Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tony Abbott, Barney Zwartz, and lock up the women and children, the atheists are coming ...

(Above: Tony Abbott, looking alert and alarmed).

Woman at shopping centre: I want to be in a country that’s not going to be run by Muslims.

Tony Abbott: I understand what you’re saying ma’am, and as I said the important thing is to make the borders secure and that way people will be happier that the right people are coming to our country.

The right people?

Thank the lord, now I know for certain that Muslims are the very wrongest of people. As wrong as Christians!

Oh please, pretty please, Mr Abbott, can we kick out all those who believe in god, then make the borders secure, and then make people happy in the knowledge that only the right people are coming to the country? (you can catch the video of the moment here).

Sadly the very wrongest of people are soon to come to the country, on boats and planes.


Or are they the new right people?

Tired of religious squabbles? Join an atheist stamp collecting club and squabble over the price of stamps.

Worse still, there's going to be a convention of them, a veritable gaggle of disbelievers at a Melbourne gabfest.

By the ticking of the clock on The Rise of Atheism website, there's only 23 days to go until the unbelievers start their baleful babbling.

Well the helpful clock on the site also tells you the hours, minutes and seconds to go too - like counting down the time to the unwrapping of Xmas presents as you celebrate the seasonal joy of Myers - but as tickets to the Global Atheist Convention are now SOLD OUT, I'm afraid you'll have to hang around the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre looking for scalpers who don't care so much about theological disputation as cash in the paw.

Leading the charge is Richard Dawkins, and after that there's a lot of stragglers, like Catherine Deveny and Phillip Adams. Given the way ABC Radio National gives him away for free, it's hard to imagine people wanting to rush up to the door and thrust money down the throat of Adams as he does what is now a well worn routine.

But there's a couple of the Chaser lads (they'll always be lads to me), and Robyn Williams and even the notorious NonStampCollector, whose wares you can sample for free at his YouTube channel.

Oh it's a call to arms, no doubt about it.

"The enlightenment is under threat. So is reason. So is truth. So is science … We have to devote a significant proportion of our time and resources to defending it from deliberate attack from organized ignorance …"
Richard Dawkins.
"The number of churchgoers in Australia is about 9% and dwindling, the diversity of spiritual belief is flourishing and atheism is going off like a frog in a sock."
Catherine Deveny.

It sounds like it's going to be such a love in that my Groucho Marx hackles immediately rose - if this is the kind of club I should belong to, count me out - but then I checked in on Barney Zwart's blog, and the fear and resentment, hidden behind jolly politeness and a cucumber sandwich, was palpable.

2500 people with nothing to talk about? he opines, as his header tries for a headbutt, and at last count he'd scored 475 comments.

That's the sort of result The Punch can only dream about as they scribble on about pornographic dresses and pornographic websites.

Barney is something of a humorist and a sideshow alley man, and his incisive wit no doubt slayed a few of the atheists who like to drop in and see what he's got:

... if the atheists who post on this blog are to be believed, they have nothing in common with each other except a lack of belief in “imaginary friends”. They stand for nothing together, hold no ethical precepts in common, hold no ambitions in common (except, perhaps, a desire to see a religionless world). So what on earth (given that heaven is ruled out) will they talk about?

Will they exchange recipes? Knock knock jokes? Will they go door to door, evangelising Melbourne, saying “have we got a non-belief for you”?

You mean atheists have a sense of humour? How can the fiends manage it, knowing that they're heading to hellfire and damnation for eternity?

Knock knock.
Who’s there.
Jesus who?
You should be ashamed of yourself.

Knock knock.
Who's there?
Jesus who?
How many do you know?

Oh god, those knock knock jokes are totally feeble, and they're the ones Christians love.

But ain't it amusing, mocking atheists for not having anything in common. Perhaps in the way Catholics, Protestants, Muslims, Hindus, Calathumpians and any of the other hundreds of sects, cults, delusionists and assorted religious ratbags have so much in common, when they're not damning each other with ferocious fervor to an eternity in hellfire. Or blowing each other. And no, don't break Godwin's law and quote Hitler as an atheist, he believed in religion as a powerful social force. Now Abe Lincoln, there was a decent atheist:

"My earlier views of the unsoundness of the Christian scheme of salvation and the human origin of the scriptures have become clearer and stronger with advancing years, and I see no reason for thinking I shall ever change them." Lincoln in a letter to Judge J.S. Wakefield, after the death of Willie Lincoln

The thing I most love about Barney is the enthusiastic way he endorses the convention, but just hopes for a good clean fight, without too much fundamentalism.

Like (I imagine) those attending, I think people should own their beliefs and worldview, not inherit them. My chief hope, unlikely to be fulfilled, is not too much fundamentalism please, and a fair representation of what they attack.

Indeed. And I look forward to Barney's ongoing campaign against government funding of private religious schools.

But what's with this talk of fundamentalism? Well here's the first clarification:

... when you say you lack freedom from religion in Australia, that sounds a strong claim. Who forces religion of any sort on you. Perhaps you could amplify what you mean? And of course atheistic parents bring up their children as atheists. Few send them to church so they can make a "choice". This indoctrination by religion versus the purity of atheism is another dearly beloved fantasy of many fundamentalist atheists.

Yep, it seems the world is now saturated with fundamentalist atheists, bringing up their children to fear the god fearers and botherers, though a surer way to make them interested in religion I couldn't imagine. I wonder if fundamentalist atheists are worse than militant ones? Or strident harridan ones?

So here's another clarification:

Over the history of this blog I have carefully defined what I mean by fundamentalist atheists, who are a tiny minority but may be quite common at the convention. They are the ones who are evangelical about spreading their views; not only do they not believe, they will not be content until no one does, until everyone sees the world exactly as they do. They are the mirror image of the religious fundamentalists, who want the same. They often come from engineering or science backgrounds, and do not realise how artificial and value-laden a construct "reason" is, and refuse to consider the implications of that. In the real world, very few atheists are in that camp, but in the blogosphere they are like a plague of self-righteous locusts.

Hmm, you can't find them in the real world - so few are in the camp of the fundamentalists in the real world - but in the blogosphere they're a plague of self-righteous locusts? Is there something about the virtual world that breeds fundamentalists, or is it just one spammer setting up thousands of vitriolic atheist websites dedicated to the overthrow of artificial, value-laden, emotion-distorting, twisting and warping religion? (Let's not get into Catholic guilt, lest I start feeling guilty). And that's why you can find them on the blogosphere, but can't find them in real life, except amongst engineers and scientists?

So they should just sit back quietly and shut up? If you speak out, and explain to true believers why they're deluded, you're a fundamentalist atheist? On the principle that it takes a fundamentalist to know a fundamentalist?

Well after Barney's outburst, I now rather like the idea of fundamentalism, since every Christian should by definition, if a believer in the gospel, be a preacher and a missionary and a seeker and converter of lost souls.

The word has its origin "in Christ before the foundation of the world." This was contained in the "promise" God made before the foundation of the world. (Tit. 1:2) The "gospel," the "good news" or "good tidings" is the declared fulfilment of that promise.

In Isaiah 61:1-3 is found the outstanding proclamation made by the Sum and Substance of the good tidings, -- Jesus Christ Himself: "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the meek, He has sent Me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound. To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all that mourn. To appoint to them that mourn in Zion, to give to them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified." The Redeemer repeated this same proclamation of Himself in the synagogue ...

The Greek word "evanggelion" is translated "gospel" in the King James Version. This word, together with its rendering of "good tidings," glad tidings" and "preach the gospel" occurs some one hundred and eight times in the New Testament, none of which intimate anything less than "finished redemption" in Christ. (thank you Gilbert Beebe, and if you have a life to waste you can read his CV here).

Because when Barney says he finds it strange to imagine that anyone is forcing any religion on anyone in Australia, clearly he never pays any attention to the blathering of Chairman Rudd, or Tony Abbott, or sundry heretics like the Jensenists and the Pellists. Or the funding by government of private schools with religious instruction part of the curriculum.

But at least I know now that once Tony is in power, we're going to close the borders and allow only the right people inside.

The atheists better hurry up and finish their convention. Who knows who might end up next on the list of the unwanted.

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