Apr 4, 2007

We live in a degraded age

Old-time religion:
--They lie in exterior darkness. For, remember, the fire of hell gives forth no light. As, at the command of God, the fire of the Babylonian furnace lost its heat but not its light, so, at the command of God, the fire of hell, while retaining the intensity of its heat, burns eternally in darkness. It is a never ending storm of darkness, dark flames and dark smoke of burning brimstone, amid which the bodies are heaped one upon another without even a glimpse of air. Of all the plagues with which the land of the Pharaohs were smitten one plague alone, that of darkness, was called horrible. What name, then, shall we give to the darkness of hell which is to last not for three days alone but for all eternity?

--The horror of this strait and dark prison is increased by its awful stench. All the filth of the world, all the offal and scum of the world, we are told, shall run there as to a vast reeking sewer when the terrible conflagration of the last day has purged the world. The brimstone, too, which burns there in such prodigious quantity fills all hell with its intolerable stench; and the bodies of the damned themselves exhale such a pestilential odour that, as saint Bonaventure says, one of them alone would suffice to infect the whole world. The very air of this world, that pure element, becomes foul and unbreathable when it has been long enclosed. Consider then what must be the foulness of the air of hell. Imagine some foul and putrid corpse that has lain rotting and decomposing in the grave, a jelly-like mass of liquid corruption. Imagine such a corpse a prey to flames, devoured by the fire of burning brimstone and giving off dense choking fumes of nauseous loathsome decomposition. And then imagine this sickening stench, multiplied a millionfold and a millionfold again from the millions upon millions of fetid carcasses massed together in the reeking darkness, a huge and rotting human fungus. Imagine all this, and you will have some idea of the horror of the stench of hell.

New age religion:
Ryan Gwin is oblivious to everybody around him, hunched over the coffee table in the lounge room. He is toiling away with a pencil and paper, putting the finishing touches to an essay about climate change.

He is six years old.

"I wanted to make a book so we wouldn’t use cars so much,” he says, deadpan.

"Because cars use fuel and that goes up into the atmosphere and causes global warming."

Ryan’s book, titled, How To Save Our World: To Stop Globl Waming, contains sketches of cars and planes, crossed through with red pen. It is both disturbing and inspiring.

For the record, the reporter who found Ryan’s book “inspiring” is one Linton Besser. Poor little Ryan - shown by the SMH working in near darkness on his Junior Unabomber Manifesto - is bus crazy:

On the last page, a blue and white State Transit bus chugs its way through the suburbs. In small letters, Ryan has written: “powrd by nachrl gas”.

The bus has become something of a theme - when his father, Rhys, returns from work, Ryan usually asks anxiously if his bus was a gas-powered model ...

Is it acceptable that a six-year-old be rendered anxious every day by the mere matter of bus fuel? His teachers aren’t helping:

“At school, we’re talking about the living planet. Using cars and knocking down all the trees is causing animals to die, because they don’t have a home,” he said.

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