Atheist bus in Melbourne

The Parliament of World Religions met 3 months ago in Melbourne and now the atheists have got together for a Global Atheism Conference also in Melbourne. It does seem that they are rather reactionary: they are in Melbourne against God and against religious people!

There seems to be an atheist love for bus signs: I have seen the bus in Hobart – Atheism bus sighted in Hobart – and now by chance (could it be otherwise?!) I am in Melbourne when the atheists decide to have a jamboree; and the bus sign is in Melbourne  –  Bus advertising just the ticket for atheists.

Atheism – a fizzer or fantastic? by the atheist Dick Gross in his Godless Gross blog has an interesting Ten Atheistic Commandments. He also remarks on the unscholarly way in which atheists treat religion. While frequently Christians frustrated by the superficiality of atheists’ comments on religion make this observation, until now I have not heard it from an atheist. So, congratulations to Dick. It is gratifying to read an atheist say,

Our advocates are often unpopular outside the tent.  And it is true, we deploy the “Straw Man Syndrome”.  We simplify and homogenise faith into the worst examples and that is unfair.  We never acknowledge the leadership of faith in culture, in philanthropy and art.  We too often characterise all belief as suicide bombers, homophobes and female circumcisers. We are an alienating bunch who are a bit up ourselves

Interesting article on state and federal politicians who are atheists includes,  

As for (Greens) federal leader Bob Brown, he is a ”lapsed Presbyterian”. But adding weight to the suggestion that the Greens have turned the crusade for the environment into a faith, Mr Brown’ s office said his religion was ”believing the fate of the Earth is in our hands”. Amen.

The Melbourne Anglican has put together an excellent special edition in The Case for God. A very fine resource.



Atheist bus in Melbourne — 4 Comments

  1. Atheists are not “against God”, or even against religious people. Are you against Odin – or does he simply not even figure in your thinking, because he doesn’t exist? Are you against the Hindus if you hold a Christian conference?

    Atheists are against the disproportionate influence that the religious institutions have on political secular decisions. There should not be chaplains in schools (even if an extra pair of hands is good, it should not be mandated to be religious hands), there should be no tax exemptions for cults, including Scientology. That’s the sort of thing the Convention promoted.

    Many speakers said that religious people can be our allies in striving for a fairer world. Atheists are not necessarily the enemy of the religious, if you just allow us the space to exist without demonising us.

  2. Dear Echidna,

    I certainly agree with you that the serious isssues you mention are up for discussion.

    I appreciate your concern and like you look for respectful conversation which you have clearly demonstrated.

    However, this is not how many saw the atheist convention. See for example yesterday’s Age and Australian,also today’s Age at

    You prompted me to a new post at

    I would also make the comment that we live in a secular state and a spiritual society. A secular state is one in which no group has by right preferment or privilege over another. It is also one in which all people have a voice regardless of their being inspired by religious or non religious beliefs.

  3. Thanks for the thoughtful discussion. One of the points made repeatedly at the conference, but not in the media, was that it is a mistake to think, or put down, the intellectual capacity of religious people (stupid remarks notwithstanding). The real problem is when lies affecting real life (i.e. YEC, inferiority of social groups) are promoted in the name of religion. Religion does not have any mechanism for checking whether a claim is true – and that is where it gets into trouble, because it is easy for very devout, intelligent people to go off the rails. Just read Martin Luther “On the Jews and their Lies”. I believe that Luther was a very intelligent, pious man, who did not intend to do anything like the damage that he did.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *