Sunday, April 15, 2012

GOD & RELIGION or Godless Religion!

13 April 2012
Atheist Alliance International congratulates the 2012 Global Atheist Convention, A Celebration of Reason

The 2012 Global Atheist Convention, A Celebration of Reason will be held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre this weekend, 13 - 15 April.

Arranged and hosted by the Atheist Foundation of Australia, A Celebration of Reason will feature some of the world's leading atheist speakers including Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ben Elton and Eugenie Scott.

Atheist Alliance International will be represented at the Convention by Tanya Smith, President, and Victor Franco, Director. Tanya Smith said "With thousands attending, this will be the largest atheist convention ever, anywhere. Followed by atheist conventions in the Philippines, Canada and Germany over the next month or so, A Celebration of Reason is a leading example of atheists being visible, organised and saying 'the damage done to our society by religion has got to stop'. It will be a fantastic weekend of rational thought and a unique opportunity to hear from this group of world-class speakers."


ABC'S TV progam Q&A featured leading UK atheist, Richard Dawkins and the Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal Pell debating "GOD"!
The Jewish community was rightly up in arms at the way Cardinal Pell referred to the Jews as 'culturally inferior' at the time of The Exodus as featured in the Bible and more tellingly he avoided answering re where was God during the Holocaust,- answering instead that 'no people suffered more than the Germans'!!!

In defence of Cardinal Pell though on Q&A, it must be understood that the issue being debated was “God”,- not the Jews or the Holocaust.

Asking for an explanation is one thing, attacking the Archbishop as the community did in the pages of the Australian Jewish News for his off-the cuff comments in that testing environment is another.
Given the guilt carried by the Christian Churches and doubtlessly well understood by the Archbishop re the teachings of the Catholic Churches in particular for over 2 thousand years about supposed  ‘Jewish guilt’ over ‘deicide’, how could he turn around and ‘blame God’ for not protecting the Jews in the Holocaust?

It was obvious that Cardinal Pell tried to infer that the evil perpetrators,- i.e. the ‘suffering Germans’ not Christianity ,- were punished severely (by God!)

He asserted that Hitler and the Nazis were atheists like Stalin and the Communists,  not Christians, - which Dawkins strongly refuted!

 Let’s face it,- our continued Jewish survival and now our thriving national identity in Israel must be a source of deep embarrassment not only to Christianity but to all those who want to claim that only their religious belief systems are the pure road to salvation for humankind.

Trying to counter Dawkins’ taunts re ‘proof’ for the religious’ claims of a heaven for their followers and hell for non-believers like the atheists (and Jews!), was obviously making Cardinal Pell quite uncomfortable,- as it should have. But I think he did quite well in defending the indefensible on behalf of his religion.

 However, he came across very uncomfortable and not at all convinced about his own, let alone God’s and religion’s role in society today!

I don’t think he should have accepted to come onto the Q&A program on that topic. He is in enough trouble over the Church’s role in the sex scandals permeating over decades in their schools

Should we not reserve our Jewish media attacks for real enemies and anti-Semites.-  so we may not be accused of crying wolf too often in our multicultural democracy? In my opinion, we should have dialogue with those from other faiths whom we would not wish to alienate.

Re the existence or not of a God,- i.e the belief systems enshrined in all the religions supporting such a mythical being looking over us mortals,- I do not see that there need to be a conflict. If it is comforting for people who are suffering to believe in this almighty supremo or God is there to help them,- then why not give them that support. Atheism is OK for the realists,- and as one myself and a scientist I do not submit to this belief in  a real God existing somewhere up there in heaven.
However, I do like to say 'please God' when I wish for something good to happen or something bad not to happen! Why not? On the other hand, there is also millenia of Jewish tradition that has little to do with having to believe,- it is part of our culture and it is what our communities are all about.

What I certainly do not subscribe to and in that I probably have this in common with the atheists,- is to be told by humans,- partyicularly as usual it is always the MEN,- who try to scare their flock with fire and brimstone if they do not subscribe to their particular belief system. Moreover, they then impose severe punishments, sometimes to death, if whatever they order to do and how to behave is not followed to the letter! That is what the organized religions try to do sometimes to extreme!

If religion is a sop to the masses, particularly the uneducated masses, as the Communists believe, then so be it. Misuse of religion however, leading to ethnic persecution of its non-adherents and ethnic cleansing for the non-believers will hopefully disappear from the face of the earth,- together with those who try to impose it on the weak and unscrupulous followers.


  1. Cardinal Pell's Q&A comments were ignorant and hurtful. Protesting them was appropriate. However,the lack of understanding of what he was trying to say in his "clarification", was uncharitable. There is much fence building to be made from both sides.

    1. Of course Paul. I agree with you.
      The Council of Christians and Jews tries to do a lot of fence mending,- but there are bridges too weak to cross also,- particularly in Catholicism.