An excellent item by Chris Trotter, a left wing columnist, can be found at:
I read it first in the local Otago Daily Times. At first I thought it was the usual gloating over the decline of the church in society which I acknowledge but saddens me. However the conclusion is quite otherwise. I am just going to post parts of the article with my own bold.
New Zealand is no longer a Christian nation. The results of the 2013
census confirm the steep decline in Christianity since 1996.
Seventeen years ago 63.8 per cent of New Zealanders belonged to a
Christian faith. The latest census puts that figure at 44.5 per cent.
Does it matter? Should we be worried, or relieved, that we Kiwis are
an altogether more secular and sceptical bunch than the Americans -
two-thirds of whom reject Darwin's theory of evolution in favour of
ancestors fashioned by the Almighty out of dust and clay?
Is it not more reassuring to know that nearly 40 per cent of us
remain unmoved by religious belief, than to contemplate a religious
establishment so strong that, within the living memory of most New
Zealanders, it wielded a power sufficient to sway governments and outlaw
I am proud to be part of that vast generation, the baby boomers, who
dared to call the religious establishment to account for its sins.Not
religious sins, you understand, but for the moral crimes born of
unchallenged authority and heartless hierarchy.
For the lies that were told; the cruelties inflicted; the young
souls twisted by sectarian hatred; the old souls unredeemed by Christian
love. Right by human right we pillaged the Christian establishment: the
right to contraception; the right to abortion; the right to love a
member of the same sex (and, eventually, to marry them); the right to
express oneself sexually without religious condemnation or secular
punishment; and, finally, that most important of all human rights, the
right to seek for the meaning and purpose of human existence on our own
terms, and using the whole of the natural universe as our bible.
Yet, in perusing the census data, I have also experienced an uneasy
feeling of loss: of slowly drifting away from familiar shores. In my
mind's eye, running like a family video, are memories of the past, of my
childhood, flickering and fading. Of a little limestone church in
Herbert, North Otago.
Of the farming families and their children, all wearing their Sunday
best. Of the low murmur of the organ; voices raised in song; and simple
New Testament sermons about love and forgiveness. I recall my years at
Sunday school and learning the Bible's many stories: Moses and the
burning bush; David vanquishing Goliath; Daniel in the lions' den; Jacob
wrestling with the angel; Joseph and his coat of many colours. And,
every December, I remember, the familiar stories and carols of
Christmas. Mary and Joseph and their long journey to Bethlehem .The Magi
and their search for the one foretold, Emmanuel, meaning ''God is with
us''. The shepherds keeping watch in the fields by night. The heavenly
host singing Glory to God in the Highest. I remember them all, and that
little community, glowing through the lengthening summer shadows with
peace and goodwill.
And I ask myself, as we sail away from all those little churches,
those devout congregations, those simple sermons of love and redemption:
''Quo vadis?''I ask it of myself; of my family and friends; of my
entire and beloved country, New Zealand: ''Quo vadis? Whither goest
Wait – what?
5 hours ago