“God isn’t real”, “religion hurts more than it helps”, “historically, Christianity has been just as malicious as radical Islam”, these are just some of the revelatory statements made by anti-religion activist Seymour Klein to an auditorium packed with atheists at Sydney’s Opera House last night.
Entitled “If God Existed, Religion Would Be One Of His 10 Plagues”, Mr Klein presented his viewpoints to the converted as part of the Opera House’s “Season of Controversial Opinions”, an initiative that celebrates free speech by giving popular and profitable public speakers a safe and agreeable audience to which to present their ideas.
“It was enlightening,” Ben Brown, a 27 year-old ‘anti-theist’ told The (un)Australian. “He asserted all of my previously held ideas about the poison that is religion. It’s so refreshing to pay to hear what you already believed regurgitated back at you.”
Despite only launching last night, the program is already receiving criticism from people who aren’t predisposed to agree with the speakers. One angry caller, Enid from Neutral Bay, rang Alan Jones’ 2GB radio program to registere her disgust.
“It’s utterly disgraceful Alan,” Enid told the radio host, “that this absolute ratbag is being paid to say such blasphemous things about Christianity.”
When questioned if she was in the audience during the speech, Enid advised: “Of course I wasn’t, Alan. The title told me everything I needed to know. There was no way this numpty was going to say anything I agreed with.
“I have to go now Alan, but I want to thank you for having the courage to go on air and telling your audience the truth. I want you to know, we agree with you Alan. We always have.”
Kent Breyer, who is curating the program, however, insists that those offended have nothing to fear: “Australia is a democracy with a proud tradition of celebrating free speech. If one of our speakers is saying something you don’t happen to agree with, we have many others who will probably appeal to you.
“If you hate capitalism, we have Jane Ryan presenting The Free Market Is More Like The Un-Free Market, but if you love capitalism Brent McTaggart is also presenting Capitalism Has Saved More Lives Than Medicine, Clean Water & Batman Combined. If you are an environmentalist, we have Peter Seeker presenting The Way We Treat Animals Is The Last Acceptable Form Of Bigotry, however, those who think the environment is not at threat would maybe prefer to see Bjork Murray’s Yo-Yos, Parachute Pants, Women’s Soccer, And Global Warming Are All Passing Fads.
“The beautiful thing about our modern society, and what we aiming to honour with this festival, is that no matter what you believe, there’s always someone willing to accept money in exchange for telling you that you’re right to believe it.”
The Season of Controversial Opinions is running at the Opera House throughout the rest of July, though people have already started patting themselves on the back for living in a country that allows for such self congratulation to take place.
Matthew Farthing is the culture reporter for The (un)Australian. He is currently generating positive buzz online for his satirical jabs at the Liberal Party from people who don’t like the Liberal Party.