I’m Australian, of Irish descent. I’ve lived in New Zealand since 2015. I love it and am very grateful to have been received. However, and although it strictly isn’t any of my business, I’m very worried about what’s happening to the Kiwi character, which I have long admired from afar. And about what’s happening to the character of the West generally.
I’m a white heterosexual male: no offence intended.
I go to church (mainstream Christian, nothing fancy): no offence intended.
The purpose of the articles and posts on this site is primarily to join dots. There may occasionally be new information but, generally speaking, the dots I’m joining are already visible. Once the dots are joined, I comment on the resulting picture (of what’s going on).
Although I’m a Christian, I endeavour to reason in “secular English” because that’s the common tongue. Although my faith founds, surrounds and informs my views, I (and other Christians) observe and reason in the way anyone else would.
I’ll mention some basic positions that are relevant to the articles and posts on this site. Apart from when I have to mention God in order to explain myself, these positions are expressed in “secular English”.
I believe human beings are extremely significant – all of us, without exception.
Of all the things on Earth, nothing is more significant than a human being.
Lots of people believe this: it’s why we have human rights. Different people believe it for different reasons: some state their reasons, some just assume it.
I believe it because I believe the Creator of the cosmos created us human beings “in His image and likeness” and that it is this Imago Dei that gives us our value. In any appraisal of the value of a human being, the Imago is the trump card; it asserts our value regardless of other characteristics and circumstances, including a person’s decisions and actions.
Human groupings of any kind are only important because they are groups of human beings: the group’s value is just a matter of arithmetic.
Human beings are equal – all of us, without exception.
Again, lots of people believe this, though it’s not always clear why.
I believe it for the same reason – the Imago Dei. In any comparison of one person with another, the Imago is the trump card: we are equal because of this equaliser, which dictates our value regardless of other characteristics and circumstances.
This equality is not observable: on the contrary, differences and inequalities are observable. This equality is real, not notional: I don’t try to treat people as if we are equal; I believe we are in fact equal.
There is no such thing as a good person or a bad person.
Each of us is a mixed bag of good and bad, love and hate, tenderness and malice, sweetness and horror. The mixtures vary, of course, but no-one is perfectly good or perfectly bad.
There is no such thing as a good group or a bad group
Each group is a group of mixed bags. Members of the group might have a common characteristic, but otherwise the group members differ. Even if the group shares an ideology, they will not share exactly the same appreciation of it, much less the same approach to propagating it (eg because of different personality types).
We must love each other to the utmost degree – without exception, qualification, reservation or hesitation.
This follows from the previous positions. Also, God requires it of us. This is the essence of interpersonal morality.
We are morally accountable for our own decisions and actions, nothing else.
I “hate the sin, not the sinner”. At least, I endeavour to – just as atheists endeavour to attack ideas not people, and as sportspeople play the ball not the player. I am in no position to judge people: we are peers. Moral judgement is concerned with people’s decisions and actions. Of course, this includes decisions not to act, which can be important.
So we are not morally accountable for who or what we are, or for the decisions and actions of others (even if we are somehow connected with them).
Morality applies to all of us, all of the time.
Every human decision and action has a moral character.
I would add: the same moral rules apply to all of us all the time. It makes no difference who or what we are. No-one is above morality; no-one is below it; no-one is off to the side.
Two wrongs don’t make a right.
This follows from the previous position. A wrong is not fixed by a second wrong. Vengeance and justice are not the same.