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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Hil$ong Crosses the Line... Again!

Hill$ong, Australia's own A$$emblies of God Penteco$tal evangelical mega-church have reportedly been secretly trying to convert primary school children. There have been complaints from teachers and parents about Exo Days, a free lunchtime BBQ and concert being driven by 'Youth Alive' who are a youth ministry branch of the Hillsong Church.

The church deny that it is a recruitment drive and also say that particpation in the events is voluntary and that students are made well aware of what's going on.

This is not out of character for the church, which uses marketing techniques to make the church seem appealing to kids, which includes 'pop' music (in the broadest definition of the term), using 'street language' (Life is excellent (Exo) with Jesus!), fashion and social opportunities as bait to draw the attention of the kids and start the process of religious brainwashing ... indoctrination ... child abuse ... youth ministry.

This really pisses me off! The fact that they have their sights so firmly set on the children is bad enough and then they have to go and invade the schools as well! It is a despicable thing they are doing. The minds of our children are not a battlefield.

More info here here here here and here

Here's a video of Tanya Levin talking about Hill$ong with Andrew Denton


...and The Chaser, just to lighten the mood after such a depressing story

31 comments:

  1. The crucial point was made in one of the various news articles:

    "A spokesman for the Department of Education said the events were not a cause for concern as they were not compulsory. He denied they breached departmental guidelines.

    Neil Simpson, the principal of Batemans Bay High School, where Exo days have run for several years, agreed they were within guidelines. "It's 40 minutes at lunchtime … there's no hard-core message or evangelising," he said."

    In other words, it's at lunchtime and is completely voluntary. No one has to get exposed to anything unless they want to. I'm sure the school oval and the library, and the canteen are all still operating while Hillsong is doing their thing! The students can choose to play footy, hang in the library or goto the Exo event.

    It's completely up to them. No one is being "brainwashed" or anything else, unless they want to be. It's about choice. If you want to take any the choice of the kids to attend a FREE, LUNCHTIME event, then you're far, far worse than the fundamentalists whom your atheist authors love attacking.

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  2. How ironic it is that you use language like "invasion" to describe a free, totally optional lunchtime event, whilst in the same post you're accusing Hillsong of being deceptive.

    Ah, the sweet irony.

    And you guys call yourself the DEFENDERS of reason? Keep defending...

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  3. Actually Trav, if you read the articles, they clearly explain that under the Public Schools Act, schools are to have no more than 1 hour of special religious education per week. To get around this, Hillsong IS being deceptive by disguising their activities as "personal development" "health" and "physical education" sessions. They then take the opportunity to evangelise and attempt to convert unsuspecting children to the Assemblies of God religion. There are instruction manuals for these "exo" days that blatantly outline methods on how to evangelise and recruit children to youth ministries. This is deeply concerning and wrong, and a pathetic attempt by the church to brainwash children with religious agendas who attend PUBLIC schools. I do not care what irrational things individual people choose to believe, but I DO have a problem when they try to sneak it in to the public school system.

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  4. 2 things.

    1. What is classified as "special religious education"?

    2. Lets say, for the sake of argument, you and I are good friends. We go out for coffee together. During the course of our 2 hour coffee/lunch, I happen to mention to you that I have a church service that night and I'd love you to come. You politely decline and we continue conversation.

    Now, what happened that day? Was it a case of two friends going for coffee together, or was it a case of one friend "evangelising" to the other?

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  5. I had previously read about this, however I decided to quickly review the links posted on this blog.

    Even a quick review shows the highly speculative and sensationalist nature of these news stories (typical of journalists, but that's to be expected).

    I'll focus on one articular in particular. The article states:

    "Hillsong Church is attempting to recruit members in public schools through free lunchtime concerts and barbecues called "Exo days"

    Then it goes on to say....

    "The NSW Education Act says that "instruction" at public schools must be non-sectarian and secular except in designated religious education classes."

    However, it doesnt actually state what "instruction" is. Nice trick. I would've assumed that instruction would imply involvement in the classroom. Since when does running a barbeque constitute "instruction"?

    Secondly, as I said in my first reply- it's all about choice. As long as the students have a choice, then as far as I'm concerned, you really shouldn't be complaining. Unless your goal is to completely drive religion out of the world.

    How tolerant that would be....

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  6. Actually, I don't see that as an appropriate analogy. What Hillsong do is known as "love bombing" where they lure these kids in by doing loads of fun and enjoyable activities, tell the kids how wonderful and accepted are, they make friends and all round have a good time. Then out comes recruitment. This is particularly dangerous for children as are not as well equipped as adults to see through this blatant process. The kids just see it as a fun enjoyable time with friends. I know because I have seen it happen. If you and I go out for coffee ONLY because you want to recruit me to your cause, then I would consider that you are not actually my friend and only hanging out with me for this purpose. If you just happen to mention it in passing, but the friendship remains despite my non compliance to attend your church, then that if fine. I have friends who are religious, and I am frequently invited to attend their various churches, but that doesn't get in the way of our friendship. What Hillsong are doing is sneaky and completely different.

    I would assume that "special religious education" would comprise of scripture classes (and the like) that are optional for students to attend in public schools.

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  7. Just to expand on my "choice' statement.

    Firstly, I agree with the one hour a week religious education thing. One hour a week is fine, religious/spiritual teaching is an important part of human history, and has great benefits for personal development and enlightenment.

    However, the exodays are at lunchtime- thats clearly stated in the articles. In other words, not only were they entirely the kids choices to go, but the key point is this: No one missed a class by going to them!

    I'm a Christian, but if the Sydney Atheists or some other secular/humanist group wanted to come to my school and run a lunchtime bbq, I wouldn't care. I would simply do something else. So why the big furore?

    It would be one thing if Hillsong was taking up a whole morning of class time with these things, but that is clearly not the case

    Disclaimer: I'm no longer in high school.

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  8. Rach, just caught your reply.

    "I would assume that "special religious education" would comprise of scripture classes (and the like) that are optional for students to attend in public schools."

    So, you're admitting that the exodays do not constitute classes? They are clearly not in the classroom. So, by your own admission, it probably doesnt breach the education act.

    Secondly, if Hillsong "makes kids feel special", and does the school a favor by providing free food and actually making lunchtime exciting, is it really that bad if they also happen to tell the kids, that not only do they think the kids are cool, but God does to?

    That is most certainly not a restiction on anyone's rights, or sneaky.

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  9. Secondly, if Hillsong "makes kids feel special", and does the school a favor by providing free food and actually making lunchtime exciting, is it really that bad if they also happen to tell the kids, that not only do they think the kids are cool, but God does to?

    That is most certainly not a restiction on anyone's rights, or sneaky.

    Indeed it is. It violates the parents' rights to control the child's religious instruction by proselytizing to the child without their knowledge or approval.

    Replace the word "God" in your sentence above with "Allah" or "Xenu". Now how do you feel about it? I'm willing to guess it's only your God you think these children should be told about.

    I never cease to be amazed at how casually Christians feel they can simply treat others with such disrespect, by virtue of the belief that their religion gives them entitlements others don't have.

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  10. Martin, what an excellent point. Trav and all the other hill$ong apologists would freak out if the free lunches were coming from Allah,or the Atheist Society. The thing that sickens me about trav and the rest of them is their dishonesty,playing such a duplicitous and disengenous game. How stupid do they think we are? They know and we all know that the whole point of these "events" is to evangelise. I dont understand why they just dont say so - whats stopping them being honest about it and saying "Yes we believe that without the hilsong gospel everyone is going to hell and we are doing everything in our power to save the souls of these children" Maybe theyre a bit embarrassed about it ?
    Trav and Co have a big problem with honesty and with something known as "the courage of your convictions" and hide behind these stupid games about freedom and choice.
    Trav, no ones fooled...get a life.

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  11. David, how come you referred to me specifically so many times in your reply? I find it interesting, given that your response clearly indicated you didn't even read my replies!

    I've already said, if I went to a public school, and the Sydney Atheists or whoever wanted to run a lunchtime event, I would not go! But given that it isn't in class hours, I wouldn't have any grounds to complain. Neither do you, in this instance.

    Martin: "I never cease to be amazed at how casually Christians feel they can simply treat others with such disrespect, by virtue of the belief that their religion gives them entitlements others don't have"

    What entitlements are you referring to? Please expand, so we can go into the details of this sweeping generalisation you've just made.

    I think if you look around the world, you'll see that your statements represents the opposite of reality. Christianity is a religion which values individual choice. And therefore, by implication, democracy. Compare this to say:

    Islam- In Yemen, for example, it's ILLEGAL to change from being a Muslim to ANY other religion.

    Atheism- Hitler for example. Catholic in his early days, before he realised that the goals of his Nazi regime were completely opposed and mutually exclusive to his previous Catholic conviction. See quotes from 1941.

    Just a couple of examples. The point is that Christianity values people's right to choose their beliefs.

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  12. Trav, what quotes from 1941 specifically?

    Hitler was never an atheist. He hardly shut up about the Herrgott and providence.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adolf_Hitler%27s_religious_beliefs

    Oh, and look up 'Gott mit uns'.

    You're a liar, Trav.

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  13. Really, Trav, you must think we're all as ignorant of history as you are. Your falsehoods are easily fact-checked.

    Hitler was never atheist. Sorry. And even if he became atheist at any point before he died, he still made it abundantly clear in Mein Kampf and any number of speeches that he was all too willing to defend his anti-Semitism on religious grounds. (And anyway, the millions of Nazi Germans who acted out their party's mandated atrocities were certainly theistic, and mostly Christian, who thought killing the Jews was justified because the Jews killed Christ. The Wehrmacht belt buckles said "God Is With Us" for a reason, Trav.)

    And even if ol' Adolf were an atheist, that would not have motivated his actions. Atheism is the disbelief in gods. People do not act upon what they do not believe, they act upon what they do believe. Certainly an atheist is as capable of being anti-Semitic as any theist, but historically the people who have committed anti-Semitic atrocities have tended to be theist (Islamic and Catholic overall), and justified it thus. Stalin was an atheist, but atheism did not motivate his atrocities; a megalomaniac, paranoid thirst for power did.

    Finally, I have to wonder if you're being deliberately stupid or naive when you state that "Christianity values people's right to choose their beliefs." Considering that Christian doctrine holds that anyone who is not a Christian has a one-way express ticket to hell, that would seem to invalidate any "value" the religion might place on diversity of belief. Sure, individual Christians may be pretty tolerant of different beliefs, but it's remarkably disingenuous to claim that such tolerance is a fundamental tenet of the belief itself. Intolerance is built in to Christianity, just as it is into Islam. The doctrine of hell proves it.

    And if Christianity really valued freedom of belief so much, I kind of wonder at the Roman Catholic Church's rather ugly history of murdering heretics and unbelievers, and of the numerous anti-Semitic pogroms carried out through the ages, over such imaginary crimes as "host nailing." Either you're just lying here, or pitifully uneducated in your own religion's history.

    Finally, I don't know the current status of church/state separation in Australia, and the legality of the Hillsong situation in any detail. But certainly here in the States there have been nonstop instances where Christians have overtly expressed a sense of entitlement, that their beliefs allow them to trump the laws of the land and walk all over the rights of anyone they choose. Just recently we have a situation here where a number of prominent churches have openly announced that they are gleefully going to violate the laws allowing them tax-exempt status, and make political endorsements from the pulpit. The message is clear. "We're Christian! The rules don't apply to us!" The arrogance is breathtaking. But par for the course, sad to say.

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  14. And Trav, I believe Godwin's Law applies to this blog. You lose this one.

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  15. I've clearly opened a can of worms with my Hitler comment. Don't have time to spend too long here right now, so I'll be succint.

    - Here's a paraphrase quote from Hitler:

    - I shall never come personally to terms with the Christian lie. Our epoch Uin the next 200 yearse will certainly see the end of the disease of Christianity.... My regret will have been that I couldn't... behold ."

    and another:

    -"National Socialism and religion cannot exist together.... The heaviest blow that ever struck humanity was the coming of Christianity. Bolshevism is Christianity's illegitimate child. Both are inventions of the Jew. The deliberate lie in the matter of religion was introduced into the world by Christianity.... Let it not be said that Christianity brought man the life of the soul, for that evolution was in the natural order of things"

    Basically, Hitler was a catholic in his early days, but soon he realised something which is painfully obvious to anyone looking back through history: Nazism and Christianity are diametrically opposed. And per the above quotes, it was clear that he'd denounced Christianity.

    Now, the point of course, is not Hitler but his Nazi agenda. The aim of his Nazi Germany was an atheist agenda because of its direct opposition to God and the idea of God. Check out the wiki article on Religion in Nazi Germany. This quote from there:

    - Historian Heinz Hürten (professor emeritus at the Catholic University of Eichstaett) argued that the Nazi party had plans for the Roman Catholic Church, according to which the Church was supposed to "eat from the hands of the government." The sequence of these plans, he states, follow this sequence: an abolition of the priestly celibacy and a nationalisation of all church property, the dissolution of monastic orders and religious congregations, and the influence of the Catholic Church upon education. Hutzen states that Hitler proposed to reduce vocations to the priesthood by forbidding seminaries from receiving applicants before their 25th birthdays, and thus had hoped that these men would marry beforehand, during the time (18 - 25 years) in which they were obliged to work in military or labour service. Also, along with this process, the Church's sacraments would be revised and changed to so-called "Lebensfeiern", the non-Christian celebrations of different periods of life.[40]

    In the utopia of Nazi Germany, Hitler was the head. The head of an ideal where God is completely taken out of the picture. To say that Hitler was not doing anything "in the name of atheism" completely misses the point because the Nazi agenda was atheistic in its nature- taking God out of the picture, encouraging people to not believe in God or act in service towards God. It put Hitler, a human, as number one, rather than God.

    Martin, your comment regarding the situation over tax-exempt churches in the US was very biased. They may have a legitimate legal grounding to complain due to something being unconstitutional. And one article I read was a legal article written by someone who was not a Christian, who basically assessed the situation and said he thinks they could have a good legal case. So to sit there and claim they are "gleefully breaking the law" etc etc is completely misreading the situation. At the very least, they claim to have a solid legal grounding for what they're doing, and from what I've read, they definitely have a legit legal basis for what they're doing.

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  16. Just would like to clarify something re: my Hitler comments.

    I said this :

    "In the utopia of Nazi Germany, Hitler was the head. The head of an ideal where God is completely taken out of the picture. To say that Hitler was not doing anything "in the name of atheism" completely misses the point because the Nazi agenda was atheistic in its nature- taking God out of the picture, encouraging people to not believe in God or act in service towards God. It put Hitler, a human, as number one, rather than God."

    To clarify, I am not advocating that societies should "put God first". I am saying people in any society should be given the opportunity to practice belief in any God. This is a fundamental tenet of all historically Christian socities, or any society whose pre-eminent worldview and thought has been Christian-dominated over the past couple of hundred years- The US, Europe, Australia etc.

    However, Hitler was clearly opposed to these ideas, by wanting to nationalise all church property and therefore directly control and restrict religious belief.

    And I'd just like to quickly reply to this from Martin:

    "Sure, individual Christians may be pretty tolerant of different beliefs, but it's remarkably disingenuous to claim that such tolerance is a fundamental tenet of the belief itself."
    I never claimed tolerance was the tenet- I believe I was talking about "choice". Christianity values choice because it posits that every person has a choice to make. People can accept or reject God as they choose.

    So by it's very nature, Christianity values the concept of choice, and a person's right and responsibility to make choices.

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  17. "I am saying people in any society should be given the opportunity to practice belief in any God. This is a fundamental tenet of all historically Christian socities, or any society whose pre-eminent worldview and thought has been Christian-dominated over the past couple of hundred years- The US, Europe, Australia etc."

    One word: crusades.

    Seriously, Trav, where are you getting your historical insights?

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  18. Trav. You have no idea what you are talking about. If you want to make a legitimate argument, go for it, but once you are shot down, at least have the dignity to check your sources and make sure you are on solid ground.

    Hitler was a CATHOLIC, not an ATHEIST. Even if Hitler WAS an atheist (and let me be crystal clear that he was not), there is no atheistic dogma, so there would be no direct line of reasoning between his lack of belief in a god and the atrocities he committed. As with Lenin, his atheism would be no more related to his actions than his favorite breed of dog.

    Again you've made the error of ascribing more to atheism than it truly entails.

    You have no argument. You are wrong. Put up or shut up.

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  19. Trav the issue is not the number of times i used the word "trav", and its not hitler and its not your disingenuous claim that the issue is freedom and choice. No, the issue at the core of this entire post is honesty, and how sickened some of us are by the hypocrisy of hill$ong, and others like them such as the creationsists, who are trying to sneak their ridiculous religious beliefs into schools pretending its science, or health or just fun. Like I said, no-one is fooled. But trav are you going to deny that trying to make kids feel special and then tell them that God thinks theyre "cool" is not evanglising? Because if you do deny it, you better listen out for that cock crowing three times....

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  20. Dave- I said "last couple of hundred years". The crusades took place a lot longer ago than that.

    Alan- Using the context of my original argument, it does NOT matter whether Hitler was an ATHEIST or not. The fact is, that the end goals of his regime were atheist in their very nature and what they were trying to achieve- ie: Godlessness.

    "there is no atheistic dogma, so there would be no direct line of reasoning between his lack of belief in a god and the atrocities he committed."

    I don't think there needs to be. The whole Nazi mindset was anti-God, and Hitler made that clear when he correctly stated that Nazism and Christianity were incompatible.

    David: "But trav are you going to deny that trying to make kids feel special and then tell them that God thinks theyre "cool" is not evanglising?"

    Firstly, I never said it wasn't evangelising. I said it wasn't sneaky. After all, surely the education department isn't naive enough to think a church group would rock up without even mentioning the word "God"?

    It is about choice, that's definitely what it boils down to. If Hillsong, Muslims, Sydney Atheists, the 7th day adventists or whoever else wish to come into a school (outside of class hours) and run a BBQ, I don't see why anyone should kick up a fuss. Thats what this boils down to.

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  21. No one is FORCING any kids to attend these barbeques. It's purely optional.

    And, regardless of that, the main point is that it's during lunch.

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  22. OK so you agree its evangelism. And the Exo manual makes it explicit "The whole goal for Exo week and Exo day is to see your youth ministry grow....The vision is to see evangelism and growth come from the students themselves in your youth ministry."

    So why is Australian Christian Churches National Ministeries Director Keith Ainge quoted as saying "its certainly not a recruiting thing" - certainly NOT ? - evangelism is exactly what it IS, according to Exo's own manual! - and what has Hillsong told the Principal of Batemans Bay Highschool about it, for him to claim " theres no hard core message or evangelising" As I said its about honesty.

    The reason its about honesty and not about choice is that for choice to be real it has to be free and it has to be fully informed - so if hil$ong were upfront and said we have a church recruitment and evanglising programme we want to invite kids to in their lunchtime - that might be nearer the mark - but of course thats not what they do - and for obvious reasons. Oh its sneaky alright.

    Not only that, the kids are a captive market, and most are not free to do whatever they like in their lunchtime, and hill$ong knows it.

    The argument about choice is a failure, because hill$ong are deliberately targetting a captive vulnerable market, and they are not upfront with what it is they are pushing.I say again, its about honesty, something evangelicals have a big problem with.

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  23. Your entire argument from your last post hinges on this:

    "Not only that, the kids are a captive market, and most are not free to do whatever they like in their lunchtime, and hill$ong knows it."

    Are you actually being serious!?

    They most certainly are free to do whatever they want within the school grounds. I'm sure there are plenty of other things a student could choose to do, other than going to the eXo BBQ.

    Unless of course the BBQ takes up the entire school grounds, and the library!

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  24. More contradictory garbage from trav who on the one hand claims that at lunchtime schoolkids are free to do "whatever they want" but then qualifies it with "within the school grounds" My point exactly -a captive vulnerable market forced to be there at school by the Law. Try getting the kids to stay back after school for your tedious little bit of BBQ proselytising, and you might discover the difference between "lunchtime freedom" and a genuine freedom to choose by a non-captive market. I predict you'll be having cold left over sausages for breakfast lunch and dinner for a few weeks.

    Oh and by the way, about hill$ong having an issue with honesty - does michael guglielmucci still do it for you trav?

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  25. Fair enough, we'll leave it there, because you don't seem to have much idea about the concept of "choice". Choice implies having many different alternatives to choose from, not necessarily an unlimited supply.

    Regarding Mike Guglielmucci, it has nothing to do with this. He is one man who is now being treated for mental illness. So to try and draw conclusions about the general "honesty" of Hillsong based on his actions is drawing a ridiculously long bow.

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  26. "Choice consists of the mental process of thinking involved with the process of judging the merits of multiple options and selecting one of them for action."

    So, if I'm a student at a public school, I think it's fair to assume that I'd have the following options on any given day:

    - Playing on the oval.

    - Playing on the basketball court.

    - Sitting on my own and doing some reading, perhaps in the library.

    -Going on the internet in the library.

    -Sitting in a classroom and catching up on homework.

    -Hanging with my friends, whatever they're doing. Maybe playing cards, playing downball, or just talking.

    -Getting involved in any additional extra curricular activities offerred within my school at lunchtime. Often schools have meetings, drama groups, bands, sporting teams etc etc.

    So as is plainly obvious to us now, students have a multitude of options to choose from when deciding what to do with their lunchtime. A Hillsong BBQ adds one option to this very long list.

    David, I have no idea why "The argument about choice is a failure", when it's clear that a huge number of possible choices exist. In fact, is there even ANY situation in life where the list of possible choices is actually UNLIMITED!? No!

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  27. Trav, as grown-ups we have a responsibility to make sure the children's options are appropriate.

    We know that children have the option of sitting quietly in the library instead of going to a free barbecue and rock concert.

    What we are claiming is that churches have no business organising barbecues and rock concerts in schools.

    Repeat after me: SCHOOLS ARE FOR LEARNING.

    You keep the prayers out of our schools and we'll keep the freethinking out of your church. Deal?

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  28. Schools are primarily for learning, which is why students should be given the opportunity to learn about many different things.

    Religious Education most definitely has a place because it allows the opportunity for spiritual development and learning, and this is a valuable part of the curriculum.

    However, clearly it is a relatively minor area of education alongside other things such as English language skills, science and maths, and history/geography etc. Nonetheless it definitely is a valuable, albeit minor addition to the curriculum. Various Australian state governments recognise this by allowing students the option of doing RE.

    However that isn't the issue here, because what Hillsong are doing does not constitute education (as a part of the usual curriculum) and nor does it claim to.

    Why? Because it isn't in the classroom. It's at lunchtime. Big difference.

    As for prayers in schools, I wasn't aware that Hillsong were holding prayer meetings. I thought you just said it was concerts and BBQ's? Make up your mind!

    And I'm not 100% sure why you think there's a need to keep free thinking out of churches. I'm an intelligent thinker and I regularly attend church. So are most of my church friends. A lot of churchgoers are both very intelligent and thoughtful- for example, just amongst my church friends there's a huge cross section of very intelligent people- optometrists, lawyers, doctors and the like.

    I'm sure they'd take offence at the notion that thinking should be kept out of church. I certainly do!

    Although I must admit that the definition of "free thought" does indeed intrigue me!

    "Freethought is a philosophical viewpoint that holds that beliefs should be formed on the basis of science and logic and should not be influenced by emotion, authority, tradition, or any dogma".

    Now, have a look at the definition of belief:

    "Belief is the psychological state in which an individual holds a proposition or premise to be true."

    So tell me, if you're in a relationship- do you love the person with whom you're in a relationship with!? You'll probably say yes (if not, perhaps your relationship needs a bit of work...). What you're effectively saying is "I believe I love my.... (wife/hubby/gf/bf)" because you're holding that proposition to be true.

    And yet- clearly your love can't be described using science or logic. On the contrary, love has often been seen to be ILLogical- as seen by the common term "love is blind".

    Clearly there are plenty of beliefs, propositions and the like which can't be explained using science or logic. Many things can't be explained due to science or logic, mainly due to, not surprisingly, the limitations of science and logic!

    So what are we to make of free thought? How should we treat the idea that the only propositions we should hold as true, are the ones which can be formed using science and logic? I'll leave that for you to decide. For mine, it's a fallicious and ridiculous idea.

    Having said that, clearly some beliefs do need to be verifiable using science and logic. But the idea that ALL propositions we hold need to be verifiable by science is silly in itself because it fails to recognise the limitations of science.

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  29. I dont think theres anything ridiculously long about drawing a link between the dishonesty of hillsong in their sneaky attempts to evangelise a vulnerable captive market, and the dishonesty of a hillsong former youth pastor now exposed fake and porn addict, your buddy "Mike". I think it would be quite reasonable to wonder if theres a real issue with honesty in that place. And, actually there is. But,incidentally isnt it ironic that nobody could tell he was a fake? How can they tell Pastor Brian isnt a fake? It took a long time for anyone to realize his father was...who'll be next I wonder.

    Anyway, the point about choice which you cant understand it would seem is, as I said before that for choice to be real it has to be free and it has to be fully informed.The argument fails firstly because the kids are a captive market and are not there of their own free will - which is why hill$ong dont have it after school when that coercive element no longer exists, and they know full well that the kids would rather get away from the place. And secondly it fails because the kids are not fully informed about what the exo BBQ is really about, which is evangelism. Kids are reported to have complained about this very point.

    But you wont ever get it trav.

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  30. I get "it" because I completely understand your argument, and it's demonstrably false.

    "choice to be real it has to be free and it has to be fully informed."

    There is no such thing as a fully free choice. As I said before, when does anyone have FULLY FREE choice? When those kids are at home, do you think they can do anything they want!? Of course not. They can do whatever they want, within their home and their parents parameters. Likewise, when they're in a school they can do whatever they want, within the parameters of the school yard*. And as I've clearly shown above, those parameters allow a multitude a possible choices, and if Hillsong's there, they become one of MANY possible choices.

    Anyway, you're repeating yourself and so am I, so I'm happy to leave it there. You seem to have this idea that an optional BBQ involves being "coersed", and you think that a choice isn't "free" when the reality is that the kids have complete freedom over whether to attend the BBQ or not...AND they also have all their usual lunchtime options available anyway.

    So, in the interests of no longer repating ourselves- I'm happy for you to keep believing that! However I'd hope that anyone else reading can see some common sense.

    And regarding my "buddy" Mike. I've got little to say there - I'm not a pentecostal and probably never will be. I won't defend his individual actions because quite frankly, they're indefensible- I agree with you there. However, I object when people make sweeping generalisations being made about an organisation on the basis of one guy.

    What about US politics- the same mudslinging happens from each side party to the other- ie: Did you know McCain had an affair and Palin's kid got pregnant at 17!? The republicans are hypocrites! How can they possibly talk about family values after that!!! And what about Obama!? He talks about Jesus sermon on the mount, and helping the least of these and then we find out that his own half brother is living in a slum in Kenya. Again hypocrite! Clearly we can't trust the Democrats!

    These are the sorts of arguments we're getting in the US political arena at the moment- trying to cast a shadow over entire political parties and policy platforms on the basis of a couple of questionable actions of their leaders. And they're just as stupid as trying to cast Hillsong in a bad light because Mike Guglielmucci had a mental illness and fooled everyone into thinking he had cancer. So what, get over it, he's one man.

    *(unless they're allowed to leave the school grounds, I believe that's allowed in a lot of schools, especially if over 18- ie year 12's).

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  31. I have to commend Trav on his ability to withstand the comments flying at him left, right and centre...

    It takes guts to stand up for your faith, and I think he's demonstrated it very well. Well done Trav, keep up the good work...

    With regards to the issue at hand -eXo BBQs, etc - I had a similar Christian organisation coming to my private girls' school every Tuesday lunchtime.

    The girls and guys running it were great fun, friendly, genuine and had a real sense of passion about them, which was so encouraging. Those of different faiths - Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Ba h'ai - came along too, and never felt they were 'forced' to be there or ever felt uncomfortable or 'preached' at. Yes, they had a 5 minute devotional talk, and yes, it was Christ-centred, but I don't recall them sending out the message of 'turn or burn', or any of that stereotypical 'Christian' rubbish.

    They talked about God, their own experiences, what it means to be a Christian, etc, and if people wanted to find out more, they had a point of reference.

    Did they 'force' us to convert? No. Did they threaten us with the flames of hell? No. Did they Bible-bash us? Certainly not. Did they 'make' us attend in the first place? Never.

    If anything, they were a pleasant part of my memory during my schooling, and till this day, I am grateful for their (unpaid) dedication and commitment to share their faith with others in a non-threatening, friendly way.

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