If anyone ever wants to debate with me the existence or non existence of God/s they will find me unresponsive. Of things I consider important to discuss it ranks near the bottom, slightly higher than discussing the existence of ghosts and unicorns. The views of either side are well known, documented and available on youtube. Religion on the other hand, and the space afforded to its views in the public sphere is something worth debating, scrutinising and challenging.
May I therefore introduce you to the newly formed Atheism South Australia, the first active such group in Adelaide for 40 years:
“We’re not interested in sitting around debating whether God exists or not,” says Morris. “It’s a dead argument anyway. Our aim is to take an active role in a vast range of social issues being dominated by the Christian lobby groups – issues like euthanasia, marriage equality and the teaching of evangelism in schools.” [The Guardian]
50% of the Australian population identify as non religious according to Morris; though in the 2011 census it was just under 25% – still a sizeable demographic. Recently the group have called for less leading questions in the census for a more accurate picture for the 2016 census.
Rather than embracing a newly formed non religious group, the Archbishop had this to say about them:
Certainly, it didn’t take long before Atheism SA earned some thinly disguised contempt from Anglican Archbishop Dr John Hepworth. “We’re just not a secular society,” the Archbishop told FIVEaa during an on-air debate with Morris, “either constitutionally or in the nature of our laws. Or, dare I say, in the actual beliefs of the majority of our people.” [Ibid]
There can be arguments whether we do ourselves any favours arguing social issues with atheism on our sleeves. It certainly shows we care about social policy without relying on dogma to inform our decision making – atheists have ethics and care about the well being of people and society without need of supernatural guidance or invocation. On the other, it can feel like we are mimicking the religious faith heads and we are lying down in the chalk outline they frame the argument in – namely we end up with that dead argument over God/no God.
I wish the group well because their voice is one that needs to be heard.
Facebook page (picture below from there)
Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog