Sunday, 11 November 2018

Judaism - tenets followed by 55% of the world - how and why?

Judaism is a non-proselytising religion, yet most of its tenets are followed by 55% of the world's population and utilised by an overwhelming number of proselytising religions including virtually every form of Christianity and Islam.

What is it about the fantasy, fables, fiction and edicts of Judaism that have led to such widespread following, as well as so much social and human suffering over at least the last two thousand years?

Steve Marton explains.




Entry to this event will be $5.00 for supporter members of Sydney Atheists and $10.00 for non-supporter attendees. Annual Supporter membership is only $20. To become a supporter member, please go to: http://www.sydneyatheists.org/p/donations-and-membership.html

Our talk events are held at the Function Room at Club Redfern:
7.00pm - 9.00pm
2nd Floor, 159 Redfern St
REDFERN, NSW 2000

RSVP here: https://www.meetup.com/sydneyatheists/events/pqbqkqyxqbsb/

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Escape from religion - Catholicism

Jenny grew up a Catholic.
What is this religion?
What does it do?
How did Jenny escape?
What were the ramifications?
Jenny will answer these and many more questions in an informative talk about Catholicism.

Entry to this event will be $5.00 for supporter members of Sydney Atheists and $10.00 for non supporter attendees. Annual Supporter membership is only $20. To become a supporter member, please go to: http://www.sydneyatheists.org/p/donations-and-membership.html




Our talk events are held at the Function Room at Club Redfern:
2nd Floor, 159 Redfern St
REDFERN, NSW 2000

https://www.meetup.com/sydneyatheists/events/cckkxnyxpbmb/

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Scripture in schools - a blight on our education system


Dr Darrin Morgan is from FIRIS - Fairness In Religion In Schools. His talk will focus on religious instruction in NSW public schools in the context of international human rights and the machinations of elements of the scripture lobby which are aimed at dismissing the rights of parents/caregivers with non-religious belief systems.

Unlike NSW, Victoria has succeeded in removing the perniciousness of scripture.

Entry to this event will be $5.00 for supporter members of Sydney Atheists and $10.00 for non-supporter attendees. Annual Supporter membership is only $20. To become a supporter member, please go to: http://www.sydneyatheists.org/p/donations-and-membership.html

This talk  will be held from 7.00 to 9.00pm Friday 12th of October at the Function Room
Club Redfern:
2nd Floor, 159 Redfern St
REDFERN, NSW 2000
RSVP here: https://www.meetup.com/sydneyatheists/events/cckkxnyxnbqb/

Saturday, 8 September 2018

An evening of atheist - religious humour

An evening of atheist - religious humour

This event is intended to be an evening of humour, fun and laughter with various atheist and religious videos.

Come have a laugh because Scott Morrison might just ban us from laughing about religion. Perhaps he might invoke stoning as it says in the Bible and the Koran: https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/scott-morrison-vows-to-change-laws-on-religious-freedom-but-won-t-be-a-culture-warrior-pm-20180907-p502da.html


We will have time for chat, discussion and most importantly fellowship and connection with other atheists

Entry to this event will be $5.00 for all attendees.
Annual Supporter membership of Sydney Atheists is only $20. To become a supporter member, please go to: http://www.sydneyatheists.org/p/donations-and-membership.html

This event will be held at the Function Room at Club Redfern:


2nd Floor, 159 Redfern St

REDFERN, NSW 2000

The entrance is 20 metres across Gibbons Street from Redfern Station under the SPAR sign. You can walk up the stairs, the escalator or use the elevator to the 2nd floor where the club is located. The outside of the venue is shown below.


Parking is available in the shopping complex and adjacent streets.


Please have your meal in the adjacent lounge areas where there is a variety of food and drinks including Australian and Chinese meals - see the menu selection at: http://www.clubredfern.com.au/dining


Sydney Atheists look forward to welcoming everyone to a great atmosphere and experience.



Dinner is available from 5.30pm whilst the talks begin at 7.00pm. As there will be limited table space, it is preferable to have meals in the restaurant section of the club before entering the function area, though bringing drinks in will be fine.
RSVP here: https://www.meetup.com/sydneyatheists/events/cckkxnyxmbsb/

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Cults

Cults are simply religions that have not yet been accepted by enough followers.

By definition, they are: "a system of religious veneration and devotion directed towards a particular figure or object
".
Nathan Zamprogno is a teacher, Councillor and a member of
Cult Information and Family Support Incorporated.
Nathan will discuss cults in Australia, how they work and the harm that they cause in so many ways.
7.00pm Friday 10th of August on the second floor at Club Redfern, 159 Gibbons Street Redern
Entry to this event will be $5.00 for supporter members of Sydney Atheists and $10.00 for non supporter attendees. Annual Supporter membership is only $20. To become a supporter member, please go to: http://www.sydneyatheists.org/p/donations-and-membership.html

To buy advance purchase tickets for non financial members, please go to https://www.trybooking.com/WRGF

Friday, 18 May 2018

Evidence for an alternative history of Islam
Friday 8th June 
John Perkins will discuss the legend of the Prophet Muhammad who is integral to Islam. He is cited as the founder of the religion, and the source of the Koran. All of the information about him dates from 100-200 years after the supposed events. None of it accords with contemporary historical records based on non-Islamic sources.

This talk has had to be moved to the 2nd Floor of the Occidental hotel, 43 York Street Sydney, just a 40 metre walk from Wynyard station.
Please come to the 2nd floor from 5.30 onwards, where you can order food and drinks from the bar. You can eat and drink at the tables in the room before and during the talk.
The talk will begin at 7.00pm and expect to finish by 9.00pm.
Entry for Sydney Atheists members is $5.00 and Non-members $10.00.
Membership is $20.00.

Sydney Atheists look forward to welcoming everyone to a great atmosphere and experience.
RSVP: https://www.meetup.com/sydneyatheists/events/cckkxnyxjblb/
Committee update from 9th June:
President Jess Nissan
Vice President Steve Marton
Secretary Rob Rayment
Treasurer Semih Ilhan
Public Officer Mike Beecham
Public Relations Officer Sam Aziz
Assistant Secretary / Treasurer Mohamed Farahat

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Is religion killing us?

Dr Michael Pyne - Is religion killing us?


Jack-Nelson Pallmeyer wrote a book entitled “Is religion killing us”, about the role of religion in the Middle East conflict and other trouble spots in the world. Michael will argue, like Pallmeyer, that literalist interpretations of the scriptures are allowing people to create violence and war in the Middle East, and beyond it, while at the same time masking the real causes for bitterness and resentment.

Entry to this event will be $5.00 for supporter members of Sydney Atheists and $10.00 for non supporter attendees. Annual Supporter membership is only $20. To become a supporter member, please go to: http://www.sydneyatheists.org/p/donations-and-membership.html

You can RSVP here: https://www.meetup.com/sydneyatheists/events/cckkxnyxhbpb/
OR if you would like to buy advance purchase tickets for non financial members, please go to https://www.trybooking.com/VHPM

Our talk events are held at the Function Room at Club Redfern at 7.00pm:

2nd Floor, 159 Redfern St
REDFERN, NSW 2000


Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Request for AHRC inquiry:

The President
Australian Human Rights Commission
GPO Box 5218
SYDNEY NSW 2001

27 March 2018

Request for Human Rights and Discrimination Inquiry
into the National School Chaplaincy Program

Dear President,
We write to request that the Australian Human Rights Commission inquire into the National
School Chaplaincy Program because it interferes with the right to religious freedom and
involves religious discrimination in hiring decisions.
The Commission has power under section 11(1)(f) of the Australian Human Rights Act 1986
to inquire into any act or practice that may be inconsistent with or contrary to any human
right. The Commission also has power under section 31 of the Act to inquire into any act or
practice (including any systemic practice) that may constitute discrimination.

The National School Chaplaincy Program
The Commonwealth provides funds to the States and Territories to operate the NSCP. The
NSCP allows schools to request funding to engage a ‘school chaplain’ to work in the school.
The role of the school chaplain is to provide pastoral care services. The work of school
chaplains under the NSCP Guidelines is non-religious.
The NSCP Guidelines set out the criteria for hiring a person as a school chaplain, including
that the person “is recognised through formal ordination, commissioning, recognised
religious qualifications or endorsement by a recognised or accepted religious institution.”
This selection criterion amounts to requiring a person be religious. It excludes non-religious
people from working as school chaplains. In practice, it leads to school chaplain job
advertisements requiring that applicants be Christian. We have attached the position
description for a job advertisement for a NSCP school chaplain that states in black and white
that applicants must be Christian.

Religious discrimination
The selection criteria for school chaplain positions involve discriminating against people on
the basis of religious belief, affiliation or activity in connection with employment. We
believe this to be unlawful under federal, State and Territory laws. We also believe this a
breach of the right to freedom of religion and belief under international law.

The Victorian Government states publicly that the NSCP involves religious discrimination. In
a Frequently Asked Questions document,1 the Victorian Department of Education and
Training writes:

Why can’t Victorian government schools employ a chaplain directly?
Under the NSCP agreement, the Commonwealth Government has defined a chaplain as
an individual who:
• is recognised by the school community and the appropriate governing authority for
the school as having the skills and experience to deliver school chaplaincy to the
school community; and
• is recognised through formal ordination, commissioning, recognised religious
qualifications or endorsement by a recognised or accepted religious institution; and
• meets the NSCP’s minimum qualification requirements.
The Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (Vic) prohibits a non-religious body, such as a Victorian
government school, from discriminating against a job applicant on the basis of the
person’s religious belief/activity or lack of religious belief/activity. In order to give effect
to the requirements of the NSCP agreement and not breach anti-discrimination laws,
schools are required to engage third party chaplaincy service providers to provide
chaplaincy services.

Whilst the Victorian Government is correct to acknowledge that the NSCP Guidelines
require religious discrimination in the hiring of school chaplains, we believe it is wrong to
suggest that the outsourcing method of hiring chaplains avoids the Victorian Department of
Education and Training breaching the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (Vic). This is because the
EO Act defines “employer” to include not only the direct employer but also “a person who
engages another person under a contract for services”. There are similar provisions in other
applicable anti-discrimination laws.
In other words, both the chaplaincy provider organisation who directly employs a school
chaplain and the educational authority which has contracted with the chaplaincy provider
organisation are engaging in religious discrimination. This discrimination and human rights
breach is done at the behest of the Commonwealth as a direct result of the NSCP
Guidelines.

The religious discrimination and breach of the right to freedom of religious belief is not
justified
Being of a particular faith is not an inherent or genuine requirement of the job of school
chaplain. The work of chaplains is entirely non-religious. As the High Court noted in Williams
v Commonwealth (2012) 248 CLR 156 the work of a school chaplain under the NSCP “could
have been done by persons who met a religious test. It could equally have been done by
persons who did not.”
Being of a particular faith is not necessary to avoid injury to the religious susceptibilities of
the adherent of any faith. The work of chaplains takes place in public schools and not within
the organisation of the chaplaincy provider organisation or within any other religious
context. Public schools are secular and are filled with students from a diversity of religious
backgrounds and students with no religious affiliation. It cannot offend anyone’s religious
susceptibilities for a person to be hired without regard to the person’s religious beliefs to
perform non-religious work in a non-religious context.

Recommendations
The provision of pastoral care to school students is a worthy policy goal. It is wrong that
religious discrimination is involved in hiring the people who are to provide pastoral care to
students. It is wrong that the Commonwealth Government has developed a policy that
involves religious discrimination and breaches of the right to freedom of religion and belief.
We request that the Commission inquire into the NSCP and recommend the NSCP
Guidelines be amended to remove the religiously discriminatory selection criteria.

Yours sincerely

Dr Meredith Doig
President, Rationalist Society of Australia

Steve Marton
President, Sydney Atheists

Meg Wallace
President, NSW Rationalist Association

Brian Morris
Chair, National Secular Lobby

Ron Williams
President, Humanist Society of Queensland

Lyndon Storey
President, Council of Australian Humanist
Societies

Rosslyn Ives
President, Humanist Society of Victoria

Andrew Rawlings
President, Progressive Atheists

Lara Wood
Convenor, Fairness in Religion in Schools

Alison Courtice
Spokesperson, Queensland Parents for
Secular State Schools

Mary-Anne Cosgrove
Convenor, ACT Humanist Society

1 http://www.education.vic.gov.au/Documents/school/principals/health/NSCP_FAQs_Jan2018.docx

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Letter to Bill Shorten and Tanya Plibersik

I expect that you have the same religious views as I. I am an atheist.
It is beyond the realms of common sense to give $250 million dollars to the Catholic church particularly as:
1. Religious schools seek to indoctrinate children into believing fiction
2. Religious schools seek to hinder critical thinking
3. The Catholic church has been guilty of having paedophile clergy
4. The Catholic church has real estate assets as of at least 30 billion dollars*1
5. Apart from this real estate, it has real estate in terms of shareholdings, schools, hospitals nursing homes
6. The Catholic church has other extraordinary assets
7. The Catholic church in large part campaigned against Same Sex Marriage
8. The Catholic church, in concert with other religious groups has sought to interfere in scripture and chaplaincy in State secular schools wishing to indoctrinate children into fictitious beliefs.
9. 30 out of 90 people at the 2016 census declared they have "No religion". Of respondents that is 33%. Why should those of us without fictitious beliefs fund the indoctrination of others?

It would seem to me to be immoral, unethical and inappropriate to give this institution - or any other religious institution - $250 million dollars.
As a private citizen, as President and on behalf of of Sydney Atheists, I encourage you to rescind this proposed expenditure.
Yours sincerely,
Steve Marton


*1  https://www.smh.com.au/national/catholic-church-s-massive-wealth-revealed-20180209-p4yzus.html

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Friday 6th April 2018
Cognitive bias as a product of evolution

Daniel Marton is a media analyst.

This evening Dan will give an entertaining, thought provoking and interactive discussion on bias - something that affects us all, though arguably affects the religious most.

He will discuss:

Why the brain exists and how it is a future predicting machine to save energy in a world of scarce resources. How it evolved to increase the chance of survival and procreation. The brain's limitations and how it overcomes these four 'problems':
Too much information to process,
Even then, too much information missing,
Decisions need to be made quickly,
There is too much to remember.


Our talk events are held at the Function Room at Club Redfern:

2nd Floor, 159 Redfern St
REDFERN, NSW 2000

The entrance is 20 metres across Gibbons Street from Redfern Station under the SPAR sign. You can walk up the stairs, the escalator or use the elevator to the 2nd floor where the club is located. The outside of the venue is shown below.

Parking is available in the shopping complex and adjacent streets.

Please have your meal in the adjacent lounge areas where there is a variety of food and drinks including Australian and Chinese meals - see the menu selection at: http://www.clubredfern.com.au/dining

Sydney Atheists look forward to welcoming everyone to a great atmosphere and experience.

Dinner is available from 5.30pm whilst the talks begin at 7.00pm. As there will be limited table space, it is preferable to have meals in the restaurant section of the club before entering the function area, though bringing drinks in will be fine
Please RSVP here:

https://www.meetup.com/sydneyatheists/events/cckkxnyxgbrb/

or purchase tickets here: https://www.trybooking.com/URSF 

Friday, 26 January 2018

Women Under Sharia Law

Meya, is a Saudi woman, medical doctor and a former muslim who was born and raised in the conservative society of Saudi Arabia, where she worked as a doctor for two years. She abandoned Islam in 2013 after years of questioning, reading and critically analysing this coded society. Two years ago, she came to Australia for only one reason: freedom of religion.

This talk is mainly about women in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is the origin of Islam and the government follows sharia law which is derived from the Quran and Hadiths.

Meya will discuss a woman's life, from the day she is born, the customs that people follow celebrating the birth of a female, to the Islamic duties that are enforced on every teenage girl once reaching puberty, such as hijab and prayers. There will also be discussion about women's sexuality, dating, honour killing and marriage in this conservative society.
The talk will also cover the guardianship system ( in which every woman is enslaved to her relative man), the education system and employment opportunities for women in Saudi Arabia. The talk will conclude with references to various verses from the Quran and Hadiths that mention women in terms of hijab, court witness, adultery, how to discipline a wife and more.
The purpose of this talk is to provide people with a clear and deeper understanding about Muslims. It is not intended to discriminate or to enhance islamophobia.
Friday 9th March on the second floor at Club Redfern, 159 Redfern St Redfern. Across the road from Redfern station. Please RSVP here https://www.meetup.com/sydneyatheists/events/cckkxnyxfbmb/