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Why do atheists insist on imposing their religious views on the rest of us?

Atheists are a tiny proportion of the population in Australia.

Seventy percent of Australians are Christians, or have some affiliation with a Christian church. Many of the rest are Sikhs, Muslims, Jews, or members of a myriad of smaller groups.

By all means let’s hear what the atheists have to say. But why should there be outrage from them when anyone else has a point of view on a matter of public policy?

On the flight from Adelaide I read bits of the Adelaide Advertiser over the shoulder of the man in the seat next to me.

There was an article by a woman I had never heard of and whose name I cannot remember, bemoaning the influence of Christianity in public life.

As examples of this nefarious influence, she pointed to the defeat of the voluntary euthanasia bill, and exemptions for religious groups from aspects of anti-discrimination legislation.

These exemptions provide, for example, that a muslim social welfare group does not have to employ a man who lives in a sexual relationship with another man, that a Jewish school does not have to employ someone who believes Jews are descended from pigs and monkeys, or that a catholic parish does not have to employ someone who thinks the pope is the anti-christ.

In other words, these exemptions are about protecting the feelings and beliefs of others, even when when we disagree with them. Even atheists. And I agree with the writer to the extent of acknowledging that this is indeed Chrstian influence at work.

Take two minutes to do a simple thought experiment.

Consider countries where there has been a long history of Christian influence in public life.

Now think of countries under Islamic or atheist regimes.

Where are you more likely to find justice and¬†democracy? Where are you going to be safer if you are lesbian or homosexual? Where are women’s voices more likely to be heard? Where is there a higher level of wealth, of quality education and health services?

In which direction do refugees and immigration flow? Where would you rather live?

The writer of the Adelaide Advertiser article decries the fact the Tony Abbott has called for compulsory Bible classes. She says she is happy for the Bible to be taught in schools, with other fiction.

I am not sure Tony Abbott has called for compulsory Bible classes.

What he said was that it was impossible to understand Western culture; law, music art and literature, without a knowledge of the Bible. He is right.

One of the consequences of the influence of the Bible, and of Christianity in general, is that people like the woman who wrote the Advertiser article can parrot their ill-informed and poorly thought-out opinions and expect them to be taken seriously.

And thank God for that.

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