Sunday, June 15, 2014

So what's the word this meditative Sunday? Why it's Christians for ghettoes and coal, coal, coal ...



This being a meditative Sunday, the pond would like to pass on a pearl of wisdom from Michael Jensen caught while listening to RN on the road some time ago:

Contemporary theologians like… John Milbank in particular has been in the vanguard of this. And he wrote… he’s written some, I think, fascinating books where he takes postmodernism as a sort of battering ram to knock over the castles, the grand castles, of religious enlightenment and say, ‘Hang on a minute. Now, theology’s got something to say here and it’s been falsely excluded by these sort of bastions that have been developed which are blind to things like the way in which religion has been used to develop weapons of mass destruction, so-called religion.’ Religion has been… religion has not yet reconciled itself to the destruction of the planet. Religion has not yet produced an economic system that actually makes any kind of fairness possible. Religion has not yet developed a peaceful world; we’re still at war. Liberal democracy, which is the great sort of political philosophy which believes that it is reasonable in its toleration of eccentric religious types, still polices its borders by gushes of blood, you know? It still commits torture, it still commits rape, et cetera, et cetera, and Christians are front and centre in these so-called liberal democracies. So I find this a very, very compelling kind of line of argument. It says all the things we think make our life comfortable and secure, all that sanctimonious righteous religious guff, actually perhaps they’re not as well-founded or as morally pure as we think they are.

Say what? Oh damn you, NZ subbies, damn you to hell, you wilfully and perversely substituted "religion" for "reason" and it made just as much sense! Here's what the Jensenist really said:

Contemporary theologians like… John Milbank in particular has been in the vanguard of this. And he wrote… he’s written some, I think, fascinating books where he takes postmodernism as a sort of battering ram to knock over the castles, the grand castles, of enlightenment, rationality and say, ‘Hang on a minute. Now, theology’s got something to say here and it’s been falsely excluded by these sort of bastions that have been developed which are blind to things like the way in which reason has been used to develop weapons of mass destruction, so-called reason.’ Reason has been… reason has not yet reconciled itself to the destruction of the planet. Reason has not yet produced an economic system that actually makes any kind of fairness possible. Reason has not yet developed a peaceful world; we’re still at war. Liberal democracy, which is the great sort of political philosophy which believes that it is reasonable and rational, still polices its borders by gushes of blood, you know? It still commits torture, it still commits rape, et cetera, et cetera. So I find this a very, very compelling kind of line of argument. It says all the things we think make our life comfortable and secure actually perhaps they’re not as well-founded or as morally pure as we think they are. (and you can catch the rest of the show online here)

Yes, all you need for blather is a single word, and a prejudice against reason and reasonableness, and next thing you know, you can be off with the angry Sydney Anglicans, Westboro Baptists, barking mad Pentecostalists, ratbag Islamic fundamentalists, or the transubstantiationist cannibals in the Abbott government who just love to drink the blood of the lamb and eat its flesh.

But the encounter reminded the pond that the angry Sydney Anglicans no longer feature the Jensenists in great numbers.

The pond has been giving the angry Anglicans a bit of a rest - there's so much to admire in the world of that strutting peacock Tony Abbott - but if the site is any guide, the last Michael Jensen contribution to the Anglican website was on 20th May, here. And Phillip Jensen has gone quiet, not troubling anyuone since 23rd May, here.

And yet without their expert guidance and insight, the angry Anglicans still manage to make a muck of things:


But thanks to Glenn Davies, scribbling Bible Food, the pond has at least begun to work it out.

It turns out that the wicked sinners simply aren't studious enough. These frivolous Calvinists are off dancing, and listening to music, and appearing on the ABC, seemingly incapable of understanding all is vanity ...


Shocking, but look at those heretic Catholics.

Where's Cardinal Pell when he's needed?

Where's Pell's replacement? Or isn't he needed?

Anyhoo, the pond is miserable on a meditative Sunday these days ...

Oh sure, there's always the barking mad Islamic fundamentalists, but they're not just barking mad, they're dangerous in a way that the Anglicans haven't managed since the treaties of Westphalia began the long and arduous defanging of Christianity, and it was left to economic and imperial forces, cheered on by the religious, to maintain warlike postures ...

Truth to tell, Islamic fundies terrify the pond. They really do believe in killing people, whereas after many a long century of being whacked with a rolled up newspaper, the angry Anglicans are now only left with snidery and discrimination and blind, irrational prejudice. Did we mention women and gays?

Oh sure,  there's the always reliable Scientologists, but the joy has gone out of that ever since Tom Cruise began making mediocre film after under-performing film ... and after the Oprah couch and poor old Katie, the pundits began to ask Is Tom Cruise Still a Movie Star? (may be paywall affected).

Even a tour of the Anglican devoted sites can't bring back the old Jensenist frisson:

I'll always remember listening to Peter Jensen... when he was asked one Christmas ...what a starving homeless person should do at Christmas ...and his answer was ...think of Jesus! ...No ...not come to my church and I'll feed you....****ing mean spirited Calvinists...and they call themselves Christians because their religion is limited to reading the Bible!  (here)


But they don't even mange to beat the Pentecostals at Bible reading these days! Oh they're irredeemably wicked, they are ...

So perforce, the pond is forced to contemplate such bizarre sights as Scott "speaking in tongues" Morrison, and the Salvation Army learning what it's like to be put in charge of a ghetto which clearly aspires to be the Warsaw ghetto, except it's an island (Salvation Army helper tells inquiry of 'rape dungeon') ...

And Geoff Shaw showing how your average fundamentalist finds a contempt for Denis Napthine and his parliament a matter of comedy ... though maybe there is actually a laugh in that ...

Yet for all of that, the pond keeps returning to Jensen blathering on about the age of reason getting it wrong, and how we should turn to unreasonable, unbalanced, crazy religion instead, and there's Scott Morrison, allegedly a Christian, building a monument to un-Christian behaviour, which led Martin Flanagan to wonder, here:

...one day the story of an asylum seeker who tried to get into Australia and was diverted to Cambodia may be told. People will be shocked. People of our generation will say we didn’t know what was going on and, true, we won’t know the detail. But the future will scornfully reply: ‘‘What did you expect would happen to homeless people when they ended up in one of the poorest and most corrupt countries on earth?’'

Ah well, maybe we've never left the age of religion. Did Michael Jensen even pause for a moment in his rhetorical excess to ponder the obvious?

Fundamentalist Christianity, of the Scott Morrison and Tony Abbott kind, which is the great sort of political philosophy which believes that it is devoted and religious and caring and Christian, still polices its borders by gushes of blood, you know ...

Yep, enough of the meditative Sunday.

In the week ahead, it's back to that other Christian, the expert climate scientist, coal touter, solar energy denier and his expert climate advisers as he returns from his triumphant world tour with rave reviews:



The good news? At least you can find Pryor at the Saturday Paper here revealing the science, as you read and marvel at Greg Hunt kept Prime Minister in dark on solar policy, and this bit of coal triumphalism: 

"For many decades at least, coal will continue to fuel human progress as an affordable energy source for wealthy and developing countries alike." (Coal to fuel human progress for decades)

And there's always Facebook for when the witch hunt cranks up again in the coming week:






9 comments:

  1. Lengthy, but worth a read. How the religious righties just make stuff up

    "Todd Starnes: A Look into the Right-Wing Myth Machine

    The most prolific manufacturer and promoter of apocryphal stories of American Christian persecution working today is Fox News reporter Todd Starnes. If a story emerges about a service member punished for his or her Christian beliefs or a schoolchild banned from talking about Christmas, it most likely originated with or was promoted by Starnes. And there’s a good chance the facts have been either severely distorted or completely fabricated."


    http://www.pfaw.org/rww-in-focus/persecution-complex-religious-right-s-deceptive-rallying-cry

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  2. When it suits the likes of Jensen the west is built on Judeo-Christian values; when it doesn't, it's all the fault of that devil's harlot reason.

    I see that the new NSW Governor is to be David Hurley - a Sydney Anglican appointed by a Sydney Anglican Premier. The Governor General, on the other hand, is a Sydney Catholic appointed by a Sydney Catholic Prime Minister. Theology excluded? Sounds like it's pretty much still running the show to me .

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    1. Of course, that's not to mention the Sydney Anglican at the head of the ABC: Mark ("Yet another of God's secret agents trying to bring the life and light of Jesus into one of the most hostile parts of our society, the media.") Scott; and the Vice Chancellor of Sydney Uni, an ordained Anglican priest. Even the NSW Police Commissioner is a devout Baptist (which to an Angrie is a distinction without a difference).

      Jesus, 'so-called reason' doesn't stand a chance around here.

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    2. Hang on. From what exactly does he think theology has been excluded? School education? Not for the 40% who attend schools run by religionists; nor for the others whose public school has a federally funded chaplain or scripture classes. The military? Cosgrove and Hurley were both Chiefs of Defence. The Executive – are there any in the Coalition cabinet who don’t identify as Christian? The legislature, nope. The Judiciary? Kirby, for one. The media, nope. Academia, nope. Health care, nope. Welfare, nope. Aged care, nope. Development aid, nope.

      What arrant crap the Reverend spurts. The sticky residues of Christianity, indeed.

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    3. Although they're quite at liberty to join in religionists aren't out there shouting to be included with everybody else in things like taxation, legal culpability, legal financial responsibility...

      An arbitrary, exclusive, and favourable discretion when taking liberties in the taxing corridors of power has always been the better part of the cost-free-dom of religion.

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  3. Thanks to the Montesquieu wiki link in 4th Anon's comment yesterday I was led to poking around today in this mathematics quotations index where I happened on this Bertrand Russell quote that could be applied to the angries and their ilk:

    "Men who are unhappy, like men who sleep badly, are always proud of the fact."

    - Quoted in W H Auden and L Kronenberger, The Viking Book of Aphorisms (New York 1966).


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  4. You can still get a laugh out of Sydney Anglicans if you know where to look.

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    1. ):!!! Now that's a big ticket laugh ...

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