Tuesday, 27 August 2019

Alteration to the Freedom of Religion Act or Religious Discrimination Act

In March 2017, the Liberal Party attempted to change the laws with regard to 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975, which states:

             (1)  It is unlawful for a person to do an act, otherwise than in private, if:
                     (a)  the act is reasonably likely, in all the circumstances, to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person or a group of people; and
                     (b)  the act is done because of the race, colour or national or ethnic origin of the other person or of some or all of the people in the group.
Had these changes been brought about - purportedly in the name of free speech - some people could say things that others might reasonably consider to be disrespectful and discriminatory on the basis of their race, colour or national or ethnic origin.

Some elements of the government now look to do the opposite in certain regards. They would seek to protect religions from offense, insult, humiliation and intimidation. Furthermore, they would seek to enable religions to discriminate against those of different persuasions. This would be seen by the passive observer as the height of hypocrisy.

Belief in religions - as with ideology – are often opinionated and dynamic, but most importantly changeable, whereas “race, colour or national or ethnic origin” are fixed. As such, opinions, religions and ideologies are not deserving of the same protections as race, colour or national or ethnic origins.

The Folau case has highlighted the difficulties that changes to Freedom of Religion would cause. Israel Folau has ostensibly voiced his religious opinion that a vast array of people would go to hell. This despite an agreement with his employer that he would not voice his opinions in public. In so doing he could alienate the very people who patronise him, including other players, audiences and sponsors. This is not to take into account the harm that he might cause, including the offense to the unchangeable qualities of people in the LGBTI community. The Australian Christian Lobby was quick to defend Israel Folau.

On the other hand, Israel Folau’s father Eni of the Truth of Jesus Christ Church, believes the "everlasting torture and doom" of hell awaits most Christians, with Catholicism seen as "the synagogue of Satan" and "masked devil worship". Israel Folau’s cousin Josiah wrote to a parent who attended one of the church's services that "any devout Catholic person IS NOT A SAVED CHRISTIAN WHATSOEVER.
"Look at Catholic doctrine, almost 100% of it is false and is filled with lies,"

After meeting with the headmaster, Josiah “discontinued” his employment with the Catholic school where he was a teacher. The Australian Christian Lobby has not come out in support of Josiah Folau. The case of Israel and Josiah both involve people who have caused their employers discomfort. They are free to think whatever they like. They are also free to say whatever they like. However, there are consequences when said in the public domain.

If the government were to stop the ability to question, criticise, nay use terminology that the aggrieved would consider offensive or insulting - in the hope of insulating certain types of Christianity - then they would unwittingly protect from perceived offence and insult what many might consider to be ridiculous belief systems including Jehovah's Witnesses, Exclusive Brethren, Scientology and Islam. These religions – particularly in their more fundamental forms - are just a few that run counter to reasonable, acceptable and moral behaviours as viewed by the vast majority of Australians. Indeed, many of their practices run counter to the intentions and laws of the land. Many of their practices run counter to appropriate medical practice, educational enlightenment, organisational transparency and psychological well-being.

Of far greater concern to most Australians, were the government to enact laws banning criticism, offense or insult of religions, the government could unwittingly allow the Trojan horse of Islam to instigate blasphemy laws like those in Saudi Arabia, Iran and various other countries. After all, why should any form of Christianity be more or less protected than any other religion, regardless of how ridiculous such religions might seem.

It is imperative therefore that religious laws, which are already overly protective of religious practices, not be granted any further dispensation.

Sunday, 2 June 2019

Growing up as Australian women inside the Primitive Cage of Islam

Sarah and Yasmin from two different Muslim cultural backgrounds discuss their compelling stories.



Friday 9th August, 7.00pm.
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 www.trybooking.com/BDDKF

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

2nd Floor, 159 Redfern St
REDFERN, NSW 2000

Thursday, 25 April 2019

The fantasy world of the Bible and its contrast with reality



Mark Frew was born into a Bible Christian household.
Mark completed a Bachelor of Applied Science at university and was a research chemist for many years but his real passion was linguistics and so he eventually retrained and became a Teacher of English to Speakers of Other Languages. He has experience with a great number of religious people from many countries. Mark is also an author.
Come travel with Mark on his tortuous journey through religious exploration to uncertainty and ultimately atheism, all seen through the lens of being gay. In the process, come to an understanding of what the Bible really says and what Bible Christians don't want it to say.
This talk will be at 7.00pm at Club Redfern on Friday 10th of May.
Entry $5 for financial members and $10.0 for non-members.

Sunday, 10 March 2019

Psychedelic Mushrooms, Fertility Cults and the origin of religion


Jim Muscaria explains some of the intriguing beginnings of religion. Jim's talk leans heavily on the controversial work of visionary scholar John Allegro.

It will take us on a trip through some interesting subjects

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
2nd Floor, 159 Redfern St
REDFERN, NSW 2000
Dinner and drinks are available at the club.

Thursday, 14 February 2019

Pentecostal churches

Friday 8th March, 7.00 - 9.00pm


Javen Sanchez belonged to one of the largest Pentecostal churches in Australia. Pentecostal churches are also known as happy clappers and megachurches. Prime Minister Scott Morrison is an adherent to one of them known as Horizon Church. Others include Hillsong and C3 (Christian City Church)
What are these churches, how do they function, how do they get so rich and how do they become so influential? What are the effects on believers and what happens to those who leave?
Javen will cover these areas as well as the epistemology of Pentecostal churches and his journey to atheism.

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/BANUC

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

Friday, 4 January 2019

Armin Navabi - Does Islam need to be reformed?

Zara Kay - Women in Islam.



We are hugely honoured to have a special guest from Canada, Armin Navabi.
Armin is an Iranian Canadian ex-Muslim atheist and secular activist, author and podcaster, currently living in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. In 2011, he founded the online freethought community Atheist Republic, a Canada-based non-profit organisation which has hundreds of branches called "consulates" in several countries around the world. These enable non-believers to interact in societies where irreligion, apostasy and blasphemy are often criminalised and repressed. As an author, he debuted with the book Why There Is No God (2014). He co-hosts the podast show Secular Jihadists for a Muslim Enlightenment, with Ali A. Rizvi.

On this evening, we will also have Zara Kay, a Tanzanian Ex-Muslim atheist activist and founder of Faithless Hijabi which aims to support and empower Ex-Muslim women across the globe. Zara was recently featured on the front page of The Australian talking about her journey and her work with Faithless Hijabi https://www.facebook.com/theaustralian/posts/10151209628849978

Join us for an evening of enlightenment with the two activists and a panel discussion. Audience engagement is highly encouraged during the panel discussion, so prep your questions.

PLEASE NOTE this event is on a Thursday.

Entry to this event will be $15.00 for supporter members of Sydney Atheists and $20.00 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/BACKJ
Our talk events are held at the Function Room at Club Redfern:
7.00 - 9.00pm Thursday 7th February
2nd Floor, 159 Redfern St
REDFERN, NSW 2000