Christian party split from National?

There has been quite a bit of speculation that MP Alfred Ngaro is considering splitting from National and setting up a Conservative Christian party. He would possibly stand in the Botany electorate, a safe National seat currently held by the now independent Jamie Lee Ross.

There has been no strong denials, suggesting that it is an option being seriously considered, and not opposed by National who badly need partner parties

Ngaro would probably be a fairly moderate conservative, and a largely  uncontroversial MP, so would be well suited to this if it happens.

If Ngaro wins an electorate then the party wouldn’t need to reach the 5% threshold to get a few list MPs into Parliament with him.

I think this would be a positive move. There is an obvious constituency for Christian conservatives. In the  past Christian parties have got up to 4%, even with oddball leaders like Colin Craig. They should be able to be represented in Parliament.

I don’t see much chance of the New Conservative party getting anywhere near serious contention, so a new party is the obvious option to take.

I’d actually like to see more party splits. Under MMP the ideal set up is a large party with multiple small party options in governing arrangements. This avoids the tail wagging the dog type scenario (which is happening currently to an extent with NZ First), and ensures generally that majority will gets it’s way.

Whale Oil inciting anti-Christian/anti-Muslim anger

Whale Oil posts continue to try to drive up anger and intolerance towards Muslims in New Zealand, while trying to claim that Christians are the victims of an unfair lack of sympathy.

After the Christchurch mosque attacks here was an effort made by some, including here on Your NZ, to attack politicians (mainly Jacinda Ardern) and media for what was claimed to be a disparity between reacting to and reporting of one of the only and by far the worst terrorist attacks in new Zealand, compared to one f many attacks in Nigeria in a long running internal war.

From a New Zealand there was little comparison between the two, but that didn’t stop attempts to equate them and to dump on anyone who hadn’t reported them in a similar manner.

Soon after the bombings in Sri Lanka this meme was launched as if it was prepared for. One of the first to attack was nasty UK alt-right activist Katie Hopkins, who slammed Jacinda Ardern for responding differently to an attack in a foreign country to one in the country she is Prime Minister of.

This was supported repeated in social media here. It’s as if they are trying to be some sort of speech police, condemning anyone who doesn’t word their condemnations to their satisfaction. But it also looks like an attempt to paint ‘Christians’ as the victims, and to drive up anger against Islam and by association Muslims.

David Farrar ridiculed the Hopkins effect at Kiwiblog: Defending Jacinda from Katie Hopkins

Jacinda Ardern is not the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka. She is the Prime Minister of New Zealand. Why on earth would she do anything in response to an attack in another country, except the normal expressions of sympathy?

I still don’t get how people get so worked up over a display of empathy to the Muslim community in New Zealand. It was genuine and a great idea.

The sensible comparison is would she have done the same if another religious minority was slaughtered in New Zealand, and I am sure the answer would be yes. If 50 Jews had been killed while praying at a synagogue in New Zealand, then Ardern would probably have worn a kippah or yarmulke as a sign of respect and empathy.

There’s so much legitimate stuff to criticise Ardern on, that it drives me crazy that people get worked up on this.

Of course being attacked by Katie Hopkins is akin to being savaged by Chloe of Wainuiomata.

That’s an unfair comparison, more Kiwis will have heard of Chloe.

But as has become the norm at Kiwiblog, comments ran in the other direction, likke this well upticked comment from Simonp:

I think the point is that no Muslim leader would show empathy for any Christian attack in the same way and that Jacinda did. Equally, Jacinda wishes the Muslim community happy Ramadan but fails to wish the New Zealand happy Easter. It comes across as fear and pandering and could embolden extremists. Hopkins was challenging Jacinda to make an equally bold statement in support of Christianity.

Not really. Hopkins was attacking Ardern for showing sympathy and empathy for Muslims in New Zealand, but not naming Christians as victims in Sri Lanka in her first brief official response.  Ardern referred to “bombings there on Easter Sunday”, a fairly obvious Christian reference. She also referred to “an attack in Sri Lanka while people were in churches and at hotels”, which seems sensible given the hotel attacks were not obviously targeting one religion over any others.

Nukuleka:

Virtue signalling is virtue signalling and is no sign of genuine grief. It is merely a form of superfluous and superficial egotism. There may indeed be genuine sympathy felt beneath the outward ‘look- at -me’ show, and sincere grief felt – that is for no-one to judge- but there is never a need to wave a flag, or don a hijab in this instance, to let the world know just how sincere and deep your feelings are. Such people deserve mockery.

‘Virue signalling’ is one of those pejoratives that I have difficulty knowing what people actually mean – or if they know what it means. Is Hopkins virtue signalling? She certainly promotes the virtues of Christians and slams the virtues of Muslims, as do a number of commenters at Kiwiblog (some argued against).

While Kiwiblog simmers and seethes beneath the surface in comments threads, Whale Oil also drives a religious divide in posts.

Whale Oil has championed Hopkins for years. They (they now being under the management, guidance  and apparent control of Juana Atkins)  jumped on the Hopkins bashwagon following the Sri Lanka attacks.

‘Whaleoil staff’ posted the first Hopkins tweet as Tweet of the Day on Monday, which haad some predictable responses, including this from ‘Sunshine’:

Christians all over the world are hunted at the moment not because they are Christians, but because they represent western civilisation. Ardern and her ilk want to ‘fundamentally transform’ the west, as Barry Soetoro once said.

That is laden with conspiracy theorising (actually they are not theories, they are dirty memes) – in particular, that it is a clash of civilisations with Christians as the victims.

The following day Atkins posted Things that make me go hmm under ‘SB’ (one of her pseudonyms), where she nitpicked Theresa May tweets on the Christchurch and Sri Lanka attacks, followed by another ridiculous Hopkins quote:

Why does Islam always matter more to Christian leaders?

That doesn’t even make sense to me. It prompted typical (for a tightly controlled forum like Whale Oil) responses, like this from Boondecker:

“Violence against churches and hotels… ” – what an odd thing to say/tweet in the circumstances. There appears to be a very strange but obvious disconnect when you become a political leader. No wonder they’re rated even below car and insurance salesmen in terms of trustworthiness (the mainstream media are the only crowd that’s worse).

“Violence against churches and hotels” is fairly accurate for a brief generalised tweet. ‘Churches’ is synonymous with ‘Christian’:

church
noun
1. a building used for public Christian worship

And several hotels were also bombed.

Yesterday the anger meme was promoted in Growing anger over anti-Christian terror denialism

Anger is growing around the world at the blatant disparity and hypocrisy of the media and political elite in their reactions to terrorism, depending on who the victims are.

Of course no proof is provided that anger is growing anywhere. What this looks like is an attempt to grow anger in New Zealand.

Terrorism is terrorism is terrorism. It shouldn’t matter who the innocent victims are: Muslims in a market in Quetta or in a mosque in Christchurch, or Christians on the streets of Rome or in churches in Sri Lanka. But, as we are seeing after the Easter carnage in Sri Lanka, it matters very much to the media-political elite who the victims are.

Christians are way down on the Victim Totem Pole.

Not at Whale Oil, where they are playing the ‘Christians are victims in a clash of civilisations’ card hard.

As per the standard narrative, no matter who is shredded by terrorists’ bombs, the real victims, as far as the media-political elite are concerned, are always Muslims.

That’s just pathetic nonsense.

But it’s dangerous nonsense. Whale Oil, with Atkins leading the charge now, is trying to drive up anger and division between Muslims and Christians.

Whale Oil has also actively promoted gun rights including the ‘right’ to own military style weapons. The blog attracts people who like firearms, and it attracts people who see Christians as victims, who see ‘Western civilisation’ under threat, and see Islam and Muslims as the threat.

As the 50 Christchurch murders showed, it only takes one person to believe this sort of persistent inflammatory claptrap to escalate things into extreme violence.

Probably all of the posts and most of the comments at Whale Oil would fall short of any hate speech laws – certainly the laws we currently have. But the sum of all the parts, the ongoing inciting posts (often multiple in a day) and the comments in support, looks like a campaign of hate and intolerance and division. It is difficult to legislate against that.

But this sort of campaign of fear mongering and hate should be called out for what it is, and should those who are responsible for it.

Katie Hopkins (and others) ridiculous attacks on Ardern

There were ridiculous criticisms of and attacks on Jacinda Ardern after the Christchurch mosque attacks, for what she said and what she wore in sympathy, support and solidarity with New Zealand Muslims. She (and the media) were attacked for not giving equal condemnation to an earlier attack inn a long running civil war situation in Nigeria.

This has risen to new levels of absurdity after the suicide bomb attack on hotels and Christian churches in Sri Lanka in the weekend.

One of those leading the over-reaction alt right brigade attacks is Katie Hopkins, from the UK.

There are a number of ridiculous things about that stupidity, particularly considering an unprecedented attack in your own country is quite different for a Prime Minister than an attack somewhere else in the world where there is a history of terrorism.

Ardern did quickly send condolences to Sri Lanka – Prime Minister sends condolences to Sri Lanka:

“New Zealand condemns all acts of terrorism, and our resolve has only been strengthened by the attack on our soil on the 15th of March. To see an attack in Sri Lanka while people were in churches and at hotels is devastating.

“New Zealand rejects all forms of extremism and stands for freedom of religion and the right to worship safely. Collectively we must find the will and the answers to end such violence.’’

She expressed similar sympathy and condemnation in person, this was widely reported by New Zealand media.

NZ Herald reported on Hopkins’ attack: Outspoken British columnist Katie Hopkins tries to roast Jacinda Ardern over Sri Lanka attacks

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is ignoring a swipe by a British columnist over yesterday’s attacks in Sri Lanka which have left hundreds dead.

Katie Hopkins, a columnist and former contestant in the 2007 The Apprentice TV show, has hit out at Ardern, saying she now expects her to be “dressed as the pope, ringing church bells across #NZ and praying in Latin in Parliament by noon”.

But many Kiwis have come to her defence with one replying, “whatever the Prime Minister does will be immeasurably more welcome and useful than anything you have ever said,” while another tweeted “if this dreadful event had happened in NZ … then our PM would be leading the nation through its grieving and empathising with the victims’ families.”

Hopkins sprayed her bile around the UK too.

Is Hopkins trying to dictate what Prime Ministers should say in reaction to international atrocities? I doubt that’s her intention, it looks more like she is trying to drive up intolerance and hate of Muslims, by playing a ‘poor me’ Christian card.

Hopkins hasn’t been alone in this sort of stupidity. from comments on a Kiwiblog post Christians slaughtered in Sri Lanka yesterday:

sooty:

Cindy will be covering her ears and singing,
LA, LA, LA LAA!

Engelbert Humperdink:

So, Cindy’s gonna wear a big cross to show solidarity, and post armed guards on the churches in NZ? Yeah, right.

All the world’s majority Muslim country leaders gonna speak out against this attack on Christians? Yeah, right.

Will there be indifference shown to the deceased and injured – even though they are people of color – by leftists because, after all, it’s ‘just something some people did’ and ‘it’s part and parcel of living in a big city’? Yes, there will be, as per Ilhan Omar and Sadiq Khan.

Ultima:

Obviously Christianity is the cause of of this terrorist act, Cindy should urge the Sri Lankan govt to ban Christianity and semi-Christianity.

Commenters at Kiwiblog and Whale Oil childishly call Ardern Cindy because (I think) she said she didn’t like being called that.

Luke Piewalker:

Of course we will see a tearful handwringing Ardern holding a cross … nah didn’t think so

vand:

Will this be said?
The Sri Lankan Prime Minister told Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern the best help she could provide in the wake of the Sri lanka attacks would be sympathy and love for Christian communities.

burt:

Christian prayers on national radio it will be then with the platitudes of ‘They are us’.

I posted Ardern’s statement to show that she had condemned the attacks, and that was downticked by 22 people (as of now).

Rachael Memberry responded:

i don’t agree, we have had CHCH shoved in our face for the last month, since Jacinda has so much political capital, especially now that she hasn’t expended any for the CGT she, as the leader that we are told that she is, should be contacting members of the Muslim community to decry terrorist attacks, not just when they are the victims of them but when they are the perpetrators also.

The Muslim community in New Zealand are not the perpetrators.

Engelbert Humperdink:

As a globalist shouldn’t she be expecting the practice of what she preaches locally to take place everywhere? Shouldn’t she now be calling for the suppression of a group of brown supremacists, and the banning of their manifesto, their Koran? if you think that’s absurd, I agree with you it’s a reach, but is not absurd. Absurd is what she did; absurd is where she set the bar. Of course all of her apologists don’t expected to be judged by the standards she set. That’s why she has to keep getting tongue-bathed by the New Zealand media (one example: recent social media resurrections, which I suppose is fitting for Easter time) to kKeep her popularity high enough / stay in office.

burt:

Are there different degrees of concern with regard to mass murder?

Obviously there are differences depending on what occurred and where it occurred. I’m fairly sure that burt and and others at Kiwiblog don’t show equal concern for all attacks around the world – they tend to ignore other attacks on Muslims.

It was worse at Whale Oil, with Hopkins tweet put up as a post (by the gutlessly anonymous ‘Whaleoil staff’) – Tweet of the day. This fed some predictable responses.

ibdkiwi:

But wait…hold the presses, this is breaking news: someone just told me the Prime Minister is donating $300M to Sri-Lanka to buy-back all the bombs, well; not all of them, just the assault-bombs, ‘so this sort of thing can never happen again’. Can anyone confirm if this story is true?

Smoke & Mirrors:

Has she mentioned ‘Christians’ yet?

BlokeinAuckland:

Nope. Or that it was muslims as perpetrators.

If Only:

Excellent comment but Katie forgets its still an Easter Holiday in NZ and our PM never works during the holidays – she is a member of a union after all. Perhaps we shall see her play dress up and ring bells tomorrow.

Nutta:

To be fair, JA put out comment condemning the terrorist act yesterday, not long after the event. No, I’m not even remotely a cheerleader.

Dave:

Not really, more likely her office put out a Press Release yesterday

I saw Ardern personally condemning the attacks on TV news. A lot of this is petty uninformed dissing. And it went on.

At least ‘SB’ put her pseudonym initials to another post feeding a string of more nonsense – Facebook comment of the day. The most recent comment:

Surprisingly, Jacinda hasn’t offered to pay for all the funeral expenses!

Sadly this is the stupid level of much of the discussion on terrorist atrocities, deliberately stoked by Katie Hopkins.

A Christian reconsiders the Resurrection of Christ

Post from Kimbo:


The Christian faith, of its own admission, stands or falls on the bodily resurrection of Christ. As per the words of the Apostle Paul in I Corinthians chapter 15, if Christ did not rise again the Christian faith is “useless”, “false witness”, “futile” and “pitiable”. You maybe have a whole host of doubts, objections and flat-out dismissals concerning the resurrection of Christ. Fair enough, but as a Christian I’ll explain what I find the number one challenge to believing the fantastical claim that a man rose from the dead.

To put my challenge in its necessary context, I’ll first outline what I think is fairly certain about the wider Jesus story. The interests of brevity do not permit a detailed explanation why, but I think by the reasonable standards of historical inquiry and inference from the written record of the New Testament Gospels, and the discernible oral traditions from which much of them were derived, the following is likely factual:

  1. There was a Jewish man named Jesus of Nazareth who lived in 1st Century Palestine.
  2. He had an itinerant ministry in Galilee and Judea, which attracted a following, with a core group at the centre.
  3. Central to the message of that ministry was the Jewish apocalyptic expectation of the imminent arrival of God’s kingdom on earth, with Jesus at the centre in some way.
  4. Jesus’ ministry culminated in a dispute with the Jewish authorities who administered the temple in Jerusalem, and who concluded Jesus was, among other dangerous activities, a blasphemer.
  5. As a result, Jesus was put to death by means of crucifixion at the hands of the occupying Romans, whose involvement in his demise was aroused by the additional charge of sedition.
  6. At the time of Jesus arrest and detainment before death, one of Jesus’ followers, Cephas/Simon Peter publicly denied any association with him.
  7. Another of Jesus’ followers, Judas Iscariot, was alleged to have played a part in that arrest.
  8. After Jesus’ death some women attached to his group claimed his body was no longer where it was left after had died.
  9. From that beginning the belief quickly arose among the group that Jesus had risen from the dead, then appeared to them, before ascending to heaven. Also, he was Israel’s long-hoped for Messiah who would one day return to usher in the kingdom of God.
  10. A few years later, Saul of Tarsus, a zealous Jew and former persecutor of the Jesus-movement claimed Jesus had appeared to him in a vison. As a result, Saul became a believer and eventual leader within the Jesus-movement, and he played a key role in expanding the movement beyond Jews to Gentiles throughout the Roman Empire.

You’ll notice I said that the group believed Jesus rose again, not that he necessarily did. For us, who are expected according to Scripture to believe their account, the primary weakness in taking that additional step lies in the nature of that group. First, with the death of their leader they would have been struck with a combination of fear, confusion and grief.

Everyone remember the Kubler Ross grief cycle? First comes denial, then comes anger, then comes bargaining. Whatever else the early church may have been, it was indisputably a first Century Jewish apocalyptic sect. History is full of examples of similar sects whose hope in the end of the age was dashed, and due to a combination of denial and bargaining, they rationalised and recalibrated to keep the hope and movement alive. What became the Seventh Day Adventists are one example, and what became the Jehovah’s Witnesses are another. Both expected the return of Jesus in 1844-45 and 1914 respectively, and when he failed to show up both resorted to “invisible heavenly” actions by Jesus to explain the failed prophecy.

Indeed, from the perspective of orthodox Judaism that’s what Christianity looks like – a sect that put its eggs in the basket of a false Messiahship-claim. Why don’t Jews believe in Jesus? Among other reasons for many Jews the idea of a dead Messiah is an oxymoron. Messiahs don’t die, much less on a cross which is a sign of God’s curse according to Mosaic law. Instead the Messiah ends death by ushering in the resurrection at the end of the age. So, from the Jewish perspective, the purported resurrection of Jesus looks like the denial-and-bargaining process of an apocalyptic sect, trying to rationalise away the fact that they got it wrong…and then they suckered a gullible bunch of Gentiles, too ignorant to know what genuine Judaism was.

The second feature of the original Jesus-was-resurrected group was that they were precisely that – a group. We are, of our very nature, social beings. There is a reason that the New Testament counsels believers to fellowship together, teaching, encouraging, strengthening and rebuking one another as required. That’s how groups, all groups operate to some extent. They keep one another in line so they can fulfil their function or purpose. That doesn’t necessarily have to be the pejorative “group-think” of George Orwell. However, the reality is that to fit in with the expectations and culture of the group and maintain tolerable social comfort levels, people will, in the right circumstances, tow the party line. Like, say, when some of the women come telling the rest of the group that Jesus’ dead body was not where it was left. And then another mentions that a bystander confirmed to them that Jesus wasn’t there. And then another says…Jesus appeared to her. And then someone thinks, what would it mean if Jesus did rise again, how would that fit with the possibility he was the Messiah, and then…

The third feature of the religious group that seems to have genuinely believed in the resurrection story in contradiction to normal expectations is, yet again, they were precisely that – a religious group. I’ve heard Christian apologists make the blanket claim that there is no way that the purported post-resurrection appearances of Jesus in the Gospels of Matthew, Luke and John can be psychotic episodes because psychosis is a personal, not a group phenomenon. Ok, but even if that is so, what about phenomena that does affect groups that doesn’t fit the diagnosis of psychosis but involves the distortion of ordinarily-accepted reality?

Leaving aside John Marco Allegro’s now generally discredited magic mushrooms theory, maybe there was some ancient Palestinian version of LSD that lead them off on a group resurrection-trip. But more likely is that if you look for group-induced distortions of reality that mirror some of the elements of psychosis, they aren’t too hard to find. Especially among the religious. I mean, come on! How many suicide bombers getting in early for their 72 virgins, or Jonestown suicide pacts do you need to confirm the fact that, in the right circumstances, especially in a group setting religious people will believe and do anything! I’ve seen it, indeed to my embarrassment I’ve at one time done it – religious people full of zeal who claim to see and drive out demons, lengthen legs and straighten backs. Or worship, or clap or howl at the Pavlovian prompting of a shyster using all the usual party tricks of clairvoyant cold readings, group hysteria and carefully crafted-group pressure.

So, is that what happened with the original Jesus-group? Or is it at least a reasonable possibility. I’d say, yes. From the perspective of New Testament critical scholarship, it solves some problems, like how the thus-far observed laws of nature were contradicted in Jesus’ alleged resurrection. However, it would also raise some others. Including and especially how the likely very primitive confessional formula that Paul recited in I Corinthians 15: 3-8a came to be:

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born…

Not just one, or a small group, but over five hundred? The quick-and-easy “the Bible is just made up and was written years after the events it records” is too simplistic in the case of I Corinthians 15, but again space prohibits explaining why here. Suffice to say, it seems that irrespective of whether Jesus rose again or not, the belief he was seen by over five hundred of his followers is genuine. So how did that work? Maybe there could have been someone who looked like Jesus, standing at a distance from the crowd (The Life of Brian, “Blessed are the cheesemakers”, anyone?). Add in denial-bargaining, group-think, religious hysteria and rationalising that the movement has to carry on, and maybe that’s the answer. Put it this way – contrary to the assurances of Christian apologists, I don’t think it can be easily dismissed.

So yeah, it’s a real possibility the resurrection of Jesus was genuinely-believed but mistaken by his original followers. But is it the most likely? Well, from the perspective of modern scepticism, which via the scientific method has rid the world of small pox, sent human beings to the moon and made an assortment of discoveries that would amaze the Iron Age inhabitants of 1st Century Palestine, it is indeed probably the best explanation. So am I rationalising and seeking to work back from my desired conclusions to a method that will furnish them if I note that scepticism is not the only valid starting point? Or that I’m not yet ready to give up my faith?

“Tolerance New Zealand’s real religion”

It should be, but there are still a lot of people who don’t follow it. We should acknowledge that we can all be intolerant, but can all work towards better understanding of and tolerance of other people, other cultures, other religions.

ODT editorial:  Tolerance New Zealand’s real religion

White nationalists, Islamophobes and other hate groups openly extol a clear goal – to separate ”them” from ”us”. In the wake of Friday’s terrorist attack, it seems prudent to confront the myth some believe in: that when it comes to religion in this country, there has never been an ”us”.

Evidence indicates the first humans to set foot in Aotearoa were Eastern Polynesian settlers some 800 years ago who brought religious beliefs with them.

Those beliefs centred around the idea that, through genealogy, all things were connected – hills, rivers, animals, plants – to the Maori themselves. Yet within the several hundred years Maori lived here before European settlement, the way those beliefs were expressed was already evolving and diverging.

Europeans arrived with a variety of takes on monotheism. Catholicism and Protestantism were the major players, but there were others.

The State, of course, was an extension of the British Crown and, as such, it is easy to look back at the last hundred or so years of New Zealand history and conclude we are, and have been, a Christian country.

But the beliefs of those who have settled here, who have journeyed to one of the most far-flung land masses on Earth and made a life for themselves, are far more varied than that. In reality, we have never been a solely Christian country. Since the arrival of Europeans, we have been a nation of multiple religions.

And agnostics and atheists.

A major fallacy in the argument of those wanting New Zealand to ”remain” or ”return” to being as culturally, ethnically or religiously ”pure” as it always was is that New Zealand has never been mono-ethnic, mono-religious or mono-cultural. And it never will. Because our national genealogy is not one of ”purity”.

Far from it. we are a diverse mix of cultures, nationalities, races and religions.

Islam is an ancient religion, born from the same part of the world Christianity was, just a few hundred years later. It is widely practised around the world and has as much right to be considered ”normal” in New Zealand as any other religion does.

Yes, there are radical arms of Islam. There are radical arms of Christianity, too. And of football fans, environmentalists and many more groups besides. It takes an appalling negligence of consideration to believe only the radical arms of a large group of people define that group.

Generalising is common. Like Christians. Muslims. Maori. Asians. Europeans. Colonialists.

All are quite varied, diverse, and there are often mixes and blends.

It is absurd for any New Zealanders to believe Islam has less right to be practised freely, safely and given respect in this country than other religions. Muslim New Zealanders are simply New Zealanders who practise a religion. Religions, while culpable for many unpleasant aspects of history, also bring meaning, stability, guidance and context to billions of people.

We are not a Christian country, despite being a country of many Christians.

We are not a religious country, though we are a country of many religions.

In fact, if there was to be any ”religion” that defined New Zealand, it should be a religious devotion to inclusivity, tolerance and openness.

Let that be the New Zealand religion and, in our pursuit of it, let’s ensure Muslim New Zealanders know, feel and trust they are, now and forever, simply Kiwis.

We all have to work hard on accepting differences, and tolerance.

 

PRAYER FROM AN ATHEIST

Guest post from Gezza

The only way to cure Islam’s ills is to educate Muslims out of believing the Quran. To do that, you also have to educate the Jews out of believing the Torah & the Christians out of believing the Bible.

All of them derive their basis for belief from the first scribblings of unbelievable myth & bullshit in the Jewish Scriptures, & all are demonstrably false.

All of them, & all other supernatural religions, have become interwoven over centuries into the ethnic, cultural & national identities of scores of religious sects & diverse peoples throughout the globe. They have driven land grabs, wars and strife for eons. False beliefs taught to ignorant people of long bygone ages still lie at the very heart of most of the worst tensions & strife between nations & ethnic groups & cultures around the world today.

Of them all, Christianity, while influential in the development of the better aspects of Western civilisation, especially over the last century, has probably reduced the most in direct influence on Westerners, as secular morality has developed & improved on the limits of the so-called 10 commandments, & the Golden Rule. (Even the Golden Rule is reportedly actually quite common to many religions & societies around the globe, or at least between believers or members of the same group.)

Christians forget that making slaves of people from other nations is still sanctioned by God (& Jesus never countermanded Mosaic Law) in the Bible. It is time people looked at the Torah, the Bible and the Quran only as important historical Books.

The Bible played an undoubtedly important part in the development of Western Civilisation & law, but, when you put the pastor outside, clear your mind of the reinterpretations you’ve been fed by the priestly class, & simply read it plainly, end to end, it is instantly revealed, self-evidently, as merely a collection of 3rd 4th & 5th hand scribblings about historically unsupportable superstitions, myths, magic, & logical & scientific nonsense.

It is the story of a savage, jealous, vengeful, murderous, infanticidal, rape & slavery-condoning God who Christians still say – notwithstanding that he ordered and /or committed these heinous acts – MUST be good! Because he is God. And God is good. So he must have had a good reason for such horrific cruelty & immorality. This is just bizarre. Truly daft that anyone can try to rationalise it with pathetic defences about relative morality meaning it was good behaviour from Jaweh for those times, but it’s not now.

Modern, secular society Christians, as empathetic, intelligent, social, human beings whose ideas of morality have now gone well beyond the Bible’s, would NEVER willingly choose to do these horrible things to other people. With the blinkers of highly selective Christian teachings off – the Judeo-Christian God’s actions & commands are actually evil by today’s standards. Jaweh orders the Israelites to commit murder, genocide, rape, infanticide for heaven’s sake. If he came to earth today, he’d literally be in the dock for crimes against humanity!

The same, & new, maybe worse, errors, horrors, pointless, repressive, oppressive, conflicting, bloodthirsty, outdated regulations, bad science, teachings, & beliefs of superiority over others, dictated by a middle-aged Arab warlord, are set out in the Quran & Hadith that Muslims are forced by their theocratic rulers and family & social pressures to believe & take with them wherever they go.

I don’t hate these religions, per se, but I know beyond any reasonable doubt they are false & well out-of-date.

And I DO hate how the contortions & distortions of these ludicrous scripts can be twisted in the minds of gullible believers, who suspend their rationality, & listen when imams & pastors tell them these clusters of confused crap mean something totally different to what they actually say – really, only out of the instilled fear of everlasting torture if they don’t believe it, or the need of desperate or fearful people to call on some hoped-for divine universal power to help them deal with adversity in their daily lives, and give them vain hope of some vague glorious reward of everlasting life & happiness in a hereafter beyond their inevitable expiry date on this earth.

There is NO actual evidence of any such thing. You won’t be seeing your pet dog or the roast lamb you ate for lunch in Heaven either. (Well, I’m an agnostic really. I can’t absolutely guarantee that there is no more existence for our personalities beyond this earthly lifetime, but it’s such a remote possibility that the probability of our death being our complete end of existence would be well in excess of 99.99999%. And it’s an absolute certainty, in my opinion, that in the unlikely event I’m wrong, any existence beyond our earthly one would not be anything like what’s promised in any of these dreadful Holy Books.)

In my view, all children should be given a secular education. They should be taught, first, written language & mathematics, then logic & reasoning, & science, & then told to forget their preachers, & their parents’ beliefs, & be instructed to just read these Holy texts, without reinterpretation, from start to finish. If, by the end, they haven’t figured out:

“WTF? Who can seriously take this garbled rubbish recited to ancient sheep herders & camel drivers as divinely inspired instructions to humanity?”

they should then learn the history of the people who, it is claimed, wrote them, and of how they spread their religions, and warred over them.

That would, hopefully, be the end of the religions, & when their believing parents finally pass away, they could just bury them respectfully, & then just put their Holy Books on the shelves in the Great Myths & History sections of libraries, & focus on establishing or evolving the fairest & most tolerant sets of values, ethics & laws that fit their own ethnic cultures & customs, settle their border squabbles, & renew good relationships with other people & cultures who live in this world – without this bloody religious dogma continually overpowering their reason & humanity & pitting devout, deluded believers & their descendents forever against each other.

Value your separate customs of dress & hospitality, & languages, & other delineators of your cultural & national identities & borders. Live freely in the places your cultures now belong, or have belonged for centuries, & welcome visitors from different lands who respect your customs while there.

If you move to another place, adapt to their culture. If eventually, in the future, we can all meld together with common evolved values & customs & laws & behaviours, so that borders can effectively disappear, there is maybe hope for a true paradise on earth – but that is a long, long way away yet, in my view.

In the meantime, for heaven’s sake, please, read, THINK, & then throw out all the false Gods that tell you you are a special & favoured people, & that all the other gods & their deluded believers are wrong! Humanity MUST outgrow these mythical supernatural rulers if we are ever to evolve the kind of world we really want.

We need to learn to love & live the life we have to the full. It is the only one we have. We need to grow up & face this fact. It is time for us to put away these childish fairy & troll kings – & become better than them.

Can you separate Muslims from ISIS?

ChristiansKKK

Are all Muslims complicit with wars in the Middle East?

Are all Christians complicit with the KKK?

Are all Christians responsible for the terrible act done by James Alex Fields Jr. in Charlottesville?

Are all Christians Nazi sympathisers like Fields?

Are all white male Americans white supremacists? All white Americans?

Are all white males Nazi sympathisers?

Some people blame everyone who they think aren’t like them, or all of a group they don’t like.

Are all Muslims responsible for ISIS terrorist acts?

All 1.6 billion Muslims? Why not all 3.75 billion males? Or all 7.5 billion humans?

The idealist

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Marriage leading to hell – apparently there are still ‘Christians’ this extreme

There is a handful of old school Christians who either work in shifts or flock en masse to to Kiwiblog when certain topics come up, especially at the moment anything on marriage equality or homosexuality. Some see the end of the world as nigh if a small minority are given the same right to legally married as most of us.

There are other Christians who don’t push their pulpits, and no doubt more who keep their beliefs to themselves.

Sometimes religious arguments tend towards the extreme, where some from both sides can be rude and display high degrees of intolerance.

One occasional visitor is Scott. Here is some of what he posted yesterday on Craig says he would vote for gay marriage if electorate backs it.

Marriage is a natural pairing of a man and woman that existed before the state. Before government, before even kings there was marriage. First mentioned in the Bible with the pairing of the first two human beings, Adam and Eve.

Gay marriage in contrast is purely a creation of the state. So it represents a relatively small number of gay activists using the power of the state to impose homosexuality as worthy of the status of marriage. So it is an excellent example of the state interfering in people’s lives.

So far a fairly fundamental Christian view.

It will require heaps of legislation changes and will inevitably lead to persecution of conservatives and Christians by the state. But when pastors go to jail and churches are fined out of existence for not allowing gay marriage on their premises no doubt many on this thread will congratulate themselves on how wonderful it is that the state is not intruding in people’s lives.

There are a few who see it as a direct threat to them, sometimes to the extent of paranoia.

My point is that marriage is not an invention of the state and existed before the state. Gay marriage is an invention of the state and would not exist without major government legislation. So the people who are for gay marriage are the ones promoting government interference in people’s lives.

A common (minority) Christian view is that allowing other people to get married is state interference in their own lives. They see it as a threat to their beliefs.

Marriage existed before the State, before there were even kings and queens. When Abraham married Sarah there were no government officials or even nation states. So marriage preceded the state.

Scott thinks that Christianity created marriage and therefore owns marriage.

Others suggested that defacto relationships preceded marriage. Not as far as Scott is concerned.

SPC my dear chap. One is entitled to one’s opinion, one is not entitled to one’s own facts. In the beginning there were de facto relationships and then came marriage is nonsense. Provide lots of evidence please or immediately withdraw your statement.

Without “lots of evidence” you can discount the opposing view.

For your information marriage occurs in the Bible with married couples like Abraham and Sarah who lived around 1800BC.
The ancient Egyptian Pharaohs had wives etc, etc. The evidence for marriage in ancient times and not de facto relationships is so overwhelming that to suggest otherwise is simply not rational.

Claims evidence of marriages and not of de facto relationships.

I suggested there must have been coupling of humans before marriage at some stage back in history, so ‘de facto’ first is really the only practical possibility. “In fact ‘suddenly marriage being created’ before any other type of relationship makes no sense at all.”

Have to agree to disagree Pete my old stick. First two human beings created by God and married by God. I know descending from apes, millions of years, all that sort of thing is fashionable but I just think it’s all bollocks really. The de facto relationships precedes marriage idea is a product of evolutionary speculation and doesn’t have any actual historical data to back it up.

His claims have no historical data to back them up (the Bible isn’t historical data), but no matter. Scott is about to launch THE BIG THREAT.

I just don’t know why people abandon faith in God to embrace evolution and consequently atheism. It’s a terrible world view to live by. No hope, no purpose, no love, just blind pitiless indifference.

By the way Pete, when you die, which way are you going to go? Up or down?

Thunder and brimstone – if you don’t agree, accept, believe, you are the pits will be damned to hell.

Having never believed in hell (but having of hope, purpose and love in my life) I find it hard to understand how people can have such strong views and beliefs, and how they can have such a strong intolerance of their views being challenged.

And Scott wasn’t alone, ‘smallgovernment ‘ added their bit:

Pete, to say we ‘start as atheists’ is idiocy. We start life knowing nothing (although I believe we have a spiritual nature) and are taught – by our parents if they are worth their salt.

SPC, I’d say the onus is on you to make sure that your lack of belief in God is not going to have you end up in hell. You call that a threat (which is ridiculous, because I’m not creating the consequences) – I call it a warning or maybe an excellent reason to seek God to see if there really is something to Christianity.

Many of the atheists here think themselves very clever and look down their noses at Christians.

Ironic saying that many athesists look down their noses at Christians having just intimated that if you “lack of belief in God” you will “end up in hell” is a lot more downward looking than our noses.

Silly academic objections or logical arguments are a poor substitute for seeking an actual experience of God by reading the Bible and praying.

I have no problem with people who get something out of reading the Bible and who pray – it’s their choice what they do and what they believe.

But in the modern world “silly academic objections” and “logical arguments” have superceded many old beliefs. Most Christians understand (I think) that the knowledge of the world now means that they have to modify their beliefs, that ancient writings were not literal and did not always portray a way of life or ways of the world that make any sense with a modern scientific knowledge.

But a few cling to a fervent belief in what many now see as unbelievable.

And those few seem to really fear the threat that modern knowledge is to the very essence of their beliefs.

And sometimes they try to transform their fear  and transfer it to those of us who think and believe differently.

I have been threatened with hell last night and in the past. Yes, it is an attempted threat of consequence of not agreeing, of not believing rthe same. But I have never had any belief in it or fear of ‘hell’. There is absolutely no evidence of it and nothing to suggest it is anything but a priestly construct designed to scare people into complying with their demands.

To hell with hell. It is nothing more than a last resort in an argument, it’s the ultimate threat with no argument.

And utlimately that’s a sign that some with extreme religious views see their views increasingly threatened by modern reality.

They are in a blind, pitiful spiritual trap of their teacher’s making.

What is marriage?

It is most often defined as a union between two people, but it depends on how marriage is defined culturally and legally in any modern country.

mar·riage

noun 1.

a. the social institution under which a man and woman establish their decision to live as husband and wife by legal commitments, religious ceremonies, etc. Antonyms: separation.

b. a similar institution involving partners of the same gender: gay marriage.

etc

There are religious claims to marriage, like…

…marriage, as a word, is a religious activity (controlled by the church) which has subsequently been made a civil activity (controlled by the State).

My ‘solution’ is to define all legal unions as XXXXX and reserve the term marriage for those legal unions which are conducted in accordance with a church’s rules. So, every husband and wife would be legally joined, but only those legally joined in a church ceremony would be ‘married’.

Many would dispute that religious groups have exclusive ownership to ‘marriage’ as a single religious entity.

Marriage types mentioned in the Bible:

1. Man + Woman (Nuclear Family) – Genesis 2:24
– wives subordinate to husbands
– interfaith marriages forbidden
– marriages generally arranged
– bride who could not prove virginity was stoned to death

2. Man + Wife + Concubines
– Abraham 2, Solomon 300

3. Man + Woman + Woman’s property
– man could acquire wife’s property including slaves

4. Man + Woman + Woman + Woman… – (Polygany) Genesis 16
– Esau 3, David many, Abijah 14, Solomon 700

5. Man + Brother’s Widow (Leviterate) – Genesis 38:6-10
– woman who had not borne a son required to marry her brother-in-law
– must submit sexually to her new husband

6. Rapist + Victim – Deuteronomy 22:28-29
– virgin who is raped must marry her rapist
– rapist must pay victim’s father 50 shekels of silver for property loss

7. Soldier + Prisoner of War – Numbers 31:1-18, Deuteronomy 21:11-14
– under Moses’ command Israelites must kill every Midianite man, woman and child except for virgin girls who are taken as spoils of war
– wives must submit sexually to their new owners

8. Male Slave + Female Slave – Exodus 21:4
– slave owner could assign female slaves to his male slaves
– female slaves must submit sexually to their husbands

Claims that marriage is a cultural practice that must not be tampered with are contradicted by many variations in marriage over time. Marriage has varied and evolved for millenia, and now means different things to different cultures and to different people within cultures.

Marriage variations over history

Variations of marriage over time according to Religious Tolerance:

Marriage has been an amazingly flexible institution. It is and has been in a continuous state of flux. At various eras and locations:

It has been a purely secular ceremony. It has been a deeply religious ritual.
It has been regarded as a life-long commitment. It has been a temporary handfasting which expired after a year-and-a-day.
It has symbolized the transfer of the near absolute ownership and control of a woman from her father to her husband. It has recognized the relationship of two independent individuals, who enter marriage as equals.
In the past, marriages have been restricted to two persons in some cultures, and more than two in others. In the Bible, Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines. In predominately Christian countries, marriages have been limited to two persons. In predominately Muslim countries, polygyny is occasionally practiced. This is a form of polygamy with one man and up to four wives. Polygyny is practiced among fundamentalist Mormon denominations in Utah, and British Columbia, where it is illegal but rarely prosecuted .
In the past, some African-Americans and inter-racial couples have not been permitted to marry. Currently, with few exceptions based on genetics or familial relationships, any opposite-sex couple, no matter what their race, can marry.
In the past, only opposite-sex couples were permitted to marry. Same-sex couples can now marry in a growing number of jurisdictions, including the District of Columbia, a few other states, including Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, South Africa, Spain, etc.
In the past, over 1,400 rights and privileges have been restricted to heterosexual married couples in most states of the U.S.. Committed gay and lesbian couples can now get about 400 rights and privileges in the District of Columbia and a growing number of states where they are allowed to marry. The Defense of Marriage Act (DOAM) denies them federal rights and privileges of marriage. They receive full marital benefits in Canada.

More…

History of marriage

The history of marriage dates back as far as the ancient times. Studies revealed that marriage didn’t exist before. The usual practice was that the men in a certain tribe or horde had access to the women they like. When children are born, they belonged to the whole community. This is associated with the perception that humans want sexual variety. However, things have changed when sexual morality was developed and has since influenced the social life of the people.

The earliest marriage was believed to be ‘group marriage’. The union was basically between groups of men and women, and there exists shared sexual relations. The group marriage allowed polyandry, and this existed in Ceylon, India, and Tibet many years ago.

The origin of marriage is a great debate subject. Many people are wondering how marriage began. There have been studies that claim the existence of marriage 4,350 years ago. Before this time, families were made up of less organized groups consisting of more or less than thirty people. The group consisted of men that shared women. With the introduction of agricultural civilization, the society demanded for stable arrangements.

It is said that the first union between a man and a woman took place in Mesopotamia at 2350 BC. Marriage evolved since then and such practice was observed by the Romans, Greeks, and Hebrews. However, the union was never about love or religion. The primary purpose of the marriage is to ensure that the man’s children are biologically his, and so women were treated as mere ‘property’.

Wives were expected to stay at home and attend to the children, as well as house chores. A husband can give back his wife if she is unable to produce children. The ancient people also turned to prostitutes, concubines, or male lovers to satisfy their needs for sexual variety.

More…