Mark No Religion

There seems to be a strong sense of pride for those marking ‘no religion’ on the census.  This I don’t really get.  Surely that is simply an anti-religion stance.  It’s not standing for anything, it’s standing against something.  A huge part of the ‘anti-religion’ movement seems to be about tolerance and open mindedness.  I can’t understand why this doesn’t extend to freedom of religion.

I know this isn’t true for all, but funnily there seems to be a huge tolerance for religions other than Christianity.  The Dalai Lama is adored and respected.  Moderate (western) Muslims are applauded.  Christians are ridiculed.  I get that this is not true for everyone.  Some people are anti all religions.  But there seems to be a large part of the atheist movement that is against Christianity.  I know not everyone will agree with this, but this is my observation.

It’s cool to be atheist.  And that’s fine.  But if you are free to disagree, why aren’t those who believe free to believe?  I’m not going to get into why I believe here (surely I have established that).  Why is freedom of choice to be applauded unless it’s about religion?  Just let people choose.  If you fight for the right to choose no religion, let others be proud in their choice of religion.  It’s important to let people choose, no matter what you think of their choice.  Of course there is a line here.  Once your choice impacts on the freedoms of others then there are issues.  I don’t remember Jesus forcing himself on anyone.  Under any circumstances.

But then again, Father Bob is revered by all!  I think people love his love for people and non judgmentalism  (hmmm, sort of like Jesus!  For the anti of this idea, see Fred Nile…)  Here is what Father Bob tweeted just tonight:

“Tick RELIGION this census at Ur peril. True religion & undefiled = caring for the orphan and widow. Tick box be TRULY religious.”

If you’re going to tick a religious box, perhaps take it seriously.  It’s not a nominal thing.


P.S.  Let me clarify that I have no problem with marking ‘no religion’ on the census.  I’m more concerned with the anti-christianity stance I’ve seen associated with it.


13 Replies to “Mark No Religion”

  1. It is expressing your freedom of religion. I am free to select the appropriate chocie for me, as you are for you. For me to mark anything different would be lying, and not providing correct information. The campaign is about people making an informed choice about where they are now, not where they were. Thats the whole point of the census

  2. I like the idea of having to stand for something instead of just against something. It’s pretty easy and effective to be negative and anti something, we’ve seen that a lot of late. I’ve been wondering recently not what athiests don’t believe but what they do believe. If they have an answer for everything that’d be interesting but I think it’s more likely they that hold certain values without knowing exactly why which seems a bit like faith, am I totally off base here? Don’t get me wrong I think athiests are just as potentially moral and immoral as a spiritually minded person but I wonder where these morals are interpreted from because science isn’t normally in the business of offering theories to the meaning of existence. Is this the place to ask this question? I don’t want to be imflammatory just inquisitive.

    To quote myself:
    “Religion for want of a better word is a set of practices based on or that follow as a result of one’s faith. To put it more simply: Faith is where and what you believe in; Religion is what you do about it.

    Everyone who has ever been born on this planet has believed in something, even atheists. Athiests might not believe in god/s but they do believe in an abscence of them; by definition this is still a belief in a position. It follows that everyone who has ever lived has their own unique religion of sorts (including atheists), and although it might not necessarily be an organised religion, the fact still holds true that everyone has their own religion.”

    I think that the position of “No Religion” is a logical impossibility, because everyone by definition does “something”.
    Actually to be truly pedantic about it, to mark “no religion” on the census is itself an action which stems as a result of someone’s belief set, which by very definition is the exercising of that person’s unique religion.

  4. I don’t really understand why someone would be proud to tick ‘no religion’. However, if people with religion are proud of it, why can’t people with no religion be proud of that? When I tick ‘no religion’, I don’t have any particular pride or other emotion because I’ve considered my lack of religion plenty over the years and I’m not sure why it’s the case. I just haven’t been able or haven’t wanted to or haven’t found any particular belief involving religion or a deity/god. There is a significant difference between lacking personal religion and being against religion. There is a significant difference between religion and spirituality. I struggle to define/describe my spirituality but I can identify meaning and reason in my life. This and various other experiences and knowledge have shaped my values. To the best of my understanding, I think I would be described as an agnosic. I think that a deity or some other higher meaning may exist, but I don’t believe in anything in particular. I don’t have any problem with religion as long as believers don’t negatively impact others. My understanding of an atheist is someone who believes there is no possibility of a deity or god. According to Wikipaedia (if reliable…), atheism doesn’t necessarily mean lack of religion. I don’t know that it means anti-religion either. I aware there are people who are anti-religion and I can’t understand this except that perhaps they view all religious people as being fundamental extremists when actually most are moderate and tolerant. More broadly, inequality and intolerance for people of various minorities/races/religions/sexualities/beliefs/politics/abilities etc. is a massive global problem.
    (Just in case this sheds light on anything. And because for uncertain reasons I felt like expressing myself)

    1. I agree Al. Please don’t think I’m saying that anyone needs to believe what I do. I’m just saying I have a problem with an anti-Christian stance (which I’m sure you realise) which I have sadly observed as a response to this census. This is more of a twitter thing, and it is very prominent. It seems that freedom is a prized value, but that Christianity is closed minded an unacceptable. Once again, I know not everyone thinks this, but it does seem to be a prominent idea. Thankfully not everyone agrees with this.
      I love talking to you about this stuff because I honestly believe you have an open mind and want to talk about ideas for their merits, rather than any preconceived ideas. I love that about you 🙂

  5. Interesting conversation. I am one of those who take pride in ticking the “No Religion” box. I believe I’m part of the silent majority, and yes I take pride in my lack of religious association the same way some people take pride in their faith. I feel that us agnostics or aetheists are under represented especially in the media where whether it be positive or negative is how so many people form their opinions on various religions. Is is assumed that because us heathens don’t subscribe to a given faith that we aren’t interested? This is far from the truth in my case; I find religions fascinating.

    I am guilty of “Christian Bashing” but also “Muslim Bashing”, “Jew Bashing”, “Hindu Bashing”, “Sikh Bashing”, “Scientoligist Bashing”, I’ll even have a go at Rastafarians. Rather than “bashing” I’d prefer to invite constructive conversation (I have been known to invite door knocking Mormons in for a chat much to Jess’s displeasure), and I welcome anyone to “bash” us not prescribing to a religion, I believe everyone has a right to do so. Importantly everyone should also have a right of reply as Christians defending paedophile Catholic Preists and Muslims defending fundamentalist terrororists exercise.

    Back on Topic…..My main problem with the census question is that whilst there are 9 options to choose from there are only 3 religions shown. Surely Catholic, Anglican, Uniting, Baptist etc. all belong to the religion Christianity and are merely different Churches, denominations or “sub sets” – what’s with that? And why do Christianshave to refer to their religion as “Catholic” or “Uniting” etc?

    Given the choice Christian have when completing their Census, why can’t I tick Aethiest? For that matter I want a box on the next Census labelled “Extreme Fundamentalist Aethiest” and I will take great pride in ticking it. Either that or I’ll just tick other and put down Jedi.

    Stop making me think Megs, my head hurts!

    1. But making your head hurt is fun Ash! 🙂

      I’m happy for anyone to take pride in their decision. I appreciate people of all stances who know why they believe what they believe. What I don’t appreciate is the Christian bashing that seems to go along with it. Or bashing of any belief system really. Atheists find it condescending, as does everyone.

      I also agree with you on the religious options. I ticked ‘baptist’ coz that’s where I’m going at the moment, but I don’t call myself a baptist. I’m a Christian, not a baptist. Jesus was the opposite of Christian segregation. Makes me sad really.

    2. I’m concerned about “bashing” with or without the “”. I think anyone doing this should stop, or should descibe what they’re doing in more accurate terms. Attacking anyone on the basis of their beliefs is not helpful, rather constructive conversation or disagreement without harsh personal criticism. (unless the person being criticised is negatively impacting on others).

  6. Seems to be a simple extension of a cultural movement. Ticking “no religion” on a census is one of the few times an opportunity to express a disagreement with religion naturally arises…

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