Do authoritarian religions produce intolerant bullies?

In mid-2017, one of the Australian States is reportedly about to legislate the availability of physician-assisted death, with necessary safeguards to avoid anyone being killed, and preventing an avalanche of deaths rushing down a slippery slope. Up pops someone protesting against this availability.

He does not want this right, but I do. He has no right to speak for me or to represent the whole population. No one has, not even a bioethicist or a theologian representing a church of choice. In fact, over many decades, more than 80% of the Australian populace has sought what was once described as voluntary euthanasia, now defined more specifically as physician-assisted death under the most stringent conditions.

His defence in seeking to interfere with my right is that his God, through the medium of his priesthood, denies such a right – which is based on compassion. Since his God is surely the universal god of all mankind, how could he claim that his priesthood has sole right to interpret God’s wishes? In the absence of revelation, has not his priesthood made an arbitrary judgement – an assumption – on this matter?

This church, whose spokesmen have persistently opposed voluntary euthanasia (as well as certain processes related to the nether-regions of women), is based on a claimed authority, and had exercised strong control (as evident to me during my residence – as an adult – for nearly 70 years in Australia).

Those who belong to this church are entitled to live by the codes of conduct set by its priesthood. The rest of us should not be required to do so.

Thus, no more than 20% of the Australian population can be claimed by their church to oppose the right to voluntary euthanasia or physician-assisted death sought by more than 80% of the population over decades. The 30% of the population who stated in the last Census that they had no religion can surely demand that religious institutions (or their spokespersons) do not interfere in their lives by claiming to speak for a God they deny. These people are atheists, with a right be so.

Australia is officially a secular nation, in spite of the apparent control of national policies by Roman Catholic politicians currently. Hopefully, State Governments will allow compassion as a human right, by challenging any church-determined policies to the contrary. We do need choice, not rule by religious bullies!

On the sea of life, let us all paddle according to our respective rhythms. Do respect my right as I respect yours.

The politics of colour

“No red-blooded Australian wants to see a chocolate-coloured Australia” Arthur Calwell, politician 1972

“Two Wongs don’t make a white” Calwell, explaining his anti-Asian immigrant stance

“For every voice in Britain calling for a policy to keep Britain White, there is a corresponding call to Keep Africa Black.” Dr. Kenneth Kaunda, Zambian President 1968

The working class

“I never knew the working class had such white skins.” Lord Curzon, British statesman

“The history of all hitherto existing societies is the history of class strugges.” Karl Marx 1848

“The more is given, the less the people will work for themselves, and the less they work, the more their poverty will increase.” Leo Tolstoy, Russian author 1892

The British English

“I know of no method by which an aristocratic nation like England can become a democracy” Hilaire Belloc, Anglo-French writer, 1921

The British Empire must behave like a gentleman” David Lloyd George, British Prime Minister, 1921

“Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say: ‘This was their finest hour.” Winston Churchill, First Lord of the Admiralty, 1930

(Comment: The scion of a former colonial administrator was not pleased when I told him that we colonial subjects did not like being governed by foreigners; and that we are thereby not grateful for being taught how to govern ourselves. His response? ‘You are prejudiced.’ This was only a few years ago.)

Perspectives of colour

The majority of black people are grateful for what the government is doing to uplift them.” James Kruger, South African police and justice minister 1978

Coloured people only want three things: first, a tight pussy; second, loose shoes; and third, a warm place to shit,” Earl Butz. Forced to resign. 1976

“I wanted to know how women reacted under various circumstances. It was like cutting through red tape. I was very concerned to see how deep the rejection of blacks by whites would go.” Eldridge Cleaver, former Black Panther leader. Jailed. 1980

Will dogma continue to smother compassion?

Has not the dogma of the religious sect supported by a minority (less than 25%) of Australia’s population prevented voluntary (repeat, voluntary) euthanasia, or physician-assisted merciful death?

Offer compassion to those suffering severe unalleviated pain, and for whom palliative care has been shown to be inadequate, and there will arise stern warnings about ‘killing.’ This is a favourite word for those whose religiosity (involving arbitrary definitions) over-rides all other considerations. This will be followed by a further warning about the ‘slippery slope,’ a concept denoting a downward-spiral of communal morality.

Ah, the certainty of it all. Commence with a definition of choice, and following pure logic, one can reach a conclusion to satisfy one’s bias.

The following letters to the Sydney Morning Herald should be read by those for whom theology has a right to bury compassion for fellow-humans.

“The proposed NSW Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill would establish the most tightly controlled regime of any of the 13 jurisdictions in the world that allow choice (‘Euthanasia poll: most doctors and nurses back bill on assisted death,’ June 25). The NSW bill is based on the Oregon model, operating for 25 years. It has strong support from the community and medical profession, and similar regimes have been adopted in five other US states, plus Washington, DC. Eligibility criteria are clearly and strictly defined, and there is no slippery slope. Opponents try to sow seeds of fear and doubt, but their claims are not supported by evidence. Out MPs must be guided by facts and not fear.” Dr. Sarah Edelman, President, Dying With Dignity, NSW

“Finally, palliative care doctors are breaking ranks to acknowledge they cannot alleviate all suffering and that voluntary assisted dying can be part of a continuum of medical care for the terminally ill. (‘Euthanasia poll: most doctors and nurses back bill on assisted death,’ June 25). In jurisdictions where assisted dying is legalised, it works hand-in-glove with palliative care. This is the model we want.” Penny Hackett, Willoughby.

Western democracy of the Australian kind allows our politicians to dance to a beat determined by their respective controllers. If politics allow, surely they will dance to the beat of their religious beliefs.

We will remain a backward nation for another generation or two.

Has science explained anything relevant to existence? (3)

I have not been able to accept the Big Bang Theory of cosmology. My problem?

• Can something come out of nothing? Is the mathematical concept of singularity, which denies us the right to ask if there was anything existing before the bang of creation, an explanation, or just a naming, or the door closed on thought?
• Where did the massive amount of energy needed for the claimed expansion come from?
• Did space exist before the Bang? It must have, in order to expand. But then, how could the ‘nothingness’ of space expand?
• Is the Hubble Telescope capable of peering into infinite space?
• What if light weakens (in layman terms) with infinite distance?
• Then there are quaint terms such as ‘space-time’ and space being ‘bent’ by an unexplained gravity? Are these mathematical concepts with no relation to material reality?
• I have recently read that galaxies are not rushing anywhere.
• Are we, as some clever person said, vivisecting the nightingale to trace its song?
Recent reading brought out the following (from Geoff Haselhurst):

• “A Doppler effect is for motion of matter in space, not for the expansion of space itself.”
• “… assumes that light is a wave, yet in other areas of physics light is claimed to be a ‘photon particle’ …”
• “The Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMBR) is sensibly explained as due to radiation from cold matter in interstellar space.”
• In 1957, a “theory accounted for the growing evidence that the … composition (of elements) varies from star to star, something that would not be possible if the elements were produced by the Big Bang.”
• “Superclusters and Voids are older than the Big Bang Universe.”
• “The Universe is ordered, thus infinite.” (That is, there is no evidence of entropy.)
• “Inflation is an ad hoc solution to a theory that contradicts observation.”
• “Distant galaxies in the Hubble Deep Field are not ‘primitive’ and move as if surrounded by matter.”
• “The Big Bang satisfies the religious Creation Myth.”
• “Matter is formed from waves in space … space being infinite and eternal …”
I have reached the tentative conclusion that there has to be a Creator of all that exists (including generations of evolved ‘stuff’), because of the observed (and intuited) incredibly complexity, the close inter-relationships (or connections), and their beauty. But I could be wrong.

Back to the drawing board? How then how take into account the ephemeral realm of existence as well?