Is Australia Becoming An Atheist Theocracy?

Why Religion is Being Forced to the Margins of Society.

I spent the first four years of my life in an Atheist Theocracy.

Of course, nobody called it that. But that’s what it was.

Like any theocracy, there was only one acceptable view of ‘ultimate reality’ –  of life, meaning, the universe.  In that case, it was Atheism. If you practiced any other religion in public, the police came knocking.

Not surprisingly, it wasn’t the best place to live, which is why my parents decided to take our family and leave. And so, we came to Australia – a  land of freedom – where anybody could practice their religion openly, without persecution.

At least, that’s how Australia used to be.

But to quote Bob Dylan, the times, they are a changin’ – religious freedom is now being eroded. And the underlying reasons for this erosion were explored in-depth at the ‘Freedom 16’ conference I went to recently, run by the Aussie Christian Legal Thinktank, ‘Freedom for Faith‘.

Australia Atheist Theocracy

Courtesy Canva.com

Here are a number of reasons why religious freedom is being eroded, and Australia is slowly becoming an ‘Atheist Theocracy’.

1) Christians Are Increasingly Seen As ‘Evil’

Whilst secular people see themselves as ‘good’.

Many non-Christians used to condemn Christians as gullible, stupid, deluded, or just plain wrong for believing in Christianity. But as the keynote speaker Dr. Mike Ovey reminded us, since the LGBTI revolution Christians are increasingly described in negative moral terms – with words like ‘bigot’ and ‘homophobe’ topping the list.

On the other hand, because secular people believe in the all important values of ‘tolerance’, ‘democracy’, ‘secularity’ and ‘equality’, they see themselves as inherently good.

2) Christians Are Increasingly Seen As ‘Hateful’

Whilst secular people see themselves as ‘loving’.

Every secular westerner with an ounce of love in their soul knows that #lovewins, and same-sex marriage is a human right that must be given to gay couples. And so, if you’re against this ‘equality’, like many Christians are, then you’re not just stupid, you’re full of hate – after all, is there any other reason to be against same-sex marriage?

3) The Secular World Has Become Like the Pharisees

They reject God’s Law, but are incredibly self-righteous.

Jesus condemned the religious Pharisees of His day for rejecting God’s Law, and holding on to their own (man-made) laws (see Mark 7:5-9). And yet, the Pharisees were incredibly self-righteous.

But many educated secular people are the ‘new Pharisees’: utterly rejecting anything that comes from God, making up their own laws – and feeling morally superior.

So if anyone happens to disagree with the ‘new Pharisees’ morality – if someone is pro-life, or pro-traditional marriage – then such a person is morally inferior – deserving a good dose of social media shaming.

4) Christians Are Increasingly Seen As ‘Dangerous’

Only ‘secular’ is ‘safe’.

There’s a growing view that Christians need to be monitored for dangerous beliefs and practices: believing that marriage is only the union of one man and one woman is top of the list of ‘repressive’ beliefs that must be silenced.  And let’s not even mention Christian sexual ethics.

And so school Scripture must be removed from public schools – it’s too dangerous – and lunchtime Christian groups must be monitored for dangerous extremism. 

5) To Keep Us Safe From These Religious Dangers, The Law Must Become More Coercive

Safety demands a more intrusive state.

Who’s going to keep us safe from all this danger? Big Brother, of course. And so laws multiply like rabbits, regulating basic things like speech – after all, we can’t have people being offended by what someone else says. Just see what happened to the Archbishop Julian Porteous of Tasmania, when someone complained over being offended by a benign Catholic booklet on marriage (given out to Catholic schools).

And these new laws are so broad, that government’s intrusive power over us increases.

6) Language is becoming Orwellian

If you redefine language, you redefine reality.

The Marxists running the Atheist theocracy I was born in knew well the power of language. Political dissenters were ‘enemies of the people’. Small business owners were ‘anti-revolutionaries’. Confiscating people’s farms and property was ‘collectivisation’. And of course, my favourite: we lived in a ‘People’s republic’ (in which people were oppressed).

But modern secular discourse is strikingly similar. We’re told to be inclusive, to celebrate diversity; to be all for equality; to have progressive political views, and to respect. These are vague terms at best, redefined to mean whatever the secular elite want them to mean. And they’re used like verbal batons to get people into line with the secular agenda (‘don’t you want marriage equality for others?’).

7) The Secular Moral Police Punish Dissent

If you put forward an unpopular (religious) viewpoint, prepare to be penalised.

Leading the charge is the so-called ‘Safe-schools’ program. Students are taught to accept radical queer theory, and if anyone dissents from this view, they’re to be punished by the school authorities – and by the school playground. Oh, and parents shouldn’t get a say about this being taught in their child’s school.

And as Archbishop Julian Porteous found out, if you merely offend the wrong person, by promoting the ‘wrong’ view of marriage, then the state anti-discrimination commissioner will come knocking.

But here’s the thing…

8) The So-Called ‘Secular’ Public Square Is An Illusion

It’s actually a ‘plural public square’ because everybody has ‘religious’ beliefs.

There is no ‘secular’ non-religious public square. Such a thing is impossible. Because everyone – from the most committed Atheist to the most apathetic ‘non-religious’ census-box ticking Aussie – has a ‘metaphysical worldview’. We each have ‘beliefs’ about life, meaning, the universe, which inform our views of morality, beauty and truth.

And so calling the public square ‘secular’ is a deliberate attempt to marginalise people with formal religious beliefs.

As Professor Iain Benson from Notre Dame university put it, we should have a ‘Plural Public Square’, where (ideally!) people of all types of beliefs – Atheist, non-religious, Christian, Muslim – are treated equally, and not penalised for practicing their faith in public.

Who Cares If We Become An Atheist Theocracy?

Living in a theocracy – let alone an Atheist theocracy – is awful. Millions have been there and done that. Allowing the state to dictate what you can and can’t believe, and how you should live, is a recipe for oppression.

It’s bad for Christians.

But it’s also bad for non-Christians. Because any state that doesn’t respect religious liberty is not going to respect other basic liberties. Liberties that allow for human flourishing; liberties that are the basis of a just society.

Yet that’s where Australia seems to be headed.

And so if we love our neighbour – be they Christian or non-Christian – then this is an issue we need to think carefully about. 

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19 thoughts on “Is Australia Becoming An Atheist Theocracy?

  1. Thanks for that one! reminds me that the earliest Christians in New Testament times and beyond were also on the very margins of their society and yet by love, Christ’s love, they had a tremendous impact. So now we who know the Lord are to love as they did and let others SEE the difference that true faith in the living God and knowing Christ makes. But is the word ‘theocracy’ with the adjective ‘atheist’ the best form of words to describe the state of affairs we face?

    • Hi David!

      Thanks for your comment. I’ll be the first to admit that ‘Theocracy’ is a strong word. And we’re certainly not there yet!

      However, if present trends continue, then Biblical Christianity will be forced from the public square *as if* we were living in a theocracy (of the Atheist kind). I sure hope I’m wrong!

      God bless,

      Akos

      • What about tyrrany, dictatorship, fascism, authoritarian??
        Sorry to labor the point, but I think that what you are saying is so important, you don’t want readers to get confused by the word “theocracy” which means a deity (THE deity) is the ruler.

        • Hi Kathryn,

          I hear what you’re saying. It could lead to confusion, but thus far most people have understood it the way it was intended. At the very least, my aim is to get people thinking – ‘Atheist theocracy’ at least requires people to read it before agreeing/disagreeing. 🙂

          Blessings,

          Akos

  2. Hi Akos,

    Thanks for your comments above. I appreciate your point of looking at society through a Christian point of view.

    I am a bit confused about the title. I understand the word “Theocracy” to mean God’s rule over society. (Theos = God, cracy = of the people). Can you explain this term better to me, and your intended meaning as it relates to this article.

    Thanks again,

    • Warren, I think Akos is saying atheists have their own god – perhaps themselves. So theocracy in their sense would mean their self-rule (as gods) over society. Secular humanism (the religion of most atheists) has just as much religion as Christianity, then.

    • Hi Warren,

      I’m just using it as a provocative turn to make a point, namely that just as in a theocracy there is only one religion allowed in public (e.g. Islam in an Islamic theocracy), so too Australia is starting to operate as if only Atheism is allowed to operate in public. It’s merely a turn of phrase that I heard at the conference (maybe just a throwaway line), that aims to make that point.

      God bless,

      Akos

  3. Over at http://www.townhall.com, Mike Adams wrote a piece about a week or so ago, called Fascists & Theocrats. He argues that the LGBTI activists operate moreso as theocrats rather than fascists. Fascists would take over businesses rather than demand affirmation.

    He writes, “…It has become increasingly clear the LGBT movement is theocratic in the sense that it seeks to use the government to purge from the public square all religious ideas that run contrary to their own. Of course, the end result of banning all religious opposition to homosexuality is to make secular humanism the default religion of the entire nation.”

    “…The conflict will test the question of whether religious freedom is trumped by sexual liberty, which has now taken on a religious dimension.”

    As Adams notes, “A theocrat is a person who advocates a government ruled by or subject to religious authority.”

    And the new religion is LGBTI with its demands for affirmation and adherence. That’s a primitive theocracy.

    Let me know if there’s any trouble finding the article.

  4. Thanks Akos – great post. I think another ‘dangerous’ Christian belief is the doctrine of sin. RI teachers are in trouble for being so horrible as to suggest that we all just might be sinners! What might that do to our children? And so we grow up as ‘sinless’ humans (or should that be ‘gods’) without need of a saviour. Sadly, that’s where an even bigger danger lies.

    • Thanks for the comment, Scotty!

      Indeed: if self-esteem is key, we can’t have any sort of teaching that might potentially endanger that.

      Of course, there is no greater source of self-esteem than knowing that the God of the Universe is on our side, and has rescued us from condemnation.

      God bless,

      Akos

    • Christian Religious Education teachers need not “be in trouble for” teaching about sin if we follow the sound educational practice of saying something like “Christians believe that we all fall short ..” or “the Bible shows how people have not lived God’s way” of “This si why Easter is so important to Christians.” We can avoid problems when we ground what we say in what the Bible teaches. Such appropriate language allows pupils the freedom to consider belief statements and accept them if they wish.

  5. Thanks, Akos, for another helpful article which picks up on the comments I have heard from my atheist friends over the years.

    You challenge Christians to think about this issue. I feel we need to go further and develop some practical ways of responding, so here are a couple of my suggestions.

    So many non-Christians I meet prioritise goodwill and harmony between people of other cultural background yet it is a Christian should be able to outdo atheists in demonstrating such goodwill. For example, our town has a Refugee Support Group which was founded by a Christian clergyman and Christians are prominent among those who are active in welcoming asylum seekers.

    In our schools, in teaching Special Religious Education we have opportunities to demonstrate that the Christian Church is the most multicultural organisation on the planet. Do I have in my class a pupil of families who are Phillipino or Italian etc? For a Memory verse, the relevant translations are only a few mouse clicks away so it is simple to print out the translation, the pupil takes it home to practice with Mum and Dad and in the next lesson his class mates to hear them speak their family language. Classroom teachers, even if atheists, appreciate what one teacher called “the multicultural perspective.”

    In thesegrassroots ways I try to counter point (1) about Christians being regarded as morally evil.

    • Hi Steve,

      Thanks for those suggestions!

      Some suggestions were offered at the conference, and I hope to blog about them in future.

      But will definitely take yours on board – they’re great! It’s a very 1 Peter 2:12 way of responding. 🙂

      In Christ,

      Akos

  6. Hello Akos,

    Thank you for alerting the Christian populace to some of the very real threats that face our nation. You are certainly “on the money” when highlighting the hypocrisy and duplicity of our adversaries. Their bullying and browbeating are second to none and people must be made aware of this.

    My great concern, however, is with your deprecation of Theocracy. As several of your readers have noted below, Theocracy rightly speaks of God’s rule — the rule of the One true and Living God. That such a term is misappropriated by humanists and others is to be lamented, but we can never allow the abuse of a truth or truth itself to cause us to abandon the concept.
    In fact, I would argue that it has been the allowing of this very process that has lead us to where we are today. From the Caesars to Idi Amin, we have had despots who have claimed a divine right to rule, but their claim does not either make their claim true or their rule Theocratic. It is simply a new incarnation of evil as these deluded individuals follow their father the Devil in rebellion against God.

    If, then, we allow the abuse on something to deny the truth of that thing, we will never reach a satisfactory outcome.

    The problem that we have today, as Christians, is that we have imbibed the very pluralism you rightly denounce. We cannot, supposedly, in good conscience hold to the concept of Theocracy because that would be to offend … or to state that truth cannot also be found in … or to imply that another religion may be …! Yet, you rightly state that every man is religious because he holds to a worldview that makes him tick. So why do we Christians not grasp this point? Why do we, as Christians in general, tolerate or believe Michael Kirby when he says that “religious schools” (meaning Christian, primarily) need to be made to comply with current laws and thinking whilst at the same time he says education is to be “free, compulsory, and secular”? — the point is that his secularism is also a religion.

    The only way to understand the current situation and to find a way forward is to abandon the plurality of Man for the singularity of God. It is to understand that there are two types of people on this earth, those who serve God and those who rebel. It is to understand that the rebels will always rebel by manipulating and rejecting God’s law (Romans 1:32). It is to understand the meaning of God’s words, “I will put enmity between your seed and the Seed of the woman!”

    God declared a war and we fight it still. The rebels will not listen to reason, they will not be swayed by our happy demeanour, they will not respond to our charitable surrender of our standards in the way we hope — they will simply demand more. Thus, the answer is not to court plurality, but to return to Theocracy — Thus says the Lord! Is it not our Christ given task to “teach the nations to obey” ALL that Jesus commanded?

    We have reached this low ebb in Christianity precisely because we have adopted the World’s wisdom and allowed the World to tell the Church what it should believe and how it should act. Neither the pulpit nor the public square should ever be a plurality. They should be hallowed places in which and from which God’s word is proclaimed and disseminated so that God’s (the Creator’s) requirements of man (the creature) and His divine glory, Jesus Christ, are made know.

    Kindest Regards,

    Murray McLeod-Boyle

  7. “Christianity really does not need democracy,” said Ms. Thranholm, “since Christianity has been blossoming under all sorts of regimes, but actually democracy needs Christianity more than Christianity needs democracy.”

    “God will intervene if people start to pray. We need prayer groups all around Europe.”

  8. The plebs are ad hoc thinkers, not even agnostic, let alone atheist.

    This is a superb piece, imo. Two of the best things are (1) identifying a real threat: it’s not agnosticism that is triumphalist, but atheism. Agnosticism has to permit pluralism, because it doesn’t know better, only knowing to be peaceful and minimally forceful about differences that just have to be settled. Atheism, however, without warrant, claims exclusion of theism–and as you so rightly say–it does so on the claim that it is not just empty, but evil.

    The second great thing, imo, is (2) identifying the only realistic solution: pluralism. As team players in a pluralist society, either we respectfully present our own convictions, or as judges, we start from an *agnostic* position. The agnostic position rules, or otherwise some specific view is being privileged. Those who judge must put aside their own assumptions, and been seen to be doing so. A Christian judge must wear an agnostic hat for the role, and so must an atheist judge. If they can’t, they shouldn’t accept the role. Many can’t. Many can.

    I have a tiny but important quibble. I don’t think it’s strictly correct to say that everyone has a metaphysical worldview. A lot of people are pretty unreflective. Not only would they not have a thought out metaphysical position, they’d be unclear about any *specific* metaphysical issue, precisely because they don’t have a framework *or* methodology to work out a specific from general principles. What actually matters is ethics rather than theism/atheism in politics. People do think there’s moral reality, but they work it out case by case as it’s an issue to *them*, and frequently inconsistently, inconsistent precisely *because* they have no framework to make the inconsistencies clear. They work out their position, case by case, but never actually package it as a consistent worldview.

    It’s a very serious problem that people think there’s truth, and that they can find it, *without* having any serious moral framework or methodology. The problem is that they are *not* agnostic when they should be. Democracy and media teach them they have the power to make choices, which they do, but don’t train them to have the skills to think through to prudent choices, needed for them to make those responsibly. Or rather they do, but with endless ad hoc rationales, extremely vulnerable to emotional biases.

    Our problem is not a consistent atheist worldview dominating, like Communism. It is worldview anarchy, with the twist that religious worldviews are excluded, making things worse. The best people are finding are versions of Marxist history on the far left, soft left compassion aimed at everything, economic liberalism, or nationalism and tradition on the far right.

    I seriously think we could serve by teaching de-theologised ethics in partnership with others. Romans 2 ethics is real, and Jonathan Haidt et al. are onto it. Humanist ethics won’t get anyone to heaven, and are incomplete, but they are accessible. People can be (imperfectly) practically ethical without the love that only comes from the gospel. It is my considered opinion that if we believe that only a theistic worldview can provide workable ethics, that we are not only wrong, but will make things even worse than they already are. It is precisely the Christian claim to monopoly on ethical thinking people find most obnoxious. They are right. It is not the gospel, and we should drop it. If we fight them, we will lose, and because God is on the side of truth, not well intentioned devotion.

    I may be wrong in the last paragraph, but I doubt it. You will know better than me how radical what I’m saying is to some very good people, but I think more need to contemplate the hypothesis.

    Sorry for the long post, but you really are a superb thinker on this, I want to finish with something shocking.

    I think we should be lobbying for scripture to be banned in schools, and recruiting volunteers to teach ethics instead. Scripture only inflames opposition and makes us look weak as Sunday School kids get revision lessons in small numbers. We hand Muslims an opportunity to get organised and public credibility on a plate. We have a defensive mentality rather than a genuine team playing one. We deserve the hate we get. And it all goes back to our theologically incorrect belief that ethics can only be founded on theism, even trinitarianism. The Bible theologises ethics so that we accept it as grace rather than a law we make ourselves and take moral pride in, so we don’t presume to have the knowledge of good and evil as it were. But that works for God’s people. The gentiles must be allowed to receive God’s common grace through their conscience, and we could help them, if we only got our heads straight corporately.

    Sorry if I’m only raising things the wise are already discussing among themselves. But if they’re not, they need to be. And soon! Every year we go the wrong way, we accelerate our own demise, as is fitting for bad theology.

    Next time I’ll say what I really think. 😉 I trust God’s merciful sovereign grace working through those he appoints, but I’m concerned.