Wednesday 31 December 2014

Happy New Year to everyone and may 2015 be a much better year for all humanity and the world on which we live.

Wednesday 24 December 2014

Young Sydney Atheists

Jessica and Mohamed are hosting the first under 30s Social event for 2015. It will be on the second floor at Strattons Hotel
Come share your atheism with others who are in the 18 to 30 year age group.
Our first event will start at 6.00pm and continue until about 9.00pm. Arrive or leave whenever you want to. Dinner and drinks are available at the hotel at very reasonable prices.
This month we will discuss what the best approaches are to engage a religious person in a religious topic, particularly when we would like to influence their belief in fantasy. What has worked best for you and what has worked best for other atheists when we talk to people in the religious community.

Of course, we aren't limited to this discussion, we will talk about anything and everything that is of interest.
Please RSVP at:

Saturday 13 December 2014

New Committee for 2015

Sydney Atheists elected a new committee at the AGM on Wednesday the 10th of December. The committee members are:

President:          Steve Marton
Vice President: Tina Khakpour
Secretary:          Jenny Howatson
Treasurer:          Semih Ilhan
Public Relations: Thomas Kraemer
Public Officer:   Mike Beecham
Assistant Secretary / Treasurer: Mohamed Farahat

The committee represents people from seven different countries and five former religions.

Jane Caro

The Sydney Atheists Finale with Jane Caro on Friday 12th of December was a great success with 83 attendees who were informed and entertained by this great lady. We thank Jane very much for participating in this event.

Friday 12 December 2014

Catholic Church report links celibacy to abuse

The Australian has reported that a landmark report from the Catholic Church's leaders that the vow of celibacy "may have contributed to decades of child sex abuse committed."

For the first time, the church establishment within Australia says “obligatory celibacy” may have resulted in the abuse of thousands of children and that priests should undergo “psycho-sexual development” training as a result. In a report to be released today, they also criticise a church culture “geared to power over others” and call for “greater clarity around the role of the Vatican and its involvement with the way in which church authorities in Australia responded to abuse allegations”.
By publicly acknowledging the potential role of celibacy in this way, the report sets an international precedent. Issued by the Australian church’s Truth, Justice and Healing Council, whose supervisory group includes the archbishops of Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Canberra and Adelaide, its findings are in stark contrast to a recent US study that said celibacy could not be blamed for the epidemic of abuse.
Francis Sullivan, the council’s chief executive, said the church must now examine “how individuals who have chosen to be celibate, how they can remain healthy and not begin acting out of a dysfunctional sense of self”.
The report is critical of a culture of “obedience and closed environments”,  openly criticising “the impact of ‘clericalism’, which can be understood as referring to approaches or practices involving ordained ministry geared to power over others, not service to others”.
“Church … leaders, over many decades, seemed to turn a blind eye, either instinctively or deliberately, to the abuse happening within their diocese or religious order, protecting the institution rather than caring for the child,” it says...  
In July, Pope Francis estimated 2 per cent of Catholic clergy worldwide were child abusers. “I would be absolutely certain that in Australia the proportion of child abusers and pedophiles in the church would be at least double that,” Mr Sullivan said
The Victorian Parliament’s Betrayal of Trust report, published in November 2013 discusses the culture in religious organisations that permitted their members "closing ranks"
"[I]n any organisation, a misguided sense of group loyalty or personal empathy can influence the nature of the organisation’s response to offences by its members. In the case of the Catholic Church, many perpetrators of abuse were members of a relatively closed community. They had formally dedicated their lives to the service of their religion, giving up the prospect of the ordinary relationships of marriage and family. They had taken vows of obedience, poverty and celibacy. In that situation, it seems almost inevitable that a protective mentality, an inappropriate empathy among peers and superiors, and a desire to guard the reputation of the religious order, should develop, unless Catholic Church leadership squarely confronted the issues. But the latter was certainly not the case for many years. Many people who provided evidence still questioned whether, in spite of many statements to the contrary by the Catholic Church leadership, and although much has been and is being done, the basic priorities have changed. They wondered whether the Catholic Church still gives central significance to organisational self-protection. This cynicism is a consequence of the Church’s self-created damage to its own reputation."