Hard News by Russell Brown

Read Post

Hard News: Belief Media

414 Responses

First ←Older Page 1 13 14 15 16 17 Newer→ Last

  • andin, in reply to Martin Lindberg,

    Could you two be any more condescending if you actually tried?

    Good I hit a nerve. I was trying so dont get too comfortable.
    Since when is talking about occupies most of our fellow as this concept (yeah I know its heartfelt and dear to us all). Oh One shouldn't talk about it or lets all agree to disagree.
    Call me condescending...

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1234 posts Report Reply

  • DexterX, in reply to Stewart,

    The YFC tactic for garnering new recruits was basically to stir up the emotions in big rallies & get the non-committed to "come forward to receive jesus christ as your personal saviour"

    Theological arguments and discussions are wasted on me I am just not that interested in them.

    The thread does take me back - my youngest brother had taken me on a Sunday to see the Jimi Hendrix Film at the Classic cinema. Afterwards, with "Hear My Train a Comin" buzzing in our brains, we waltzed down Queen Street; as we got to the Town Hall, which had all doors flung open, we heard music "peeling out" into the street – though the music was more "grating out" than "ringing out".

    We stepped inside, the place was packed; one of those YFC events was in full swing.
    The crowd of the apparently converted were standing up and clapping, and singing praise. Jesus it was weird – one half of the hall was out of time with the other half - so aurally it had the effect of waves crashing – though with none of the soothing aspects that this images normally brings to mind present – there was no rhythm and the crowd couldn’t hold a beat – the pulse of the thing was sickening - we were transfixed and nauseated in the same moment.

    We watched for a short while, taking it all in, and then were approached casually by a man seeking to engage us – we turned and ran from the event racing down the street laughing. We didn’t stop and turn around until we got to corner of Queen and Rutland.

    We discussed “it” on the bus home – and “it” had made us both appreciate the freedom in our life - we were not stuck in a rut were we felt we had to be there, at a YFC rally, or anywhere else for that matter.

    I have the remanets of Christian faith planted deep within in me but I don’t profess or practice anything - I hold nothing against people who through their interpretation of the Bible/Gospel devote their life to charity, care of the sick, doing prison visits, mentoring and teaching children – those great things the traditional churches involved themselves with. Destiny Church and new age churches just creep me out.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1203 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Ross Mason,

    I am having difficulty in figuring out why there should be an acceptance of religion “because it is part of ‘their’ culture”. It arose in a conversation last night as I was talking to a primary principal. She mentioned that the JWs insist their children do not partake in the daily karakiha.

    I guess they'd be uncomfortable with their children reciting the prayers of another faith. I'm uncomfortable with a daily school prayer of any stripe, personally,

    We moved onto how the school deals with the increasing religions of refugees and immigrants. Does the school provide a prayer room? ” No, but we would find room?. Why? “Because it is part of their culture”. After a bit of toing and froing it was difficult to figure out why religion “should” be concidered part of culture.

    Of course, I then reached into Wiki to find out what ‘culture’ was/is. Apparently it seems to have changed its meaning over the last 150 years. Now it is more attached to anthropological issues, and thus, to ‘culture’.

    You looked up Wikipedia to find what out what culture is? Awesome.

    In the case of children whose families have come from Islamic cultures, I think the greater good is clearly served by having those kids at school, and making them feel comfortable about learning there. You don't change the curriculum for them, but you do make it possible for them to pray, as the belief with which they have been raised requires.

    I believe this approach is more likely to be productive than, say, sending you around to berate them about what their culture means.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19019 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to DexterX,

    I hold nothing against people who through their interpretation of the Bible/Gospel devote their life to charity, care of the sick, doing prison visits, mentoring and teaching children – those great things the traditional churches involved themselves with.

    Thats not all they do/did.
    How has (obviously over time) what should be considered a high attainment for all of us become wedded to this notion of other worldliness. Do we need special permission to be kind, to put our pecuniary interests second. In that great sweep that is our history the answers are there. As I said "drifting" along.

    I believe this approach is more likely to be productive than, say, sending you around to berate them about what their culture means.

    I guess you are talking about the children, in which case I agree with you. They are just kids. But none of our cultures/ideas are sacrosanct we have to allow internal as well as external criticism to happen. And that goes right down to the individual. Ring fencing ideas, parts of ourselves well, not sure of the real benefits. Other than you can get all cozy inside.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1234 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Russell Brown,

    You don’t change the curriculum for them, but you do make it possible for them to pray, as the belief with which they have been raised requires.

    What, you mean actually walk the talk about living in a pluralistic society? Crazy talk there, Brown!

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12046 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to andin,

    But none of our cultures/ideas are sacrosanct we have to allow internal as well as external criticism to happen. And that goes right down to the individual. Ring fencing ideas, parts of ourselves well, not sure of the real benefits. Other than you can get all cozy inside.

    That was a splendid job of taking down an argument nobody was making, as far as I can tell. I'm not actually trying to repress your speech here - and my book of "special permission" slip must still be in the post, but it would be nice if you were a little less condescending with it.

    In one of those delightful PAS synchronicities, I've got Marilynne Robinson's essay collection When I Was A Child I Read Books on the nightstand. It includes this essay, which is long but repays careful reading and consideration.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12046 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Anyone catch that bunch of baloney on One "News" last night? Headlined "Religious revival?: Why religion rocks: signs of a revival among our youth", it turned out to be about a survey of 150 people, though did mention, later in the story, that census trends show quite the opposite.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to andin,

    we have to allow internal as well as external criticism to happen

    That's a belief in many cultures, yes, but it's not somehow universally 'true'. Respect for authority is more valued in some cultures than questioning it is.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16838 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    You looked up Wikipedia to find what out what culture is? Awesome

    Thank you Russell. ;-) Heh. Rarely do I solely "use" wiki as an unadulterated source. But in this case I DID also have quick look at a few other "sources". Memo to self: Need to remind self not to use word "wiki" as meaning the internet.

    You don't change the curriculum for them, but you do make it possible for them to pray, as the belief with which they have been raised requires.

    I asked what was in the karakiha. The reply was a welcome to the day, a thank you to those who have gone before and a look forward to the future. Her interpretation of the maori version. She was quite certain no 'god' was mentioned and thus she claimed it was not a prayer. A slippery slope?

    As far as the opportunity for them to pray at school. I do find this uncomfortable and feel it is a step away from a fully secular education. I cannot help thinking it is a step that will be a precedent for any or all other religions into schools. There have always been concerns about even allowing religious studies in schools over the yeras and the state has been meticulous in how it is allowed.

    Culture is quickly and quietly becoming an abused word. It keeps cropping up these days in business or corporate culture, team culture, school culture, franchise culture. The deeper one looks into the use of its meaning it seems quite easy to dump any activity into "a culture".

    Thus my query about how religion becomes part of culture. No one has commented really, other than a quick dig at me and Andin.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1502 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Ross Mason,

    how religion becomes part of culture

    It has always been intertwined for many.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16838 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Ross Mason,

    She was quite certain no 'god' was mentioned and thus she claimed it was not a prayer.

    Geniune karakia matches that, as we discussed a few years ago here. Christianised prayer in Te Reo is often substituted which I'm not that happy about myself.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16838 posts Report Reply

  • JackElder, in reply to Isabel Hitchings,

    I always thought it was a bit dodgy that they were allowed into state schools and given a captive audience.

    I was astonished when I first went to a secondary school assembly in NZ. I'd spent most of my high school education overseas, at an openly Catholic international school in Japan (run by actual Catholic monks) - but since most of the pupils weren't actually Catholic, the amount of day-to-day religion forced on us was minimal. So I was absolutely gobsmacked at my first school assembly at Wellington College (1992, for those keeping track), when we ended up - at a state school - singing multiple hymns. I had more religion in my first fortnight at that school than I did in the previous 4 years.

    Wellington • Since Mar 2008 • 708 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg, in reply to 3410,

    that census trends show quite the opposite.

    The same slow drift is happening in the USA - the non-believer percentage for under 29s is around 22% and is heading towards 50% in large Western and Eastern seaboard cities.

    And that, I think, is a huge upside of the noise created by Dawkins, Hitchens and others - it allowed a vast number of people who were sitting scratching their heads at the absurdity of a divine creator but unable or unwilling to kick against the mainstream faith to do exactly that. To come out.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3209 posts Report Reply

  • Will de Cleene, in reply to JackElder,

    I had more religion in my first fortnight at that school than I did in the previous 4 years.

    There was a scandal before the PNGHS Prizegiving in 1987. The girls had decided to sing John Lennon's Imagine for the event. The Jesus Freaks raised a big stink about the line "Imagine there's no heaven." A trite replacement word was to be substituted for heaven.

    Raumati • Since Jul 2011 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Ross Mason,

    As far as the opportunity for them to pray at school. I do find this uncomfortable and feel it is a step away from a fully secular education. I cannot help thinking it is a step that will be a precedent for any or all other religions into schools. There have always been concerns about even allowing religious studies in schools over the yeras and the state has been meticulous in how it is allowed.

    Yet this is nothing like the kind of Christian evangelising that has been allowed in schools for ever. No one is evangelising here. It’s a brief, private observance and to a greater or lesser extent it will be done anyway. You’re just giving these kids a safe place to do it. If it means they and their families are more comfortable in secular schools, then that’s all the result you need.

    Taking a hard line on individual prayer would simply send some of these kids to religious schools, which will be a big part of the picture under National’s Charter Schools policy. Dawkins fronts a great documentary on this phenomenon in the UK – ‘Faith School Menace’.

    And also, you’re still telling people what thoughts they’re allowed to hold in their heads.

    Culture is quickly and quietly becoming an abused word. It keeps cropping up these days in business or corporate culture, team culture, school culture, franchise culture. The deeper one looks into the use of its meaning it seems quite easy to dump any activity into “a culture”.

    Thus my query about how religion becomes part of culture. No one has commented really, other than a quick dig at me and Andin.

    Religion and culture have been entwined throughout human history. Works of art created in the name of God continue to delight us. I have no problem enjoying Easter and Christmas (which we celebrate in a mixture of Christian and pagan traditions) for the cultural aspects of each. Religious beliefs shape cultural approaches to death – they’re the main reason we don’t bulldoze dead people into landfill.

    In the case of Islam, society is built around its precepts: non-usurious banks, rules about food and so on. (On the other hand, much of what is taken for religious practice in Islam is really the cultural practice of non-enlightened communities in North Asia. A Bosnian can be no less a Muslim than a rural Pakistani, but behaves very differently.)

    Basically, a connection between culture and religious belief is completely the opposite of the new-fangled ideas about culture you cite above. And the kind of neat-and-tidy dividing line you’re after doesn’t exist.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19019 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand, in reply to Russell Brown,

    The problem with religious instruction/observance in many schools in New Zealand is that if you don't want your child to take part, you have to notify the school with an 'opt out' instruction. I don't think this is the right approach, for it should be an 'opt in' choice.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2327 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Geoff Lealand,

    The problem with religious instruction/observance in many schools in New Zealand is that if you don’t want your child to take part, you have to notify the school with an ‘opt out’ instruction. I don’t think this is the right approach, for it should be an ‘opt in’ choice.

    I completely agree. I'm somewhat shocked by how often that is not the case.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19019 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    I had a huge battle with the local school when a local religious group offered to run religious instruction (ie Christianity) in school time, and most of the decile 10 parent community had no problem with it. It's not that I objected to those intending to run it (they were nice community-minded Christians, if a tad evangelical - but they were not trained educationalists). It's just that the school curriculum was already crowded, and it would mean those who opted out would have to be accommodated in the school library or somewhere, and part of the curriculum would have to be chopped to accommodate the Christian studies.

    Much easier to offer something like that as an optional extra before or after school when there is not that opt in/opt out issue - or as part of a group of options that members of the community come in and take once a month or so (such as introduction to various languages or activities) which happens quite often in primary and intermediate schools.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 2122 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Lindberg, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    I agree that religious instruction has no place in secular schools. However, we had religious studies as a compulsory subject. Note that that's a secular study of religion. I really can't see that you can make any sense of what's going on in this world without an understanding of religions. School-wise this fell into the same block of studies as history, civics and geography. I've noticed from my kids' schooling here that it does not appear to be part of the curriculum and I think that's a shame.

    Stockholm • Since Jul 2009 • 797 posts Report Reply

  • Pete,

    I tried buying a bottle of wine in the supermarket yesterday but these religious whackjobs have said no, you aren't allowed to drink because our invisible friend in the sky says so.

    I know that humans do a lot of stupid things here on earth such as reality tv, going to war for non-existent WMD's and playing golf but I shall resolve when next I meet one of these prattling proselytisers to inform them that seeing as it is their religion and not mine, they should go to hell.

    I shall be having a quiet shiraz.

    Since Apr 2008 • 90 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    That was a splendid job of taking down an argument nobody was making, as far as I can tell.

    I hope i’m here not just making an argument. Raising a point or 2 mebbe. Oh and offending peoples condescension sense's.

    And

    Believe it or not I can argue about anything except religion. It’s a very intimate and complex part of my life, and I don’t really like using it as cocktail party argument fodder.

    And I dont want to run down (mmm poke fun?) what seems grafted to our being. And if you were doing that I’d be worried.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1234 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    Religion and culture have been entwined throughout human history. Works of art created in the name of God continue to delight us.

    And that could be a crux of the matter. Yes, I fully concur with your comment. But I would have to say, that the vast number of these works of god art have dwindled significantly since the enlightenment. Probably catastrophically since the Origin of Species was published. Society (at least any associated with NZ immigrants) was ruled, controlled and governed by religion prior but has been slowly divided by secularism.

    Religious beliefs shape cultural approaches to death – they’re the main reason we don’t bulldoze dead people into landfill.

    But I am impressed by the number of funerals which now occur with absolutely no mention of a higher (or lower) plane in any part of the service. Some would call that bulldozing dead people into landfill. Certainly up in smoke or buried under the pear tree could fit that metaphor. But that in no way denies the deceased a solemn and fitting farewell that is any less satisfying for the family than if religion was involved.

    I don't think I am looking for a dividing line. There may not be one. But certainly, in parts of the world there is an intention to ensure religion is the government. And the USA is not immune to a christian one. In god they trust. Well.... since the 1950s anyway. (Everyone else is cash please)

    One only has to look at the Indian Sub Continent's independence to see the effect of a religious divide. Your Pakistani was probably a victim as well. And Bosnia has been the victim of this divide for the last 1500 years at least.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1502 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Pete,

    <q> shall be having a quiet shiraz.*

    I was truly pissed off at that – after driving for over half an hour to the nearest liquor & Lotto outlet on Friday – they had all drinks covered over. And no Lotto. That meant another hour’s driving on Saturday, to get what I should always be able to buy without some christian vindictiveness getting in the way.
    Couldnt get my 85yr old mother her ginger wine on Friday – phuque ‘em.

    It is the extraordinary assumption – despite all evidence to the contrary- that ANZ is a “Christian” country. Hasnt actually EVER been-

    *joined you with a good pinot gris, and after, with an exceptional 16yrold Glen Moray...

    Sacha – not wrong about karakia not being directed to ’gods’. It is a wonderfully complex matter, involving geanologies, natural forces, and both natural & enforced respect. Supernatural? Nope.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Islander,

    *joined you with a good pinot gris, and after, with an exceptional 16yrold Glen Moray...

    Strange how someone who entered the miracle biz by turning water into wine should be commemorated with an alcohol ban.

    The last words of Yeshua/Jesus, from Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita:

    'Drink!' said the executioner, and a water-soaked sponge on the tip of
    a spear rose to Yeshua's lips. Joy flashed in his eyes, he clung to the
    sponge and began greedily imbibing the moisture. From the neighbouring post came the voice of Dysmas:
    'Injustice! I'm a robber just like him!'
    Dysmas strained but was unable to move, his arms being bound to the
    crossbar in three places with loops of rope. He drew in his belly, clawed the ends of the crossbar with his nails, kept his head turned towards Yeshua's post, malice blazed in the eyes of Dysmas.
    A dusty cloud covered the place, it became much darker. When the dust blew away, the centurion shouted:
    'Silence on the second post!'
    Dysmas fell silent. Yeshua tore himself away from the sponge, and trying to make his voice sound gentle and persuasive, but not succeeding, he begged the executioner hoarsely:
    'Give him a drink.'

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3595 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    *That* I am chasing up!
    Thanks Joe!
    Happy creativity! and onwards to Matariki- all joy to you & yours - a/n/n/K

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

First ←Older Page 1 13 14 15 16 17 Newer→ Last

Post your response…

Please sign in using your Public Address credentials…

Login

You may also create an account or retrieve your password.