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Followers or thinkers?

By Ian Nance - posted Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Religion hit the road running when ex-Cabinet minister, Philip Ruddock, was appointed last November to head up a panel trying discover whether Australian law protects the human right to religious freedom adequately. He is due to report back at the end of March.

It is interesting that in a nation professing an egalitarian culture the idea of freedom is given a secular link with religion. That move seems to reflect the aging Judeo-Christian background of our forebears.

The legalising of same-sex marriage has seen a variety of proposals for reform to protect freedom of religion. Many of these proposals go beyond the immediate issue of marriage.


But isn’t Australia battling to choose between freedom of religion, and freedom from religion? Holy Guacamole!  Just what in heaven’s name do you believe in?

If you believe in the absolute right to think whatever you wish, then what gives you a right to impose any ancient belief system driven by an intangible dogma upon others?

Undeniable truth should be what inspires your beliefs, thought processes, and behaviour. Or are you a little like a herded sheep, just going along with the mob without valid research behind your opinions?

Disturbingly, our culture and that of most countries, includes a high measure of belief in some form of deity. That is ingrained into societies by being adopted habitually.  Belief in supernatural beings could well be due to ideology’s being a component of our consciousness.

From early childhood we are likely to regard as true the existence of spirits, demons, and gods as an intrinsic part of our entity, for example the Boogie Man.

Conviction is often reinforced if we are indoctrinated into a religion where what passes for truth is often believed and accepted because it stems from some authority figure.


Growing up with a notion of such imagined beings tends to make adult humans reliant on a creed which suggests that events are caused by intelligent matter, not as a result of one’s own conduct.

There is also the hypothesis that our spiritual history may have sprung from the need to cope with the threats to the survival of our ancestors in the wild. A person who perceived intelligent and potentially dangerous beings everywhere was more likely to survive than a person who failed to perceive actual threats, such as wild animals, or human enemies.

Humans are also inclined to think that there is a reason or explanation for the existence of something as an end purpose or goal. This activity is known as teleology, or finality.

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About the Author

Ian Nance's media career began in radio drama production and news. He took up TV direction of news/current affairs, thence freelance television and film producing, directing and writing. He operated a program and commercial production company, later moving into advertising and marketing.

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