Not many people are Christians these days. However, there is one aspect of Christian thought which is perhaps worth modern atheists considering. That is the idea that improvement needs to come from the ground up – i.e. from the grass roots. We may lament the poor quality of our politicians, the corruption of political donations, the failure of neo-liberalism, and we may feel we are somewhat powerless against these. Christian thought says otherwise. Christian thought sees society as a product of its members, as a sum produced from the parts. Under this ideology, if you improve the parts you improve the overall organism. Thus according to this idea - which in modern language is perhaps associated with the term synergy - individuals are not powerless. In fact, the quality of the whole depends on the quality of the parts.
So how then do we improve the parts – in this case the individual people? Well firstly we must identify the problems. Here are some that I can see (in no particular order):
Increasing aggression (road rage, etc.);
Increasing impatience with others – we see them as holding us up, not doing what we want, not agreeing with what we say;
Increasing selfishness of various types, not considering others in a myriad of ways;
Increased ‘transactionalism’ – seeing others as just a means to an end, not as people (eg. Shop attendants);
Lack of humility – if others draw attention to any faults – whether rightly or wrongly – the response is anger and/or indignation.
Now these things could all be linked to the classic Christian vices, but even non-Christians would probably agree that most of the above are undesirable. And if we are honest, most of us will admit to exhibiting one or more of these failings regularly. Under the Christian concept, that is fine, and the secular mind is also unlikely to expect that everyone should be perfect. The traditional way of dealing with this is to practice mercy and forgiveness.
So what I propose is that everyone, Christian or not, spends some time each day reflecting on their own actions, whether they were selfish or not, whether they could perhaps have let that car change lanes in the heavy traffic, whether they were viewing the sales assistant at the shop as a fellow human, or just a kind of vending-machine to dispense what they, the customer, wants.
Perhaps if we all reflect on these points, and then try to improve ourselves in these regards then maybe, perhaps gradually or perhaps quickly, society will start to improve. And as a result people may find themselves much happier if they are consciously trying not to rush everywhere. Maybe rushing to get home to relax is not as good as enjoying life as one goes about one’s business? Maybe some decide to try and do less; maybe many are less angry and frustrated with others if they are trying harder to see things from the other’s perspective and value more the time they spend with them. And maybe, just maybe, people will reach the point where each of us can suggest faults and improvements without being confronted with anger and indignation, but rather humility, a humility which is prepared to accept, in the first instance, that the critic is right and then only after reflection make a judgement on the validity of any suggestions that have been offered.
There are many things that are out of our control. This situation is not unique. Soldiers like Simpson may not have been able to stop the first world war, but they could still do plenty to help their fellow men on the field of battle through selfless action. These actions no doubt made a huge difference in the lives of those they helped, as well their friends and family
Feminists may say that the prevailing attitude of men has always been that women’s place is in the home. Well the truth is that until the industrial revolution, everyone’s place was in the home. Home was where families worked – together. Men did not go off to work in offices and factories until there were factories and offices to go to. For most of western history they worked on the farm or in the shop with their wives and children. It was only the industrial revolution that rendered families and communities asunder, culminating in the stereo-typical 1950’s housewife – at home, isolated and alone – in a way, and on a scale, never seen before in human history. This article asserts that neo-liberal values may rule more men but that they are not natural male values and that Christianity, for instance, although dominated by male figures, endorsed values opposite to liberalism. Comments welcome. Editor, Candobetter.net.
What if the values often associated with ‘patriarchal systems’ are not really male values at all? I hypothesise that understanding the negative aspects of our society - associated by some people with patriarchy - may require looking at the problem from quite a different angle. Firstly, let us identify what traits are associated with patriarchy. For this I have drawn upon 'The Heroine's Journey' by Maureen Murdoch. In examining this text I have noticed that the attributes Murdoch associates with patriarchal society are strikingly similar to what many may associate with 'materialism'. The sorts of terms in Murdoch's book associated with patriarchal values include: 'compete', 'jockey for power', 'workaholic', 'control by the stronger', 'power', 'quantifiable', 'success' (in a career sense). Now I doubt that this is a definitive list, but I believe it captures many of the elements of so-called patriarchy as raised in feminist and other literature. I argue that these are not innately male traits at all, but rather, if anything, a more generic human tendency. However, I suspect that like materialism these values were in the past kept in check – although very imperfectly – by various alternative value systems.
Formal religions often offered such alternative value systems. Christianity, for example, promoted a value set which included: humility rather than pride; service to others rather than selfishness; and generosity to the poor and disadvantaged. Such a value set required the strong to defend the weak (rather than seeking to exploit them) and even though the churches themselves may have acted with the worst Machiavellian tendencies, they did at least espouse these Christian values and as such kept them alive as respectable to aspire to. Buddhism is another example of religion offering alternative values against, for example, feudal values.
In fact, these ancient religions also had a name for the types of behaviours described as ‘patriarchal’ in Murdoch’s book (by the way, this is no criticism of Murdoch’s book, I am just drawing on it as a basis for this analysis). The Christian religion identified many of these behaviours (and some others as well) as: egotism, selfishness, ruthlessness, worldly success and prominence and, perhaps uniquely, it warned against the lust for power (as well as sensual lusts). These behaviours were collectively called ‘worldliness’ and everyone – male and female – was warned against them.
In fact, perhaps an emerging word that encompasses many, but not all, of the behaviours of Christian worldliness is 'neo-liberalism'. George Monbiot in his article 'The Zombie Doctrine' describes the neo-liberal ideology as follows:
'Neoliberalism sees competition as the defining characteristic of human relations'
'a process that rewards merit and punishes inefficiency'
'What greater power can there be than to operate namelessly?
Others use similar terms for the ‘nameless’ forces at work, Halffman and Radder in a 2015 Minerva article refer to processes of neo-liberalism in universities as ‘The Wolf’.
Jesus once said, ‘by their fruits will you know them’. Jesus’ words suggest we should not take priests based on their own descriptions of themselves, or their teachings, but rather judge them by their actions and outcomes. The modern priests are the economists and ‘big business’ advocates (i.e the system’s sycophants). Regardless of their promises and claims, we should, as Monbiot does, judge them by their deeds and outcomes, which are loneliness, misery, ill-health and environmental destruction. By its fruits it seems we can clearly identify the true nature of neo-liberalism.
But do you really think that all men fit the classic paternalistic mould? Are there are no men out there who are unselfish? No men who seek the same intrinsic rewards that are now typically associated with women and women’s work? Are there no men who do not aspire to be leaders of companies, famous, powerful and/or wealthy? Because if there are no such men, then who are those men who drive our buses, teach our children, work our ambulances, put out our fires (at risk of their lives)? Surely these vast numbers of everyday men outnumber the relatively few CEO’s and Silicon Valley sociopaths? Just because there are more men than women in our power structures does not mean that these mostly negative and destructive traits are intrinsically male.
So how did the traits of seeking worldly success, power, status and money come to be associated with men and ‘male rule’ in the form of paternalism? I think that it is just that due to history and circumstance large numbers of men were amongst its first victims. But in our modern age it seems that increasingly more women are being drawn into its web. Feminists may retort that the prevailing attitude of men has always been that women’s place is in the home. Well the truth is that until the industrial revolution, everyone’s place was in the home. Home was where families worked – together. Men did not go off to work in offices and factories until there were factories and offices to go to. For most of western history they worked on the farm or in the shop with their wives and children. It was only the industrial revolution that rendered families and communities asunder, culminating in the stereo-typical 1950’s housewife – at home, isolated and alone – in a way, and on a scale, never seen before in human history. And what about Indigenous cultures where home was nature – could anyone say Indigenous women were any more confined than men? What about the objectification of women? Abhorrent I agree, and perhaps always present in the world, thus the Christian warnings about these issues. But not on the scale of what we see today. But this is the nature of the spirit of worldliness; neo-liberalism; The Wolf – whatever you want to call it – everything on the earth is to be exploited: people, nature, planet. It is all for sale. Every vice or weakness is to be exploited to its maximum potential. Until the whole of humanity is debased in an orgy of consumerism, of seeking sensual satisfaction where-ever it can be found, and other humans are only valued as far as they are able to be used to produce these satisfactions. That is where neo-liberalism is taking us. And in the process one of its effects is to make us desperately unhappy. Another is to create conflict where-ever conflict is possible: between young and old, between male and female, between the powerful and the powerless. It will keep us blaming one group or another, while it as the true cause remains hidden and un-named. That is the nature of this particular beast, and as Monbiot points out, like a zombie it lives through us.
Do You Believe in Love?
Love is that most powerful of human emotions that allows forgiveness, selflessness and joy. It is through love and other emotions that we are able to deeply understand each other and to empathise. It is our feelings that make us human, not our cleverness or other abilities and attributes we may have. But how do you explain the love between parents and their children? Between loving partners? We cannot possibly really understand these emotions without having experienced them. Yet, can anyone conclusively prove that you feel love? Or that you feel sad for that matter? Or happy? The fact is that nobody can prove whether your feeling of love for someone else is real or not. Nevertheless, you know if it is real.
This was the conclusion of Descartes, who in trying decide what was real and what was not concluded “I think therefore I am”. What he meant by this was that he was conscious, so he must exist. And what are we most conscious of? Our feelings. We may lose our senses but, unless in a coma, we do not lose our feelings. Thus with feelings we have something invisible but undeniably real. In fact, how we feel at any time is perhaps the only thing we can be sure of. The rest of the world may just be an illusion, a fantasy, or shadows of reality, like a dream - even the people (e.g. Plato’s’ Cave). Thus the one thing I (and you) can be absolutely sure of is how we feel. Nothing is surer to us than how we feel at any given time – even if some of us have trouble expressing it.
It is because of this certainty that I am convinced that God exists. Let me explain. For centuries people have sought a ‘proof’ for the existence of God. These ‘proofs’ are invariably open to argument (thus are not really proofs at all). We are also told that belief in God is an act of faith. Let me tell you now that is not necessarily true either. I am utterly convinced that God exists, and this is based on the hardest possible evidence: the strong feelings of love I have experienced. Not just everyday feelings of love, but really powerful blissful feelings; somewhat like falling in love but magnified at least 100 times and permeating my whole being. I felt this when praying; when asking for help and forgiveness at a time of dire need. Since then I have often had flushes of strong love, not quite as all-consuming, but unusual all the same. The problem of course is that while this is incontrovertible proof for me it is not a proof I can share with anyone else. Thus it seems that the existence of God can only be proven to individuals and not generally.
My experience gave me the understanding that God is, in essence, a God of love. Love is His fundamental spirit and we, being made in His likeness, can too experience these feelings. Love is the Father that Jesus was one with, and which He claimed only He could introduce us to, as only He possesses it as the original source. Thus I am sure that God feels for us nothing but the most tender, caring, forgiving love and that He wants to share it and for us to feel the same love for Him and others. In case anyone has qualms about it he makes it easy, by actually demanding that we love Him. When asked by an expert in the Mosaic Law:
“‘Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?’ “
“‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.””
In fact we even know the proportions of love that a person should have. The number of man is 666. Of this 666 a perfect person will love God with 600 parts, his neighbour with 60, and himself with just 6 (if you reverse these numbers you get a perfect devil).
The alternative to loving others is quite bleak. It is self-love. An extreme example of this is the story in the traditional Russian folk song Stenka Razin which according to the Guardian is:
“written about a 17th-century Cossack officer who drowned his betrothed in the Volga River to prove to his soldiers that love had not turned him soft. ”
To appreciate the sadness of this event, consider that the folk song was the basis of the Seeker’s song ‘The Carnival is Over’ (the original Russian version is here). But then how many Australians do similar things (although not quite to this extent) to prove how ‘tough’ or how ‘practical’ they are? In the psyche of many Australians it seems that one cannot be physically tough, practical and loving at the same time.
So what holds us back from finding and loving God? When you mention the Bible and God, there are some basic arguments that people throw forward. I will examine two. The first is the somewhat barbaric practices recorded in the Old Testament, along with concepts of everlasting hell. These seem somewhat inconsistent with a God of Love. The second is the teachings of Moses, such as the world being created in six days. Please allow me to attempt to address each of these as best I can.
So first the barbaric practices recorded in the Old Testament. To understand we must first make clear that God is unchanging, He is not one day thinking this is good and this is bad, He is always the same. Thus if we are to have an understanding of God, it is one that should be based on the New Testament and teachings of Jesus. Jesus pointed out how far the priests of that time had strayed from the laws and teachings of Moses and how they had murdered prophets sent to give them a better understanding. And He demonstrated the error of their Mosaic understanding in relation to an attempt to stone an adulteress
Now for the other points: everlasting hell and earth being created in six days. It must be made clear that the Bible is a spiritual text, not an earthly one, although in the Bible earthly, natural language is commonly used to explain spiritual concepts, by either allegory or metaphor. We mostly understand this. We readily accept that when Jesus referred to Himself as a shepherd He was not thinking of sheep, also when He referred to a ‘catch’ He was not talking about fish. Nor did He mean natural things when He mentions scattering of seed, and separating wheat from chaff etc. We all accept that the ‘apple‘, or ‘forbidden fruit’ in the old Testament is likely an allegory for something else, similarly we accept that the ‘tree of knowledge’ does not refer to any natural tree. So why then do we seek to interpret other aspects of the Bible in a purely natural sense? It is clear from all this that natural examples are used in the Bible in a language of correspondences (as explained by Emanuel Swedenborg). For example, people are referred to as plants, fire means love (good or bad loves) and light means understanding of what is true and good. And these are just some examples.
So when Moses in Genesis talks of the Earth being created in six days, these are not natural days. Any simple analysis will reveal that interpreting Genesis in an entirely natural sense leads to utter nonsense. Genesis talks of light being created on the first day. Yet three days later two more lights are created: a greater one to rule the day, and a lesser one to rule the night. These later two are commonly interpreted to be the Sun and the Moon. So this begs some questions: What light then was created on the first day? If the Sun and the Moon were only created on the Fourth Day, what sorts of days existed before then? Why did Moses not refer to the later lights as the ‘Sun’ and the ‘Moon’ as it is certain that Sun and Moon had their own names in Moses’ time?
It seems clear to me that the lights and days referred to in Genesis are not natural lights and days at all. A spiritual interpretation of Genesis is provided in the writings of Jakob Lorber, and a discussion of the fourth day is available here. Attempts to interpret Genesis in a purely natural sense result in much other nonsense. For example, I have heard it claimed that God placed dinosaur fossils to trick us. Such trickery is unthinkable for a God of light and truth. That He would engage in such an elaborate deception to hide the truth is preposterous.
And that leads to the next topic. What does the Bible teach? It promises that if you seek hard enough you will find God. Seeking means doing. It means living according to the teachings of Bible. Only then can God start to reveal Himself. It is all up to your free will. You cannot just read the Bible and expect to find God, just as you cannot expect to know a city like Rome by simply studying the map. To know Rome, you must go to Rome. To find the truths in the Bible teaching you must live by the teaching. You must try to love your enemies, you must try to forgive those who hurt you and return injury with kindness. These are really hard things for people to do. These are the fundamentals that lead to peace in oneself, and as promised, complete freedom (from your ego and earthly desires). Of course, an achievement such as mastery of oneself is not easy, and we all need to pray for help. But we should be sure to pray for spiritual help and not better material circumstances. One must apparently focus mostly not on the things of this world, but on spiritual gains. Like Jesus everyone must ‘carry their cross’ i.e accept what comes their way. The great surprise in the teaching is that there are two other promises. Firstly, if you focus on spiritual things above all else, then all the material things you need will be added for free. Secondly, you can place all your burdens on to God. Thus if you focus on improving your spiritual self, not only will you get all the materials things you need (just what you need – no more) but also you will, if you ask, be strengthened to cope with any trial – such as I was with the powerful feelings of love I was given. This is true for individuals as it is for entire nations. This is what, I believe, is meant by faith. Faith is the trust in God that if you focus on spiritual things above all else, then God will take care of your material circumstance. Such faith does not develop easily. Nor should it. God asks that we test everything and accept only what is true. Faith develops gradually as one places more and more trust in God. Personally, I have not yet been disappointed in placing such trust, yet despite this and my seemingly strong belief I consider my faith weak.
One final word, on the so-called Everlasting Hell which is so difficult a concept for people to accept. I have not seen any phrase in the Bible where anyone is condemned to Hell for eternity. The closest phrase is something like (depending on which Bible you read): ‘condemned to the everlasting fires of Hell’. But let us analyse this both with reason and using the language of correspondences. Firstly, that statement says that the fires of Hell are everlasting, not that someone has been condemned to them everlastingly. Remember fire means love – both good and bad – the love of bad things must of course be eternally condemned. How can a God of light, love and good ever sanction the love of bad things (like murder, hatred, etc.)? Of course, if God is to stay God, such things, and love for such things must be forever frowned upon. But what you love is a matter of free-will. And one’s love can change from bad things to good. And the great beauty of God is that in His love and mercy, once this happens all else is forgiven, and such a penitent will then be able to experience another eternal fire: the fire of God’s blissful love, no doubt similar to that which I experienced when praying.
#_ftnref1" name="_ftn1" title="" id="_ftn1"> Science may be able detect evidence of various emotions in brain activity, but even this is arguably mostly an effect of the emotions, not the emotions or feelings themselves.
A copy of a video by the western backed anti-government jihadists 'explains' to viewers how Bibles seized from Syrian Christians pose an even greater threat than the chemical weapons1 allegedly used by the Syrian government:
"O nation of Muhammed, wake up! For there are things even more dangerous than chemical weapons. Beware the Christianization campaigns." (sign in arabic displayed near the star of the video)
"They exploit the needs of Syrian citzens in order to spread Christian thought."
"Very large quantities of evangelization and Christianization books ..."
"... that are brought in by Western organsizations to support the needs of Syrian citizens"
Syria was amongst the very first countries to adopt Chrstianity
In fact, Christianity was never "brought in" from the west. Syria, along with neighbouring Palaestine, was one of the first areas to adopt Christianity in the very early years of the first Millenium, well before Islam was founded in 622AD. Christianity was spread from Syria, as well as Palestine, to the west and the rest of the world. The ignorance of hitory and culture in this video is striking.
Hallowe'en is an ancient Celtic festival held annually in respect for the Dead - our recent and previous ancestors. It is a ritual festival of honouring those who have gone before us.
Americans have adapted their 'trick or treat' game to this time of year, but the Celtic meaning runs culturally deeper than lollies and kids doing tricks. Our forefathers had to condend with less in worse conditions - they struggled, they survived, they learnt and became wise. Hallowe'en is respect for the wisdom that came before us by our ancestors who have enabled the current generation thrive better than they did.
Traditionally, Hallowe'en is a colloquial abbreviated expression for 'All-Hallows-Even' meaning the evening before All Hallows Day, where All Hallows Day is 1st November. 'All Hallows' refers to all ancestors and a reverence toward them.
Jack-o' Lantern is a carved pumpkin associated with the pagan Hallowe'en feast. The tradition from Britain, Ireland and Celtic Europe involves a pumpkin with a face carved into it and candle light inside to project a ghostly flickering face of our ancestors. It originates from the pagan agrarian tradition in Ireland of using pumpkins as lantern light in the evening while harvesting turf (peat bog) for fuel heating to prepare for the onset of winter.
Indeed, the peat in the bog lands has been known to produce a light flammable gas which can spontaneously combust causing a phosphorescent flickering light, also traditionally termed 'will-o'-the-wisp' (Latin 'ignis fatuus'). The light is quite ghostly. The candle light of a carved pumpkin is also quite ghostly - one should try it with a pumpkin next Hallowe'en.
The Hallowe'en tradition is a noble one of respecting one's ancestors. It surpasses that of Christianity which adopted and manipulated the tradition and turned it into All Saints Day to celebrate the churches saints instead of one's ancestors. Surely Hallowe'en has more genuine grassroots meaning.
The Hallowe'en tradition also involves lighting a bonfire which is said to also have originated in Ireland during Pagan times when the Celts lit huge fires on the hills so the spirits could find their way. It was also said that these fires would help to keep away evil spirits. Another old Irish Halloween tale says that if you drop a strand of your hair into the flames and dream of your future husband or wife to be, you're dreams will come true!
Bonfires are a huge part of the Halloween festivities in Ireland and are lit in both rural areas and towns throughout the country. They are built from all sorts of materials and some take days of preparation!
There are many games associated with Halloween. Apples are a traditional Halloween fruit as they were very plentiful in October. One of the most popular Halloween games in Ireland is 'Snap Apple'. In this game an apple is hung from the ceiling and the children are blindfolded. The first one to take a bite from the apple wins! This game can also be played by putting apples into basin of water. The first person to lift out an apple by grabbing the stem with their teeth is the winner.
The tradition is pagan and is not confined to the Celts, but such recognition of the dead transcends many faiths as a form of Festival of the Dead.
The Hallowe'en tradition predates Christianity and so this is why mainsteam Christian faiths choose not to recognise its human value - it undermines their religious doctrine.
In ancient times, Celts celebrated a holiday called 'Samhain' (pronounced "Sa-wan") on the last day of October, the 31st. In the northern hemisphere this was at a natural time when the farming harvest had ended and the days started to get noticeably shorter and colder.
Such productive (oft 'weather fortuitous') harvest time induced a sense of respect for those who had made such riches possible and so this extended into a time for respecting one's ancestors.
Roman invasion of Britain and Europe eventually saw Christianity replace paganism. Hallowe'en was graduually replaced and inculated by the Christian All Saints' Day on not 31st October, but 1st November. It was part of a concerted Christian deculturation of local primitive faiths. Today, the Catholic church recognises 2nd November 2nd All Souls' Day to honour the dead.
Mmm, I respect the deep human-earth meaning of Hallowe'en, rather than the invasive religious ulterior motive of compliance.
The Catholic Inquisition was set up by the 4th Lateran Council in 1215 to seek out and destroy heretics, pagans and witches (the hostility to sex and women).
Religion is socially irrelevant. It's charity cause is noble but in this it does the work of morally corrupt governments. Charity has become the only hold religions have left on the masses.
Name one religion without a dogma, rules, prejudice and a history of persecution of dissenters, and particularly against women! Check your facts before replying. I have checked mine and there ain't none! It was the church that started witch hunts.
Ethics and 'deity-free' spiritual beliefs are morally superior to religion. By 'superior' I mean morally right, objective, absence of ulterior motives, free thinking, democratic, rational, open-mined, more useful to society in guiding virtuous values, attitudes and behaviours.
I challenge a debate!
The Buddhism Example
While many will be mindful of the oppressive history of Christianity, few will be aware that the so-called 'tolerant' religion, Buddhism, has a similar oppressive history of imposing its dogma upon peoples holding traditional spiritual belief systems.
Tibet's ancient indigenous shamanism and pagan animism pre-dated the influx of Indian Buddhism. 'The original religion of Tibet was Bon-Po, a form of shamanism, but this was oppressively and systematically replaced by an imported and bastardised form of Buddhism, with the aid of the 8th Century Tibetan King Khri Srong-Ide'ti-btsan.
He issued an ultimatum to his religious subjects to either turn Buddhist or become ordinary tax-paying citizens, or leave the country. Most chose to leave. Those that refused all options were threatened with death. The Bon-Po monasteries were stolen, holy shrines were destroyed and the King tried to burn all holy writings. (These were hidden in the mountains, ravines and even in some converted Buddhist monasteries.)'
'The World Tree' - a symbol of ancient shamanist spirituality in Tibet, before Buddhist oppression'
The deadly nightshade flower - an old symbol for falsehood.
Religion is unethical. It doesn't teach life's grey uncertainties between right and wrong. It preaches a belief system to perpetuate influence of that belief system made of invented rules and myths, and of course prejudice, politics, cronyism and control.
History riddled with it.
Scripture is brainwashing. How are Ron Hubbard's scientological teachings any less dogmatic than the anglican King James Bible or the Uniting Church's Good News for Modern Man Bible?
What is the purpose of projecting a guiding deity? It is to focus the faith of a religious order on a omnipresent mythical guardian so as to charm, enamour, ensnare, spellbind insecure and vulnerable people? Does it just prey on hope of the vulnerable seeking hope?...to thereafter insist on an absolute pledge of life-long loyalty?
Church is a form of cult, with milder varying degrees of orthodoxy, reliant upon the premise of truisms and a methodology of entrapment. So what has 'church' now meant to mean? Medieval christianity pervades our modern society unquestioningly more than we realise. But it has become increasingly irrelevant to the humanistic needs of modern society, evidenced by the demise of patronage and absence of youth attendance.
Children seek direction in life and that is when they are most vulnerable. If religion was barred from children until they were old enough think independently (say 16), then perhaps religion could lay claim that it is not a form of indoctrination and brainwashing, but it ain't. Religious orders intentionally grab children at an early age, knowing that they have them for life.
This warrants public questioning as is currently occurring and these churches are running scared. Old religious orders need to comply with ethical and moral standards of our 21st Century society, else they deserve labeling as fundamental extremists in the same category as the Afghani Taliban.
It is about time ethics, humanism and freethought were taught in schools by independent qualified experts. Humanism is an approach in study that focuses on human values and concerns. Freethought is about forming opinions on the basis of science, logic, and reason, rather than being blindly influenced by authority, tradition, or any other dogma.
Faith? Spirituality? Personally, give me pantheism any day. But I'd sooner worship a fly crawling up the wall before turning desperately to religion.
Religions are all about one group of people trying to dominate others. It is all about power and wars have been fought over it. It preys on the vulnerable. It starts with children while they are vulnerable and brainwashes them. Catholicism is all about controlling people through guilt. Each religion doesn't recognise the other. Look what happened last month at the Mosque of Cordoba.
Religion has held a monopoly on spirituality for eons. Now that our society is free thinking and free spirited, people are realising that their are spiritual alternatives to religion - ones that are orthodoxy-free and diety-free. And of course the dominant religions are worried of losing their sphere of influence. The Sydney Anglican diocese claims a new controversial trial of secular ethics classes has ''decimated'' protestant scripture classes in the 10 NSW schools where it has been introduced as an alternative for non-religious children, with the classes losing about 47 per cent of enrolled students. (Scripture classes lose half of students to ethics, say Anglicans)
The anglican church is so desperate that it has created a fund-raising website to ''protect SRE'' (special religious education). The website says the values underpinning ''Australia's moral framework.''
Morality? Well, another week, another dodgy priest exposed. The christian church has the reputation of a pedophilic cult. Go to any newspaper online and type the word 'priest'. Woa Hoa!Start with the Sydney Morning Herald...
'Priest defrocked over sexual misconduct' (today's headlines)
AN ANGLICAN priest has been defrocked after a professional standards board discovered he had engaged in multiple sexual liaisons, including with at least one woman from his parish.
'Flood of new priest abuse allegations'
A Belgian committee probing allegations of pedophilia by priests has been flooded with complaints since the resignation of a bishop who admitted abusing a boy.
'German priest to leave US in abuse case'
A German priest has been suspended and ordered home from a posting in the US as he faces allegations he abused teenage girls in Germany two decades ago.
'Priest, 83, under house arrest for abuse'
An 83-year-old Brazilian priest detained on allegations of sexually abusing young boys has been moved from jail to house arrest.
'Brazilian priest charged with pedophilia'
Brazilian authorities charged a 74-year-old Catholic priest with pedophilia after eight children in his church choir accused him of sexual abuse.
'Priest sex video on sale in Brazil'
A video of a priest receiving oral sex in a church from a former choir boy was being sold in the streets of Brazil.
'Priest, 84, in sex act with choirboy'
An 84-year-old Brazilian priest caught on camera in a sex act with a choirboy has been arrested and put in detention.
'Belgian priest tells of 300 sexual abuse cases'
BRUSSELS: Belgian bishops have failed to punish any clergy over 300 complaints of child sexual abuse brought to their attention in the 1990s, a priest who helped many victims claims.
'Pope urges Catholic penance over priest scandal'
Pope Benedict XVI on Thursday urged Catholics to "do penance" and a top cardinal called for a mass rally by clergy to support the pontiff under fire over widespread paedophile priest scandals.
'French priest admits child abuse'
A French Catholic priest has admitted sexually assaulting a minor, and sees his arrest as a "deliverance" after years of private torment, his lawyer says.
'Malta hosts pope under priest sex abuse cloud'
Pope Benedict XVI was due to give mass Sunday in front of St Publius Church on Malta, even as the controversy over child-molesting priests followed him to the tiny Mediterranean island.
'Priest jailed over sex with altar boy'
A former Anglican priest has been jailed for a second time on child sex offences.
'More child-sex charges for NSW priest'
A NSW Catholic priest already facing multiple child sex charges has again been arrested over a further allegation of similar offences.
'Vatican accused in new US priest case'
The Vatican and Pope Benedict XVI have come under fire in the US for allegedly covering up for another predator priest and doing nothing to remove him.
'Rome waited to ban pedophile priest'
The future Pope Benedict XVI took over the abuse case of an Arizona priest, then let it languish at the Vatican for years despite repeated pleas from the bishop for the man to be removed from the...
'Vatican comments on US priest case'
The Vatican's lawyer says then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger told a bishop to make sure a priest didn't abuse children while the church worked to defrock him.
'Priest suspended over sex abuse'
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Norway's Roman Catholic Church received so many tip-offs about possible paedophile priests following revelations of abuse by a bishop that its computer crashed.
'Priest preyed on deaf children, victim says'
ST FRANCIS, Wisconsin: Arthur Budzinski says the first time the priest molested him, he was 12 years old, alone and away from home at a school for the deaf.
'Irish priest defends sex abuse cover up'
A Catholic bishop in Ireland has ordered a priest to remain silent over his views that church officials should not tell police about child abusers.
As I noted in my earlier miscellaneous comment and as was reported in the Melbourne Age of 9 May 2010, the Anglican church has rightly called for both a decrease in natural population growth and a decrease in Australia's current record high rate of immigration. The Citizens Electoral Council, which believes that not only Australia, but the whole world, is underpopulated, responded, on 11 May 2010, with one of its typical hyperbolic media releases. The CEC accused the church of promoting the British Royal Family's secret plan to cull the world's human population. It also accused it of promoting pagan beliefs in support of preserving the natural world, rather than what it held to be true Christianity focussed solely on what is (supposedly) good for the human species.
Below I reproduce the whole media release, together with my responses.
#dfdfdf;"> How many people would Jesus kill off, what babies would he stop from being born, and which immigrants would he keep out of the country, to stabilise our population? Citizens Electoral Council leader Craig Isherwood demanded the General Synod of the Anglican Church explain, following their call for human genocide reported this week. (my emphasis).
#dfdfdf;">The Church of England in Australia is pushing the agenda of its church leader, Queen Elizabeth II, and her husband Prince Philip, to cull the world's human population.
#dfdfdf;">In a March discussion paper, the Anglican Public Affairs Commission has echoed Prince Philip's call for genocide to preserve ecology, linking overpopulation and ecological degradation:
My response: A human plague would cause "genocide", not population targets.
Out of care for the whole of creation, particularly the poorest of humanity and the life forms who cannot speak for themselves ... it is not responsible to stand by and remain silent, the commission paper said. Looking for a practical application of their genocide doctrine, the Anglicans called for reduced immigration and an end to childbirth incentives.
My response: Letting people live in their own country is their definition of "genocide"? Family planning is not "genocide". How can those not even conceived be killed?
All policies of ‘population-control' or ‘population-stabilisation' are genocide,"Mr Isherwood charged.
My response: How does this logic work? Genocide by definition is: "The systematic and widespread extermination or attempted extermination of an entire national, racial, religious, or ethnic group". On the contrary, mass immigration is blurring national boundaries and ethnic and national groups. Stabilising population is about protecting human lives, of now and future generation, and is in our best interests.
The sanctimonious Synod won't admit that in polite company, but the British monsters who cooked up this evil--from Malthus to Prince Philip--are explicit about it.
My response: What's Prince Philip got to do with Australia's immigration policies?
Anglican Parson Thomas Malthus, was on the payroll of the rapacious East India Company when he wrote his 1798 essay The Principle of Population, with its popularised fraud that because human population grows geometrically, it outstrips food production which only grows arithmetically; the solution, the devout churchman said, was to make the streets narrower, crowd more people into the houses, and court the return of the plague. ... and particularly encourage settlements in all marshy and unwholesome situations. But above all, we should reprobate [condemn--Ed.] specific remedies for ravaging diseases ... .
My response: How are humans different from any other species without predators and natural enemies to stop their destructive over-population? Malthus was ahead of his times. Overpopulation is the cause of terror, wars, diseases, conflict and famine.
Prince Philip, the husband of the Church of England's "Defender of the Faith", was as explicit as Malthus: You cannot keep a bigger flock of sheep than you are capable of feeding. In other words conservation may involve culling in order to keep a balance between the relative numbers in each species within any particular habitat. I realise this is a very touchy subject, but the fact remains that mankind is part of the living world. ... Every new acre brought into cultivation means another acre denied to wild species.
My response: Since when did environmental responsibility and not overstocking the paddocks become "culling"? Once the paddock is full, it is negative returns for the farmer.
Mr Isherwood said the Synod's position on this issue was paganism:
This is not Christianity; it is the Cult of Gaia--Mother Earth--worship, an age old superstition used by the oligarchy to subdue the masses, he said.
In true Christianity, human beings are not animals, but each individual is created in the image of God, and each individual human life is sacred.
My response: The "image of God" was in Genesis, before the Fall, not now! If we are in the state of sin, we are not "sacred". That's why Jesus had to die on the cross - as a redemption.
#dfdfdf;">That Christian idea actually expresses the unique human quality of creative reason, by which human beings make the scientific discoveries which produce the new technologies that enable humans to support expanding populations.
My response: Our finite planet, and natural resources, won't keep expanding, and this is clear today. There is no biblical basis whatsoever for this idea.
Australia isn't overpopulated--what a sick joke! Australia is grossly underpopulated, and if we unleash the creativity of Australians and the people who wish to become Australians, to develop large-scale water infrastructure, green the deserts, harness nuclear power, pioneer nuclear fusion, launch a space program and everything else we could do, there is absolutely no limit to our nation's growth.
My response: The degradation of soils, waterways, the Murray river, loss of biodiversity, climate change, peak oil and peak everything are signs that Australia is already overpopulated -- as is the rest of the planet. Basing human population growth policies on yet to be achieved scientific achievements and exploration is dubious policy-making, to say the least!
Adhering to and preaching obsolete ideals, even when those ideals fly in the face of the mathematical and scientific reality, and is mis-representing Christian doctrine and our responsibility to care for Creation.
There is no God-given mandate that permits humanity to liquidate ecosystems that are needed for our shared survival just because of our economic and social systems demand growth. Already we have ecosystems and finite natural resources being consumed at peak levels. Ecosystems, including forests, water, oceans, fish stocks, waterways, wetlands are under stress, and with the overlay of climate change, could collapse large portions of the Earth and cause famine and drought - and ultimately become uninhabitable. We could be the next threatened species!
“Mankind is the most dangerous, destructive, selfish and unethical animal on the earth.”
– Michael Fox, vice-president of The Humane Society
Melbourne Zoo's baby elephant has been blessed by Buddhist monks after Victorians voted to name her "Mali", the Thai word for the jasmine flower.
The elephant is a national symbol for Thailand and the animals are usually named after local flowers. The elephant herd originally came from Thailand, and records say that 94% of Thais are Buddhists.
Sadly, there is no animal "Christening" or official Blessing ceremony in the Christian church.
There is little or no agenda in the church to recognize non-human creatures, despite their worshipping of God of All Creation.
Buddhists advocate vegetarianism because it is about "mercy", and because they Karma tells them that we must eventually all suffer the consequences of evil actions. Not all Buddhists are vegetarian and the Buddha does not seem to have issued an overall prohibition on meat-eating.
The church has endorsed the idea that animals value in the created order according to their benefits for us humans. Creation has been viewed primarily as a utilitarian object, as something to be valued according to its use by human beings. This devaluation of animal life has led to the extinction of whole species and to unnecessary cruelty to animals.
Animals have always been regarded in Buddhist thought as sentient beings, different in their intellectual ability than humans but no less capable of feeling suffering. The Buddha expounded that sentient beings currently living in the animal realm have been our mothers, brothers, sisters, fathers, children, friends in past rebirths. We may not share this belief, but is levels all life to Earth's Creatures, and gives us humans a commonality, a communion of shared suffering and shared life.
The Judaic and Christian religions are based on a history of herding animals and their numbers being a status symbol of power and wealth. Animals are "owned", considered resources and as property, not sentient creatures with intrinsic value and rights. Animals are thus not encompassed in the circle of Christian compassion and mercy. The duty of humans to care for Creation, and take dominion, has virtually meant ignoring the great responsibilities that come with this privilege.
In a secular, purely scientific system, all species' worth is measured just by their success in adapting to and surviving in whatever environment they find themselves. This is the ultimate in self-centered, selfish system. A Creator that has his hands on the planet's great design, and ecosystems that support even the smallest sparrow, is surely especially proud of the birth of the more intelligent and magnificent of species - such as whales and elephants?
Maybe it is time some church leaders came out of their cultural enclaves and started to preach about humility, the one-ness of Creation and have a voice for all God's creatures?
The birth of a baby elephant should be celebrated as a new individual of great cultural and social value. However, elephants should not be kept confined in zoos for human entertainment. The people should be in the cages to view wildlife in their natural surrounding, or on viewing platforms.