It’s not your call, Mark

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If the Catholic Archbishop of Brisbane, Mark Coleridge thought he was going to make a definitive statement in the same sex marriage debate, he will have to do better than yesterday. “They don’t qualify for what we call marriage.” These were his words on ABC yesterday, describing same sex couples.
Bishop Coleridge’s argument is based on the principle that there is more than one kind of love. On that basic point he is right. The love between parent and child, brother and sister, for example is not the same as the love between a man and a woman who wish to marry.

Read more at: The Australian Independent media Network

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Yes Paul, Religious Instruction is Child Abuse

ehrlichThose who watched Q&A on Monday night might have been taken aback by US Biologist and Ecologist Dr Paul Ehrlich’s claim that religious instruction is child abuse.

Host Tony Jones had asked Dr Ehrlich whether he sang the US national anthem when he was at school. “We did, but we didn’t have child abuse required in those days. We didn’t have any religious instruction in the schools,” Dr Ehrlich said. 

Read more at: The Australian Independent Media Network

Time to fix this unholy mess

doigWith the change of government in Victoria and a promise by Premier Daniel Andrews to make Victoria the education state, is it possible that this might bring about a change in the policy concerning Special Religious Instruction (SRI) in that state and perhaps others?

An article in The Age on 15th January 2015 by Meredith Doig focuses on the dilemma now facing new Education Minister, James Merlino. How he responds will be watched very closely by his opposite numbers, particularly in Queensland and New South Wales.

Read more at: The Australian Independent Media Network

Is Abbott a Christian or just a Catholic?

The Catholic Church teaches Christianity but it does not practice it. Most of its priests, brothers and lay workers devote their lives to the Christian message but they are ruled by a bureaucracy that conveniently ignores it in favour of furthering its own wealth and influence.

The Australian Independent Media Network

photo 1The article on the AIMN by Sean Stinson, May 25th entitled, “CATHOLIC SCHOOLBOYS RULE” was so well presented, I thought it deserved a follow up article to further articulate its message. Twistie 1, who was one of several who joined in the discussion captured the mood best for me when he wrote, “I have little doubt that Abbott is a psychopath who is incapable of empathy. He uses religion as a facade against his inherent wickedness. He is not the first, and will undoubtedly not be the last, to do so.”

As one who endured the cruelty of Catholic Church teaching in the 1950/60s, it doesn’t surprise me that so many like me still carry the psychological baggage Catholic teaching generated about Hell and Purgatory. It wasn’t until my late forties that I began to see through the facade of Catholic teaching and its inherent evil. I think I…

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School Principals in Revolt

When one considers the decisions made by this government and the previous two governments on the treatment of asylum seekers, we are entitled to ask if those decisions are a reflection of the Christian religious education they received and which they continue to practice.

The Australian Independent Media Network

Joe Kelly1One interesting characteristic of an undersea earthquake or a tsunami is that, for the most part, it is silent until it reaches land. Using that as an analogy one could say an undersea earthquake has erupted within the ranks of Victorian school principals and their school councils and has reached land. Its objective: to end the practice of religious education programs in their schools. This earthquake arrived last week when a courageous school principal, Joe Kelly from Cranbourne Primary School, went public on the nature of Christian Religious Education (CRE), being provided by Access Ministries, the organisation providing the service to public schools in Victoria. Mr Kelly’s concerns were the subject of an article by Konrad Marshall in The Age newspaper on 17th February.

Mr Kelly stated that he would no longer allow Access Ministries in his school. “It is not education,” he said. “It has no value whatsoever. It…

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A Bizarre Teaching

ImageThere are those that say Hell must exist because there has to be a place where evil people who escape justice in this life, need to go. Others express themselves differently saying they don’t want to live in a world where evil people can escape justice and avoid punishment. Sadly, at this stage there is no other world for them to live in so, despite their wishes they don’t have a huge choice. However, for those that hold this view let me paraphrase Matt Dillahunty from the Athiest Experience.

Matt says that the kind of world such people want to live in, has no bearing on the kind of world we do live in. Life isn’t fair. Evil acts go unpunished. You may not like it. I don’t either, but that is the nature of our world. If you want to invent some security blanket to avoid being mired in depression on this issue, that is okay, you can do that if it makes you feel better. However, some of us actually prefer to face reality. Some of us are willing to accept that the world in which we live is indifferent to our existence and our perceptions of good and evil. Some of us recognise that dealing with reality is the only way to make improvements in our lives and those of others. Life isn’t fair. If it was that would imply that you actually deserve the bad things that happen to you.

Matt says that this idea of a heavenly god-styled justice is irresponsible and incredibly selfish. This Christian worldview that has us born guilty before we have taken our first breath makes us deserving of punishment for things we have never done. Yet it offers instant and undeserved forgiveness for outrageous crimes. The only crime it will not forgive is dis-belief. Is that just? Is that the hallmark of goodness? Yes, our system does allow evil acts to go unpunished. That is why we try to uphold and reward goodness when we see it. Do people who believe in this Hell doctrine ever question that this teaching allows instant forgiveness of the most heinous crimes and follows that by granting the contrite evil doer eternal paradise; that the evil doers who escape justice here, can also escape ultimate justice simply by expressing contrition. Do they realise that Hitler may well have expressed true remorse moments before he blew his brains out? Do they not see that buying into such a belief doesn’t alleviate the problem of evil; it simply alleviates the problem, for them. It is an utterly selfish justification that shows no regard for real justice.

It’s all how you see it.

ImageMonotheistic religions have no more of a claim on truth than polytheistic religions. Where Polytheistic faiths claim a god for this and a god for that, the monotheists claim their one god has an answer for everything, effectively reducing him to an ‘all-purpose god’. This maybe convenient but it does not diminish the claims of polytheists. The Common Era monotheistic faiths place too great an emphasis on the Bible without demonstrating some alternative corroborating source. The Bible is a collection of books assembled together to form one reference point; again, this was a matter of convenience for the Catholic Church which wanted a fundamental foundation upon which to build and grow. The authors of the books therein are, by and large, unknown. The authors of the Torah are unknown. The authors of the Psalms, Songs of Solomon, and the books attributing the words of the Prophets (Isaiah, Micah and the like), are all supposition and guesswork. The authors of the Gospels are unknown. Of the fourteen letters attributed to Paul, only seven were actually written by him, the rest being written after his death and tagged with his name to give them some credibility. The author of Revelations is unknown (and in serious need of psychiatric counselling). The words of the Prophets are (for their time) a way of explaining matters they did not understand. To continue to adhere to the words of the prophets today is reasonable in the context of leading a good life and respecting all peoples. Their words reflect basic human values which are inherent in all of us and which sit uncomfortably alongside our natural preference for survival. But, the dire predictions of the prophets of a loving, vengeful, just, merciful and omnipresent god, of end times, pestilence, earthquakes, leading ultimately to the destruction of the planet are just silly and utterly without foundation. To suggest that “God spoke to these people” in the literal sense begs the question: then, why not today? It begs the question: what good has it done? It begs the question: why would an all loving all powerful Creator leave His existence open to debate? Stephen Hawking’s assessment that our Sun will burn out in 5 billion years time makes sense; life is finite. But, to invent some afterlife where we will all be reunited in happiness or despair depending on our actions on this earth is pure superstition. It is also wicked. It smacks of everything that is rotten about humans and how we view our fellow humans. To consign the evildoers of this world to an afterlife of everlasting torment is wicked (something only humans could invent). To believe there is some good in the Catholic Church is reasonable and believable although it’s hard to find; Buddhists, Muslims, Hindu’s likewise. We are all trying to express meaning. But, just because we try, just because we develop a complicated theology to explain what we believe to be meaning, DOESN’T MEAN WE ARE RIGHT. Theology is our way of compartmentalising a predetermined belief in an all powerful Creator. It is fine for those who believe and good luck to them. But that doesn’t prove God exists.

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