Child abuse in Australia

September 15, 2012 • 4:04 am

This picture, tweeted by Joel Tozer and forwarded by Richard Dawkins, was taken at a demonstration in Hyde Park, Sydney, Australia, protesting the anti-Islamic film “Innocence of Muslims.” More on that movie later.

Dawkins has taken flak for characterizing religious indoctrination of children as “child abuse.”  Well, look at this picture and deny it.  True, it’s not the same as beating or sexually molesting one’s child, but the brain of this boy is being warped and twisted by vicious Muslim ideology.  What hope does he have when he grows up?

This also shows how crazy it is to characterize Islam as “the religion of peace.”

Somehow—and this will never happen, of course—it should be illegal to indoctrinate children with religious belief.

According to

The protest – which follows riots around the world – started at about midday when about 100 people – including women and babies – gathered at Town Hall, marched through Hyde Park and along to Phillip Street, chanting, “Down, down USA” for almost three hours. . .

Protesters, including children, held signs saying, “Behead all those who insult the prophet” and “Obama Obama, we love Osama”, and threw objects from construction sites and water bottles at police officers.

Police responded by spraying capsicum spray into the crowd.

Speaking to those gathered, one protester said: “The person who made this video, we want him held responsible.

“And we send a message to the guard pigs [police] … we want our brothers back.”

134 thoughts on “Child abuse in Australia

      1. Short of making religious indoctrination illegal, how about we just make secular public school education mandatory for all, and have it teach critical thinking and religion comparatively? I would specifically also outlaw all non-public schools and especially home schooling, as part of this strategy, but one could alternatively or as an intermediate step simply strongly enforce standards on non-public schools. Home schooling has definitely got to go, though, and I would be happy for it to be given the same legal status for parents as failing to see that their children attend school. It is of course typically far worse than simply not attending school, but one has to start somewhere.

        1. Mandatory public schooling should have the additional benefit of greatly improving said schools as the wealthy find their kids getting treated like others.

        2. Australia has many independent schools. These are publicly funded (although slightly less per student than public schools) and tend to charge reasonably small additional fees (unlike exclusive “private schools”). Most do happen to be run by religious (but commonly non-denominational) boards. They are required to teach the same syllabus as every other school. It’s a good system: it leaves a niche for starting experiments to develop more effective and efficient ways of providing the same education.

          Religious indoctrination could be easily handled under this system: simply make comparative religion part of the mandatory syllabus, and include it on the standardised tests (occasionally including external invigilation) used to evaluate schools. The same could be done for other forms of indoctrination, for example could aim to test understanding of viewpoints motivating opposing sides on several political issues. Mandate measures to be taken if a school or even a home-school is systematically failing to prepare students in some subjects. Few will dispute that parents are not entitled to deny children access to standard-level education.

          I don’t think we should try to legislate against the transmission of views/doctrines/values. (Imagine if universities were required to actively prevent themselves from inevitably nurturing less-conservative viewpoints!) But if the child can be made aware/truly-understanding/sympathetic to the plurality of views, then I’d be satisfied that things would be improved.

      2. Despite the seriousness of having no legal recourse to the indoctrination of children by parents, advocating mandatory “public school” education for all is more of the same. The result would be an official State Orthodoxy indoctrinated into children.

        Such mandatory edicts are political collectivism and violations of freedom. That is the fundamental objection; the corollary is: what would guarantee that some other irrationality would not be forced upon children by The State?

        No, this battle has to be won in the marketplace of ideas.

        1. I won’t argue that universal mandatory public education is not without some drawbacks and risks, but I will argue that it’s less risky, at least in a generally free and literate society, than letting anybody teach whatever they want to children in the name of religious freedom. We enforce laws that require education (most of the time) because we believe leaving children uneducated harms both the children and society. Since I believe religious indoctrination (at least certainly in extreme forms, if not always) causes grave harm. Why are children who are subjected to this not deserving of society’s protection? Or, if you’re arguing that they are but it’s unworkable to prevent through the legal system, I would say that I think there’s plenty of evidence it could be done if we wanted to do it. It doesn’t have to work completely to be worhtwhile, either.

          In the U.S., at least, we have a silly trope that you should be able to do whatever if it’s part of your religion. It is not just a Republican thing either as the Clinton’s gave us RFRA (and we should be wary of Hillary Clinton for all time on this account and others). This whole mode of thinking is exactly opposite to the principles the US was founded on and I am certian can destroy us.

          1. Dave,

            Thank you for your intelligent and civil response.

            My points:

            1) Indoctrination of children — religious or otherwise — begins at birth and arguably is complete before the child arrives at school;
            2) With home-schooling, the parent is reinforcing the indoctrination; the imprinting itself takes place in the substance of every moment of parent-child interaction;
            3) Any thought of prohibiting indoctrination by law through direct interdiction into the family is a separate and distinct concept than countering the mindset of the already-indoctrinated child in school — religious or otherwise.

            While I emphatically denounce indoctrination of children along with you, I disagree about feasibility of prohibiting indoctrination by law: it will never happen. Unless by “if we wanted to do it” you mean a total Big Brother control of parents. As soon as they say to their 3-year-old child, “God is everywhere and He loves you and if you love him you will go to heaven,” that would have to be a crime. No way that can be made into law. What would enforcement look like, even if such an invasive law were to be enacted. Furthermore, and with a twist of humor, if the concept of prohibiting indoctrination of children by parents is being floated, does that not beg the question: Should having children be unregulated?
            Here is American sage K. Reeves on the subject.

            With regard to forcing all schooling to either “be” public or strictly adhere to state-mandated curriculums, there might be a chance of countering parental religious indoctrination. However, what guarantees that the State will not indoctrinate children into other beliefs that might be as detrimental?

            That pragmatic case having been stated, I would be remiss if I did not name my philosophical objection: the establishment of mandatory education by the state is a violation of individual rights. If you say “what about the rights of the child,” then you are putting your finger on the agonizing heart of the issue: who “owns” the right to control the early development of a child’s belief system? Does control of the child belong to the state or to the parent?

    1. First… I am a theist (just to be up front) and second, does error have no rights? St Augustine (AD 354-430) taught that error has no rights. So you agree with Augustine?

      I think it is fine for one to strongly stand on a position, but don’t become as bad as the picture displays. Do you not see the irony in making it illegal to teach of the supernatural (which you understandably reject) and the idea of beheading someone who insults the Mohammed?

      1. Do you not see the irony in making it illegal to teach of the supernatural (which you understandably reject) and the idea of beheading someone who insults the Mohammed?

        what’s really ironic is that you actually feel the two are comparable.

        refusing to let someone teach hate and violence towards others, vs teaching violence and hate?

        I recommend anyone who thinks like you do to spend a couple of years living in Germany, where the backlash of having a generation taught violence and hate has indeed resulted in laws trying to prevent the same ever happening again.

        you can say you don’t like that idea on the surface, but until you experience the results of it, you really have no idea what it really means.

        1. Teaching violence and teaching about the supernatural are NOT the same thing. The statement I differ with is “…it should be illegal to indoctrinate children with religious belief”. This statement is wrong and extreme. The statement should be, “…it should be illegal to indoctrinate children with violence to settle differences” Atheist and and Theist alike should agree. If a theistic teaching advocates beheading because someone insults their founder/leader/prophet, there is something WRONG with that theistic teaching. Germany has adopted healthy laws to prevent bias-motivated violence,

          The idea of making the indoctrination of religion illegal actually sounds like what Germany is trying to prevent. So Ichthyic (and anyone else), lets be honest, reasonable, and balanced: It is the extreme violence in the photo not religion as a whole that both theist and atheist are against.

          1. Teaching violence and teaching about the supernatural are NOT the same thing. The statement I differ with is “…it should be illegal to indoctrinate children with religious belief”. This statement is wrong and extreme. The statement should be, “…it should be illegal to indoctrinate children with violence to settle differences”

            agathoszoe, why do you disagree with that statement? Unless you are talking about teaching children without reference to any scripture then that would be a different god, not the god of monotheists. A reading of the bible has many instances where violence or murder is sanctioned for believing in a different god, being raped and so on. So you must be cherry picky when you want to teach a child about god!

          2. Sorry, dude, it IS the religion. Religion is the socially sanctioned mental illness that lays the groundwork for all of this pathology.

  1. Of all characteristics, humans are followers. This was a safety measure, perhaps, during evolution, but it is now an egregious defect.

  2. All child indoctrination should be criminalised.
    There is no way anyone is going to convince me Islam is a religion of peace, they [muslims] kill when a guy depicts their prophet in a cartoon, declare fatwas when someone says a truth about the prophet especially when this points the prophet in a bad light.

      1. I wouldn’t consider that indoctrination, telling a child they shouldn’t bathe in crocodile infested waterways is for their own safety, religious indoctrination doesn’t contribute to safety!
        Micheal give me another example, that is a fail analogy!

          1. Thanks Acrachno, what i don’t get is does he own an English dictionary? If he does he would have found out indoctrinate has a negative connotation, requires the person being told not to question!

            1. Have you looked in the dictionary, makagutu? Not all definitions of indoctrinate have the same negative connotation. It generally seems to have the idea that questioning and talking back is not appreciated, but depending on the subject matter and the audience and the time available, that is not necessarily a bad thing. When instructing a group of children to not go near crocodiles, do you want to waste all of your time discussing the theory of crocodile digestion, or is it better to just move on to the poisonous snakes?


              1. Dave I looked it up just before I wrote that and in the wikipedia link you have included it’s said for the positive aspects it’s been called sociolization to differentiate it from the negative aspect. In fact, Dave every instance in the definition from wikipedia it is not used positively and as I said before it applies where no questions are expected!

              2. Well fine, but in the military especially but other times too the word indoctrination is used perfectly reasonably and (as wikipedia notes) non-pejoratively to mean you’re being told things you need to know and we don’t have time for questions right now. They don’t call it socialization. You do realize that MKG was making a joke, don’t you?

                These statements I’m making should not be construed for any kjind of support on my part for (especially exclusive) religious indoctrination of children.

      1. thanks for that.

        looking at it, I’m not sure who was more tense, the protestors or the police!

        I saw a cop get beaten and hit over the head, but I also saw a protestor literally mauled by dogs.

        whole thing is just insane.

        of interest was the fact that the vast majority of the protestors were male. Is that of any significance you think?

  3. I think to some extent it’s impossible for parents not to indoctrinate their children. I remember before I was 10 I thought I was a Conservative because I had heard my parents say they were and I also, rather religiously, followed my Dad’s football team. With parents as religiously fervent as these it’s almost nevitable that the children will end up damaged in the same way. I think and hope that there are plenty of Muslims who realise that violence in this case has only led to people being hurt and killed, to the film gaining more publicity and (ironically) to the denigration of their religion.

    1. It may be inevitable that a child picks up some characteristics from her parents, but I don’t think it’s impossible to avoid indoctrination. All it should take is some conscientious patenting (which, admittedly, is perhaps not the style of parenting adopted by most parents).

      If there’s one thing I’ll try to instill in my daughter, it’s that she should think for herself and never blindly trust authority, even mine. Go ahead, Cara, ask me why I’m giving you those instructions!

      1. Oh. I agree with you but my point was how easy it is brainwash your own child. People who do it believe they are doing good. I think the only hope is for slow generational change. And that can probably only happen in relatively prosperous circumstances.

  4. Why haven’t we seen articles on demonstrations, violent or otherwise, in the U.S. concerning this film? Do we have a different “breed” of Muslim here? Do they just know that they wouldn’t be allowed to get away with it (that doesn’t seem likely given that students, etc. riot after ball games at the drop of a hat)? Are they happy enough that they don’t care, and hope that this particular brand of Islam never follows them here? It would be interesting to correlate economic well-being of a society with its level of “ready-outrage”.

    1. The economic well-being of Australia is at the least on par with that of the US. It does seem reasonable that economic well-being would be a factor but it seems that there are likely several other factors, some of which may be more important.

    2. US is very selective on the types of immigrants it accepts, and Muslims in the US are probably more likely to be highly educated professionals than in many other countries, and probably less likely to riot. On the other hand, there are many less well educated Muslim immigrants in Europe and they haven’t (yet?) noticeably protested the movie, so as darrelle said there must be other factors.

    3. Why haven’t we seen articles on demonstrations, violent or otherwise, in the U.S. concerning this film?

      I actually HAVE seen a few articles detailing the history of evangelical christian reaction in Southern California to Muslim neighbors and temples over the last decade.

      look around, they’re there.

      It sure looks like this was a case of localized irrational hatred of Muslims spurring a “film” that went viral on the internet.

      1. …OTOH, re-reading your question, I decided to look myself, and you’re right.

        There are basically zero news stories on the AP regarding any Islamic protests WITHIN the US regarding the film.

        that is indeed rather interesting.

        there must be some going on somewhere…

    1. They mean the stupid youtube video?

      As I understand it (and I’ve been preoccupied with other stuff lately, I’ve hardly noticed this latest outburst of insanity), the film in question was made in (approximately) Hollywood, using (approximately) standard movie industry techniques, equipment and some paid bit-part actors, voice-over artists, etc. I.E. not a “thrown together by two idiots in a garage last weekend” thing but a professional, if shoddy and cheap, film. Clips of it have then been posted to YouTube, presumably to drum up publicity. One waits with bated breath to see how they plan to monetize this … or will they just “duck and cover”.

      I can’t believe people. Please stop the world a minute, I’m leaving.

      Not an option ; if it were, I’d be joining you. Even if it were on a one-way trip to Mars, or the “asteroid belt”.

  5. It was so sad to see this in Australia. I’m appalled to the point of being lost for words. Who can think that such a message is befitting anyone in a liberal democratic society?

    I’m still tempted to think that this is someone’s prank, that someone has infiltrated a protest just to try to make the outraged idiots look even worse. Poe’s Law strikes again…

    And I’ve just got to say this: Muhammad is a false prophet, and God is a superstition!

    1. Desire for a chance at a decent life overriding religious conditioning, resulting in some seriously hypocritical behavior?

      Enjoying the fruits of a society that is the result of a world view that you hold to be anathema to your own. Because your society, a result of your world views, really sucks.

  6. Welcome to the destructive sides of religion without it the concepts of Good and Evil is meaningless.

    I must say it is very sad that YouTube has been to some people accepted as the truth on face value rather than to get the facts straight first. But this is religious mindset where the definition of “facts” is still an emotive issue.
    Ethics are multidimensional, geographically localised, and diverse.
    Only time will sort this out or should I say evolution of the species?

  7. Wait a sec…I liked your blog until you said that religious teaching is evil. While teaching children violence is wrong and I agree abusive, teaching a belief in God and moral values is not. I personally have grown away from my super-religious upbringing and rather than becoming an atheist I see dogma and spirituality as two different things. Rigid dogma can lead to abuse and separation from others, while spirituality tends to be inclusive and accepting of others.

    I happen to agree with atheists on many issues regarding religious abuse and also on the validity of evolution. But I cannot agree that having a rational ethical belief in God is a bad thing. I am certainly not condemning you for not believing in God, but when you automatically equate belief in God with abuse then well I really think that you are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

    The solution is to stand against religious abuse while promoting harmony between people of faith and also people who do not choose to believe.

    I may have have to reconsider my subscription to this blog…

    1. The OP has never said, that I am aware, that belief in god equals abuse. What he has said is that he thinks indoctrinating children with religious beliefs is a form of abuse.

      “But I cannot agree that having a rational ethical belief in God is a bad thing.”

      Belief in anything without any evidence to suggest it may be true, and tons of evidence that indicate it is not true, is not rational.

      1. It’s not a question of rationality, it’s a question of the degree of your strict commitment to empirical evidence, which requires a certain sophisticated level of mental maturity and cultural modernity to realize is a good thing.

        All it takes to to buy into belief in God is a certain combination of naivete, idealism, some unresolved neuroses and/or questions about the meaning of life, and the ability to be persuaded by certain philosophical arguments without having read David Hume.

        Personally, I think the craziness of extremists and fundamentalists is often an !*effect*! of dogmatic religion rather than a cause!! The religion induces cognitive dissonance which then spirals out of control.

        It’s simply a fact that sometimes rational and intelligent people believe in God, thought I think the more you know the more you realize that at best most folks conception of God is imaginary.

        1. No man can know empirically all things that pertain to life, not even the simple things of life. Yet, we function, act, love, serve, and work every day without knowing all the facts. Yes, this way of living COULD be dangerous in certain circumstances, but it doesn’t have to be. There are other principles which prevent extreme applications of “acting without knowing all the facts”. Not killing someone for insulting something important to you is one of those principles which is being ignored in the photo.

          You may call this a flaw in evolution, but I see it as the foundation for humility. To imply that rational and intelligent people who believe in God are missing certain facts is a logical fallacy – appealing to ridicule comes to mind. It is also somewhat pretentious.

    2. You must be new to these parts, Mary.

      Pick one. Either teach your children moral values with rational ethical foundations or teach them to believe in some deity’s protocols for how to live life. You can’t easily do both.

      And, fwiw, this here thing is a website, not a blog. 😉

      1. blog/blôg/

        Noun: “A Web site on which an individual or group of users record opinions, information, etc. on a regular basis.”

        Of all the stupid things to argue about, are you freakin’ serious? This is one reason why I often regret coming to these places. Instead of addressing the issue at hand you want to “prove” your “intellectual superiority” by trying to make others look stupid. All it really proves is your pettiness.

        1. You obviously are a newbie here, and don’t know about the “website” peccadillo. If you regret coming here, you’re welcome to leave at any time. And apologize to gbjames, please. We don’t like invective, either.

    3. Can you please quote where JC said religious teaching is evil? I’m not sure where you are getting that.

      Also, if you “liked” this blog up until this post, then you have not been liking it for long – I’m sure if you look back you will find much stronger posts that challenge your ideas of religion.

      Also, too, this is not a blog.

    4. If you’re lucky, Mary, commenters here will engage you in a lively discussion, where everything you think you know–and believe–will be challenged. Stick around for it, push back, and ask questions.

      Or else, leave, as you’re threatening to do, because your feelings are hurt.

      I am doubting that you “like this blog” or that you’ve ever “subscribed”. In this regard, I think you’re fibbing.

    5. “a rational ethical belief in God”

      How does that work, then? Faith IS irrational, which is why it’s not called reason.

    6. Is there any God in whom you do not believe and, if so, what is the basis for that non-belief?

      Is a claim true or not true simply and solely because someone says so?

      ” . . . but when you automatically equate belief in God with abuse then well I really think that you are part of the problem, not part of the solution.”

      I assume you believe in the Judeo-Christian God. Do you agree that the Allah of Islam is that same God? Do you consider Islam an equally legitmate religion? Is there any “abuse” inherent in Islam? If so, would you say that that abuse misguidedly originates in the Islamic religion itself and not in its God, Allah?

      What is your specific tradition? Orthodox? Catholic? Protestant? Some other one? On what basis do you subscribe to one and not another? Childhood training? Tradition?

    7. While teaching children violence is wrong and I agree abusive, teaching a belief in God and moral values is not.

      Which god? There’re so many to choose from.

      Would this be the YHWH of the Torah, who decreed that the proper punishment for rapeists is to marry their victims, whether or not siad victim wanted to be married?

      Or the Jesus of the Gospels, who, in the Sermon on the Mount declared that all men who look admiringly upon a woman will be infinitely tortured unless they immediately gouge out their own eyes and chop off their own hands?

      Or perhaps it’s the Muhammad of the Q’ran, who “married” a very young girl?

      How do you know that your gods, whichever gods they may be, are anything more than characters in a very nasty faery tale book?

      And what on Earth do any of them have to do with morality, except to serve as cautionary tales?



    8. teaching a belief in God and moral values is not.

      The largest lie religion has ever let loose into the world is not that there are gods. But that religious myths and dogmas are teaching moral values. What values are those – beheading and stoning?

      Only if you pick and choose, from an already notional platform of moral values, can you find something approximating modern morals in these texts. That platform is based on general moral reactions that we have evolved to have like other species with moral reactions, and it is mostly derived *despite religion* in the secular world.

      Democracy, human rights, human freedoms – none of that was invented by religion. They opposed it all the way, and they still do.

      Whatever religions are, “moral” is the least applicable description. Religion poisons everything.

      I see dogma and spirituality as two different things

      Of course they are. Dogma is unfortunate facts of religious practice, spirituality is unfortunate belief in religious “spirits” or in other words non-factual dualism.


    9. I may have have to reconsider my subscription to this blog…

      Satisfaction guaranteed or your money cheerfully refunded …

    10. While teaching children violence is wrong and I agree abusive, teaching a belief in God and moral values is not.

      Which gods? There are thousands.

      You probably mean the One True Real God. Allah? Brahma? Thor? Asherah?

      Moral values have nothing to do with the gods.

      According to the OT, you are supposed to stone disobedient children, sabbath breakers, false prophets, nonvirgin brides, and heretics to death. You can sell your own kids as sex slaves for a few bucks. Xians are only moral by ignoring the bible and pretending it actually has something worthwhile to say.

      Mary Rogers, BTW, was just a driveby and drop off some trash troll. No big deal.

      1. Mary is certainly not a troll, though this may be the last we’ll see of her. She probably sincerely believes that religion is good and teaches important moral values to children. Trolls are insincere troublemakers, not just people taking a minority position on some website, or people who are sincerely wrong. Trolls just want to start a fight, not advance some vision of the truth.

        1. Trolls are insincere troublemakers,


          Far more often they are sincere troublemakers. That is worse, not better.

          Trolls are trolls.

          1. “Far more often they are sincere troublemakers.”

            But Mary was not just tying to make trouble. She was saying things she sincerely believes, and not being pointlessly provocative about it.

            “Trolls are trolls.”

            Seems a bit tautological, no? What is a troll in your view? Anyone who’s wrong abut something? Anyone arguing the minority position?

            1. Ok, I am going to try to answer you all since you seemed to miss my point:

              1. The author said that teaching religion, in any form is a form of “child abuse”

              My position is that that is a generalization based on the fact that yes, there are so called “values” in many religions (including Christianity) that unfortunately do teach the wrong things. So I am actually AGREEING with you all on that point. I am not defending any religion’s so-called “right” to abuse others.

              I do not believe in a specifically man-made God (that of various religions). If I have to be pinned down I would probably say I am a pantheist. But I do believe in the truth that many religions point to as love being the essence of the universe. Using that as a template for moral values to teach to children certainly cannot be called “abuse”.

              I am not here to specifically defend my faith because faith is not something that can be defended in an emperical fashion. It is an inner process and experience that cannot be defined. What I am defending is the idea that faith itself is somehow a pathological process that inevitably ends in ruin.

              Faith has inspired great works of love and charity and also horrible works of evil and destruction. This is not faith’s fault. The cause has to do with our own psyche’s split nature. The battle of good and evil is within ourselves. The evil in religion is simply a reflection of the darkness within ourselves.

              I DO AGREE WITH YOU ALL that violent religious ideas can be dangerous simply because they represent a codified form of evil that has more to do with brain-washing than real faith.

              You guys are right that I haven’t been around here long. I thought this was a website about evolution, not atheism.

              1. “I thought this was a website about evolution, not atheism.”

                The two are inextricably bound together. The nature of faith is to accept things for which there is not the least bit of evidence as real. Evolution, and the rest of science, requires evidence to support assertions. There are no disputes about the basic nature of evolution except those that flow from religion. Evolution is a purely material and naturalistic process. No gods are required.

              2. Actually, faith is the problem, not religion.

                Religious faith is no different from the confidence a scam artist inspires in you.

                “No need to take ‘er for a test drive; just listen to that motor purr!”

                “Of course the check’s in the mail — I just dropped it off a minute ago! Don’t you trust me?”

                “Believe me, this stock is on a one-way ticket to the stratosphere. Get in now while you still have the chance!”

                Faith, in the religious sense, is belief not in proportion with the evidence. You are called upon to believe precisely because there isn’t any credible evidence to support the claims — just translations-of-translations of copies-of-copies of long-lost “eyewitness” reports written decades afterwards in classic “I heard it from a friend of a friend of somebody who knew somebody who was there, so you know it’s true!” style. In most religions, persisting in your belief even in the face of contradictory evidence is considered a virtue, and the more absurd the claim the more you’re supposed to believe in it. This is madness!

                Were somebody to extol to you the virtues of faith in anything other than a religious context, you’d instantly know you were being set up for a scam.

                Well, guess what? There’s nothing magical about religion, except that it’s, by far, the most successful and profitable scam in all of human history.



              3. Ben,

                I can’t seem to find the reply button to reply to you, so I’ll try to respond by responding to my own post.

                Actually my faith does not depend on what I have read or have been taught. I don’t believe in Adam and Eve or the Ark. My “test drive” involved getting away from my conservative Christian roots.

                Again, this is something that I cannot prove to you or anyone else, but to me true faith has nothing to do a knee jerk belief in a so-called sacred book. It is something that I feel in my heart, in other words it is a personal experience.

                Anyway don’t assume that everyone who has faith have been brainwashed into it.

              4. Actually my faith does not depend on what I have read or have been taught. I don’t believe in Adam and Eve or the Ark. My “test drive” involved getting away from my conservative Christian roots.

                Really? You don’t think the fact that you were indoctrinated as a young child to believe against all evidence in a cosmic overmind has nothing to do with your continued belief in a cosmic overmind?

                It is something that I feel in my heart, in other words it is a personal experience.

                Mr. Feynman put it best: “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.”

                Ask any sincere believer in any religion, even those whose religious beliefs are antithetical to yours, and you’ll get the exact same justification as you offered up here yourself.

                You would agree with me that personally experiencing a feeling in your heart is not a good reason to then go ahead and drown your children or fly airliners into skyscrapers or bomb medical facilities — or even to decide fiscal policy or figure out how far you can make it on a tank of gas.

                Yet you’re using that same warm-n-fuzzy to conclude that there’s some sort of cosmic overmind.

                Empiricism is nothing more than “Oh yeah? Prove it!” You’ve already admitted that you can’t “prove it,” so why are you still fooling yourself — the easiest person for you to fool — that you can?



              1. So how would you know if your Christian faith was wrong, or if God did not exist. It doesn’t depend on what you’ve read or have been talk, so if you accept Jesus as your savior, HOW WOULD YOU KNOW IF YOU’RE WRONG? Or how would you know that other faiths that make opposing claims, like Islam, Scientology, or Hinduism, are wrong faiths and that your beliefs are right?

                Since you are making claims here based on “personal experience,” is that your justification for what you believe? Then do Muslims, whose “personal experience” tells then that infidels deserve death and that Jesus was not the son of God, have incorrect perceptions?

  8. “I see dogma and spirituality as two different things.”

    Well, I agree with you Mary, and I am against dogma, whether it is religious or non-religious.

  9. And the worst insult would probably be noting that it is a myth and there is no historical evidence for a “prophet”.

    Because they are sure equating insulting their beliefs with “insulting” a known myth.

    Too bad they don’t support freedom of religion, because then there would be no problem with implicit or explicit criticism. But no, they are against all what makes the modern world a better place, secular values like democracy and human rights and freedoms.

    1. T. Larsson: “And the worst insult would probably be noting that it is a myth and there is no historical evidence for a “prophet”.”

      I’ve been meaning to look into that. How much evidence is there that Muhammad ever existed? Is he just another mythical founder figure, like Jesus, Wm. Tell, Abraham, etc.? It certainly would not surprise me if that were so. But, I thought there was some evidence that M. was a real person, even if most of the stories about him and teachings attributed to him are bunk.

      If people are being killed because of insults to an imaginary character in an obscure amateur movie that almost no one had ever seen or heard of before the killing started, a movie made by people who were not the ones killed, the madness becomes even more stark.

      1. Achrachno, to start you off on that search about Mohammed, there is a book by Robert Spencer titled Did Muhammad Exist: An inquiry into Islam’s obscure origins.

        1. I think I’m not going to order this one. After a bit of research, beginning with Amazon reviews, I’ve decided that Spencer is too much a part of the right wing fringe to have any credibility with me.

          For example, from Wikipedia:

          “Spencer named Paul Weyrich, also a Melkite Catholic, as a mentor of his writings on Islam. Spencer writes, “Paul Weyrich taught me a great deal, by word and by example – about how to deal both personally and professionally with the slanders and smears that are a daily aspect of this work.”

          Christian apologist and martyr in his own mind. Sorry.

          1. Remember that often the best place to go to find problems with religion is other religions. Matt Dilahunty often points out that one of the best places to go to find the failings of Catholicism is the Mormons and Protestants, and vice versa. Just because people don’t agree with you about everything doesn’t mean that they are wrong about everything either. You just have to read them with a bit of discrimination. I have read a bunch of Spencer’s stuff and it’s pretty good except you do have to dodge a bit of Christianity. It’s pretty obvious though and not hard to identify, he doesn’t try to hide it, he just assumes that his readers are Christians like himself. Irritating but not misleading. It’s not easy to find rational discussion of Islam for the obvious reason that you’re taking your life in your hands if you try it.

      2. The short version is that he fits into the standard mold of a mythical hero. He was larger than life — personally chatted with gods, led vast conquering armies, flew off into the sunset on the back of a flying horse, that sort of thing.

        But the only actual evidence is copies-of-copies-of-copies of documents, the originals of which are not only long since lost but were heavily-edited compilations contentiously assembled by pious committees generations after the “fact.”

        Even if there were a single man by that name at the heart of it all — and there’s no good reason to think there was and plenty of reasons to suspect otherwise — he was so unlike the mythical character known today that it makes no more sense to call him the “real” Muhammad than it does to call the Bishop of Myrna the “real” Santa.

        It’s like a game of telephone. If what comes starts as “Let’s eat pizza at Mike’s” comes out at the end as “She hates beach balls with spikes,” what’s the “real” message?



  10. This is a bit strange.

    1. If they don’t like the way we do things in the west, why are they in Australia?

    2. Why don’t they go back to their own hellhole, dysfunctional countries?

    1. I’ll add here that a lot of Moslems in the USA are refugees fleeing from their own countries.

      In my area, a lot are Somali’s. We all know Somalia is a basket case.

      Some are Iraqi’s.

      Some are Libyans who opposed Quadaffi.

      They are here in the USA because they would be imprisoned, persecuted, or killed in their home countries.

  11. But the protestors only brought signs, not firebombs, so there is progress of a kind. Or maybe our police state is simply more intimidating.

  12. I someone marched around carrying a sign saying “Behead all those who praise the prophet” perhaps they’d see how wrong their position is.

    1. .. perhaps they’d see how wrong their position is.

      No they won’t. Irony is completely wasted on these folks.
      It would even further outrage them. Don’t forget: THEY are fighting a sacred and holy war, protecting the prophet’s good name. YOU would be the barbaric infidel attacking pious Muslims, a deed for which there is only one punishment: Death.

      If these people would be capable of rational argument or thought concerning their faith, they wouldn’t be out there with those signs to begin with.

    1. I agree. Awful use of fonts and colors is a definite form of abuse, not only of children, however. It is an abuse of adult viewers, too.

    2. Can’t be a real creationist : they can distinguish between “hear” and “here” and use them correctly. At least once.
      And that’s more than enough time wasted on that site.

  13. If his mum is annoyed now, just wait twenty years and she’s wondering why on earth the evil godless Strilians aren’t too keen on employing her kids.
    The bigots.
    Or is that not part of the plan? Working and that.

  14. It’s wrong. Very wrong when kids hold signs that read hateful messages like that or “kill the fags” or anything that they would not know if it wasn’t for their parents feeding them this garbage. There needs to be a global crackdown on hate and it’s the parents who have to pay and yes, it is child abuse. Hate is taught.

    Great post!

  15. It makes me deeply sad that such things happen in Australia (even if it is in Sydney, well known to be a second rate kind of a place ;-)). I can’t help feeling that bringing muslims here is just creating a problem we didn’t previously have. Even if the vast majority of them are fine people who want nothing more than to get on with their lives, the fact remains that they bring with them a toxic religion which causes trouble where ever it goes. Even if every one of them who comes here is peaceful, the creed breeds violence in the next generation regardless of their parents. The British bombings were done by second generation immigrants whose parents were horrified by their actions. This didn’t stop it happening because if you read the Koran and do what it says, you will become a hazard to those around you.

    1. I can’t help feeling that bringing muslims here is just creating a problem we didn’t previously have.

      huh. I can’t help feeling that this isn’t the case.

      Aboriginal issues come to mind.

      there will always be violent arms of any protest movement. I think assuming that underlying problems “didn’t exist” is kind of glossing over the reality?

      1. Marella didn’t say no problems existed, just that they didn’t have *this* particular problem before.

        And don’t you think calling these religious fanatics a “protest movement” is glossing over the reality rather more??

        1. no, because if you look, it actually DID start as a protest movement.

          do you really think all the Muslims in OZ are “religious fanatics”?

          1. do you really think all the Muslims in OZ are “religious fanatics”?

            Of course not. Is there any chance you could try to address what people are actually saying, instead of picking the most absurd interpretations?

  16. My Goodness. As the child ages he may reject this bigotry and its loving mother. Religious groups such as Christians and Muslims fight among themselves and show little muslim and Christian charity. Why can they not understand they are working against God’s will?

    1. Why can they not understand they are working against God’s will?

      probably because, very simply, there is no God to project his will for people to know, so they make it up as they go along.

      it’s a very exploitable system.

  17. As a former Sydneysider I was alarmed to see this level of violence on our streets. I’m also aware that there was some sort of carefully manufactured inciting from the Christian fundies to the Muslim fundies. Most of these people live with a preEnlightenment notion of their scripture and don’t have a history of nonviolent protest. The righteous anger, as displayed through the young testosterone present, only had an on/off switch. They had no notion of protesting from another part of their psyche. One of my mates suggested it was akin to shouting ‘fire’ in a theatre.

    Most of them were young men, with a few families.

    Have a look at a selection of pictures.

    The child abuse is across all fundamentalist cultures – a narrow, non contextualised message which is spewing hatred.

    We now need to look at role models – I’m thinking of Northern Ireland here, who have decided not to pass decades of hatred along to their kids.

    I remember marching down those streets in the 70s as part of a woman’s demonstration. There was one violent faction called ‘The Spartacus League’ who wanted to ‘kill all men’. We all avoided them – they were about 2 dozen people amongst thousands.

    Obama and Clinton have their diplomatic work cut out for them.

    1. I watched some of the film on YouTube. It’s dire, both the script and the technical quality. It’s also not suitable for small children. I wonder what his parents said when they gave the boy the placard. Probably not “We’re advocating murder for a badly made film you’re not allowed to watch.”

      As far as I can tell the wording on the boy’s top says “NIGHT MONSTERS”, which seems scary for a child that age. The only sources I can find are a 1942 Bela Lugosi horror film and two books, again not suitable for young children.

      1. kylenano,

        There are always people who will get their kids to do things we disapprove of. My point is that most of this crowd were young male, and not populated by families with kids holding these placards. I personally wouldn’t have singled this out as an example as it wasn’t representative of anything.

        1. 200 protesters. Approx Muslim population of Australia: 475,000.

          I wouldn’t be at all surprised to learn that most of the protesters attend the same mosque and were stirred up by one of the nutter imams we have in Australia- maybe the one who compared women to uncovered meat.

  18. Wow, I’m really surprised at the number of religious posters here. I find it odd. Funny, I never have a desire to go to a religious site and post anything, ever. I grew up with religion. It’s nothing more than socially sanctioned mental illness.
    Although a child holding such a reprehensible placard offends our sensibilities, this is nothing in the Muslim world where they use children as human shields in firefights, “marry” and rape them, throw acid and poison little school girls, beat them in madrassas, execute them for insubordination in paramilitary operations, etc.
    Remember, this entire issue is not about an Ed Wood’ish film about a non-existent “prophet”. It is about the blood-lust insanity of Islam which uses any excuse to slaughter. Islam is as Islam does. Their behavior has nothing to do with what we say or don’t say, do or don’t do, film or don’t film. If the film didn’t exist, there would be some other excuse(s). Just like with the religious posters here, the intent is to confuse the issue, waste time and energy and get us to fall for their bullsh*t by believing that “we” are somehow the cause of their violence. For instance, why isn’t there world wide carnage and insanity over this film? Personally, I can’t wait to see it!

    1. For instance, why isn’t there world wide carnage and insanity over this film? Personally, I can’t wait to see it!

      and I can’t wait to see the back of your posts.

      people who glory in violence because they think it “proves them right” are part of the PROBLEM.

      that’s right, you sir, are a big part of what is WRONG with the world.

      1. Got it! The problem isn’t that religion leads inexorably to this kind if insane violence, it is calling out religion that produces the violence!

        Is this opposite day or something?

          1. How’s that? Because I notice it? Does someone who calls the fire department when their house is on aflame revel in fire?

            “Git”: A completely ignorant, childish person with no manners.

            Very nice, Ichthyic. You have your priorities upside down.

            1. gbjames, I couldn’t help but comment.
              I can appreciate your insight and civility, as well as that of so many others here.

              Reviewing parts of this thread that caught my attention, I see a couple troll instigators, Ichthyic and Raven from the Pharygula crowd (must not have many people with differing rational opinions to trash in Pharygula lately.)

              It’s interesting how inconsistent some are, one minute decrying ‘Islamaphobia’ on the part of those sharply calling out hatred and violence of those who would criticize Muslims for their intolerant actions,… then another time heaping praise on one of their highly touted atheist ‘godfathers’, C. Hitchens, who ostensibly, had no issues with using the word ‘Islamofascist’.


              (Raven is particular odious, seeming to revel in flippant middle school level epithet of virtually anyone brandishing an idea that slips the boundaries of his/her narrow, sour mindset–typical of most Pharygulites.)

  19. What’s truly tragic about all of this is that Aussie’s refer to pepper spray as Capsicum spray. This upsets me more than this stupid film and all these daft muslims getting worked up over it. What they should be demonstrating (and in some places rioting) about is better production values in films that depict the Prophet as a foolish and deranged power-hungry madman. The bluescreen in this thing looks like it’s made from sweet wrappers.

  20. Yes, I cannot figure out why Muslim nations hate America. Why do they burn our flag? Why do they fly airplanes into our buildings? Until we know WHY, we cannot fix the problem. I guess it has something to do with their beliefs, but I don’t know what it is.

    I am very scared by the bloggers of this article. They want to prohibit religious schools and homeschooling and only allow public schools, where teaching can be controlled, so we all believe the same thing. This prohibits free thought and guess what, this is Communist!

    I believe the opposite, that all schools are allowed, all people can research their own beliefs, free thought and expression are encouraged, and people can draw their own conclusions. This is called Freedom! And this is America!

    1. Why?

      It’s not as simple as “American is Christian and therefore infidels to Muslims.”

      In my opinion the radical Muslims hate America because it represents materialism, freedom and earthly happiness. Things get really riled up when we engage militarily in any of “their” areas, since they see Muslimism as legitimate state theocracy, and anything opposing the Muslim State is “of the devil.” They just don’t want any American government or military presence in “Muslim areas.”

      The key motivation given by the 9/11 terrorists was: The Americans are propping up the Saudi regime, and that is where the Muslim holy sites reside, and the Saudi government is not radical enough for them. The materialist/capitalist Americans only want control of the Muslim holy land for greed/oil and they invaded in order to destroy the MidEast Muslim states and get the oil.

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