Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

leave your atheism in the cloakroom

By Diogenes (articles ) | Aug 03, 2010

  •  Fact: Australia’s new Prime Minister Julia Gillard is an avowed atheist. 
  • Fact: Archbishop Barry Hickey of Perth has observed that Christian voters might be uncomfortable with atheist leadership.
  • Fact: Liberal columnists have charged Archbishop Hickey with intolerance, apparently because he committed the unpardonable offense of taking Gillard’s public statements seriously.

Now comes Michael Mullins, editor of Eureka Street, who teaches media ethics and therefore knows how to take a balanced view. He is not uncritical of the archbishop, but he finds fault with Gillard as well.

Indeed it could have been a mistake for Gillard to 'declare' her atheism, almost as if she was giving witness to a firmly held religious belief. Atheism signifies a lack of belief. There is not a lot that can be said about it without running the risk of it becoming a belief and its believers adopting the religious posturing many atheists abhor.

Not exactly. It is agnosticism rather than atheism that signifies a lack of belief. An agnostic admits that he doesn’t know whether or not there is a God. An atheist is someone who positively believes in a negative proposition. Since it is logically impossible to prove that negative, atheism is perforce a system of belief.

Mullins concludes his analysis by suggesting that Gillard might have been wiser to adopt a different approach “by declaring candidates' religious views a private matter that should not distract from voters' judgment of their competence and policies.” Which is, mutatis mutandis, what JFK told the Protestant ministers in Houston. 

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Progress toward our September expenses ($33,416 to go):
$35,000.00 $1,584.25
95% 5%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 1 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: rpp - Aug. 03, 2010 6:38 PM ET USA

    As a former atheist, I concur with Diogenes that atheism is indeed a system of belief. Furthermore, many atheist do engage in the the very "religious posturing" they abhor. Take, for example, the atheists demanding that anything that contradicts their religious belief be hidden from society, like "In God we Trust" on American currency.

Subscribe for free
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Liberal visions of Catholicism: Kickstarter and the world's largest NGO 21 hours ago
The Blessed Book of Beasts August 30
Weekend reading August 29
Frustrating the Moral Law August 29
Weep for slaughtered Christians, not for dialogue with Islam August 29

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
‘A real via crucis’: Pope Francis, patriarch plead on behalf of Iraq’s Christians CWN - August 8
Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Christians in flight as Islamic State advances CWN - August 8