Sunday, March 29, 2015

In which the pond meditates on a greenieocalypse, and sundry branches of religion, not least the angry Sydney Anglicans, before discovering a false messiah prone to lying ...

(Above: and the full story with hot links at the ABC here).

Oh no, not Newtown.

Not sweet hipster, tattooed, toilet bearded, 1950s dress-wearing, Newtown, suddenly part of the greenieocalypse ...

And oh lordy, long absent lordy, what will it mean for the upper house?

Now will anyone in the commentariat notice, or more to the point, will either of the major parties notice and pay attention?

Or will they simply set up border patrols to try to isolate the disease?

Will it surprise Mike Baird, as his explicit intention is to destroy Newtown, courtesy of a motorway?

Will anyone notice the way the inner west has turned on both major parties, given their rampant indifference, and the way they routinely shrug at the latte sipper stereotype while trampling over the inner west?

Probably not. What's it matter how gulag dwellers vote?

But enough of politics, because today is meditation day, and it's time to get the show off with a bang, thanks to Melbourne priest apologises for derogatory comments about Jill Meagher.

Now the pond usually tries to refrain from displays of feminist outrage. Women's shows, like men's shows, have little appeal, as opposed to people shows.

But every so often, the complete contempt for women within the church and within the legal system - in this case in Victoria - gets too much to bear.

A Catholic priest has sparked outrage at a primary school in Melbourne's west over controversial comments he made about Jill Meagher's death at an end-of-term service. 
The priest reportedly held up a newspaper with Adrian Bayley's face on it, before mentioning rape and murder to students, staff and about 100 other parishioners at St Christopher's Primary School at Airport West on Friday. 
The 3AW Drive program, presented by Tom Elliott, was told the priest then said that if Ms Meagher had been "more faith-filled" she "would have been home in bed" and "not walking down Sydney Rd at 3am" when she was raped and murdered by Bayley in September 2012. (3AW here).

Okay, the pond routinely expects that sort of monstrous stupidity from the church, trying to instil fear in impressionable young minds.

It's the legal system in Victoria that really got the pond going, with news that Bayley had been done for some twenty crimes of rape, and yet the legal system - women in that system included - bent over backwards to keep him in the streets, because after all, sex workers aren't real women ...

Two of his victims, a Dutch backpacker and a St Kilda sex worker were raped just months before Bayley murdered Ms Meagher. He was on parole at the time after serving eight years in jail for a string of rapes of sex workers in 2000. Bayley has more than 20 rape convictions.

Now the pond isn't usually in the 'lock 'em up' brigade of punitive solutions,  but surely someone within the system might have noticed the predilection, instead of favouring Bayley with a number of secret trials ...

But what's the bet that consideration of the issues within the Victorian legal system will be downplayed, because after all, it's only women and really they shouldn't be out in the streets at 3 am. That's asking for it. They should have been in bed at 9 pm after doing their wifely duty by their hubbie, and all will be well in the world ...

But enough of the anger. How about a bit of humour with Marcus Bachmann Refused Service in Indiana, Store Owner Assumed He Was Gay?

Oh sure, it's a spoof, but we can all dream a little ...

Meanwhile, the pond has in recent times paid little attention to the angry Sydney Anglicans, and how remiss that is, because the Reverend Mark Thompson, the principal of Moore Theological College, which is currently turning its Newtown bunker into a gigantic fortress, has delivered a most splendid denunciation available on the angry Sydney Anglican site here.

So angry and stern and denunciatory - and let's face it, with a tinge of the barking mad - did the good Reverend sound, that at the end, the good Reverend felt the need to withdraw a little from his extremist rage:

The first edition of this article concluded with a quote from Gal 1.9 and Paul’s anathematising of anyone preaching a false gospel. On reflection, quoting this verse may have created the impression that anyone who has expressed something similar to or touching upon a gospel of inclusion or unity or cosmic renewal or social justice was henceforth anathema. This was not at all my intention. Paul opposed Peter in Galatia because Peter was in the wrong on a gospel issue — this did not render Peter immediately cursed!

Oh dear, what a cop-out. But everyone knows, good Reverend, that only angry Sydney Anglicans know the wise and true theological path to eternal bliss, and that everyone else must be damned heretics, worthy of anathema, and eternal life in hell.

Surely there's no point in fudging the point! They're all cursed, let them rot. Enough of this inclusionary nonsense, let's have some decent sound exclusion ...

The gospel of inclusion has swept many parts of the United States. According to this gospel, there are no grounds on which anyone could be left outside the kingdom. No matter what background, belief or behaviour — all must be recognised as belonging in the kingdom, because no one is excluded. The grain of truth in this view is the simple fact that according to the New Testament the gospel does cross what many in the first century considered insuperable barriers and so includes the outcast, the marginalised and the foreigner in the blessings first promised to Israel. All who come in repentance and faith are welcomed. But this is not everyone and it does not disregard persistence in immorality of whatever kind. In the end, this view of the gospel requires some imaginative exegesis of vast swathes of the New Testament (not to mention the Old Testament). How does it square with the picture of the end, where amongst those outside the city include ‘the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practises falsehood’ (Rev 22.15)? Not everyone is inside. The gospel excludes those who, tragically, will not come (Mk 4.11–12; Matt 25.41–46).

And as only Sydney Anglicans are inside, and routinely are known to come, only Sydney Anglicans will be saved. QED.

And won't that come in handy when we look at the sins of politicians, who love and practise falsehood ...

But with the Catholics and the angry Anglicans ticked off, that leaves the pond without a mention of the infidels who call others infidels.

These days fundie Islamics are really beyond satire, or comprehension, but right at the moment, the pond is reading Mark Litta's appreciation Slouching Toward Mecca,  the third of his articles on Michel Houellebecq's Soumission, which handily is outside the paywall here, at least for the moment.

The logic of Rediger (the name is a play on a real academic reviled and ruined by Islamists) in the book should appeal to the likes of the good Reverend Thompson:

At a certain point he (Rediger) couldn’t ignore how much the Islamists’ message overlapped with his own. They, too, idealized the life of simple, unquestioning piety and despised modern culture and the Enlightenment that spawned it. They believed in hierarchy within the family, with wives and children there to serve the father. They, like he, hated diversity—especially diversity of opinion—and saw homogeneity and high birthrates as vital signs of civilizational health. And they quivered with the eros of violence. All that separated him from them was that they prayed on rugs and he prayed at an altar. But the more Rediger reflected, the more he had to admit that in truth European and Islamic civilizations were no longer comparable. By all the measures that really mattered, post-Christian Europe was dying and Islam was flourishing. If Europe was to have a future, it would have to be an Islamic one.

Why yes, that's very Catholic in its attitude to women, and worthy of angry Sydney Anglicanism.

And so it's back to the patriarchy:

The Roman Empire lasted centuries, the Christian one a millennium and a half. In the distant future, historians will see that European modernity was just an insignificant, two-century-long deviation from the eternal ebb and flow of religiously grounded civilizations. 
This Spenglerian prophecy leaves François untouched; his concerns are all prosaic, like whether he can choose his wives. Still, something keeps him from submitting. As for Rediger, between sips of a fine Meursault and while his “Hello Kitty”–clad fifteen-year-old wife (one of three) brings in snacks, he goes in for the kill. As forbidden music plays in the background, he defends the Koran by appealing—in a brilliant Houellebecqian touch—to Dominique Aury’s sadomasochistic novel The Story of O. 
The lesson of O, he tells François, is exactly the same as that of the Holy Book: that “the summit of human happiness is to be found in absolute submission,” of children to parents, women to men, and men to God. And in return, one receives life back in all its splendor. Because Islam does not, like Christianity, see human beings as pilgrims in an alien, fallen world, it does not see any need to escape it or remake it. The Koran is an immense mystical poem in praise of the God who created the perfect world we find ourselves in, and teaches us how to achieve happiness in it through obedience. Freedom is just another word for wretchedness. 
And so François converts, in a short, modest ceremony at the Grande Mosquée de Paris. He does so without joy or sadness. He feels relief, just as he imagines his beloved Huysmans did when he converted to Catholicism. Things would change. He would get his wives and no longer have to worry about sex or love; he would finally be mothered. Children would be an adjustment but he would learn to love them, and they would naturally love their father. Giving up drinking would be more difficult but at least he would get to smoke and screw. So why not? His life is exhausted, and so is Europe’s. It’s time for a new one—any one.

Indeed. The Story of O as a guide to religious thinking ...

 ... so the continent is adrift and susceptible to a much older temptation, to submit to those claiming to speak for God. Who remains as remote and as silent as ever.

But let's not be gloomy that She remains as remote and as silent as ever.

She works in most peculiar ways, and through some strange vessels, including the good Reverend Thompson, railing at those who practise falsehoods.

Which brings us, as a closer, to Tony Abbott. As the angry Sydney Anglican reminds us:

We are not at liberty to redefine it for a different age or introduce a ‘full gospel’ as if the gospel as it was preached by Jesus and then by his apostles was deficient in some way or other. We have no authority to omit part of it for any reason, least of all that we are uncomfortable with it. We have a responsibility to pass on what we have received, undiluted and unaugmented. It is not our message, it is God’s message to us.

Uh huh, except of course that the angry Sydney Anglicans always preclude the old testament as a message because of its sundry tricky passages about stonings, dietary habits and other comical absurdities ... ah Leviticus, Leviticus ...neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee ... not to mention drip dry shirts and skirts ...

....because the authentic word of god must be diluted to taste, and augmented to hellfire and brimstone, by the angry Sydney Anglicans... though the pond offers to be the first in line to stone the architects and builders of the monstrosity at the end of King street, currently rising like a tower of Babel ...

Never mind, let us remind ourselves what Revelation has to say about liars, along with others:

... as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death. (Revelation 21:8).

Indeed, indeed. Is there an exemplary liar in the house?

That's in the Graudian here,  and so sinners can continue to slouch towards Bethlehem, or at least towards the delights of the budget, and the subsequent backflips ...

Yep, you don't have to head off to mathematicians to realise Tony Abbott is a liar: It's a mathematical truth.

You can just enjoy the memes instead:

So like all liars it seems he's off to hell for all eternity, unless the Catholic confessional really does work and the Pellists have a special dispensation to lie for political advantage and personal gain.

So where does that leave us? You know, eternal damnation is all very well, but what about the present? The here and now?

Well if you listen to the angry Sydney Anglicans forget about the present. Instead you'd better watch out for a really bitter, angry, judgmental god.

Is She fucked in the head or what, though it seems there might be hope, and some pie, or at least some porridge, in the sky in the bye and bye ...

The salvation the gospel brings is salvation from the judgment and wrath of God before all else. All other things, social disintegration, ecological catastrophe, political tyranny, economic loss, dashed hopes in so many areas — all other things pale in the light of salvation from the judgment and the holy, justified anger of the living God. We are not simply the passive victims of sinful structures and forces outside of us; we are sinners who are active and responsible for the sins we have committed. The absolutely right and just and pure wrath of God at sin is exactly what we all deserve. Yet because of Jesus and his death and resurrection, those who are his are saved from ‘the wrath to come’. That is the good news of the gospel.

Wrath, holy anger and so on and so forth, and the rest doesn't matter?

Ah well, the pond will just have to settle for the promise of an election in which liars are judged, along with a couple of golden oldie cartoons:


  1. From ABC News:
    “Deputy Premier and Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian said the Government had expected to lose seats but was "thrilled" with the outcome so far.
    "We're thrilled with some of the results we're seeing, but there is still a lot of counting to go," Ms Berejiklian said.”

    A swing of 10% to Labor and she’s thrilled?? Now there is a woman who’ll dance to any song.

    1. She's thrilled the Libs weren't demolished, which by any sane analysis they should have been.

      Until you consider who might have demolished them, that is…..

  2. And back in the USA, Ted Cruz, who has spent most of his career trying to demolish Obamacare, has signed up to be covered by it.

    1. Hi Joe,

      Considering what has been emanating from Cruz's mouth recently he probably needs as much medical attention as possible. His latest offerings indicate some sort of mental impairment.

      After describing people who believed that Global Warming was real, as "the equivalent of flat-earthers", he went on to say;

      "It used to be it is accepted scientific wisdom the Earth is flat, and this heretic named Galileo was branded a denier,”

      Evidently Cruz doesn't know that Galileo's "heresy" was to claim that the earth wasn't the centre of the universe but instead revolved around the sun. That the earth is round has been firmly established scientific fact for Millenia. Indeed Eratosthenes calculated its circumference well over 2000 years ago.

      The origins of the Flat earth myth are actually quite modern;


    2. The pond thought you were doing a gigantic leg pull Joe, and had to do a Greg Hunt, and what do you know?

      Cruz's selling point to GOP voters is that he's a principled conservative who will never compromise and never back down. His hesitation muddied that otherwise crystal-clear image.

      It was also ill-advised for Cruz to suggest that he had no choice other than to sign up for Obamacare through his job at the U.S. Senate — when, in fact, he does.

      The reason Cruz suddenly needs health insurance is that, until now, his family was covered by a policy provided by his wife's employer, Goldman Sachs. Heidi Cruz has decided to go on unpaid leave during her husband's presidential campaign; the couple have two young daughters.

      What are Cruz's alternatives to buying a policy through the government-run exchange? His wife could ask Goldman Sachs to continue their coverage under the firm's generous unpaid leave programs, but that might look like a sweetheart deal. She could apply for continued coverage under the federal COBRA law — but since she didn't lose her job, but is departing voluntarily, she might not qualify.

      Or Cruz could buy a policy directly from an insurance company. Blue Cross of Texas, for example, offers policies for a family headed by a 44-year-old beginning at $623 a month, although that comes with a hefty $12,700 deductible.

      Finally, Cruz could refuse to buy health insurance at all and pay a penalty to the Treasury on top of his taxes.

      He hasn't done any of those things.

      And that's the health system they want to introduce to Australia!

  3. Thanks for the link to Polster and Ross in The Age, DP. I'd not seen them before; as somebody trained in the curious science of mathematics, I find them a very interesting read.

    1. Eek, a mathematician. It's all Etruscan to the pond, but we do appreciate the art of the logarithm on the internet. Wait, should that be algorithm? Whatever ... maths rulez ...

    2. Mercurial, presumably by now you have used your search engine to find P+R, fine perveyors of the "Curious Science" they are.
      And, Ms Loon, "Eek" is somewhat close to the way my family descrobes me when I bang on about the complete lack of logic in the political process. And don't get me started on the "fundies"

    3. P + R wrote: "But it is unarguable that Australian society currently places a depressingly low value on reason and truth, and so on science in particular. We believe mathematics teaching must take its fair share of the blame."

      Bertrand Russell took a sqiz at this issue in ('the' book of Russell essays, imho) Mysticism and logic and other essays, in Chapter IV, THE STUDY OF MATHEMATICS. In 1902! C'mon maths teachers, struth:

      IN regard to every form of human activity it is necessary that the question should be asked from time to time, What is its purpose and ideal ? In what way does it contribute to the beauty of human existence ? ...

      ..The characteristic excellence of mathematics is only to be found where the reasoning is rigidly logical : the rules of logic are to mathematics what those of structure are to architecture. In the most beautiful work, a chain of argument is presented in which every link is important on its own account, in which there is an air of ease and lucidity throughout, and the premises achieve more than would have been thought possible, by means which appear natural and inevitable. Literature embodies what is general in particular circumstances whose universal significance shines through their individual dress ; but mathematics endeavours to present whatever is most general in its purity, without any irrelevant trappings.

      How should the teaching of mathematics be conducted so as to communicate to the learner as much as possible of this high ideal ?

      One of the chief ends served by mathematics, when rightly taught, is to awaken the learner's belief in reason, his confidence in the truth of what has been demonstrated, and in the value of demonstration. This purpose is not served by existing instruction ; but it is easy to see ways in which it might be served. At present, in what concerns arithmetic, the boy or girl is given a set of rules, which present themselves as neither true nor false, but as merely the will of the teacher, the way in which, for some unfathomable reason, the teacher prefers to have the game played.

      (In the beginning of algebra..) Usually the method that has been adopted in arithmetic is continued : rules are set forth, with no adequate explanation of their grounds ; the pupil learns to use the rules blindly... But of inner comprehension of the processes employed he has probably acquired almost nothing.

      ..So far from producing a fearless belief in reason, ...a mathematical training, ...encouraged the belief that many things, which a rigid inquiry would reject as fallacious, must yet be accepted ... By this means, a timid, compromising spirit, or else a sacerdotal belief in mysteries not intelligible to the profane, has been bred where reason alone should have ruled. All this it is now time to sweep away...

      Too often it is said that there is no absolute truth, but only opinion and private judgment ; that each of us is conditioned, in his view of the world, by his own peculiarities, his own taste and bias ; that there is no external kingdom of truth to which, by patience and discipline, we may at last obtain admittance, but only truth for me, for you, for every separate person. By this habit of mind one of the chief ends of human effort is denied, and the supreme virtue of candour, of fearless acknowledgment of what is, disappears from our moral vision. Of such scepticism mathematics is a perpetual reproof ; for its edifice of truths stands unshakable and inexpugnable to all the weapons of doubting cynicism.

      ...Of these austerer virtues the love of truth is the chief, and in mathematics, more than else where, the love of truth may find encouragement for waning faith. Every great study is not only an end in itself, but also a means of creating and sustaining a lofty habit of
      mind ; and this purpose should be kept always in view throughout the teaching and learning of mathematics.

  4. Replies
    1. Good link. Pretty much the same scenario at the other end.
      More red flags than one can poke a stick at if bothered to search.Bit scary.


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