Jan 12 2010

In Defence of Silly Hats


Michael Jensen had a great column published on ABC Unleashed, critical of the religious programme Compass:

Imagine No Religion

If you ever tune in to the ABC’s flagship religious affairs programme Compass after the bonnet drama of a Sunday night, then you could be forgiven for thinking that the group of people labelled ‘the religious’ are those who wear funny hats.

As the opening title sequence of the show scrolls by, viewers are treated to a veritable facebook of curious millinery – along with some impressive facial hair.

To the average ABC viewer, watching as they iron their work clothes, the message is clear: these people are not ‘us’. They are definitely ‘the other’: a group or groups of people to be observed, categorised, wondered at – and sometimes even frightened of. 

But is there such a category as the ‘religious’? Does ‘religion’ even exist? 

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Apr 8 2009

Richard Dawkins, the blind Compass maker

Mike Bull | 3 July 2007

In one sense, giving Richard Dawkins two weeks of air time on ABC TV’s Compass is like putting the tobacco companies in charge of lung cancer research.

In another sense, however, it is quite right that atheism is seen as just another faith. Dawkins’ ‘mount improbable’ illustration of evolutionary theory is really ‘mount impossible’, but he chooses to have faith in it, and admits elsewhere that it cannot be proven. (So much for the mountains of evidence he claims to have.) Evolutionary theory is just another of Dawkins’ ‘orbiting teapots’ that men choose to believe in.

Dawkins also wants us to believe that religious faith is intolerant and leads inevitably to killing. Yet he neglects to mention that his own faith gave us the most bloodthirsty century in history, the death toll estimated at around 100 million, many of them Christians, which is more than the deaths from all the ‘religious’ wars put together. The arbitrary human ‘Reason’ he extolls brought us the guillotine and unprecedented genocide. The hypothesis of evolution brought us eugenics and amplified racism. Christianity, however, brought us an end to slavery, the first hospitals, orphanages and social welfare, and not just because the founders happened to be Christian. These were and still are a direct result of a biblical worldview. Is it any wonder people are turning back to faith? Perhaps we have longer memories than Richard does. He’s like a doctor extolling the benefits of thalidomide to a pregnant woman in 2007. Is he ignorant or deceitful?

Richard argues from a supposed position of compassion and concern for those he ridicules, yet this is inconsistent with his materialistic worldview, and is simply borrowed capital from the Christian worldview he has turned his back on. The only reason he can slap God in the face is because he is standing in His lap. There is no basis in Richard’s worldview for any moral stand whatsoever. Remember, natural selection boils down to ‘might is right’. If we are all just biological accidents, or ‘nature’s way of keeping meat fresh’, perhaps religious killing is merely evolution in action.

Richard is also crafty in his lumping together of Islamic terrorists with Bible Christianity. I am sure he is aware that Baptists don’t fly planes into buildings or Presbyterians strap dynamite to themselves. Both Islam and Christianity have a mandate to dominate the world, but unlike the Koran the New Testament limits the weapons to proclamation, charity and self-sacrifice. Dawkins must know this.

It struck me as ironic that Richard thinks that teaching faith to our children is a form of child abuse, which includes neglect, black eyes, incest and being locked in the cupboard. However, his one-eyed little film displays many obviously happy Christian families, and the bitter ‘free-thinkers’ holed up in the woods appeared to be childless. A politically incorrect but undeniable biological fact is that his beloved secular west is becoming extinct through birth control, abortion and sodomy. If this is natural selection in action, it seems the meek will inherit the earth after all.

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