Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: For Good Friday

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  • Jackie Clark,

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    Oh, I see. You're supposed to write something. Silly me.

    And I have various spooky feelings about nature.

    Yes. Same. Who could go into primeval bush, and not have those feelings? As to the religiosity or not of NZers, I must confess to being surprised that the survey shows less of us as Believers (note the capital B). I was of the impression just from driving around our fair city that church building was on the increase. But then that's just me. I understand that attendance at church imbues a sense of community for many, but I wonder, sometimes, why there are people who can't talk to their neighbours, and be kind to each other, without having some form of religious belief. I dunno. I'm also staggered that only 45% of us believe in the theory of evolution and that 40% of us think that same sex relationships are wrong. Because the whole thing says to me that people are wandering around, without a sense of community, and with no sense of connection to reality. Now, that's scary.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    Thanks for the link to Stephanie Mill's post on The Hand Mirror, Russell. The story she has to tell about the French compensation package for nuclear testing in the South Pacific is quite amazing.

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1447 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    Interesting that this information arrives on the doorstep of Easter, which has zilch religious significance for me--and buns and bunnies don't work, either. In fact (and I know it sounds perverse), it comes at a bad time. I have just got a head of steam up in teaching World Cinema and other stuff, and now the students wander off for two weeks.

    Where is Craig these days? He hasn't popped up, in our deliberations, for quite some time.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2559 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Only 40% of us think sexual relations between two adults of the same sex are wrong

    *Only* 40%?! Shit, that sent my mid-morning hot cross bun down the wrong pipe. Cough, splutter. Cripes, who are these 1.6 million people?

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    I'm also staggered that only 45% of us believe in the theory of evolution

    I suspect this is because a number of people don't know what it says. There's nothing like controversy for ensuring something's poorly taught. What this country needs is more people like my old biology teacher (except for the time he pointed me out to our entire class as the person best fitted to survive an ice age).

    That 'believing in Hell' thing though, that surprises me.

    While 60% of us still want religious instruction in schools, about half that group believes it should take the form of an introduction to all faiths.

    I'd kind of like to see this broken down a bit more. Are people saying they want other religions 'taught' like Christian Religious Instruction is now, or are they just saying they'd quite like Social Studies?

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    *Only* 40%?! Shit, that sent my mid-morning hot cross bun down the wrong pipe. Cough, splutter. Cripes, who are these 1.6 million people?

    Well there's one in my family. How many other people can say that too?

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Thanks for the link to Stephanie Mill's post on The Hand Mirror, Russell. The story she has to tell about the French compensation package for nuclear testing in the South Pacific is quite amazing.

    But wait: how could she be making sense, she has facial hair! Like, you know, God, if you trust the classic iconography.

    (See what I did there? Brought it all back to the main topic. Class. And it was an amazing piece.)

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    We are comparatively liberal on matters of "morality" -- which were defined in the survey as exclusively relating to sex (talk about letting Christian conservatives set your frame!).

    Regarding that religion survey - many years ago, I got a part-time job while I was studying, working for Phil Gendal on the ISSP survey. The questions are set by an international panel, so that you can get cross country comparisons. The NZ people on the panel would have had some input into the questions, but no necessarily been able to influence them. The ISSP has a rolling cycle of topics, so that over time, you can trace trends. I wonder if linking 'morality' exclusively to sexuality is because people's attitudes to sexual matters are a good proxy for other moral positions? Maybe it's easier to measure whether a society is becoming more or less liberal, or moving in a particular direction, using attitudes to sexual morality as a proxy.

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1447 posts Report Reply

  • Caleb D'Anvers,

    So more people believe in Hell than firmly believe in God. What on earth is that about?

    Perhaps they have experienced life in Newtown?

    London SE16 • Since Mar 2008 • 482 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    only 45% of respondents endorsed what the paper described as "the Darwinian position that human beings evolved over time from earlier forms of animals though a process of natural selection"

    Considering that 60% have religious affiliation, it's not tooooo bad to have "only" 55% disbelieving Darwinian evolution.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1727 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    See what I did there? Brought it all back to the main topic. Class.

    Thanks for that, Giovanni.

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1447 posts Report Reply

  • James Coe,

    I thought this survey was largely bogus. But then that's generally what I think about surveys, especially when the Herald reports on them.

    I suspect that most of the people who are becoming 'non-religious' are actually just getting high on crystals and chakras instead of 'God'. That doesn't seem to be much of an improvement to me.

    It's probably sad to link one's own blog on another blog, but here's what I wrote about the survey when it appeared in the Herald last week:

    http://editingtheherald.blogspot.com/2009/04/god-bothering.html

    Auckland • Since Mar 2009 • 7 posts Report Reply

  • Robert Fox,

    Bunting sites the particulary unhinged John Gray in her Guardian column. Enlightenment and humanism as sub genre of Judeo Christianity etc. After redifining religion to align neatly with their conservative values the modern world becomes a dark and disturbing place for these people. Leave them to it I say, i’ll stick with the Enlightenment thanks even if I do have to step on every crack in the pavement on the way to work everytime Liverpool play. Didn’t work for me this morning though!

    Since Nov 2006 • 114 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    While only 27% of respondents averred a "firm belief in God" and only 8% said the Bible was to be taken literally, the results also say that more than half of New Zealanders believe in life after death, and nearly as many in Heaven.

    Hmmm... it would be interesting to be able to probe this a little more deeply, to find out whether people really believe in life after death and heaven and all that schemozzle, or they would just like to believe in those things, because they are comforting. In my cynical moments, I think that many "believers" really believe in the god of pretty things more than any thing else.

    Although that is of course undercut by this.

    Just over a third believe there to be a Hell.

    But maybe they believe in Hell, FOR OTHER PEOPLE!

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1447 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Maybe it's easier to measure whether a society is becoming more or less liberal, or moving in a particular direction, using attitudes to sexual morality as a proxy.

    Nate Silver reverse-engineered that very position using indicators such as "The percentage of adults in 2008 Gallup tracking surveys who said that religion was an important part of their daily lives" and "The percentage of white evangelicals in the state" as a function of their age demographics in order to predict when gay marriage will pass in various American states. It's all usefully distilled in this post from Kos.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Joshua Drummond,

    Similarly, fewer New Zealanders now say they believe in God than did 17 years ago. However, there has been no change in the proportion of respondents who say they believe in a higher power. So perhaps the apparent decline in religiosity reflects a decline in traditional religious loyalties rather than a decline in the religiosity as such.

    You've got to wonder if people abandoning staid Christianity are filling that god-shaped hole in their lives with flim-flam. Witness the popularity of Sensing Murder. It seems like just replacing one problematic belief with another.

    Since Nov 2006 • 119 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    It seems like just replacing one problematic belief with another.

    Yeah, I'm okay with that. Flim-flam doesn't attract tax exemptions or go on murderous rampages. By and large.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Caleb D'Anvers,

    I'm also staggered that only 45% of us believe in the theory of evolution

    I suspect this is because a number of people don't know what it says. There's nothing like controversy for ensuring something's poorly taught.

    Yeah, I think that's definitely a major part of it. Another would be people taking a relativistic sense of 'balance' or 'fairness to both sides' and extrapolating it to science, where that kind of thinking doesn't really work.

    London SE16 • Since Mar 2008 • 482 posts Report Reply

  • James Coe,

    Hmmm... it would be interesting to be able to probe this a little more deeply, to find out whether people really believe in life after death and heaven and all that schemozzle, or they would just like to believe in those things, because they are comforting. In my cynical moments, I think that many "believers" really believe in the god of pretty things more than any thing else.

    I suspect this would be relatively fruitless, although you may get some people to freak out due to cognitive dissonance. That might make it worthwhile.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2009 • 7 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Flim-flam doesn't attract tax exemptions or go on murderous rampages.

    Nor do people try to insist on teaching flim-flam to my children in state schools.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Morgan Nichol,

    What on earth is that about?

    It's about the bastards getting into their brains when they're young.

    When I were a wee lad (Ponsonby in the 80s) you had to have a note to be excused from Friday morning Christian indoctrination. This is in a public school - Richmond Rd Primary, in fact. My mother dutifully gave me a note.

    They wanted another note EVERY FUCKING WEEK.

    Seriously. I still can't quite believe it. All those poor little kids, in the same room they learned how to read and write, being tricked into believing stolen lies.

    Auckland CBD • Since Nov 2006 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    Flim-flam doesn't attract tax exemptions or go on murderous rampages. By and large

    The "big" religions are over-represented in murderous rampage stats?

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1727 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Litterick,

    Who could go into primeval bush, and not have those feelings?

    Me.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1000 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    The "big" religions are over-represented in murderous rampage stats?

    You're kidding me, right?

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

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