As many of you know, both me and Oskar are attending The University of Melbourne. I’m doing a Bachelor of Environments (a generalist degree readying us for architecture or urban planning, in my case) whilst Oskar is studying a generalist science degree with mathematics and physics as core disciplines (the only two things in life he truly loves).
As most of you know, this time of the year is special for at least to main religions. For Christians, it’s Easter. For Jews, it’s Passover. On campus, all the Christian groups are banding together in one formidable mass (no pun intended) to promote belief in Jesus (remember him?) and faith. To counter this, the UMSS (University of Melbourne Secular Society of which both me and Oskar are a proud part of ) launched a ‘chalk-campaign’ of writing quotes about religion and reason on the ground. The way we battle things out at university between different groups is by drawing, in chalk, on the tarmac and hope for the best. And the best did arrive. On one such quote, about how religion teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world, someone wrote “Religion makes you good; and go to church“. Does anyone find this slightly ironic? Here’s a secular quote alluding to the supremacy of reason and someone comes along and reinforces this, unintentionally.
The Christian groups have also tried to convert me on many occasions. On Wednesday, I was relaxing with some friends on the lawn when two boys came up and asked if they wanted free chocolate biscuits. Naturally I asked “are there any strings attached” to which they gave a negative. But as soon as I had polished off my biscuit, they launched into a tirade of biblical nonsense – thus making the ‘string’ a biblical one (presumably attached to heaven). I told them firmly that I was an atheist, that one of my friends was Jewish and that the other two were Christian, so they took head and engaged with my other two friends who happened to be Christian (Pentecostal). I thought that was reasonable of them.
I declined to debate them there and then lest I bring out my sarcastic fury and insult them; but it did get me thinking about something: Why do Christians go out soliciting their wares more than other religions? It’s certainly the case that here in Melbourne, it’s Christians that go around spreading the ‘word’ of ‘Christ’ – rather than Muslims spruiking Mohammad and his ideas or Sikhs going around spreading the word about their Five K’s. Maybe it’s because Christianity, at least in Australia, is losing its appeal with younger generations and is thus becoming more desperate. That was the atmosphere that I gleaned off the readily-assembling Christian students at any rate.
On a final note, I got accosted by a Fundamentalist Catholic on the tram recently; just thought you ought to know.