1. Small joys of blogging: right now someone in Kathmandu is reading Friday Australian poem #11: “Because” by James McAuley. Everyone should…
2. On tonight’s Compass I found myself most drawn to Inga Clendinnen, historian and atheist, and least to Jim Wallace.
Perhaps the most surprising is the non-church representative, Clendinnen. She stands out for her emphasis on values in action rather than those she describes as “aspirationally talked about”. For instance, she frequents a Melbourne hospital, “starved of funds and amazingly decrepit” in parts, but a model of multicultural, generous Australia.
“I think the major moral issue is what we are going to do with our present prosperity. What frightens me about it is that I have no reason to believe it will endure for long. And it seems to me that this society, which I value very highly, I think it is a very good society, will be vulnerable to economic depression.
“People these days don’t know how to be poor. They haven’t learned. It’s one of the advantages of being old. I grew up in a world of what? Handed-down clothes. Moral frugality. It was moral to be frugal. Therefore naturally I’m disturbed by the immense explosion of consumer goods and their distribution in all directions, and the assumption of children, particularly who’ve grown up only in a period of increasing prosperity, that they have a moral right to possess them.”
Imam Afroz Ali, founding president of the Al-Ghazzali Centre for Islamic Sciences and Human Development in Sydney, had perhaps the best quote:
Geraldine Doogue: Is there a particular verse from the Koran or a saying of the Prophet that applies here?
Imam Afroz Ali: Definitely. There are two. Firstly…I’ll cut the prophetic tradition short here. A person is making ablution. This is for worship. And he is using a little bit too much water. And the Prophet is saying to him, peace be upon him, that even if you were on the side of a river and you used much of the water out of it, this would be oppression to other people. The second statement that he makes himself. That if the end of world came and you were planting a tree, finish planting the tree. And might I also add the third Koranic verse. That God has given us this world in a balance. Keep the balance.
I will link to the program itself when the transcript becomes available.
I don’t worry as much as some do about the whole religion/politics thing here in Australia. People vote according to what they personally consider to be important, and where that comes from doesn’t matter as much as what those important things might be. Furthermore, there is no “Christian” vote really, not in my view, any more than there is an “atheist” vote. So Inga Clendinnen came closest to what I think is important… (I would see that as “Christian” I suppose…)
1. The Compass transcript is now available. I have added a little above as a result.
2. See also a new post on Oz Politics: The Australian Christian vote?