Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Bishop Brian: It's worse than you think

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  • recordari, in reply to Andre Alessi,

    I wish he could have been supported better by government services so that he didn’t have to turn to a cult like Destiny to make this happen,

    Perhaps this is the crux of it. When people turn to cults, gangs and slot machines to provide some form of hope for a better life, Houston we have a problem.

    That being said, should we forgive people their indiscretions for some perception of a greater good?

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Andrew Little, one year. He was perfectly civil

    Phew! Lucky he didn't eat a kitten at the lectern, huh? :)

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • JoJo, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I found Destiny's marches not just creepy, but downright threatening. We marched 'near' them (as opposed to against them, which we were advised not to do) - in our full rainbow glory, being as queer as queer can be. And none of us felt safe enough to walk home alone afterwards. In broad daylight. In Wellington. Now, I've lived here a long time, and I claim this as my bloody city, day or night. But that crowd were riled up, and I felt physically unsafe for the first time in decades.

    So yeah, I have an issue with MPs attending their services. Brian Tamaki incites violence against people like me. By attending the service, and not speaking against Destiny and BT, the MPs are validating his message. Like someone said upthread - would they attend a National Front rally, if they had 10,000 followers?

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 95 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to andin,

    So where in that rosy little scenario, can I question their belief in a personal god without them getting biblical on me?

    I'm not sure I understand the problem. I don't see anything wrong in discussing matters of personal belief even with people I strongly disagree with, so long as the usual standards of common courtesy and basic respect are maintained.

    Beijing • Since Jan 2007 • 2110 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    I don’t see anything wrong in discussing matters of personal belief even with people I strongly disagree with, so long as the usual standards of common courtesy and basic respect are maintained.

    For myself, I find it very difficult to maintain basic respect and courtesy to someone who believes I am doomed to eternal torment unless I agree with them. And - in some cases - that I will deserve it for "rejecting" their god. At that point you're not even in the same mental universe.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2093 posts Report Reply

  • Andre Alessi, in reply to recordari,

    That being said, should we forgive people their indiscretions for some perception of a greater good?

    I think the question here (which I honestly don't have a good answer for) is how much harm can you do in the course of doing good before the harm cancels out the good? Destiny certainly does help people in ways other groups do not, but quite frankly teaching them to be misogynist homophobes and xenophobes in the course of helping them with their other problems seems to me to be a poor deal at best.

    Coincidentally, I've been reading a lot about The Doctrine of Double Effect recently, and I think that this is very much a case of asking how far you can go in excusing negative "side effects" (if that's how you want to see them.) The ideal (for me anyway, as an irreligious liberal) would be for secular public organisations to have the same kind of funding and remit for 24 hour, 7 days a week immediate response care and support that Destiny does. Deciding that that sort of support is "too expensive" and then farming it out to private organisations seems to me to be a failure in moral leadership first and foremost.

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 862 posts Report Reply

  • JoJo,

    so long as the usual standards of common courtesy and basic respect are maintained.

    And therein lies the problem, Chris. Brian Tamaki does not abide by the usual standards of common courtesy and basic respect. His followers might (although the ones I've encountered at marches haven't). He seems to treat people in two ways: one group, who can give him something (power, respect, money); and group two comprises people he will trod on to get power, money, respect from group one.

    For the record, I actually don't think BT believes the hateful things he says - it's just a marketing tactic. And it works.

    [edited to show Chris's comment that I'm replying to]

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 95 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    You making it sound so rational and cosy still! Maybe you are the only person on earth who can do that. The way you describe it, has never ever happened in my "experience".
    And what Lucy said.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1221 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to JoJo,

    I found Destiny's marches not just creepy, but downright threatening.

    Georgina Beyer wasn't Godwinning when she likened the original march to a 'Nuremburg rally'. Not long after, the Destinymen mirror-flipped colours and resembled Klansmen minus the hoods.

    Come to think of it, fundies are far scarier when they infiltrate mainstream outlets, than when they show their true colours.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4306 posts Report Reply

  • Heather Gaye, in reply to andin,

    Meet them, talk to them, walk in their shoes, and then decide whether or not you can pass judgement.

    So where in that rosy little scenario, can I question their belief in a personal god without them getting biblical on me?

    FWIW there’s very little space for a debate with anyone in Destiny Church. Generally these are people that are relatively new to Christianity, and only know what Tamaki propagates. I’ve heard a few of his sermons and it’s mainly oratory – all show and charisma with very little analysis, which exacerbates the problem.

    The upshot is that if you get into *any* conversation with a Destiny member, first of all they’ll likely have a policy of not talking to anyone without having another, more senior member present (which has the convenient bonus of immediately outnumbering you), and secondly, the moment you challenge them beyond the limits of their knowledge or experience – which generally isn’t particularly broad – they’ll disengage, and refer to you back to Tamaki. Destiny isn’t the only church that does this – in my experience, evangelicals tend to have an underlying culture of fear when it comes to actually hitting the streets. The premise is that once they’re spreading their faith in the wild, they’re open to persecution. The moment someone disagrees with them, and *especially* if they start feeling uncomfortable or unsure how to respond, that’s a form of spiritual attack. That in itself immediately affirms their actions – “I’m being persecuted, therefore I’m doing God’s work” – which means that most of their effort goes into learning convenient ways to rebut challenging questions, rather than considering whether those questions have any merit.

    ETA: regarding “Meet them, talk to them, walk in their shoes” – I wasn’t part of Destiny, but I’ve been part of very similar churches. Good, well-meaning congregations, occasional nutbars, but more experienced christians - even in other pentecostal churches - learn to be very wary of cults of personality. Granted, there are intelligent, thoughtful people in Destiny as well, but apparently that then leads to a pastor walking out and taking a third of his congregation with him.

    Under the western motorwa… • Since Nov 2006 • 523 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    The doctrine of double effect

    [Redacted].

    Need to do some more reading. Interesting, but struggling to see how it fits.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Andre Alessi, in reply to recordari,

    Need to do some more reading. Interesting, but struggling to see how it fits.

    I did wander a bit there, didn't I?

    I was replying to the suggestion in your comment:

    should we forgive people their indiscretions for some perception of a greater good?

    that the "people" we were talking about were Destiny Church, and that the "perception of a greater good" was the social good they achieve in helping people like my uncle to get their lives back on track, while the "indiscretions" were Destiny's less-than-stellar social views. If that's not the case, then I've totally misread your comment and the reference to double effect would be irrelevant.

    If that was what you were after, then double effect applies because it's about how far you can justify the negative side effects of an act by the good it eventually does. In this case, the negative side effect would be Destiny's homo-/xeno-/gynophobia and the positive would be the social help it provides its congregation. My personal take is that the negative side effects of an organisation like Destiny helping people at the very least cancel out the good that they might do. YMMV

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 862 posts Report Reply

  • Cecelia,

    there are intelligent, thoughtful people in Destiny as well, but apparently that then leads to a pastor walking out and taking a third of his congregation with him.

    Why would a thoughtful intelligent person fall for Tamaki's personality cult? He actually said he couldn't lower himself to a politician's level. He wasn't being mean about politicians - he obviously meant that his status as a demi-God was far above their earth-bound level. When he said that, the crowd cheered. I just can't understand. I've known very intelligent women who have become part of patriarchal, homophobic fundamentalist churches. Why?

    Why Sarah Palin and Donald Trump? How could the latter believe that Obama lacked an American birth certificate? I suppose my beliefs and values are as deeply embedded as theirs are ... but ...

    Hibiscus Coast • Since Apr 2008 • 523 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Destiny's actually claiming profits from its Community Max projects.
    That's not normal, is it?

    While the $850,000 his organisation received for its Community Max programmes was a lot of money, [the head of Destiny's social services, George Ngatai] said, all but about $10,000 went on wages, ACC and KiwiSaver payments for those on the schemes.

    His organisation had spent about $6000 more in running costs.

    "We made $4000."

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Heather Gaye, in reply to Cecelia,

    Why would a thoughtful intelligent person fall for Tamaki’s personality cult

    ...just for clarification it was the pastor that left that was the intelligent one, reacting against the bish's whole covenant debacle recently.

    & speaking as someone who regularly got asked "how can a supposedly intelligent person such as yourself be a crazy pentecostal?", faith falls outside the bounds of science, so it's possible for the two to cohabit. I could argue that I was conditioned into believing from a young age, but given that my brother suffered no such effect, I think some people are just predisposed. I read a book called The Happiness Hypothesis that made a very compelling case for the utter, stunning irrationality and hypocrisy of all humans in their thought processes (not in a bad way) - basically that even the most logical, objective human goes through ridiculous mental gymnastics that don't necessarily have any basis in the real world or even logic, in order to make sense of themselves and the world. Religion is just a tiny facet of the lies we tell ourselves. For what it's worth I've no idea what to believe now, but still tend toward the existence of some kind of super-natural. (shrug)

    Why Sarah Palin and Donald Trump? How could the latter believe that Obama lacked an American birth certificate? I suppose my beliefs and values are as deeply embedded as theirs are … but …

    Also, there really should be a distinction between people that place unquestioning faith in someone or something (and I actually believe there are atheists that fall into that category), even despite evidence to the contrary - and starting with a premise one doesn't fully understand & then constantly hunting for clarification (not necessarily proof) of same. The thing that finally convinced me that God and the universe wasn't necessarily as I saw it, was acknowledging that there are people who have beliefs that conflict wholly with my own, but they believe them just as strongly. That's when the "well, I Just Know" started to fall apart for me.

    Under the western motorwa… • Since Nov 2006 • 523 posts Report Reply

  • Heather Gaye, in reply to Heather Gaye,

    …oh, also, a lot has to be said for the politics of association. When all the people you hang out with believe the same things, those things really become self-evident. Modern Christian denominations can be especially bad in this regard, because they're explicitly warned to avoid “worldly influence” that might lead them astray (see above about evangelicals engaging non-christians).

    Under the western motorwa… • Since Nov 2006 • 523 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Andre Alessi,

    Deciding that that sort of support is "too expensive" and then farming it out to private organisations seems to me to be a failure in moral leadership

    Yet you can expect that to be official government policy after the election - unless enough people vote otherwise.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16680 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Heather Gaye,

    "how can a supposedly intelligent person such as yourself be a crazy pentecostal?"

    Now I'm intrigued..

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16680 posts Report Reply

  • Cecelia,

    there are intelligent, thoughtful people in Destiny as well, but apparently that then leads to a pastor walking out and taking a third of his congregation with him.

    Why would a thoughtful intelligent person fall for Tamaki's personality cult? He actually said he couldn't lower himself to a politician's level. He wasn't being mean about politicians - he obviously meant that his status as a demi-God was far above their earth-bound level. When he said that, the crowd cheered. I just can't understand. I've known very intelligent women who have become part of patriarchal, homophobic fundamentalist churches. Why?

    Why Sarah Palin and Donald Trump? How could the latter believe that Obama lacked an American birth certificate? I suppose my beliefs and values are as deeply embedded as theirs are ... but ...

    Hibiscus Coast • Since Apr 2008 • 523 posts Report Reply

  • Cecelia,

    Thanks Heather - I have the Happiness Hypothesis - will look up. I know I lack insight in these areas!

    Hibiscus Coast • Since Apr 2008 • 523 posts Report Reply

  • recordari, in reply to Andre Alessi,

    My personal take is that the negative side effects of an organisation like Destiny helping people at the very least cancel out the good that they might do. YMMV

    Not much actually. My original reply made sense, as long as you didn’t read past the middle of your link. Saved myself the embarrassment of commenting having decided initially ‘TLDR’. The thing that confused me was the earlier premise that an act of evil with a positive outcome had to be causative and direct, but later on in another version it allowed for that.

    Sorry you had to explain things. I actually have thought about this kind of thing a bit myself. Does the end justify the means? Not sure in this case I could agree with that. There is a lot of hatred in the links Russell posted.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • recordari, in reply to Andre Alessi,

    Was editing my post when the system went down. If it implies anything other than that I agree with this statement;

    My personal take is that the negative side effects of an organisation like Destiny helping people at the very least cancel out the good that they might do.

    then it's not what I meant.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • vangam,

    Speaking of charlatans, people might be interested to know that the founder of the Nation of Islam was a kiwi preacher.

    I'll get my coat...

    Rangiora • Since Jun 2007 • 103 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to vangam,

    Speaking of charlatans, people might be interested to know that the founder of the Nation of Islam was a kiwi preacher.

    I’ll get my coat…

    And Sir Joh was born in Dannevirke. Luckily for us, he moved to Queensland as a kid. Not so lucky for Queensland though...

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4306 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Apologies if this has already been linked. Idiot/Savant on why Destiny missed out on Whanau Ora funding.

    Earlier in the week, Destiny Church (most famous for organising the "Nuremberg rally" against the Civil Union Act in 2004) complained about being "discriminated against" due to not receiving more government funding.

    Today, the Herald reveals the true problem: they didn't meet the criteria, because they couldn't find other agencies to partner with to deliver services. And the reason they couldn't find other agencies to partner with? Because no-one wants to work with bigots.

    Cry me a river. This isn't "discrimination", its just desserts. It is also, I should add, those other agencies ensuring that their service delivery complies with the Human Rights Act - something that simply can't be guaranteed if Destiny is involved.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16680 posts Report Reply

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