OTAGOsh — Another blog I have too long neglected (till now)

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by Neil Godfrey

Otago Region within New Zealand
Otago Region within New Zealand (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

OTAGOsh” made himself known to me a few years ago in the blogging world but only since finally getting serious with an rss reader this week have I discovered the extent of his brilliant and humorous posts. The name behind the blog is Gavin Rumney and he looks like a kindred spirit with respect to our religious background (we were both members of the Worldwide Church of God) and current views (even politically green ones!) I know I can come across here as far more serious and dogmatic than I am in reality so I like Otagosh’s line forewarning his readers:

I hope you enjoy your time here.  If it’s any consolation, in real life I’m much less opinionated!

Otagosh/Gavin’s posts are a real tonic. He knows how to write. And he knows exactly how to handle Robert M. Price, for example:

What does Bob Price have in common with Martin Luther?

They both got more crotchety as they aged. . . . . . .

As you might already suspect, I’m I big fan of Bob (Dr. Robert M. Price). Not of his politics, I hasten to add, but of his honesty, directness and humour in his chosen field of biblical studies. Again, not that I agree with him on everything, but his ‘take’ on the Bible and religion is always worth considering. He’s not called “the Bible Geek” for nothing.

My favourite line in I Slam Islam is his description of Martin E. Marty as “the very poster-boy for namby-pamby, “standing for nothing, offending no one” liberal Protestantism”.

And there’s much more polemic where that comes from.

Bob is of course a thorough conservative when it comes to politics, somewhere to the right of Attila the Hun, which bizarrely puts him at the other end of the spectrum to most of his admirers in the world of atheistic biblical study.

I could read Otagosh for hours. He brings back memories of my old cult days in a way that leaves me with a grin on my face. Some favourites:

The Grinch puts his case  — ah yes, what it was like to be standing up for Jesus Christ against the onslaught of the pagan Christmas!

Feast of Tabernacles 2014 — and our Christmas substitute, those annual feasts where we splurged a full tenth of our gross annual income, much on alcohol, as compensation for enduring hours of sermons for a solid eight days.

Understanding Fundamentalism — “If you just want a spleen-venting ‘feel good’ tirade, Ruthven isn’t your man. In this slim volume he pushes us well up the learning curve. At the end you might not feel any more kindly toward the phenomena – I know I didn’t – but you will have a deeper grasp of what motivates otherwise rational people to embrace these dire views.

A Bible for all Seasons and Reasons — no clues for this one, go to the site to read it.

As if that isn’t enough happy relaxing and uplifting reading for a fellow-exWCGer Gavin has started another blog, Gully Heights, for a “wider, non-religious focus”. Another great resource when you feel the need to take 5 in the middle of a hectic day. Or just to unwind after hours.

Thanks, Gavin.



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Neil Godfrey

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5 thoughts on “OTAGOsh — Another blog I have too long neglected (till now)”

  1. mostly off-topic: His comments about Price’s politics are a bit odd. Price has never said anything that leads me to believe that he is to the right of Attila the Hun. He self-describes as a conservative and is pro-life. Oh, my sensitive ears! He seems pretty moderate otherwise; somewhat eclectic. Of course, it’s a bit odd that Price’s politics seem noteworthy in the reality-based community … but that is an oddity of the reality-based community more so than an oddity of Price’s. I trust that neither OTAGOsh nor yourself intend to deprecate Price by mentioning it, but I have the impression that his politics genuinely bother some of the Center for Inquiry types, for example.

    Full disclosure: I am an eclectic conservative myself, so I tend to relate to Price. My politics are a bit more radical in places that his are; I sometimes think, wow, if poor Price seems like a firebrand reactionary to you …

      1. Oh no, the very lowest rank of subhuman! But, you know, I am not a “denialist” of this type any more, but I used to be, and it turns out that even they/we are/were just regular flesh-and-blood people who engage in motivated reasoning like everybody else. Wishful thinking is one of the essential human behaviours.

    1. Trusting Fox News and Rush Limbaugh as reliable sources of information do not put one in the “pretty moderate” camp.

      And yes, his politics do probably bother some of the CFI types. What does it mean when you find out that somebody you had pegged as a fairly intelligent person pumps out stuff like this?


      I’ll tell you what it means to me. It means I share some peripheral ideas in common with Price, but on very important fundamental issues like economics, law, politics, truth, and the future of the human race, we’re strangers.


      Try to imagine the sort of mind that thinks George W. Bush’s policies were “visionary.” I cannot.

      1. I will say of Bob Price’s politics that I was aware that he is a conservative, but I don’t remember him mentioning Rush Limbaugh or Fox News. I’m not saying I’m surprised: many American conservatives seem to like those things. Now, when I say that I don’t remember him mentioning them, that does nothing to rehabilitate my estimate of his politics. It just means that I’ve found it easy to keep his politics separate from his Biblical criticism. Maybe it helps that I don’t usually read his blog; I just listen to his podcast and sometimes read articles about a specific Biblical topic. I don’t see conflating my feelings about his politics and his Bible stuff as a virtue. It seems to me that, if his politics seem offensive and/or likely to distract, that’s all the more reason not to bring it up as an aside.

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