Hard News by Russell Brown

Read Post

Hard News: Getting out of the archives

213 Responses

First ←Older Page 1 5 6 7 8 9 Newer→ Last

  • Islander,

    'A broad moral basis', in my opinion, can be established in several other ways "than intense philosophical studies."

    *Relationship to land & other land-dwelling species.
    *Relationship to the water bodies, especially the seas (in Maori terms, land & sea are antipathetical,) and most of all,
    *Relationship to other humans, both in whakapapa terms, current whanau obligations, and experiential terms.

    Yes. You will note that a *lot* of Maori philosophy is based on relationships. In fact, pretty well * everything * is-

    I am very glad that religion is going down the gurgler: it didnt actually have a lot to do with how we lived our lives here in ANZ originally (it was all about utu-keeping a balance, and not 'trespassing'- and much other stuff) and that 'notion of culture' was, for here, a wholly European - introduced idea.

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

  • Jackie Clark,

    'A broad moral basis', in my opinion, can be established in several other ways "than intense philosophical studies."

    *Relationship to land & other land-dwelling species.
    *Relationship to the water bodies, especially the seas (in Maori terms, land & sea are antipathetical,) and most of all,
    *Relationship to other humans, both in whakapapa terms, current whanau obligations, and experiential terms.

    Yes. You will note that a *lot* of Maori philosophy is based on relationships. In fact, pretty well * everything * is-

    I am very glad that religion is going down the gurgler: it didnt actually have a lot to do with how we lived our lives here in ANZ originally (it was all about utu-keeping a balance, and not 'trespassing'- and much other stuff) and that 'notion of culture' was, for here, a wholly European - introduced idea.

    Everything you said, Islander. I was trying to think how to say the same thing, and you said it so much more beautfully. The relationship to the land of Aotearoa is a very important one for me. I can feel my connection to it viscerally. One of the most aweinspiring moments of my life was sitting, in February, on the stony beach at Lake Hawea. The warm wind was howling, the lake was rough and clear and cold, and the mountains were a Colin McCahon painting. That's my moral compass, right there.

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

  • Islander,

    O Jackie! That is so wonderfully pertinent! I LOVE that area! My greatgrand-dad, Tiaki Mira (actually, he had several variant names) was the established guardan of the area round the Neck at Hawea.
    Which is where you were a part of. And, with you, I take my bearings from land & family (and friends, I'd have to say.)

    And, ultimately, we are so much part of - here.

    Nau mai, he mihi aroha, he mihi koa ki a koe, ki a koutou!

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

  • mark taslov,

    *Relationship to land & other land-dwelling species.
    *Relationship to the water bodies, especially the seas (in Maori terms, land & sea are antipathetical,) and most of all,
    *Relationship to other humans, both in whakapapa terms, current whanau obligations, and experiential terms.

    In a nutshell Islander. The priorities of the civilised people. perfectly put. Is it too much trouble to ask you to translate your last sentence, I generally try to look the words up, but that's too much of a stretch.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood,

    ... religion... establishes a broad moral basis, which can be only achieved by intense philosophical studies.

    I'm gonna disagree with you there, Ben. I used to teach an introduction to ethics (for engineers), and you can cover the basics -- as much moral guidance as you'd get from a childhood of Sunday school -- in about 40 minutes.

    The fundamental principles of (most of) the moral philosophers are actually pretty simple, and demonstrate that you can reach many of the same conclusions as a certain Jesus Christ through simple logic -- rather than the "it's true because I'm the son of God" malarky.

    As with the Bible, you can study it all much more deeply if you wish, of course. But to suggest that religion is essential because the basics of philosophy are too difficult for the average person is quite incorrect, in my experience.

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 1156 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    I recognise Tiaki Mira's name, Islander. Oh, yes. It reminds me to revisit. It's been such a long time.

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

  • Ben.Shirmer,

    *Relationship to land & other land-dwelling species.
    *Relationship to the water bodies, especially the seas (in Maori terms, land & sea are antipathetical,) and most of all,
    *Relationship to other humans, both in whakapapa terms, current whanau obligations, and experiential terms.

    I agree with that.

    But to suggest that religion is essential because the basics of philosophy are too difficult for the average person is quite incorrect, in my experience.

    For me the difficulty is not that people might not understand it. If ethical values will be taught on a philosophical basis, I think that is good.

    In German schools ethics courses are just taught as a substitution of religious courses and I don't know if they would exist without each other.

    Is there a basic ethic course in NZ schools?

    Welly • Since Nov 2009 • 46 posts Report Reply

  • izogi,

    Hi Ben.

    In my opinion it is very sad that religion dies out in our societies. On the one hand religion is an important notion of culture and on the other hand it establishes a broad moral basis, which can be only achieved by intense philosophical studies.

    I don't think religion's going anywhere. It's been with us far too long. The details might change and the moral basis might change, but there will always be people choosing to believe something on faith. As often as not, I see people framing the religion to match moral beliefs they already have, and adding religion to the mix of my own morals isn't something that appeals to me.

    I think it's pointless to try to convince anyone to change their beliefs, but I threw a small amount at the campaign because I don't think for a moment that changing people's minds is what the campaign is about. If anything, I guess I hope it could highlight that non-believers actually exist, and aren't as immoral or unethical due to the lack of religion as some make them out to be. In some pockets of New Zealand, maybe it'll demonstrate to a few that it's okay to reject religion, if they want to, without becoming a social outcast.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • Ben.Shirmer,

    In some pockets of New Zealand, maybe it'll demonstrate to a few that it's okay to reject religion, if they want to, without becoming a social outcast.

    That really makes me wonder. I thought New Zealand is quite secular country. Some people even told me that it sometimes might create problems if they would show their faith publicly.

    Welly • Since Nov 2009 • 46 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Nau mai

    (a salutation from here, in my Kai Tahu dialect)

    he mihi aroha

    ( loving greetings)

    he mihi koa

    (a joyful greeting)

    ki a koe

    (to you -( Jackie)

    kia a koutou

    (to you all!)

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

  • Sacha,

    Is there a basic ethic course in NZ schools?

    Some of the teachers who frequent these parts could comment, but I believe the answer is still no. Well, until students decide to become engineers or doctors. Those pursuing careers in finance or politics, maybe never.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19707 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Going by my whanau experiences, ethics arnt formally taught in schools, Ben Shirmer. And, I 've never heard of anyone being personally harassed for religious beliefs unless
    a)they are extreme - eg anti-abortionists who try to prevent women having abortions;
    b) religious people proslytising in an aggressive way (this does happen here, every so often.)
    c) are litigiously aggressive (cult-of-scientology - I'm reluctant to put this lot under a religious heading, but they insist they are - not actually officially recognised as such in ANZ.)

    There are frequently open public displays of religion: I think of public holidays (Christian, as in Easter e.g), but people either join in, jeer from the sidelines, or just ignore the whole kaboodle.

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

  • mark taslov,

    He mihi aroha Islander, tēnā rawa atu koe ahorangi.

    Those pursuing careers in finance or politics, maybe never.

    hehe.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Ben.Shirmer,

    a)they are extreme - eg anti-abortionists who try to prevent women having abortions;
    b) religious people proslytising in an aggressive way (this does happen here, every so often.)
    c) are litigiously aggressive (cult-of-scientology - I'm reluctant to put this lot under a religious heading, but they insist they are - not actually officially recognised as such in ANZ.)

    They are neither of those. But good to here that it is not general practice to give religious people the weired look.

    Welly • Since Nov 2009 • 46 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    Some people even told me that it sometimes might create problems if they would show their faith publicly.

    Well I suppose a deathly silence followed by polite "Oh really's",
    and conversation becoming just ever so slightly stilted could be construed as a problem.

    Unless you are now going to tell an anecdote about someone losing a job. Are You?

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1890 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Ben, being very talkative about religion in public seems to make many New Zealanders uncomfortable. Not hostile, just awkward.

    All depends where, though. In some cases, not being religious is awkward. There are social groups who welcome expressions of faith, but they are usually church communities so you know where you stand. Civic life observes some christian rituals but not with any conviction.

    Mostly it will not go beyond awkwardness either way.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19707 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Dowden,

    Firstly

    One of the most awe inspiring moments of my life was sitting, in February, on the stony beach at Lake Hawea.

    Enjoy the stones while they are there. Me, and all my Mt Aspiring Nation Park loving friends are dismayed and revolted at Brownlee and co. There've been 6500+ members join a facebook group since Dec 1st. I hope to be there for a bit in Feb '10. It's a very special place.

    Secondly.

    The St James Ethics Centre in Sydney has just managed to get the NSW Gov to agree to a tiny (ten schools) trial of an "ethics-based complement to scripture" in primary schools. The various churches are, of course, all busily lobbying to can it. Given the Premier who OK'd it all just got rolled I s'pose we'll just have to wait and see what eventuates...

    Canberra • Since Dec 2007 • 38 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    establishes a broad moral basis, which can be only achieved by intense philosophical studies.

    Surely the evolutionary stance on this is that we are by nature moral because its, in the end, advantageous as a society and a species, for us to be so.

    And, correct me if I'm wrong, but religion seems to have little monopoly on moral rightness. On another forum I'm have a discussion with a fairly devout Muslim in Pakistan, who's arguing fairly forcefully that the beheadings of the innocent in Iraq and Afghanistan, plus the random bombings, are morally correct as a way to deter the assault on the ummah by the infidels. He sees no moral issue in this, quite the opposite..it's his duty as a Muslim to defend the ummah with every tool available.

    I, in my funny atheistic way, do.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    Is there a basic ethic course in NZ schools?

    Not necessarily under such a rubric but the social sciences curriculum in NZ schools certainly deals with ideas that might be described as 'ethical' issues. The Philosophy department at my university provides courses for local schools, pretty much as equivalents of first year courses in ethics. We also co-teach a course on Media Ethics with Philosophy and this works very well.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2557 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood,

    Ben, religion (or lack of) in New Zealand is largely seen as a personal matter (in keeping with the tradition in New Zealand of "do what you like, but leave me out of it") so if people suddenly start discussing their religious beliefs with people they do not know, it is as socially awkward as someone suddenly talking about other personal matters.
    If people broke into public prayer on a train, it would be about as transgressive as other personal acts done in public, so people would tend to ignore them or move away. Much like the couple who had a one stop stand on the train the other night, that would be about the same level of awkwardness.

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 1445 posts Report Reply

  • Just thinking,

    I often break into pray or cross myself when it comes to transport, as a cyclist and public transport devotee, it gets scary out there.

    Putaringamotu • Since Apr 2009 • 1158 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    Surely the evolutionary stance on this is that we are by nature moral because its, in the end, advantageous as a society and a species, for us to be so.

    But are 'we' in fact moral? I mean has the evolutionary process, along with the religious underpinning of many western societies, lead to a state of exemplary moral fortitude?

    It is hard to see it when, if you take the personal agenda (e.g. oil, power, greed) away from almost every conflict in the world, the US, and the rest of us, wouldn't get involved, and the Muslim radicals would have less reason to feel aggrieved. I've yet to see an example of a perfectly 'moral' war, on either side.

    While it is difficult to accept that there is no alternative to terrorism, it is equally difficult to accept that it is 'morally' Ok for UN peacekeepers to rape the people they were sent to protect, or the US and British Armed services torturing prisoners at Abu Ghraib. These extreme versions of moral bankruptcy are the obvious ones, with many more insidious, and corrupt, forms of moral turpitude hidden under the heading 'for the greater good', when in fact it's just conflict of interest and vested interest lining the corporate pockets.

    And is it 'moral' for the developed west to expect the developing countries to compromise their dream of being 'global participants' to help clean up the mess we've created in our recent industrial history?

    Of course, in case you think I'm hinting at it, there is no more evidence of a moral compass in religion than in other arenas. The starting point of 'my belief system is superior to yours' as an obvious example.

    In the face of all this, how do we guide our children through the minefield of 'morality' as depicted in media and 'official history' books? My aim is that by participating in a diverse community they see that other opinions are valid, and if not valid then they should enter into a discussion, based on sound reasoning, and if that doesn't work, smile and breath through the nose.

    As a final point, Islander talks about being in touch with the land, among other things, and I fully agree that we, as humans, need to see ourselves as part of an ecosystem, and stop believing it is our 'god given' right to be in control.

    PS Seems this bloody bus has been more thought provoking and 'generative' than my initial cynical self would allow.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    On the secularity of NZers, this one story sticks with me. I was attending ante-natal classes before the birth of my first child. Towards the end of the course there was a discussion of what to do if things went horribly wrong, which they sometimes do. What kind of help should people seek, what reserves could/should they fall upon? The question was posed to the group of 12 or 13 couples, and we all shot up some answers. Lots of good ones came up, looking to family, to friends, counsellors etc. Since it was a brainstormy kind of discussion and I like to include people, I shot out "look to your religion, if you are religious". It was bizarre, I got blank stares all around. Not one person in the room apart from me thought this would be a good idea. Not even my wife, who is Catholic. I added "I'm not, by the way, but I know some people are". More blank stares. The frozen pen of the person writing the ideas up on the board started twitching, and someone threw out another alternative, which they happily untwitched and wrote out.

    Little did I know that we would turn out to be the ones for whom it would go horribly wrong. And the support was great all around, family came flocking to give support, the hospital turned it on. But of course we were still miserable as hell. One nurse, I think Sri Lankan, came in one day to check on my wife. She broke down into tears when the nurse asked about the baby. The nurse began to console her, hugged her, and began to talk of her religion, which turned out to be Christianity, saying God would help, God was there, she would pray for our boy, etc. The interesting thing to me was that it did indeed console my wife quite a lot. I didn't know really what to do, it was such a curve ball at the time, I was pretty much just happy to see her feeling a little better, so I didn't see any harm in it, despite the fact that I'm pretty sure the hospital discourages that sort of activity from staff. In fact I think they discourage it so much that basically nurses give no emotional support at all.

    For myself, PAS was a great consolation. I didn't talk about my troubles, I talked about anything but. Which was an intense relief from basically having to deal with those troubles all day long. Losing myself in an argument, any argument, seemed like a better thing to do than wallow in misery. Perhaps I was just praying to my own creed, rationality through argumentation?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    Ben your post blows the rest of this stuff out of the water.

    I'm fighting back tears in fact. Having been through the births of our three girls, and I am pleased/privileged to say without incident, it is these moments of total helplessness that define us, IMhO.

    I feel completely humbled.

    My name is Jackson by the way. Anonymity in this case seems wholly inappropriate.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Thanks, Ben

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19707 posts Report Reply

First ←Older Page 1 5 6 7 8 9 Newer→ Last

Post your response…

Please sign in using your Public Address credentials…

Login

You may also create an account or retrieve your password.