Thinly Veiled Racism

August 17, 2010 § 2 Comments

The upcoming election has skirted around just about every topic I actually hold as important. Sure they need to address topics such as the economy and the security of the nation. This election campaign has been particularly boring and skirts across topics with rhetoric and empty promises. Internet censorship, (where opponents of the filter are accused of being in favour of child pornography as a matter of course), the denial of same-sex marriage are topics that we the public want to have some movement on, but every day we hear the same thing, and so often in language that panders to the Christian and conservative lobbies. Julia Gillard, for instance,  is a self-proclaimed atheist, and yet continues to promise money to things like the School Chaplaincy Scheme. Tony Abbott is a fervent believer, and he often spouts sexism and ideals from the middle ages, so I won’t bother to talk too much about him.

But one particular political football that both sides are guilty of kicking about is that of asylum seekers. The politicians know that they can play this card to leverage off the xenophobic ideas that the media have fed people since the 9/11 attacks and the Bali bombings, and the message is clear. “Australia is in danger of being overrun, we must stop these people, because they might be terrorists.” This is a thinly veiled racist attitude dressed up as political astuteness.

And all the attention is on the boats, when illegal immigrants mostly arrive by aeroplane. Anyway, it’s a blog piece in itself, but I thought this campaign from Get Up was a really good explanation of the fear-mongering and misinformation we have been fed throughout this campaign about refugees coming into Australia.

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Further Reading about this election and the “promises”
Why are we robbing our littlies to preach Paul? by Leslie Cannold, August 16, The National Times


The Bible Is Not A Historical Textbook

August 1, 2010 § 20 Comments

I’m scared for the future of Australia, and I’ll tell you why.

Recently I have been reading reports of education in Queensland that sugest that people who believe the logical fallacies of the Bible have been teaching biblical writings as historical fact. I don’t need to break the bible down piece by piece to show you why it is illogical or why the stories in it are ludicrous, but I do want to point you at this article which states that “Primary school students are being taught that man and dinosaurs walked the Earth together and that there is fossil evidence to prove it.” At first I thought it was a joke, and checked my calendar to ensure it wasn’t April 1st and not August 1st.

I admit, I have no problem with teaching Religious Studies in schools. In fact I think we should present all sides of the religious picture, tell the children that every religions claims to be the “one true religion”, point out all the similarities and differences between the theistic writings, and let the kids work it out for themselves that religion is nonsensical. This knowledge would also be excellent in that it would teach the children about the history of humanity, and about this seemingly natural propensity that all humans have to want to believe in something outside the physical world. And I think all religions should be taught, not just the popular ones. How different would our opinions of religious texts be if we were to teach them as simply works of litereature, and not divine words from above?

I agree with Sam Harris when he says “I view religions as essentially failed sciences.” We naturally want to try and explain everything that happens to us and around us, and when we didn’t know the answer we would try and fill this viod with something. If you fill this void with God, then you don’t need to wonder about the causes of things, and you can move on to more  important things in your life, and leave godly matters God to worry about. If we had stayed as ignorant about our world as we were when religions were formed we would neve have progressed to the point we have now. We would have never questioned why the sun rose, or why water turns to ice, or what causes volcanoes. We would have simply just been happy with the unfounded knowledge that God did it. Whereas once we would ascribe natural disasters to an angry deity, we now know the causes of these disasters, and yet we still hold on to God.

Fundamentalism seems to be on the rise in Australia, which is very alarming. Earlier this year there was a report saying that Creationism was going to be included in the National Curriculum in Queensland schools. Now we hear that some teachers have been making things up to support the information of the Bible. It is a worrying trend, and I really think that if this kind of teaching is allowed, not only are we going to raise our children as ignorant and unquestioning, but that we as a nation will eventually be dumbed-down because of it.

This is not the time to be teaching our children badly. From a bad education comes bad decisions. We have already proven as a species that our uninformed decisions can be the cause of some of the most disastrous situtions and consequences. Let’s move forward with what we have learned, and not fall back on the mysticism and magic from our historical ignorance.

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