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 admirable character. And to the character of the West generally, for that matter.
I’m a white heterosexual male: no offence intended.
I go to church (mainstream Christian, nothing fancy): no offence intended.
My name is Gavan O’Farrell: 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 speak, write and reason in “secular English”. Although my faith surrounds, founds 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. These positions are expressed in “secular English”, but I adopt them by resort to my faith.
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. I believe this because I believe the Creator of the cosmos created us “in His image and likeness”. 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.
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: differences/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.
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. I am in no position to judge people: we are peers. I don’t “judge” decisions and actions with authority, but by reference to an objective morality. God, of course, judges with authority.
So we are not morally accountable for who or what we are, or for the decisions and actions of others. This approach to accountability is challenged by identity politics, which identifies us by group membership and holds us accountable for group action (both present and past).
Morality applies to all of us, all of the time.
Every human decision and action has a moral character. God is always interested.
I would add: the same moral rules apply to all of us all the time. It makes no difference who or what we are.
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.
This approach is challenged by wokeness, which makes an exception for people (some people, that is) to right wrongs by doing wrong. This breaches the previous position – that the same moral rules always apply to all of us.