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Thread: Australians dump christianreligious belief in big numbers..

  1. #1
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    Default Australians dump christianreligious belief in big numbers..

    …and church leaders a scrabbling for doctrinally acceptable reasons.

    From the Canberra Times, and I couldn't have said it better myself…
    (Coutresy of Mike Field.)

    We're losing faith in the church. And that's a very good thing

    Christian church leaders, elders, and others have been in damage control since the census figures came out last week showing Christianity falling to 44 per cent and no religion rising to 39 per cent.

    They sounded like a whole lot of executives and apologists for the tobacco industry hiding the truth with propaganda, fuzzing the facts to deny that lung cancer was the inevitable consequence of the product. Except this time, it was child abuse and abuse of authority, not lung cancer.

    Just as people have woken up to the harm of tobacco, so, too, they are waking up to the harm of organised religion. And the consumption of both have plummeted.

    All of the hand-wringing about the need for religions to acknowledge that they have done terrible things and to reform to attract people back to religion, is a misguided waste of time. The product is as flawed as tobacco.

    You cannot suck in the nicotine and get a feel-good without a price. It is a con. You cannot suck in religion, follow the leaders, and pay the organisers a tithe in return for everlasting life. It is a con.

    Yes, religious people do a lot of good works, but, they could do them despite their religion not because of it.

    There is an enormous Catch-22 here which goes back to the Reformation. Martin Luther and others correctly railed against the hypocrisy and veniality of the 16th century Catholic Church. They protested against the idea that rich people could pay for good works to be done in their name and for masses to be said for them and that that would guarantee a place for them in heaven.

    They protested against the nepotism and opulence of the 16th century church.

    Luther and the Protestants rejected the need for a priest and/or a saint (defined by the church) to intercede for them in order to gain salvation. A human and conscience stood alone.

    But Luther also said that, as there is an all-good and all-powerful God, there are no good works except those which God has commanded. So, under his religious precepts, the good works are not even human-generated. They are pre-ordained by God.

    The Protestants then tangled themselves up logically. Human experience told them that they needed people to exercise their free will to do good works (especially within the organised religion which could hardly survive without them). But if they taught that God is all good and all powerful then that God must determine what happens, not the free will that organised religion wants people to exercise to choose their religion and to choose to do good works within it for its greater glory, propagation and survival.

    Faced with that contradiction they retreated into the slogan of "God works in mysterious ways", telling followers not to try to apply reason and common sense to something that does not bear the scrutiny of reason and common sense.

    The "mysterious ways" nonsense has people praying to the all-powerful, all-good God to relieve them from the suffering of COVID, gun deaths in the US and the wars in Ukraine and elsewhere. But that would be the same all-powerful God that permitted the virus, guns and war in the first place.

    "Mysterious ways" and "God's will" excuse humans from not acting to cure the ills of society, which they should do because it is the morally right thing to do, not because a religion ordains it.

    God does not work in mysterious ways because he (and of course an all-powerful alpha male has to be a he) does not exist except as a human construct.

    It has taken a while, but 40 per cent of Australians, and everywhere else in Europe and the Anglosphere outside the US - which was founded by religiously predisposed people fleeing persecution - have called Christianity out for the con-trick it is. That number is growing.

    The census shows that an inexorably rising percentage of people no longer accept the very dubious trade off of submitting to temporal religious authority and giving large sums of money to it in return for ever-lasting life after death.

    Kerry Packer's approach to life might have been found wanting but his approach to death was not. He said after a heart attack left him clinically dead for six minutes in 1990, "I've been to the other side, mate, and there's nothing there."

    Death and taxes may be inevitable, but the afterlife is not.

    Where do we go from here? Well, not putting filters or sweeteners on the flawed product would be a start. Then we should wind back all the special privileges religion has in our society, especially government funding of religious schools.

    That began in 1962 when the government ordered an over-crowded Catholic school to build more toilets. The Bishop of Goulburn's response was to close six Catholic schools and inundate the state schools.

    He made a point, but the government's response was wrong. It gave the bishop money to build toilets. It should have just built more government schools.

    Now we have the obscene position of private, mainly religious, schools wallowing in money they do not need for education while state schools are starved, resulting in an overall lowering of educational standards because too much government education money is wasted on swimming pools, concert halls and chapels. (The government money is not allowed to be spent directly on those things, but it frees up money for the schools to spend on those things.)

    The tax concessions for religions should be curtailed. Only identifiable charitable things should attract concessions. And the propagation of religion should not be one.

    Church people have been calling for reform of churches in the wake of Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and the calls have increased since the census figures came out revealing so many people think that religion is beyond reform.

    Besides, Christianity had one crack at reform in the 16th century and that did not work out too well - often going up in flames.


    • Crispin Hull is a former editor of The Canberra Times and regular columnist.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Australians dump christianreligious belief in big numbers..

    Just as people have woken up to the harm of tobacco, so, too, they are waking up to the harm of organised religion. And the consumption of both have plummeted.
    An incredibly biased piece of writing.

    It may be that a bad press has caused people to review their lives, but it is interesting that the figures are starting to confirm the Twins Research that quantified a genetic need for a religion of some sort at as low as 40%.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Australians dump christianreligious belief in big numbers..

    Maybe thosw who previusly identified as christian but actually had no connection to the label just stopped doing it?

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    Default Re: Australians dump christianreligious belief in big numbers..

    Quote Originally Posted by skuthorp View Post
    Maybe thosw who previusly identified as christian but actually had no connection to the label just stopped doing it?
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Australians dump christianreligious belief in big numbers..

    Viewing Bill Maher's film Religulous is always a hoot.
    Gerard>
    Albuquerque, NM

    Every Republican is an obstacle to progress.

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    Default Re: Australians dump christianreligious belief in big numbers..

    I find the article interesting on several points and agree with many observations made. The central point of the article seems to be well covered in the title;

    "We're losing faith in the church. And that's a very good thing"

    I agree on several levels, that it is healthy to loose faith in the church. I would argue that no one should have faith in the church!.......they are bound at some stage of their relationship with ' the church ' to be screwed over or otherwise suffer personal injury or hurt due to the actions or attitudes of some member or representative body within 'the church'. There is at this juncture in time a bewildering array of varying representative bodies or examples of "the church'.

    By looking and measuring from observations of various congregations, denominations, TV personality christians, christian cults, Trump advisor christians, etc etc, the label 'christian' it is becoming a
    despised contradictory, toxic brand and for legitimate reason.

    However 'christians' are not called to follow ' the church' they are called to follow Jesus. This is an essential distinction in reference to the argument put forward in the article by Crispin Hull and it is a distinction he fails to articulate. He pulls the whole paradigm down citing a few examples of human folly with no reference to or critique of the actual paradigm.
    This begs the question that perhaps the author is ignorant of the paradigm and writes exclusively from his experience and observation of that which is based on the paradigm. This is a bit like judging a book by its cover.

    The article is written from the perspective of the author having the conclusion firmly established in his mind then drawing together a bunch of somewhat accurate observations to legitimise his conclusion the result being a sloppy intellectual effort at undermining all that is labelled 'christianity' ! He then follows with his opinion on Government funding of religious private schools, an opinion I agree with, however he seems to sheet blame exclusively on religion or more accurately 'christianity' in the way he has articulated his argument. He fails to even consider the possibility that the current Ideological climate of privatisation of Govt services and the rest of "all the way with Milton Friedman" might have something to do with it.


    One could argue that in essence his article is highlighting a foundational concept of the teaching of Jesus, that people, individually and corporately falls way short of perfection in behaviour while juxtaposing the concept of God as perfection then going on to articulate what God's perfection implies for a standard or compass bearing for the direction peoples behaviour should be oriented.

    "
    "Mysterious ways" and "God's will" excuse humans from not acting to cure the ills of society, " may well be what some theologians or others hold to but it is not by any reasonable overview a conclusion drawn from the teachings of Jesus as articulated in the writings of the new testament and it's referencing of the old testament in the light of the new testament. The pursuit of truth, justice, mercy, love, compassion is the central message of the paradigm. It is these that are the course plotted in navigating the issues of living for those who follow Jesus irrespective of any label and I personally would hold to the notion that despite the label or no label at all , those who generally head in this direction are those who are being who Jesus has called us to be.

    Crispin Hull mentions christianity being a human construct. In my thinking on this issue we all have three notions or tools at our disposal; Truth, Reason and for those who choose, Faith.
    Indeed the writings of the New Testament were written by the hands of somewhat ordinary people. In writing the above I'm not holding to the position that one has to believe in a Divine Spiritual Being in order for the wisdom and truth of teaching of Jesus to be of profound relevance to how humans conduct interpersonal relationships. To my mind the teachings of Jesus are the most positive and profound precepts to facilitating healthy relationship where we as individuals do not bring damage either to ourselves or in our interaction with others. Interpersonal relationship is central to the teaching of Jesus and it does not even rate a mention in the articulation of Crispin Hull's article.
    Without going into detail I choose to believe in the divinity of Jesus and that there is a spiritual component to our existence as humans. This is a matter of faith that is personal and in no way implies judgement of those who think differently.

    Last edited by Hallam; 07-05-2022 at 05:07 PM.
    Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. Leonardo da Vinci.

    If war is the answer........... it must be a profoundly stupid question.

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    Default Re: Australians dump christianreligious belief in big numbers..

    Yes, Hallam. Tks. Nailed it.
    Speak softly and carry a mouthful of marbles.

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    Default Re: Australians dump christianreligious belief in big numbers..

    According to the last census only 40% of Australians identified as Christians. The number is declining.
    I would rather have questions that can't be answered than answers that can't be questioned


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    Default Re: Australians dump christianreligious belief in big numbers..

    Nothing wrong with Jesus teachings and philosophy, but we are a very long way from that. They were corrupted from the start, beginning with Paul, and Nicea being the last nail.
    As for a higher power, I am more than just skeptical.

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    Default Re: Australians dump christianreligious belief in big numbers..

    Seriously I would rather identify as a follower of Jesus. The word christian as a descriptor is worse than useless. There is no consensus nor understanding attached to it. It's gone, finished, obsolete and damaging to clear thinking!



    As of 2018: Census reveals Australia’s religious diversity on World Religion Day

    2021 Census shows changes in Australia’s religious diversity | Australian Bureau of Statistics

    and: quote;Religion and the Census: Australia's Unique Relationship to Faith and Unbelief - ABC Religion & Ethics

    Over 60.3% of the population self-identified as having a religion in the 2016 census. This is twice as many people as those who self-identified as having no religion. The "nones" are still in the minority. For the mathematically minded, you will note that this does not equal 100%. The religion question is the only optional question on the Australian census. In 2016 9.6% of respondents chose not to answer. This does not mean they have no religion. People may choose not to answer for a variety of reasons, including religious ones.
    Last edited by Hallam; 07-05-2022 at 06:30 PM.
    Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. Leonardo da Vinci.

    If war is the answer........... it must be a profoundly stupid question.

    "Freighters on the nod on the surface of the bay, One of these days we're going to sail away"
    Bruce Cockburn

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    Default Re: Australians dump christianreligious belief in big numbers..

    Thanks Hallam
    I once thought I was wrong, but I was wrong, I wasn't wrong.

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