Are you a real Atheist?

A very good and interesting article over at the Sydney Morning Herald. Here's a quote to get your juices pumping.

"For a large number of people the tag "atheist" functioned as a protest against formal religion. Something similar to this may lie behind the rise of "no religion" in this country."
You can read more of John Dickson's article here.



Anonymous said... 2/04/2009 3:24 pm  

I think Dickson is pulling the wool over his own eyes here. "While the no religion box tells us about people's sense of affiliation with religious institutions, it tells us nothing about their personal faith.". This doesn't apply only to the 'no religion' box. If everyone who ticked 'Anglican' in the last census actually attended church, they'd be building new cathedrals not begging the government for money to keep the ones they have from falling apart!

ckjolly said... 2/04/2009 5:45 pm  

hi anonymous,

Articulate thoughts, there. It's great in these sort of internet places to exchange ideas. However, there is a certain netiquette that involves putting a name to one's thoughts.

This is helpful as there could be multiple anonymous' commenting on one thread, thus making it difficult to know which one it is you're meant to be replying to.

It's also simply courteous. Otherwise, communication shuts down when someone walks into a conversation wearing a black mask and then ducks out again under the cloak of anonymity.

"Who was that guy?" could either be said with admiration or rolled eyes or disbelief.
You can easily give yourself an identity by clicking on Name/Url at the bottom of the window or stating your identity at the end of your posted comment.

- ckjolly

Suomy Nona said... 2/05/2009 9:22 am  

Fair enough; I assumed that anonymous comments were acceptable since they have not been disabled.

I wish I had a 'cloak of anonymity', sounds useful.

-- Suomy Nona

Claire :) said... 2/06/2009 4:19 pm  

@ backwardly anonymous, it's a good point. The religion question on the census is really just a guideline at best - sure, lots of "no religion" people maybe don't mean that in a strict sense, but indeed, the number of C&E Anglicans and Catholics persisting is incredible! And hey, better than not at all, but you're right, they're not regular church attendees, even if they do have faith. So given the churches simply don't exist to cater for the number of people who notionally attend them, the parallels he draws between religion and charity work are perhaps questionable. Maybe the "secular" charities are run by the non-church attending believers anyway!?
I also wonder about the statement of mercy ministeries... I don't know if 23% of doctors/nurses/teachers compared to 17% of everyone else is particularly statistically significant - it's still less than 1/4. Hardly "the norm". But it's a couple of days since I read the article now and I don't really remember all that was said.
Though if you wonder why I question the validity of census data when it comes to questions like religion, bear in mind that about 70% of my friends are not 'no religion', but either Jedi or Pastafarian!!!

Still, people should think, it is good to think, and it is good to read what other people think, because without thought and dialogue, sensible conclusions may not be reached. So good on him, made us talk! :)

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