to be when I am in their company. I will try to make people think and question their very beliefs if it is the roots of their bigotry whenever I have opportunity. I have gone one better in my life, than my parent did, I taught and will teach my children how to reason and research the arguments religion puts forward when it tries to force itself on them (as it has tried on my eldest). I will not promote unwarranted respect for other peoples stupid reliance on ancient mythology in my children or others.

This discussion boils down to why it is less acceptable to be an ignorant hating theistic bigot rather than who is to blame. We shook their own ranks while raising our own heads and they lost their grip on humanity but it was their doctrine that failed not our arguments. If we are to blame for anything we are only to blame for the increased visibility of their bigotry and hate. We are to blame for people seeing the double standards and inconsistency. We are to blame for the many religions being found resistant to critical analysis and failing to come up with workable answers when questioned. There is nothing in what society and atheism have achieved, especially what it has achieved in my own lifetime. If we have anything to be ashamed of it is how many of us still believe we should be polite and respectful in the face of ridiculous beliefs.

The successes of liberal humanist thinking and associated actions are one of the great achievement of humanity. The unionists, women, people of textured skin, homosexuals and atheists groups who over the past 100+ years who have fought for their right to be heard. The people who demanded and fought for their sex, sexuality, political and social freedoms, workplace reforms, beliefs, the revolutionaries who changed nations, the scientists who tested their beliefs and favoured their findings, we changed the world. We took on the very foundations of society and religious doctrine and made social, ideological and political equality something everyone could strive for. Equality is no longer something for the gentry or the overtly religious, it is a thing for the masses. Modern society is a thing decided and managed by a new vision of morality, morality reflected in law, where all people are not only born equal but worthy of equality in their lives.

This change hasn’t sat well with everyone and often its those people who object loudest that are the ones who 100 years ago would have been the poor destitute downtrodden masses. The barking mad christians that are so easy to find on Youtube would once have been locked away safely. They would have been the poor and unwashed, persecuted for their radical and outlandish displays, made the target of churches fighting to retain control of doctrine and gentry wanting to retain wealth and favour with the church. It’s the changes bought about by those of us who rose up out of our often humble beginnings that forced society to allowed anyone to rise up and make something of themselves. The changes we made meant it was no longer an accident of birth that made a person, we could all dream of something better and want for more, including the religious and crazy people.

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I have at this point to change direction because there is a perception that when all men are equal no man will do anything. when the struggle for life becomes the pleasure of life people will simply stop. This is relevant here because those in power use this argument to retain power and wealth over the masses. The ones who seem to use it most of all are the christian right. This is an odd belief, the belief that if you don’t need to struggle and fight for your every meal you will do nothing and accept boredom over action. This is like saying every millionaire having enough money to live on without ever again working, sits on their arse doing nothing.

I will put myself up here as an example of what people do when they have freedom to choose to live and are not stuck in a fight to live. I haven’t had to work for 18 years since my wife took over as our wage earner. I am an at home parent with that as my only requirement in life for 18 years, to look after my son and our household.

In my working life I took drugs, drank alcohol to what may be called excess and slept with my fair share of willing partners. With a life that revolved around working to earn enough to pay rent and feed myself, that left little time or money for more, I lived hard rather than productive. Some people see drugs as a cost ill afforded by the poor but compared to hobbies, clubs, travel, cars, comping, tools, craft materials and sport, drugs are actually quite cost effective and easy to do. You’ve already paid rent – if you pay rent – so staying in, being stoned, eating rice or noodles, watching television, movies and playing computer games is quite cheap living.

I admit I am older and those days may have taken their course and gone anyway regardless of my path in life. I do have to admit a liking for the sensation of being stoned, so maybe I could have kept going. My life is now far more settled mostly because I am busy but I could if I had time imagine reverting to that life quite easily. And here we have my point, I am free from the burden of working 9 to 5 for a living, I have lived the life of doing nothing  beyond my 9 to 5, yet I am more busy than ever in my life. Having the freedom of doing what I choose rather than what I must I would if it were an option enjoy spending time working in my trade entirely on-call rather than 9 to 5. I would love to be on call, racing out to factories producing everything from electronics to food, working in ships, foundries, bakeries, petrochemical and chemical plants to name but a few location I have worked, needing to fix their control systems as they run without disturbing their processes or before they can even run multimillion dollar production lines. Without the demand of full time work which would take me away from my kids and without the demand to make a living wage the adrenaline rush of my former life would be a pleasure. The idea that people like doing nothing when they have enough money to live comfortable is pure imagination, most of us would die of boredom. Before running my own business I spent some time stacking supermarket shelves to keep active, I could imagine doing even that for fun if it were not just another job working for arseholes who think they own you once you work for them.

So what did I do while not needing to work for my income? In the past 18 years, not needing it for our small but manageable income and on a $100 investment, I started a business that has provided us with some very nice family holidays and travel opportunities. In the past 3 years as my responsibility to my eldest has changed my business grown. My youngest will keep me at home another 18 years and for another 18 years I will run a productive business. I could have spent 18 years playing computer games as long as the housework was done and the bills managed but my creative mind and boredom are a very strong driving force.

I do not believe for one minute that equality will make people lazy or unproductive. In any discussion about equality and human rights, poverty based economics is not a justifiable reason for repressing people. Though it may sound to some like communism or whatever fascist doctrine you wish to call it, humanism is about improving peoples lives and I am humanist. I believe everyone born has a right to the basic of life (but I also believe in population control which would be easier to promote if people didn’t have to worry about how they get their next meal).

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Getting back to the blame thing and social change, the seeming rise of the new evangelists. It sometimes seems the crazies who once populated mental institutions now walk the hallways of governments. In actual fact it is just a case of our awareness being increased. They were always there somewhere to some degree but now, whenever and wherever these people speak, their insanity is shown to the world. The crazy ideas that were once found only in historical records are today news, presented to the world in a matter of minutes. There is very little any public person can hide, even without media coverage the electronic recording devices many people carry in their pocket result in few places anyone can hide their activity and the internet ensures exposure will be quick. Like atheism, evangelism is no newer than atheism, there is only new media and it exposes crazy messages as easily as it opened new outlets for atheism and reason to present a counter proposal.

If we are not to blame who is? Electronic media?

Rather than take up another pointless argument I will draw the obvious conclusion, the only people to blame for having

Book 1 of the priest initiation series.

Book 1 of the priest initiation series.

there arsehole opinions crushed are the people committing the arsehole acts or voicing the arsehole opinions. Atheists may have risen up out of silence with new media and found their voice but we didn’t make the crazies crazy. Electronic media may have put the stupid on the world stage and made them the heroes in their own downfall but electronic media didn’t make them say or do the things they do. I guess they could blame their parents or their peers but that would be cowardly and not absolve them of responsibility. I myself am not the model of my parents ideals, I have questioned my parents teaching and even discussed with them the reasons why they were wrong about certain things (like being respectful). I have several times changed my social circles rather than maintain friendships with bigots, haters and idiots. You have to take responsibility for you own life at some point and the crazy evangelists have no more excuse for not growing up and evolving their attitudes than anyone else in this information age. Self improvement, for anyone without personal internet connection, is as close as a public library for anyone seeking to be informed.

I will close this discussion here – I don’t know if I can justify calling it a document – and hope it helps anyone who made it through to the end to understand why it is important to continue to voice our opposition to religion. Our respect and silence do nothing and offer no benefit to human society. Unless we are prepared to go back to a world that allows blasphemy laws to control our thoughts and actions we must stand up and fight for recognition and respect. We are not to blame for religion being in rout, religion created it’s own problems and has to resolve it’s issues or face the fact it will always be in rout. Our job is only to remember how long it took and how many it took to get to where we are and out of respect, keep fighting until we have crushed religions unwarranted position in modern society. We need to fight until the day we make secularism a durable world wide phenomena.

For our children and their children in turn we must never accept the blame for a fight that was imposed on us and was due to it’s nature ours to fight.

May your gods remain fictional,

The Antitheocrat.

A little while back I wrote a post about atheists siding with the enemy and why we shouldn’t (https://antitheocrat.wordpress.com/2015/04/08/siding-with-the-enemy/). I don’t generally tell people how to atheist (as if there could be a “way” to atheist) but as this blog is about how I, as a life long atheist, view atheism I will freely express my own views on things I see as problematic. This post follows on from the previous document as the danger of siding with the enemy is again on my mind; as it should be with anti-muslim/white supremacists/pro-nationalism protests again making news.

A group called Reclaim Australia came out at the time of my original post and are out again with their nationalistic anti-sharia message, playing again to the scaremongering of the press, government and special interest groups. Last time the anti sharia message Reclaim were selling hit home with the few atheists taken with the over dramatised and (im)possible takeover of Australia by radical islamisation. Some who went out and marched expressed so much pride in their days actions that they got defensive and angry when other atheists were critical of their action. Reclaim, an obviously christian white supremacist group (though less obvious the first time out than it is now) turns out to not be a popular atheist cause for a number of reasons.

I myself am always very careful about not taking sides in inter-religion battles and was extremely wary of Reclaim when they first surfaced. I do generally look for the christians behind vocal anti Islam groups before taking a side, they can often be found polluting the anti sharia message with their theological nonsense. Equally I could never join a white supremacist or nationalist group even though I am happy to be one of that privileged group I will refer to (because who cares) as Australian honkies. Quite simply I don’t believe the act of being born is significant cause for pride or discrimination, I cannot see how someone else procreating (my parents, not some mythical god) to create me was an act of that much pride. For me racism and nationalism are like tattooing your kids names on yourself, a very low standard to judge your life by. Well woohoo look at me I can breed. I would sooner tattoo my eduction and qualifications on myself (if I were to get any at all), the things I know I can say I achieved in my life. For religious and race reasons I could never join a group like Reclaim in anything they do or promote.

So when Reclaim marched again up went the flag, out came the people screaming about how wonderful the things they stand for are and best of all out came more information. For this reason I became aware of their policy statement which confirmed my suspicions about the groups real intentions and who they are and that is the focus of this document.

Reclaim have a white-supremacist christian evangelistic message behind their anti muslim call to nationalism. A group called Catch the Fire Ministries are a large part of who they are. The Reclaim crowd, having vented much of its nationalism first time out, were this time down to their evangelist core, a support and a contingent of christian Asian wives to make them look multicultural (before the racist accusation comes, my own wife is Asian), and finally the neo-nazi bikers who were this time less prominent. As a predominantly pro christian evangelist group Reclaim is surely a group atheists should never stand by. As an atheist you could be one of those individuals who thinks the achievement of having parents of a certain skin texture is a significant achievement, I couldn’t fault your atheism on that, but when the group is also a hard-line Christian outfit the cause is lost to atheists. To evangelist christians we are as much the enemy as any muslim if not more so. They will use us while it serves their devious ends but we mean no more to them than a means-to-an-end that sees them holding all the cards.

To make my point about why we shouldn’t support groups like Reclaim here is their policy statement, in full, taken from their website 25/07/15. I found this because someone on a forum told us – angrily – to “get educated” and though I suspect educated was not something required to write this document I am now going to show that I have read it. My commentary is in italics section by section for anyone interested in how I found it.

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WHAT WE ARE RECLAIMING:

– Exactly, I want to know what was lost. What right, privilege or legal status has any christian white Australian actually lost? Has any individual from Reclaim had to change their lives because they lost a legal right? Nobody from Reclaim can tell me what they personally, or their family, have lost. It seems they are reclaiming only the right to repress other people and force them to not outwardly express who and what they are if it is not properly christian (#19) and they need non-halal Vegemite.

1.Our right to peaceful assembly.
This Commonwealth right was denied to Australians at the April 4th Rally in Melbourne

– I don’t know anything about this April 4th thing but if the problem was a vocal and expressive counter protest you may need to work out why you find yourself in this position. Just a suggestion; as christians with a message of hate and repression, your anti homosexual stand (#19) and demand for religious freedom to be denied to other theological groups you may just make a few people unhappy. If the 4th was a problem with the law, it is within the scope of the law to protect you and the general public from harm and I remember some news of violence (not sure who from and don’t care). I have to assume this is the reason for your being stopped if there was a legal one. That is unless you went to some other length to upset them that I have missed.

2.Australia’s interests first, over all other nations as stated in our Residency Agreements and our citizenship requirements.
Australia’s interest sits above religion and dual passports. Muslims may not go to Syria and fight for ISIS when Australia’s interests are against it. It must be a case of Australia or Ummah—choose.

– Was it necessary to single out muslims? I wonder if they apply this to christians who put god and the bible before all else? Reading on through this document I think it becomes clear that putting christianity first is quite acceptable. Christianity is given plenty of special consideration in this document.

3. Equality at Law. (No more “cultural considerations”)
As Australians we embrace equality and care for all our people equally regardless of religion or ethnicity…but the law is the law and it too is equally dispensed, regardless of how long you have been in the country.

– Who can argue with this, other than the fact the law is meant to respond to cultural change that is. BUT, who was missing out on equality under the law? Do they think muslims get special consideration for their religion? I have myself reason to believe christianity has been given much special consideration in law. Look at the push for SRI in public schools and the hoops our federal government have jumped through to continue this predominantly christian program, this government even did away with the last governments secular inclusion to ensure christian privilege was looked after. I know this is about sharia law being used in muslim communities and it is a concern but I wonder if Reclaim are prepared to police and stop christians putting church/god/religion before law, jewish communities doing the same and also maintaining own legal systems and then there is the legally allowed tribal courts that exist in some Aboriginal communities. I have found most reclaimers are blind to these other cultural/religious issues.

4. Democracy over Political Correctness.
Our political system allows one person to have one vote and the majority opinion rules. “The right to freedom of opinion is the right to hold opinions without interference, and cannot be subject to any exception or restriction.” Political correctness infringes on Australians Constitutional rights. We reclaim the right to hold opinions without interference.

– Political correctness has not been made law to my understanding and thought policing is as yet in its early stages with data retention laws just coming to play. Hate speech, political correctness and having ideas are not the same thing. If you are thinking things others may find offensive I’m pretty sure at this stage you are still safe from the thought police. If you put a point forward and it is hate speech or defamatory you may find the law interested in you. If people respond to you with strong criticism that bothers you, you are not actually being stopped from saying what you want. Asking that criticism be stopped you are in fact the one/s asking to have others legally given freedom of expression taken from them.

5. Freedom for service people to wear uniforms in public, safely—on and off duty.
Any attack on the service uniform of the commonwealth of Australia is an attack on the nation of Australia. Hiding our uniforms whilst off duty is not a leadership solution. An attack needs to be considered as an act of war on the Nation of Australia and treated accordingly. Only when we respect our uniforms will others follow. Same goes with our flag—an attack on our flag must be made punishable at law.

– I’m not sure why anyone should wear a uniform off duty; a uniform is a sign of being on duty. If you attack someone wearing a uniform there are surely laws pertaining to assault and damage to property which already cover this. As to nationalism and flags, I would burn one tomorrow – they’re all made in China anyway – to protest in favour my freedom of expression for or against any aspect of my nation. If you value a piece of cloth over an individual’s right of expression – as given in our constitution – you are not being the best Australian you can be.

6. Freedom to attend our public functions without threat or fear of terrorism.
Stop all forms of radicalisation within our shores until it stops. If that means removing imams, Korans and closing down all mosques and Islamic schools then so be it. Australian public safety is a primary mandate of our Government.

– Christian evangelism is a form of radicalisation; I guess they don’t think so. If we close all mosques, I propose we also have to close all churches and religious schools, not just evangelist churches and schools. Again they managed to single out muslims without once addressing the fact that churches and temples are found in many denominations and all have the potential to create people with a weak grip on reality. They also missed the fact that the majority of private schools in Australia a christian and that we also have cultural schools such as Greek and Italian schools. All of these schools and places of religion/culture could be creating extremism, shut them all down.

7. Our food to be free of religious taxes to other nations, blessings and certifications.
Imagine if the Vatican issued an edict that said only Catholics could eat Vatican Certified or blessed Food and went around and made every Australian food manufacturer pay for Vatican compliance and further, decreed that only Catholics were able to kill, bless, transport and store the food. It would be considered discriminatory to the rest of Australia, even if Catholics are 25% of the population. Yet today, 2% of our population have this sway. Food supply is a matter for the “state”—not religion. We certify for quality and health reasons.
If manufacturers want to state “contains no pork or alcohol” that is their business.

– For all that I am against funding religion in any way it has to be noted that we fund religion in many ways and this is maybe the smallest way. The fact that religion is not taxed should be of more concern that halal certification. The only certification these people are really worried about is islamic, maybe because this is one tax christianity cannot claim due to their long history of ignoring biblical food laws. As somewhat noted in their example, if it were christian certification being questioned they would scream for it to remain in place. From a manufacturer point of view, certification is just a way to open up more sales, a right they have, just like labelling if something has pork or alcohol in it. There is no law stating halal certification is required and no law stating it can’t be used, this is a purely commercial decision. As commercial as the consumers decision on which products they purchase or avoid purchasing, nobody is making you buy halal certified food. I personally buy anything using a halal label as its primary sales criteria, that is my option as a consumer.

8. Equality of Gender.
This year in a press conference in Sydney, female journalists were asked to go to the back of the room in deference to the culture giving the conference. The male journalists said nothing and the female journalists did as requested. Equality of Gender is enshrined in Australian law and is one of the values that makes Australia the great country it is. It’s up to all Australians to protect these values in everyday day situations including press conferences. On Australian soil women have equal rights to men and that includes where they stand.

– Again, who can deny this. The example given however addresses a particular situation and again it focuses on muslims. It has to be noted that many christians believe in women being subservient to men, especially evangelistic christians. Many Christian groups believe women should cover and I have even come across women who sit in the back seat of the car behind their husband as a christian observance. It is only true of christians that if they tried to pull male superiority over a group of random christians, no one christian in the room would agree to what degree this should be allowed. Islam is very clear on the place of women and has not been as watered down by cultural change so it is possible they will require women to adhere to certain rules more readily. In a public place this would be against the law and there would be reason for complain but in a private event you participate in the way the event organiser wants or you don’t participate. I have walked out of church events rather than pretend to pray and if you are going to be upset at my eating while you talk to your imaginary friend don’t come to dinner at my home. I as a business owner have a right to dictate the nature of my business and who I allow as a client (as long as I simply deny the service and not express any isms, then it becomes a legal issue). So it is muslims can also make the rules when it’s their shop, their event or their home. The only choice you have to make is whether or not you want to attend and submit to their conditions. As Reclaim mentioned it I wonder what they make of gender variations other than male and female, I know they have a passion for radial christianity which leaves me thinking it’s not the their thing.

9. Individual Sovereignty.
In Australia we enjoy the freedom of choosing who we are going to marry, who we mix with, where we go, what job we do and what we wear. But not so for all those born here. This year we have learned about girls growing up inside of Australia but being forced to marry outside of Australia and under-aged. Individual sovereignty is a freedom given to all Australians regardless of culture.

– With data retention and anti-terrorism laws I’m not sure any of us have the personal sovereignty we once had but again this one is about a few muslims breaking Australian law and women – for whatever reason – choosing to cover themselves in cloth. We have seen child marriage going on but then we also have a royal commission into child abuse which has focused most of its attention on religious institutions, mostly Christian ones. In one specific case of child marriage I have heard Reclaim cite, a man was indeed arrested and has been given prison time for the crime of marrying an under-age girl in another country. Though people may do these things the law is in place to protect children and it has for some time recognised that the abuse of children in other nations by Australian’s is still an offence under Australian law. Prosecutions started in this area quite some time back and helped clean up the Thai sex trade (again a largely white christian issue Australian issue). Yet again we have Reclaim focusing on muslims with the intent of making them a focus of hate and totally missing the fact we do have child protection laws. They have also missed the fact that for generations many groups identifying with a specific nationality have sent their children away to marry. How you police this I don’t know or particularly care. As an atheist I can no more stop a parent indoctrinating their children with fairy tales than stop them teaching them to stay in their cultural ethnic group.

10. Equality and tolerance of races and religions.
This also includes Aussies and Christians.

– I didn’t know Aussie was a race and I know Christian isn’t. Nice job here singling out of the most powerful religion in Australia – and the world – for special consideration and making out it is in some way a victim in need of protection. As a group that cites nationalism in their arguments I have to question their differentiation of Aussie and Christian. Do they see christian as something separate from Australian? Can you not be both christian and Australian? Do you put Aussie or christian first? I don’t understand how this works with all the nationalism, I can only guess they thought they needed to stick the word christian in one more time and this cockup is what occurred. It also seems someone needed to ensure christianity got special consideration in the document, being the poor innocent victim minority they are.

11. Separation of state and religion.
Religions must respect and adhere to all the laws of the land if they want to practice here. When religious teachings conflict—in order not to break the social cohesion of Australia—we must insist that our Laws dominate. Social cohesion and ability to comply with our laws, must also be a strong selection criteria in determining which people are suitable as refugees and immigrants for Australia. If people find themselves unable to keep our laws because of their religious or cultural practices, then they will need to be considered as unsuitable as immigrants.

– While I agree with the premise I suspect Reclaim mean all religion but their own which they consider to be an integral part of our society. I wonder if we pushed Reclaim would they see the laws pertaining to Special Religious Instruction (a mostly christian programme) as selectively allowing religion a privileged place in our society. Especially with two high court losses against it and the long fought for secular option again being removed from the system. I am yet to meet an evangelist christian who believes that their god comes after the law even though jesus himself said it was how things are. To paraphrase jesus he said obey the law while you live and make yourself right with god for when you die. Again I know this is about muslims having sharia justice in their communities but all religions have always seen themselves as above the law. Are we going to ask christians what comes first, god or law, before we let them in? It sounds like a good idea to me.

12. Freedom of Speech.
How absurd it is when “speaking the truth” becomes secondary to “not offending” someone for stating the facts. At the moment this is just where 18C has placed freedom of speech in our legislation. Truth is an intrinsic value of our culture and our legal system therefore offence legislation 18C just has to go. Truth must always prevail in our culture.

– This is something idiots always get wrong about Australian law, we are not the USA and your television education is not serving you well. Australia has “Freedom of Expression” not “Freedom of Speech”, there are differences in how the two work in law and in some ways expression is the better. They go on about facts after this but basing a statement on a fact and making misleading conclusions is not actually remaining true to the fact. 18C protects people from false, misleading and defamatory speech which we have never had freedom of and does not counter our Freedom of Expression. Fact is truth can be deceptive, fact is fact, truth is subjective. For instance religions always claim to know truth but not one has as yet proven a god or that they are the one religion speaking with said gods express permission. There is no fact in religion but many accepted claims of truth. Which religions truth is the real truth? Fact would be a better solution but if factual statements were made law politicians would run out of things to say and churches would be forced to close. Perfect or not Freedom of Expression seems to serve us well and changing it would take a great deal of forethought and care.

13. Freedom from intimidation for being “Australian”.
This includes showing patriotism to Australia, it’s flag, Anglo and Christian heritage, cultural customs of dressing, speaking, drinking and eating.

– I see we managed to slip in not being allowed to criticise christians, special consideration again. Regardless of the heritage, of our national founders, why is it not our Aboriginal Dream Time heritage cited here? Maybe this about the fact that I live about 60km from Bogan Shire (yes there is a Bogan Shire in central NSW, I didn’t invent it) and I make jokes about bogans every time I pass the shire sign? Could this be special protection of anyone regardless of their message, if they stand under an Australian flag and claim to be nationalists they can say anything, anywhere, any time? I would protest both concepts any day of the week. For now now it seems the one thing we are Australians are good at is laughing at ourselves, is this going to be stopped? Our federation was formed as a secular one specifically to keep Roman catholic christians taking control and for generations we have been a nation of many religions and notably, even in my grandfather’s day, non-religion. We are not a christian nation.

14. English as the primary language for schools and public events held in Australia.
Minorities have been found to use hate speech and inciting hatred in a public forum but avoid prosecution by speaking another language in front of the police. It is a one law for all argument. English Interpreters should be part of any public political forum in Australia where English is not the primary language spoken.

– I love living in a multi lingual country. As someone who has travelled and known many people with different nationalities I love hearing other languages being used. My own son is being raised bi-lingual and I hope his Chinese is as strong as his mothers and that they feel free to use it. Equally, at an event where Chinese people were the target audience I would not expect them to always use English or feel threatened for not doing so. We have a culture of multiculturalism going back a long way, my own mother is Dutch born. Now government documents are being provided in a multitude of languages to cater for our multiculturalism. Why should we not extend that to all things in our multicultural nation, why not become a multilingual nation with one core language. I have always wished I could speak more languages. For me this one stinks of White Australia policy. Abusive language is cited here as if it was a problem but if nobody finds language abusive who is to say it is, who judges what is abusive? I may call my mates fuck-nuts but if they don’t find it abusive your dislike of the word fuck should not play any part in my use of it. If I call you a fuck-nut with intent to offend then and only then may you decide what is offensive, but, if I called you a cheese-sandwich abusively which one would you more want me arrested for? Get over yourselves, stop trying to limit my Freedom of Expression.

15. The right to revoke citizenship, exile or deport traitors.
Our UN obligations has now made this extremely difficult. Social cohesion is our Government’s responsibility to its people. If we have have made a mistake in immigration policies we reserve the right as a nation to reverse them and expel unsuitable immigration candidates and traitors.

– I already worked out that as an atheist I may be in breach of our “Anglo and Christian heritage” (#13) protections so I guess I have to submit myself to the law and be deported. Wonder where I have to go, I have been to Europe and lives a short while in China but I wouldn’t call them home, I am an Australian and always have been. We already have a government that wants to decide who is a traitor and what outside causes you may be considered a traitor for supporting with the intention of striping a persons nationality. I wonder which activities Reclaim wants to add? As an Australian who does not stand for the raising of the flag or playing of the anthem because nationalism holds no interest to me, in fact I find nationalism revolting. Does my not wanting to support radicalisation through nationalism – especially a false christian nationalism – make me less proud to be Australian or worthy of the title?

16. The right to celebrate our traditions and Christian Holidays.
Our National Public Holidays are New Year’s Day, Australia Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Anzac Day, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

– What are our traditional holidays? I see a list of religious holidays and 2 days of nationalism but none of the holidays we should have as a nation, days such as May Day or Federation Day, holidays our country could claim with pride having worked for them. Australia has a number of secular holidays, I don’t think anyone is trying to stop us having these days but then I didn’t know we were not getting the christian preferred holidays listed above, I may be out of the loop. I’m really not sure why Reclaim think they are not getting their christmas, it is still a public holiday to ensure we all have to submit to their pagan observances. Did they not get their chocolate eggs or presents? Did they think without our enforced pagan holidays we would all take up fasting and flagellating ourselves for ramadan? Then again, why shouldn’t we celebrate ramadan? I have celebrated passover with Jewish friends and have had christian ritual forced on me all my atheist life. Nobody ever asked if I wanted to celebrate Science, Darwin, Big Bang or No-Religious-Nonsense day. Nobody is trying to stop the religious having their little festivals but why does that mean the rest of us must have them enforced on us in the form of public holidays. Lucky for the christians, I recognise the pagan ritual behind their important dates and can laugh at how stupid they are crying about their precious pagan holidays. I love pagan presents and chocolate eggs too.

17. The Constitution and true representation in Government.
MP’s are to represent the concerns of their community first—not their party. We are a democracy and MP’s are our voice into the Government. Petitions with 2 million signatures are currently being ignored and referendums by passed when the people should be consulted. Minority parties hold major parties to ransom. The two party system at present is not serving the people.

– “The constitution”, may as well state “the alphabet”. This statement doesn’t tell us much about what they want with the constitution, it’s a good thing they clear it up. Unfortunately their clarification only shows a limited understanding of the democratic process. Yes we have a two party system which does not always seem democratic but to then dismiss third party options and their influence on government is to ignore the first concern about party politics. Parties are answerable in a democratic way when third party options achieve enough votes to hold the balance of power. Doing deals to pass policies is extremely democratic, one party holding all the cards is not democracy and switching between two parties with all the cards is not far short of a two party dictatorship. Party politics may not seems democratic but it is meant to provide a method by which government is not always stuck in petty one-on-one debate. A party can make a decision and push as one voice to the resulting policy. Our system may not be ideal but it is a workable system and I have no better alternative, nor do Reclaim. I tend to agree that the two party preferred system needs to be changed but as it becomes apparent third party options are growing in strength the way to change things is not to simply crush all opposition or try and make government a rabble of ineffectual individuals. Is it any wonder our democratic system seems broken when people who make simplistic statements like this are given the vote.

18. Australia’s sovereignty at law, over all other nations including the U.N.
Our nation is adopting legislation in line with UN agreements. If the UN is able to exert this level of power on Australia that leads to the introduction of new laws then perhaps we need to have a referendum to belong to it.

– This is simply stupid and I feel it is aimed at the idea of all people trying to seek refugee status in Australia are muslims and given too much protection under our agreements with the UN. It seems these people don’t want us having humanitarian concerns for refugees. I can’t think of any other way in which the UN is having a great deal of impact on our laws. Given the UN’s reports and condemnation of how we treat refugees it may be said we don’t do anything we have agree to anyway.

19. Separation of Religion and State
Whether we are religious or atheist we have a right to act and speak according to our own moral compass. That is the true test of a tolerant, free and democratic society. Political correctness is today’s sign that “the state” is incorrectly interfering with the individual’s moral compass. In cannot legislate on matters of conscience like gay marriage, abortions and religion. These are matters of personal conviction for every individual and cannot be legislated on in order to stop uncomfortable debates.

– I am all for this copy of #11, as much as I was at #11, but suspect Reclaim don’t mean “stop enforcing christian holidays on non-christians” (#16). I have a real problem with this statement, “Political correctness is today’s sign that “the state” is incorrectly interfering with the individual’s moral compass” because it indicates that these people believe our laws are not a reflection of our countries moral compass and their morals are better. In effect, because they want to discriminate the law must let them or the law is wrong. It also tells me they know nothing of how morals are formed and acted on, I have to assume they think it was some god what did it.The examples they use are signs only of bigotry, not a moral compass. Gay marriage is only marriage, an ask for equality for all people who want to make a life together. Abortions are not being enforced on anyone and people are free to decide their own moral stance on how they use the service provided. The government providing a safe service for those who choose abortion is a health issue not a part of any “national moral compass”. I had not realised people were being refused their right to have a chosen mythology, it would actually seem to me that our government have a wish to ensure everyone has a religion – if possible, their religion – and atheism is not allowed. The current SRI in state schools issue is clearly not about government taking gods away. I am certain that there is no law saying I MUST believe in a god or not and I would defend anyone’s right to believe or not (even though I am an anti-theist who would if I could rid the world of religion, I would never want it made law).

20. Recognition and respect of Australia’s indigenous community and their requirements.

– Maybe they don’t know enough about Aboriginal Australia to elaborate. While they push the cause of “Anglo and Christian heritage” they are not really that interested in indigenous culture. “Christian Holidays” are cited but where have they expressed any interest in impossible holidays with an indigenous feel? They want to dictate our clothing choices which I take to mean loin cloths and/or bare breasts are out (where such things are the norm, not all Aboriginal nations are the same and I don’t mean to imply so). Reclaim want English as our one and only national language with not one word of recognition to the fact that many Australians, who did not come from other nations, speak a native language of our nation as their first and foremost language. I can’t take Reclaim seriously on this one, this is just vote buying, they care not about the Aboriginal people.

21. Self-sufficiency in oil, industry and as a food producer for Australia.
The Lima Agreement pushed Australia to drop its tariffs and allow for a global marketplace for food and manufacturing. As a result we have lost our self sufficiency in manufacturing and farming and are now dependant on a global marketplace. This places Australia in an vulnerable economic position.

– I would support the position of a sustainable Australia myself and in may ways we are. What this very simplistic solution to our national debit and/or job markets means is these people have little knowledge of how Australia did manage to maintain its self-sustainability for as long as it did. It ignores the diminishing quality of our ground water resources and our dried up river beds. It ignores the possible changes that may occur with climate change and population growth. It ignores the benefits of international trade. I don’t have a position against sustainability, I am a sustainability activist where and when I can be but I am also a realist. What I do have is a position against yelling for sustainability without real solutions and an understanding of the problems and benefits.

2. Australia’s land from 100% foreign ownership.
Currently vast tracts of farmland are being bought up by overseas countries. There may come a time when our land produces the food for other nations yet our people have not enough to feed them, what then?— will our security forces be used to protect foreign interests against its own people.

– Fair enough. Make Australia separatist. I am to some degree all for national ownership but I don’t think discussion of the benefits and principles of Fascism is everyone’s cup of tea. I don’t want another nation buying the nation out from under our feet but being a realist I also have no concern that is what is happening. Corporations could not technically be considered countries (though legally they are people I guess and as such must have nationalities..). I don’t know this is a big issue I am not ready to address in a short reply. This simplistic demand for a broad reaching concept is not as simple as Reclaim would like to make it sound. On the topic of defence forces, they already protect other nation’s interests; the USA has had bases and troupes here for some considerable time. I don’t for one second believes the USA has our interests in mind our put our interests first. The UK tested nuclear weapons on or soil with our troops and our government have still not backed a claim for compensation for victims. How are we not already protecting other nations interests with our military?

23. Australia’s regional and rural voice.
We grew fat of the back off our primary industry. If changes need to be made to long term policies of procurement then they need to have a voice and be compensated, especially if Government changes the ground rules for long term investments…like dropping tariffs.

– Citing the past is always good nationalism. Our country, the world, our economic realities have all changed. I live in Outback Australia so I know what it means to have no voice. Our local representative flies in a couple of times a year (less now we have no air service) to have his photo taken with someone who received some pitiful grant and yet somehow manages to get elected time and again. When it comes to tariffs and trade agreements there is room for concern but putting this down as “Australia’s regional and rural voice” does little to address the problems of hospital services, government representation and general services, access and transport or even getting an air service back in a number of regions. My (and 5000 others in my community) local hospital is 300km away, Ambulance or flying doctor are not free, fuel and accommodation are murder on a family budget, transport claims are often not paid and accommodation is limited to 2 people at $60 a night, I know about not being represented. This is just another simplistic nationalistic statement from Reclaim with no substance or thought behind it.

24. Respect for our history, culture and ideologies, needs to taught in our education system and in our public media.
Our Judeo-Christian foundations are being eroded and our white heritage is being rewritten by cultural marxists trying to belittle our nation’s beginnings—using aboriginal genocide to hit back at todays Australians. Many brave settlers died making our land habitable for the cities and classrooms that now benefit from their courage, money, beliefs and hard work. We owe it to them to respect their efforts in allowing Western Civilisation to flourish. Free Market Enterprise, imperialism, socialism, democracy, christianity, immigration, indigenous Australians and capitalism have all played a part in making Australia Australian. We are a mongrel nation and ALL parts need to be recognised for what they added.

– I have watched Play School recently, I didn’t feel I was getting taught Chinese culture. Did you know white history was being rewritten? “Ideologies” was the key to where this was going and yes, the first line of explanation says it, “Judeo-Christian” and “white heritage”. So much for “Recognition and respect of Australia’s indigenous community and their requirements” (#20). I guess what they mean is treat them like they’re special, subhuman maybe, treat the little dears with a kind hand and make cooing noises at them as we drive them to their out of the way communities. It’s such a great favour we did them bringing them “Western Civilisation”, by force. My white Australian family are from Gippsland in Victoria near the 90mile beach. I went to school in Melbourne in Victoria, yet it was not until I was in my 20s that I learned of stone hut Aboriginal settlements having existed where my family are based. It is time our “white” history was rewritten because it is a lie. This country was founded on the work of many nationalities and people of many religious backgrounds. The Aboriginals, Europeans, Chinese and Afghanis all played a part in our nations identity. The problem without nation is its “white heritage”. Our “white heritage” crushed and destroyed everything that did not meet its picture of how this country should be. I am white and I have no love or want of a fixed and false “white heritage” reality. This one is what Reclaim is about, making us all christian and white (which is odd given how many of the members of the evangelist group behind it have Asian wives). For the sake of my own Asian wife and half Asian child, and for my White Australian family I hope we never return to a time where our history is hidden from us or people try to push their bigoted vision on the rest of us. The only thing I take issue with in the line “Free Market Enterprise, imperialism, socialism, democracy, christianity, immigration, indigenous Australians and capitalism have all played a part in making Australia Australian” is the fact that they leave out the buddhist Chinese, muslim Afghanis and the fact that all of my nearly 50 years I have grown up atheist (third generation of Australian atheists that I know of, my kids and my brothers make four generations) knowing this was one of the world’s least religious countries, not a christian nation. I’m not sure why they focus on profit motive and forget socialism and unionism, repression and slavery. We white Australians do not deserve special consideration of our cultural heritage, we forced it on this nation and everyone in it and it was not a good time. The wonderful nation we now have is due to the breaking down of that “white heritage” and our embracing multiculturalism and the equality it brings. We have grown up and learned to care, where once we intimidated and tortured we now work to accept and integrate. The only thing we keep from our white heritage worth keeping are the legal and political systems that show they can adapt to change, the very political and legal system Reclaim wants taken back to a time when we lived off the sheep’s back and repressed people. Finally they make the only completely true statement of this document, “we are a mongrel nation”.

We are a mongrel nation and trying to make us anything but a mongrel nation is not very Australian.

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Last time Reclaim came out their most prominent face was that of a white supremacist but the pro-christian message was loud for anyone looking. After this public outing the primary person behind Reclaim is being noted as an evangelist christian preacher from the group Catch the Fire Ministries. I have always taken care not to support inter-religious war, I am an atheist and antitheist and I see religion in all of its forms as a problem for humanity. When the pro-christian message is also tied to race hate and white supremacism I have no problem saying these groups are our enemy, not our friend against the evils of islam. I prefer to fight on my own in my own way than side with the enemy.

May your gods remain fictional

The Antitheocrat

Before I go into this topic I will try to explain my secularism because I am very much an anti theist, some people may think the two don’t work together. I am maybe best described as a secular realist. More than anything in my life I am a realist and the idea of antitheism being a real end game scenario does not play well with the reality of my life and experiences. Antitheism, in my view, is at best a way to water down the influence of religion on society so it becomes the least important aspect of human decision making. Because of my realism I accept that secularism is the best outcome my antitheism will achieve, people it seems will always believe crazy shit. So though it may seem an odd, at this stage in my life I am an antitheist atheist with a secular vision. I thought it important to elaborate on this point so people understand as I write about a secular world view from an anti religion perspective.

I am sitting in a church hall writing this blog and realise that there are things we atheists and secularists need to achieve before religion can be retired from public service.

Though there are halls and rooms not owned by churches in my small town they are not in regular service to the general public. Clubs, masonic halls, government buildings simply don’t have the funding or commitment (official or volunteer) to be offered for public use. Insurance and management are two of the larger problems that need to be considered if we are to make halls and rooms available. Secular society doesn’t have the budgets, priests, ministers and a raft of indoctrinated volunteers waiting to open a door for public access. Even achieving a tax free status is harder for community organisations.

Community work and volunteering has long been part of my own life and I know from my experience serving with as many as 7 groups at a time that I have been part of a small group who sit on multiple committees stretching our abilities and time very thin. I myself ran our local cinema for a time having purchased the lease just to provide a public service (and a personal debit) I have that much passion for community. As a venue with great potential I tried to make it available to the public and community groups but slow uptake, uncooperative local government, lease limitations and finances didn’t allow for me to push on with this community plan. Having served on committees I finally tried on my own and yet again watched an opportunity vanish due to a lack of support, at least on my own there was nobody else to let me down. This is the advantage churches have that is often lacking in community organisations, that one person being paid to manage a group that will always produce willing volunteers (or employees).

Secular society can’t hope to compete with the religious organisations and their funding levels in small backwater towns like this one but what we are not doing it at this level makes us a good isolated example of what is happening at a large scale in cities. I have lived in cities, I was born in a state capital, my experiences in the city were very much the same. The strongest community group I ever participated in was a government funded community band, the secure and serious funding made a serious difference between group on the edge of collapse and thriving community activity.

Right now I am at a playgroup with my wife and baby son, that is why I am in a church hall. The support of a church with its venue means a small, low funded, community group can find a public space. In your community is it any different? My eldest was living in a smaller town when he was a baby and his playgroup was at a kindergarten, a secular option but not always available in large towns as they have more kids requiring of them to provide their services more days of the weeks. The range of secular venues and venue managers and funds able to support groups is simply not there in many places.

In this town, as in many others, the secular option for seminars and events can be clubs funded through alcohol and gambling. Sometimes this is not a problem but it is still not the same as the bare hall with an urn, kitchen, some folding seats and tables that is suitable for so many other activities.

This is where the secular world has to compete if it wants to be seem as a serious social option to religion. Venues, management and stable funding (not just project grants, the current problem with relying on government funds is the focus on short term projects).

Secular groups around the world are doing great things for people but we are not meeting the needs of everyone. We will never separate people from churches while we have these limitations, it is a strength churches have over us.

There is much to do working out how we resolve these problems. Without tithing and long established buildings we have a great deal of catching up to do if we want to offer a logical option to all people. Do we rely on government or like the churches of old do we seek benefactors who pour their own lives into the community for a plaque commemorating their life? Without the hope of buying eternal life we are short one selling point for benefactors. Do we tax the many and hope government comes up with a sound plan for community funding? I myself, on a quite low family income, have spent thousands and been thousand in debit supporting my community to little effect. Without long term funding and planning how do we hope to compete in a market flooded with churches and church halls. How do we achieve anything like a funded community?

For a secular society to ever exist we have so start thinking about how and where churches exist. Where is it they spend their grants and public project funds? How do they meet the social needs of so many people? Churches don’t spend their own money but public funding can be difficult to obtain for smaller less organised secular organisations, how do we get more public money for secular activity? If we can tap those funds and manage similar services in our communities we may be able to fully enact, not just envision, a secular society.

If anybody has an idea how to fund projects, I have some ideas I still want to make reality. Crowd source funding for our local community radio station failed miserably and I have spent every cent I myself can afford on the project. I don’t think I will bother push the community garden idea any time soon. Right now, having paid off my cinema debits and a few thousand more for a community group (just call me sucker, I have been accused of profiting from my volunteering, at least I won’t get angry about being called sucker) I have to go back to running my own business and looking after my family. I will have to simply be antitheist but not secular because my antitheism changes the world where my secularism seems impossible to fund and offers religion a continued place of privilege in society. I will for now have to accept that church halls and church groups offer what I have been unable to do on my own with my own funds and hate every minute our society remains under the influence of fairy tales.

May your gods remain fictional,

The Antitheocrat

This week in Australia, in my current state of residence New South Wales, our government is taking the entire state 3 steps backwards for the benefit of their christian beliefs. Over the past 2-3 years many problems with state indoctrination classes – sorry, Special Religions Instruction or SRE – have been addressed, not all, but many. Though this situation is far from perfect and change has not happened without considerable fighting and legal action, the implementation of things like opt-in rather than the old everyone-goes-until-the-parents-find-out system and the inclusion of secular ethics as an alternative were great improvements on the old system.

So now we have it, the Christian lobby couldn’t stand to loose fee tax funds when parents were given a choice and didn’t take it. This backwards step should not have come as a shock, the greatest shock should be that with so much criminal action and fraud in the party last term, with so many MPs resigning or on charges, this lot still got re-elected for another term. Now they have another term our very christian and not shy about his religion premier and his chief of staff who believes he is gods own chief of staff are showing their true colours. With the government over riding the education department and reinstating SRE books banned for not meeting the standards required by the department it was clear that secularism would be outside their limited abilities. Then things got worse when to the shame of our state, nay country, the senates balance of power was given to Fred Nile, one of Australia’s longest lasting preacher bigots and state MPs (shame NSW, shame).

Oddly enough, everywhere I have lived in Australia NSW has been looked at as a forward thinking and progressive state. With the current trend I find I may as well have stayed in Queensland and wished for the clock to go back 20 years.

“Why all the song and dance”” you say. The state government look set to try and hide any secular option and possibly revert to a new form of opt-out system for SRE in which as a parent you don’t even get all of the options presented until you opted-out of all of the religious offerings first. As it is presented on the ABC’s website “Current enrolment forms give parents a clear option for picking ethics classes as an alternative to Special Religious Education (SRE) for their child, but under the changes being considered by the Government, parents would only be asked what religion their child is”.

This effectively means all kids will get religious instruction unless their parents are wise to the loophole of not choosing a religion. I am not sure if they can offer every denomination their own instructor as Fred Nile has suggested be done. Is it possibly the instructors or schools will decide what they believe is best given to represent the various belief and non-belief options that will be registered. I have no doubt that christian SRE instructors believe they can offer a secular religious instruction to atheist kids if they need to and if the tax money starts rolling again. I’m sure jesus was secular and god loves us all, even atheist kid who will burn in hell. Maybe they can even teach the hindi and muslim kids, who will also burn in hell.

Secular Ethics already had enough hoops to jump through to even get in to the offering. Fred Nile and his ilk had their hats in the ring when ethics classes were established. They and government made a deal that suited them best when forced to offer a secular option, one that made it so difficult to get an ethics class up and running that I myself have been registered to be overseer or instructor in my region for 3 years without it happening. Finding a second person willing to undertake the hours of “volunteer” work and reporting required was not something that proved easy. With the overseer requirement it was also as if they expected us to all suddenly turn into priests and put children at risk, even the teacher in the room wasn’t going to be enough. What this meant was that ethics was harder to get off the ground than the well funded and taxpayer assisted religious options available. As it is, much harder in a small outback town of only 5000 people.

If anyone is confused at this point about what is happening Fred Nile did a wonderful of clearing the entire topic up for us on his ABC radio interview (https://soundcloud.com/702abcsydney/rev-fred-nile-mlc-talks-to) in which he insisted we parents are idiots and SRI participation went down when we had a choice because the form confused us. He also insisted that we all supported him making our choices for us and that the education charted insisted on religious education and did not including any secular options. Parents shouldn’t be offered any secular alternative until they have be forced to deny EVERY other religion on offer.

If this is the thinking behind the governments move to change the school enrolment forms I can’t see how every parent of school aged or nearing school aged children should not be deeply insulted. I for one am a parent and not an idiot. I understand quite well that I can choose not to have my child indoctrinated at school and I do not need the government hiding my options from me when it comes to my child’s education. Who do these people think they are? Fred Nile commands less than 3% of the states votes, what makes him think he has rights over my child when more than 97% of the state think he should pull his head in?

If as Fred suggests, 50% of parents (I don’t know the figures but have heard they are significant), have not opted-in to a religious indoctrination course what business of the government, regardless of votes, to force 50% of parents back into some form of indoctrination of their children. Surely 50% of parents choosing not to have schools indoctrinate their children is a clear statement of our wishes for our own children. Even if some part of this group were unable to understand the forms – possibly under 3%, Fred supporters maybe – why is it the other 47+% of us should be treated like idiots and have our options removed from view so we don’t know they are there to be utilised?

As parents we should all concern ourselves with the indoctrination of our children. We should not let the state employed evangelists to do it for us. This must be as true for me, an atheist, as it is for parents from any of the various belief systems that are truly concerned about what their children believe.

Having vented my anger at yet another government full of twats being elected in this once great country of our I will have to take my leave. Good night all and may your gods remain fictional.

The Antitheocrat

This is written after a short break while a new member of our clan presented himself to the world. It is written on a sleepless night, one of many as I am the night shift person. This writing may contain some of the frustration of being a new parent but with no actual malice towards my son.

This is not my first time as a parent but there has been enough years between for it all to have been forgotten in the haze of time. I don’t remember my first having midnight screening sessions like this one but maybe we just dealt with it differently back then.

Sitting here wondering what stops me from dropping this screaming child on its head gave me cause to write again, so maybe there is value in being a frustrated sleep deprived parent.

No, I have not dropped my son on his head and have no wish to do so. Although I have often been accused of having no moral guide and so no moral values something in me say there is no possible reasoning or lack of theist morality that would cause me to drop a baby. I have also been accused of not having any reason or ability to care or love without a god as my reason for living. Without god I could do anything I want to stop this persistent crying. I know that without a god needing to be invoked, that I love my son and nothing outside the realm of insanity would cause me to hurt him. I care for his health and welfare and know it to be my job to push on through the sleeplessness and cranky nights.

I have knowledge of my love, I have no knowledge of gods, I still can and some times have odd but not driving thoughts. In have thoughts, knowing they are nothing but sleep deprived crankiness. I feel the wish to write when my mind runs wild, not act out in a way that could only be classed as insanity.

The people I worry about at times like this are those who have god but believe not having one would give them a free hand. I have heard much worse proposed than dropping a baby from people who insist I have no morals. Only this week I viewed a video of a theist I have heard them propose things that would never cross my mind, even in the state I’m in. What would these people do if released from their bonds? How many babies would be dropped? How many people raped? How much death and destruction?

The only thought I find comforting when thinking about those who would question my morals, is that they may never find their way to reality. If they do I hope very much they find it through reason and a realisation of just how wrong they were.

My son is settling having cried himself into a manageable state. The crying actually bothers me less than the fact that I am the one doing nights to allow the rest of the family to rest. Tonight nobody gets a full nights rest but soon we will feed him get what’s left. There is always tomorrow night for sleeping.

Through all of this I didn’t find my morals or my ability to care tested to breaking, even though I am godless. Tomorrow I have to work and as always I will pull myself together and manage one more day on minimal sleep. I never was a sleeping sort of person and my first son still made it to 17 years old. Give or take an “act of god” (you have to love those fictional insurance clauses 😛 ) this one will also make it to a grand old age.

For all of those theists who would question my morality and pose examples of the harms they would enact on the world, think hard about your own morality and your mindset. To me they both your morality and mindset seem very fragile things. Consider this while you consider my flippant thought and consider how evil I may or may not be. Consider the number of christians in this world currently exorcising demons from their children (to death in one case this month) rather than struggling through the normal tasks of parenthood. Consider the muslim and hindi parents killing their own young daughters to protect family reputations from real and imagined crimes. Consider the theists who disown or worse their sons for loving someone of the same sex. Consider the doctrines that give these people cause to act on the thoughts that I consider flippant.

At least I know my thought was flippant and have no doctrine on which to base any dangerous act.

In finishing I wish to ask that you please excuse the rant like nature of this post. I think I myself will put it down to that ever present new parent sleeplessness 🙂

May your gods remain fictional.

The Antitheocrat.

This topic is one I look forward to covering because stupidity is something I have always confronted head on (not quite the bad personality trait I may have once thought I was, stupidity requires confrontation). Being atheist all my life and not ashamed to say I don’t believe has often led to people trying to convert me with some simplistic and incorrect breakdown in their own beliefs. The title mentions the two most prominent, from my experience, of the gods that have no value (well less than the other nonexistent gods).

We atheists love to ask for evidence of god and with sound justification. We humans learned not to guess answers like god into existence some time ago, we leaned to study or environment building layers of evidence on which to further our knowledge. Evidence is important in improving our knowledge of the world if possible, of gods. I doubt very much that without evidence many theists would believe in the orange invincible invisible tide directing monkey god, the one who rides on my back (should I claim one). They would demand evidence of the monkey, they would demand proof it made the tides, they may even cite scientific knowledge to dispelled my tides claim. Why then do their gods not require the same level of scrutiny? What we ask is nothing they themselves wouldn’t ask of a great many irrational claims. Denial of other peoples gods is a favourite of many religions, few if any blindly accept every god as being possible.

Science, not required for atheism but not a danger to atheism.

Science, not required for atheism but not a danger to atheism.

Denial by the religious often goes one further extending to a denial of science. Selected science, not the ones that make computers and social media possible. Science, which in modern times has in place a complete system for reporting and retesting its own findings, is popularly refuted by some theists. These theists demand evidence but are generally unwilling to accept evidence when it’s given or in failing to understand it cite their ignorance as the case against it. Denial of scientific evidence is not the same as denial of some guy who owns an old dog bone he says disproves evolutions without ever allowing it to be examined (but wheels it out for religious congregations). Science asks to be refuted because people failing to disprove finding is far more powerful than a million people simply accepting findings. In denying science you are denying the work of people who were on your side, those trying to find fault in the work. The untested dog bone is very different and stands only as unsubstantiated nonsense and hearsay, it can be denied without further consideration.

In asking for evidence of god we atheists do have to be willing to consider or study any that is presented. This is not the same as requiring us to simply accept anyone’s word that a dog bone disproves one of the most powerful scientific theories of all time. Of course we can’t test everything for ourselves, the beauty of science is that it offers us a way to read the work done by others and find discrepancies should they exist. We can even repeat the work if we have the resources or have someone else do it for us. If you want to deny science at least read a review of the research, people review papers for a living to save us all reading all the unimportant detail. A good way to get a feel for a scientific paper is to read the reviews and peer comments. There are many ways to learn something of science and it’s workings. If you want your dog bone accepted as evidence against science, submit it for testing. If you have evidence you should be proud of it, what harm is there in our asking to see it?

I’m all for demanding evidence of god, we should do it more and argue pointless theism less. We shouldn’t stop at evidence though, we can take this whole argument back one step and demand a definition for “god”. What is it? What is it you want us to believe? What are you trying to prove? Present evidence, of what? Even if theists presented evidence it may prove useless if we don’t know what it’s evidence of. If someone presented a tea cup and you had no knowledge of tea or access to tea, proving tea from the existence of the cup may prove impossible.

395303_10151287858150527_247700905526_23081195_467410619_nThis is where the god of love, hunger, the need to pee and other synaptic impulses finally comes in. When pushed for definition my experience is that love is now the most common one given. “God is love”, it seems is the best definition of god we have in this modern era, an era in which we have the ability to measure and study the bodies most intimate processes. What we know of love shows it to be a completely natural process, explainable through evolutionary terms and completely free from supernatural influences. It’s not just we humans that have positive reactions in response to others of our kind, it is a well known process in many if not most living organisms. In ourselves we know full well the electrochemical reactions that take place when we interact with others of our species and we understand it. We react in some way to most people but when we bond to others that reaction becomes the more powerful positive reaction we call love. We know what love is and we have a name for it, we call it “love”. Why do we need another meaningless term to describe a known and named reaction? Why do we need god, we have love? Why is god never “the need to pee”?

Only this week I had this argument extended to me personally. “Who am I? I am god, god is me”. No I am a human animal from Earth and my mother gave me a perfectly good name. These thing describe something about me but calling me god is useless and adds nothing to our knowledge of who I am. This is nothing more than a rebuild of the love argument. For some reason theists love to change the subject of their argument, keep the core of the argument intact and treat it as a new revelation. If you call god “toenail growth” it has no more meaning than “god is love”.

The second claim is the inevitable next step in the “god is love” argument. Deism is as strange as theists argue nihilism when they most certainly believe in their own existence as creations of a fictional god. Deism describes everything as god. My keyboard is god, a rock is god, I am god, our every action is god . We can give a name for everything deists call god, a keyboard is a keyboard, a rock is a rock, I have a name… Like love why do we need to give everything a meaningless additional definition. Calling my keyboard god does nothing to explain god or make my keyboard anything more than a keyboard.

a realityBefore god had to start sliding back in to the gaps in our knowledge god was defined. God was very like us. Buddha was a well to do wealthy fat man who became a supergod by contemplating his navel and telling people it was okay not to be wealthy and well to do. The Abrahamic god was the mould we were drawn from, he was a man who made things and wrote rules but immortal and living in the sky. If you go to the many other religions of humanity there are numerous images and models of gods to be found, even tree spirits at some point had human or semi human form. The point is that we used to know god, we didn’t have to give god wishy washy meaningless definitions. As our knowledge of the world grows and the places to hide god diminish, our knowledge of god seemingly vanishes and now even the believers can’t describe what it is they believe in.

As I have previously pointed out, if we had a definition for god we could start working to prove or disprove god. Calling god everything still leaves us with no foundation for working out what god is. Using the tea cup analogy, trying to fit an elephant, a peach and three pairs of underwear (or everything) into a tea cup will not bring forth tea. Even if you stumbled across tea you would only have one possible use for the cup, not evidence of intended purpose. The cup could as easily be evidence of whiskey unless you were to find the words “this cup is for tea” inscribed on the cup. “God is everything” means nothing and has no value.

I will cover one more angle of deism because deism is often cited as the religion of some of the worlds great thinkers. The call to authority argument. It is just as likely in many cases that the god of deism was a way to shake off the god question without needless social reprisals for not believing. Would Albert Einstein have suffered any form of reprisal if he said he was atheist in the era that saw the words “in god we trust” added to the US currency? Would it have caused some difficulty coming up against his jewish upbringing? Maybe and maybe he really was deist but reading some of his notes on theism it would be very easy to consider him an atheist. His supposed deism reads as a fascination of the universe more than a spiritual journey. Many supposed deists before him were it seems of a similar mind set and finding spiritualistic beliefs in their writings is not the task of a historical and literary layman like myself. The way I see it is that if a nobody like me can break down deism, surely the great minds of the past could. Deism and the god of love are equally useless concepts and easily tossed aside.

Getting back to the lack of definition for god, it does have one drawback for atheists. Atheism is a lack of belief in god/s, whatever gods are. If however we remember that gods are only hypothetical it doesn’t matter that they lack definition, the lack of definition only makes it easier to deny such a poorly constructed philosophical argument. The problem then is not so much about god/s but that atheism should maybe be redefined as “denial of the philosophy of god”.

I often use this philosophy argument though it often goes over the head of theists or they want to avoid facing the truth of their beliefs. Sometimes you have to resort to other methods to get past the barriers. It doesn’t hurt however to remind atheists that god is pure philosophy. Some atheists argue god as if it were something based on evidence or existence. Philosophy doesn’t come to life just because someone wishes it so and we should remember that in our own arguments.

The lack of definition may be a negative but it can be a positive in our favour. In creating their arguments theists do use some common terms to describe their gods and the most commonly used and meaningless word used is supernatural. Supernatural is everything outside the natural, no more definable than god itself but common to other irrational claims, claims sometimes based on theistic concepts but not automatically considered theism. The final result of this line of thought is that god is supernatural and all claims of a supernatural nature are god or god like. This is that it allows me to deny the entire collected range of crap called spiritualism which can only be described as supernatural or god like. With no definition of god coming from believers I can’t but think it justifiable that I define their belief for them based on the limited information available. At least I know what I deny (sort of, everything not natural, whatever that is). On this basis my atheism may be better defined as denial of supernaturalism, which as pointed out, includes gods.

May your gods remain fictional.

The Antitheocrat.

Though my title applies to the nature of theism rather than atheism it has relevance in how over the years people have dealt with their atheism and failed to have it recognised as a social and political force.

I will start by getting my initial statement about the title out of the way because it is very simple to explain and will save confusion later. Theism is indefensible for the simple reason that without irrefutable evidence of a god any and all arguments for a god remain pure philosophy. Arguments for a real existing god are meaningless and doomed to fail. Theist often argue the problems they perceive (or are instructed to perceive) in science and atheism as if it in some way justified or proved their god, what they fail to understand is that if all of scientific knowledge was to be overturned tomorrow we would still be no closer to proving a god unless they could show a god did it. Trying to discredit scientific findings and theories is a waste of time they could better spend trying to prove there was a god. When pushed for evidence theists will often say they have faith but the doctrines of faith exclude any need of evidence and fails to meet the requirement. The very nature of god as supernatural also excludes evidence because evidence would make god part of the natural and easily proven by scientific means. Defending a philosophy is always possible (though theism fails there too) but defence of a real god entity is and will forever remain indefensible.

ExplainAtheism is indefensible in an entirely different way. Atheism fails to have any beliefs or doctrines of it’s own to defend. This creates a problem if you are trying to defend or promote atheism. Only this week I saw a preacher had written a book on the premise that atheists “need god” to make their case, the problem is that he has a point (though not the one he was trying to make). Atheism does rely on god, a philosophically constructed argument for god must exist for atheism to exist. This does not mean we accept or require a real existing entity as I am sure the theist writer proposes. Without the philosophy of god there would be no reason to be atheist, we could all get on with our lives in peace free from other peoples imaginary friends, ridiculous doctrines and attempts to subvert our political systems with religious agendas.

The point I want to make with this article is that idea of promotion is hard for atheism we’re always on the back foot. Atheism exists only to deny theism. Being heard or seen as a significant community has long been a problem and not having a doctrine or doctrinal organisation voicing our side of the deity philosophy has left behind us with generations of silence and oppression.

Atheism is not new, it existed in ancient Greece. I alone am the third generation of recognisably atheistic men in my family. This being atheistic in fact makes my point, we were atheistic because as non-believers the word atheist was not on our radar. I learned the word atheist in my 30s and it took another 10 years to fully accept it as the best and least confusing word to describe who I am. I know of religion, I wasn’t insulated from the world and who gets through life without a church funeral or wedding or at least one door knocking evangelist. In my case both of my parents had given any pretends of religion up before I was born. Years before I was born both had identified as members of christian cults (anglican and catholic). When I came into the world I had the luck of being raised with no religion at home and being allowed to discover it on my own. I did some religious instruction in primary school and even went to Sunday school for a while. In my later years, the years where morality becomes an issue, I did a far more comprehensive study of as many religions and doctrines as I could to find anything of value. I knew early on that all that god stuff made no sense and that I had no requirement for it. All my self discovery and learning only solidified my non belief and yet, I never recall learning or discovering through community involvement, the word atheist. Discovering the word atheism was part of a search for parents like myself who were seeking an end to stealth indoctrination of our children. Without that search I may never have identified as atheist or become a part of a community.

I am lucky in some ways that I was born and live in Australia. Australia has always be an irreligious country and though statistically many people will identify with a religion Australia it is a cultural religion not a belief in deity they lay claim too. All my life I have heard about how Australians don’t attend church, of late that has focused on the fact they don’t even go for the religious festivals any more. My home country has always been the sort of place where saying you didn’t believe in a god was possible and had a reduced impact on you life. Growing up pubs (public bars) were more important to the people around me than churches and it was not all that important to identify as atheist. My blood relations are a measure of religion in my life, my grandmother was raised as an orphan in a convent and was catholic, I had one nutter christian aunt and one of her sons now runs his own commune, if there were more it was unknown to me or cultural. That makes 3 people suffered from religion amongst my blood relations, an almost insignificant number amongst my 4 grandparents, 12 aunts and uncles and 50 cousins. Because of this low incidence of religious infection I have lost only a few friends and opportunities for my non belief and never family or even my life as I may have in other places in the world.

It was before the advent of modern social media, 15 years ago when my son started school, that I became a vocal atheist and yet still no under that label. As non believers my wife and I took on religion in state schools and had school prayers and creeds (our sons said “trust in god”) abolished in our state and still we had no organisation or community to identify with. Had we had a community we may have won more of our battles. It was a few years after these events that I accepted atheism and it took my wife another 10 years to accept the atheist label, not because it is wrong for us but because we had little to no understanding of the term, it simply wasn’t in our vocabulary.

The big problem with a country of people who culturally accept religion, they continue religions political and social power. Cultural theists see no great harm in identifying as something they may in fact not be. They believe saying you are one religion means another less desirable religion never takes control of our country, they never consider no religion as a valid option. Countries like mine also don’t discuss religion in a proper manner, meaning, we never get to know of atheism or other options to the one we see as our birth right. Having a religion is accepted as a cultural norm, if you say you have no religion you get asked your parents religion and you get associated with that rather than atheism. Cultural theism means nobody needs to say or even think you can live without religion. We non believers never get to know other non believers on anything but a passing level while religion uses it’s wealth and numbers to influence our political and legal system. Without doctrines and organisations we have no power or funds and no promotion.

This lifeIf it were not for the advent of modern social media (I used to Grex and admin on IRC so I know the now and then) atheism may still be individuals fighting personal battles against religion. As American style evangelism slowly take the place of traditional religion social media has benefited atheism beyond any other form of media. It has taken technology to promote and drive atheism forward and yet we still struggle to have the words recognised in the greater community. It is still easy to go through life not knowing what the word atheism means or recognising one of the symbols used by atheists. People like myself still go through life not knowing there is an option to cultural religion. People like I once was can still feel alienated and left out. As I myself have said, being the non believer in church is is like being sober at a party where everyone else is drunk. People in this world still feel that way, our voice is not being heard in the regular media and not everyone thinks to google their social issues.

I love the fact that within my lifetime atheism has lifted itself up high and become something theist preachers and organisations fear. I do however think we need to do more to be heard in the crowd. We need to become a culturally significant part of society driving for change and showing ourselves to be people. We need to diminish the stigma and hate theists have loaded us with so that even when new non believers hear the word they don’t fear it and can associate with it.

I started a Facebook group with two intentions. Initially we had to take on some theist bigotry in our community being spread through social media and then we had to offer support and community to other non believers in our community. Though we (largely I) are active in the international community on-line we are still only an offer of coffee and a chat if anybody wants one locally. This I believe is where we have to start, we have to be willing to give ourselves to help people who need a friend or someone to discuss their belief issues with. It is through our actions at the most basic levels that we take atheism from being the unspoken poor cousin of theism to the powerful doctrine breaking philosophical power house it is.

Atheism needs to promote itself wider, we need to be seen and heard. We need people to understand that there is an option not to be feared. My eldest will be the first generation of atheist to say all his life “I am atheist”. He will defend his atheism knowing he has legal protection and community but will he promote his atheism and voice it as often as theists do? How will atheism find it’s place in society if we don’t find ways to promote? It is important for the future of atheism that we, as individuals, embrace and defend our atheism publicly. Groups have limited function because they splinter and diminish the impact of causes. We need groups because humans are sociable animals and groups are in our nature but we need to work beyond groups. As individuals with our one common factor we should still work together but not shy away from the idea of atheism being able to be racist, homophobic and generally bigoted. This has to be our truth rather than demand people be humanist, atheist+ or not be atheisting wrong (trust me, you do not have to like everybody to be atheist or humanist). It is only from that position, the position where every non believer is happy to admit their lack of belief regardless of their choice of bigotry, that we get to discuss our bigotry, work it out and be free from doctrine. Only when we do this will atheism be a valid option for all people, something we can promote to everyone and make a very real social force.

Atheist_symbolFor atheism to push forward it needs to be visible and viable an option for everyone. We need to promote our negative philosophy and lack of doctrine and make it appeal to people. We need to work out who we are and who we want to be if we ever want to draw theists and non atheist non believers to our side. We need to promote or compassion and show our bigotry, we need to be human with failings and emotions. We need to show we can do what everybody else does but do it without gods. We need to make the negative of denial a positive of life and show how atheism improves us and our lives.

Having said that, I don’t for one second think we should all agree on everything or not argue amongst ourselves. We need to make our individuality a positive as much as we need to turn our message of denial into a positive. I look forward to more discussion and argument with my fellow atheists, I don’t need us to all be like me. I look forward to being wrong and being corrected. It is important to atheism that where we can we show how these things are positive things resulting from our atheism.

Atheism has enough people wanting to dirty it without our assisting them. It’s time we took an active roll in promoting rather than always being on the back foot refuting some new nonsense from yet another ignorant theist.

May your gods remain fictional.

The Antitheocrat.