The Weekend Herald asked readers whether they believed New Zealand to be a Christian country. Those who responded reckon - by about four to one - that it is. Below is the latest selection of thoughts
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I am very unhappy with the debate to move New Zealand in a kind of supermarket-country, where you can get every religion and believe system you like. It shows me again how our democratic representatives represent the majority. 51 per cent Christians should be seen also in the parliament. Obviously they are not there. So I am questioning the democratic representatives in general, which agenda they follow and who seem to look to achieve foul compromises rather than shaping a future profile, which represents also the Christian point of view. Somebody mentioned in one article, that we Christians should love our enemies, so therefore tolerance is a Christian value. That does not necessarily mean that people can come and install their own believe system, without consequences. And I ask further questions: What did Islam and other religions do for this country except threatening people? What does the government do against the downfall of the country because of tolerant laws? We are on the way to a 3rd world country, because of our tolerance and ignorance.
It is easier for a homosexual couple to get residence in New Zealand than for a Christian family. So do not hold up tolerance as fair. Anyway I will stand for Christianity, even if it means to leave New Zealand. And obviously it is better to emigrate to Australia. Al least they are continuing to look after their Christian heritage.
To push forward the ideal that New Zealand is a Christian country is to fail to see the larger picture. A country is not defined by its religious majority anymore than it is defined by the prevailing genetic traits of the populace. Horrific injustices and wars have been taken place in the name of Christianity, a fact clear in the mind of our free society whenever the topic of the Christian religion surfaces. In this day of “high speed internet connections”, free information sources, and generally “balanced view points” Christianity, or any organized religion no longer sit comfortably with our highly educated populace. The tenets and guidelines for moral standpoints are integrated into our laws and social structure without religious reference for the most part. Christianity is a declining religion in our society and for good reason, clearly stated in the Bible are paths for each human to approach god in their own manner negating the need for a Christian outlook should one chose to focus on the metaphysical.
Christianity is another imported religion. It is the same as Buddhism, Judaism, atheism, Muslim, Hinduism. They are all imported religious beliefs. Maori spiritually is the only true religion of this country. It is the only religion concepted and grown here. All other denominations are imported. Are they here? Yes. Are they from this country? No.
I am one of many New Zealanders who love their country but are not Christian. To declare New Zealand a "Christian nation" is to deny the validity of our very real feelings. Nearly half of all New Zealanders are not Christian. Moreover, some of those who are would still support the idea of a state that does not prescribe a particular religion for its members. New Zealand is not perfect. Nevertheless I am usually proud and hopeful when I think of the way New Zealand tries to support human rights. To declare New Zealand a "Christian nation" would be to send a message that we are trying to close our society to those who do not share Christian beliefs. This is entirely contrary to what New Zealand is and to what I hope it can be.
I do not believe NZ could be termed a Christian Nation, especially if the bill is made law that prevents parents "smacking" (using the rod) with their children. While I agree that no abuse of chilren of any kind is acceptable, the people who advocate a ban of this type of discipline have no understanding of the creator’s design in the training of children. A ban like this is not what is needed (will only cause more harm long term), what is needed is a return to the creators design (law originally came from the bible) on a personal and national level. See the book of Proverbs, which advocates the rod in training children.
Having moved here to escape the religious fanaticism of the United States, I sincerely hope that New Zealand is not a Christian nation! Not that there would be much wrong with that, if being "Christian" meant following the teachings of Jesus, known as the Christ. Unfortunately, finding the connection between the words of Jesus and the actions and views of those who call themselves Christians is difficult at best.
I am not sure what the leading article is about, but I know Christianity is formally accepted as a practised way of life. Christianity had a role in the history of this country including the translation of the treaty, language education, and wellbeing. To deny this country a Christian nation is to deny the Treaty that Maori were the first or second settlers, and that gives way to a new Constitution. This is the plan of a Socialist agenda, which has started in the 90s by removing paternal rights from the family, culture, and religion. It is a jihadist mission of an anti Christianity movement.
C G Williams
Christian values permeate NZ society and historically and currently inform its politics and social policies, so yes, it is de facto a Christian country. And to the extent that individuals of any persuasion pay fealty to the same Caesar (democracy and the rule of law) NZ is Christian regardless of whether I in particular am a Buddhist or not (I am). Politics is the realm of Caesar and while Caesar may mandate taxes, he may not mandate belief. Further, as long as we all pay taxes alike and social harmony is maintained, he should not even care, let alone allow himself to be influenced by any one group.
The Europeans may have brought Christianity to NZ and governed our country based on those beliefs and values, but today, that is no longer true. When government decides that prostitution is ok, that having members of parliament who are transsexual or gay is ok; that men can marry men or women can marry women and that is ok; when religion is not allowed in public schools and evolution is indoctrinated as fact; when criminals are coddled and returned to society to offend and endanger other lives and livelihoods, I would not call NZ a Christian country nor any other but a god-forsaken country where the value of human life is steadily being degraded and right and wrong is no longer treated as an absolute principle but as a relative, subjective principle. It really is a shame.
No, New Zealand is not a Christian country. It is illogical to say so. New Zealand is a country where Christian people live, with various levels of commitment. Some Christians are involved in Christian communities. The majority simply tick the box on the Census form. By saying this is a Christian country, we are excluding those with alternative beliefs, sincerely held. New Zealand is a secular state. Our parliaments, education and courts should operate on secular principles and secular law. As a particular example, teaching Christian religious instruction in state schools is inappropriate. Brian Rudman correctly highlights the danger of state schools coaching on beliefs of the "community", since a community has the right to be as diverse as the country as a whole. Having said that, all strength to progressive churches and other places of worship, for the good works and fellowship that they promote.
Maybe we could base our countries laws and traditions on some of the great human philosophies espoused in the past. Such as social evolutionism, you know survival of the fittest, get rid of the weak and all that. Oh wait, that lead to Nazism, maybe not such a good idea. Or maybe we could rid of God altogether and follow the ideals of the former USSR and the great country of North Korea. Oh wait, dont have room to imprison all those pesky religionists who continue to annoy us, although it would help out with the labour shortage. Maybe we could go for Sharia law, killing the infidels and so forth. No wait, there would be no-one to buy the Herald anymore. Or we could continue to base our laws on the teachings of that fulla Jesus. Forgiveness, mercy, helping the poor and treating your neighbour as yourself. Hey, that’s does not sound so bad after all.
I do not think NZ is a Christian country in real terms because most people do not give a damn about Christianity as such. They may say they are Christian, but thats really just a cheap feel-good after thought...probably motivated by a desire to believe that life is bigger than what they can experience, and of course the ultimate feel-good hope - life after death. I sometimes find religion a bit depressing, because the preoccupation is like given up on real life on earth and instead living in a fantasy-world for a better life (afterlife) tomorrow. I also find the idea that people need moral-programming (via a religious faith) disheartening, because they only people that need to be taught to be good and decent are people that, fundamentally, are not. At the end of the day I think religion is simply another system of social-control; when it is effective to that end it can mask the need for a more important level of social progress. Behaviourally speaking, religious-morality can be a mere substitute for a more genuine and authentic humanity.
I firmly believe NZ is a Christian country. Why? Because when I was born I was baptised likewise my children and my grandchildren. The missionaries came to NZ in the 1800’s and went out and spread their religion from the top of the North Island to the bottom of the south. I hold dear to the value "do unto others". I believe in God and the love of my family.
L. L. Kirk
No, NZ is not and never has been a Christian country. To help stem the religious fanatics it is time to start making churches pay taxes. Maybe we should also restrict migration to NZ only to atheist.
A country can be Christian in name only but not in practice as is sadly evident in NZ. However laws based on Biblical principles have proved to be the best because they are based on the great love of God for the world and which is the unknowing basis generally practiced in humanitarian needs. The freedom of religion is a reality guaranteed because of Christian principles permitted whereas in some countries dominated by other religions persecution of Christians reigns even though Christian countries assist them in many practical ways. The important point therefore is for a country to allow individuals to be free and be challenged by the uniqueness of the Christian faith and accept the love of God as expressed in the Lord Jesus Christ and then through the Presence and guidance of the Holy Spirit in their lives practice the Christian faith which should lead to real love. God bless NZ.
I think the nation and religion should be treated as independent. There is New Zealand with large Christian community, but this is certainly not a Christian country unless the government demotes religious freedom and make Christian its only religion.
Emphatically no! Approximately half of New Zealanders call themselves Christian, the same proportion call themselves European but we dont call NZ an European country. To do so would be insulting to the rest of New Zealanders. Nor are our values derived from Christianity, although some Christians may promote them in common with humanists, rationalists and other people of atheist beliefs and people with other religions. Come on - you do not have to be Christian to have these values. Lets just respect and tolerate each others beliefs, stop trying to impose them, but carry out you own ceremonies, prayers, etc., within your own group. What is behind the push to declare NZ Christian? Do these people want a theocracy where they can mandate how other people behave and what they believe? I say, you are welcome to have an invisible friend, just don’t use her to tell me how to live my life!
Danny Clevely, Titirangi
Yes, New Zealand is a Christian country and we shouldn't forget it. One doesn't have to be a practising Christian to accept its doctrines and tenets.
The statements within the Bible are the foundation of our moral and ethical standards and the way we conduct ourselves towards family and one another.
Maureen Lyell, Browns Bay
Yes, New Zealand is a Christian country. Not a country entirely populated by Christians - it never has been that - but a country deeply founded and grounded in the beliefs and ethics that spring from the founding Christian teachings and values. Love and responsibility within the family and community, a strong work ethic, justice and fairness, tolerance, mercy, forgiveness, honesty, truthfulness, trust.
Without respect for the faith that nurtured these qualities and enabled our forefathers to create a way of life that most of us greatly value, these things cannot survive. (Abridged)
While not every New Zealander is Christian, this is fundamentally a Christian nation. Government, the legal system, hospitals and society were founded on and adhere to Christian principles - for this we should be truly thankful to God.
Mike Smith, Red Beach
I'm in the 60s age bracket, and while its rare for me to attend church these days, I believe this country is still just holding on to being called a Christian country.
While being a Christian does not in any way say Christians are better or more decent than any other people or other religions, but that they believe God sent his son and that they have a life beyond this one. What is wrong with that belief, that there is a better place? (Abridged)
Bruce Brownlee, Waiuku.
New Zealand is no longer a Christian country as is evidenced by the closure of churches and the spread of rationalism, humanism. The tele evangelists no longer con most people who are now bright enough to see through the facade.
Thinking people now read the Bible with one of Richard Dawkins' books realising (as John Keys said recently) there is no life after death. We now believe man created God in his own image in order to allay his own monstrous ego. It may be hard for us to accept that death is the end of self full stop - but most of us come to that.
Religion is, however, still the cause of most of the worlds ills. This hatred will take centuries to dissipate. Until this happens there will be no progress for homo sapiens sapiens.
Christianity is not a state religion, and New Zealand is not a Christian country.
New Zealand is a country that has a diverse make-up of ethnic groups, with differing religions. In order to truly have freedom of religion, this means all religions must be tolerated and made room for. Not just Christians. [Destiny Church leader Brian] Tamaki would like to have free speech for Christians but does not believe the same courtesy should be afforded to people of other religions. Like Constantine who made Christianity the state religion, Bishop Tamaki believes that the only religion that should be allowed in New Zealand is Christianity. Think I'm full of hot air, ask him direct. (Abridged)
New Zealand is a Christian country, our soldiers fought for freedom in many a war. Surely for God, for Queen and for country. There must be some real men who sit in Parliament and are believers. Can they stand up and be counted? Where are they? God defend New Zealand, not Helen defend New Zealand. Roll on Christianity.
Peter Jackson, Pakuranga
To suggest New Zealand should no longer be considered a Christian country is an outrageous proposition. I believe this is just another move by the Prime Minister and some of her academic friends to continue the dumbing down of our great country. The sooner we can free our country from a philosophy of mediocrity the better.
Yes! New Zealand is a Christian country! Though everyone may not agree with that statement in general, we must look at how our country has been formed and upon what it is founded. Both the head of our Commonwealth and head of Maori royalty profess a faith unshakeable.
As a Kiwi with Maori heritage, Christian faith runs strong through my Ngati Porou whakapapa, and continues through the younger generations. As a small town country kid, Christian faith is what brought our community together and made us strong in relationships. As a primary school teacher now in Auckland, Christian faith is what gives hope to many parents and children I see; the principles of which are taught in school for strong community.
As for the draft national statement on religious diversity intending to be "aspirational", we should leave it at that - New Zealand is a Christian country. Is there something better to aspire to than what the Christian faith teaches - love one another, be selfless, have compassion, use your strength to help others, work for the greater good?
D A Matthews, Whangamata
I find it quite amazing that supposedly intelligent people continue furthering the cause of what must be the biggest confidence trick in human history.
Arguably, nothing in the past 2000 years has caused so much human misery as religion. Wars of religion have raged almost continuously during the whole period.
I find it disgusting that the brainwashing of small children with this superstitious rubbish is not only allowed but positively encouraged.
It is equally amazing to me that so many are unable to recognise the stupidity they have been taught by people they looked up to and mistakenly trusted.
Personally I find it insulting when asked what religion I follow. Why do people assume I should be so stupid. (Abridged)
Travel anywhere through the countryside, towns or cities of NZ and you will see wonderful churches everywhere, dedicated to the glory of God or with some other God believing dedication.
In the cities, the churches are many and may be large and ornate or simpler. In the country, hundreds of gorgeous little churches can be seen in all or most settlements. They are a delight, a credit to the faith of our early settlers and a wonderful part of our landscape.
New Zealand is a great nation founded on Christian faith and tradition.
I am writing on behalf of many families. We all say "Yes of course New Zealand is a Christian country and long may it last that way".