Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The true meaning of Tutaekuri

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  • Russell Brown,

    Am I to infer then from the material on this thread, that the true meaning of Tutaekuri is religion?

    Ooooooh, you're going to hell for that one boy.

    Er, no. Not what I meant ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking,

    'Tutaekuri' is also, from memory, the name of the Maori tribe in Maurice Shadbolt's 'The Lovelock Version'.

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 830 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking,

    Ben wrote:

    Deborah, it's funny you make that 'god of the gaps' point, as it was almost an identical description for philosophy in one text I read - the gaps in our 'firmer' knowledge. Damn that Jap.

    We really should just get over the fact that there's a lot of things we don't know, and of that, quite a bit we couldn't anyway.

    the 'gaps' is actually a tactical blind alley for the churches. What it means is that all the things that can't be explained get filed under 'God'.

    But then they are explained, in other ways, as humanity finds out more. And if they have been relied upon too heavily to sustain arguments for God, these discoveries have a hugely undermining impact on faith.

    Which is why the more evangelical Protestant churches are turning themselves into all sorts of dialectical knots to try to come up with counter-arguments against evolution.

    Funnily enough, it was the Catholic Church which was the most anti-Darwinist initially. It took a real reactionary turn in the late 19th Century - the doctrine of Papal infalliblity was part of this.

    To me, arguments about how the world got made are actually irrelevant to faith, or how I should or should not behave. But the churches have a long and ignoble history of tearing themselves to bits over arguments which seem somewhat peripheral.

    A couple of other points: I actually LIKE the Old Testament. some bits of it, anyway. One of the big differences between the Old and New Testaments which is seldom commented on is that in the Old Testament people argue with God. A lot. Not as much as they should have, perhaps (Abraham should have told God to sod off over the Isaac sacrifice business, for example).

    But a lot of the prophets argue with God. OK, sometimes they get fireworked for their trouble, but not always.
    Jeremiah shakes his fist at God and asks him what he thinks he's playing at. This is my kind of religion.

    In the New Testament that does not happen. the closest you get is Christ's plea that the cup be passed from him.

    And the rest of it is Paul's guilt trip.

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 830 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    I haven't read the book so maybe Dawkins deals with this but I have 2 questions -

    1. Is the Problem With Religion really that much of a problem any more? (compared to other problems)

    2. Where religion does seem to be a problem is it more a symptom than cause?

    From Giacomo Leopardi -

    "A certain wise man, when someone said to him, 'I love you', replied, "Why not, if you are not of my religion, or a relative of mine, or a neighbour, or someone who looks after me?"

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • Yamis,

    Well according to the bloke on Tommorow's World this morning 100 million US citizens will die from pestilence, 100 million from war and 100 million will essentially become refugees of the world. The bible says so.

    Also the US is losing it's grip on global military domination not because it was the most powerful country but because god had given them those victories.

    Funny, I thought it was the US tax payer. Guess they'll be wanting their money back since it was god funding it all and their contribution was unnecessary.

    Since Nov 2006 • 903 posts Report Reply

  • Span .,

    How many does that leave Yamis? Another 100 million?

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 112 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Robert, I couldn't find much to like in the old testament. The new testament was slightly better in that it at least said we should be nice to each other, sadly lacking in most of the older book. Hard to believe it was such a revolutionary idea, makes you think the ancient world must have been a shit place to be, and societies then are surely no model at all for now.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Litterick,

    The "we should be nice to each other" aspect of the New Testament is a reflection of Greek influence, of Stoicism. That is why it is radical. The God of the Old Testament is the Israelites' own god, who fights their battles but punishes them when they let him down (which is often). He is also, as Rob Hosking observes, very much present, at least in the earlier Books, and fallible. The New Testament God is distant, but also non-partisan; you did not have to be Jewish to believe in him, which is one reason why Christianity became so successful.

    Ben, I agree with you about scientists and philosophers of Science. When scientists make statements about the big questions outside Science, they get a lot of attention but really have no more to say than the rest of us. However, the media is always hungry for opinions about Science and Religion.

    Philosophers of Science construct theories such as falsibility and pardigm shifts but scientists seem to just get on with the business of doing science, which seems to be a far more creative process than the philosophers will admit. Of course, if the scientists had listened to David Hume, they would not bother doing science, since you cannot prove causality.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1000 posts Report Reply

  • rodgerd,

    The New Testament God is distant, but also non-partisan; you did not have to be Jewish to believe in him, which is one reason why Christianity became so successful.

    Frankly, that's the worst part of the shift from the narrow religion of Judaism to the religion of Christianity. The universality of Christianity is precisely the reason so many Christians feel free to bother other people, where "bothering" can include "invading and massacring" - even other Christians (cf Cathars, sacking of Constantinople).

    The small-o orthodox Jewish position holds that the God of Israel is only concerned with his people. If you aren't Jewish, and aren't preventing Jews from practising their faith, you aren't of any particular interest to Jews; the Egyptians weren't punished for following the "wrong gods", just for intefering with Moses and the Jews.

    Judaism is a lot more compatible with a secular society than faiths that make absolutist claims about universal truths, such as Christianity or Islam.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 512 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Litterick,

    Agreed. Christianity also has an evangelism gene built in - Christians are told to spread the word (by Paul, mostly).

    In the mythical story of the captivity in Egypt (for which there is absolutely no documentary or archaeological evidence, incidentally) Pharoah wants to be lenient to the Isreaelites, but God hardens his heart. Once again, God is Jew-bashing. But he is still their God and nobody else's.

    Christianity escaped the confines of being a Jewish sect and spread throughout the Roman world, among the Gentiles. We are still living with the consequences.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1000 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    God might be dead and therefore no good as a source of morality but science is doing a good job of letting us know that our genes are alive and well and up to all sorts of things in the realm of values -

    The unselfish gene

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    While the chicken cooks I had a read of the Sam Bowles paper discussed in The Guardian above, towards the beginning Bowles quotes Darwin from The Descent of Man -

    Darwin thought that the "moral faculties" had proliferated among early humans because a tribe of "courageous, sympathetic and faithful members who were always ready to...aid and defend each other... would spread and be victorious over other tribes"

    It's a bitter irony that our better nature might have evolved to aid us do our worst. A pity there isn't a God, we might have stood a chance against Nature.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • Yamis,

    It seems the vast majority of conflict the world sees on a large scale and small scale is sparked by differences not just religion (even religions have a habit of splintering into little divisions which spark conflict). Thankfully I think that we are shown that education and exposure to different ideas, beliefs, skin colours, hobbies or what ever the hell can over come all. And isn't that part of nature as well? Enlightening ourselves and living happily ever after. ;) sniff sniff

    Since Nov 2006 • 903 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Brown,

    One of the things that really intrigues me about this post is what it seems to say about Kiwi's, and even other westerners, hidden attitudes towards spirituality. We seem to prefer to gaze upon the majesty, the complexity and the sheer magnificence of nature and in this perhaps to sense something greater than ourselves and possibly divine -but to have to come to terms with a personal being that might question us, challenge us, insist on being intimate with us and even require us to change -from this the vast majority of us seem to run a mile. I have always wondered if Dawkin's real issue with God will turn out like so many others to be moral, not merely intellectual

    Since Jan 2007 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Yamis,

    I gaze with awe at nature but have no belief whatsoever that any individual or being 'began' it. Feelings of spirituality are just that in my opinion. Feelings. Nothing more than feelings. Well maybe powerful and deep feelings where we attach powerful and deep meaning to things which make us have feelings which are powerful and deep. But we don't need to explain those feelings as meaning there is somebody or something out there. Do we ask ourselves... why do I feel horny?, why do I feel happy? why do I feel a sense of foreboding? why do I feel like a chicken kebab? why do I feel depressed? Some times there are obvious reasons but often not.

    I know why I feel depressed today though. My cat died this morning.

    Since Nov 2006 • 903 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    but to have to come to terms with a personal being that might question us, challenge us, insist on being intimate with us and even require us to change -

    I don't need to posit ghosties in order to explain the feeling of awe I have when I see Milford Sound, or Huka Falls.

    As it turns out, the personal being who most challenges me, and most provokes me to change and grow, is my husband. And I'm certainly not going to worship him as a god!

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1447 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    I recall seeing Tutaekuri wine in the supermarket once, presumably named after the Hawkes Bay river. It was clearly a small run done for export, judging by the back label with a London address. And it had a very happy looking dog on the main label.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Ben, I agree with you about scientists and philosophers of Science. When scientists make statements about the big questions outside Science, they get a lot of attention but really have no more to say than the rest of us. However, the media is always hungry for opinions about Science and Religion.

    My cosmologist friend is forever being asked at dinner parties if there's a God ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Do we ask ourselves... why do I feel horny?, why do I feel happy? why do I feel a sense of foreboding? why do I feel like a chicken kebab?

    You feel like a chicken kebab? Man, that's existential.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I recall seeing Tutaekuri wine in the supermarket once, presumably named after the Hawkes Bay river.

    Yes - turns out the Dogshit River is lined with vineyards.

    It was clearly a small run done for export, judging by the back label with a London address. And it had a very happy looking dog on the main label.

    Heh.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Litterick,

    I find myself feeling sympathy for Yamis, whose cat died. I do not know Yamis and I never knew the cat but the knowledge of another's suffering saddens me.

    Such feelings are pretty fundamental to us humans and I think we should recognise them more. As Yamis says, we do not need to explain our feelings but those that relate to others should be given more precedence than those about spirituality etc. Spiritual feelings are mostly about oneself; feelings for others are our common bond.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1000 posts Report Reply

  • WH,

    Coz who's got all the solutions?

    Since Nov 2006 • 797 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Yamis, you don't take solace that its little furry soul is in pussy heaven, surrounded by mouse sized dogs, on a pillow that never loses sunlight?

    I'm feeling a bit like a chicken kebab today, but I blame it on overproof Fijian rum, not my segmented and shallow life, held together only by the iron rod of fear, roasting slowly over the coals of time. Coffeeeee....

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I recall seeing Tutaekuri wine in the supermarket once, presumably named after the Hawkes Bay river. It was clearly a small run done for export, judging by the back label with a London address. And it had a very happy looking dog on the main label.

    I quite like that wine (well, not the wine, but the bottle) "Cat's pee on a gooseberry bush" or some such name.

    The wine's OK I guess, but I'm the other direction from wine-knowledgeable.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • John Francis Logan,

    Of course we were a lot happier and freer from guilt when we were worshiping the sun or the moon, or a waterfall or something that gave us life. It's only when those clever semites, with a need for the ultimate in social control, came up with the concept of a God we couldn't see, but who could see and hear us and knew our every thought. That's when we began shitting ourselves and racing around trying to freak everone else out. If it hadn't been for Constantine the Christians would still be a fringe loony group wandering round Rome with placards making a bloody nuisance of themselves.

    Katikati • Since Nov 2006 • 10 posts Report Reply

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