Thank God it’s Friday

I’ve been thinking a lot about how religion shapes the way we think, and mainly about the way we speak recently.

The first phrase that I’ve been thinking of is the title of this post. The classic “Thank God it’s Friday”.

The first thing that springs to mind is why we are looking to thank any Deity at all. Okay, if I assume for a minute, beyond any evidence to the contrary, that there is an interventionist God, why would I thank them for Friday?

Doesn’t time continue moving constantly? Isn’t one day followed by another? If it is, then no intervention is needed to get to Friday. You can spend the other six days of the week praying that Friday will appear, and there’s an extremely high likelihood that it will – much the same as if you spend the previous six days not praying.

And why Friday especially? I know, I know, end of the work week, yadda yadda. But Friday is still a work day. Why not Saturday? After all, if Friday is exciting because it means the last day of work for the calendar week, wouldn’t Saturday being a day of rest be more exciting?

Of course, I wonder if we don’t get excited about Saturday because once it arrives we’re disappointed. “Hooray, It’s Saturday. Now I have a day when I have to do all the cleaning that I didn’t get a chance to earlier in the week. Plus I have to mow the lawns, fix the car. Oh, and the in-laws are coming to visit… How long until Monday now?”

But, assuming that Friday is the most exciting day of the week, and assuming that we have only gotten there due to the intervention if a deity – yes, I’m asking for suspension of disbelief – then which God are we thanking?

Now many in the western world will automatically assume a Christian God. To me, this is a false assumption. Basing it on the while of the phrase, the Christian God is only assumed due to the lack of name. (After all, we don’t say “Thank Allah…”, “Thank Jehovah…” or “Thank Bhudda”.)

Now we do suggest that we are looking at a single deity, by the use of the singular. But that doesn’t automatically assume that we are looking at a mono-theistic concept. We are looking at a deity that intervenes in a direct way with mankind – otherwise why would we need to give thanks?

So the only identifier we can go by to really narrow this down us the specific in the statement – that it is Friday.

So, of all the Gods in belief systems universal, which God has the most to do with it being a Friday?

Well, in English we call it Friday from the old English frīgedæg, after the Goddess of love – Frigg (Aka Frige, Freyja, Freya, Freja, Freyia, Frøya, and Freia). In Latin we have dies veneris from Venus – likewise Goddess of Love.

And thinking further on this, Friday is often considered “date night”. We’re often encouraged to wear casual dress in the corporate world, which allows us to show ourselves in the most flattering way to our work colleagues.

This means that Friday is more related to Goddesses of Love, then it is to any other God.

Now Christian commandments suggest we shouldn’t be using the name of God in vain. Secularism suggests that we should avoid using God in places where it’s not appropriate. So I’m thinking, for the point of accuracy and causing the least offence, that the saying should be changed.

So, from here on, I’m now looking at saying “Thank Frigg it’s Friday” as the more polite version of the phrase. And I’m encouraging others to do the same.

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Tip-off to Media Watch

This is a copy/paste to a tip-off that I sent to Media Watch. (NB edited to improve formatting only.)

Just a quick note here, that I would love to see more investigation into, of the news.com.au comment moderation policy.

Although I haven’t been able to find a written copy of the policy, there was this article here that expressed that they were moderating comments to remove ” However as a publisher we have a duty not to print comments that may be defamatory or would incite religious or racial hatred.”

Also “No decision not to publish or to edit a blog posting on the grounds of suitability is undertaken without proper consideration and sometimes apprehension of straying into perceived bias and censorship.”

Having said that, it seems the policy itself is actually the opposite – to actually use posts that only seem to scew an argument in one direction or another, and to potentially incite racial friction.

A significant number of the comments refer to “Muslims” and “building mosques in every street” and “their own law”, yet the article itself doesn’t mention the Islamic faith. However others who have supported this campaign – which is a reiteration of what is actually put forward by the ABS here

This, admittedly, may be an isolated incident. But given this particular incident, and many other comments that are published in other forms, I’m wanting to know why it is that many comments are excluded, including one that was reposted (although slightly extended) here, and other comments that are openly hostile to a religion/racial background are included.

In short, it appears that the moderation policy has stumbled over the lines of censorship and headlong into propaganda.

For some reason I just can’t seem to get this to work

A friend of mine suggested Put it aside for a while, do a bit of work on your perpetual motion device, then come back to it with a refreshed mind.

Mark “No religion” campaign

There is a campaign at the moment relating to the upcoming census to tick “No Religion” on the census form if you don’t believe in a particular religion, or have only a passing familiarity with a religion.

Read the article in the Courier-Mail here.

It’s funny how people have reacted to this story, and this campaign as a whole, as a push to be anti-Christian, anti-Jedi, or, somehow, pro-Muslim.

I can’t agree.

I am definitely pro-Australian, and support the right of everyone to follow their own faith, and to live according to their own beliefs.

This means that I don’t want to see sites of religious significance desecrated – vandalising a church, synagogue, mosque, sacred site, graveyard, and so forth to me is equally terrible. All of these are protected by Australian Law.

I am against assault on Indian students, gays, women, people wearing hajibs or storm trooper masks equally. We recently had a government sponsored campaign that told us “Australia says no” to violence against women.

I feel that people ought to have the right to marry no matter their race, colour, creed, or sexual preference. There is a significant percentage of Australians who share this belief with me.

But I get criticised for being Un-Australian when I defend those who are gay, Muslim, Indian, or whereever they come from. I get told we are living in a “Judeo-Christian” society, even though our laws recognise common-law marriage, and there is no legal impediment to adultery, but there is to stoning.

I am told that we can have an unmarried female PM, but we can’t have two men marrying because it goes against our traditional beliefs as a culture, and we have no legal provisions to ensure that women are treated equally in the workforce.

So, because I am an Australian, with no particular religious conviction, I’m marking no religion.

If for no other reason because I agree with the pilgrims who fled to the US to be free of religious persecution

I agree with Father Bob Maguire, who has advocated not putting down a religion simply because your parents raised you in that way

But mainly I agree with Rev Martin Luther King.

I dream of a day when Jew or Gentile, Protestant or Catholic, heterosexual or homosexual, Muslim or Christian, we can all lay down our arms and sing together “Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, we are free at last,”

We all have a right to be free.

There is no blog post here

Given that I’ve already shown how horridly sporadic my writing of posts here is, and I have recently ceased being an active editor at Uncyclopedia, I thought I’d add a post about posting on a blog.

The problem is, I actually have nothing to say today.

Had a job interview the other day that I was knocked back on due to the fact that I was “over-qualified”. Which is amazing as I have the right level of qualification to be a janitor.

I am going for another interview at the same place, which is for a similar role. I have been advised to undersell myself to avoid the same outcome.

I’ve finally managed to get Centrelink to accept my claim for assistance. So they now recognise that I’m not working. This was difficult. Me telling them and my employer telling them wasn’t enough – they also wanted me to prove that what they already had had proven was true.

But I’m digressing. Which isn’t surprising. I’ve always been of the opinion if you have nothing to say, spend so long saying it that nobody realises that you have nothing to say.

Of course, now that I’ve explained that trick it probably won’t work in you, as you are obviously an intelligent reader. Otherwise why would you be here?

So, uh, yeah.

One kvetch for the day though. It amazes me how people who have recently complained about the use of the word “bogan” have gone in to defend the racial slanting of an 11 year old as a “ni**er”, and the use of a racial slut directed at indigenous Australians shown on prime time tv yesterday.

Yep. Done.

If you fare evade, then you might be saving money

Bus drivers cannot refuse a person getting on the bus without a ticket. Bus drivers also do not view mykis when travellers get on buses.

The notification of a valid myki is a high pitched beep, an invalid myki is three low pitched beeps. A library card going past the reader will not register, and no sound is heard.

There are twelve bus ticket inspectors who work across Victoria. They go out in groups of three. Each group has two myki readers, but they are often faulty.

There are over 300 metropolitan buses across Melbourne, and over 100 rural Victorian buses. That means given four groups of ticket inspectors, assuming they work 8 hours a day and buses run for 16 hours a day, that there is a 1:200 chance of them being on a particular bus line, let alone on a particular bus.

The authorised met officers, if they do catch you, may issue a report of non-compliance. This report is then reviewed and a fine may be issued. The fine for not having a valid ticket is $180 for an adult, and $61 for a child (under 18).

The cost of a daily travel between Zone 1 & 2 is between $10-$12. Monthly, 10x2hr tickets, etc, can reduce the cost. A full fare myki travel for a month (30 days) is $170.

Assuming you catch the bus every weekday, and you get fined for travelling without a pass one 1:100 trips and you get fined $180 for the offense, then over the course of the year you will pay $360 for fines – assuming that the fine is not contested and you are charged.

If you do the same with a valid myki then you will be charged, over the equivalent period, $2,000. the saving in non-payment of travel costs but paying a fine is around $1,640 a year.

This is an issue for the government and the privatised organisations running these services. According to Metlink’s figures “Fare evasion costs Victorian taxpayers and fare-paying passengers an estimated $80 million a year.”

The cost of Metro advertising, as reported in the Age June 2011 is as follows. “In fact, details from the Victorian government’s agreement with Metro, previously held from the public but revealed by The Age in April, confirm that at least some of the marketing extravagance is contractual. One part of the agreement describes a budget of $10 million over eight years for ‘public relations’. That is in addition to $3.4 million for an ad campaign to launch the Metro brand name.”

The Victorian taxpayer subsidises public transport around $300 million per year.

But to the Victorian government – I have some swamp land in Florida that you may be interested in buying out of state government funds…

Sharia law is fascinating

Off the back of an ongoing discussion I’ve been having recently, I decided to investigate Sharia law and how it would impact on Australian law to have some aspects of it introduced. What I found was fascinating.

Sharia law has some very nasty connotations from a non-Islamic standpoint. While I’m never going to claim to be an expert, there are a fe things involved in Sharia law I personally find distasteful. First and foremost is the position on marriage.

Under classical Islamic law a husband did not need to petition a court to divorce his wife. He simply pronounced to his wife that she was divorced. A wife, however, had to petition a court for a divorce

This is a definite injustice – that the position of a woman and the position of the man be inequitable in the case of marriage. An example of how Sharia law is mutable, though, is that most Muslim nations require both parties to submit the petition, which is extremely similar to Australian law relating to divorce.

Many Muslim countries permit polygamy, albeit with restrictions.

Now this I have less issue with – the act of marriage between consenting adults should be the province of the adults in question. I do have a liberal view on this, however.

Interestingly, though, Sharia law also has very strong views on men being “just” to wives. Tunisia has banned men being married to multiple women, as the Koran states that men cannot be just to multiple wives.

So in these cases, although the far-right religious factions within Islam will support these, in practice many of these laws are defunct.

But, putting aside specifics at the moment, as I’m sure there are many examples that could be covered here, I’m going to have a quick look at the fundamentals of religious doctrine as it relates to law.

Australia’s legal system is based strongly on a Judeo-Christian legal system. Many who follow Christian teachings take this as meaning that we consider religious beliefs as paramount for deciding on what law is just and what isn’t.

They’re extremely wrong.

Let’s have a quick at Christian law.

Deuteronomy 24:1-3

  1. If a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house,
  2. and if after she leaves his house she becomes the wife of another man,
  3. and her second husband dislikes her and writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house…

So, interestingly, Judeo-Christian teaching supports Sharia law.

(Of course the Bible has much more to say relating to divorce. Having a look at the words of Jesus in the book of Matthew I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery. This does not change the fact that the one who is doing the divorcing is the man.)

But what about polygamy?

Exodus 21:10

  1. If that son marries another woman, he must not deprive the first wife of food, clothes, or sex.

So, as long as a man is still treating his current wives justly, he is free have subsequent wives. Given King David had 6 wives, Solomon had 700 wives, Rehoboam had 18 wives, and so on, polygamy was obviously okay according to Judaic law.

But, some Christians will argue, that when Jesus came he did away with the old law.

Matthew 5:18

  1. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke or a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.

So Jesus, also called Christ, who Christians derive their name from and whose teachings they say they follow, supported Judaic law. Which includes polygamy. Which, in turn, is the same as Sharia law.

So, in short, Sharia law is a form of religious doctrines that people use as a basis for creating legislation, in exactly the same way that Judeo-Christian teachings are used as a basis for our law, but not the whole of our law!

I did try to find what Sharia law and Judaic law said relating to copyright issues, but funnily I couldn’t find anything from either. That suggests to me that copyright laws, something that all of us are aware of.

I’m going to come back to this later, as I haven’t finished this thought. For those who use Sharia law as an example of why we should restrict Muslim immigration, however, it might be interesting to note that exactly the same logic would relate to Christians.

Feel free to flame below.