Tony, religion and the dumb country

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By disbanding the Climate Commission and deciding not to have a science minister, Tony Abbott shows he is mired in regressive religious ideology, says Robyn Oyeniyi.

(Cartoon by John Graham / johngraham.alphalink.com.au)

Is that how others will view us in ten years? Our Abbott-led Liberal government sees no need for a Science Minister. The Climate Commission has been disbanded.

We already know Abbott is a devout Roman Catholic. So devout, in fact, he has stated:

I think it would be impossible to have a good general education without at least some serious familiarity with the Bible and with the teachings of Christianity.”

I am wondering, if science is so unimportant to Abbott, why does he still fly, use a car or a phone or electric lights? These are all things SCIENCE gave us, yet we don’t need a government focus on science?

Over the last twelve months, I have often stated the Liberal Party is becoming a clone of the U.S. GOP, so regressive are they.

In 2010, I was shocked to hear American Congressman John Shimkus state we didn’t need to worry about the environment because, citing Chapter 8, Verse 22 of the Book of Genesis, God had promised Noah everything will be fine:

‘As long as the earth endures, seed time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, will never cease.’

I hold the same view now as I did in 2010.

John Shimkus is quite simply choosing to ignore a mountain of scientific evidence because what has to be done doesn’t suit his own political and personal agenda. He is using God as an excuse to keep living his lifestyle at the expense of millions of people. He is not a Christian, he is an almighty hypocrite.

His use of quotes from the Bible is just one more example of how members of the human species can twist anything to suit a specific, essentially selfish, purpose.

John Shimkus is not a Roman Catholic, he is a Lutheran. Yet I see a similar pattern of belief in Abbott. Abbott’s words and actions all point to having a similar literal belief in the words of the Bible. I thought Shimkus was an idiot: now it seems an ideological clone of Shimkus may be running Australia.

I am an atheist, but let us just assume for the moment that God exists. Back in the days of the Book of Genesis, there was no knowledge of electricity, cars, planes, pollution, atomic bombs, nuclear or chemical weapons. No knowledge of all the things with which we are destroying our planet.

The verse says:

“...as long as the earth endures”.

Yes, I agree – as long as the earth endures the sun will shine (it is, after all the body this planet circles around) and we will continue to have cold and heat. Let us remember, this year the Bureau of Meteorology added purple to allow temperatures over 50 C do be displayed. Much has been written about whether we are getting warmer or not, I believe we are.

It is up to us ‒ the species that invented all these marvellous things and continued to breed unabated ‒ to ensure the world endures. I heard the Moderator of the Uniting Church on the ABC the other day: there is a Christian denomination that takes a completely different perspective of our relationship with the planet on which we live.  A perspective of guardianship.

Interpretation and translation are everything.

Another version of the Bible gives Verse 22 as:

'While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.'

Remaineth? Endures? Similar, but different.

Nowhere, in either translation, do I see it saying the earth will remain forever. In fact, both specifically say “As long as“, which to me clearly indicates something other than forever! Many, too many, of the human race are like teenagers expecting their mythical creature to act like a parent and pay their speeding fines.

That's just not going to happen, folks.

We ‒ all of us ‒ as citizens of the world, have to stand up and accept adult responsibility for our actions. We have to be prepared to say we are willing to curb our rampant consumerism and breeding to save the natural resources on which we depend. For our children and our children’s children.

It isn’t just Abbott. I recall Cory Bernardi on Q and A speaking about renewable energy. Oh, heavens, we couldn’t possibly stop pulling resources out of the ground because it might upset our current economy. Frankly, Cory, preserving the current economy will be a waste of time if the earth implodes because we dragged all the stuffing (oil, iron, etc) out of it. His short-sightedness and lack of innovative thought stunned me. He doesn’t look that old, really, so I wonder how and why he so lacks imagination.

Maybe the oil industry has to go. Maybe we have to find clean fuels. Maybe we have to give up watching TV 24/7 to reduce electricity consumption and therefore generation. Maybe we have to wear a jumper and a coat in winter instead of depending quite so much on central heating. Maybe we just have to harden up a bit and stop being such wimps.

If God exists and has any sense, he will have given up on this planet long ago as an experiment gone wrong and started on a clean slate somewhere else in the universe. Bear in mind, if he gave us the intelligence to achieve the progress (and describing some of what we have done as “progress” is debateable) we have, he would also expect us to manage that progress wisely. I doubt he expected to have to bail his children out of their own mess.

While it is understandable people with little education or who have limited access to scientific information may quote verses of the Bible as fact, I do NOT expect a man in the position of Shimkus to be so stupid, uninformed and downright hypocritical.

The same sentiment applies to Australia’s new Prime Minister. We need science to be at the forefront of our development. We need to be very careful about climate change. Climate change and science go hand-in-hand.

What needs to be done to save our planet is going to hit a lot of hip pockets. Many people do not like that possibility. For them, better to choose to believe in mythical creatures and a 2,000 year old book than face reality and take a hit to their hip pockets for the sake of future generations.

This is an updated version of the original which focussed entirely on USA politics, published by Robyn Oyeniyi on Love Versus Goliath titled “Promise to Noah to save the planet? I don’t think so…” . You can follow Robyn on Twitter @TeamOyeniyi.

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