Posts Tagged ‘moral’

This argument goes quite simply “do you know your great (great great great) grandmother existed?”. Yes it is that simplistic.

Let’s start at the top. I am here and alive. I may not know who my great grandmother was but I can most definitely assume someone birthed my grandmother, mother and in turn, me from my experiences and knowledge. I saw both my sons being born so I know what vaginas are capable of. I know well enough that I sprang forth from my mother loins to assume my grandmother and my great grandmother had similar biological abilities. Finally I know there is a family history going back 400 years on my mothers side so I can assume 800, 1,600 and even more are entirely possible and likely. Given I am here as a product of being born of another person why would I have need to consider magic was used?

It isn’t always easy to know which direction the person asking is going but this is normally an argument for creationism and less often an argument for a historical jesus.

On the creationist side they have to be making some very big assumptions about how historical evidence came about beyond their 6,000 to 10,000 year planet birth. Assumptions they don’t make about the evidence from the 6,000 to 10,000 years since planet birth. If tomorrow they could find something that carbon dated as being around the time of Noah and everything pointed to it being a boat with kangaroo shit in it, they would yell it from roof tops that carbon dating proved them right. It doesn’t matter if I don’t know who my great grandmother was, I have enough evidence of her existence being a possibility to assume with confidence that she in fact existed. Our planet popping into existence from nothing is not in any way as acceptable as my great grandmother based on the evidence at hand. Assuming a god and a planet popping into existence along with life simply doesn’t offer anything but guessing and story telling. Science has not once found the answers to our existence in the bible, much study and hard work was done so other people could later try to find things in the bible that sounded similar. Though I may not know or understand all science I do know people are finding answers, questions and more answers that give us real information. Telling me I was not there to see the dinosaurs or know my Grandmothers mother and guessing an alternative to what can actually be proven is shear stupidity.

The person making an argument for a historical jesus is a little strange unless they are trying to say they have documented and DNA evidence of direct linage from jesus to show he existed. I have not heard this argument often but i have heard it made this way. The thing is I most certainly must have direct linage to my great grandmother whoever she was. Even if we assume someone in my linage was adopted and my great grandmother is not who I think she is, I still have one, everyone alive today has one. Some of may even have even met our great grandmother. On the other hand there is no historical record of jesus, the name jesus in the middle East at that time or any miraculous event attributed to anybody named jesus. Attributing any other name, especially a common jewish name only clouds the issue further. The only evidence normally given for jesus is a fictional book full of supernatural fairy folk and historical inaccuracy. I for one will not assume jesus as being as possible as my great grandmother, I may as well assume hobbits exist.

In conclusion. If you are going to try this argument on me, I am going to look at you and treat you like the idiot you present yourself as.

May you gods remain fictional,

The Antitheocrat.

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Let’s get this out early and not hold anything back.

“All” religion is a lie.

Regardless of if you believe in a god or culturally connect to a religion and attest to that connection when asked, you are helping perpetuate a lie, if not outright telling one.

Lets start at the beginning because I am willing to accept religion may not always have been a lie. The person who started the lie may simply have been crazy, delusional or a wondrous story teller. We know it wasn’t god because we know the history of many religions and beliefs enough to show the hand of man in action developing and changing them. Even if we were to credit the existence of gods and if it were a god who told the first story, the story is now so corrupted and distorted it can’t be shown or proven to be the same as those first spoken words. Maybe the first person – as it was a person – was trying to impress someone with his knowledge or control someone in which case religion did begin as a lie but I have no more proof of that than there is proof of god/s and no proof that religion was the intended outcome. Lets at this point assume a story teller because none of us know where religion began and story telling doesn’t attribute blame to religions founders. The stories told by that first person may then have been taken too literally – intentionally or not – by someone who went on to teach to others. Eventually the story became a truth presented without evidence (because lets face it, it was just a story). At the point of the first someone spread the truth-without-evidence, the story became a lie. Some of those initial people may have been scammers spreading the lie deliberately, like the more modern examples of Hubbard (scientology) and Smith (mormonism). Some may have accidentally forgotten that it was a tale they were telling and not have made that clear (or just insane) but as the older religions have grown and questions have arisen – and gone unanswered or ignored – all religion has become a lie. A lie perpetuated for some time by the power hungry, the wealth seekers, the scam artists, the ignorant and the socially driven.

Lying for religion has become habitual in many – maybe most – cases, so ground into a persons mind they are unable to see it for themselves. Any attempt to enlighten them to their flawed position is cause for defensive, even aggressive behaviour. I don’t know how much I blame these people for the lie because the lie itself is defended by ideas such burning in hell, a lower place in a next life, a life without meaning, a world without law or morals and the social stigma of being disowned by your community/family/friends. There are people who claim they are not religious because they find aspects of religious dogma or practice repulsive and yet they will profess to believe in jesus and god (the very things that make the doctrines and dogma religious rather than political, business or social ideologies). This claim has become part of the fabric of the lie for some preachers, oddly enough the sort of preachers who cause other to not want to be religious in the first place. It can be hard to blame these “non-religious” people for telling the religion lie and continuing it. Blinded as they are to the truths of religion and indoctrinated to believe the lie of religion, the religion that tells them that questioning or being without it would be worse than anything they can imagine. The only hope for these people is the hope that they can be educated and see how clouded their minds are and discover that breaking from the lie is not the end but a bright new beginning.

Personal reasons for belief aside, the religious foundations of your reasoning remains a lie.

At a professional level we know that in the USA alone there are some 250+ preachers who no longer believe in a god yet still preach the doctrines. As members of a group trying to find new lives for themselves they are the obvious professional liars for religion. Take a second look at who is selling you the lie next Sunday, it may be one of that number or one of those as yet not known. These are the lesser scammers amongst the professional liars and maybe it seems impolite at this point to call them liars. If you found yourself in the position of having put aside everything in life and trained to do nothing but sell a lie, how would you feel if you found out late in life that you were selling a lie. There must be older people facing death who have this same troubles, suddenly questioning the lie and thinking how much life was wasted must get harder the older you get. These preachers find themselves continuing to sell the lie out of fear of isolation and/or financial ruin but at least they are trying to improve their situation. The best professional liars and scammers are the ones you can’t feel any concern for. These people are more obvious and it must take a special sort of stupidity, loneliness, fear of death, gullibility or an extreme need to protect your personal lie to not see the cash begging televangelists for what they are. Televangelists make street preachers look like – for want of another word – saints.

Lying comes in degrees but at all levels it is still lying.

At an individual level religion is a lie to yourself. A lie protected by worthless terms like faith that help to excuse the fact you know deep down that your beliefs is unfounded. Many believers don’t even know the doctrines or texts of their lie, their only defence against counter argument is to make meaningless statements, exhibit anger, behave irrationally or demand unwarranted respect (or any combination of the afore mentioned). The problem with your personal lie is that it is rarely kept personal. You lie to children and propagate the lie. Some liars use the lie to repress other people and deny them rights. Liars congregate to support others in their lie and to justify their own lie. There is strange idea that is sometimes spoken out loud, the idea that the more liars there are the more truth there is in the lie. You also lie to people about having some higher truth though you know you can’t prove there is any truth in the lie. You will try to avoid confronting conversations with statements like “it makes me feel good”, stating that no evidence could possibly change your mind, and taking questions as a personal affront. Some people go to the extent of denying evidence or deny having been offered evidence in defence of their lie. Respect for the lie is the final argument most liars make, as if lying was respectable and honest questioning the lie were a crime. You lie about personal experiences being god. Experiences that can generally be better explained in natural scientific ways you explain as god because it better supports your personal lie. As a example, if a family member dies and you dream of it only hours before, you will forget the months of suffering and intimate knowledge of the persons health concerns to jump to the conclusion that god sent you a message. A rational mind not tied to the lie would assume their mind was running through the obvious outcomes, maybe to prepare you for the worst, and the timing was simply because of their prior knowledge.

The strangest lie you tell yourself is the lie you tell as you give your tithe. The lie that god needs your money to propagate belief or maybe god can’t act to help people without your money. Maybe you give money because you lie to yourself that god has somehow given your preacher more of its time and he knows gods intentions better than you do; though you both tell the same unfounded lie (maybe your preacher is one of those non-believers, what then?).

Though I have written very specifically of the god lie which is most prevalent in my society it is exactly the same lie told for all unjustifiable religious lies. Aliens, spirits, mystics, pseudo science are all lies in the same vein. When you pay an exorcist, conspiracy theorist, card reader, palmist, crystal seller, ghost hunter, mystic salt seller or feng shui master you help propagate the lie told by other idiots who know nothing more than you could dream up for yourself with a little imagination. Through your actions you support idiots as in the dark as you are and maybe even more dishonest. Finding someone gullible enough to devote their lives to a falsehood – a lie – dishonest people find people equally willing to do anything and believe anything to defend that lie.

When you lie to yourself you make yourself susceptible to a wider range of lies.

It doesn’t matter why you lie. You may lie to protect your belief, you may lie for comfort, because you see no other option, for profit, power or just because you prefer to think your parents were not liars. It doesn’t matter why you tell the lie, a lie told for any reason is still a lie. Your parents didn’t mean to do harm (to my knowledge) in telling you the lie, they like you never had someone to tell them it was a lie and the lie is deigned to protect and propagate itself. Is not wanting to question their teaching really reason enough to not at least consider the lie?

The only reason the telling of religion may be considered something other than lying is low intelligence resulting in the propagation of other people’s lies without the ability to mentally process the lie. This doesn’t change the fact that religion itself is a lie, it just means you don’t need a fully functioning brain to carry on the lie. People of low intelligence may be no more guilty of knowingly propagating the religion lie than that first guy who said a tree had a spirit kicking off the entire religion debacle. Religion today is far from a few insane or mentally impaired individuals telling stories and most people telling the lie are, if willing, able to reason or at least understand the arguments against the lie.

From anyone lips, a lie remains a lie.

The very idea that there are groups of theists calling themselves “apologists” shows that even the most argumentative and defensive of believers know to some degree that that there is something wrong that needs excusing. Entire theme parks are constructed by these people, who have not one scrap of scientific evidence to back the lies they tell. Many have the sole aim of profiting and propagating the religion lie for their own gain knowing as they do that they don’t need to defend their lie to people who lie to themselves. Apologists are well known for phrases like “no amount of evidence well sway me” or “I will not listen to evidence” which indicates that they know they are lying to themselves as well as others. They know evidence works against them. Apologetics ranks no higher intellectually than the undereducated layman who proclaims evolution a lie, reciting arguments made by creationists (another form of apologist) yet knowing nothing of the actual topic and displaying an unwillingness to learn the topic. Apologetics is however claimed as an intellectual pursuits. It is only if you consider basic lying and denial an intellectual skill.

Intellectual dishonesty is any act of not listening to anything but the argument you wish to prevail while “knowingly” ignoring or denying any counter argument or evidence. The intellectually dishonesty often demand that people consider your position on the matter, the very thing they are not willing to do. Intellectual dishonesty is lying at its worst and apologists are the worst being more educated than most liars in religious doctrine.

When you repeat the lies of an apologist you only repeat a better worded lie.

I have seen all of this behaviour time and again. Though I have tried to make this article impersonal, every word of it is based on my personal experiences with religious people. I called religion a lie and I wrote of the actions of its liars based on my entire life’s experience as an outsider, an atheist, a parent and a husband. The lie doesn’t effect my thought processes, I see it for what it is. I see how people act on the lie and how they defend it. I am the person who considered the apologists position (and found it lacking) while having my evidence and arguments ignored. All my life I have listened to the lies, I am just not emotionally connected to them.

If you got angry or defensive rather than thinking about my position; why? How did a life long atheist came to see your long held and highly valued beliefs as a LIE? Why am I calling you a LIAR? Why not consider my position? Try it, consider your own lie and prove me wrong.

I will finish this here but there is much more to say on the topic of lying. In part two (Deceptive, Subversive, Lying-for-jesus, Stealth Religion) I delve into some of the dishonest methods and terms used to convey the lie.

Until next time, may your gods remain fictional,

The Antitheocrat.

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.