A recent article in the Wall Street Journal Blog titled Australian's Lose Their Faith reported that 4.8 million Aussies marked "No Religion" on last year's census.
Following this article I spent an afternoon analysing the Australian Bureau of Statistics' 2011 Census.
The most interesting points:
"No Religion" 22.34% (made up of Atheists 0.27% ; Agnostics 0.16%; No Religion nfd 21.86%; Humanism 0.04% and Rationalism 0.02%).
"Not Stated" 8.57% (which may be because of the design of the Read more [...]
What is the connection between religion and population growth? The answer might surprise you: absolutely nothing. Well, according to Hans Rosling.
In his April 2012 TED-Talk, Rosling graphs the relationship between religion, income and children between zero and fifteen years olds. He shows that there is no connection between religion and babies, and that there is a much closer connection between:
1 - mortality rates and babies born ie the more likely a baby is to die, the more babies a mother Read more [...]
‘I don’t believe life has a purpose. Life is a lot of protoplasm with an urge to reproduce and continue in being... but each incarnation, you might say, has a potentiality, and the mission of life is to live that potentiality.'
Joseph Campbell is an incredible storyteller, spiritual guru, philosopher, academic (comparative religion & comparative mythology), writer, etc etc. Another old dead guy with a wicked sense of humour that I'm sure I would have fallen for in his day.
So "How do Read more [...]
I drew this up flowchart / map of religious beliefs about three years ago. I agree with this quote in part. Thinking can be terrifying. At the time I drew up this map I was at the beginning of an emotional process of learning to think - discovering where the worldview of my upbringing fit with the worldview of other people's upbringing.
Can you see where your beliefs fit?
There seems to be an endless list of ism's. Have I missed yours? If I've missed any to do with key categories of beliefs Read more [...]
Following a question from someone who came across this blog, I was inspired to revisit Resolution Theory - Gregory David Roberts' philosophical and cosmological model shared through Khader Bhai, the Mafia don, in Shantaram: The Novel.
“The whole universe is moving toward some ultimate complexity. This has been going on since the universe began, and physicists call it the tendency toward complexity. And… anything that kicks this along and helps it is good, and anything Read more [...]
"It's easier said than done." I think we all have discovered this at some point or another. A couple of weeks ago I was struggling with a few big decisions and I punched the following rant into my phone on my way to work. In short, I consider the relationship between money, stories, optimal-trajectories, and the dynamics involved in putting these into practice. It's not always easy to practice what you preach...
When you are happy, it's easy to say that if you're not happy you should change something. Read more [...]
''Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist... The question is: is the way the universe began chosen by God for reasons we can't understand, or was it determined by a law of science?'' that you could meet, and ask questions.''  he [Hawkings] said. ''I believe the second. If you like, you can call the laws of science 'God', Read more [...]
"Camus said there is only really one serious philosophical question which is whether or not to commit suicide," said Alan Watts, quoting Albert Camus (going on to say he believes there are five serious philosophical questions... see audio book on you tube below)
It is a good question. If we are all going to die at one point or another, then why bother going on? Why not just do it now, get it over with?
What motivates you to get up in the morning, to do something rather than stay in bed Read more [...]
While in the past I've aspired to balance, I've come to embrace the imbalance, accepting that balance is found in the wholeness of all that exists, and over time - it doesn't have to exist in every moment I experience. The yin and yang - the mixture of cold and hot, of love and fear, of birth and death - provide a fertile ground for new ideas to be seeded and creative potentials to be discovered.
I see this dynamic in everything that surrounds me, in the death of stars above, and in the death Read more [...]
What makes more sense?
1. That God selected ONE species to be his “chosen” species, abandoning all His other creations to nothingness.
2. That God values ALL of his creations. The idea that humans are the only creations with souls, is a narrative created by humans not God.
What makes more sense?
1. That God selected ONE group of people to be His “chosen people, to help them conquer other groups of people (as long as they obeyed Him) and to punish all other people in the world who strive Read more [...]
"India's chaos was bigger than your ego," said Farhad Azad. "You have to remember we are but drops in the ocean." He was right, India's incomprehensibility had put me back in my place. Somewhere along the line I came across this song, it's pretty funny. By Kimya Dawson:
I like it. "I am a speck of dust inside a giant's eye"
As you can see, over a few rounds of longneck Himalaya (Nepali beer) on two brief occasions, I learned a lot from Farhad. It's amazing how when you are open to Read more [...]
I am starting to understand what Buddha meant when he said all life is suffering. No matter which financial situation you are born into, we always want more. It is very rare we reach a stage where we happily say “enough”. The more chocolate I have, the more chocolate I want. The more countries I go to, the more countries I want to go to. The more money I have the bigger apartment I can get, the better the car, the more vintage the scooter, the more designer the clothes, the better quality Read more [...]
Whoever we are, and whatever what we have accomplished in our life, we all eventually face the same fears: fears of being old, ill, of being a burden to our families, fears of going insanity, of losing liberty, losing dignity, of being neglected in our old age, and last but not least, the fear of facing the biggest unknown in our lives, death. (Unless, of course, if scientists find a way to preserve our mind in artificial/cloned bodies... but let's ignore this scenario for now.)
With age we Read more [...]
"Meaningless! Meaningless!" says the Teacher. "Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless."
What does man gain from all his labor at which he toils under the sun? Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever. The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises. The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning on its course. All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. To the place the streams come Read more [...]
Walking up in the mountains outside Kathmandu I contemplated the connection between the world’s inequalities today, the actions of one’s ancestors, and the idea of karma and reincarnation that I had been reading about in some books on the Eastern Religions.
Be they the ancestors who split from the group to discover new worlds fifty thousand years ago, or be they the innovators of new technologies that won them last century’s battles, the connection is pretty clear... and I wondered, is this Read more [...]
Bored? Never! Check out this website: http://freedocumentaries.org/index.php
In particular I recommend:
Manufacturing Consent - Noam Chomsky ... if you haven't seen this one you better watch it NOW!
The War on Democracy - The US manipulates politics of South America
The Power of Nightmares - The rise of the Religious Right in America, and Islamic Fundamentalists.
Jesus Camp - SCARY!
The Story of God - explores the history of humanity's search for our creator.
Zeitgeist - as I Read more [...]
In the hidden-away tranquility beneath the branches of large shadowy trees, in the Secret Garden hostel in a mysterious little town called Vilcabamba, in Ecuador December 2008, I met a man with white hair and a white beard. It was from this man that I first learned of the Zeitgeist...
The word “Zeitgeist” comes from the German word Zeit, which means time, and Geist, which means spirit.
So basically Zeitgeist means the “spirit of the times” and according to wikipedia this Read more [...]
Easter is celebrated at Spring equinox, a time that for thousands of years was a celebration of the goddess Ishtar resurrecting the god of food and vegetation (Babylonian god Tammuz / Sumerian god Dumuzid).
Ohhhh, it makes so much sense!
The burgeoning of spring: a time of fertility, when rabbits lay eggs, flowers come out, seeds sprout and our food grows. Easter is a wonderful celebration of the sun's warmth returning to us, a celebration of new life, and best of all - CHOCOLATE EGGS!!!
Springtime Read more [...]
Among my Internet surfing I came across a “creationist” website – the belief that the world is around 6000 years old – a figure derived from tracing back the genealogy in the bible from Jesus to Adam, and the seven-day creation. This belief is growing so much that more than 40% of Americans believe this and do not believe in evolution!
Obviously this creation story clashes with the Story of the Universe I am presenting in my Big History Blog Series. I think it is always important to read Read more [...]
Once upon a time, in the land of Quantum Nothingness, there was a BIG BANG and an infinitesimally small something started to expand, possibly faster than the speed of light.
For some unknown but much talked about reason, matter in the form of quarks (the basic building blocks of protons and electrons) and dark matter (we don't actually know what this is) appeared, and with it came two forces: gravity (that draws everything together) and electromagnetism (that draws opposites together and pushes Read more [...]
I wish to share with you a story: The Story of the Universe. My Story. Your Story. A True Story – well as true as true can be. Our Story has gone through many filters: of limited human knowledge developed through our limited human senses, mental constructions, and even our “impressive” technologies. Our Story, as I tell it, will be filtered through my personal perspectives, which have developed through my own past experiences, my limited education, and the general time pressures I face in writing Read more [...]
You MUST check out this awesome animated map of history. It shows when each religion starts and how each one spreads across the globe – all in less than two minutes.
It’s been a busy week so I will start the Big History series, beginning with the Big Bang, very soon.
Have a good weekend!
Juan, my new friend on Galapagos islands saw the look of horror on my face when I saw the iguana carcass.
"It's part of life," he shrugged.
As time on the islands passed I would see many more examples of the cycle of life and death, from the crab shell above to baby birds, to the bones of a sea-lion below. What struck me more than the death was the life that these animals live.
On these magical islands, animals live their lives to their full potential - they live their lives without Read more [...]
Come with me on a journey through time and space... the mighty booooooshhhh! (If you haven't seen The Mighty Boosh, do yourself a favour - watch it!)
Searching for a Postmodern Grand-narrative....
I deferred this semester's uni in hope of getting a scholarship to support a research project starting mid-year. Although officially I'm not a student I'm still going to uni twice a week (only an hour each day) to attend the lectures of an undergrad subject - An Introduction to World History. Read more [...]