Posts by BenWilson

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  • Speaker: We don’t make the rules, we're…, in reply to izogi,

    Well, the scripts aren't going to be identical to the books. The buzz isn't so much about what's going to happen as about how it will be portrayed. Also, people do actually like surprises. I don't want any spoilers until I've watched it tonight. So I'll probably avoid Twitter until then.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8941 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: We don’t make the rules, we're…, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    I think that for those three events, they can only be done at the scheduled time.

    No, only the soccer game has a fixed time. You can time shift the cricket, and you can definitely wait until the evening for the new WoW content. But you might not want to if you're a big fan.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8941 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: A conversation from belief, in reply to Francis Ritchie,

    I’m also not someone who thinks that anyone who doesn’t line up with my own worldview has no basis for an ethical or moral approach to life.

    Do you think this kind of attitude is in the majority amongst your fellow Christians? I mean at this time, rather than in the past.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8941 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: A conversation from belief,

    Francis, I can agree that there are quite a few good principles in teachings attributed to Christ. But as an agnostic bordering on atheism, that's where it ends for me. There are good principles in many other religions too, and in plenty of people who don't make a religious connection to their views, but merely argue or state their moral creeds. As a person in a society where freedom to choose the sources of one's views is upheld, picking and choosing the best bits seems the most sensible way to find a path of goodness, and picking one-and-only-one ultimate source seems irrational, or at least sub optimal.

    Of course, being good people is not the only professed purpose of Christian (and other) faith. There is also the aspect of the religious feeling, the divine inspiration, communing with God/Jesus, praying, finding solace, filling one's heart with communal cheer etc. I venture that this part is really the main reason that people who are devout do it. The business of good action flowing naturally from channeling this access is something most can see as pretty tenuous, just from observing their own thoughts and actions some time after the last spiritual recharge, and the bad actions of some people who claim to be getting the connection all the time.

    But even without that connection, I'm sure that the spiritual aspect feels good to some people, and that's not a parade I'd generally want to rain on, not for anyone, no matter what religion/creed/practice. It is one of the less appealing aspects of Christianity to me that it doesn't really support this kind of openness at all. It claims to be the one and only path, its God the one and only. This is supposedly straight from Christ's own mouth, although one can never really be sure, since the details of his life are really quite sketchy. But even if we're not sure whether Christ actually thought that, we can be pretty sure that nearly every major Christian sect does, that this exclusivity is core doctrine. This is the main aspect of it that I have a real problem with.

    I don't see how Christianity could really be reformed to fix this, because it seems to be the most vital and central fact of the devout believer's life. In stating that they are a Christian at all, they are stating Jesus is the son of God and that what he said is the most important stuff ever. And this is almost always followed up with plenty of evidence that they do indeed feel this way, with elephantine memory feats on the Bible, Jesus being inserted into every major thought, or at least credited with it after the fact, and often outright disparagement of any alternatives, if they can't be credibly shown to be sourced to Jesus or God in some way. That's in enlightened times where just torturing it out of people or killing them is harder to get away with.

    That side of the cult is terribly unappealing. I can see that it's probably necessary for a cult to be strong, but that being so, I'm glad that it's no longer anywhere near as strong as it once was.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8941 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: About Campbell Live, in reply to Robyn Gallagher,

    It might not work, but that doesn't mean people who feel that way shouldn't do it. It's no less futile than any other gesture. Maybe it might reach people who also have influence that see a bigger picture than live viewing numbers. It wouldn't do them any harm to hear that there are alternative streams of revenue that they might not be considering, not to mention the overall branding issue for the channel. Just because I feel completely apathetic, due to not being a revenue stream myself, and mostly quite happy about that, doesn't mean everyone else has to share that apathy.

    I kind of struggle with the inherent apathy involved in even watching free to air live TV, with it's complete surrender of any responsibility for choice about what one's mind is subjected to beyond pressing channel and mute buttons, but I'm well aware it's what millions of people do actually like to do in NZ, despite ample opportunity not to.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8941 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: About Campbell Live,

    Serious question: who here regularly watches Campbell Live? And by that, I mean the full episode, live to air. Not occasionally watching a video someone has shared on Facebook.

    I don't. I really like John Campbell, but I haven't watched the show since the 2000s, and if Campbell Live had been cancelled five years ago I wouldn't have noticed.

    You got me.

    Part of Campbell Live’s problem may be that fewer of the kind of people who would watch Campbell Live at 7pm are bothering with free-to-air broadcast television. Perhaps in the end we’ll just plain stop bothering.

    And you too.

    I pretty much feel like my opinion on TV actually should be ignored, because I have almost nothing invested in it at all. I follow news, but there is literally no broadcast news I can be bothered to watch, other than raw footage.

    This is no slur on Campbell, who I think is better than the others. But once in a blue moon do I feel inclined to sit through something for half an hour that I can pretty much get in a few minutes from glancing at my Twitter feed, following links and browsing headlines, and reading blogs.

    Can't stand the format any more, sorry about that. It hurts my brain the way a CRT hurts my eyes, something I just don't have to put up with any more.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8941 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Media Take: The Easter Show, in reply to andin,

    Anyway I’m getting sick of this all over again

    Yeah it's a pretty half-hearted trolling effort, probably because it's not sincere. He should stick to the Marxism, which has a lot more hooks for personal attacks and snide backhanders at the entire community. It's what he knows best.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8941 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Media Take: The Easter Show, in reply to Alan Perrott,

    I’m still trying to figure this one out ‘’Imagining the classical mind is so hard precisely because it was a pre-Christian one.’’

    I'm not. It's a sweeping generalization. The "classical mind" is a cliche to stand in place of the millions of individual minds of the time, many of which thought diametrically opposite things, and the "Christian mind" is just the same. The Roman Empire was vast, containing many entirely different races and cultures and there was an even vaster world just around it's periphery, not to mention the entire rest of the world, most of which has never become Christian, and yet somehow has never been completely crippled by the lack the way they would have been had they never invented farming.

    Ideas of equality and monotheism and goodness coming from actions rather than birth and of rewards in the afterlife for good behavior were already ancient in the time of Jesus.

    The way in which Christianity came to take over the splitting and collapsing empire that it was born into is interesting, but there is no necessity for an idea to be generally good for it to be powerful. Otherwise Rome would never have been powerful in its brutal despotism in the first place. Certainly the idea doesn't need a divine origin. It doesn't even need an inspired one. Often it's just the right virus in the right place at the right time. Perhaps if Constantine's mum had not been a Christian, it would have remained as obscure as all the other cults that he released from suppression. It was a strong church because it was organized, rather than because it was good (or not). And then after that, it was influential because it was strong, the religion of the worlds greatest powermongers. Whatever it may have preached, the practice of the next thousand years was hardly enlightened, and it still isn't, for the most part. Of course there are and always have been many individually very good Christians, though. Ditto for non-Christians.

    Perhaps a tradition of thinking of equality and charity and the rewards of the afterlife have left strong marks, but I don't think that they really stand that much in the way of imagining what life must have been like before the dominant religion preached them. We need only look at the world now to see what inequality and a lack of charity and disregard for the rewards of the afterlife are all about. It's a bit weird to think of a life where people pray to many gods rather than the one big guy ...but I could just take a trip to Asia to find billions of people doing it right now. And I find praying to the big guy weird too, really, at least in grown ups. I guess as humans we naturally subjugate ourselves to the powerful, so our imagination of a god is going to be basically what a powerful person is like, someone that might respond to pleas if they like us enough. At times it's probably easier to deal with than the idea that you're talking to the void.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8941 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Media Take: The Easter Show, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    To my satisfaction at least, the most obvious explanation is the first Christians had a leader in every way even more exceptional in his power to influence men than, say, Alexander the Great was in his own time.

    LOL. Yeah, right.

    either he or his immediate apostles made a revolutionary intellectual breakthrough akin to the invention of farming

    Wow, full of hyperbole much? Comparing technological changes that led to hundred-fold increases in the potential human population around the entire globe to yet-another-monotheistic-religion that eventually took over a collapsing empire without really changing a damned thing about the way they went about business.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8941 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Media Take: The Easter Show, in reply to Alan Perrott,

    comparisons to Alex are plain silly.

    Pretty much. One was extremely famous in his own time, more so than probably any other human had ever been, operating out of the heart of the most prolific and powerful culture of the region. The other was obscure, from a remote town, affecting a small number of people. There's probably something like 20,000 times more evidence about Alexander than Jesus. We can pretty much trace his entire life's path. Jesus we can fix at two points - he was very likely baptized by John the Baptist and crucified by Pontius Pilate, and everything before and between is hazy clouds of possibility and supposition. For Alexander we have pretty close dates for most of the major events of his life. He was a famous man even before he was the "Great", the prince of a powerful king, well known to the aristocracy of the region, who formed the bulk of the literate people of the time.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8941 posts Report Reply

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