Archive for November, 2006

Aussies spiritual but not religious

There’s an opinion piece in the SMH – Souls are not shaken, just stirred – about Australian religious trends. Interesting reading, if a bit vague.

A lot of the article seems to be an interpretation of the religion numbers from the 1996 and 2001 Australian censuses (censi? censes?), which are available from the Bureau of Statistics site. Some random observations, most of which agree with the article:

  • The only categories that dropped in absolute numbers were “No religion” and a handful of Christian denominations. Judaism basically stayed the same as a percentage of the population. Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and “Other Religions” all jumped significantly – the number of Buddhists nearly doubled from a hair under 200,000 to over 350,000.
  • The “Inadequately described” category, which includes “Religious belief, nfd” (not further defined), jumped from 0.3% to 1.9%. This might be what Bouma was referring to when he said that “Nearly 2 per cent of Australians… took the time to write in a ’spiritual’ response”. (Either that, or Aussies’ ability to fill out forms is in decline. I’d believe that.) I’d be interested to know how many of those moved from “No religion”, which dropped from 16.5% to 15.3%. Not that I’m biased or anything.
  • Of the 17 Christian categories, 12 dropped as a percentage of the population, including the big three, Catholic, Anglican and Uniting. Overall, the Christian chunk of Australia dropped from 70.3% to 67.3%.

It’ll be interesting to see how this changes in the 2006 census data, due to be released in mid 2007.

I have to express a bit of annoyance at Bouma’s comment that “Australia leads the world in providing opportunities for funding for faith-based education in schools.” That may be true, but as far as I’m concerned it’s about on par with leading the world in funding opportunities to club baby seals. I’ll probably write about this in more detail one day.

Also, I’m not sure that he knows exactly what “postmodern” means. But then, I’m not sure that anyone knows exactly what “postmodern” means.

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Ferriture? Uriferret? Irrefuter?

The Target in today’s SMH has me baffled:


I have a program I usually run it through if I can’t get it immediately, to at least see how many words it finds from a fairly comprehensive word list (the British English dictionary file that comes with Ubuntu, wherever that comes from). It didn’t match any 9-letter words. So this is either a really obscure word, or a not-too-canonical slang word (it missed “scallywag” once – and no, no pun on “Canonical”), or a mistake.

Waaaait… sorry, I spoke too soon. My online solver, which uses a bigger dictionary, did get it. And now I know what it is. And I probably would have worked it out if I’d thought about it for a few more minutes. Damn.

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Fatherly absence

Just noticed something funny.

I was reading this post at Boxed Treasure, and his comment about “not rebelling against a parental figure” jogged something in my memory. In Apologetics class, we learnt that people project their relationship with their father onto God. So if someone thinks they’re upset with God, they’re really just upset with their father. Nietzche and Hitler apparently both had bad relationships with their fathers, which proves it. An atheist is presumably someone who doesn’t believe that their father exists.

I’m just passing this information on.

It occurred to me that yesterday’s post about Dad not telling me about the Christmas party makes me a wide open target for anyone wanting to do an amateur psychological assessment of the root cause of my disconnection from God. Once I even described the uselessness of prayer by asking why God “hasn’t returned any of my calls” (I was trying to pick a fight with a Christian at the time).

There. All the incriminating evidence is on the table. I’m interested to hear what anyone makes of it.

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McLeish Estate

My uncle’s winery has been raking in a few awards lately, particularly for their 2005 Semillon. Quick bit of publicity – if you happen to find yourself in Pokolbin in the Hunter Valley for whatever reason, drop into McLeish Estate on DeBeyers Road. Tell ‘em I sent you.

McLeish Estate Jessica's Botrytis Semillon awards

Here endeth the plug.

Tina and I drove up yesterday to see them (and their wine, of course) on a bit of a whim. Virtually no planning went into it. The first thing I find out after saying hello to my aunt is that the family Christmas party was happening back in Sydney. They weren’t there because the cellar door was too busy. I wasn’t there because Dad hadn’t bothered to tell me about it.

Yeah, November is a bit early for a Christmas party. My family’s like that.

Now, admittedly I haven’t called Dad for a while, but in my defence he’s pretty deaf and his hearing aid doesn’t play well with the phone, so calling him “just to say hi” tends to be a bit futile. We had dinner with him sometime around Fathers’ Day, and if I remember correctly, we were planning to do it again when he came down to Sydney again in December. In hindsight, this seems like it would have been an opportune moment to mention that there’d be a Christmas party in between. Dad’s my main source of information for his side of the family, so if I was going to hear about it from anyone, it would be him.

Although, come to think of it, my brother didn’t tell me either. Hmm.

I’m not particularly annoyed, but it’s amusing. You sort of expect your parents to be on top of things. I’ll call him in a couple of days and laugh at him.

Oh, one more thing, before leaving the topic of wine. Iron Gate Sweet Shiraz. I’m not going to say anything else.


Round 2

Well, my blogging attention span didn’t hold out, frankly. I got stuck in a loop that sounded like “yeah, I’ll write about something… tomorrow.” All good intentions, not enough momentum. If more than two-ish people a day were reading this, they’d be pretty annoyed by now.

So, it’s about time to take another swing at it.

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