Sunday, October 26, 2014

In which the pond shares some time with zealots ...

It looks grand enough as a headline, top of the digital page at The Graudian here,  Daniel entering the lion's den, or Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego heading to a blazing fiery furnace, but what Shorten has done - as many other politicians have done - is make the fringe cultists seem like a respectable bunch open to rational discussion.

But as religious fundamentalists and cultists, are they open to repentance and change?

Fat chance. Lyle Shelton is grieved to be called  hater here, but hey, saying being gay is as bad as smoking isn't hating, it's just pure objective ACL science.

Meanwhile, the ACL maintains the rage and the hate:

Same-sex marriage is the final abolition of the idea of a child’s right to be raised, wherever possible, by her or his biological mother and father. 
Sure two men can love a baby, but what right do they have to deprive her of her mother’s breast? It is important we do not lose this child-centred idea from public policy. 
Civil society has always put the rights of the vulnerable above the strong and a discussion about this is desperately needed in Australia’s marriage non-debate.

Uh huh. Because the gay lobby has always been so strong, and gays are so dominant in Australia and gays run the show, and all they want to do is persecute the innocent and the vulnerable ...

Or some such nonsense.

Like all fringe groups of fundie ratbags, the ACL craves attention and the appearance of normalcy and being taken seriously, while at the same time going about their fundamentalist business, which is to subvert secularism, and maintain their bias and prejudice. It's a win-win mindset - persecution is grist to the mill:

And being taken seriously is also grist to the mill, but there's no way to have a sensible discussion with rabid fundamentalists of any persuasion, Christian or Islamic ...

If ever you wanted an example of the fundamentalist mindset and its many defects at work, there's no need to look beyond the angry Sydney Anglicans.

Intolerance is the key.

Tolerance is a sign of weakness:

The non-Christians want to have a third way for a variety of reasons. They don’t want to follow the amoral Atheists in their godless meaninglessness. They want a bit of God and God’s way but they also want to live in rebellion against God. They do not understand sin as relational rebellion against God but think of it as doing something immoral. So they do not believe that they are sinners, deserving condemnation. Thus, the idea of living wholly for Christ sounds like ‘religious extremism’ – and in our culture ‘religious extremism’ is, by definition, wrong. 
Our society refuses to differentiate between religions; all religions are to be tolerated; all religions are simply a matter of opinion. The Prince of Wales wants to change the title “Defender of the Faith” to “Defender of Faith”. We don’t want to be questioned about which religion is right or which one is wrong – they are all right or they are all wrong, or they are all matters of opinion – but there is not one that is true or any particular religion that is wrong. 
So with this failure to differentiate between the religions, our society has accepted any religion, provided it is not really believed or taken seriously by its followers. Devotion, zeal, passion is most undesirable in religious life today. Thus ‘religious extremism’ is the unforgiveable sin. The religious extremists are assumed to be the brainwashed cult members gullibly accepting any superstition and going to war to defend their bizarre views of the world.

Well yes, who could argue with that? Your average brainwashed Islamic cult member heading off to defence their bizarre view of the world is a sight to see ...

But your average angry Sydney Anglican likes religious extremism, because they reckon they're the ones with god on their side ...

And so they're outraged that a religion founded on a royal divorce isn't recognised as "the Faith", up there with all the other ratbag views of the world.

Which helps explain why fundies have so much even in common, even when their fundamentalisms clash in the dark, angry night.

Just like the homophobia and hatred of the rights of complimentary women (would you like seventy two virgins to supplement your patriarchal Anglican view of the world, with free popcorn?) ...

Those pars above were scribbled by - you've guessed it - a Jensenist, in Are There Three Ways to Live?, and so being a zealot is a matter for celebration:

Being zealous for good works (Titus 2:14), devoting ourselves as living sacrifices to God (Romans 12:1) sounds a little excessive. “Zealots”, “sacrifice” are not words of our culture, but of religious extremism. It makes us rather weird in the eyes of our society. We wind up with a life that is so different to those around us that we become alienated from our culture. Evangelistically we fear losing contact with our neighbours and our society thus making it hard to have enough in common to share the saving news of Jesus. Less nobly, we are afraid of being rejected, put down, discriminated against, ridiculed, or marginalised because of our beliefs.

Well yes, because a fundamentalist intolerant ratbag is a fundie intolerant ratbag, and if they like being called zealots, so much the weirder ...

What's truly bizarre is the way these zealots travel back in time to take the thoughts of goat herders and camel riders as a guide to today's world.

It's millennial nonsense, and so Babylon and Jeremiah get trotted out for the umpteenth time:

The passage is about false prophets promising the exiles a false hope of immediate release. Jeremiah’s message was that there would be no rescue for 70 years, so, settle down and create a life for yourselves in Babylon as you wait for the rescue (and the destruction of Babylon). The welfare of Babylon was not the point but simply a matter of self-interest for the Jews. Babylon’s welfare would help them endure the 70 years and prepare a people ready to return to rebuild Jerusalem. Surprisingly, the future of God’s people did not lie in those left behind by the Babylonians in Judea but in the slaves who were taken captive in Babylon. 
We need to look into the Bible to rightly understand our way of living in this world, as we await our Lord and Saviour who rescues us from the wrath to come. For, there are only two ways - the broad road of destruction and the narrow road of life. So we must be wary of our own sinful desire and the world’s pressure to find a third way to live. Our work and our community activity is not a third way. God’s way to live is through zealous submission to our Lord.

The wrath to come? The wrath that keeps on coming but never seems to come? As opposed to say a drone or climate change?

Zealous submission?

And there's the problem of course. It's not enough that they zealously submit. They want everyone else in a state of zealous submission, and the next thing you know, you're on the highway to hell and a Caliphate ...

It's completely beyond the pond why Christian fanatics and fundamentalists would scribble texts that give comfort to Islamic fundamentalists, but that's the way of fundamentalists.

Any form of extremism in a storm as they suffer in Babylon and wait for deliverance.

It's a remarkably child-like view, perfectly encapsulated in comic book form:

Not even a man-eating shark!

With apologies to that great barking mad fundamentalist Paul:

When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a thinking human bean, I put away childish things and all forms of fundamentalist and religious extremism.


  1. DP - here's another one for you. John of God, who's coming to Australia soon.

    And I think you should revise use of the term 'ratbag.' A small pet rat looking lost and hungry turned up at our backdoor last week. We have taken him in and he is a delightful little soul. Friendly and intelligent - probably a lot more so than some other ratbags I could mention.


  2. OMG "Scott Morrison says a young Australian who appeared this week in propaganda video by the militia group Islamic State is a “victim to the most barbaric and brutal betrayal of his own religion”."

    And he can't see that he is a victim to the most venal and ignorant betrayal of the teaching of his Jesus?

    Christianity is no better than either of the other patriarchal one god religions if they reference the old testament as a guide or justification. This is an instant hypocrisy that negates any superiority they claim over the 'other' patriachial religions.

    And... I can't find it on the Saturday Extra page but I did hear Tanveer Ahmed on a segment there saying something interesting and credible about the different parenting styles between western and some islamic cultures and beliefs about how and when children should be socialised into the community norms. He explained that in western families - (the functional ones, I'd add) - children are, from birth trained to understand the rules, but in tribal societies children are left to be children until adolescence when they are intensively inducted into the social rules.

    This doesn't work here in Oz because the older men who are supposed to train the young men to be good Muslims are either not available, or not capable of doing it and also, it takes more than one man to socialise young men; it is not just the responsibility of the father in tribal societies where extended families are much more important.

    1. Anon2 - you may have been thinking of Jared Diamond, as this is one of his themes, although within the context of PNG society (and not without controversy).

      "The couple raised their boys “like pygmies”, he says, meaning they strove consciously to employ parenting techniques Jared had witnessed in New Guinea, allowing the children maximum freedom, letting them risk minor injury through risk-taking, and never spanking them. The notion that traditional societies might have much to teach the rest of us is the premise of Diamond’s most recent book, The World Until Yesterday, published in 2012. The way that hunter-gatherer societies live today, he writes, is how all of us lived for 6m years; in all that time, mightn’t they have discovered some worthwhile solutions to life’s challenges?"

  3. Hi Anon 3

    I'm not really into Diamond, he's good but misses critical things about the relationship between developmental potentials and socialisation practices, I think Sarah Blaffer Hrdy's insights has a lot to offer this area of psych that have not been noticed yet - she's a woman, that's why she is not accorded the acknowledgement she is due.

    It really am sure it truly was the Walleed man - but I may be delusional and imagining things - this does happen to me. I am trying to be even handed and not a bigot against a person who regularly shows himself to be a self-serving, up-himself twit, by rewarding him when he does something good. :)

    Simple behavioural techniques should work on the types of people who have been raised with a limited and dysfunctional view of human nature that seems to be common to the graduates of privileged private schools.

    Peter Sutton, in his book "The Pollitics of Suffering" also points to blackfella child raising practices as not being the same as our 'civilized' behaviours.

    1. Agree completely re Sarah Blaffer Hrdy.
      Do you mean Tanveer Ahmed or Waleed Aly, though? I'd listen to the latter (despite his flaws) much more readily than to the former :)

  4. Cardinal ScamettiOct 26, 2014, 11:08:00 AM

    Ah the old bait and switch. Teach them paranoia, call it piety, and they'll hide behind your cassock forever.

  5. I wonder what the situation would be with bodies that are vaporized via a nuclear explosion or petrol bomb, or smithereened by a high explosive bomb.
    And what about bodies that have been cremated, especially those where the ashes have then been scattered at sea or out in the wilds as it were.


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