back to article Anti-religious campaigners smack down census Jedis

First signs that the purity of census results may be swayed by internet campaigning emerged this week, as the Twittersphere declared itself opposed to Jediism. Elsewhere, Jewish organisations were urging people to put themselves down as Jewish, in order to increase pressure for more Jewish faith schools. Earlier this week, as …

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NB
Welcome

I, for one...

will be proudly ticking the 'No Religion' box when the census form arrives at my door. I still find it hard to fathom why we give any public money to faith schools at all and religious organisations at all. Let their congregations pony up the money if they're so bloody faithful. I certainly don't want my taxes paying for idiots to indoctrinate innocent children with mindless bronze age mythology.

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WTF?

Make that two!

I simply can not understand why the question is even asked. Why not a question on how many fairies you have at the bottom of the garden? Or how many singing apples you have in your fruit basket? Makes just as much sense.

I actually resent even being asked this question - I will answer "none" or whatever it is, but the act of answering, in my mind, gives credence to a subject that has no place whatsoever in a modern society.

Maybe if the question was "Do you believe in a mythical made-up and wholly fictitious deity, and if so, which one?" then the results may be more accurate. The next question should be "If you answered yes to the above, then have you sought psychiatric help for your condition?"

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Happy

Religion is the cornerstone on which every society in the world is built.

'Thought shall not kill' is religious law which under pins our Society. Our sense of what is right and wrong can be directly traced back religious teachings.

If we all believed in pure Darwinism/Evolution then it would be perfectly acceptable to run small children over on the way to work. Going for a new job? Gun down your rivals as they arrived for their interviews. Selfish Gene and all that, survival of the fittest. Perfectly justifiable

Religion has been blamed for many of the wrongs in Society but lack of religion is doing just as much damage. If a few more bankers believed in 'thou shall not steal' our economy would be in much better shape than it is right now.

So for all the corruptions religion (of which there is many) has introduced, the world is mostly a better place for it.

Religion was a very good idea but once nutters and true believers got involved its all headed down hill.

Personally I consider myself to be a humanitarian.

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Anonymous Coward

Church schools

do actualy get quight a large chunk of money from the local congrigation... To many athist zelots around in my opinion. Most people are agnostic, not athist.

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68

Half a point

Yes, a lot of perfectly sensible guidelines have passed through one or other religion at some stage but there's nothing in that to suggest that without religion we wouldn't have them.

If you want to bring evolution into this (and there really isn't any reason to do so) you should probably consider how behaving in contravention of these laws would affect the chances of becoming an ancestor even if the laws themselves had never been formulated.

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Badgers

Religion gets all the credit

We probably kill and hurt each other as much as the average pack animal.

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Ahem!

"

Plato -

- Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws.

"

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@irish donkey

"If we all believed in pure Darwinism/Evolution then it would be perfectly acceptable to run small children over on the way to work"

How on earth do you come to that idiotic conclusion? What a load of rubbish! I do not have a religious bone in my body but have never felt the compulsion to run down small children (well, almost never). and I'm sure quite a few of the thieving bankers go to church on a regular basis.

You are confusing (rather strongly) religion with morals and general decency. You don't need one to follow the other (in either direction, as has been shown recently with various "religious" priests and their involvement with small children).

Morals have NOTHING to do with religion. It's just the people that believe in this religious nonsense that try and suggest it does.

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oh noes, a believer!

"If we all believed in pure Darwinism/Evolution then it would be perfectly acceptable to run small children over on the way to work. Going for a new job? Gun down your rivals as they arrived for their interviews. Selfish Gene and all that, survival of the fittest. Perfectly justifiable."

How droll, a believer commenting on evolution and darwinism, at least you have clearly demonstrated that you have no idea what either are or how they work.

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Anonymous Coward

Oh for.....

"If we all believed in pure Darwinism/Evolution....."

Yeah and if we all believed in pure Gravity we'd go around killing all the birds, bats and insects. How exactly do you "believe" in a natural process?

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Flame

This is typical of the indoctrination of religion.

This is the typical argument of the blindly indoctrinated; to wilfully misunderstand and misrepresent both Darwin and a century's worth of scholars that have followed.

If you follow your most basic few common religious laws back to their origins, they are the laws of a society that preserves the family unit, cares for its offspring and doesn't kill its own kind. These are the laws of genetic preservation and evolution.

Once you warp these bases of our society in religious terms, you start handing over authority to a few power-hungry individuals to make up their own rules and distort the whole picture.

Most people do not actually need the thread of an all-seeing vengeful eye to scare them into being decent human beings. Some people manage it all by themselves. I'm very sorry that you don't seem to think you can.

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Anonymous Coward

Correction

In most religions the rule is 'though shalt not kill - unless the person is of a different faith than you and is therefore a heretic and therefore your God demands you kill them in as horrific a way as possible'

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WTF?

titular wtf?

Firstly, moral codes don't come from religion, they come from us. We are social animals, and as such, developed our moral codes as to be able to live and work together as a social group.

Secondly, re-read The Selfish Gene (or have you just been listening to the soundbites?). It refers to the selfish gene not as a gene that makes you selfish, but as a gene that survives because it is in it's best interest. Like I say, re-read it.

Personally I'm an Atheist.

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You find it hard to fathom

Because, to put it bluntly your not the sharpest tool in the shed.

My kids go to the local "faith" based primary for no other reason than it is streets ahead of all the other schools in the town.

We arent a religious family but we are clever enough to realise that the school is good, the general social values it teaches are excellent and the kids love it.

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FAIL

Nonsense

Posted Wednesday 9th March 2011 13:49 GMT

'Thought shall not kill' is religious law which under pins our Society. Our sense of what is right and wrong can be directly traced back religious teachings.

---

Nonsense. You're tying to tell me people only stopped killing each other and stopped stealing because some guy said the bogey-god told them to?

I'm confident communities austracised and punished murders and theives long before Moses became a well know character.

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Bull

"If we all believed in pure Darwinism/Evolution then it would be perfectly acceptable to run small children over on the way to work. Going for a new job? Gun down your rivals as they arrived for their interviews. Selfish Gene and all that, survival of the fittest. Perfectly justifiable."

This is pure bull!

We are social animals. We have "known", since long before religion, that in order for the species to continue we must work together. We must support and defend our offspring, our family, our social group.

Morals did not grow from religion, they were incorporate into religion. Religion grew from a desire to understand the universe (from science, you could say). Instead of saying "we don't know", we formulated theories, for example an all-powerful being. Religion grew because, firstly, it gave easy explanations to what seemed unexplainable, and secondly, people realised it was a great tool by which to control people.

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Erm - oh no it doesn't

''Thought shall not kill' is religious law which under pins our Society. Our sense of what is right and wrong can be directly traced back religious teachings.'

'Thou shalt not kill' is a nice soundbite, but it is quite surprising how much of the books of Exodus, Deuteronomy and Leviticus are given over to finding exceptions to what appears to be a fairly simple rule.

Working on the Sabbath - death. Planting two crops in the same field - that'd be a killing. Weaving two threads in the same garment - stone him! Then of course it is perfectly acceptable to kill people who live in the place your imaginary sky fairy tells you actually belongs to you, or those who worship a different imaginary friend, worship the same imaginary friend in a different way, or just don't look enthusiastic enough. The whole set of rules you think are a great way to live are full of viciousness and thuggery; they demean classes of people, demote the role of women to little more than that of property, encourage slavery, crush individualism and encourage fanaticism. They belong back in the bronze age along with the illiterate goat herders who dreamt them up.

Our sense of right and wrong have nothing to do with religion, they have developed independently because we are social animals. Just because some societies have formalised them along with bells and smells, doesn't give religion the right to claim that it is the only way to live life as a good person.

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DT

so without god, we'd all run over children in cars?

Red in tooth and claw is simplistic view of evolution; even Darwin suggested that the ability to empathise confers a clear evolutionary advantage; In animal society, there's a clear notion of unacceptable behaviour; with chastisement and even exclusion for offenders.

There's community structure; animals don't randomly kill each other, but exhibit behaviour which has group benefit. There's plenty of books and research on the subject- it's a clear, observable survival strategy which in no way conflicts with evolutionary pressure.

Law is derived from divinity? The earliest known codified laws from summaria pre-date the old testament by millennia. It's simple reciprocal altruism for higher mammals to find murderers within the group undesirable. If it's a self evident truth which requires no higher source for animals, why would it for humans!

I hope those who think God is the only thing which prevents humans from acting like murdering savages, never loose their faith!

There are plenty of pro-wealth evangelists who considers taxes and state provision of welfare to be unholy and religious bankers who consider themselves worthy. From the premise "religion is a good thing", you've come to the conclusion that any associated problems are due to nutters and false interpretation; and bankers behaving immorally must therefore be irreligious (The "no true scotsman" argument). An assumption that avoids addressing your premise as suspect. Recently the countries with the least crime and most humanitarian values have tended to be the least religious; as many religions conflict directly with humanitarian views on equality of the sexes, sexual choice, self-determination, slavery and racism to name a few.

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Megaphone

@Irish Donkey

'If we all believed in pure Darwinism/Evolution then it would be perfectly acceptable to run small children over on the way to work. Going for a new job? Gun down your rivals as they arrived for their interviews. Selfish Gene and all that, survival of the fittest. Perfectly justifiable'

/me takes deep breath.

SURVIVAL OF THE *FITTEST* IS NOT THE SAME AS SURVIVAL OF THE *STRONGEST* YOU FUCKING IDIOT.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: You find it hard to fathom

Ah, yes that "general social value" of hypocrisy.

I'm assuming your faith school has no requirement for you to be a believer, nor does not attempt to indoctrinate your children in a mythology you reject? Oh, it does? So you're a lying hypocrite?

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Anonymous Coward

If we ran over children...

... Darwinism states that our species would have been superseded by a smarter one. Because killing the young randomly is not usually considered a strong survival trait.

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Re Ahem!

"

Plato -

- Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws.

"

Plato lived in an era when many "good people" treated other human beings as a type of livestock, to buy and sell at will.

All morality is relative, and the law codifies any given society's morality, giving the "good people" a benchmark of that morality.

"Corruption" is usually thought to apply to bad people, but in truth you can only corrupt what is good to begin with. Good people will make concessions to themselves on the grounds of being good people and therefore deserving.

I often find myself tempted to skip a red light on my bike, or ride up on the pavement for a bit, and it's OK because I normally don't do it, so I'm only rewarding myself for being a good person, and wasn't that convenient, and it didn't harm anyone, so I'll just do it this one more time, and again, and... and very quickly I was habitually breaking the law.

This is how society's morals decay. Everyone treats themselves as deserving to bend the rules. If the rules aren't codified (either by legislative means, or through a religious scripture), the bent rule becomes the new norm. And everyone treats themselves as deserving a bit of leeway from that norm.

This gives us the paradox of the Greek civilisation -- ruled by democracy, but maintained by slavery.

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Rubbish

Morals are human morals not religious ones, religion was just a tool to enforce societies rules at the time (and a massive power grab for the religious organisation themselves).

Without made-up gods there would have simply been other structures and mechanics in place to codify behaviour.

Religion serves no purpose at all now and should be eliminated - heck it only survives via the indoctrination of children as it is.

PS: Evolution is not something you "believe in": it's an observable and provable fact. Morals and such evolved too.

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Damn

This pretty much takes the words out of my mouth.

Personally I was going to tick "No Religion" unless there's a box marked "Anti-Religious" that I can tick instead.

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Happy

SURVIVAL OF THE *FITTEST* IS NOT THE SAME AS SURVIVAL OF THE *STRONGEST* YOU FUCKING IDIOT.

I would love to hear you explanation of how this works....

From a Evolutionary point of view if you are dead how can you evolve. DoH!

Well done Donkey... Never have I seen so many down votes

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Re: Church schools

"do actualy get quight a large chunk of money from the local congrigation... To many athist zelots around in my opinion. Most people are agnostic, not athist"

I won't pick up on the spelling because that would just be mean, however:

Atheist - person without belief

Theist - person with belief

Agnostic - without knowledge

Gnostic - with knowledge

So, an atheist is either agnostic or gnostic, just as a theist can be agnostic or gnostic, the difference is that a gnostic atheist is essentially someone who believes that they know there isn't a god, an agnostic atheist is someone who doesn't believe in any god but can't be sure that there isn't one. Pretty much all atheists who are so for rational reasons are agnostics because to be gnostic requires belief, something they've shunned as irrational (myself included).

An agnostic theist would be someone who doesn't believe that they have absolute knowledge that a god exists, but they do believe in a god, whereas a gnostic theist (probably more common I'd guess) believes that a god exists and that they have absolute knowledge that one does.

So let's just be clear here, either you're an atheist or a theist, and you're either a gnostic or agnostic one of those, but it's dead simple really, if you don't believe in any particular god then you're an atheist, no matter how much you might "still be looking". Agnostic or gnostic describes how strong your belief essentially is, not what it is.

If you believe that there's something out there which isn't described by any of the major religions but which is all powerful then you're probably a Deist or a believer in Spinoza's god.

Personally I'm about 6.5ish on the Dawkins' Scale.

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Happy

run small children over

Done and Done.

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FAIL

If a few more bankers believed

Religious believers are the worst hypocrites.

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if your going to pass judgement

at least have the decency to put your name to it rathern than being an AC.

Our faith school has no requirement for us to be believers, if it did we wouldnt be using it, there is no requirement to attend church or sunday school and my kids dont.

Fortunately the school isnt as prejudiced or stupid as you clearly are in terms of the pupil intake.

Whether you like it or not religion is part of life, ignoring it wont make it go away, far better to be educated and informed than to be an idiot, its an approach you might want to try.

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Grenade

It is particularly excellent.....

....when your children attend the local religious school because they are within its catchment because then they are allowed to opt out of all the religious nonsense. This seems to particularly annoy the Catholic schools' teachers and governors, and is thus very good sport.

I feel particularly sorry for those that pretended that they are Catholic so that they got a place even though they are are not in catchment, their children are held to much higher standards because of this and so it leads to them hating Catholocism which is counter-productive from the point of view of the church.

Let's hope that the census accurately reflects the true level of religious faith in this country, and that this fact leads to the government removing all support for these outdated practices.

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Happy

Thank God

All these tolerant well educated people from the Reg recognise my right to a belief which does not align to their own. They would never persecute me because of my beliefs or how I align my moral compass.

Why that would make them just as bad as people that kill others because they don't share the same religion.

Thanks for playing everyone.

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80 Up-votes for NB... a new Reg record?

+1 for you Sir.

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irish donkey

Your moniker says it all.

Please go read The God Delusion and have your conciousness raised.

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Well deflected

They're not having a go at your ignorance not your belief, sport.

Nice try at playing the intolerance card after getting caught basically accusing anyone who doesn't believe in god of either lying or murdering children.

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Happy

Re: Religion is the conrnerstone...

Irish Donkey, your extrapolation from belief in evolution to amoral behaviour is a common fallacy that has been widely discredited.

See Chapter 6 of Dawkin's the God Delusion for a criticism of that argument.

For a broader look at possible codes of ethics including those that do not depend on religious belief you could do worse than reading Rachel's The Elements of Moral Philosophy.

You're welcome :)

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I think your confusing religion and morality

Then again, its possible your religion is your morality and you just don't know any better

Isn't that how the crusades got started?

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Anonymous Coward

Typical bull from religious types

"Our sense of what is right and wrong can be directly traced back religious teachings."

Thats bullshit mate. I haven't had any religious teaching and I know that its wrong to kill.

Look at the comment made in the first/second paragraph of the article which clearly states that the Jewish community want people to LIE to get more jewish faith schools.

Without religious teaching, I know that to deliberately lie through your front teeth for your own ill gotten gains is WRONG!

Well done to the jewish community for giving us a practicle demonstration of just how corrupt religion and religious types actually are! (applause)

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Grenade

Re: Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly...

Point.

The question now lies in how good people come to be in the first place, and how bad people come to be.

Nature or nurture?

If mainly nurture.. (which I suspect plays *NO* small role)... then it begs the next question....

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Coat

Wow, two major misunderstandings...

Firstly, the point of talking about the "selfish gene" is the emphasis on the survival of the gene, regardless of which organism it happens to be in, so selfish genes can build an altruistic organism.

Secondly, you confuse an observation - that animals can be successful by eliminating the opposition - with a moral - that we SHOULD behave the same. Why?

Our sense of right and wrong on many issues can probably be traced far further back than religious teachings, which have taught a wide variety of things, many at odds with today's observable facts.

You're a humanitarian? Is that like a vegetarian? - Mine's the one with the Discworld book in the pocket.

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Stop

I can't speak for nlsd

but I am also an atheist whose children go to religious schools because they are the best schools we could get them in to. I have not claimed to believe that religion, the schools do some mild indoctrination but I also consider it important for them to have some understanding of religion, and I think they are intelligent enough to make up their own minds in time.

This isn't to say I would accept any religious school, just because it had a "good" reputation... I suspect that a Taliban school would have too high a level of indoctrination, not to mention personal safety concerns at Parent's Days. Anyway, there aren't any in this area.

Now, how am I lying or hypocritical?

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Why do I need a title to reply to a post?

As a devout atheist, one of the things I have done in the time I could have spent being indoctrinated is to learn to spell. Maybe you could, if you wanted to get your ideas across better?

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Anonymous Coward

I for I

I'd rather what public money was doshed out went to wet, liberal religious rather than those who kill apostates, homosexuals and adulterers. So, although I'm not religious, I'll be Christian on the 27th.

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Anonymous Coward

RE: I for I

Short sighted attempts at gaming the system don't help you or anyone.

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Anonymous Coward

@irish donkey

"'Thought shall not kill' is religious law which under pins our Society. Our sense of what is right and wrong can be directly traced back religious teachings."

Thought very seldom does kill, in and of itself. It takes somebody acting upon a thought to kill.

But being serious for a moment and assuming you meant "though shallt not kill" I would say that you really don't understand what religion was orignally used for when it came to making laws. There are those who claim religion was originally created to control the population, but I will be charitable and say that religion was probably created as a matter or necessity by people who were affraid of a lot of natural phenomena. Clever people later used the population's reliance on religion to control them and create rules.

"Why should I do what you tell me to, tribal elder?"

"Because it's not me that's telling you, it's your god and he will strike you down with that lightning stuff you're so scared of if you don't follow his commandments."

The very fact that there are so many religions and so many gods and indeed so many versions of the same god would seem to suggest that religion is bunk. While all those conflicting religions do not necessarilly demonstrate that there is no god it does point pretty clearly to the fact that who or what we worship has no effect in this life.

My biggest question is why the religion question gets more debate and news coverage than any other question on the form. I really don't understand why it's included in the form at all these days.

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Irish Donkey

"'Thought shall not kill'

Absolutely first class Freudian clit there. Er, I mean Freudian slip, sorry. Forgivest thou me.

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Wrong on several counts, mate.

Nobody needs religion to teach a moral framework; even amoebae can learn co-operative behaviour under some circumstances. The basis for human morality - moral absolutism - is deep rooted in self interest and self preservation without the need for an invisible magic man in the sky.

Simply put, those who behave like complete arseholes often find themselves without friends and assistance real fast. Unless they're good at covering it up for specific periods. Then they find a bunch of like minded people and become police officers or politicians.

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Re: Church schools

>>do actualy get quight a large chunk of money from the local congrigation... To many athist zelots around in my opinion. Most people are agnostic, not athist.

[quight,congrigation,To,athist,zelots]

Shame that you don't appear to have attended any school.

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Anonymous Coward

Jedi is too cliche anyway

I was trying to think of something stupid to put in the 'other' box, Cargo Cultist was the best I came up with at the time...

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Anonymous Coward

stupid

May I suggest "The Prince Philip Movement" a cargo cult of the Yaohnanen tribe.

It's pretty stupid and fortunately it won't be around forever!

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Pardon be boy, is this the lair of Great Cthulhu

It must be Cthulhu Worshipper !

Ia! Ia! Cthulhu Fhtagn!

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