Sunday, November 06, 2005

Sanity in New Zealand


While the US seems gripped by religious fanaticism the tiny country of New Zealand is certainly in contrast.

The new parliament there was sworn in today. Instead of trying to outdo each other with absurd oaths to mythological beings the Kiwi parliament was filled with individuals who did not make any religious affirmation.

About 40 percent of the MPs took an affirmation instead of a religious oath. But what is more important is who they were. Included in this batch of non-theological MPs included the Prime Minister and head of the Labour Party, Helen Clark. Don Brash, the leader of the Opposition and the conservative National Party also affirmed. Both Brash and Clark have said they not Christians or believers in a personal God.

Rodney Hide is the leader of the libertarian ACT Party and he also took an affirmation as did the leader of the Green Party, the leader of the Maori Party did the same.

Only three party leaders took a religious oath. They included Jim Anderton of the extreme left Progressive Party, Peter Dunne of the tiny religious United Future Party and Winston Peters, who leads an authoritarian/anti-immigrant party, New Zealand First. Between them they lead less than 10% of the parliament.

8 Comments:

Blogger Jonathan said...

May God bless them all. ;)

November 06, 2005

 
Blogger Jonathan said...

May God bless them all. ;)

November 06, 2005

 
Blogger GodlessZone said...

Oddly it appears that "God" does bless the non religious more than the religious. Secular nations or ethnic groups have higher standards of living and are generally more peaceful places.

November 06, 2005

 
Blogger Jonathan said...

I would disagree on that. What about communist China? Soviet Russia? Nazi Germany (Hitler called Chistianity weak)? France is largly secular, but they are going through horrible riots even now. "Christian" states have their problems, too. But I think your assessment is wrong. People are people, good and bad, everywhere you go.
Aside from this, great Christian leaders and Christian ideas have been at the forefront of good social change. Martin Luther King was a preacher. William Wilberforce, a driving force in causing England to outlaw slavery, was driven by his Christian faith. It could be argued, even that the Constitution of the United States was built around Judeo-Christian ideas (though I certainly do not hold to the notion that America was ever a "Christian" country, per se) which were ubiquitous at the time.
I know this is the godlesszone here, so if you want me to stop, I'll stop. This is your blog, and I'm not going to bother you if you don't want it. But I enjoy lively debate on issues like this.

November 07, 2005

 
Blogger GodlessZone said...

Jonathan you ask numerous questions and I will try to respond but it's best to stick to one such question at a time. First I was speaking about economic growth rates world wide. The fastest growing economies are not in religious/Christian countries. You bring up China as a point of disagreement. Yet they are going along at 8 percent year growth. Of the wealth countries in the world only the US has an semblance of being Christian in practice. Even there only just over half the people attend church. In places like the UK it's in the low double digits. In fact most the properous Western countries have church attendance figures under 25%. In places like Euope large percentages of people don't believe in any god at all. And of those who do go to church very few go to Bible believing churches of the born again ilk.

My point is that Christianity does not mean there is any economic blessing. I did not say that their would automatically be prosperity if a country is non Christian. That is not the case. Economic prosperity is a result of the economic systems and the system that works, contrary to religionists on the Left, is capitalism. I point out that no dictatorship will do well over the long term. You assume that because I am arguing that there is no blessing economically from being Christian that I am therefore arguing the opposite. That is not the case.

In France the riot are coming from the most religious segment of the population -- Muslims. It is not the typical French secularists out in the streets burning cars. It is people who are fervent religionists.

King was a minister and he was vehemently opposed by the born again platoon for what he did. Fundamentalist churches across America condemned him for what he did. Wilberforce was one anti slavery advocate and not the only one. Most antislavery advocates were NOT orthodox Christians. And across America you have entire denominations that were formed to support the South on the slavery issue including the largest fundie denomination: the Southern Baptist. Ditto the Southern Methodists. I will note that for centuries no prominent Christian voice saw anything wrong with slavery. And the Bible quite clearly put a stamp of approval on the practice. The only people today who justify slavery are fundamentalist Reconstructionists who argue that the Bible supports slavery so they do too.

And the US Constitution was not built on Judeo-Christian concepts at all but was opposed by the orthodox Christians in the US (who luckily were a minority of the population at the time). The men who pushed through the American Revolution were mainly deists who did not think Jesus was anything but a good man.

November 07, 2005

 
Blogger Jonathan said...

Thank you for enlightening me, especially about the French riots. I'm sorry to hear that.
I still disagree with you on the last paragraph, but I appreciate and agree with you on the whole. I'll try to keep my comments shorter and to the point. ;)

November 07, 2005

 
Blogger D.N.F. said...

It certainly is nice to live in a "sane" and secular country like New Zealand.

I'd like to clarify some points on our politics though. The ACT party isn't libertarian - it's right wing and "economically liberal". (We do have a libertarian party - Libertarianz, but they've never managed to get into Parliament.)

I assume you mean both leaders of the Maori Party. The Green Party also has co-leaders but one died of a heart attack on Sunday.

I wouldn't describe Jim Anderton (he's on his own now) as extreme left. It almost looks like that because the Labour party has been creeping slowly to the right.

Winston Peters (NZF) is just an opportunist politician, but not authoritarian. He has large appeal to elderly ladies, which explains his inconsistent anti-immigration rants and others. Unfortunately he held the balance of power and is now our Foreign Affairs Minister.

Peter Dunne and the religious nuts in the United Future Party are quickly losing public credibility after an unexpected gain of a dozen or so MPs to keep Peter company after the 2002 election. (He has a very safe electorate seat and was the party's only MP until he performed well in a televised debate before the previous election. It seems most people didn't know about the more extreme nuts in the party.)

Oh and it's interesting to note that we have one other religious party (unless you count the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party as a religion :-). The Christian Heritage Party used to have noticable, though minor support. They are unlikely to start polling above 1% any time soon, especially with their former leader being charged with child abuse (whilst he was the party leader).

November 07, 2005

 
Blogger GodlessZone said...

DNF: fact is that both ACT MPS voted for civil unions, voted for Right to Die, voted for legalizing brothels, etc. That is hardly "right wing" conservative. The party was mainly libertarian but did have strong conservative elements but those elements are not in parliament now leaving only libertarians. So I think it fair to say they are libertarian. As for the Libertarianianz they are more Objectivist than libertarian.

I am aware that Rod Donald of the Green Party died. I think it absurd to say that Peters is not authoritarian. He is anti economic freedom to the core and anti social freedom. What other definition would you have. And you mention CHP but seem to forget the other party of religious nutters: the Destiny Party.

November 07, 2005

 

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