October 2006 - DOC

Document Sample
October 2006 - DOC Powered By Docstoc
					  Editor: debra hackett
                                                                                  difficult as
  PO Box 55
  North Adelaide SA 5006
                                                                               that. There is
  Subscription: $20.00 per annum

  Closing date for each issue is the
                                                                               no other way.
  First Sunday of the month
April 2007                                                                                    Michael Leunig
 Eastern Suburbs — meeting after                                                      Common prayer collection
 meeting ......................................... 2
 Book launch ................................. 2
 Adelaide local meeting— worship
 sharing .......................................... 3
 Blogging on at QUNO .................. 3
 SARM minutes ............................. 4
 I’ll meet you at the gate ............... 5
 Speaking truth to trauma ............. 6                    'Love one
 Children’s committees ................. 6
 The empty mirror ......................... 8
 SoFiA philosophy cafe................. 8
                                                         another and
 Book review The God Delusion . 9
 Friends for peace ....................... 11
                                                            you will be
                                                        It's as simple
                                                                and as
Friends met for worship for business in open and generous spirit at the first (in recent times)
business meeting held away from Adelaide Meeting House.
Pictured (L to R): Leslie H, David E, Inga T, Michael T, Rob R, Drew T (Clerk) and Judy G
(Assistant Clerk). Others Friends there were Diane C, Topy E, Kerry O, Humphrey T, debra h,
Margaret P, Jane D, Anne R, Roger K, Jo J, Alice C Max and Sonia R, Enid R, and Beverlie H,
Geoff G
    Eastern Suburbs —
    meeting after meeting
    Sunday 15 April
    Barry Whitney, Michael and Inga
    Tolley will tell their stories and
    share some of the memories of
    their involvement with Quakers
    before and after arriving in
    Adelaide about 50 years ago.

    Book launch
    Roger Norris-Green's fiction story
    Outcast will be launched at
    2.30pm on Friday 18 May in the
    Moonta School Library. It will be
    part of the Kernewek Lowender
    Local writer Tricia Stringer will
    launch the novel and Ruth Ivens
    from the Copper Triangle
    Recognised Meeting will say a few
    words about the cover art and
    design created by Roger's grand
    daughter Melissa Farrell.
    The novel is about a Primitive
    Methodist preacher who stands up
    against greedy mine owners in the
    1870s. Although the story isn't
    about Quakers, the book mentions
    the fact that the founder of
    Primitive Methodism was
    influenced by Quakers and
    considered becoming one. It is
    also a love story. The preacher
    falls in love with an Aboriginal
    girl—'forbidden love' in those early
    All Friends are welcome to attend
    the launch. The book will be on
    sale for $19.95 post paid from:
        Roger’s Books
        PO Box 100
        Moonta SA 5558

2                      Walking Cheerfully
                                                                             had been yearning to do
                                                                             something real in the world after
                                                                             completing a Masters degree in
                                                                             Peace and Conflict Studies, and is
                                                                             now at the Quaker UN office in
                                                                             Geneva. You can read her blog at

Adelaide local meeting—                from the Islamic, Hindu, Taoist,
                                       Buddhist, Christian, Judaic and
worship sharing                        Mystical traditions.
In Advices and Queries we are          The first session, held on Easter
asked to ‘Take time to learn about     Sunday 8 April at 1 pm and the
other people’s experiences of the      second on Thursday 12 April at
Light’ and to ‘Remember the            7.30pm., was entitled Islam:
importance of the Bible, the           Images of God and Humanity and
writings of Friends and all writings   included comparisons between
which reveal the ways of God.’         images of orthodox Christianity
This will form the basis of            and orthodox Islam. Both sessions
Adelaide Local Meeting’s 2007          took place at the meeting house
worship sharing sessions entitled:     and were facilitated by David
                                       Skewes of the Hills Meeting.
   My way of looking at
   the sacred texts                    A more detailed program for the
                                       year will shortly be available from
These sessions will take place on      Sonia Raupach, John Edwards or
the second Thursday of the month       David Barry.
at 7.30pm and on the second
Sunday at 1.00pm at the meeting        We hope that by sharing our
house. By repeating each session       knowledge with one another we
at different times we hope to          may be ‘open to new Light, from
accommodate as many people as          whatever source it may come’.
possible.                              We hope to see you there!
We intend to cover the sacred

texts                                                               as

April 2007                                                                                                    3
                                       following acceptance of              a response on our behalf.
SARM minutes                           membership. We accept this           Feedback from AYM 2008
1. In Attendance                       suggestion. We note that this        We hear an Adelaide LM request
                                       applies also to children of the      that this be a shared SARM event
Inga Tolley, Michael Tolley, Rob
                                       Meeting coming of age. We ask        in 2008. We agree to this.
Ranzijn, Margaret Phelps, David
                                       Local Meetings to check that no
Evans, Topsy Evans, Anne Rees,                                              8. Nunyara retreat weekend
                                       one has been missed. We ask
Jenny Stock, Humphrey Tranter,                                              We receive a report on the
Roger Keyes, Max Raupach,              that in future the process of
                                                                            planning for Nunyara Weekend.
                                       presentation be documented in
Sonia Raupach, Jane Duguid,                                                 Due to Helen Bayes being
Leslie Hopkins, Beverly Hopkins,       the minute of acceptance.
                                                                            overseas, Drew Thomas will
                                       ● Transfer of membership –
Diane Cocetta, Enid Robertson,                                              assist Katherine Purnell with
Geoff Greeves, Peter Webb, Julie       Elizabeth Kwan
                                                                            facilitation. To enable Friends
Webb,                                  We are pleased to accept
                                                                            from NT, and friends who may
Jo Juchniewicz, Judy Greeves,          Elizabeth into SARM. We ask the
                                                                            need assistance, to attend, we
Drew Thomas Kerry O’Regan,             clerk to write to her, welcoming
                                                                            agree to underwrite the cost of the
debra hackett.                         her, and asking her to make
                                                                            weekend by up to $6000. We ask
                                       contact with us as she needs.
2. Acknowledgement                                                          the arrangements Committee to
                                       6. Nominations committee             extend an invitation to Friends
We acknowledge that we meet on
                                       AYM meeting for Learning             from western Victoria.
lands with which Indigenous
                                       committee 2008
people have a special, spiritual,                                           9. Children’s meeting
and often broken relationship.         We agree to recommend to
                                                                            We hear a report from the
                                       Standing Committee the names of
3. Reading                                                                  Children’s Committee which
                                       Drew Thomas (convenor), Kerrie
                                                                            includes a recommendation that
from Friends for 300 years,            O’Regan, David Barry, Kate
                                                                            there be one Regional Meeting
Howard Brinton                         Alessia, Julie Webb, and
                                                                            Children’s Committee. We agree
4. Minutes of February                 Elizabeth Stevenson (subject to
                                                                            to this recommendation. We note
Regional Meeting                       consent).
                                                                            their intention to continue with
                                       Standing Committee
We agree to signing of the                                                  current frequency and staffing
minutes.                                                                    arrangements at present. We
                                       Due to extended overseas
5. Membership matters                                                       encourage all to consider this
                                       absence, Elizabeth Stevenson
● We hear a report from Inga                                                opportunity for sharing.
                                       wishes to lay down convenorship
Tolley and Geoff Greeves               of this committee. We accept the     10. Outreach committee report
regarding their membership             nomination of Judy Greeves as        We hear the following report
affirmation visit. We are pleased      convenor.                            i) Web site: Outreach committee is
to accept as members of SARM:                                               developing a website in
                                       7. AYM 2007
Kayanda Manase, Sylvia                                                      collaboration with debra hackett. It
                                       Documents in retrospect
Ngendarimana, Herman                                                        will be developed progressively,
                                       ● Backhouse Lecturer – possible
Itangakubundu (born 1988) and                                               other Friends being welcome to
Adolf Nyonkuru (born 1990).            visit
                                                                            contribute as appropriate and is
We ask that the report be included     We will welcome a visit from
                                                                            almost ready to go live in its initial
with the minutes.                      George Ellis. We will establish an
                                                                            state. Currently it contains a
We ask that the visitors arrange       arrangements committee once the
                                                                            general introduction, information
for the presentation of a suitable     visit is confirmed.
                                                                            about Meetings for Worship and a
                                       ● Committed relationships other
recognition to each of the new                                              (growing) list of frequently asked
members.                               than marriage as legally defined.
● Testimony to the Grace of God        We ask Humphrey Tranter to
                                                                            ii) Outreach week/information day
in the life of Jeannie Rees.           circulate a previously prepared
                                                                            Friends across Australia are
We receive the testimony, and ask      document for review.
                                                                            considering taking part in an
                                       ● Friends School
that a copy be included in the                                              Outreach Week in September,
minutes, and a copy be forwarded       We are reminded of our
                                                                            corresponding with a similar week
to the Yearly Meeting Secretary        responsibility to the school.
                                                                            to be held at the same time in
                                       ● Earth testimony – response
for inclusion in the Dictionary of                                          Britain (22-30). We propose
Australian Quaker Biography.           requested for Standing Committee
                                                                            holding an Open Day on Sunday
● Book presentations on                We ask local meetings and
                                                                            23 September, with the possibility
acceptance into membership.            worshipping groups to discuss this
                                                                            of subsequent activities being
We hear from Adelaide Local            with a view to finalising at June
                                                                            offered at by local meetings and
Meeting a suggestion that the          RM our thoughts for Standing
                                                                            groups throughout the subsequent
presentation of books be a             Committee.
                                                                            week. We ask for funding for hall
                                       ● Handbook– Chapter 5
Regional Meeting matter, with                                               hire and for advertising of the
suitable books being identified in a   (Membership) available for review
                                                                            open day.
conversation between the new           We accept with delight an offer
                                                                            iii) Telephone enquiries
member and one of the visitors         from Humphrey Tranter to prepare
                                                                            We suggest that consideration be
4                                                                                               Walking Cheerfully
given to reviewing the telephone        matching the $2500 grant for MFL         wonders about going to their local
arrangements for inquirers.             2007.                                    meeting.
Currently there is a listing under      The finance committee                    It happened in October. People
‘Friends, Religious Society of’, the    recommends that we match the             from various parts of Australia
number having a lengthy recorded        VRM grant, and continue the              welcomed the new Friend,
message and no provision for the        subsidy for South Australians. We        advised them about the time of
caller to leave a message. We           believe that such action there are       the Meeting, reassured them that
think that all these aspects need       funds with purposes consistent           they would be welcomed. But no
reviewing. We also ask that some        with this action. The likely             one from their local meeting. What
one/s be nominated to respond to        maximum total of support is              a pity no-one offered to meet them
any messages left by phone or by        $5200.                                   at the gate.
email.                                  We agree to this recommendation,
We accept the report. We look           and ask the finance committee to         That is not an isolated case.
forward to the web site going ‘live’.   identify suitable sources of funds       Lucky the new attender in
We agree to provide funding for         and advise us at June Regional           Brisbane who will be warmly
the September outreach program          Meeting.                                 welcomed by regular Queensland
of up to $1000 in the first instance.                                            Forum contributor, Colin.
                                        12. AYM 2010 Report
We ask that Outreach Committee                                                   Can you be sure there is not a
                                        We hear a recommendation from
bring further recommendations                                                    new attender waiting at the gate of
                                        the Arrangements committee that
regarding message bank                                                           your meeting? Meetings need to
                                        the dates for AYM 2010 be 3-10
provisions for enquirers to June                                                 make sure they have their eyes on
                                        January. We accept this
RM.                                                                              all the approaches to the Meeting
                                        recommendation, and ask the
11. Finance committee report            Venue Search committee to bring
There have been two meetings of         a recommendation as to venue to
the finance committee this year.        June Regional Meeting
The changeover of signatories for
                                        13. Next meeting
the Society’s accounts and the
                                        Next Regional Meeting for
Public Officer has been
                                        Worship for Business will be at
                                        North Adelaide on 2 June, starting
The committee is attempting to
                                        at 1.00 pm.
draw up guidelines to assist in our
                                        Meeting closed in silent worship.
response to requests for
payments by both Friends and
community organisations. We
hope to bring these guidelines to a
future Regional Meeting.
Funding recommendation for
Meeting for Learning 2007
Meeting for Learning 2006 was
supported by a grant from the
                                        I’ll meet you at the gate
AYM Thanksgiving Fund ($1000),
and also by a grant from VRM            Sally O’Wheel
‘Woodbrooke on the Road’ fund           Imagine the new attender, outside
($2500). SARM agreed to offer           the gates of the Meeting House
support to South Australians            for the first time.
attending, to reduce their
individual contribution to $400.        They are timid and afraid to go
Several paid above this amount.         into the building. If you saw them
The SA participation has resulted       you would certainly approach,
in an ongoing study group which         introduce yourself, welcome them
meets fortnightly, and has agreed       warmly to the meeting and invite
to be nominated as the AYM              them to go in with you. You would
Meeting for Learning committee          answer their questions, reassure
which comes under the care of           them about their fears.
SARM from 2008.                         But what if they were waiting at
It is now the time for the MFL          another gate and you didn’t notice
Committee to set costings for MFL       them?
2007.                                   This sometimes happens on the
SARM has received a request             Forum ( A
from the AYM Meeting for                new attender stumbles upon us
Learning Committee (currently           (via the website) tentatively
under the care of Victoria              introduces themselves and
Regional Meeting) to consider
April 2007                                                                                                         5
                                                                                       5. Considering the issues raised at
Speaking truth to trauma               Children’s committees                           Regional Meeting - weekly or fortnightly
Loren Cobb                             The notes below are a summary of a              Children's Meetings and the use of paid
                                       meeting on 11 March of the Regional and         carers.
Persistent news reports of rapes,                                                      It was decided to leave arrangements as
                                       Adelaide Local Meeting Children's
torture, and war atrocities                                                            they stand for now and re-assess this at a
                                       Committees and others associated with
perpetrated by American soldiers                                                       later date.
                                       the welfare of children. It was an
in Iraq continue to bring us
                                       energising and productive meeting. A            6. Content of Children's Meetings (eg
enormous pain and sadness. The
                                       Young Friend told us that one American          topics, lesson materials)
facts and rumours filtering out of
                                       Meeting refers to the ‘adult’ and               The younger committee members
Iraq are sickening, but I believe
                                       ‘children's’ meetings as the Silent Meeting     recalled what they enjoyed most about
there is an alternative to yet
                                       and the Talking Meeting. We welcome all         children's meetings, including the Sunday
another round of blame and guilt,
                                       Friends to join us in the Talking Meeting       afternoon outings which included children
of angry defence and deadpan
                                       whenever they like.                             and adults. The Young Friends were
denial. It concerns trauma.
                                       Present - Ann Rees, Mark Pharaoh, Dave          asked to consider possible activities.
This is a very personal letter, on a                                                   Refer to 2. re lesson materials. Topsy will
                                       Lambert, Elizabeth Stevenson, Topsy
matter with which I have too much                                                      investigate materials available from
                                       Evans, Matthew Lykos, Oliver Greeves,
experience.                            Mary Webb, Julie Webb                           Yearly Meeting Children's Committee.
Forty years ago today, at 4:30 in      1. The roles of the Regional and Local          7. Housekeeping, including information
the morning, I awoke from my bed                                                       for carers about attendance diary,
                                       committees and whether they might be
in a Cornell University dormitory to   merged as before.                               materials available for use, a book for
find the building on fire and filled                                                   passing on information etc.
                                       The Regional and Local Children's
with smoke. I escaped, but nine of     Committees recommend that the two               Ann, Mary and Julie will start the process
my friends lost their lives. It was                                                    of compiling an information letter to be
                                       committees be amalgamated into one
the beginning of a series of           Regional Children's committee.                  given to all carers.
homicidal arson attacks that                                                           The attendance book could also be used
spring, attacks for which no one       2. Formalising the approval of carers, as       to pass on information to the committee
was ever charged. I was burned         required by the insurance company.              and other carers. Email could also be
out of my living quarters not once     We suggest a relaxed gathering on 29            used to inform others about children's
but twice, and we lived in a state     April where we can have a shared meal,          activities to avoid duplication.
of constant fear and paranoia.         go through the paperwork together, and          An inventory of materials would be
Like most of my friends, I was left    explore the contents of the children's          helpful.
with a permanent case of post-         room. A list of carers will be sent to
traumatic stress disorder (PTSD),      Regional Meeting and also be put on the
somewhat helped by years of            board in the children's room.
psychotherapy.                         3. List of carers.
Quakers and other pacifists have       Eastern Suburbs - Elizabeth Stevenson,
long ‘spoken truth to power’, in a     Margaret Milosh, Topsy Evans, Beth
brave but unsuccessful attempt to      Mylius, Dorothy Scott, Jo Juchniewicz,
alter public attitudes towards war     Jane Duguid
and the use of violent force. I have   North Adelaide - Kerry O'Regan, Ann
a different idea: let's start          Rees, Roger Keys, Cleo Lykos, Dave
speaking truth to trauma.              Lambert, Geoff Greeves, Mark Pharaoh,
                                       Barbara True, Matthew Lykos, Oliver
It is time, indeed long past time,     Greeves, Mary Webb, Harald Ehmann,
for every nation to come to some       Julie Webb, Jan Larsson, Chris Madsen,
difficult realisations:                Kaye Madsen, Trish Hensley, Keith
● that even our finest soldiers can    Twartz, Leslie Hopkins (4th Sunday,
and will commit atrocities when        emergency), Brian Arnott (emergency).
pushed too far                         At least 13 of these people have had
                                       police checks.
● that evil deeds in this and every
conflict are done primarily by         4. Rostering.
traumatised individuals                Julie will continue with the rostering for
                                       the time being. A roster will be put up in
● that an epidemic of unseen           the Children's room and possibly in the
trauma in our culture warps even       porch of the Meeting House. It would be
our perceptions of war                 ideal if we could enlarge the list of carers.
Continued at                           This would not only reduce the load for       everyone, but would benefit the whole
6-EN-Trauma.html                       Regional Meeting as children and adults
                                       get to know each other better.

6                                                                                                             Walking Cheerfully
April 2007   7
The empty mirror                         SoFiA philosophy cafe
A new group is planned for               A safe meeting place for curious,
meditation open to all faiths in         imaginative and creative soul
which we respectfully listen to          searchers as they explore the sea
each other’s experiences in the          of faith and deserts of the human
silence and ask how we engage            experience.
our spirituality with the call to live   The SoFiA experience enables
insightfully and compassionately.        people from all backgrounds to
The meetings will include a short        gain a richer and clearer
presentation on meditation, a 30         perspective of how personal
minute silent meditation followed        values and spirituality relates to
by respectful conversations over         the wider community. Within a
refreshments. This group reflects        conversational style of
the philosophy of the Pope’s             presentation you can hear new
Assisi gathering of faiths where         ideas, engage in discussion over
people pray in one place rather          delicious tea and coffee in a warm
than the syncretistic approach           and comfortable atmosphere.
which some people of faith               If this feels right for you, join us on
experience as disrespectful. As          the third Wednesday of the month
the name, ‘The empty mirror’             at St George's Parish House, a
suggests, authentic spirituality is      few metres south of the Capri
about looking beyond the self and        Cinema on the corner of Angas
asking ‘How do I make a                  Street and Goodwood Road from
difference?’                             7.30 - 9.00 pm. An optional
Meetings will be held on                 donation assists with costs.
   first Wednesday of the                18 April – science and religion –
month                                    logjam or partners in progress?
   7.30 – 9.30pm                         We discuss the ideas of scientist
   St George’s Parish Centre             Colin Tudge.
   cnr Angas St and Goodwood
                                         16 May – agnostic? – We
                                         explore the ideas of Buddhist
                                         Stephen Batchelor and
a few metres south of the Capri
                                         philosopher Mark Vernon to
                                         decide if agnosticism is a viable
The co facilitators are:                 option for people who are
  Thích Thông Pháp                       committed to thinking for
  – Buddhist Chaplain                    themselves.
     to Flinders University              20 June – natural capitalism –
  Chaplain Nicholas Rundle               We investigate the ideas of
  - Pastoral Care                        innovator Amory Lovins from the
      Mission Australia                  Rocky Mountains Institute.
                                         18 July – is Harry Potter bad for
The group is supported by St             you? – English philosopher Don
George’s Goodwood as an                  Cupitt thinks so – notwithstanding
educational initiative, by Mission       the launch of JK Rowling’s last in
Australia and Flinders University        the series this month.
Buddhist Chaplaincy.
                                         15 August – mind field and
                                         morphic fields – biologist Rupert
                                         Sheldrake’s asks ‘How do dogs
                                         know their owners are coming
                                         home?’ Do we re-think biology in
                                         terms of the quantum universe?
                                         The Café facilitator is Nicholas
                                         Rundle, Mission Australia
                                         The SoFia Philosophy Café is

8                                                             Walking Cheerfully
affiliated with the Sea of Faith in
                                      Sixty two years
Australia and supported by St
                                      ago, on Monday 9
                                                                                    Book review
George’s Church Goodwood as an
educational initiative                April 1945, Dietrich                          The God Delusion             Bonhoeffer was
                                                                                    Kerry O’Regan
                                      taken from
                                      Flossenburg                                   Richard Dawkins’ book has been on the
                                      Concentration                                 bestseller list for some time and, as
                                      Camp to be                                    someone who has problems with
                                      hanged. May his                               traditional notions of ‘God’, I approached
                                      poem speak to us                              it with considerable enthusiasm. His
                                      in the challenges of our daily lives:         expressed intention in writing the book
                                                                                    was to ‘raise consciousness to the fact
                                      Who am I?
                                                                                    that to be an atheist is a realistic
                                      They often tell me I would step from my
                                                                                    aspiration, and a brave and splendid one’.
                                           cell's confinement calmly, cheerfully,
                                                                                    Fair enough, though I did feel some
                                                                                    wariness about the absoluteness that
                                      like a squire from his country-house.
                                                                                    goes with most
                                      Who am I?
                                                                                    ‘-ist’ positions.
                                      They also tell me I would talk to my
                                           warders                                  I must say though that my relationship as
                                      freely and friendly and clearly, as though    a reader with Richard Dawkins the writer
                                           it were mine to command.                 quickly came unstuck. I had the sense of
                                      Who am I?                                     being shouted at angrily for much of the
                                      They also tell me I would bear the days of    nearly 400 pages, which I found rather
                                           misfortune                               trying. And he frequently took on the role
                                      equably, smilingly, proudly, like one         of bullying schoolmaster, saying things
                                           accustomed to win.                       like now that’s important so I’ll say it
                                      Am I then really all that which other men     again. OK Richard, I’m a big grown-up
                                           tell of?                                 person who has voluntarily chosen to
                                      Or am I only what I myself know of            read your book, not a naughty, inattentive
                                           myself,                                  schoolchild.
                                      restless and longing and sick, like a bird    As a refugee from mainstream
                                           in a cage,                               Christianity, I should have agreed with
                                      struggling for breath, as though hands        much of Dawkins’ arguments, but
                                           were compressing my throat,              strangely I found little I could comfort-ably
                                      yearning for colours, for flowers, for the    align with. Sure, the literalness of
                                           voices of birds,                         fundamentalist belief, but for me that
                                      thirsting for words of kindness, for          almost goes without saying. He
                                           neighbourliness,                         demolished the philosophical first-cause-
                                      trembling with anger at despotisms and        type ‘proofs’ for the existence of God
                                           petty humiliation,                       which I never found them very convincing
                                      tossing in expectation of great events,       anyway. Angels on pin-head stuff. But
                                      powerlessly trembling for friends at an       then I’m not a philosopher. However, he
                                           infinite distance,                       seemed to misunderstand the ‘argument
                                      weary and empty at praying, at thinking,      from beauty’ (or perhaps I do). He admits
                                           at making,                               to not getting it, but seems to regard it as
                                      faint, and ready to say farewell to it all?   a hyped-up argument from first cause.
                                      Who am I? This or the other?                  Something as profound as Shakespeare’s
                                      Am I one person today, and tomorrow           sonnets or Beethoven’s symphonies must
                                           another?                                 have had, ultimately, a divine creator. I
                                      Am I both at once? A hypocrite before         thought the point was more experiential
                                           others,                                  than causal. The sublimely transcend-
                                      and before myself a contemptibly              ental experience of reading a
                                           woebegone weakling?                      Shakespearean sonnet or listening to a
                                      Or is something within me still like a        Beethoven symphony is, in itself, an
                                           beaten army,                             experience of the divine. And that’s not
                                      fleeing in disorder from victory already      something to be argued logically.
                                                                                    A thing that really bothered me was just
                                      Who am I? They mock me, these lonely
                                                                                    who was he attacking and on what
                                           questions of mine.
                                                                                    grounds? It seemed to slide around from
                                      Whoever I am, thou knowest, O God, I
                                                                                    fundamentalist Christian, mainstream
                                           am thine.
                                                                                    Christian, fundamentalist anything,
                                      Dietrich Bonhoeffer ‘Who am I?’               theism, religion generally. He takes
April 2007                                                                                                                      9
evidence from one of these groups                  didn’t irritate me intensely. As a
(usually the first) and applies it willy-nilly     Darwinianist he seeks a ‘survival’
to any or all of the others. He relates the        explanation for any phenomenon and
story of a brilliant geologist whose mind          proposes a system of ‘memes’, socio-
had been ‘fatally subverted and                    cultural chunks of behaviour equivalent to
weakened by a fundamentalist religious             an individual’s genes. These, he says,
upbringing’ and who ultimately chose the           may be a way of explaining the culturally
religious rather than the mainstream               all-pervasive nature of religious belief.
geological interpretation of phenomena,            Interesting, though I’d need to go back
thereby relinquishing all possibility of           and read that chapter again to really
working at ‘a proper university’. Dawkins          make sense of it. Alternatively, he
says, ‘I am hostile to religion because of         proposes that religious feeling may be a
what it did to Kurt Wise’. All religion?           somehow aberrant equivalent of being in
Interesting, too, how he gives almost god-         love. That’s interesting too.
like, if malevolent, agency to religion, as if     But ultimately, Dawkins treats belief in
it exists as a powerful entity in its own          God in much the way we analysed poetry
right outside the people who align with it.        at school. We examined rhyme and
Scientists are the goodies and religious           meter, metaphor and meaning, but lost
people the baddies in Dawkins’ story. He           the poetry in the process. I’m sure a
rails against the misogyny of religion,            similar treatise could be mounted
ignoring the corresponding misogyny that           regarding the foolish and delusional
prevailed for so long in the scientific            nature of being in love; evidence provided
world. He claims that, unlike religious            for its destructive consequences at a
people, scientists, if presented with              personal, social and even international
contrary evidence, would ‘abandon’ their           level (think Trojan War). But that
existing beliefs ‘overnight’. My knowledge         somehow misses the point. Which I think
of the history of science is that it is littered   is what Richard Dawkins has done in
with individuals who, on presenting such           relation to religion.
evidence, were derided into oblivion. I            Not only that. He has been very selective
can’t but think that his division is simplistic    in the evidence he has considered. He
and rather ill-informed.                           refuses to acknowledge that religion has
Neither can he accept that any scientist           been associated with any good in the
worthy of the name could also be                   world or that intelligent people of good will
genuinely religious, citing evidence of            could find anything of value in it. He
negative correlations between ‘religiosity’        doesn’t look at the God problem from a
and eminence in science. He implies that           range of perspectives and explore a
a particular scientist feigned Christian           range of possibilities. Where is liberal
belief in order to qualify for the lucrative       theology, or liberation theology for that
Templeton Prize. In fact, he suggests that         matter? He seems to be doing what I tell
anyone holding other than a traditional            my student writers is an academically
view of God is actually an atheist                 indefensible thing to do. He has decided
hypocritically masquerading as a                   his position in advance and assembled
Christian.                                         the, admittedly substantial, evidence
 Dawkins deals with the question of                which supports that, ignoring all else. For
morals at some length and presents                 me this loses him all credibility. Shame
evidence to show that there is actually no         really. I had hoped to find someone who
difference in the moral standards of               would help me with my God problem, but
religious and non-religious people. His            Richard Dawkins is not the one.
argument is that morals must come from             Richard Dawkins
somewhere other than a religious source.           The God Delusion
At least good morals. Despite the no-              Bantam Press London 2006
difference claim, he explores at great
length how religion is responsible for bad
morals. For me, the logic of all that
doesn’t quite hang together.
When he wants to discredit someone
quickly, he resorts to name-calling.
Foucault and his followers were
‘francophonies’, Teilhard de Chardin
behaved ‘dishonestly’, and Mother Teresa
was ‘sanctimoniously hypocritical’.
There are some bits of the book that                                                       .

10                                                                                                 Walking Cheerfully
Meetings for worship
Adelaide local meeting
11.00 am Sunday—Friends Meeting House, 40a Pennington Terrace, North Adelaide
Alice Springs worshipping group
Clare Nowak, 2 Cora Crescent, Alice Springs NT 0870  (08) 8952 7558
Copper Triangle recognised meeting
11.00 am third Sunday of each month, Senior Citizens Hall, Taylor Street, Kadina
Evening meeting once a month in various homes—Roger Norris-Green  (08) 8825 1981
Darwin recognised meting
4.30 pm first and third Sundays of each month—in various homes.
Elaine Edwards  (08) 8981 5096 or Neil Chadwick  (08) 8932 1351
Eastern Suburbs local meeting
10.00 am Sunday—Leabrook Guide Hall, Rochester Street, Leabrook
Fleurieu worshipping group
11.00 am every second and last Sunday of each month—Council Chambers, The Strand, Port Elliot.
Shirley Dunn  (08) 8555 2778
Gawler worshipping group
7.00 pm third Sunday each month. Kerry O’Regan  8523 2968 or 0408881617
Hills recognised meeting
10.30 am second Sunday of each month. Kevin Burrett for venue  8339 5360
Meetings for worship for Quaker business
Adelaide local meeting: last Sunday of the month (except December) at 9.30am
Eastern Suburbs local meeting: last Sunday of every second month (a week before each Regional
SA regional meeting: first Sunday of alternate (even) months
Next Regional Meeting for Worship for Business will be at North Adelaide on 2 June, starting at 1.00 pm.
Other meetings
Fellowship of Healing
Meeting House library at 12.30pm on the second Wednesday and the fourth Friday of each month

Friends for peace
Friends for peace is a project of
the American Friends Service
Committee's Wage Peace
campaign. Through Friends for
peace, people across the US and
around the world can put a face
on the diverse majority who want
to end the war in Iraq.
To join Friends for peace:
● go to
● download a sign
● fill in a word or two that
describes you (e.g. librarian,
mother, etc)
● you may choose have a photo
taken holding your sign and
upload it to their site
Put your sign in your window or in
some other prominent place to let
friends, neighbours, and passers-
by know that you are a member of
the pro-peace majority.

April 2007                                                                                                 11
12   Walking Cheerfully

Shared By: