Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Question 21

I see there is a campaign to get people to answer No Religion in this year's Australian Census.

In the Youtube video the narrator challenges viewers that if they no longer practise the religion of their childhood, they should mark No Religion on the census form.

This reminds me of Sunday School, where we were told that being born into a Christian family does not make you a Christian, any more than being born in a garage would make you a car.

(I found this amusing when the band born in a garage named themselves The Cars.)

Interestingly, his script assumes that people who believe in euthanasia and same-sex marriage should make sure they check the No Religion box. I wonder if some people would agree with one or more of these points of view, but not consider themselves to be atheists?

I have my own misgivings about the question, because it assumes that there are religions called Catholic, Anglican, Uniting Church, Presbyterian, Baptist and Lutheran, which are put along side of Islam and Buddhism.

Firstly, wouldn't the grammatical equivalent of Islam be Catholicism?

And, secondly, are Catholic, Presbyterian, etc religions, or denominations of the Christian religion?

No such thing as atheism?

David Foster Wallace made the following powerful statement. Wallace was an avowed atheist, who committed suicide by hanging himself in 2008.

The full article appeared in The Wall Street Journal. He does not clarify or deny what he says here in the rest of the article.

Because there's something else that's true. In the day-to-day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship.

And an outstanding reason for choosing some sort of God or spiritual-type thing to worship -- be it J.C. or Allah, be it Yahweh or the Wiccan mother-goddess or the Four Noble Truths or some infrangible set of ethical principles -- is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive.

If you worship money and things -- if they are where you tap real meaning in life -- then you will never have enough. Never feel you have enough. It's the truth. Worship your own body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly, and when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally plant you.

I think Bob Dylan's Gotta Serve Somebody is complementary and explanatory.

Tim Keller cites this quote in his sermons.