Daily Archives: March 15, 2008

Saturday who read what — 5

First, did anyone go to Ninglun on Journalspace?  Um, one…

Second: Ninglun on Blogspot. According to Google Analytics, 152 visits and 179 page views in the past seven days, 102 being views of Apparently Barack Obama is the Antichrist — 203 the previous week. Sitemeter gives 165 visits and 191 views.

Floating Life Sans Words has had 81 views, WordPress count, in the last six days, and this Gateway has had 189 views in the past week.

Old Lines from a Floating Life: 1,474 (WP figure updated) views this week. Top three individually visited:

The connection has timed out — Firefox 79
Bill Heffernan!  76
Friday Australian poem #17: Bruce Dawe 43

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Posted by on March 15, 2008 in blogging


Milton, melons, and the Rights of Man

Some will recognise that as a line from one of my favourite Oz poems, Kenneth Slessor’s “Five Bells”. There has been some talk of Milton on Thomas’s blog just lately: Books ahoy! Both The Rabbit and I engaged in some comment there.

Brought to mind though something my grandfather once told me. He encountered a swagman once who knew “Paradise Lost” — all of it! — off by heart. Apparently such eccentricities were not totally uncommon in the earlier 20th century; the swaggie passed the long hours memorising Milton’s epic, and under starlight, shouted to the trees by a campfire, it no doubt sounded quite awesome, in the proper sense of that word. One thing I like about Joseph Furphy’s Such is Life (which Frank Welsh ignorantly dismisses in Great Southern Land but then, much as I admire that book, I wouldn’t go to it for cultural history) is — wow, what a long gap between subject and verb! — the way Furphy captures so vividly such bush philosophers and eccentrics. Sometimes in sentences as baggy as that one… 😉

The Rabbit too, it appears, is ON THE MOVE. And finding quick sorties into other blogs better than having one of his own. I have wished The Rabbit well in his venture. I do know much of the background to that and have some idea what it signifies. 🙂

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Posted by on March 15, 2008 in Australia, blogging, memory


Sin – a quickie

The Catholic Church has published a new set of Seven Deadly Sins, as you no doubt already know. I take this version of the list from a forum on the Australian queer site SameSame:

Here are the 7 new "modern" sins:

  1. Environmental pollution
  2. Genetic manipulation
  3. Accumulating excessive wealth
  4. Inflicting poverty
  5. Drug trafficking and consumption
  6. Morally debatable experiments
  7. Violation of fundamental rights of human nature

A mixed bag, in my view, and cynics might say a politically correct update of the medieval list. Well, it is probably a fair enough tool for discussion, but I really don’t hold to the "deadly sins" business at all, as a Protestant in background. That, of course, is not always a good background, as there have been times Protestants, Calvinists especially, are so besotted with "falling short of the glory of God", as the 17th century Westminster Shorter Catechism (Presbyterian) in part defines sin, that they worry about whether polishing shoes on a Sunday is a "sin" befitting eternal fires of hell. (Compare on the "new" Seven Deadlies Helen Raser on ABC Unleashed.)

Frankly, a God who worries about such thing is a neurotic God, in fact an unspeakably stupid God. And I prefer to think God is neither.

Yet I do believe in sin.

I may come back to that. Meanwhile, a theologian whom Barack Obama apparently has some time for — but of course if he is the Antichrist… — is the German-American colossus of 20th century theology, the in some respects conservative Reinhold Niebuhr. See Reinhold Niebuhr’s Doctrine of Sin, and for an overview The Boston Collaborative Encyclopedia of Modern Western Theology. From the latter:

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Posted by on March 15, 2008 in Christianity, inspiration


On mistaking the crazies for the sane

Some of my atheist blogging friends show an absolute fascination with the dregs, crazies and total extremists of the religious world, specifically of the Christian world. I prefer not to waste too much time on such inhabitants of the undergrowth and bog sites of Christendom. I can, however, understand the fascination, I suppose. But to mistake such people for Christians as a whole would, of course, be exactly the same as suggesting atheists are all indistinguishable from Hitler, Stalin, or Pol Pot, or for attributing the extremist doctrines of Al Qaeda, of the most dogmatic Wahabists, or of all the Bring Back the Caliphate mob to all Muslims.

So with that in mind, and also admitting I am myself a bit of a heretic, nearer to the Quakers in some respects, who seriously doubts God is quite as preoccupied with foreskins, to take just one example, as some ancient human texts would have us believe, I would nonetheless suggest we go to saner examples, even if they are less exciting, when we contemplate the broad mass of Christian believers.

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Posted by on March 15, 2008 in Christianity, faith, inspiration, interfaith, Islam, religion