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Religious concerns

[ The University of Melbourne Voice Vol. 6, No. 5  3 May - 13 June 2010 ]

While it was not intended as a formal theme religion concerns many of the contributors to the Autumn 2010 Meanjin.By Silvia Dropulich.

Health and social policy writer Carol Major was not allowed to see her infant son after he was born. In the month her child was born, abortion was legalised in Canada and birth control became available too.

“Soon the home where I stayed become a residence for delinquent girls and later, in an ironic move, a place where single mothers could learn parenting skills,” writes Major.

“Closed adoption contracts and the involvement of church organizations in providing accommodation for expectant single women were not unique to Canada,” she says.

“By the 1950s and 1960s many Western countries, including Australia, had similar policies.

“They meant that young women such as me could return to school or a previous occupation with our secret kept and our reputations in tact.”

Major’s story ‘Engineering Redemption: Adoption Policy in the 1960s’, appears in the autumn edition of Meanjin, which is published by Melbourne University Publishing (MUP) and looks at charisma: of religion, of science of teachers.

In the piece ‘The Book of Famous Paintings’ playwright and prose writer Helen Barnes-Bulley asks if atheists can truly enjoy religious art. She argues that Richard Dawkins [author of The God Delusion] does not grasp that emotional pull felt by many human beings towards something that is more powerful than a mere human.

“It’s why children love magical stories and it’s why teenagers love superheroes–the idea that we have special powers, and can undo some things and make others happen,” writes Barnes-Bulley.

“I suspect that he hopped over the superhero/godlike phase and went straight to science and realism,” she says.

In other essays John Potts considers how religious impulses are still mirrored in our secular beliefs and Jeff Sparrow questions where New Atheism will lead us. Phil Brown remembers being taught by one of the greats, the poet Bruce Dawe, Jane Grant explores the cult of academic and writer, Sam Goldberg, and in the first of the Rewind Series Meanjin re-publishes Goldberg’s 1957 essay ‘The Poet as Hero: A.D. Hope’s “The Wandering Lands”’. Paul Mitchell examines the presence of God in Australian literature from Tim Winton’s Breath to Tsiolkas’s Dead Europe.

There is fiction by Fiona McGregor, Jennifer Mills and new writing by Sue Booker, Philip Canon and Bronwyn Mehan, as well as the final instalment of Caroline Lee’s novel Stripped.

There is also poetry by Geoff Page, Roberta Lowing, Mark Tredinnick, Anthony Lawrence, Eileen Chong, and many others.


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