“Wouldn’t the world be a better place if … ?”
As one who steps back from The AIMN from time to time, I appreciated Michael and Carol’s post about setting some standards, or reviving ones that have been breached too often.
My particular gripe is to do with religion, on two fronts: the belittling of those with any sort of religious belief, and the way that Christians are denigrated that would be deleted if it were directed at any other religious group, most particularly, in the Australian context, Muslims. Additionally, I find it offensive that so much criticism is theologically illiterate and/or just plain ignorant. On that last point, no serious biblical scholar believes that the bible is a blow-by-blow history book. And for those whose last encounter with “religious instruction” was in their school days, like everything else, times have changed: questions and debate are not so much allowed as encouraged. That some remain unconvinced by the time they leave school is no different now than way back when.
Context: I am a Christian. I identify as Catholic but not a “good” one. I’m critical of the current and very critical of the last two leadership régimes. I rarely go to Mass but every so often go to a Lutheran church which has a magnificent music programme that incorporates Bach cantatas into its services, as they were intended when written. I also have a B Theol, for my sins, and continue to read in that vein from time to time.
I find it offensive when Christians are regularly mocked for believing in some ‘fairy in the sky’ or ‘imaginary friend’. I, and other Christians, are well aware that, some earlier Christian writings to the contrary, we cannot prove that what we call God exists. But equally, mockers cannot prove that God does not exist. The only logical and defensible position to hold is agnosticism.
I find it ignorant when a ‘straw man’ is held up as a Christian, and Christianity and all Christians are thereby dismissed. Such was the position of AC Grayling in one of his books when I decided to read what someone from his school of thought (which includes Dawkins) actually had to say. On the basis of what he offered, I could agree with his position. But that was trumped by finding so many flaws in that position.
It’s rather like holding up Morrison and Abbott and other self-proclaimed Christians in Parliament and saying these are Christians, this is why religion is bad. There are atheists who are equally as bad, but critics do not therefore denounce atheism. In the past I have commented on The AIMN site that I only wish that those who are not religious, who are anti-religious, would challenge the hypocrites in Parliament, getting them to justify their policies and practices when held up to the light of their professed beliefs. They could bullshit all they liked but, bottom line, Morrison, Abbott and Co deviate so far from Christian beliefs that it is sickening.
Christians are also well aware that their “how to live well” instructions are not unique to that religious group. Does that matter? I don’t think so. “The Good” is pretty much generally agreed by all, giving rise to many guides to leading a good life. Some of these are codified in some form, both in the tenets of religious organisations and in non-religious spheres such as civil and criminal law.
I’m no historian but my impression is that in most times and places in recorded human history, humans have believed in some sort of deity or creator. By extension, for most of recorded history all the bad, and good, actions in the world have been caused or done by people who have a religious belief or practice. I’m not saying that no wars have been fought on religious grounds, that would be absurd. But it is just as absurd to say that all wars are religiously inspired. If you leave it at that level, nuance and reason are totally lacking. Similarly for all the lesser evils of daily life. People are flawed humans before they are flawed believers. Lust for power and possessions, fear, envy, jealousy, anger and all the rest are common to all humanity, whether believer, agnostic or atheist. To blame the ills of the world on religion seriously short-changes the search for peace and cooperation.
As I have also commented on The AIMN, being so insulting to people of faith only puts them off-side. In spite of religious leaders not speaking out, in the case, for example, of Manus and Nauru; or speaking only too loudly, for example regarding marriage equality, grass-roots Christians overwhelmingly support social justice, fairness, inclusion – the same thing that many, but not all, atheists support. Why alienate your allies?
As a not entirely irrelevant side issue, I have no objection to churches paying tax. I would only warn that a cost-benefit analysis might be a wise undertaking before legislating. We know about the rotten church leaders and the rotten followers of religion. But we don’t hear so much about the grass-roots followers of religion who donate so much time and money to serving all in the community, not only their co-religionists. If paying tax forced some services provided by churches to close through lack of funds, (a) would the government pick up the slack? I’m sceptical. Taking but one example, where are all the facilities that were promised when deinstitutionalisation was in vogue? And (b), would all those volunteers and donors want to become part of any government run replacement, should such miraculously occur?
The harm that religious believers have done must be admitted. But all the good they have done must also be admitted. To not do so is dishonest. You could say the same about atheists but that is rarely if ever heard. I can understand that anyone hurt by a religious person (who, by hurting, is betraying their beliefs) would abandon a church they were brought up in, even criticise it. Some, hurt or not, stick with their beliefs even while leaving their church. Others stay in their church and work from within to bring about change.
Even if you have no religious belief, wouldn’t the world be a better place if you helped those of faith to be their best selves, living up to their beliefs, rather than attacking them?
Diannaart made a comment following Michael and Carol’s piece with which I am in hearty agreement:
There are many people here I’d like to meet because I find them very interesting compassionate and intelligent. There are also a very small number of commentators I would like to meet face to face and discover if they would say the same things to my face, the things they have had no compunction writing.
So if you could reign in the bigoted, insulting and ignorant articles and comments about religion, then you would be doing more good than harm, whether Google notices or not.
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My feeling is that religion is being forced on us, in our schools and in our laws. Particularly by Morrison and more than ever before. I have no problem with people who believe but I cannot respect those beliefs. So I am angry that qualified counsellors have been removed from schools and replaced by purveyors of religion. And I do not believe the law should be changed to allow schools to turf out LBT etc. kids nor refuse employment to a teacher on those grounds. I feel that the more people like these so called religious politicians push religion on us, the more angry the people will become.
“So if you could reign in the bigoted”, etc., a big ask, after all the ignorant bigots have many platforms to air their views, which, of course, can be counter acted by giving an alternate viewpoint, or simply change the channel.
I grew up with no religious indoctrination whatsoever but take your point of lumping all christians as hypocrites. I have been wondering lately, given the perfection of this planet, could there possibly be a god or gods, an intelligence that has formed this place and its life forms.
Are we the insane asylum of the universe, consigned to life after life till we reach a saner understanding of life, the universe and everything else? So many questions, so many viewpoints. The only thing I’m certain of is that I haven’t got a clue.
It is the hypocricy that gets me annoyed with the people who seem determined to shove their morals down my throat. Be a Christian or whatever, but do not seek to encapsulate your religious beliefs in secular law … or my bedroom
For those who attack religious beliefs. particularly the Christian religion, I can sympathize after reading the findings of the RC into Institutionalized child abuse and other disturbing reports.
However, there is one area where I am interested to hear other views, and that is the role of God Parents.
I know with my own children, it was of some comfort to know we had others who could or would help raise our children if we departed early.
In the absence of a religious ceremony, is there anything proposed to replace the baptism and appointment of God Parents?
In my not-so-humble opinion, you are defending the indefensible, Margcal.
As someone who was very religiously inclined in my youth and had, at one time, intended to enter into ecclesiastical college, all I can say is that, in my extensive studies since that time I have been unable to find the slightest justification for the claims of any of the various religions which I have examined.
In fact, I now consider that, in all its forms, religion is merely a confidence trick imposed on the innocent by those who wish to gain wealth and power over the general population.
In essence, religions are the very cause of most of the suffering in this world: They are fundamentally evil.
David Bruce: “In the absence of a religious ceremony, is there anything proposed to replace the baptism and appointment of God Parents?”
In the absence of the divisive absolutism of religious faith, any half decent community would be quite capable of looking after everyone within it.
I have some sympathy with Margcal because it is always a pity when overgeneralisation results in hurting those who have done no harm.
However, when those in power in various sects insist that members of the LGBTIQ community cannot be regarded as having the same rights as ‘straight’ males and females, then my blood boils!
My personal view is that a search for truth and the meaning of life is natural and communities need to have some ethical system to maximise the possibility of living in harmony. That said – if that is helped by believing in some supernatural being, that is a personal issue and should not be forced on others who prefer a more scientific approach.
… cannot prove that God does not exist. Sorry, but you leave yourself open to ridicule with such a statement.
As for religious people being good people (in the main), I can only agree with their intent by and large. As for the overall outcome – that’s a different matter.
But it’s interesting to see another point of view on this site. More power to your arm.
I think I might be one of the bigots. I am an atheist, I do not like religions very much, mainly because as a social enterprise they let people down, a lot. Especially politicians who claim to be religious. I know I have posted things which religious people might find offensive. Although I draw a line at name calling or other childish behaviour.
That said, I do know there are many good people, intelligent people, who are religious. Some are my friends, others high profile such as Father Bob Maguire. I don’t believe these people are good because they’re religious, I believe it is because decency is a part of their character.
I think margcal would be among those I’d like to meet for a chat, not a face-off. 😉
I shall remain an atheist until someone can produce irrevocable and empirical evidence that an invisible all-powerful being in the sky exsists (the same goes for life after death). Saying it relies on faith and belief does not cut it for me. Providing anecdotal evidence also does not count in the slightest.
If you want to talk religion I’m prepared to listen, however you must be prepared to offer me the same courtesy to listen to my point of view otherwise I’m gone.
Heaven and hell, for want of a better term, is what you make of your own life while you exist on this planet.
There is not one single aspect of our world or anything in it or beyond it that requires some supposedly omnipotent being.
The religious texts and rituals cross over one another and parts of one are found in another. The tenets and creeds of the religions are clearly the words of human beings – men for the main part. There is no ‘Word of God’.
As for proof, that is a red herring for the impossible can never be proved, only the possible. Far from proof, not one shred of evidence has ever been revealed that even distantly points to the possibility of a god.
The difference between atheism and agnosticism is really only one of degree so there is no sense to your statement that ‘The only logical and defensible position to hold is agnosticism.’
The religions are simply a development of primitive superstition that, in retrospect can be easily understand for it was humankind’s way of explaining the apparently inexplicable, long before knowledge had progressed such that the real cause was known.
It is clear that the powerful – kings, queens, dictators, whatever, allied themselves with the sooth-sayers, witch doctors, prophets, and what have you because that alliance benefited and privileged each of them and held the masses within their power. So, Church & State have connived all over the World and continue to do so today.
It is that alliance that has fundamentally created the environments, motivation and conditioning of otherwise, for the most part, groups of sensible human beings to commit acts of atrocity, war, ritual sacrifice, the child abuse accompanying coming of age, such as male and female circumcision and worse. Much of this continues in the current millennium and is both obnoxious and unforgivable, just as was the sacrifice of virgins or firstborns and other such abominations.
You mention hypocrisy in your article and I agree with your opinion of some of our Australian politicians in that respect with regard to both religion and other matters. However, you, yourself, state that you are a Catholic but ‘not a good one’ and that you go to a Lutheran church sometimes, primarily it seems, because it plays music which appeals to your feelings. That sort of stance is not uncommon and if it isn’t hypocritical, what is it?
I agree that human beings need to become more tolerant and accepting of one another and seek to see the benefits of difference rather than to fear it, which sadly seems to be the more common reaction. However, as I’ve indicated, religious indoctrination and alliance with the State has been most responsible for that situation. I disagree with the generalisation that people ‘are flawed humans before they are flawed believers’. There is nothing to indicate that a newborn is already predisposed to being ‘flawed’. There is much evidence to indicate the harm and negative change that occurs to many who adopt one or another religous creed.
There is much that is censored from out television and film screens and even from our literature. Supposedly, it is for our benefit and to save us from being perverted or some such. [Strangely, the censors are somehow special human beings who, even on a massive diet of such material, never suffer any ill.] Yet, the television channels have many programs such as those of Swaggert and other self-styled preachers. What they proclaim to their vast audience of simpletons is obscenity at its worst, yet they seem to have free rein to continue doing it, despite it being as clear as day to any intelligent person that it is simply a money-making venture for them.
These are the sorts of inconsistencies, hypocrisies and negatives that cause the mockery you meet about Christianity and other religions. [And I disagree that if what was aimed at Christians was aimed at Muslims it wouldn’t be tolerated. Muslims in this country receive far worse commentary than do Christians.]
The reality is that no intelligent person who takes the trouble to investigate the history of religions and religious actions, could seriously defend the existence of religion. The sooner that it disappears from human life, the better the World will be for it.
Having said that, I do not ‘mock’ the religious but I will speak to them as I have here and point out the irrationality and harm that religion has caused and continues to cause. I know that you feel otherwise but there is no doubt in my mind that it does far more harm than it does good.
I would also point out that ethics and morality are not honestly derived from religions. That is simply part of the confidence trick that religions have foisted on the masses. Its lack of credibility is easily attested by the litany of persecution, horrors, & appalling rituals that it has foisted on humanity.
Finally, because I read much of what is posted on AIMN, I wonder how I have missed all these ‘…bigoted, insulting and ignorant articles and comments about religion’ to which you refer?
nonsibicunctis, It seems that you are not in the business of winning hearts and minds. Prefer a sledge hammer to crack a nut – and so on.
As an aside – I think I know how you would answer this hypothetical question from the metaphorical wife.
Have a nice day.
“Darling – does my bum look too big in this?” In what, pants, concrete, dress, wooden barrel, rubber (phwooer) cat suit, in a photo with The Potato or a myriad of other things?
Kronomex, the context may or may not be all that important (and include what part of the anatomy you like) but I suggest that you ALWAYS think very carefully about the answer. Just jokin …
Prepare to be scolded…..
“The reality is that no intelligent person who takes the trouble to investigate the history of religions and religious actions, could seriously defend the existence of religion. The sooner that it disappears from human life, the better the World will be for it.
Having said that, I do not ‘mock’ the religious but I will speak to them as I have here and point out the irrationality and harm that religion has caused and continues to cause. I know that you feel otherwise but there is no doubt in my mind that it does far more harm than it does good.
I would also point out that ethics and morality are not honestly derived from religions. That is simply part of the confidence trick that religions have foisted on the masses. Its lack of credibility is easily attested by the litany of persecution, horrors, & appalling rituals that it has foisted on humanity.”
Yes, i wholeheartedly concur with you, but many here do not, apparently. The usual criticism you will receive is that religious people are so good and kind and nice (barf) as if their goodness niceness and kindness was entirely due to their cracked in the head belief in the unbelieveable.
We all know the answer religious institutions will give if asked to give up their tax concessions. Phony profiteering con artists, eg Jimmy Swaggert and family.
MN, if I was in a relationship (never have been and probably never will) my answer would one two things depending on the tone of the question.
“Pain of death if I answer truthfully?”
Hi Margcal, as you probably realise, I’m atheist.
I can actually prove to you that none of the gods promoted by the thousands of religions exists if you want me to, but you probably don’t want to hear that. I don’t blame you. And I have no desire to thrust such knowledge upon you.
You are one of the religious moderates I wrote about recently that we need to help us stop the religious extremists. I don’t see moderates as the enemy, though I don’t entirely see moderates as allies either… I mean, some are… but too many moderates give cover for, and defend the extremists, or at the very least, are reluctant to criticise them.
I agree that name-calling is not good. I go out of my way to point out to people that there are many good and intelligent religious people; that calling all of them stupid or evil is factually wrong. However, I don’t think people joking about sky-fairies or invisible friends is name calling. I’ve never understood the way religious people seem to think their religion is a part of their identity, which, when ridiculed, they take as attacks upon themselves.
If someone said to me that Linux sucks hairy dog’s balls, I’d smile and wonder why that person had their knickers in a knot about Linux (depending on what annoys them about Linux I might even agree with them). I use Linux pretty-much all day, every day, and prefer it over everything else I’ve tried (and I’ve tried many, many, many computer operating systems). I’m deeply immersed in Linux and even have dreams about it! But, although I’m very heavily invested in Linux, but I don’t identify with it. Why would I? (I have met people who do identify with Linux, and with other computer systems, but I generally try to avoid such illogical folk.)
So it puzzles me that so many people identify with their religion. It is especially weird when most consider their religion like something they select at a smorgasborg. (I like this part of this religion so I’ll believe it, but I’ll omit these yucky parts of it. Those other religions are not nice so I won’t believe them.) How do people see reality as a choice? And if their reasons are so casual, why would they be insulted when people joke about them? I just don’t understand that.
That said, I do try not to say things which will upset my religious friends and relatives. At the same time I always try to make it clear that although I respect the people, I don’t respect their beliefs.
It’s easy to prove that the world is not flat. All you have to do is watch a ship sail over the horizon, then take an elevator to the top of a nearby building and notice that you could see the ship again. If I introduced to you a very pleasant person who believed that the world was flat, I expect you’d say that you respect them, but not their silly belief.
Oh, Miriam English, what a clever person you must be. “I can actually prove to you that none of the gods promoted by the thousands of religions exists if you want me to, but you probably don’t want to hear that.”
Well, perhaps you are right that Margcal wouldn’t want to hear that or perhaps you’re not. However I would certainly love to hear your ‘proof’.
So, please, go for it. Enlighten us all.
nonsibicunctis, rather than post something here likely to be distasteful to Margcal, I’ll instead post it as a comment to my own article:
Give me an two or three hours. I need to fix dinner first and organise a few things.
I’m awaiting too. Seems like one mountain of a claim.
It’s actually absurdly easy.
I have been thinking about your reference to how we, on the left, tend to protect Muslims more than we do Christians (that’s not actually what you said but where my mind went).
It kind of reminded me of when I had to umpire my daughter’s netball game. In a misguided attempt to appear fair, I penalised my own daughter out of the game.
As I have said before, my main problem with the church is the worship part. I think it’s a waste of time and money and in conflict with the philosophy. I love the community coming together to help each other and I love knowing our neighbours. (And I have always loved a good hymn. My grandmother, followed by my aunty, played the church organ for services and we all grew up playing piano and belting out our faves. One of my best friends was a bell-ringer at our church – that was fun too).
Another problem I have is those who believe strongly often feel it their duty to ‘save’ you. Religious beliefs affect legislation which then affects others’ lives. Within families, there is pressure – in my own case I have greatly disappointed people I love by my decision not to have my children baptised.
It’s complicated but we should all respect each other’s choices.
PS Father Rod Bowers is running for the Senate. I would encourage all in NSW to vote for him. He would be an enormous asset.
I wasn’t going to read the comments but I’m hopeless so I did see ….
I think margcal would be among those I’d like to meet for a chat, not a face-off. 😉
Dianna, I would say the same about you and would be delighted if it were happen.
Somewhere along the line I got the impression that you have the misfortune, as I do, to be in Josh’s seat. Maybe I go that wrong.
If your comment was anything more than a rhetorical, I’d be happy for Michael to pass on my email address if you asked and if he has no (perfectly understandable) policy against doing such a thing.
And No to your I think I might be ….. 🙂
No one who believes in fairies at the bottom of the garden would be an asset in the Senate or anywhere else. There is already too much irrationality, ignorance, and excusing of bad behaviour within our political institutions – we don’t need the epitomy of that, i.e. religion, making it even worse.
Perhaps that needs to be unpacked. In general terms, people from the one metaphorical tribe, tend to look at the other tribe and easily point out the (supposed) stupidity of their beliefs, behaviour or whatever while, at the same time, failing to look critically at their own tribe – and their unexamined ‘stupidities’. Like the fish failing to discover water, people don’t try to transcend their constructed reality and do some serious reflection.
It’s why some understanding of concepts like ethnocentricism are desirable.
It’s why I tend to defend Muslims more than Christians. It’s an attempt to have people reflect on their own irrationality as well as to explain some of the stupidity levelled.
Father Rod Bower is somebody who seems to incorporate the Christian religion. But, then people with strong humanist ideals also share similar qualities and try to sustain ethical viewpoints.
The time of the Inquisition was not a great time for the Christian Religion, also I believe that fundamentalists such as Cromwell also did not serve Christianity well. Something I have observed is that the more fundamental a Religion is, the greater the possibility of skeletons in the closet. The Catholic Church did not come out well from the Royal Commission, though other Protestant religions were also caught out.
But, before retiring I have worked with some fabulous religious people.
The matter I have not been able to fathom is the attitude to abortion. Yemen is the current prime example, where starvation of the population and withholding medication has led to the death of babies and young children. Yet, there is little protest from Christians. The flavour of Religion is highly dependent on which country people are born.
The virgin birth is also something I am not able to comprehend … young unmarried pregnant ladies were stoned to death I understand in the time Mary gave birth.
I have met Father Rod several times, usually at protests, marches or memorial services. You should look into him. He does not impose his religious beliefs on others. He makes a point of welcoming the atheists when he speaks at rallies. He is about social justice and driven by care and compassion for all. He would make a very positive change from those driven by personal ambition.
“It’s complicated but we should all respect each other’s choices.”
Why is that? Do you really understand what you are saying? It is that sort of anachronistic pretension to civility and politeness that provides the mask for our hypocrisy.
Some people choose to thump others who disagree with them. Should I respect that choice?
Some parents choose to have their children’s genitals mutilated because of their ‘faith’, Should I respect that choice?
Some people choose to use corporal punishment to ‘discipline’ their children. Should I respect that choice?
Some people choose to turn out their children when they discover that they are pregnant but not wed, or homosexual, transexual, lesbian or whatever. – Should I respect that choice?
Some people choose to get others hooked on drugs and into debt so that they can control them. – Should I respect that choice?
Some people choose to lie to their children from the day that those children are born. – Should I respect that choice?
Some people choose to leave their children in the ‘care’ of others, not because they can survive without doing so but because they put other desires before their offspring. – Should I respect that choice?
Most of those things you list are illegal nonsibicunctis.
For the others, I think we have strayed from a discussion about religion and respect for differing opinions.
Indeed they do. As I asked the older grandchildren on Christmas Day – Have you forgiven your parents – lying to you about Father Christmas? The Tooth Fairy?
Or are there good lies and bad lies? And how do we distinguish between same? Is intent important? (See above re appearance. And the issues to be considered.) Or are all lies wrong? All wrong. Never good?
Keith, it is simple to understand. It didn’t happen. Even Herodotus, the historian who lived closest to the time of Jesus’s supposed life, had nothing at all to say about this person who walked on water, turned water into wine and caused such upheaval. It simply isn’t credible that there are no contemporary histories of this ‘son of God’.
It is all just an enormous fiction.
It probably came about as a result of some real Jesus person being a radical who went against the corruption that existed within the priesthood of the day and who probably also plotted against the Roman occupiers and so became something of a cult figure. From there, as happens with Chinese Whispers, the story was probably passed, largely by word of mouth, and embellished along the way and then written down by various people until eventually the bits and pieces were collected together to make the various texts we have today. Texts which contradict one another and which vary as to what events they include and what they don’t and that obviously copy from one another.
No, Kaye. Most of those things are not illegal, even today. Neither have we strayed from the topic of religiion because such things are done and have been done in the name of various religions for as long as religions have existed.
You write a lot but all too often your claims are spurious. lt appears that you believe that because you are prolific you also have something to say. Unfortunately, mostly you have very little to say that has substance or anything to support it beyond it being your own ill-informed opinion.
I know that Michael thinks that you are a super-star but his mind is obviously coloured by the extent of the words that you have contributed to the AIMN, not to the strength or otherwise of the content.
Before you put pen to paper again, so to speak, you ought to get your brain into gear and start to think. You and others have managed to cause Michael to believe that women on the AIMN are hard done by. It just isn’t true. It is impossible for a male to say anything that is remotely critical of what a woman has written her without all and sundry shouting them down.
What most of you fail to realise, as well as ignoring human evolution and cultural change over centuries, is that equality is a nonsense and will never be attained nor necessarily needed in any area, including women’s rights – whatever that is supposed to mean.
What we need is equity, not equality. Equality is a pipe-dream. Fairness is what we need and that requires some rationality, some logic and a viewpoint that considers people, regardless of sexuality, gender, colour, race or anything else. Yet people such as yourself and so many ‘modern’ women can’t even understand that. Indeed, many of them simply try to act as they’ve seen men do in order to gain what men supposedly have.
I’ve totally had that sort of nonsense. I’ve worked all my life and supported women throughout it, virtually the entire time as a sole bread-winner. I’ve funded courses for my partners, cared for the children so they could undertake what they wanted, done dishes, washed clothes, nursed babies, bought groceries, cleaned the house and all the ‘house-wife’ jobs that we men have supposedly sentenced women to do, against their will. I’ve done that and worked full-time to earn a living and support my partners and my children.
Yet, what do I get? I’m a male so I’m a bastard and not worth anything. I’m responsible for the disadvantage that women have supposedly had. This sort of nonsense makes me sick. For years men have defended women and children, stood aside and given their own lives to save their partners or, indeed, any other woman or child. They’ve fought and died in millions during wars. They’ve worked down pits and in blast furnaces and a whole manner of shitty, crappy, grafting, fatiguing and demoralising jobs to put food oin the table for women and children.
Yet what are men now? Oh, we’re guilty of everything. Poor women never had a chance. They’ve always been subjugated, blah, blah, blah.
I’m so sick of listening to this nonsense and reading it. And no, this is not off topic for much of the cause of it comes directly – DO YOU HEAR ME – directly from religion.
Have a look at your religious texts and see how women are portrayed and treated. Check out the marriage ceremonies and customs. Check out the rights of passage into adulthood.
No, you say, ‘most of those things are illegal’ and are off-topic. Do some real thinking, Kaye, before you tell me again about how wrong I supposedly am. I’ve probably forgotten more than you will ever know because your thinking is so bloody rigid.
Yes – go for it – the whole mutual appreciation society can get into me now – I’ve over-cooked it – told it as it is and none of you like that do you?
MN Lies are lies. They are neither good nor bad. They are simply untruths.
So what ‘moral’ or ‘value’ judgement do you place on untruths? Is it an absolute one? A relative one – in the sense of – in the scale of things? Seems to me that you are dodging the fundamental issue.
Re above – how did you answer that question about – does my bum look too big in this?. Always told the complete and absolute truth? As you saw it? Or used some relative standard? Or were pragmatic? Or is it just so simple to tell the truth?
I think I am with nsc on this, respect is earned not deserved or required because of some personal belief. My atheism derives from my belief that all religions expect not only respect, but operate on the basis that unbelievers are inferior to believers and thus will fight to not only preserve such power and influence they have, but extend it. I see this in the way the religious opposed the marriage equality vote. I see it in the way religions fight any threat to limit their influence, or other aspects of their belief systems. It irks me that parliaments and many other gatherings, still open with the Lord’s Prayer, which in itself irks me: our father who art in heaven.. etc. if people want to follow a religion, fine, but don’t try to impose those views on me. I do not want to ban religions but I don’t want to have other people’s religious views imposed or even offered, to me. I do not believe religion deserves the special place it is given in our community, the tax concessions, the place in secular education others refer to, its seeming all pervasiveness. We do not need religions to show/tell us how to lead ethical lives.
But not the comments about Kaye Lee.
And like others, I look forward to Miriam’s proof.
FYI, David Bruce, my partner and I identify ourselves as “godless parents” to our nephew. The role still works fine for us (and him) 🙂
There are two issues, IMHO, with a genuine card carrying dinky di Christian running for political office, and especially if he or she is is an ordained priest or whatever.
The first issue is of concern only to the conscience of this ‘Christian’ as he or she would be at odds with the scriptures…. pretty sure the New Testament condemns governments as unclean, an affront to the Lord, only allowed to exist by God’s grace temporarily, to be destroyed by the Heavenly King on His arrival, etc etc …. and yeah that stuff in Romans about rendering unto Caesar and obedience to men’s laws if they don’t conflict with God … So our Senator priest would be at odds with the inspired word of dog and hence in sin.
Secondly, of real concern to the punters, would be the conflicts between the dedicated dogmatic Christian and the will of the people, eg, how is this person gonna vote re gay marriage, taxing churches, climate change, etc. The government is supposed to be secular and pragmatic, not Fred Nile’ing everything like a pompous ass. Remember the Reverent Ian Paisley in Northern Ireland, probably prolonged the ‘Troubles’ for a decade…
Wow! nonsibicunctis has a heck of a huge chip on his shoulder. I don’t think I’ve ever heard any women here talk about men being monsters who repress women at every turn. On the other hand I have heard a few men angrily mouth off against women.
Strictly speaking, I’m opposed to religious people taking political office, but we could do with progressive voices of good sense and empathy like Rod Bowers. He would be a great boon to our Senate.
My disproof of religions’ god is online.
The warning about not alienating those who would be useful allies by enthusiastically ridiculing religious belief is well taken.
Just as the burden of proof lies on the one making the claim the burden of correcting the cynical use of alt right theology to sanctify a political idealogy must belong to those of a differing religious philosophy.
It is the reluctance of religious folk to challenge this overt perversion of their beliefs that provokes the majority to ostentatiously throw out the baby jesus with the bathwater.
Miriam – where is this proof that no gods ever existed, please?
Believe or not, I kinda go along with nonsibicunctis.
I doubt whether any of us will know the answer to this in our lifetimes and probably never, but It doesn’t eliminate the validity of the notion and the question.
PROVE it, one way or another!
After all, it is an extreme absurdity that “this” exists at all.
nonsibicunctis, it is where I said it would be:
I made a comment to my recent article The Tragedy of Religion. If you want to jump straight to that comment:
If, as the author states, the bible is a flawed and inaccurate account in terms of historical events, then why should we give it any more credence in terms of it’s metaphysical claims?
For instance, if the story of Moses leading the genocidal conquests of the ‘chosen people’ is, at best, a gross distortion, then why accept the earlier creation myth as credible?
In short, why would you accept that all existence within cosmic infinity was the whimsical construct of a single being of masculine humanoid aspect?
Agnosticism regarding the unknowable does not preclude disbelief of the ridiculous.
I would add that the elevation of the male gender into a direct reflection of divinity is probably an unhelpful construct in terms of societal aspirations for gender equity.
Passing on my email address to Michael.
After reading some diatribes … it is shame your well intended article has been used for an excuse to cast a load of … negativity towards people, well, specifically, women – there have been no rants against men …
… I humbly suggest, as has been pointed out to me in the past, perhaps submitting an article on that which vexes thee, the disgruntled.
Peace and Love
Proof is an evidential demonstration that a concept or claim is ‘true”.
Proof in terms of the alcoholic content of spirits (for the purposes of taxation) was initially undertaken by soaking gunpowder in the spirit then attempting ignition, a method of testing that did not preclude adulteration with other flammable liquids (eg methanol).
Post-gunpowder armourers often demonstrated ‘the soundness of their workmanship with a round dint in the steel supposedly created through test firing a pistol/musket into the armour.
Of course, this evidence of ‘ bullet-proof’ was often achieved by dint of a ball-pein hammer.
Your argument is fallacious. It is not a proof that gods don’t exist or have never existed.
Those arguments are strong evidence of errors in what many of the religious claim. Yes, they demolish the notion of a loving God. Yes, by definition a god is omnipotent, so given that, could make everything good. However given what we know and can prove, God must be malevolent or at least capricious for God chooses to allow all manner of horror to be committed by humans, as well as all manner of natural disaster – both supposedly its creations. If God can’t make everything good then God is not omnipotent and therefore not a god. Those sorts of arguments were put by Epicurus in 300BCE:
“Either God wants to abolish evil and cannot,
Or he can but does not want to;
Or he cannot and does not want to;
Or lastly he can and wants to,
If he want to remove evil and cannot,
he is not omnipotent.
If he can but does not want to,
he is not benevolent.
If he neither can nor wants to,
he is neither omnipotent nor benevolent.
But if God can abolish evil and want to,
how does evil exist?
There is a significant problem with how this is framed because Epicurus relies on the notion that there is such a quality as ‘evil’ and its corollary, ‘good’. These are precisely the qualities that form the basis of Christianity. However, these concepts are just that. They are not realities and definitions of them are relative and cannot be proven. Just as ‘God’ being a ‘he’ cannot be proven .
The fact is, and I have stated it before but you have either not read it, chosen to ignore it, or don’t understand logic, is that we cannot ‘disprove’ anything for we can only prove the possible. Accordingly, if something has been proved, it makes no sense that it can be disproved for then it could not have been proved in the first place. We cannot prove the impossible because a moment passes as we enter it and we cannot know whether the ‘impossible’ mightn’t happen in the next moment or at any stage in the future.
That’s why I questioned your assertion that you could easily prove that there were no gods. Your statement is inaccurate or to be more precise, logically fallacious.
nonsibicunctis, you either didn’t fully read what I wrote, or you have comprehension difficulties. I noted that the first argument in my list is thousands of years old. I also pointed out several times that those were disproofs of the god of religions, not a disproof that some creator doesn’t exist. I also mentioned why that hardly matters.
Please, this conversation should be taken to the other page, not here. I’m sure Margcal doesn’t want this kind of discussion on her page. And I don’t blame her.
Kaye, I owe you yet another apology as I also do to Michael. I was out of order, last night, when I wrote what I did. Not because the content wasn’t substantially correct but because some of it became personal and was over the top and because the whole was written aggressively and not with consideration of legitimate feelings of others. I apologise to you both and to the AIMN community collectively.
I also acknowledge that serial bad behaviour cannot be cleansed by serial apologies. Hurt and wounds leave scars. Words, once spoken or written cannot be taken back. Damage is done and has all manner of implications for all those involved. So, I accept that my behaviour is not good enough nor acceptable for fair and reasonable discussion on AIMN, and that I should have left when I intended to do so on the last occasion of my inherent dismay at the inequity in the World, at the false priorities of ‘leaders’ and governments, and at the relatively simplistic thinking and over-arching conditioning of the mass of the population that causes them to be incapable of recognising they are hostages to false ‘social norms’, ‘standards’, and concepts of justice, compassion, equity, and worthiness, among other things.
I have already begun taking an anger management program in the hope that this will help me deal with the extremely disturbed and distressed Roger who destroys his own message by straying into exactly the territory and behaviours of those he most opposes. Although I have never physically attacked or abused anyone, I recognise that distress can be as or even more substantial when caused in other than physical ways. Unfortunately, there seem to be two Rogers and sometimes the more aggressive and less moderate one takes over.
I don’t mean to make excuses for my behaviour for there are none. I mention these issues only as explanation, not mitigation.
The AIMN has a laudable purpose. It has well considered and ill-considered, substantial and trivial, well researched and simply opinionated article and comments, as well as probably many examples of what lies in-between.
I have never set out to offend but have clearly done so. I apologise to those I’ve offended or to whom I’ve caused hurt.
I stand by the substance of my arguments but regret and abhor that I have clouded and masked them, on occasion, by allowing personal issues to insert unnecessary, unwelcome and often undeserved criticism or comment.
I’m not only sorry for this but I am attempting to do something about it. Whether that is of any concern to anyone involved with AIMN, only they will know. I offer it only for information.
Now, I will shut-up.
I’ve been told many times in my life that
Watch the evening news and cry; a week old babies looking like old men, children starving, hundreds of people drowning in floods, mud-slides… houses burned…. wars and famines…
It’s easier to believe in the existence of Satan….he/she could be found amongst any gender,race, religion….
We all at times write things which, on reflection, may have been phrased better. I bear you no ill will and I do not feel hurt but thank you for the consideration. I admire your determination to try to improve. I too aim to do better. You are not the first person to suggest I talk too much and I dare say that’s true – but no-one is compelled to read what I write.
I am concerned that several people have mentioned that they feel some women here are anti-men. I have obviously phrased my words badly if I have given that impression.
On the religion thing, I try to be understanding because people I love and respect get great solace from their belief. I have explained it to myself as their form of stress relief. Being able to offer up your grief or fears helps some people to cope – a bit like meditation does for others. That does not blind me to the harm that has been done by some in the name of religion.
PS It is presumptuous of me to give advice but nevertheless…. Forgive yourself for not being perfect Roger. None of us are.
There are many points to address here, but I hope you all forgive me if I weasel out of it. Time would be against me.
But briefly …
I’m probably the odd man out when it comes to religion. I’m an atheist, but it doesn’t concern me that someone would want to be a practicing Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim etc. It’s their choice and I don’t have a problem with that.
I guess I’m a bit like the Aborigines. A brother – who doesn’t share my passion for things Aboriginal – tried a ‘gotchya’ moment on me. “If Aboriginal culture and beliefs are so good,” he asked, “then why are so many Aborigines followers of Christianity?”
“Because,” I replied, “they respect other people’s religious beliefs … because they respect their own.”
Same here, Michael, a fellow atheist, and when/if things get unpleasant here or anywhere else ,I take a break and go back to my Buddhist meditations…
Peace and civility even when disagreeing…please…
It is humans that are responsible for the horror show on this planet, not gods, not satan, just screwed up humanity. As I see things we have been given the greatest gift and the greatest curse: free will. It is our choice what we do with this. We can be indoctrinated by organised religion, societal norms or name your poison. We can choose to be different, to change, to question.
Ultimately, we can’t blame, we can choose to exercise our free will though. We can choose to show respect for differing opinions, we can choose love over hate, we can choose constructive over destructive, we can choose to respect and nurture this planet and each other.
I find this forum an excellent outlet, an opportunity to meet many differing opinions, an opportunity to express my own when I choose to, an opportunity to learn.
Make art not war.
The closest I have come to a religion is in acknowledgement of the belief of certain American Plains Indians.
They believe there must be a “Great Spirit” in the Universe but concede that as humans they will never be able to comprehend its nature or purpose so rather than debate, argue or personify it they just set it all aside and try to live good lives.
One concession they offer is that women – being the life-givers – are automatically closer to the “Great Spirit” than men could ever possibly be.
That’s not quite the same as in the “enlightened” West, which is more about the history of hierarchical command and control.
I agree about the value of this forum and sometimes get overly defensive when it is attacked. Constructive criticism is helpful. An opportunity to debate differing opinions is stimulating.
Sometimes we are criticised because it is often the same people commenting. I find it like an extended family with new members joining into the dinner table conversation.
The comments section is so valuable. The articles are just the kick-off for the conversation. People who choose to write here do not claim oracle status. All contributions add to our learning and understanding. Because Michael and Carol aren’t Rupert Murdoch, and because none of us are doing this to make money, we are blessed with variety (though some would disagree).
Sometimes we cause each other angst. Hopefully, we can overcome that. Every day is a fresh start to work together to make the world a better place.
(I know, I know…unicorns and rainbows)
Yes, Zathras, does it for me, too. Possibly Geronimo was an example of this great spirit. In his younger time he journeyed into the mountains to converse with the great spirit. On his return he knew absolutely that he would never be killed by a bullet. And right he was. He died after falling from his horse in the early 1900s, drunk as a skunk. Autopsy revealed many bullet wounds. He was thought to be in his 80s.
And certainly their regard for women is an attitude I agree with.
Kaye Lee, here’s cheers to unicorns and rainbows, peace, love and brown rice, understanding and tolerance. The planet needs us to find sanity, this outlet providing another small place in our search for a peaceful, contented life. Yes, I get a little defensive of this site also, one thing to disagree, but really, some of the verbal diarrhoea unleashed by some pisses me off.
Carol and Michaels recent article a timely reminder for us all.
And the world is becoming a better place. We grow more tolerant and smarter year by year. Sure, sometimes it feels like three steps forward and two back, but we are inexorably moving forward.
The population “bomb” has been solved, extreme poverty and associated starvation is being eliminated, disease is being prevented, dogma is being dissipated, we’re approaching the end of war, science is revealing more to us about this world and the problems facing us, and technology is helping fix them.
Even idiot recalcitrant politicians ignoring climate change or attempting to sabotage renewable energy, can’t stop the worldwide rush to embrace renewables and efficiency. And when the politicians finally get a clue and jump on board the switch will be breathtakingly quick.
Recent genetic improvements to photosynthesis promise to make food crops half again as efficient as they currently are, and with medical information showing people that eating less, especially less meat, makes them healthier and happier and extends their lifespans we can expect existing food production to go much further.
I could go on, as you all know, but you’re probably sick of my extended rants on the topic. 🙂
Vikingduk, posts by you and Matters Not often put a smile on my face ( MN: Darling – does my bum look too big in this?)
Zathras and Terence Mills say their bit , but never enter into any bickering sessions…
Kyran has bagsful of compassion…
AIMN is well covered when it comes to politics…sometimes I think a bit of variety in a form of an article about arts; books, movies, maybe even about some TV shows might be a welcome addition…
( of course there are many blogs already available just for that)
helvityni, I’m planning on doing a couple of articles about travel. (Europe, of course). I started one a few months ago but the sad reality is that I’m not much of a travel writer. I’ll battle on though. 😀
Kaye Lee is right: at times more can be learned from the comments than the articles. This makes the commenters a valuable asset to the site.
I used to write a lot of articles here, but the crop of talent in our writer’s pool puts me to shame. I couldn’t even pretend to be a writer next to them.
But … but … even if I wrote a bad article (which is always likely), it can be made to look good by the quality comments it generates.
“…sometimes I think a bit of variety in a form of an article about arts; books, movies, maybe even about some TV shows might be a welcome addition…”
Not an article but a question; What book(s) are you reading at the moment (not right now because that would defeat the purpose of the question unless you can read a book and peruse this site and post comments at the same time which means you are a smarty-arse) and do you have a favourite genre…gads, you could prop the book up under the monitor and read a line or two while doing other things (you could train the cat, good luck with that, to turn the pages). Or you could…no…no…keep away from me with that funny looking jacket with the buckles! It’s not my fault…Albo made a speech…it’s all Labor’s fault…
Thanks Helvityni, Matters Not is one of my favourite commenters as are many others, too many to list. Always providing thought provoking information.
I’ve never seen christians vilified on these pages.
Between ScoMo, Hillsong and the Pope with his coterie of barely prosecuted child molesters, Christians are doing a fine job of that themselves.
Margcal, the world would be a better place if members of all religions demanded honesty and integrity from their institutions.
its not up to me to make you a “better” catholic, whatever than means, its up to you!
Vikingduck I read somewhere that Geronimo died of pneumonia at almost 90 years of age .At the time of his death he was a prisoner of war at Fort Sill. Maybe a drunken fall off a horse preceded the pneumonia but I don’t recall seeing that mentioned.
He was a great warrior.
I just had a browse online and it appears Geronimo was thrown from his horse (possibly drunk) and spent a time at the mercy of bad weather-resulting in pneumonia.
Thank you for that update, Barry, yes a great warrior. I think I read somewhere that after his time in the mountains he became far more ferocious. Possibly from that same read, his name may have come from the Mexicans, who, apparently, begged for help from their Saint Jerome when Jeronimo attacked so fearlessly and ferociously.
Jeez, hasn’t this drifted along way from the article, sorry MargCal.
Thank you for the honesty, self-reflection and consideration for others expressed in your gracious apology.
I am another who exists with issues of anger management and situational/observational depression, and can partially understand the inner and outer ‘demons’ that mutate attempts to express honest dissent into potentially offensive outbursts.
Your previous contributions have given me a high level of regard for your intellect, but your last post has much elevated my respect for your quality of character.
As another who sometimes (often) struggles, I honestly applaud and look forward hopefully to your future contributions.
Corvus boreus (aka Ewan McInnes).
“Jeez, hasn’t this drifted along way from the article, sorry MargCal”
Oh I dunno. MargCal asked us to, despite our differences, recognise that we are allies in trying to make the world a better place. I think she’s helping to achieve that by starting this conversation.
Does it matter if someone does good because they believe in an afterlife in heaven or because they believe that their afterlife is in the effect they have had on those they have encountered when alive? Does it matter if one of us thanks god for creating the world and another marvels at the complexities of evolution and adaptation as long as we view it as a treasure to protect? Provided we all care for each other and the environment, the result is the same.
Barry and Vikingduk, what is a “great warrior”? Is that someone who excels at organised murder?
Kerry, there actually has been resentful, angry and unjust denunciation of Christians and other religious people in these pages — though thankfully not often, and not to the poisonous degree I’ve seen elsewhere. You’re correct that the religious powerful are doing an amazing job of destroying religion faster than it would fall by itself. And the world will be a better place as religion permanently loses its place of power.
You’re wrong about Margcal though, she didn’t say that she wanted people’s help to be a better Catholic. When she said that she wasn’t a “good” Catholic she was being modest and using a shorthand way of saying that she isn’t a fervent believer.
I hope she will one day be a “recovering Catholic”, as the joke goes (with allusion to “recovering alcoholic”). In the meantime she and many other moderate religious people are our allies against the religious lunatics who make their lives and ours worse than it should be.
Helvityni asked for input a bit less themed around contemporary politics, such as reviews/recommendations of books, films and TV.
One TV show I thoroughly recommend is ‘La Peste’ (The Plague), a Spanish produced 6 part series available through SBS on Demand.
https://www.sbs.com.au/ondemand/program/the-plague (sign in required).
An ostensible who-dunnit set in the trading port of Seville during the early 1600s (middle inquisition, early American colones), it is well scripted and often beautifully realised, and contains many accurate and revealing insights into societal and religious norms of the times, as well as some very interesting historical tidbits.
As the title suggests, it is not certainly lightweight entertainment, and contains some very confronting and sometimes graphic scenes, but it is certainly commendable for the intelligence of both intent and delivery, giving a quite honest and surprisingly nuanced interpretation of past times in a way that provides insight into both past history and some aspects that seamlessly translate to the present.
For what it’s worth, corvus thoroughly recommends.
Well, for me, an individual totally focused on his particular time, reality and beliefs. He fought the transgressors of the land and people in the only way he knew how. Eventually his reality and belief system changed, he accepted the inevitable and surrendered.
So, Miriam, what is your interpretation?
Ps, Funnily enough, in my review of ‘ The Plague’ I missed putting a ‘not’ before ‘lightweight entertainment’.
corvus boreus, thanks for the link ( Plague), will watch it, maybe already tonight…..
Politics being so nasty, and absolutely nothing on ABC, we have been turning to SBS on Demand…enjoyed a clever little French movie “In The House” last night…don’t remember the French title….?
Vikingduk, I’d describe a “great warrior” as I already did: someone skilled in organised murder — someone who doesn’t use negotiation or lateral thinking to gain what they want. In the case of Geronimo and other warrior leaders it is true that they were defending themselves from a ruthless and bloodthirsty invader, but that doesn’t excuse murder. What would have been a better strategy for them? I confess I don’t know… but killing certainly didn’t work well for them; it gave the horrific invader exactly the excuse needed to eliminate them.
I’ve been watching a brilliant TV series called “The Expanse” that was on Netflix, but as I don’t have Netflix I bought all three seasons of the DVDs after a friend hooked me on the show. It is one of the most convincing depictions I’ve seen of a near future where humanity has expanded to Mars and the asteroid belt. The political tensions between the old, somewhat decadent Earth, the spartan Mars colonies, and the hectic, somewhat anarchic “Belter” mining colonies lends color and realism to the main story, which is as tense and action-packed as anything I’ve ever seen.
The international cast give a nicely exotic flavor to the show. The acting, direction, photography, and special effects are top notch. Only one point repeatedly annoys the crap out of me: spaceships don’t make noise in space. Other than that, most of the science is very good. The story is based upon a continuing series of books by James S A Corey (actually the pen name of two people, Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck who write the books together).
There are seven books so far in the series that the TV show is based on and so far they have only covered the first two volumes. SYFY cancelled The Expanse before the third series finished and it was then picked up by Amazon for, at the moment, a fourth series.
“Only one point repeatedly annoys the crap out of me: spaceships don’t make noise in space.” If there is one thing I cannot stand, to the point of distraction along with loud swearing and cursing, it’s the ongoing thing about sound in space in movies and television. Thank you for stating it a lot more politely. 🙂
Personally, I would rank The Expanse second only to Babylon 5. Now I’ve discovered that there is going to be yet another remake of Dune and possibly the other five Dune books by Frank Herbert. Here’s hoping they don’t touch the excecrable offspring by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson.
Time to go and watch Bottom Live: Hooligan’s Island.
Miriam- a great warrior is someone who was involved or experienced in warfare who displayed extreme courage.
A murderer is someone who illegally and intentionally kills another person. Geronimo was involved in warfare with the invaders of his territory. The American Government considered him a prisoner of war. By your standards all involved in killing in warfare are murderer’s.
Let’s not get too involved in semantics.
‘War not one great makes’.
Barry, yes. I see all involved in killing in warfare as murderers. If that was the mainstream perception then perhaps war would have ceased long ago. This elevation of people who are very good at killing other people has always seemed to me bizarre.
Thankfully perceptions are changing. In my grandparents’ time war was seen as a great adventure. In my parents’ time it was seen as awful, but one’s duty and something to be proud of. Nowadays many people see it as shameful and horrible — a terrible failure between petulantly childish sides… the product of hate and ignorance.
The USA is a strange place. It seems to be the one place in the civilised world where warriors are generally seen as heroes. USA has become a warrior culture. Awful.
As I mentioned before. The American Indians’ killing of the whites can’t really be excused as responding to bloodthirsty invaders, because it didn’t work; it gave the invaders exactly the excuse they needed to slaughter them. A peaceful solution would have been much better.
I’d rather you didn’t transfer your interpretation onto my thoughts, thanks Miriam, I think you might find the slaughter enacted by the invaders prompted the locals to either fight back, surrender or join the invaders. After all, a freedom fighter to some can be a terrorist to others. And suggesting that the American Indians can’t really be excused as responding to bloodthirsty invaders, because it didn’t work, giving the invaders the excuse, etc., Miriam, the invaders didn’t need any excuses. Peaceful solution would have been much better, certainly, but that was never going to happen. The reality of those times, the people involved and the destruction enacted meant fight or flight. It wasn’t in the Indian nature to lay down and think of England and accept the rape and destruction of what was a relatively peaceful life before the white invasion. Quite similar to our indigenous peoples’ history. Naïveté wasn’t a luxury they could afford.
Miriam-because it did not work does not mean it could not be excused The native Americans had an affinity with the land and a different culture. It did not work because they were outnumbered and outgunned. The invaders did not need an excuse to slaughter the native Americans, they had been doing that since well before Geronimo was born. It was Mexicans who killed Geronimo’s family who set Geronimo on the path he took.
I will not say any more on the subject as it must be boring the pants of others who access this site. As Vikingduck said, we were off topic anyway.
Barry, sometimes (often) the best ,most creative things are said off-topic….
I do understand that back then there wasn’t much idea of conciliation and peacemaking. The natural response by most was to fight. It can be understood, but never really excused.
It also bothers me that the Native Americans’ culture is rewritten as a peaceful one. It wasn’t. Intertribal war was a constant background to normal life. I remember reading of some examples of how shocked some Europeans were that the natives, when they came upon a village of a rival tribe wanted to go in and murder the lot of them.
Statistically, tribal people are much quicker to kill than modern technologically advanced people. They are also usually more xenophobic.
We are ashamed of our violent, genocidal past, and we should be — our history is drenched in blood — but excusing other cultures’ violence is a kind of weird racism. The fact is we are all just humans. It doesn’t matter what skin color we have or what culture we come from. What matters is what we learn and what we do with that knowledge. The more we learn, the more peaceful we become.
It strikes me that this Margcal piece is actually about fear, loathing and dumbing down, with a tendency to religious, philosophical and ideological reactionism.
That is is, something akin to the sixteenth century, when conservative establishment politics and church rebelled against the new scientific discoveries of people like Da Vinci, Copernicus, Galileo and the like and the threat to literalism inherent in such discoveries.
Comfortable members of the Club do not like their Aristotelian eternal tranquillity disturbed anything so radical as an idea… burn ’em at the stake!
Fast-forwarding four centuries is the current witchhunt (there seem to be witch hunts through every generation, even to today’s “advanced” era, to do with modern equivalents persecuted for spreading inconvenient knowledge through the vernacular of the time.
Here, have a read of these:
Of course, we are talking of the weird Melbourne Uni “restructuring” decision by Melbourne Uni administrators including the VC, forcing the en mass resignation of the Melbourne University Publishing board, including Louise Adler, Gillian Triggs and Bob Carr.
This comes in the wake of other events, including suppression of academics at Sydney Uni and in this case, the earlier attempt of MUP to publish a book on Cardinal Pell, opposed by many within (and without) the hallowed cloisters of MU.
Now, what it means is the MU will now only publish dry academic works with little prospect substantial sales or financial stability for MUP. what goes are works of the sort recently published by MUP that appeal to the wider (unwashed) public and hence make the operation financially viable, which was supposed to be the original idea for recruiting Adler some time ago.
I am a complete virgin when it comes to university matters, I might be completely wrong in my suspicion that this effort is about conservatives afraid of social change dumbing down a successful means for transmission of ideas and thought to a public starved of intelligent media.
Maybe AIM could put this up elsewhere, were it to be of any promise as a topic for examination and thoughts, (yes correct me if I am wrong in my tutelage) but it really raises my suspicions and I am puzzled that on lt, the Melbourne Age only, seems to be dealing with what to me, could be a very substantial reactive cultural event and transgression against ideas. eg, truth to power smacked down.
Margcal’s piece does derive to me from a related question as to what some may refer to as “ideas production” or cultural (re)production and how people end up thinking about things in certain ways and why.
Much of the thread response dealt with what could be an identification of an ultimate truth from which all others derive and because of metaphysical considerations, remain beyond in immediate solving.
So, who controls (we always seem to come back to control, fear and various senses of being “threatened”, depending on who is involved, thought and ideas and their dispersal out into society,
if this process is not prevented somehow, of ideas into a society, who gains, who loses and so forth and why… what must we make of the mentality and mindset and the implication of this mindset once its composition is understood.?
In the Dark Ages the Church backed by the sate in return for favourable interpretations of religious doctrine, banned conclusively certain ideas, because they were “wrong” or because they represented some sort of threat to a hierarchy?
What is so frightening to the Establishment, concerning the free circulation of ideas both at times in the past and today? Why are measures like MU,s so oafish, so hamfisted, in the face of questioning?
Or, do I have it wrong?
I am also unversed in uni machinations, so can only offer opinion.
The decision to narrow the scope of MU publishing could be, as you suggest, a political/ideological to censor uncomfortable/inconvenient viewpoints.
It could also have financial motivations, the cost of boArd salaries and subsidies rationalised against a narrow profit margin.
I would also proffer a 3rd explanation.
Careers academics have very limited opportunities for printed publication of their work, and, resentful of being de-prioritised in favour of political memoirs and biographies, are likely to have applied heavy internal pressure in lobbying MU management for the policy change.
I wondered about these things for a bit also, particularly your third point as to whether publishing public stuff would somehow entail less publishing for academic work and can’t see why the one should have excluded the other, even though expenses would be covered by publishing in sales of “commercial” works.
It really does all hang on that last point, whether or not MUP had discontinued publishing serious “technical” work, in which case there should have been other ways to bring MUP to heel.
It would seem strange that commercial ventures somehow precluded academic works and even stranger if MU had somehow contrived to cut out commercial,rent-paying work if academic works were still published. Self-defeating, I would have thought.
I understand that there those at MU and elsewhere who were upset for some reason that MUP had chosen to publish a biography of Cardinal Pell.
If the biography was factual, where could there have been an objection?
I must admit, it was a mistake of mine not to make sure on your third point, but the story has incensed me for the other reasons you suggest, to do with publishing controlled by ideologues.
If it is the case, the event has serious implications for freedom of speech in a developing authoritarian society directed on whim and prejudice, are we ruled by folk with a Dark Ages mentality?
I will try to get back to you, but it won’t be straight away because I have to be out for a bit, but if the third point is true, then MUP has brought their problems on themselves since academic research fuels more popular explanatory writing. I find it hard to think that people like Triggs and Carr would want to prevent academic research being published and if commercial inflows facilitated this.
Re Melbourne Uni – the new Vice Chancellor (from Cambridge) has the reputation as an entrepreneur (start ups and the like – into money and things like that) so this might be a sop to academics, many of whom have a disdain for such worldly matters. Being from Cambridge (a pom) he has a mountain to climb after Glyn Davis (VC for 13 years) who remains on staff – but who now is a type of academic at large with concurrent appointments at the ANU as well as several overseas establishments.
Note also that many Board Members who pulled the pin have connections to the Labor Party – as did Glyn Davis. Might just be coincidental and not causal. Time will tell.
But as an outsider, it seems a waste. Adler, in particular, was on the ball.
I think there may have been a degree of snobbery involved too. Apparently Maskell described one of the books as airport trash or something like that. Not sure if it was the Pell book he meant.
Completely off the track of politics, religion, etc. I was in town yesterday and wandered past a shop called Avenue Records (new and old LP’s) and came to a screeching halt a few metres past it. Backtracked and saw the following two original LP’s in the window –
for $25.00 each. Needless to say my wallet was $50.00 lighter three or so minutes later. Me happy Vegemite.
Thanks for responses, I wondered if I was off target wondering about this event and the comments following are filling in gaps for me.
If there is a failure in the two Age articles it arises from this:
A failure to identify which academics claimed to have rejected by MUP and what their theses were about.
It does start to stink of an IPA coup though, doesn’t it?
Diannaart thoughtfully included the promo she had tracked down and posted it.
The promo did seem a bit tacky, commercial realities abhorred by purists, you suppose, but also leads on to Kaye Lee’s “elitist” remark and ultimately to MN’s: Davis seems more a type of person to run a UNI than a myopic Murdochite neoliberal and the ideology must be thick to increase costs to the uni for the luxury of an academics-only walled off sheltered workshop.
Culture Wars stuff and it is the connection to Margcal and all those following comments that had me thinking on the emerging MUP events..
Perhaps you could submit an article Paul Walter ?
I’ll tell you what Diannaart, I’ve woken up from a nap with a deep conviction that most of what I’ve speculated on is either wrong or misguided.
I’m not convinced ANY of the people involved are snow-white, including me.
You see, there is a sense also of Adler dumbing down stuff also in order to fulfill the neolib obligation to make money on the smell of an oily rag (efficiency dividends), given an era of mindless devotion to market economics theories.
As I said above, to me it hinges on who Adler omitted to publish- was she genuinely interested in the dissemination of knowledge or just doing a job, employing images of progressivity for something akin to ABC style dumbing down (similar?)- and why and from that, a query as to whether such people would have been published under previous systems anyway.
I’ve found since this issue caught my eye, a vast vista of complexity, of one answer leading to fifty more questions.
One thing though. I can’t for the life of me find much of worth in the behavior of Adler’s opponents.
No, Diannaart, a simple man like me would be a long way from submitting an article, it is a bit more complex under the surface than I gave it credit for in my first kneejerk reaction.
But then that is what the whole Margcal thread starter has been about, hasn’t it? In life, being forced to decide on issues without even the hope of sufficient knowledge, just a muddling through life sort o flying f blind.
I’m sad a few more people did not offer up a few ideas, but am grateful to you and the others who did.
Likewise msm, apart from the Age not much happening, I read too much into it I think, unless I miss some thing here. As if it matters.
I understand folk seem not interested in the MUPpets affair, but
I believe it is not understood that it is a sort of a critical parallel to the Darling River, with media and communications dumbing down the underlying issue.
I felt sad, but was then briefly uplifted when Laura Tingle mentioned it in quite deep seriousness as her talking point for the week on “Backsliders”.
Little spasms as the corpse continues to twitch, another example identified by Prof Quiggin being this rather polite article from the Grauniad.
what I am trying to say is that like the Darling and the Banks we see a move from capitalism to hard authoritarianism,. that even token public interest is not to contemplated in now a completely privatised world.
Now I know why Davis resigned as VC while his wife remains as VC at Monash. A great link. Wheels within wheels. The Liberal Catholic Mafia strikes again. lol.
Little sign, MN, of the cultural change they plead with the banks, on teev this morning. Apparently more workers than ever are taking stress leave because of management bullying.
Australia becomes a totally reactive culture at the top as executives unable to cope with modernity turn psychotic, deluded paranoid thugs blindly hitting out at anyone within reach.
Watching a clip of the Kennerly and Stynes incident this morning, you see the same unhealthy atmosphere in sections of media.
Rigid denialist thinking in the face of certain realities denied is going to much damage eventually as the refusal to face facts and adjust becomes the norm. Death of effort and reflexivity and there must eventually be consequences.
Belated ps, here is the sort of incident that has some deeply concerned at the implications of the MUPpets saga:
Think about the death of dissent and the direction that takes our country,