Like the rest of the world, what I’ve been writing about has changed as a result of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. But I didn’t expect that would mean writing in defence of my favourite bat colony.

Melbourne is privileged to have a colony of flying foxes in a park by the Yarra close to the city. However, some residents have been worried by the risk of disease, so their MP has called for the colony to be moved on or culled. I don’t think anything is likely to come of it, but I still have strong feelings about it.

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In these difficult times, almost everything seems to about Covid-19. It is a pandemic that is already bad and looks like getting a lot worse.

However, many Christians feel almost contractually obliged to look for the good side of the pandemic, and this just ends up showing the bad side of their religion.

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After recovering from a flu-like disease, I felt in need of a longer walk. I was also curious to find out whether people were out hiking and how they well they were following Covid-19 inspired social distancing rules.

Since I knew kangaroos were much more sociable than wallabies, I thought it would be fun to try and get some illustrative pictures. Thus was born the first version of this guide, which I’ve expanded in the last week.

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Two weeks ago it was International Women’s Day, and I was part of a large crowd from many countries watching the final of the Women’s Twenty20 World Cup 2020 at the MCG. Promoters, players, and fans alike were eyeing the record book, and #FillTheMCG had been trending on social media. Unlike England, Australia had been fortunate to qualify in a rain-hit semi-final, and were facing India in hope of a home title and a chance to confirm their dominance over women’s cricket.

It all seems so distant now: Australia have banned crowds over 100 and enforced social distancing, there is a blanket “Do not travel” warning for foreign travel, the borders are closed to outsiders, residents returning from overseas must self-isolate for fourteen days, and I myself have been in isolation with a mild fever (probably not Covid-19). As a result, I’ve been a little hesitant to write about it, but I think it’s worth remembering.

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In the early 2010s, I’m sure my fellow Christadelphians saw in me growing knowledge and ability and a continued commitment to God. They must have thought that I was set for life, and was becoming the spiritual leader I was always meant to be.

And yet, this was the decade I outgrew my faith. My path was only leading in one direction, and that direction was away from religion.

Where did this disconnect come from? How could so many people be so wrong?

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As I look back on the 2010s, I get a better perspective on how my deconversion worked and how much changed. Where my 2019 review will probably end up “2019 was a lot like 2018, but still different”, the difference for me between January 2010 and December 2019 is night and day.

At the start of the decade, I was preparing to speak at a Bible software development conference, and my commitment to my childhood religion was unquestioned by all, including me. By the end of the decade I had spent more than a third of it as a self-identified atheist, had started a blog where I wrote critically and at length about religion, was involved in several strongly anti-theistic communities, and was about as certain as I could be that I was never going back.

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This year marked the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, when men first walked on the moon. You might have heard about it - it got far more attention than the anniversary of Apollo 8 orbiting the moon on Christmas Eve.

The anniversary was actually back in July, and at the time I attended various anniversary events and started writing, but somehow couldn’t figure out exactly what I wanted to say. Now it’s the end of the year, and, ready or not, here I come!

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Last week, I went along to a local church’s Christmas play. Usually, it’s just a bit of fun for the children. I expected to hear claims about the True Meaning of Christmas, and was not disappointed (my take).

However, this time the superlatives were out. The Christmas story was “The Greatest Story Ever Told”. Baby Jesus was “The Greatest Gift Ever Given”. And this was all completely free, with no strings attached.

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