Category Archives: Society

Everyone’s talking about it: Gay Marriage

Gay marriage!

So here are a few arguments, for and against, from the comments section of Australian news websites. Real people, with real opinions, telling us what they really think (usually with incorrect grammar and spelling).

It’s wrong:

Opposition comes from the position that there is a morally right way of expressing sexuality, and a morally wrong way of expressing sexuality. Homosexuality is viewed as morally wrong by those who oppose it.

– Issac, here.

The ever-present animal comparison:

There is no reason to allow gay marriage. Love is not a legitimate reason to allow it, as some people love kids or animals in the same way. But we’re not going to support marriage to children or animals, are we? Then be consistent people!

– Ryan, here.

Is it time to allow people to marry animals too?! get real. A marriage has been between a male and female for 4000-5000 years! why suddenly change?

– Hooda, here.

Choose another word; not marriage, because those eight letters are just so precious to us heterosexuals:

Civil unions is a formal recognition for gay people. Marriage is clearly defined in legislation (rightly so) between a man and a woman. The gay community need another word, not marriage.

– Simon, here.

If same-sex couples want to live together, then they can. But don’t call it marriage!
Marriage is a holy and sacred covenantal agreement between a man and a woman before God and others. Please don’t steal our word and make it mean less than that.

-BethyBennett, here.

The Bible says ‘No’:

No. This is a predominantly Christian community. Over 70% of Australians identify as Christian. The Bible says that homosexuality is a sin.

– Jenny, here.

And the counter-argument:

The bible also says that to show your love to your child you should beat them with a rod (Proverbs 13:24), and that if your child curses you they should be put to death (Lev 20:9) – do you do that?

The bible also says it is a sin to eat shellfish (Lev 11:9-12) – have you eaten prawns or lobster latety?

Have you run around killing Muslims, Buddhists and those of other religions lately – after all that is commanded by your Bible (Ex 22:20, Deu 17:2-7)? What about atheists, killed any of them lately to bring about peace (2 Chr 15:15)?

You may wish to pick and choose a selection of rules from an iron age story – but don’t expect the rest of us to, nor that you can impose your religious beliefs on everyone else.

– rob1966, here.

We are Christians God damn it, and the human race, 9 billion strong, depends on us heterosexuals fucking to survive:

This is a christian nation – that is where our great nation began – on good moral ground – and we need to stand our ground on issues like this. If we took this argument to its logical conclusion, then humanity’s survival is at stake – without a “mummy and a daddy”, there would be NO human race!

– SusieT, here.

What discrimination?

The Marriage Act applies to one man and one woman, there is nothing ‘discriminatory’ in that. I notice that the gay lobby and the Greens do not think that it is discriminatory to refuse Muslims the right to more than one wife although Centrelink already accepts such arrangements.

– Jessica and Josh, here.

The country is in crisis; it is not the time to talk about gay marriage. Let’s postpone this debate until the nation is growing and happy and fuel prices are back at 60c/L.

No time should be taken up by Parliament with gay rights. As they obviously can’t produce children, they don’t need any other rights other than to be able to live together, which they can do at their own choice now.

– Tracker, here.

Well done Adam Brandt, get yourself into feeding off the tax payer then your big aim in life is this. What about the 25,000 homeless children in Australia ?

– Trump, here.

Another minority group:

I do not believe that the majority of people support gay marriage. There is no good reason for legalising gay marriage. It makes no difference to the legal standing of the relationship. This is another push by a minority group to impose their views on the rest of society.

-Terry, here.

You’re a dickhead:

To call a same sex union a marriage defies the language and once you start to stuff around with the definition of language all other definitions are under threat as well as all legal and the meaning of legislated law.

– Deiter, here.

I don’t care, therefore no one cares:

Give us a break! Most people are sick to death of a minority’s sexuality issues thrust in our faces everytime we want to read the news. I’m seriously thinking about going to other media outlets for my news. There is no balance here.

– Simon, here.

The totally uneducated:

It’s not a human rights issue a. we have never had the right to marry so its not something that has been taken away from us and b. do those straight couples who choose not to be married or those that just cant find a partner are they also in breach of their human rights? Hardly.

– ChrisG, here.

It is an illness. Treatable with counselling/jail etc. Allowing gay marriages will also increase the risk of AIDS.

GoBigOne, here.

You’ve almost persuaded me:

Who said Guy marrigers must get the nod, it is immoral & against nature, to explain it in the simplist terms we are here to keep the species alive. Look at the Dinosausers, they all turned gay, now were are they ?

– Dale, here.

Do you support gay marriage?

K’Gari means Paradise

I fully support a dual naming of Fraser Island to include its Traditional name, K’Gari.

The State Government confirmed at the weekend it was considering a proposal for dual-naming of the iconic island.

The local Butchulla people want the internationally renowned island’s traditional name K’gari restored. K’gari means paradise.

The Fraser Coast Chronicle

While I understand that the island has been marketed as Fraser Island for decades, and the region, for a lesser period, as the Fraser Coast, I do think that a gradual introduction of the Traditional name is appropriate and worthwhile.

This discussion, for me, brought up a wider topic: that Australia doesn’t tend to exploit it’s rich and interesting Aboriginal history and culture to attract tourists. We should consider renaming locations and landmarks throughout Australia to reflect their Traditional names, not just to include and recognise the Indigenous people of those areas, but also to attract tourism and develop a sense of community.

Broadly speaking, the Indigenous story or history behind a name is often much more interesting and meaningful than the story behind the currently recognised name, even to non-Indigenous Australians.

Heaven is Virtual Reality. Heaven is a fantasy. This is heaven.

Imagine this:

Sometime in the future, everyone on the planet decides to live in a utopian virtual world [think Second Life 100 years from now], however they don’t access that world via a computer screen and keyboard.

The physical body would be stored away on life-support. Everyone would be tube fed the perfect amount of energy, fat, vitamins and minerals; delivered in a constant stream throughout the day.

We would have electronic messages sent right into our brain so our eyes wouldn’t have to be open. Smells, tastes and touch would all be created in our brain or spinal cord. The mind would be free to escape the physical disabilities of real life; the paralyzed would be able to walk, no one would have AIDS or bird flu. We could all choose to live our lives however we chose, free from the constraints of real-life.

In a utopian virtual world, where resources are unlimited, would we have to buy products and services, would we have to work to earn currency, and how would goods and services be priced?

Some other questions:

  • In the absence of work, what would we do all day?
  • What would we talk to our friends about?
  • Would we be immortal?
  • What value would life have if we were immortal?
  • Would there be a government; someone to make decision about the world?
  • How would that government be chosen?

How would heaven be different to this utopian virtual life?

If every ‘good’ person goes to heaven for eternity, there must be quite a few people up there. Just like in a virtual world, they won’t need physical things like food, water, medicine, money, and they won’t need to go to work to buy things.

  • What would these people do and what would be their purpose?
  • How would they feel fulfilled?
  • What would their dreams and aspirations be?
  • What would they talk about with their friend and family?
  • Maybe they will decide to learn and gain knowledge and wisdom. But, for what purpose?
  • Maybe they will decide to play sport or compete against each other. But how will teams be chosen?
  • Will there be rules and regulations for competitors? Who will make these rules?
  • Would they compete for a prize? What could the prize be?
  • What if I am really passionate about my team and someone says they’re rubbish? Could I dislike them?
  • Would there be arguments? How could arguments be resolved?
  • Would music, art, movies, entertainment or literature exist in heaven?
  • If I was passionate about writing theatre, film, music or poetry, could I continue with that in heaven? Could I share my work with an audience, maybe in a theatre? Who would perform my work? How would they be chosen over the many others who wanted to perform? Who built the theatre?
  • How would someone passionate about food or wine get on?
  • What if my whole family was here except my very lively and entertaining gay sister and her caring partner? Their two adopted children are here though, forever without their parents.

Heaven is a fantasy. This is heaven.

Snapshot of Australia – ‘Booze’

Booze

(David Dale – Who We Are – A snapshot of Australia today)

Which is weird because I always thought that people drank when they were feeling depressed. Who can afford three glasses of wine per day though? These people obviously have high disposable incomes.

Do you feel delighted, pleased, happy, average, unhappy, discontent, or terrible? How many alcoholic beverages do you drink per day? How many alcoholic beverages did you drink before answering this question?

Snapshot of Australia – ‘truly Australian’

36 per cent of Australians believe that you have to be Christian to be ‘truly Australia’!? WTF?

David Dale: Who we are

(David Dale – Who We Are – A snapshot of Australia today)

I felt reassured that 91 per cent of people thought that feeling Australian was enough to make someone ‘truly Australian’, and I can accept that becoming an Australian would improve your Australian-ness. But the rest are pretty unacceptable if you ask me. What has being Christian got to do with being Australian? Aboriginal people aren’t Christian.

Come on people!

Toothpaste will save Africa!

I was reading an article today and got really depressed.

(Azeem Azhar (2005). “Better and Faster than politics” New Stateman 18(878) p. 24.)

Here is a snippet:

The bottom of the pyramid is a new competitive business space, with new demands. If you want to sell toothpaste to an Indian villager, you need to know that he may not have access to running water, that he can’t afford to throw away the packaging, and that your main competitors are the twigs from the neem tree.”

And another:

“…the organisations best able to rapidly design and deliver the products and services that poor people need are the world’s multinationals.”

I totally understand his argument. Sure the world’s poor people are an untapped market for large multinationals and there is money to be made. But does this Indian villager really need to spend money on toothpaste when he can get free twigs from a tree to brush his teeth. I mean, is that really an effective use of his/her wage, over say clean water or a flushing toilet.

It really comes back to how we measure poverty. And I think we do that by living standards. Therefore the fact that someone has a toothbrush, raises their livings standards and moves them out of poverty. Please someone explain how this works in intricate detail.

This also doesn’t help the country that this new toothbrush owner lives in. All the money he spent on it his lovely toothbrush gets flown out of the country back to the United States (or somewhere else equally rich). The country doesn’t really benefit from the creation of jobs to make the toothbrush, nor any money from taxes (other than a value-added tax) earned from the manufacturing plant (land tax, capital gains tax, company tax).

The author finally gains some considered thought and suggests:

“Am I saying that there is no role for government in this sort of work, that politics is useless? Far from it. Government and civil society – politics, if you like – are urgently needed to foster the basic conditions, such as physical security, that allow the poor to connect to the world economy.”

Thank God (Side note: I don’t believe in God. Who should I thank?). The governments of developing countries need to apply restrictions on multinational companies operating in their country if they want to extract some of that wealth for themselves. Don’t sell out to McDonald’s!

Andrew Denton’s “God on my Side”

There are going to be a lot of very disappointed dead people.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that I am super knowledgeable and know that heaven doesn’t exist. But there are an awful lot of people on the Earth who believe that their special brand of religion is correct and that everyone who doesn’t believe, will not be going to heaven. Some of these people have got to be wrong. (The atheists are doomed; they’re not going no matter who turns about to be correct > although I suppose that is a realisation they have already accepted.)

So why do the people in this documentary believe that their religion is correct and all others are ‘the work of the devil’? Maybe they were born in a certain country with a certain religious heritage, or maybe they happened to be brought up by parents who believed a certain belief, or maybe they simply found a God that made sense to them. Think about this: If the devout Christians featured in “God on my Side” had been born into a different country with a different dominant religion, had been born into a family with different religious beliefs or had found a different religion that seemed to solve their problems, would they believe in that other religion with the same enthusiasm.

So if everyone on planet believes that only the people who believe what they believe, will live for eternity in heaven, there are going to be a great number of people who end up feeling very disappointed.

Wouldn’t it suck if you thought that you were definitely, without a shadow of a doubt, going to rise up into heaven, and then you turned out to be wrong and the Hindus were the ones who were actually correct, or the Egyptians, or the Greeks, or the Muslims or whoever. You were wrong, and well, you are going to hell. Too bad that you were an outstanding individual who cared for your family, always followed the law, were totally ethical, cared about the wider community, gave your entire estate to the poor, helped save the endangered tree frog…

TOO BAD! Your goin’ to hell, because you were wrong dude. You were a Muslim, but actually the Catholics had it right.

I’m an atheist, I’m a kind, generous, thoughtful person, but I’m wrong and I’m going to hell anyway. Fair is fair.

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He’ll save you. Jesus, that is.

Advertisement: Anglican Church

The Anglican Church has begun to get creative in its battle to attract new members to its congregation. This advertisement is just one of many executions of the same campaign which are displayed on small billboards at the front of Anglican churches.

All the advertisements use controversy or a play on words to attract attention. In this advertisement the advertiser even gets a way with reappropriating the Aussie Home Loans logo.

Beginner’s Bible Coloring Book!

Dad, did dinosaurs really exist?
Sure they did, son. The Bible says so. They didn’t call them “dinosaurs” back then, but instead they were known as “leviathans” or “behemoths”.
But, my science teacher says dinosaurs lived millions of years ago. Is that true?
Of course not, son.
Then how old are they?
Well, let’s see. The Bible tells us [from Adam and Eve’s family tree] that the Universe is only a few thousand years old. So dinosaurs had to have lived within the past few thousand years. That’s simple logic, son.
Oh. So that means they were on Noah’s Ark?
Absolutely! The Bible says two of every animal were brought [by God] to the ark. Dinosaurs were animals. So, using your logic again son, dinosaurs had to be on the ark.
Huh. So how come scientists say they’re older than that? and died way before Jesus?
Well, son, they just make that up. Dinosaur bones don’t have labels on them to tell how old they are. In fact, there is no proof whatsoever that the world and its fossil layers are millions of years old. No scientist saw dinosaurs die-
Dad!
No I’m serious. Scientists only find the bones in the here and now, and because many of them are evolutionists, they try to fit the story of the dinosaurs into their view.
That’s sad. But I thought scientists were smart?
Sure, but they don’t know everything. So they have to make stuff up to fit their beliefs. While you and I, we have the facts, straight from the Bible.
I don’t want to be a scientist!
Ha! That’s ok, son. It’s better to be right, than smart. C’mon, wanna learn how to flip burgers like your Dad?
Yeah!

The Planet – Swedish Documentary – SBS: Future Focus

The Planet is a beautiful and unique documentary. It really communicated to me the fragility of the Earth. It also gave an interesting and comprehensive picture of the whole global warming problem – from historical, environmental, social, economic, financial and political perspectives. Here are a few quotes from the documentary which resonated with me:

“The Earth provides us with a life support system; with clean air, with the right amount of oxygen, provides us with food, clean water… There are a whole series of services which are provided [for] free by nature that we are utterly dependent upon; that are not factored into economic equations yet are exceptionally important, in deed they’re essential, life could not exist without them.” – Australian National University

Imagine if every person and every business had to pay for the processes that provide them with water, air, soil, oil, plastic, metal and so on. If the Earth can no longer provide these things this may become a reality.

“Growth can be uneconomic; it can cost more than its worth. And that’s the new era that we’re moving into … here is the Earth’s biosphere, here is the economy. How does the economy live off the larger system? As the economy expands it takes in more energy, more matter. It takes it from where? From the biosphere. And as we consume more, we throw out more waste. Where do we throw it? Back to the biosphere. So that’s depletion and that’s pollution. And then we move into an era of uneconomic growth, in which growth increases the production of bads, faster than the production of goods, it accumulates ilth faster than wealth.”Professor Herman Daly, University of Maryland

“The common view has been that the Earth is very stable; it’s infinitely resilient, we can do basically anything we want and it just repairs itself all the time. We have just been living with that, we’ve taken it for granted. But this era is over; this sort of luxury phase for humanity is now over.” Professor Carl Folke, Stockholm University

So how do we save the planet? Well we could try one of the five solutions proposed in this documentary – Five ways to save the World.

BBC – One solution to Save the World is to place millions of plates of glass in space to divert the Sun’s rays away from the Earth.

Option One: Put millions of sheets of glass into orbit around the sun to divert rays away from the Earth. Up to 3 hundred trillion dollars.

Option Two: A fleet of boats which float around the ocean and spray sea water and salt up into the clouds so there are more clouds and they are more reflective in order to bounce radiation back out to space.

Option Three: Put tons of Sulphur Dioxide into the stratosphere in order to create a blanket around the Earth which would stop the Sun’s raise from reaching the Earth. But doesn’t sulphur dioxide cause acid rain?

Option Four: Add nitrogen or urea into the sea to radically increase the number of phytoplankton which convert CO2 into oxygen.

Option Five: Synthetic trees which remove C02 from the air. It would then be pumped into the earth below the ocean and would be unable to escape.

Or we could consume less… like the two families taking part in the Eco House Challenge on SBS.

More information:

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