Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Imagine launching an attack on a defenceless piano. It hardly seems like a fair or moral thing to do does it? However, Geoff Bloch (Letters and Emails, 24/4) assures us that our country should not embrace the piano on which Lennon composed ‘Imagine’ because it represents the moral decay that has been wrought by the ongoing secularisation of the world. We are told that there can be little doubt that there is a significant correlation between secularisation and the decay of society. This is a tiresome argument which has been rebutted many times already but I felt compelled to step in, if only to defend the honour of the piano. Imagine a country with an overwhelming proportion of religious believers, a land where atheists are the only minority that will not get elected to public office - The United States. According to a 2001 American Religious Identification Survey, 85% of Americans identify themselves as religious. With this kind of piety prevalent in the population, we would expect to see the most moral nation on earth. In reality we see massively high rates of violent crime, disproportionately high rates of teen-pregnancy and STD infection, CEOs that earn exponentially more than their employees and a war on terror that seems to be more influenced by archaic notions of holy war than by modern foreign policy. This is not yet another attack on America, just an illustration that maybe secularisation isn't the cause of 'moral decay'. There is no reason that a secular society can't be a moral society that values right and punishes wrong. There is no connection between religion and morality. Studies have shown that a sense of right and wrong are established in children long before they learn the Ten Commandments (And is it really that important to teach kids today that they are forbidden from making false idols?). A moral code comparable to our own has also been observed in chimpanzees. It has always troubled me that the religious seem to think that they have a monopoly on being good. After all, what is more laudable, being good because you think it is the right thing to do, or being good only because you think you are being supervised by a menacing parent-figure who will punish you for any misdemeanours? When I hear 'Imagine' on the radio I am grateful that such a simple message of rejecting faith is loved by so many people and that maybe a world free from religion isn't just a dream. Well, you may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one, I hope someday that piano may join us, and the world can live as one.
Lennon's piano goes solo
Thursday, April 19, 2007
SBS World News article about Pope Benedict's opinion on evolution
Friday, April 13, 2007
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Science Daily article about Oryctodromeus
Monday, April 9, 2007
Easter is a time of reflection. A time of spiritual solitude, which somehow became a bastardised celebration of eating rodents made from chocolate. It is a time when all of us mortal men and women should be turning to the church for moral and spiritual guidance - and what bigger or more authoritative church is there than the Vatican? During this years Easter message, Pope Benedict XVI reflected upon the many evils present in the world today obstructing our quest for world peace. His distress at the unrest in the Middle East moved him to denounce "the thousand faces of violence which some people attempt to justify in the name of religion," Isn't it great to hear the Pope speaking out against these issues? I can only presume that his disgust is limited to violence justified in the name of non-Christian religions. The Pope continues in this hypocritical vein when he describes the "underestimated humanitarian situation" in Africa. Could he be referring to the countless Catholic missionaries who are teaching Africans that condom use causes the spread of AIDS? Of course not. If Benedict is concerned about the humanitarian situation in Africa then maybe he should think about dispelling draconian, first century attitudes about sex that are increasing the spread of HIV in third-world countries? The Pope goes on:
"Suffering, evil, injustice, death, especially when it strikes the innocent such as children who are victims of war and terrorism, of sickness and hunger, does not all of this put our faith to the test?"Presumably it would put your faith to the test when a supposedly benevolent and loving God wantonly strikes down innocent children in the most painful way. Maybe God isn't all that benevolent and loving after all? Or at least maybe you might want to ask yourself if this is a God worth worshipping? If I had a friend who caused as much mayhem and destruction as God does, God knows I wouldn't worship him. I don't think I would even buy him an Easter egg. Don't you think it's odd that we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ by giving each other confectionary eggs? This is because Easter is a Christian highjacking of Pagan fertility celebrations following the spring Equinox and eggs are symbolic of fertility and rebirth (The connection with fertility and Easter is where we get words like 'oestrus', 'oestrogen' etc.). So, I propose a new way to celebrate Easter; have sex. What better way to celebrate the blossom of spring and make the fertility Goddess happy in one fell swoop? This Easter don't give your friends chocolate, give them some sugar!