We need to think outside the legal square to deal with ‘hate speech’

I think that relying on legislation and the courts to deal with ‘hate speech’ issues may be largely futile. Laws and courts poorly suited to dealing with most online ‘hate speech’

We already have laws that deal with abusive speech and incitement – since the Christchurch mosque massacres there have been a number of arrests, with several people remanded in custody. While this has picked up on some of the more extreme examples and may have sent a warning message to others there has been a quick resurgence in derogatory and divisive speech online.

Just waiting for the police and courts to deal with the worst is not likely to be much of a solution.

I don’t think that widening the laws to make less serious ‘hate speech’ illegal and subject to prosecution is a practical approach.

One problem is what speech justifies prosecution. Another is who gets to decide.

And with the speed at which speech circulates online the legal system is generally far too slow to react, and even slower to deal with it.

Confronting and ridiculing have been suggested as ways of dealing with ‘hate speech’. To be effective this has to be fast and fact based.

Perhaps something like the Press Council or Broadcasting Standards Authority could be set up, but geared for rapid response – combating bad speech with good speech.

This could involve research so that common ways of replicating divisive and derogatory speech (and there are common patterns and techniques for some of it).

A website as a source of fact based rebuttals would be useful.

This could be Government funded but non-political and non-legal, but with an ability to refer the worst cases to the police.

I think we have to be thinking outside the legal square in looking at ways to deal with this. Some legislative tweaks may be warranted, but the main problems probably (and should) fall short of being made illegal.

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78 Comments

  1. It’s time we got practical, not rhetorical, about racism

    Addressing racism in everyday life assumes we already know what it looks like and how to do it. While the Everyday Army against Racism in New Zealand may be highly motivated at the moment, it isn’t necessarily clear on its precise strategies or even who the perpetrators are.

    If it is low-level racist comments that are the basic ingredients to a culture that breeds extremism and terrorism, then we need to agree upon and understand what a racial slur is. Yes, we need to stop Islamophobic comments before their utterers spread them like contagion, but we also need to determine when, exactly, a line is crossed notwithstanding the wildly diverse political views, religions, and practices that give colour and meaning to our democracy.

    It’s time we got practical, not rhetorical, about racism. It’s time we bulked up our set of tools to address it and put our money where our mouths have been since March 15. With a stronger infrastructure to deliver on the idea that each one of us has a role to play in fixing what has gone wrong, we will be more confident in our efforts to change things.

    It is skills, words and bravery to stamp out racism as well as everyday acts of kindness that will overcome the sinister epidemic that brews here.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/opinion/111822611/its-time-we-got-practical-not-rhetorical-about-racism

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  8th April 2019

      The Royal We running rampant. What happened to good manners?

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  8th April 2019

        I don’t think that it is the royal or editorial we, it seems to be inclusive and mean all of us, not just the writer.

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  8th April 2019

          She just hasn’t sought our agreement or consent so she is only speaking for herself while presuming to speak for us all.

          Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  8th April 2019

            The royal or editorial we is just that person, and this woman is trying to make it sound as if many people are saying it.

            When an editor says ‘We wonder why…’ it’s obvious that they mean themselves.

            Reply
  2. David

     /  8th April 2019

    Proscribing free speech is never going to be solution for racism, free speech is the answer then folk who peddle such nonsense are seen and panned for what they are.
    The wild west of the internet is a different story but good luck controlling that because what we have seen at censorship there is the absurd situation where ultra liberal silicon valley folk become the arbiters of what is not and what is acceptable.

    Reply
    • “free speech is the answer then folk who peddle such nonsense are seen and panned for what they are”

      So how should these peddlers be pinged and panned?

      Reply
      • sorethumb

         /  8th April 2019

        [Deleted]

        Reply
        • sorethumb

           /  8th April 2019

          Normally I would have said that free speech means leaving it to the good will of the people.

          Reply
          • That would be fine if ‘the people’ were all good willed. But they are not. There are a vocal minority who want to spread ill-will about others.

            Reply
            • Conspiratoor

               /  8th April 2019

              I should be able to freely criticise any religion or political ideology masquerading as a religion without fear of retaliation from either the state or a brainwashed fanatic. If we are denied this right then we are on a slippery slope

              Unfortunately we can no longer argue from a factual basis. This is a fantasy in a world where the Internet has loosened our grasp on the ‘truth’

            • Blazer

               /  8th April 2019

              @Con…I would argue the opposite.i.e that the internet has enabled the ‘truth’ and shone a light on propaganda masquerading as…fact.

              This is why Govts want to control it.The hearts and minds of voters have been hi jacked by information they were previously…dnied.

            • Conspiratoor

               /  8th April 2019

              Blazer, the Internet has given lowly worms like you and I a grab bag of whatever truths we need to reinforce our own views and prejudices

              To support my case I bet you can’t find one unarguable fact that settles the debate over who has first dibs on the west bank!

            • Blazer

               /  8th April 2019

              @Con….your West Bank ‘debate’ imo…is the Zionists arguing black is white.How was the state of Israel created…and who drove its creation,what were the politics of it all?

              Disregarding that…do you prefer to be fed the ‘truth’ by MSM…or make up your own mind by assessing the evidence you can now avail yourself of via the internet?

              Lying ,self serving factions used to be able to dismiss any challenge to their ‘truth’ by screaming ..’conspiracy theorist’…now they have to produce actual evidence to sustain their propositions.

            • Conspiratoor

               /  8th April 2019

              To be honest at my age my mind was pretty much made up on most subjects a long time ago. I take most of what I find on the Internet with a large grain of salt, looking for content that supports my jaundiced view of the world. If your own view is genuinely unbiased I doff my potae to you

              As far as how the state of Israel was created, remind me again how the state of Palestine was created …and when

            • Blazer

               /  8th April 2019

              @Con…Lord knows…

            • Gezza

               /  8th April 2019

              To support my case I bet you can’t find one unarguable fact that settles the debate over who has first dibs on the west bank!

              https://www.history.com/topics/ancient-middle-east/history-of-jerusalem

              Well, even the Hebrew Bible establishes that it wasn’t the Israelites, although their invention of the god Jaweh certainly came in handy as the justification when they decided to take it. And their first wars of land grab are the basis of their current claim to it.

              Basically the history of the place makes the question of who had first dibs redundant. It’s always belonged to whoever at any time period invades & holds it.

            • Conspiratoor

               /  8th April 2019

              Not wishing to derail this thread G you may have stumbled across my point. Despite tens of thousands of web pages dedicated to establishing one side or other has a stronger claim (each with its own version of the truth), you have decided the question is irrelevant

              And you provide as evidence a book written over 2,000 years ago which appears to have had it right all along. You have merely succeeded in finding a web site that supports the biblical version

            • Gezza

               /  8th April 2019

              I think we can leave the matter there. Frankly of more importance to me at the moment is why your question that I quoted above didn’t appear in italics, as I had intended.

            • Conspiratoor

               /  8th April 2019

              G, re the italic conundrum did you overlook the closing tag?

              To close this thread you might enjoy the link below from old media about truth and the Internet…

              “But that’s not how any of this works. Psychologists and other social scientists have repeatedly shown that when confronted with diverse information choices, people rarely act like rational, civic-minded automatons. Instead, we are roiled by preconceptions and biases, and we usually do what feels easiest — we gorge on information that confirms our ideas, and we shun what does not.”

            • Gezza

               /  8th April 2019

              Cheers c. I may have a read later, gotta shop & get down to ma’s to check on her & make sure her caregiver turned up. One of my daily missions is to ensure there are no more failures to turn up than the six times before her latest admission to hospital.

              I’m wondering if, in my excitement at the flash of inspiration that prompted me to post my above reply, & the quick dash of cut & paste editing that followed before posting, I may have even deleted or neglected to put in the italics tags.

              Now I will never know. One more of the many mysteries of the universe that must remain forever unknowable to me. :/

            • Conspiratoor

               /  8th April 2019

              G, I have established as an unarguable fact that you neglected to add the necessary tag. Here is what you wrote according to the page source. The para tags have been added by the carriage return

              To support my case I bet you can’t find one unarguable fact that settles the debate over who has first dibs on the west bank!

              Additional tip, if you are italicising text in html, use the tag over the . It’s semantically correct 😉

            • Conspiratoor

               /  8th April 2019

              Hoist by my own petard …’em’ over ‘i’

            • Gezza

               /  8th April 2019

              @ c. The article. Quite prophetic, but by now everybody but complete nonces knows this. (Ok, so there are millions – possibly billions – of complete nonces but that’s not the point, really.)

              The sad thing is that everybody knowing it doesn’t put an end to it and now never will

            • Gezza

               /  8th April 2019

              Oops – I just looked up the meaning of nonce – make that noddies.

          • Duker

             /  8th April 2019

            Historical reality was the British promised the ‘Holy Land’ to 4 different groups – at the same time
            1) Hashemite family who ruled Kingdom of Hejaz as reward for the Arab revolt against the Turks
            2) A group of Zionists ( unsupported by most jews)
            3) The Ottoman government- Three Pashas, as a deal made in secret in Switzerland involving bribery, to withdraw from the war , where the Sultan would still fly his flag over semi independent country

            The real agreement that mattered was 4) Sykes -Picot with France which would divide up ME between them. Stuff the Hashemites, Zionists and the Sultan.

            Reply
      • David

         /  8th April 2019

        By allowing folk to see them for who they are

        Reply
  3. sorethumb

     /  8th April 2019

    Wikipedia is interesting Edit wars come down to a war of attrition.
    Likewise on the Trademe message board i was pushed off by God know who but meanwhile the same old team get to post things that offend me. The left tend to get themselves into institutions while the right are out working in the real economy. The left have social media mobs.

    I had an idea – side by side comment where one side can respond but not write to the others comment.? Plus filter the chaff?

    Reply
  4. sorethumb

     /  8th April 2019

    Confronting and ridiculing have been suggested as ways of dealing with ‘hate speech’. To be effective this has to be fast and fact based.
    ……………….
    And if the ridiculed laughs then the norm is not settled. Norms are negotiated by society apologising is what settles the norm. people are learning to resist.

    Reply
  5. sorethumb

     /  8th April 2019

    A website as a source of fact based rebuttals would be useful.
    ………..
    Hmmmmmm?
    Can come across as corny and PC however. My understanding is that some things take a lot of empirical research, meta analysis definition etc. There neeeds to be trust in the instituion also.

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  8th April 2019

      There are such things, but they can’t stop hate sites like Voice of Europe and the bigots who read these sites won’t want to read them. They either know that what’s being said is racist lies…or they believe it. Either way, they won’t check, I suspect, no matter how bizarre the claims are.

      Reply
      • sorethumb

         /  8th April 2019

        Why doesn’t Israel open it’s borders: “God gave Israel to the Jews””?

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  8th April 2019

          What do you mean ? Are you saying that it should open its borders, or are you trying to make me say something that you can leap on ?

          Reply
          • sorethumb

             /  8th April 2019

            You are keen on multiculturalism for NZ but you said “God gave Israel to the Jews”? – I think it was you?

            Reply
            • Kitty Catkin

               /  8th April 2019

              It was me, but I won’t get into a slanging match about it; I suspect that you only want to score points.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  8th April 2019

              Or try to.

  6. Gezza

     /  8th April 2019

    A website as a source of fact based rebuttals would be useful.

    They already purportedly exist all over the place but depending on the topic many could never hope to cope with the load & what they consider fact & incorrect facts being debunked may have little to do with the core issue & everything to do with the beliefs of the debunker.

    Religion is notoriously difficult to “fact check”, for example. The truth or otherwise often revolves around arguments about translations or the meaning or applicability of verses in scriptures, which really have nothing to do with the truth or otherwise of the religion or any of the purely faith-based beliefs required or held by the adherents or those seeking the facts.

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  8th April 2019

      There are a number of extremist right-wing websites like Voice of Europe which are known to totally distort stories and promote falsehoods . Intelligent and informed people don’t believe them, but there are plenty of others who do.and spread the distortions. I don’t know what could be done about these, as their followers won’t read the fact checks that show that the people behind them are malicious racists and, needless to say, Islamophobes.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  8th April 2019

        The story went out that a vast number (four figures) of Muslim men burnt down Germany’s oldest church.

        The truth was that it wasn’t the oldest.

        It was accidentally burnt down by fireworks;

        Muslims had nothing to do with it.

        Apart from that…..

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  8th April 2019

          Out of interest, do you believe that God spoke to Muhammad over 20+ years via visits by the angel Garbriel, and that in doing so he instructed Muhammad to correct the many errors and misrepresentations of God’s commands & laws for the Jews and the Christians that had crept into their scriptures & beliefs?

          Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  8th April 2019

            I dunno whether he did or didn’t; I’m not a Muslim, Gabriel of Mohammed (why is his name spelt so many ways in English ?)

            It can’t be denied that Christians have some peculiar ways of interpreting the Bible and ignoring the bits they don’t like.

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  8th April 2019

              That’s called avoidance, I reckon, Kitty.

              Muhammad’s name is spelt differently because of the difficulties inherent in transliteration of some other languages into English and others – probably from the Arabic (Farsi?).

              The transliteration most favoured by most English-speaking Muslims, I think, is Muhammad, although I used to prefer Mohammed, and in earlier times Mahommet was a favourite of various British writers, as I recall.

              Muslims were often called Mohameddans.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  8th April 2019

              Charles Lamb called them Mohammedans in the c.19.

              It’s not avoidance; I can’t speak for other religions. If I was Muslim, I’d believe it. As it is, for all I know it could have happened.

              I don’t believe in the things Mormons believe and can’t understand why intelligent people DO.

            • Kimbo

               /  8th April 2019

              …and a step on from Gezza, Arabic, like its related Western Semitic language Hebrew, was originally written with consonants only. The original recipients of any text (including the Koran, or in the case of Hebrew, the Old Testament/Tanakh) knew how any written word would be pronounced as they were familiar with it through constant use in speech, e.g., ‘brhm would be immediately recognised by both written context and spoken familiarity as “Abraham”.

              However, as time went on and speech patterns began to diverge just as any language naturally evolves, and in order to preserve the original vowel sounds, later interpolations were added into the canonical text to preserve the vowel sounds and other grammatical features not readily apparent in the original family of texts:

              http://islamiccenter.org/diacritical-marks-and-vowel-symbols-in-the-quran/

              The same thing happened with Judaism in approximately 800A.D. when a Hebrew Tanakh called the “Masoretic text” with written vowels added was produced (the Masoretes were scholars/scribes). Interestingly (for some, anyway), due to deliberate disuse to avoid breaking the 3rd commandment (taking the LORD’s name in vain), the exact pronunciation of the name of God, which is written in Hebrew as YHWH, has been lost. “Yahweh” seems the best guess, although for reasons that are too lengthy to explain here, the latinised “Jehovah” is inaccurate and misleading ersatz. Instead, most English bibles follow the translation tradition of the 1611 King James/Authorised Version with the fully-capitalised “LORD”.

              So back to Muhammad/Mohammed…as vowels especially are subject to local variation in pronunciation (like Kiwis and Aussies with “fush and chups/feesh and cheeps”)…there are differences in spelling/dialects when transliterating the vowels that go with the Arabic consonants for MHMMD.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  8th April 2019

              I like to tell people that my ancestors invented texting.

              There is a dot between the consonants, or used to be. It’s qt sy t rd wrds wth nly cnsnts, bt hrd t wrt thm bcs n tnds t frgt nt t pt vwls n th wrds wrttn.

            • Gezza

               /  8th April 2019

              I don’t believe in the things Mormons believe and can’t understand why intelligent people DO.

              I know the feeling. What sorts of things do you think that they believe are ridiculous and why, Kitty?

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  8th April 2019

              Well, anyone who’s familiar with the King James Bible and the literature of that era can see at a glance that the Book of Mormon was NOT written then. It’s very bad cod c.17 English; one step up from the prithee, master tell me variety.

              The baptising (or whatever it’s called) of non-Mormons to get them into Heaven is a bit odd.

              It’s been a long time since I tried to read it and found it unreadable. But if they want to believe it, I don’t care. The Mormons I know are all kind and caring people, and nothing would induce me to slag off their religion to them.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  8th April 2019

              I must confess that so often happens, one’s mind goes blank at a question like that. No doubt I will have all sorts of ideas in an hour’s time.

            • Kimbo

               /  8th April 2019

              But its seems this source:

              https://muftisays.com/blog/abu+mohammed/1064_28-01-2011/muhammad–the-correct-spelling.html

              …says the best rendition from the original Arabic is Muḥammad (note the dot under the h).

              …although this source:

              http://muftionline.co.za/node/16532

              notes that there is no true transliteration into English

              …so instead of transliterating, and in keeping with the original tenet of Islam that one can only properly read the Koran/Quran (note the variation in spelling due to alternate transliterations of the Arabic consonants and vowels) in the original language…you will have to learn Arabic. In anticipation of your thanks for my help – you’re welcome. 😇

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  8th April 2019

              Thank you, I’ll begin at once.

              My GP says that there are not the ghastly, tacky, distorted versions of it that there are of the Bible 🙂

            • Blazer

               /  8th April 2019

              this may shock and amaze ya…but the best Muhammed was…Ali!

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  8th April 2019

              har har har….there was someone on the news called that, a Kiwi. He must get tired of people saying it !

            • Gezza

               /  8th April 2019

              The baptising (or whatever it’s called) of non-Mormons to get them into Heaven is a bit odd.

              Frankly the baptising of anyone for any purpose to do with religion is a bit odd in itself, except where they need a bit of a wash.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  8th April 2019

              It’s symbolic, of course. One local church was seriously divided over the infant or adult (‘believers’) version. Agree to differ,people, it’s not worth all that rage and anguish.

            • Gezza

               /  8th April 2019

              I saw a doco on one of the god-bothering freeview channels on the various religious scholars and worthies involved in translating & compiling the King James-ordered official version from the mulitiple versions & translations of the dreaded thing around at the time. If I recall correctly, he was originally reluctant to for this to be done but eventually was persuaded to so command. At that point it was decreed that this was it but of course then and ever since it has been argued a lot of is actually inaccurate and incorrect.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  8th April 2019

              I don’t care, it’s a wonderful piece of literature.

              If you want a larf, look up The Message.

              The Living has David going to the bathroom in a cave and people earning $100 a week; good money in the 1970s, but hopelessly out of date now,

            • Gezza

               /  8th April 2019

              Agree to differ,people, it’s not worth all that rage and anguish.

              I agree. In many respects its just an extraordinarily complex children’s fairy tale with good people and bad people & evil creatures, characters, who are eventually dispatched or renedered powerless by the virtuous heroes, who then after many tribulations go on to live happily ever after.

              Tolkien wrote the same sort of story in his Lord of The Rings trilogy.

            • Gezza

               /  8th April 2019

              The Bibles and the Quran, I mean. Never mind the Book of Mormon.

            • Gezza

               /  8th April 2019

              Jaweh. Dad son and the Holy Spirit and Allah had absolutely the most appalling comms strategy one could ever dream up.

            • Kimbo

               /  8th April 2019

              Well, anyone who’s familiar with the King James Bible and the literature of that era can see at a glance that the Book of Mormon was NOT written then. It’s very bad cod c.17 English; one step up from the prithee, master tell me variety.

              The Book of Mormon is worse than that. It purports to be an exact translation of what Joseph Smith claimed was “Reformed Egyptian” recorded on golden plates, yet no scholar of the Ancient Near East or Egyptology has ever come across such a language.

              Plus you’ve identified the anomaly, that despite allegedly being over two millennia old…a divinely-guided translation through Joseph Smith in the 1820s (Muhammed claimed he was used by Allah in the same “human typewriter” method of inspiration, btw) spat out the Book of Mormon, which uses clumsy and obviously-concocted Elizabethan English anachronisms! It’s like watching a Cecil B DeMille movie where, to make it sound authoritative and religious enough, Charlton Heston/Moses confronts Yul Brunner/Ramses, with the exact words, “Thus saith the LORD, let my people go!”. 🤣

            • Kimbo

               /  8th April 2019

              @ Gezza

              At that point it was decreed that this was it but of course then and ever since it has been argued a lot of is actually inaccurate and incorrect.

              “Decreed”? For public worship in the (state) Anglican Church in the 17th Century? Sure. Have a read of the introduction to the original AV, and you will see it is, like Elizabeth I’s via media, updating existing translations and trying to steer a middle path compromise between Papists on the one hand who are opposed to any translation into the vulgar tongue, and proto-Puritans on the other hand who want a translation according to their doctrinal biases.

              But there was never any long-lasting scholarly claim that it was the final word in English translation. Indeed, it was the Anglican Church of the late 19th Century that overcame pietist and conservative opposition to produce the Revised version (RV) of 1881. But sure, at a practical level, because it was familiar, beloved and had such an effect on the English language, the KJV was regarded as “the” English Bible for centuries.

              These days the only Christians who insist on the “KJV-only”, and treat it as a divinely-inspired and infallible translation (unlike Mohammed and Joseph Smith, there is no such thing in the Hebrew/Christian tradition, or Scriptures) are crackpot American-inspired sects.

            • Kimbo

               /  8th April 2019

              this may shock and amaze ya…but the best Muhammed was…Ali!

              How can Muhammad Ali aka Cassius Cly have been “the best”, when Smokin’ Joe Frazier was, at the very least, his equal? 😕

            • Gezza

               /  8th April 2019

              @ Kimbo, it makes no difference to me which version of the Bible one is looking at. Bible Hub is a fairly good source for multiple versions. I regard them all as historical scribblings of dubious authenticity as regards their central claims and certainly those of magic & divinity. There is nothing in those claims that is remotely supported by reliable evidence, but all the subsequent scriptures rely on the first foundation myth of the Israelite supreme deity for the basic idea character of the one creator god and subsequent claims to legitimacy of their improved or updated version.

              It’s time for humanity to move on from these tales and agree on the better parts of the various valuable lessons for human apes that are buried within their mytholgies.

            • Kimbo

               /  8th April 2019

              @ Gezza

              Fair enough, and it was very clear you think that anyway.

              However, irrespective of differences in opinion you strike me as an honest and reasonable chap. To that end, might I suggest you don’t state or imply the straw man that Christian and/or Jewish orthodoxy insists on one authoritative divinely-inspired translation based on an infallible, 100%-perfectly-reproduced-from-the-original-source-document Hebrew or Greek text.

              Other than Muslim and Mormon polemicists, about the only people who insist that that is a precondition for the Bible to be true are Jewish/Christian fundamentalists…or the disciples of Scientism/logical positivism.

            • Gezza

               /  8th April 2019

              @ Kimbo

              Well, I don’t for one minute suggest that there is one divinely inspired authoritative translation based on an infallible, 100% accurate translation from the original Hebrew or Greek or Aramaic text sources.

              There isn’t. There isn’t even agreement among sects on which texts are scared and relevant.

              It’s the central claims I find unsupportable, and the whole basic notion that the obviously mythical creator god who was so useful to the Israelites’ leaders plans and subsequent actions could suddenly morph into later versions with different properties, and more highly evolving morals, from the cruel jealous and, really quite awful entity it started out as, to me is just ridiculous.

              And I don’t mean to be offensive. It just makes no sense at all. There is no need for it to do so. Certainly not if it is all good, all powerful, all knowing and omnipresent. Obviously, it’s none of these things. Never mind the outrageous claims of magic works. Ergo, it doesn’t exist.

              Any critical (skeptical) study of the origins and sources of even the new testament, even concerning the existence of the teacher Jesus, immediately throws up insurmountable problems as well. There’s just nothing in the way of reliable evidence for even Jesus Christ’s very existence. And I have checked this out & still do from time to time to see where things have got to. That’s not to say he didn’t exist. There’s just no obvious, reliable, irrefutable proof, that as a person, he did. And that he had magic powers.

              There’s better evidence for Muhammad, but let’s not go down that path because I’m guessing you probably don’t believe God spoke to him as you prefer your theory.

              This is a discussion that could never end & never change either of our minds, and I just accept that. I’ve said before, there are things that could convince me Christianity (or Judaism) are true, but in my experience, generally when you have a committed believer, there is nothing that will ever convince them they are wrong.

              But I do often like my chats with you, and I like the respectful way you conduct them. I try to reciprocate and mean no offence as I know you don’t either.

            • Kimbo

               /  8th April 2019

              Cheers, Gezza,

              And to clarify, I haven’t seen anything you have written that is in the least bit offensive, so none taken. Instead, you are emphatic in what you believe, and robust in your discussion of facts and opinions. Not that I necessarily agree.

              But even if you had written something that was offensive to my Christian Faith, the problem would be mine, not yours. Because, tying it back to the topic of Pete George’s original post, that’s how discussion in the public space should work. Anti-hate speech laws should not become blasphemy laws by default.

            • Kimbo

               /  8th April 2019

              …but might I suggest that when it comes to evidence for the existence of Jesus of Nazareth, you’ve missed the wood for the trees.

              By any reasonable standard – the gap between the original event and first written references, the number of ancient copies, and the accuracy of textual copying – the New Testament is the most well-attested archaeological text of the Ancient World. Leaves Julius Caesar’s Gallic Wars for dead by those criteria for example. And I doubt you would dispute the existence of, say, Spartacus.

              Doesn’t mean you have to buy in to the miraculous “Christ of faith”, and fair enough. But most scholars now hardly even bother to dispute existence of the Jewish carpenter “Jesus of history”.

            • Gezza

               /  8th April 2019

              Yes, fair enough. Even most atheist scholars now seem to agree that he existed. And that’s as far as anyone can really go in terms of the other claims.

            • Gezza

               /  8th April 2019

              @ Kimbo

              Just as an afterthought, because I imagine we may well continue to discuss our respective beliefs and critique them at some future point, I would find it useful to get a baseline on your beliefs.

              I am taking it that you do not have believe everything in whatever version of the Bible translations you like. That is, you do not believe everything written in the Bible is literally true. Am I correct?

              And can you describe the basic properties of the God of the Bible that you believe exists?

              For example, do you believe Yahweh exists/ed and is the things is he is often stated by many Christians to be:

              e.g.
              All good
              All powerful
              All knowing
              Omnipresent?

              Are there any other properties you believe your God possesses and exhibits?

              I expect I will have other questions that flow from your answers to these for a later chat.

            • Gezza

               /  8th April 2019

              Oops – sorry that’s a bit mangled. Shouldn’t have dashed it off quite so quickly – but just wanted to pop it down while it occurred to as I’m doing other things. Still, I think, typos ignored, my queries should be intelligible.

            • Kimbo

               /  9th April 2019

              I am taking it that you do not have believe everything in whatever version of the Bible translations you like. That is, you do not believe everything written in the Bible is literally true. Am I correct?

              I think that, comparing various translations, depending on their accuracy and dynamic qualities, is useful and necessary to try and discern the original meaning and intent of biblical text. It is not healthy to just choose the one version that suits ones existing conceptions and prejudices. Instead, Christians should be ruled by the Scriptures, so careful study and striving to move beyond existing prejudices and passions is the aim. Where possible reference to good but accessible biblical scholarship including Hebrew and Greek is helpful – and unless a clergyman or woman can do that, they are not really a minister but more likely a counsellor or social worker. Not that there is anything wrong with those vocations, but should not be are the clergys’ primary role,

              After diligent study, both personally and in community comes faithful application, which, briefly, is usually done by guidance from precedent, reason and current needs. I’m a classical Protestant, so we believe the Scriptures should be authoritative and inspired for all matters of life and faith in the matters to which they pertain. But I prefer not to use the words “infallible” or “inerrant”.

              As far as “everything written in the Bible is literally true”, as per above, I think that, like any piece of literature be it a piece of Hebrew poetry, a Shakespearian play or the Edmonds Cookbook, the various genres and words of the Bible should be interpreted literally or figuratively according to the intent of the original writers/editors to the original recipients. In other words a text cannot mean what it never meant. I’ll try and give you a practical example.

              In the creation account in Genesis I and other parts of the Bible, the Earth is presented to the readers as flat, resting upon pillars in the midst of “the waters below”, overlaid by a solid dome sky that holds back the “waters above”, across which the sun, moon, planets and stars move. That is in accordance with the literal cosmology of the Ancient Near Eastern milieu from which Genesis was produced.

              I don’t have a problem that that cosmology is out-dated and has now been proven false (although I do have a friend, a very clever but independently-minded guy who is a flat-earther, although discovering what Genesis is really saying was confirmation for him, not the cause of his belief based on a number of experiments – I digress 😃)

              …because the ultimate intent of Genesis I was not to explain a physical cosmology, but rather it was a polemic against some of the myths and resulting world-views of the surrounding Ancient Near East. For example, unlike pagan conceptions where humanity is an after-thought and slave to serve capricious squabbling gods, in Genesis humanity has dignity and purpose courtesy of being created in the image of God. So having to explain a Copernican/Newtonian/Einsteinian universe was irrelevant for the original intent. Hence I oppose vigourously anyone who tries to peddle the pseudo-sciences of “Creation Science/Intelligent Design” as deserving a place within the public education science curriculum.

              Um, yes, I do think, as per the Scriptures that the God ultimately revealed through Jesus Chris is

              All good
              All powerful
              All knowing
              Omnipresent

              Most of all, he is love. As per what I explained above, that may not seem consistent with some of what happens in the Bible, especially the Old Testament. Briefly – and I realise you reject this, fair enough – that is reconciled by

              1. Progressive revelation.

              2. The Scriptures are ultimately an analogy that connect us to God, and all of those analogies were given in a particular cultural and historical context. So they come with cultural baggage, like Jesus uses parables which feature “slaves”, an institution now abhorrent to us. Hence the past is a different country, they do things differently there.

              3. Our human finitude and fallibility. Doesn’t mean, IMHO, that we are to exercise blind faith. Nonetheless there is a certain arrogance in dismissing the beliefs, practices and choice of idioms of the ancients///because you can be very sure many will – and do – find our modern supposed sophistication anything but.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  9th April 2019

              Somewhere in the Bible it says that the earth is round.

              I’ll answer this another time as I have had a long tiring day and won’t do it justice.

              Slavery then could just mean that the person was committed to work for someone for 7 years.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  10th April 2019

              Only a very silly person would think that the parables and other obviously metaphorical things were literally true. Or meant to be. The Song of Solomon is an obvious example of this.

              I have met people who think that anything that isn’t literally true is a lie, which means that they must think that there are lies in the Bible ! These idiots would think that it was a lie to say that there was a queue five miles long at the post office or that one couldn’t put a book down.

              I love the King James (and the much earlier ones, which are, alas, hard to find) and find other versions decidedly prosaic. The Message is appalling. The Proverbs woman has been changed to someone who makes knitwear for boutiques and the man with the stigmata in Micah (?) now has a black eye. I can’t remember any other atrocities as it’s been some time since a late friend and I annoyed ourselves by reading it.

            • Gezza

               /  9th April 2019

              @ Kitty

              6 years. Exodus 21:2-6. stipulates that In the 7th year he shall go out free, but that is talking about Hebrew indentured servants. There are other Biblical laws governing slaves, who the Jews are instructed they may freely take from the other tribes around them.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  9th April 2019

              7th year-Jubilee year, if I remember rightly.

              Slaves were supposed to be treated decently; and St Paul tells them to be contented in their situation (or words to that effect) I notice that St Paul’s words are used selectively. People quote him on gays as the last word, but not on other things like women speaking in church.

  7. sorethumb

     /  8th April 2019

    The Government, with its many resources and powers, should lead the way, knowing that there is now a simmering, eager majority of ordinary New Zealanders to fall into line behind them.
    ….
    Evidence?

    Reply
  8. sorethumb

     /  8th April 2019

    Reply
  1. We need to think outside the legal square to deal with ‘hate speech’ — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition

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