Saturday, April 03, 2010

As unpopular as it may be....

I am, and have always been, an atheist. As would seem fashionable at this time of year, the various religious groups have launched attacks to distract the media from their own failings.

From The Weekend Australian:
Sydney Anglican Archbishop Peter Jensen condemn[ed] atheism as a form of self-worship. 'As we can see by the sheer passion and virulence of the atheist - they seem to hate the Christian God - we are not dealing here with cool philosophy up against faith without a brain... Atheism is every bit of a religious commitment as Christianity itself.' Dr Jensen told the congregation at Sydney's St Andrew's Cathedral.

'It represents the latest version of the human assault on God, born out of resentment that we do not in fact rule the world and that God calls on us to submit our lives to Him. It is a form of idolatry in which we worship ourselves.'

Catholic Archbishop George Pell noted that atheists did not sponsor any community services.

The Atheist Foundation of Australia said yesterday that Dr Jensen's 'seeks out a scapegoat [for a spate of child sex abuse scandals] and attacks atheism without any understanding of what he is saying.'

'To state we hate his god or are attacking his god is nonsense. How does one hate or attack that which does not exist?'

Such rantings from Faith-driven institutions seem to ignore the motivations (or rather lack thereof) of many atheists. I quite honestly don't 'get' faith but see no sense or cause in attacking it.

The institutions on the other hand - which I deplore - are a completely different story. I do however respect a individual's right to believe in their chosen Deity be it fairies, unicorns and other such things. I would expect that the right to not believe would be equally acceptable.

The institutions have driven many cultures for centuries often to the detriment of the many. To claim 'righteousness' involves the demonisation of the other and ultimately leads to often extreme xenophobia and other -isms.

If anything I often feel sorry for those desperately clinging to such institutions as I might an alcoholic or other dependent person. However, that is not to say that I find them weak or even make assumptions as to their motivations to subscribe to faith.

Atheists don't necessarily 'hate' Deities, we often simply don't believe in them.

Finally this from my favourite sociopath - Bishop Fisher in the SMH (see also his comments from 2008 when the pope was in town):
'Last century we tried godlessness on a grand scale and the effects were devastating,' he said.

'Nazism, Stalinism, Pol-Pottery, mass murder and broken relationships: all promoted by state-imposed atheism or culture-insinuated secularism.'

Mr Fisher seriously needs to look up a bit of history before painting such a broad and nasty stroke. 'If you're not with us...' is a mantra that has caused much grief throughout world history.

A good book to start with would be 'Hitlers Willing Executioners', in particular it's discussion about the churches role in 20th Century German history.

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