“Religious Freedom in Australia”, a collection of papers (released last week October 2019) which flowed from “a Religious Liberty Conference” jointly convened with Brigham Young (Morman) University.
I attended the book launch in Brisbane and took the time to buy the book before hand and spent a few hours reading one of the papers by Alex Deagon from QUT because he was co-presenting the book at the launch.
I did not know that it would be such a good example of why we need to step back from further religious protection laws.
His first premise is that: “secular liberalism is not neutral between faith perspectives. It is a kind of faith”
He goes on to adversely mention Scientology because he puts agnostics and atheists and scientologists in the same faith melting pot with his version of Christianity so that he can prefer his Christianity.
Before we let him get past that first error. Agnostics and atheists repeatedly point out, from Christopher Hitchens to Richard Dawkins in his own recent book “Outgrowing God, a beginners guide” 2019, neither agnosticism nor atheism is a belief. Indeed they are “not believing” in either fairies or leprechauns or any one of the 300 or so various gods that people imagine from time to time.
Secular modernist enlightenment is not a belief and certainly not a “faith belief” in the same pot as scientology whose alien spacemen and thetans walk amongst us. It is a method of reasoning from ascertainable objectively reasonable facts, the conclusions from which may be moved or amended with further and better observation.
It is the antithesis of faith based belief and such secular reasoning certainly conflicts with the Brigham Young’s faithful belief that John Smith found gold plates with the Mormon Gospel inscribed on them, on September 22, 1823 on a hill, near his home in Manchester, New York.
Note that the “a Religious Liberty Conference” was jointly convened with Brigham Young (Morman) University.
Alex Deagon’s next step is to assert that a secular liberal government must resort to violence to govern (police, legal system, armed forces and so on) and therefore a religion of love, his version of Christianity, would be a better way of governing because it would do so with love. Leaving aside the gospels to slavery, crucifixion and the preaching to children of eternal hell and damnation for not loving his god, he details his own arguments downfall when he turns to support blasphemy laws and most damningly “redemptive violence”
Before he gets to that point he asserts on the one hand that Christianity need not be the “State Religion” but on the other hand that “codification or institutionalisation of it is usually necessary for practical effectiveness.”
He “believes” that peoples minds will be “transformed” if only they will believe what he believes. Humility, kindness, sacrifice, forgiveness, love. “Christianity is more desirable because it regulates by peace rather than violence”
But on page 146 :
“Violence may be allowed to facilitate educational redemption and ultimate peace.”
“There are contexts where violence might be appropriate yet compatible with ontological peace grounded by the law of love”
“The reality of evil in the world necessitates a redeeming violence in the pursuit of final perfect peace”
Conclusion: Codify and institutionalise redemptive violence to educate others so they will be voluntarily transformed by Christian love?
Best not strengthen religious protection laws.
Best to Bin them.
They speak with forked tongue.
John Bolton 27 October 2019
“Religious Freedom in Australia , -a new Terra Nullius” 2019. Ed. Benson, Quinlan, Thompson. Connor Court, Shepherd Street Press.