Religion without God

Written By: - Date published: 11:42 am, December 26th, 2014 - 132 comments
Categories: religion, Social issues - Tags:

What does religion without god look like? It seems unlikely, yet all around the world atheists are congregating

Studies have been done of people who consciously give thanks or express gratitude on a daily, recorded basis and those people feel universally better about their lives than those who dont.

“… As it happens, this kind of God-neutral faith is growing rapidly, in many cases with even less role for God than among Unitarians. Atheist services have sprung up around the country, even in the Bible Belt.

Many of them are connected to Sunday Assembly, which was founded in Britain by two comedians, Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans. They are avowed atheists. Yet they have created a movement that draws thousands of people to events with music, sermons, readings, reflections and (to judge by photos) even the waving of upraised hands. There are nearly 200 Sunday Assembly gatherings worldwide. A gathering in Los Angeles last year attracted hundreds of participants.

How do we understand this impulse to hold a “church” service despite a hesitant or even nonexistent faith? .”

Our motto: live better, help often, wonder more. Our mission: to help everyone find and fulfill their full potential. Our vision: a godless congregation in every town, city and village that wants one.

We are here for everyone who wants to:

Live Better. We aim to provide inspiring, thought-provoking and practical ideas that help people to live the lives they want to lead and be the people they want to be

Help Often. Assemblies are communities of action building lives of purpose, encouraging us all to help anyone who needs it to support each other

Wonder More. Hearing talks, singing as one, listening to readings and even playing games helps us to connect with each other and the awesome world we live in.

132 comments on “Religion without God”

  1. McFlock 1

    If I recall comparative religions correctly, I believe that the short answer is “Buddhism” 😉

    • RedLogix 1.1

      Yes Buddhism adroitly avoided the classic mistakes other religions fell into.

      • batweka 1.1.1

        No God, but plenty of gods.

      • tracey 1.1.2

        December 2012

        “..All the world’s major religions, with their emphasis on love, compassion, patience, tolerance, and forgiveness can and do promote inner values. But the reality of the world today is that grounding ethics in religion is no longer adequate. This is why I am increasingly convinced that the time has come to find a way of thinking about spirituality and ethics beyond religion altogether.. …” D Lama

        • Ant

          Existential dissatisfaction has been the lot of humankind since the night of time. Sure it provides stimulus to get off one’s butt, make progress, gain wealth or attain whatever “fix’ stills the inner dragon.

          Frustration and disillusionment when goals reached seem not to bring ultimate satisfaction are shrugged off by many as “that’s life.” For others it leads to a deeper probing as to the meaning of existence and the fecundation of imagination, generating the range of philosophies, faiths, and belief systems to which we subscribe. For yet another group there is a sudden and unexpected shift in consciousness, (the religious amongst us would term it a “conversion”) leading to a sense of genuine brother/sisterhood on earth.

          As opposed to the many who attempt to live out their faith in the hope of future reward, this latter group is motivated by irrepressible goodwill and strives spontaneously for human and planetary betterment. Believe in them: they exist but fly no flag or banner, hold to no specific creed or doctrine and make no attempt to persuade others to accept their way of thinking. Theirs is perhaps the “spirituality and ethics” the Dalai Lama has in mind.

  2. RedLogix 2

    Thank you for this rather brave post Tracey. No other topic generates quite so much heat than this.

    The traditional religions have an extraordinary history that has created millions of atheists. Equally part of us remains aware that a materialistic, rational society is not sufficient either. It places us at an interesting junction of history.

    Nothing else in human history has proven more effective at creating workable sets of communal values than religion, values which lie at the heart of politics.

    • tracey 2.1

      I hope it doesnt require the kind of bravery posting about sexual violence has come to require 😉

      I read Ernst Beckers pulitzer prize winning book, Denial of Death, a few years ago.

      He suggests religion is the device we created to deal with our knowledge that we are not immortal. Arguably we are the only creature on the planet with that awareness that death is inevitable.

      Religion is one way to keep us sane and productive in light of that knowledge, otherwise we might not bother getting up each day.

    • batweka 2.2

      “No other topic generates quite so much heat than this.”

      I haven’t followed the links, but on the face of what Tracey has written I see peopel congregating around belief, and focussing on human good, without needing to write off other people for different beliefs. Tolerance springs to mind.

      The heated conversations almost always occur around fundamentalism. I’m not seeing that in Tracey’s post 🙂

    • Olwyn 2.3

      Nothing else in human history has proven more effective at creating workable sets of communal values than religion…

      I think this is in part because with religion comes the idea of values and standards to which everyone is answerable, including the powerful. While there are numerous examples of powerful people insisting that their ideas coincide with God’s, religion also leaves room for challenging them. Think of an old testament prophet, returning to town after contemplating away in the dessert, and effectively saying “Hey King, you’re getting it wrong.” Such proclamations were able to give the king pause, where secular claims like “You are being unfair” would not have. With the first, the suggestion is that the king is acting out of sinc. with a divine order, to which all are subject, while the second is an appeal from an alternative perspective, which he may feel no need to acknowledge.

      • TheContrarian 2.3.1

        “Nothing else in human history has proven more effective at creating workable sets of communal values than religion…”

        What utter horseshit. Firstly workable sets of communal values have sprung up and florished outside of religion and the values of sharing, honesty, don’t steal etc predate all our modern religions. Secondly nothing else in human history has proven more effective at creating workable sets of communal prejudices and basis for othering than religion. I can be prejudice against you because my god says I can. Not to mention freedoms such as freedom of speech, freedom of association and religion are completely inconsitant with most of the major religions of our time including Christianity.

        • Olwyn

          That these co-operative groups pre-date modern religions does not mean that they did not have religions. Most tribal societies that I have heard of have had conceptions of sacredness, etc. And religious prejudices are open to being understood as distortions rather than pure expressions of religion. In the ancient world, people visiting a foreign city would go and pay their respects to the local god as a show of good will toward that city, which suggests that even way back then, religion did not consistently function on a “my way or the highway” basis.

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            One of the oldest books of moral philosophy in the world points out that religion is “a colourful hope, or folly” and urges the wise to “dwell in the fruit, not the flower”.

            At least some of us have been onto these sanctimonious god-botherers for millennia.

          • TheContrarian

            This speaks to the fact that a code of law and behaviour is irrespective of religious belief and is a natural consequence of being a social species. Much like every other social species. The ancient greek gods were capricious and did not dictate morals from on high – that was down via law and from the minds of men rather than divination.

            “And religious prejudices are open to being understood as distortions rather than pure expressions of religion.”

            Bullshit – the 10 commandements explicity expresses prejudice. The very foundation of Christian law is intolerant, this is the same across almost all organised religion.

            • Olwyn

              ??? The 10 commandments are a list of laws, not claims as to who is or is not worthy. I assume you must see prejudice in the “Thou shall have no other god but me” command, since I cannot think what a prejudice against neighbour’s-ass-coveters would amount to. However, a god is an object of worship, and asking people to have no other object of worship is not at the same time asking them to be prejudiced against those with different views.

              • TheContrarian

                The 10 Commandments are laws given by god. The are immutable – gods law as read. Handed down by god, to Moses. The bedrock of Christianity and they, by that nature, are not only prejudiced but are also an affront to the freedoms of speech, worship and association we enjoy.

                The very nature of the 10 commandments explicity excludes non-christians with punishment attached. The first 5 commandments are an affront to freedom of speech, religion, association and art.

                As read, dictated by god. Breaking them is to meet with punishment. As described in the bible. And to those who deny God…

                • RedLogix

                  Which is exactly why people who read the Bible with such literal exactness are so very dangerous.

                  kd laing with one of the best versions ever

                • To the modern reader that’s a problematic verse that seems to contravene the basic message of the Gospel (love), but on further investigation the imprecation probably applied to those who were persecuting the early Christians, and reassures believers that ultimately justice will be served.

                  No doubt that many Christians read the Bible with naive (and selective) literalism, but like most people they mainly want to get on with life, raise their families, and live in peace. Not go around judging people with flaming swords!

            • karol

              Religious beliefs and codes go way further back, and not just in the European-greek lineage.

              Wikipedia’s timeline of religion.

              Religion in the Ancient World

              There is no culture recorded in human history which has not practiced some form of religion.

              Religion (which, in ancient times, is indistinguishable from mythology) concerns itself with the spiritual aspect of the human condition, gods and goddesses (or a single personal god or goddess), the creation of the world, a human being’s place in the world, life after death and how to escape from suffering in this world or in the next. And every nation has created its own god in its own image and resemblance.

              The world’s oldest religion still being practiced today is Hinduism (know to adherents as ‘Sanatan Dharma’, Eternal Order) but, in what is considered ‘the west’, the first records of religious practice come from Egypt around 4000 BCE.

              Some forms of religious ritual have existed since way back. The evidence is in the artefacts – objects used in religious rituals – figurines, stone circles. Most religions have a strong focus on rituals related to death. Many to do with changes of the seasons, and life changes – birth, coming of age, marriage, death, etc. But there is no remaining evidence to show the meanings or intent of the rituals of prehistoric cultures.

              It is not until there are written records that the content of religions become evident. And some of the earliest written records are from ancient Egypt.

              But also see Hinduism and Sumeria above.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 2.4

      Nothing else in human history has proven more effective at creating workable sets of communal values than religion, values which lie at the heart of politics.

      This is simply not true. Religions co-opt humanist values that are at least as old as they are, if the oldest books are anything to go by.

      Taoist philosophy, for example, didn’t just spring up fully formed six thousand years ago. It ranks religion as the lowest of moral systems.

      When the way is lost, there is love;
      When love is lost, there is kindness;
      When kindness is lost, there is justice;
      And when justice is lost, there is religion.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 2.4.1

        Postscript after reading Puddleglum’s comment at 5.1.1.

        Kahneman, knowingly or not, paraphrases Lao Tzu (c.400-600 BCE) when he says, “Odd as it may seem, I am my remembering self, and the experiencing self, who does my living, is like a stranger to me.”

  3. Richard Christie 3

    Putting scare quotes around the word church doesn’t make atheist meeting venues into places of worship or into anything approaching such.

    Atheism is not a religion.

    • tracey 3.1

      What are scare quotes Richard?

    • tracey 3.2

      did you read both links in the post?

    • Murray Rawshark 3.3

      Funnily enough, Marx defined atheism as a religion, so the development of atheist churches doesn’t surprise me at all. For many militant atheists, it seems to be as much a religion as marijahoochy does to Mr. Ure.

      • dave brown 3.3.1

        I think you are right Murray.

        Atheism is the non-belief in god/religion without overthrowing the conditions that make religion necessary. To that extent is substitutes for religion. It is not enough to disbelieve in god, it is necessary to overthrow god and realise the human essence. It is necessary to overthrow the material conditions that alienate humanity from its ‘essence’ (that is the freedom to live without ‘want’).

        Lenin said it clearly:

        “Religion is a sort of spiritual booze, in which the slaves of capital drown their human image, their demand for a life more or less worthy of man.”

        Atheism is like low alcohol booze in a plain wrapper.

        Marx was more long winded:

        Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.

        The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions. The criticism of religion is, therefore, in embryo, the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo.

        Criticism has plucked the imaginary flowers on the chain not in order that man shall continue to bear that chain without fantasy or consolation, but so that he shall throw off the chain and pluck the living flower. The criticism of religion disillusions man, so that he will think, act, and fashion his reality like a man who has discarded his illusions and regained his senses, so that he will move around himself as his own true Sun. Religion is only the illusory Sun which revolves around man as long as he does not revolve around himself.”

        • karol

          Hmmm. Interesting, and a lot to commend it. But the Marxist notion of a world without illusion, also sounds a lot like “belief” int he supremacy of the science.

          Yet science itself, can also be seen as a kind of religion – because there are also some unknowables upon which science is built. eg. what preceded the big bang? When did id start? Why?

          Science also tends to show the how, but not the why?

          • KenS

            No, no, no. Science is built on knowables determined by evidence. You don’t have to know how life began to know that evolution occurs. Same with the big bang and cosmology. The difference is that science accepts not knowing something, and even the possibility of not being able to know something. Scientists use their imagination to develop theories, but never need to resort to inventing god, or the kind of faith that means facts don’t matter. Faith is belief despite facts, the antithesis of science. Of course, humans can screw anything up and some scientists/atheists lose their way, but that is no excuse for equating atheism with religion. Most atheists just see no reason to think there is a god. Most of the ones who speak out are driven by little more than being tired of all the bullshit that gets justified in the name of some god or other and feel they need to say so.

            • ropata:rorschach

              “Science good, religion bad, just accept my moral judgement because I am a highly educated privileged technocrat.” Yeah, thanks Alan Greenspan.

              Your perception of religious faith is a bit screwy and not representative of the thousands of professional scientists who also profess religious belief.

              • KenS

                That’s another way atheists are different from the religious. We don’t accept someone’s word for it, but look for ourselves.

                Sure, humans are very capable of holding several contradictory thoughts. But in a Pew survey in 2006, 83% of the general public in the US said they believed in god, but only 33% of scientists did. I wonder what the difference is.

  4. Ant 4

    A sense of ‘wonder and helping’ engenders release from the thralldom of introspection and frees up intimations of an extended self interconnecting with life and living on a wider front than societal conditioning instilled in us.

    But how often to help? The consciousness of the Buddha, the Nazarene (and other lesser lights) expanded to the point where service became a way of life. If you take the godless new ‘religion’ to conclusion the cooperative consciousness will replace the competitive one.

    In this lies hope for humanity.

  5. tracey 5

    Sam Harris has some interesting views, including that science can answer questions of morality.

    “.. The moment we admit that questions of right and wrong, and good and evil, are actually questions about human and animal well-being, we see that science can, in principle, answer such questions. Human experience depends on everything that can influence states of the human brain, ranging from changes in our genome to changes in the global economy. The relevant details of genetics, neurobiology, psychology, sociology, economics etc. are fantastically complicated, but these are domains of facts, and they fall squarely within the purview of science.

    We should reserve the notion of “morality” for the ways in which we can affect one another’s experience for better or worse. Some people use the term “morality” differently, of course, but I think we have a scientific responsibility to focus the conversation so as to make it most useful. We define terms like “medicine,” “causation,” “law” and “theory” very much to the detriment of homeopathy, astrology, voodoo, Christian Science and other branches of human ignorance, and there is no question that we enjoy the same freedom when speaking about concepts like “right” and “wrong,” and “good” and “evil.” Once we acknowledge that “morality” relates to questions of human and animal well-being, then there is no reason to doubt that a prescriptive (rather than merely descriptive) science of morality is possible. After all, there are principles of biology, psychology, sociology and economics that will allow us to flourish in this world, and it is clearly possible for us not to flourish due to ignorance of these principles. ..”

    Here is a 25 minute video of him speaking.

    WARNING Harris is controversial.

    • Sam Harris is controversial I guess, but shouldn’t be. This is one of the best books you’ll ever be lucky enough to read:

      • Puddleglum 5.1.1

        My take on Sam Harris aligns with the Publishers Weekly review from your link:

        “In this sometimes simplistic and misguided book, Harris calls for the end of religious faith in the modern world. Not only does such faith lack a rational base, he argues, but even the urge for religious toleration allows a too-easy acceptance of the motives of religious fundamentalists. Religious faith, according to Harris, requires its adherents to cling irrationally to mythic stories of ideal paradisiacal worlds (heaven and hell) that provide alternatives to their own everyday worlds. Moreover, innumerable acts of violence, he argues, can be attributed to a religious faith that clings uncritically to one set of dogmas or another. Very simply, religion is a form of terrorism for Harris. Predictably, he argues that a rational and scientific view—one that relies on the power of empirical evidence to support knowledge and understanding—should replace religious faith. We no longer need gods to make laws for us when we can sensibly make them for ourselves. But Harris overstates his case by misunderstanding religious faith, as when he makes the audaciously naïve statement that “mysticism is a rational enterprise; religion is not.” As William James ably demonstrated, mysticism is far from a rational enterprise, while religion might often require rationality in order to function properly. On balance, Harris’s book generalizes so much about both religion and reason that it is ineffectual.
        Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.”

        As the review says, Sam Harris not only has a simplistic understanding of ‘faith’ and ‘religion’ but also a far too simplistic understanding of the supposed nature of human reason/rationality.

        He strikes me as a camp follower of the poorly thought out position that ‘religions cause most wars’, or some such superficiality, and that religions are, primarily, ‘sets of beliefs’ and their associated behaviours, which they aren’t. Religions are cultural phenomena not cognitive ones.

        At its worst, and at a social and political level, organised religion is simply a cultural and rhetorical tool set useful for local elites in pursuing their interests (just like ‘nationalism’ and associated notions like ‘freedom’ and ‘our way of life’, all of which come complete with similarly useful rhetorical devices for stirring a populace to war).

        The brutality of warfare, however, does not primarily arise from some fundamental ‘irrationality’ specific to a religious worldview. Brutality has its own raison d’être as any naturalistic account of human behaviour routinely acknowledges.

        And, as for irrationality, you should read Daniel Kahneman’s “Thinking Fast and Slow” for a sense of how much of our thinking is riddled with shortcuts and laziness – for good evolutionary reasons – which, together, cast doubt on the myth of human rationality and reason.

        That such ‘flaws’ don’t infect the thoughts of the typical atheist as much as the thoughts of the typical religious beggars belief. We’re all human and so we all come with fairly jury-rigged cognitive machinery.

        Because of that, I tend to think that the degree to which thinking is ‘infected’ in this way is positively correlated with the sense of certainty exhibited by an individual.

        Also, so far as I can see, in both religion (as understood by Harris) and atheism a lack of surety (i.e., certainty and confidence) in the relevant precepts is considered bad form. In the former it is interpreted as lack of faith, in the latter as a lack of rationality – both are ‘blackballing’ offences.

        By contrast to Harris’ reverence for rationality, here’s a few insightful quotes from Kahneman’s book:

        A reliable way to make people believe in falsehoods is frequent repetition, because familiarity is not easily distinguished from truth. Authoritarian institutions and marketers have always known this fact.” [And spin doctors, of course.]

        Our comforting conviction that the world makes sense rests on a secure foundation: our almost unlimited ability to ignore our ignorance.

        A general “law of least effort” applies to cognitive as well as physical
        exertion. The law asserts that if there are several ways of achieving the
        same goal, people will eventually gravitate to the least demanding course
        of action. In the economy of action, effort is a cost, and the acquisition of
        skill is driven by the balance of benefits and costs. Laziness is built deep into our nature.

        However, optimism is highly valued, socially and in the market; people and firms reward the providers of dangerously misleading information more than they reward truth tellers. One of the lessons of the financial crisis that led to the Great Recession is that there are periods in which competition, among experts and among organizations, creates powerful forces that favor a collective blindness to risk and uncertainty.

        Confidence is a feeling, which reflects the coherence of the information and the cognitive ease of processing it. It is wise to take admissions of uncertainty seriously, but declarations of high confidence mainly tell you that an individual has constructed a coherent story in his mind, not necessarily that the story is true.

        • RedLogix

          I read Kahneman a while back. You have inspired me to go back and read it again with fresh eyes.

        • tracey

          Ernst Becker comes at this topic as an anthropologist, amongst other things, his book is a worthy read for those interested in how our human condition affects our behaviours individually and collectively.

        • Psycho Milt

          There’s a big difference between recognising limits to the typical human’s ability to think rationally, which most atheists understand and accept, and the active embracing of irrationality as a model to live by, which is what religion (or “spirituality,” or whatever other weasel-words you want to use to pretend you’re not religious) consists of.

          • tracey


            And not just embracing irrationally based concepts but seeking to enshrine them in laws and practises and making any refutationof them appear disrespectful.

            I point again to taxpayer funding to religious schools. By all means believe in what you will, with jsm rider, only until it harms another… But to suppose it is sacrosanct, free from demands of proof merely because you believe it, is slightly mad.

        • Beautiful comment Puddleglum, thanks for taking the time to share it.

          Minor quibble: I think that lack of “faith” and facing tough questions is a pretty common experience for thinking Christians, especially clergy and bible scholars. But yeah most unschooled churchgoers find it cognitively painful to admit that they might be wrong about stuff

        • Ad

          Keep it coming Puddleglum.

      • tracey 5.1.2

        Hi Matthew

        So is Ernst Beckers book, Denial of Death.

        You won’t regret reading it.

        • karol

          Ah, yes. I read a lot of (at the time) convincing stuff about the significance of the “denial of Death” and Becker’s ideas about it, in my younger days. Albert Camus also said somethings about it as I recall.

      • KenS 5.1.3

        Harris is generally very good, very eloquent regarding religion, not simplistic at all in my view. The problem I have with him is that he doesn’t understand politics, particularly geopolitics. Sam thinks religion is all that is needed to explain the response of muslims in the middle east to decades of western interference and killing. This is what gets him into so much trouble with other liberals. Certainly religion plays a part (which his liberal opponents too often don’t want to admit), but it isn’t even the main issue let alone the only issue.

    • McFlock 5.2

      Didn’t watch the video, but the even basic things like “well-being” have had a variety of definitions from philosophers and religious leaders, with everything from purely physical definitions, through happiness and emotional calm up to some sort of spiritual plane.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 5.2.1

        I don’t know about any sort of spiritual plane; however, the spirit with which one approaches things is crucial; that sort of spirit can be nurtured or neglected as much as the physical body.

    • karol 5.3

      Ah! The religion of science.

      How can science answer questions of morality?

      We should reserve the notion of “morality” for the ways in which we can affect one another’s experience for better or worse.

      But science doesn’t decide on that – people do.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 5.3.1

        There are plenty of ways in which science can quantify “better” and “worse” in terms of human experience, and plenty of ways in which that information can be useful. Take Epidemiology, for example.

        • McFlock

          But of course quantifying the incidence of a health condition makes no judgement as to whether that condition is desirable or undesirable.

          Maybe (and this is me playing devil’s advocate) infectious diseases are away of culling the weak, or our appreciation of life is increased by narrowly surviving an infection, or whatever. Or society is better when the weak are culled. Whatever.

          My point is that any arguments in support or against the statements in the above paragraph are strictly philosophical. Some questions are patently obvious to any functioning human being – ebola’s bad, m’kay – but questions about e.g. vivisection or when to try a high-risk experimental surgery need to be referred to ethicists.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 5.3.2

        Just re-reading that, Karol, are you sure you really believe it?

        Think about your views on inequality, for example; do you accept research findings as evidence of better and worse or not?

        • karol

          Behind decisions about what counts as “better” or “worse” are a lot of assumptions. Better or worse for whom? Individuals? The elite? the wider community? Anglo, middle class het males? etc.

          Key’s government proclaims that their decisions will make us all better off. They assume what is good for the corporates, are good for all of us. In contrast, some of us start with the assumption/belief, that political, (and scientific) decisions should be “good” for all of us, and should include the betterment of the least powerful and least well off.

          Science can provide answers to the causes of diseases – but prior to that, decisions are made by people as to which diseases receive most funding for the required research, and related product development.

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            Yes. In specific reference to your own views on income inequality, you are relying on a vast array of data from a range of sciences that go far beyond outlining the causes of diseases.

            Key and others are doing precisely what you prescribe: they are “people” making decisions on what is “better” and “worse”.

            On the other side of the debate is the weight of evidence.

            • karol

              Actually. You have not understood my comments above.

              Yes, I value evidence-based arguments.

              But underlying my choice to focus on income inequality, are value judgements – ie that of democratic and inclusive ideals.

              Underlying any evidence based arguments are value judgement, whoever is making them, in what ever sphere of activity.

              There are some politicians (probably many) who aim to spin and divert from evidence. But they also use scientific means to use effective spin. The choices of what science to use, are based in the underlying moral assumptions. For the likes of Key and Crosby-Textor – their values are about competition, winning being the highest value, and you will find many of them use (debatable but accepted by many) evidence that they are working for the betterment of the economy and thus society at large.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                How can we tell whether they are in fact, bettering society?

                By measuring the outcome. So far, the evidence is against them.

                That gives weight to our (moral) argument, and we see them change their position from “there’s no such thing as inequality” to “there’s no inequality here” to “I already fixed the inequality here”, to “I’m going to do something about the inequality here.”

                Science works.

                • karol

                  Yes. Science works. It helps to get things done, and it helps us to understand how things work.

                  But it doesn’t decide the morals/values we espouse. It, as you say, can give weight to our arguments based on morals/values of democracy and equality, etc. If people are decided by arguments that lessening equality will better society, some (right wingers) may be won over. But not because they ultimately value an egalitarian and inclusive society – but because they value society working well for other reasons.

                  If someone produces evidence to show that inequality produces a better society, those people will go for that. And, I see today, from UNDP India’s twitter account, claims that globally extreme poverty has halved since the ’90s.

                  Also, people choose the science to attend to, and research to support, based on their underlying values/morals – so the elites put more money into researching how to efficiently and effectively extract fossil fuels, for instance.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    That extreme poverty has halved globally is a source of shame for those politicians who have presided over the opposite trend in their own countries.

                    Science owns morality in a way that rhetoric never can.

                    • karol

                      These days, rhetoric itself is produced by the elites based on some scientific research and evidence about how to “persuade” people.

                      Your sense of shame, comes not from the evidence itself, but you underlying moral values that leads you to critique the evidence and apply some logic, resulting in pointing to the possibility of further evidence being produced.

                      Your claim that “science owns morality” is based in your moral values, rather than in the science – although one of your values seems to be the ultimate belief in the supremacy of science.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      “Supremacy” is your word.

                      Genuine curiosity is a far more accurate characterisation, and certainly articulates my opinion more accurately.

                  • KenS

                    Read Harris again, The Moral Landscape for how science can help determine morality.

  6. cyclonemike 6

    Really, in this country, who cares.
    We are fortunate to be part of a nation that is largely irreligious.
    Every time I see the Americans tangling themselves in knots over Dog, it makes me even happier to live here.

  7. Ross 7

    It’s a move away from religion. Could you call it organised disorganisation. Because with organistation comes rules, then rules beget judgement and judgement spawns evildoers that must die: from the cookhouse to the chook house to the court house. It’s a movement, as I see it, for people to get together and be who they actually are without being judged for it. That such a movement has grown so rapidly is (new?) testament to our collective need to express these aspects of the human experience: generosity, caring and love (of the capital “L” sort). If we could get away from the idea that ours is not an abundant universe; that every increase for me means a decrease for you; that everything worth having requires effort and strife, then maybe we could get to live without having to set aside special times on Sunday just to be ourselves.

  8. tricledrown 8

    Religion without god or god without religion!
    A massive improvement.

  9. Foreign waka 9

    That atheists are congregating to find another way to express humanity just shows that nature does not allow voids. These are always filled, it is up to us what this will be. To belief in one or many gods, no gods at all, spirits of the underworld or any realm – it all has been done before and still, the search continues. To me, all religions look to a transcendental mind that overcomes the physical body once the time is up, atheism looks to the physical body to overcome the fear of the capacity to transcendent after death. I guess we all will have a surprise waiting.

  10. Michael 10

    I’m not a believer but I think that the cultural aspects of religion (holidays and such) as well as feelings of community at the local church/mosque/synagogue/etc can be good. People have an urge for that sort of stuff I think (to feel apart of a wider community).

  11. philj 11

    We, as humans collectively, can figure out how to live peacefully in harmony with a finite living biosphere or we devalue humanity and descend into a lower life form. This is the challenge for individuals, societies and nations.

  12. aj 12

    I’m an atheist, but if I held relgious beliefs I would choose pantheism.

    • The Al1en 12.1

      I’m an atheist too, but if I held religious beliefs, I would choose one that allows eating pork and beef.

      • RedLogix 12.1.1

        Those kind of rules around communal living are only the most ephemeral aspects of religion.

      • tricledrown 12.1.2

        Religion is escaping realty by being brainwashed by your brand of religion.
        Of course your brand of religion is better than any one else’s!
        Fundamentalist fanatics take way to seriously.

        • The Al1en

          “Of course your brand of religion is better than any one else’s!
          Fundamentalist fanatics take way to seriously.”

          Er, I don’t have a religion. I don’t believe in any god or gods.
          But nice inferiority complex you have going on there. Cultivating nicely. Well done. 😉

  13. Studies have been done of people who consciously give thanks or express gratitude on a daily, recorded basis and those people feel universally better about their lives than those who dont.

    A couple of questions arise: to whom are they giving thanks, if not some flavour of god? And, does this imply anything more than that a person who is deluded in one aspect of their life is likely to be deluded in others?

    They are avowed atheists. Yet they have created a movement that draws thousands of people to events with music, sermons, readings, reflections and (to judge by photos) even the waving of upraised hands.

    As someone who experienced a hell of a lot of church without quote marks around it as a kid, this strikes me as playing at church by people who never had to suffer the real thing. This looks to offer all the stupidity, pointlessness, embarrassment and boredom of a real church service but without the purpose. Bullshit for dilettantes and hippies, in other words.

    • Ad 13.2

      You have to live through fundamentalism to really see its energy, structured dynamism, and power. Join a third world NGO instead.

      Rational or otherwise, stuff that religion helps most of the worlds people do is provide persistent framing to:
      – engaging with death, near-death, and its remembrance

      – making sense about the end of the world

      – refreshing our irrationality with wonder when language, rationality and exchangeability order every breath of our life

      – replacing merely instrumental ethics with propulsive righteousness

      We could probably do without it.
      Most in NZ do.
      But as a Catholic, I don’t.

    • +1
      If I were to join a made-up religion I would probably go with Jediism. It’s gotta be more fun than some hipster atheists sitting around spouting their intellectual superiority.

  14. tricle up 14

    To be spiritual or religious is a the beginning was the word what divisions these words have created as we split the opposites. leaving religion has created a deep appreciation for nature and a oneness with all.A drawing together of the fragments in the total provides a sense of reality..culture is accepted just as it simply is a richness to life .We have created much.

  15. esoteric pineapples 15

    Possibly the best term used to describe the growing number of people who don’t belong to a religious group but believe in a spiritual dimension is “secular spiritualism”

    • McFlock 15.1

      Well, that’s a contradiction in terms.

      I read the post as being more about non-spiritual gatherings to reflect on good fortune and provide communal feeling, rather than being a rehash of early 20th century spiritulism and fairy photographs.

      Neither is my cup of tea, but as long as they don’t start any wars I’m cool with it.

      • RedLogix 15.1.1

        Or what it might also mean is that people still require a spiritual dimension in order to give meaning and purpose to their lives. This is a real and worthy thing. But on their own they find it very hard to sustain; people are social creatures above all else and we find anything difficult much easier to sustain in a group.

        The very sad truth for so many people these days is that most people really cannot find a social group that can help them with this – in a way that makes sense in the modern world.

        • Left Eye

          Well lets stick together then. Don’t worry ‘everyone’ will know it is me behind it all, I will make sure. You won’t be alone.

          We are not going to fail.


        • McFlock

          Some people might.
          A “spiritual dimension” was not mentioned or described in, for example, the final extended quote in the post, though.

          But whatever rocks their world, I guess

  16. Left Eye 16

    your keeping me up- stop posting.

  17. tricle up 17

    Dante had several spirits these were placed in the higher position to bounce ideas and thoughts of maybe they were just the wheels of imagination and creativity throw a piece of nonsense in any of the positions to make creativity run …Man wants to feel connected to something ..RED LOGIX has nailed it well..

    • Scheherazade 17.1

      I had a dream last night, and the person in it symbolized you, and you were completely ignoring me, it has made me feel a little depressed. I don’t know if the dream was a past dream, an inner fear dream or a literal dream, I hope it wasn’t literal. When you open yourself up to someone and then get kicked in the teeth, it saddens you. It is a misery that is terribly painful.
      When you share a soul with someone you want to be there ‘all’, not really so in a sexual sense, as soul sharing surpasses all that, but united together, in a union that is eternal.
      I don’t want to be your wife or lover, but I want to be able to connect with you, maybe then I could heal.
      These past two days have made me just hold on…..once again.

      • tricle up 17.1.1

        Scheherazade thank you for your kind concerns.My thinking does involve feelings and the awareness of information attached.The mind is pretty much open adding much to the experience pushing thoughts into the mystical and the world of nonsense and then pulling them back to the mid point or the natural is somewhat fun and revealing that some of the weirdness is in fact present or has pasted into fact..The living and the personalty in the souls are clearly seen and do hold me in awe and are respected ..These expressions or manifestations on the fabric of life do hold much interest….I welcome your thoughts..

        • Scheherazade

          I actually welcome your thoughts, you sound really interesting!

          “The living and the personalty in the souls are clearly seen?”


          • tricle up

            Simply put you are looking at only the whole personality seeing no form or excluding form, the living in a material object.. anyway happy new year…

  18. tracey 18

    If we didnt know that we are going to die, would religion have emerged at all?

    As an excuse/method to impose rules and power on others?

    In the context of realisation of our own mortality it is a kind of security blanket, as is any belief in life after death.

    The Buddhists encourage us to begin each day with knowledge of the shadow of death on our shoulders. To my understanding not to invoke fear but to encourage us to make the most of the day ahead. Some use religion as a means of abdicating personal responsibility for living their life to the full, choosing instead to be straight jacketted by systems of rituals and rules until getting their reward post death.

    If we live each day in wonder at the world around us, live to reach our individual potential, we have nothing to fear or regret when our time is over.

    The question is not that man wants or needs to “believe in something” , other than himself and tge world around us, but why.

    It remains a kind of heresy to question the right to religious freedom. We have enshrined it so thoroughly as to shield it from the kind of questioning that folks like Harris, Dawkins and others earlier, encourage.

    In our own country we still extend taxpayer money to religious based schools without questioning their foundation on a mythical being. We develop strange differentiations.

    • Unfortunately the dream of John Lennon’s “Imagine” remains imaginary, due to imperfect human nature. The secular world’s adulation of wealth and faith in technology will probably crash to Earth pretty soon after peak oil and a few climate shocks.

      Religion is a bit more than a security blanket/ dream of immortality/ power play. It’s a cultural touchstone that infuses life with meaning and rhythm. It binds communities together and expresses the deepest longings of the human soul.

    • Ad 18.2

      Tracey, religion is not only a response to death. It has several other functions.

      • tracey 18.2.1

        I understand it has many functions, I am most interested in getting to the bottom of the underlying push factors.

        For example a way to explain the natural world around us before recourse to science.

  19. Chooky 19

    Lloyd Geering wrote a very good book called ‘Christianity Without God’.

    Geering makes the case against the patriarchal, tyrannical, war mongering God of the Old Testament ( the one that Richard Dawkins goes on about in ‘The God Delusion’ )…and a case for a humanist ‘Jesus of the Wisdom Tradition’ or ‘Wisdom Streams’ ie Jesus was a great sage in the Wisdom Traditions of Christianity

    …..the type of Christianity Geering advocates is secular , feminist and an eco-theology .

    imo Lloyd Geering is a great thinker, scholar and theologian ….and not just in New Zealand. Before going into the Presbyterian Church ( he was later charged with heresy ) he was a mathematician of considerable ability. His theology draws from physics, Jung, ecotheology and other religious traditions

    • Chooky 19.1

      A recent discussion at St Andrews on the Terrace in Wellington poses the question :
      ‘Is Secular Religion a Contradiction in Terms?’

  20. emergency mike 20

    Ah science vs religion, how lovely. Science is a human endeavour, thus subject to failings and biases that are human, all too human. It is a tool, and tools are only as good as the user. As Karol alluded to above, humans decide what will be researched, from what angle, and within what parameters. Science does not determine these things.

    The history of science is full of scientists who thought they had it all figured out, or were researching in circles, only for a new paradigm to come along and prove them all wrong. You could answer that that simply shows progress, but as Thomas Kuhn argued, there is no objective way to know whether the new paradigm is superior to the last. Each paradigm simply is what it is, it might happen that it’s seductive explanitory power has led us to concepts that have utilty, but are themselves preventing us from more important discoveries. There is thus no possible objective scientific measure of reality.

    Aside from that, there is the simple point that by it’s own definition, the scientific method is concerned with that which is empirically measureable. Therefore, science can offer no comment on anything that cannot be empirically measured. I’ve previously seen people here blithely claim that ‘science measures reality’, it doesn’t, or at least, we can have no idea to what degree science measures reality. Even putting aside the biases, careerism, egos, vested interests, thinking inside paradigms, etc, science measures that which can be empirically measured. To claim then, that science measures reality is to claim that all reality can be empirically measured. This would be a statement of faith, as by definition there is no objective scientific way to determine it’s validity. A curiously unscientific claim. Pop down to your university’s philosophy of science dept and proudly affirm that ‘science measures reality’, see how long it takes you to get politely shown the door.

    Why then, people might think that science ‘disproves’ God, religion, spirituality or whatever always confuses me. The mystical aspects of these things are not in the domain of science. What empirical measure have they failed? There aren’t any. (Spare me your list of Likert scales.) Science has no comment to offer on religion. Even 1st year lawyers understand that ‘abscence of evidence is not evidence of abscence’.

    It might well be that reality operates according to laws that are simply beyond our human abilities to empirically measure. If so it might be that that is what people are talking about when they speak of God or mystical things. That’s not believing in ‘magic’ in the Harry Potter sense, but an acknowledgement that science can only take us so far. If we want to speculate beyond it, then we can either take a “no comment, ever” stance like some atheists and intellectual rationalists seem to do, or use language that moves beyond pure rationalism, and into mysticism and/or faith.

    People like Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris typically posit a boring, stereotyped view of the religous person. For them, being religious means believing in fairy tales. Magical cities in the sky where we all joyously reunite with our ancestors and kick back in a sweet floaty happy party 4eva. Not very rational iz it? No evidence 4 dat. When it’s pointed out to them that the majority of religous people don’t have any such literal belief, but in fact are speaking in metaphor about their concept of the afterlife mystery, they just repeat the same strawman again, and bash it down all over. Harris, in the quote above, sounds as religious about science as any preacher. Science gonna ‘splain morality? Give me strength.

    Believe. Have faith my rational brothers and sisters. For I believe, that one day, scientists will come, scientists like we cannot now imagine, and they will show us the truth. Yes I have no evidence for this, yes I’m just talking, but I think that there are those here today who hear my words, and want to believe it as much as I already do. To you I say, believe. Oh yes, do you feel it friends…. zzzzzzz.

    You might be with me so far, but perhaps you’d say ‘but why should I believe in any beyond-science mysticism like religious people do? Speculation is one thing, belief is another. Isn’t that an irrational step to take?’ All I can say is that what someone choses to believe on faith is their own choice. They make that choice based on their own life experience, learning, reading, interacting, and thinking. It’s their right to make that choice, it’s their life, their experience. One should be free to chose the beliefs that will inform your experience of life in the way that one wants. It’s called freedom. I’ve known religous people who humbled me with their intellect. To call it ‘irrational’ is conceited, intolerant, arrogant thinking related to the authoritarian ‘anyone who doesn’t think like me is wrong’ attitude. Who are you to say you know better than them about their life experience which has led them to their choice of belief? Could it possibly be that they have experienced something in their life that you haven’t? Just because you can’t see a solution to a problem doesn’t mean there isn’t one, thus, just because you can’t see a reason to believe doesn’t mean no one should.

    Einstein said “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” He made his choice, I’ve made mine, you make yours, but please, spare us the ‘what’s wrong with you’ comments if our choices don’t align.

    Wasn’t Einstein a scientist or something? Weird eh?

    • Yep, this whole “science vs. religion” debate is pretty much a storm in a teacup, as these two great cultural projects have been closely aligned and intertwined throughout history. (Note however that the modern “Scientific Method” was only established around 400 years ago from the time of Galileo)

      Also, please read this thorough debunking of the Conflict Thesis, by an atheist who has bothered to read some actual history…

      Further reading:
      Hannam, God’s Philosophers
      Jaki, Science and Creation

      • emergency mike 20.1.1

        Thanks ropata. And from below: “Faith is not blind, it can be rational and based on good evidence. It should be a journey of (self-)discovery, not mindless adherence to an old book.”

        Well said.

        • aerobubble

          Just as you will find good morals and ethics in any religion, so you will find good rational arguments. Highlighting that within in each faith rational arguments are respected, merely leads to the notion that science is the most perfect form of religion. Since invariably every religion will have irrational beliefs, that another religion rationally sees past.

          Politics earliest form was religion, since the newly emerging rulers needed consent for their rule, and did not have our modern means for its manufacture. As time passes, religion aligns with conservative forces against progressive forces who embrace science – their own form of consent making. Essentially first there was religion, this then splits into philosophy, science, politics, economics, military, etc.

          As religion is expelled to the corners of society, marginalized, it needs to evolve to survive. How I wonder, will they get over their pity for the other, and spiteful need to reward their own creed in the face of overwhelming opposition? We are one family of humans, of many species, of one planet, yet religion still can’t get along with each other or the rest of us, flora, fauna, etc.

          Politics is war by other means, Religion is politics by other means.

  21. Scheherazade 21

    The best thing in life to have is an open-mind, and then possibilities are available to you. To have a set of strict beliefs out of tradition, fear or whatever it closes you off, it shuts your senses down and restricts your natural exploration and your potential. Atheists, to me, are a little sad. Devout religious people, I feel, are restricted. Even as a Christian growing up I remained completely open-minded, you have too, otherwise you might miss out on something. From the first moment I can remember I always knew something was ‘out there’ and I had an inner feeling of ‘knowing’ that there was a spiritual element to my being. I just knew. I had no proof, but I didn’t need any- I just knew!

    I always saw Earth as a little ball rolling around in a vast space, to me, this was absolutely extraordinary, so I started to observe my surroundings, human beings were physically functional, intelligent and independent, the positions of the sun and the moon were in perfect alignment with the earth, everything was ‘set-up’ for human survival. There was fresh water; food from the land, the sea, the ground and the tree, there were creatures of all different types and they were absolutely beautiful. Flowers were beautiful (you look at a rose- the smell, the texture, the colour- roses are utterly divine), oceans were beautiful, and the seasons were beautiful. We have all the elements- water, fire, earth and air- it is only logical that something is ‘going on’.
    The chemistry when you fall ‘in love’ is electrifying – it is the most insanely intense feeling- where does it come from? The orgasm- what the?? Where the hell did the orgasm come from, like come on, like wow, both sexes can orgasm, that’s insane- surely that has to be ‘intelligent design’ at play here, like there is no other explanation?
    Every single thing on this earth and within human functionality is absolutely incredible.

    We have instincts, intuition, foresight and psychological understanding. We have a conscience ingrained in us, empathy, feelings of affection, we have love for others, physical desires and bonding experiences- it is all so special. We have the freedom to believe, to hope, to wonder, and to dream. Human beings have these wonderful hopeful elements that keep the spirit striving and surviving. Then there is the ‘unknown’ the deep dark depths that keep humans pondering the possibilities for centuries, having an ‘unknown’ element to our existence keeps us guessing – what are we doing here? Is there life after death? Do humans have meaning? Do humans have a soul?
    It keeps us believing and questioning, and we longingly search for answers, this allows us to truly reflect on all things spiritual, unordinary and unfamiliar.

    If human beings knew all the answers to this secretive universe, it wouldn’t be so special anymore. Human beings need to have mystery in their existence because it creates a feeling of bewilderment and intrigue; and this keeps the human being inspired.
    ‘Things’ people don’t fully understand, or grasp yet have a slight inkling of keeps the human being excited and eager.
    Not having all the answers is a clever way of keeping us human beings on our toes, making us learn, and making us search. When we explore we start to believe in possibilities and when we believe strange things happen, because we don’t find the answers through the art of not believing do we? We have to believe in something, to get somewhere, don’t we?

    The gateways to universe are so beautifully simple, there’s something right in front of our noses, yet we cannot see it.

    How utterly beautiful our journey is.

    • tricledrown 21.1

      Shcaudenfraud Baffling us with your BS !
      Religion is like a kid with an invisible friend!
      Man has invented religion.
      Man has used Religion to exploit and subjugate.
      Empires invent their own brand.
      i.e. the Romans rewriting their version of the bible.
      Henry the eigth.
      Even hitler had his own religion for his empire..

      • Scheherazade 21.1.1

        No fucking kidding!

      • Chooky 21.1.2

        @ tricledrown “Even hitler had his own religion for his empire”…Hitler was brought up a Catholic and a Catholic until the end …many personal accounts from those closest to him…However there were Catholic priests who opposed Hitler …and Christian Germans of other denominations who gave their lives in opposition to the Nazis ….eg Deitrich Bonhoeffer

    • Cool thoughts Scheherazade, but are you advocating Science as a new kind of religion? That seems to be the approach of Prof Brian Cox, Higg Priest of Physics. I find his posturing distasteful.

      On the other hand, it is a good thing to have perspective on your finite life in the grand scheme of the cosmos. As the movie “The Tree of Life” challenges:

      The nuns taught us there were two ways through life – the way of nature and the way of grace. You have to choose which one you’ll follow.

  22. b waghorn 22

    Part of the attraction for a non religious ‘church’ could be were else can people go for a feeling of community that isn’t commercial (pubs)or filled with petty politics .

  23. Orthodoxia 23

    Reflecting on Atheisim, one of the things trumpeted for it is that religions cause so many wars and killings. Yet if one reflects on the 20th century, Atheists (Stalin, Hitler, Mao etc) killed more people than the religiously minded.

    • Scheherazade 23.1

      I wonder who really causes all the

    • Pascals bookie 23.2

      Got any other centuries that works in?

      • McFlock 23.2.1

        Bold call to count hitler as an athiest, too.

        • CATMAN

          Or anyone who makes himself into a god, really.

          • Scheherazade

            Or a devil?

            • CATMAN

              Nah, he cast others as devils. His role was the omnipotent omnipresent god.

              • Scheherazade

                A omnipotent omnipresent god…….with a little g?

                Why a little g?

                • CATMAN

                  Dunno. Maybe it’s because he didn’t write the comment.

                  • Scheherazade

                    Excuse me I wrote “A omnipotent omnipresent god’ while you wrote “the omnipotent omnipresent god” interesting, you make it sound like there is only one god?

                    Is that so?

                    What is your opinion?

                    • CATMAN

                      i don’t know what my opinion about god/s has to do with hitler’s opinion about himself.

                      you do realise i’m not hitler, don’t you?

                    • Scheherazade

                      Yes I know your not Hitler, your just being sarcastic.

                      I wrote “you make it sound like there is only one god?”

                      What am I implying?

                    • RedLogix

                      If we allow that the essential aspect of the Divine is that of the Creator, and given that there is only one observable reality, obeying one set of coherent, consistent laws – then logically there must be only one God.

                      You are free to challenge those assumptions – but that is the simplest approach usually taken. But like most arguments that attempt to prove or disprove the existence of God on purely rational grounds – it tends to be a circular argument.

                      If we could prove or disprove God by logic or rational means – the problem would have been unequivocally solved a long time ago. But any meaningful Divinity must by definition be something beyond the ability of the rather limited rational human mind to embrace. Otherwise all we really have created is a captive figment of our collective vanity.

                      But rationality is not the only tool in the box of human tricks. It’s merely the one us Westerners have declared the only valid one. Unfortunately as the old saying goes, “when all you have is a hammer, then all problems look like nails”.

                      Yet if you asked someone from any of the many thousands of historic and existing non-Western societies about the nature of spirit – they would immediately offer a sophisticated language and model to use. Suddenly you are no longer whacking screws with hammers, and the stilted, confined conversations we tend to have about religion become far more flowing and rewarding.

                    • McFlock

                      Well, that went downhill quickly

                    • Scheherazade

                      Yes I agree there is only one Creator, the problem is we are made in the image/s of God (obviously), and there are two sexes?

                    • CATMAN

                      “If we allow that the essential aspect of the Divine is that of the Creator, and given that there is only one observable reality, obeying one set of coherent, consistent laws – then logically there must be only one God.”

                      But why should the creator be bound by the laws of his creation?

                      Scheherazade, I’m not being sarcastic. I think Hitler meant to present himself so as to fulfill the role that “the omnipotent omnipresent god” takes. This has nothing to do with what i think about the existence or otherwise of such a being.

                    • @Redlogix, Christmas is all about the supernatural becoming natural. Jesus shows our ape-like brains what the divine person looks like as a relatable human being. We can talk rationally about God.

                      Faith is not blind, it can be rational and based on good evidence. It should be a journey of (self-)discovery, not mindless adherence to an old book.

      • Herodotus 23.2.2

        Roman conquests in the 1 st century bc or ce were not religious based they focused their attention on conquest and for the Caesars self glorification, nor were the great inter state Chinese wars of or that the mongrel conquests. The taiping rebellion estimated in the 1800’s the deaths est. to be between 20-100 m alone. To counter your request any century that it doesn’t work ?

    • Reflecting on Atheisim, one of the things trumpeted for it is that religions cause so many wars and killings.

      One of the less-important and more-disputable things, yes. For instance, it’s far less significant than the main claim for atheism: that rationalism is a much better basis for thought and action than irrationalism.

      Yet if one reflects on the 20th century, Atheists (Stalin, Hitler, Mao etc) killed more people than the religiously minded.

      People kill for political reasons as well as religious ones? I’m not feeling a sense of stunned surprise, here. More to the point: the atheist models (assuming fascism counts, which is disputable) that you’re presenting for comparison with religion are murderous totalitarian ideologies. Now, as someone who considers Islam a totalitarian ideology I have no personal problem with that comparison, but if you’re a religious person yourself, is it really a comparison you want to make?

      • aerobubble 23.3.1

        First off there is no claim of atheism, since atheism is a catch all. Like theism. Atheism is the collective set of all beliefs that don’t hold to super natural deities. i.e lack theism.

        Second. There are many irrational atheists beliefs, just like theism, just theism are more exposed since they make more assumptions, and those assumptions are better known, and have had a lot of history behind them to exposed them for irrationality.

        Third. Sure Stalin, a student of the seminary school, picked up his atheism hatred for jews from his atheism. Not the systemic abuses of Jews by religion in E.Europe.

        But more pointedly, the lack of faith has no causal basis for a positive hatred of a minority. Its the positive beliefs, i.e communism. Casting all atheist beliefs as bad because of one particular degenerate,and arguably off shoot of christianity (communism).

        Anyway. Politics is war by other means. Religion has done war and politics. So what?

        If all these atheists are doing is meeting together under the constructive banner that they keep in check their assumptions about how we’re all sinful, fallen, flawed beings, to a minimum. Not letting those beliefs over take them and become stagnated arrogant monoliths of faith, then I say the human species will be better for it. caveat that of course we not perfect either, its all grey you know.

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    "Auckland City Mission: 10% of Kiwis experiencing food insecurity", RNZ, 16 October 2019:About half a million people are experiencing food insecurity, according to new research from the Auckland City Mission. Food insecurity, or food poverty, is defined as not having enough appropriate food. The City Mission said over the last ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Press Release: “Fake News” from Auckland City Council CCOs Board Chairs re pay and performance b...
    Media Statement for Immediate Release 16th October 2019 “Fake News” from Auckland City Council CCOs Board Chairs re pay and performance bonuses for top managers Despite comments from Auckland City Council CCOs Board Chairs re pay and performance bonuses for top managers—Herald Newspaper Tuesday Oct 15th–there is very little evidence ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    2 days ago
  • Ever-So-Slightly Bonkers: Simon Bridges Plays To His Base.
    Would You Buy A Used Propaganda Video From This Man? Bridges and the National Party’s strategists have discovered that the ideas and attitudes considered acceptable by today’s editors and journalists are no longer enforceable. The rise and rise of the Internet and the social media platforms it spawned means that ...
    2 days ago
  • Asking for food
    There is plenty of evidence of the way the business mentality has permeated every level of society since the recrudescence of market liberalism 35 years ago. You only need to think of how citizens in need of help from their government, their state, their country, are now routinely described as ...
    Opposable ThumbBy Unknown
    2 days ago
  • Forty years of change in the jobs Kiwi do and the places they call home
    John MacCormick Over the last 40 years, New Zealanders – and people in other countries – have experienced big changes in the jobs they do and where they live and work. These changes include: a decline in manufacturing jobs an increase in jobs in ‘information-intensive’ industries (which are better paid ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 days ago
  • Protecting Fresh Waterways in Aotearoa/NZ: The Strong Public Health Case
    Nick Wilson, Leah Grout, Mereana Wilson, Anja Mizdrak, Phil Shoemack, Michael Baker Protecting waterways has the benefits of: (1) protecting water from hazardous microbes; (2) minimising cancer risk and other problems from nitrates in water; (3) avoiding algal blooms that are hazardous to health; (4) protecting mahinga kai uses (cultural ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    2 days ago
  • Massey University triggered to rebrand
    by The Council of Disobedient Women In a press release today Massey University announced it has decided to rebrand and reorientate after struggling to be a University for grown-ups. For some time the University has wanted to be a safe play space for wee-woke-misogynists who have been really badly triggered ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 days ago
  • Swinson backing calls for a second referendum (again)
    After a brief dalliance with 'hard Revoke' it looks like the Lib Dems are changing ground on on Brexit, with leader Jo Swinson reverting to calling for a second referendum on Johnson's deal.The party has tabled an amendment to the Queen’s speech requesting that any deal brought back from Brussels ...
    2 days ago
  • An odious bill
    The government has decided that someone has done Something Bad. But despite their belief, there seems to be no evidence that they have actually broken the law. So the government's solution is to pass a retrospective law allowing them to be punished anyway, on a lower standard of proof. If ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • National is now the party of climate arson
    So, Judith Collins has done a Facebook rant about climate change, peddling the same shit National has been shovelling for the past twenty years: the impacts are overstated, there's no need to do anything about it, and its too hard anyway (oh, and its so unfair that people who peddle ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • The environmental footprint of electric versus fossil car
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to There is a lot of discussion on the benefits of ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    3 days ago
  • “Manifest” by Andrew Bird – A Song For The Times.
    I came across this song quite by accident. If it isn't one of Greta Thunberg's favourites - it should be.Video courtesy of YouTube.This post is exclusive to Bowalley Road. ...
    3 days ago
  • Passing the buck
    Last month, NZDF's shoddy coverup of what it knew about civilian casualties in Operation Burnham began to fall apart, with the revelation that a report on the matter, which NZDF claimed not to have, had been sitting in an NZDF safe for the past nine years. Yesterday, the man responsible ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • India a major player in Earth observation satellites
    While many imagine that countries like the USA and Europe dominate space activities, in fact India is now a major player on this stage. It launches satellites for its own purposes and also commercially, and has constellations orbiting our planet and returning data of vital importance to that nation in ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    3 days ago
  • The rot at the top (2).
    Thanks to a report from the Acting Inspector General of Intelligence and Security following a complaint by Nicky Hager, we have come to find out that the SIS illegally spied on Mr. Hager on behalf of the NZDF after publication of Hager’s 2011 book, Other People’s Wars. The NZDF justified ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    3 days ago
  • Common misconceptions about “Global Warming”
    COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT GLOBAL WARMING MYTH 1: Global temperatures are rising at a rapid, unprecedented rate. FACT: The HadCRUT3 surface temperature index, produced by the Hadley Centre of the UK Met Office and the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia, shows warming to 1878, cooling to 1911, ...
    An average kiwiBy
    4 days ago
  • A climate of tyranny
    For the past week, Extinction Rebellion has been peacefully protesting in London to demand action on climate change. The British government's response? Ban their protests:Police have banned Extinction Rebellion protests from continuing anywhere in London, as they moved in almost without warning to clear protesters who remained at the movement’s ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Collins crushes climate
    An essay by Judith Collins MP reported on Carbon News yesterday seems to show an alarming shift in attitude within the National Party. Collins argues against the Zero Carbon Bill, the Paris Agreement, and downplays the magnitude of climate impacts. The Paris Agreement was adopted in December 2015 and ratified ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert McLachlan
    4 days ago
  • More disappointment
    When they were running for election, Labour promised to overhaul the Employment Relations Act and introduce fair pay agreements to set basic pay and conditions on an industry level, preventing bad employers from undercutting good ones. They followed this up by establishing a working group, which reported back in January ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • What do these mother-child studies really say about fluoridation?
    A list of indicators of bad science – many of these are found in articles promoted by anti-fluoride activists. Anti-fluoride activists have been pouring money into a scaremongering campaign warning pregnant women not to drink fluoridated water. They claim fluoride will lower the IQ of their future child. Fluoride ...
    4 days ago
  • Losing Labour’s Mills-Tone.
    Nothing Left To Say: Labour's pollster, Stephen Mills, remains swaddled-up in the comforting myths of the 1980s. As if the experience of Roger Douglas’s genuinely radical post-Muldoon policy agenda was literally a once-in-a-lifetime thing – as much as the party could possibly absorb for at least the next 50 years.MEMO ...
    4 days ago
  • Speaker: Disability and the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse
    The Royal Commission on abuse in care is very significant for the disability community. For many decades last century, thousands of disabled children, and adults who managed to survive, were locked away from families and communities. This was not for anything they had done, but for the perceived threat their ...
    4 days ago
  • Spain is not a democracy
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • UK Conservatives hate democracy
    With an unfair voting system, uneven electorates and an un-elected upper house, the UK's "democracy" is barely worthy of the name. But now the government wants to make it worse:The government has been accused of suppressing voters’ rights with the potential disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of people after plans ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • What is wrong with our building industry?
    Back in the 90's and early 2000's, the building industry was building leaky homes which should never have been granted consent. Now it turns out they've been building dodgy office blocks as well:New imaging technology has revealed hundreds of major buildings nationwide have defective or missing concrete or reinforcing steel. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Local bodies
    Local body election results were released over the weekend, to joy or despair depending on where you live. In Auckland, Phil Goff trounced John Tamihere, who is muttering darkly about running for Parliament again (but which party would want him?) Wellington is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Weta Workshop, except ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • A future of government
      How could government evolve over the next decades? Reports of democracy’s imminent demise are greatly exaggerated.  However, satisfaction with political systems in many countries is low, so there is much to do for governments of all political stripes to improve relevance and trust. Digital technologies are seen as one ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    7 days ago
  • Speaker: Catalonia, interrupted
    Two years have now gone by since the Friday afternoon when my university-student son and I headed out of our Barcelona flat to a nearby primary school, designated as a polling station for the vote that was to be held the following Sunday: the referendum on Catalonia’s independence from Spain ...
    7 days ago
  • Sage Decisions Unwisely Over-Ruled.
    Overruled: The joint decision of Finance Minister, Grant Robertson (Labour) and his Associate Minister, David Parker (Labour) arguably the two most powerful ministers in Jacinda Ardern’s government, to grant OceanaGold the consents which Land Information Minister, Eugenie Sage (Greens) had earlier denied them, offers bitter proof of how hard fighting ...
    7 days ago
  • Government may ban voting in effort to get more people to do it
    More than double the number of people who will vote in this year’s local body elections have tried marijuana or urinated somewhere they shouldn’t have. As local elections look set for the lowest turnout in decades, with many regions falling well short of 40%, the Government is exploring a number ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Woman: Deleted.
    A Statement on Abortion Law Reform by the Council of Disobedient Women   On the eve of bringing an end to antiquated, anti-women abortion laws Green MP Jan Logie intends to write women out of the Bill. With a stroke of the pen, the woke are aiming for total erasure ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • The Hollowest of Men Ride Again… SURPRISE!
    Musings continue apace about “the experienced businessman!” soon to be taking up a National Party MP position. Or to be more accurate, being parachuted into a seat to shut down their former MP Jamie-Lee Ross, who despite his own shortcomings shed at least some more light on the inner workings ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    1 week ago
  • Barbaric
    The Ugandan government wants to murder gay people:Uganda has announced plans to impose the death penalty on homosexuals. The bill, colloquially known as “Kill the Gays” in Uganda, was nullified five years ago on a technicality, but the government said on Thursday it plans to resurrect it within weeks. The ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Fighting Monsters.
    Freedom Of Speech? The Säuberung (cleansing by fire) was the work of the German Student Union which, on 10 May 1933, under the watchful eye of the Nazi Reichminister for Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, consigned 25,000 books to the flames in a ritual exorcism of “un-German thought”. According to the logic of the ...
    1 week ago
  • The next wave of kaupapa Māori politics: its constitutional, it must be.
      “There can be no such thing as kaupapa Māori political parties or politics in Aotearoa” (Willie Jackson, Labour Party (2017). Māori TV, General/List Election Special) I begin with that claim because at the time, I was confounded at first that it fell out of Willie Jackson’s mouth, and then ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    1 week ago
  • Night lights of NZ from orbit
    New Zealand has prided itself for decades with regard to its lack of pollution, and all will be aware that the ‘100% Pure New Zealand‘ meme is under threat through land, water and air pollution of various causes. There is another type of contamination that the country also faces: light ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    1 week ago
  • Reporters deliver uplifting news to fleeing Japanese residents: they won’t miss any rugby
    New Zealand’s media is doing its part in Japan, reassuring those in the path of the storm that they won’t miss any rugby while away from their flooded homes. New Zealand sports reporters stationed in Japan for the Rugby World Cup have had the rare and heartwarming opportunity to inform ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Government in contentious discussions about whether to put surplus on red or black
    Regional Development Minister Shane Jones is the only Cabinet member in favour of putting it all on green. As Finance Minister Grant Robertson finds himself with an enormous $7.5 billion surplus, the Government has begun intense, at times contentious conversations about whether to put the money on red or black at ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Jordanian teachers’ successful strike has lessons for here
    by Susanne Kemp At the start of September close to 100,000 school teachers went on strike in Jordan.  They demanded a 50% pay rise.  A pay rise actually agreed to by the regime back in 2014. In early October, however, in the face of government repression and threats, the teachers’ ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Why some people still think climate change isn’t real
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to Why do people still think climate change isn’t real? David ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • The SIS unlawfully spied on Nicky Hager
    Back in 2011, journalist Nicky Hager published Other People's Wars, an expose on NZDF's activities over the previous decade of the "war on terror". NZDF didn't like this, and especially didn't like the fact that it was base don leaks from their own. So, they had the SIS investigate him ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • October 2019 – Newsletter ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    1 week ago
  • And they wonder why we think they’re environmental vandals…
    The Zero Carbon Bill is due back from select committee in two weeks, and will likely pass its final stages in November. So naturally, farmers are planning a hate-march against it. But they're not just demanding lower methane targets so they can keep on destroying the planet; they're also demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Paying the price in California
    Last year, California burned. This year, to stop it happening again (or rather, to stop themselves from being found liable if it happens again), Pacific Gas and Electric is cutting power to half the state for a week:Schools are closed. Traffic lights down. Tunnels dark. Businesses unopened. Hospitals running on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Let’s Hear It For Up-Close-And-Personal, Hard-Copy Democracy!
    The Best Way: Missing from the on-line voting debate is any reference to the voting system that produces turn-out figures ranging from 77 to 93 percent of registered voters. The voting system used to collect and count the votes cast in our parliamentary elections. The system that involves citizens making ...
    1 week ago
  • 10/10: World Day Against the Death Penalty
    Today, October 10, is the world day against the death penalty. Out of 195 UN member states, 84 still permit capital punishment. Today is the day we work to change that. This year's theme is children. Having a parent sentenced to death or executed causes long-term trauma and stigmatization which ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Talking Freer Lives: a Marxist gender-critical perspective from Australia
    Among the great new bunch of political friends we have been making recently is the excellent Australian-based Marxist gender-critical site, Freer Lives.  So we asked the comrade who set up that blog to write something for Redline on the blog, himself, his analysis of the rise of gender politics and ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Government spin accepted by union leadership
    by Don Franks  The Auckland City Mission is struggling with a 40 percent increase in demand for food parcels this year. A total of 23,020 were needed by June. Last month Missioner Chris Farrelly told the Herald the “cupboards are bare” and without an emergency food drive, he can’t see ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Forbidden Thoughts
    by The Council of Disobedient Women   Massey Wellington Student Association had a sit-in today. Imagine a sit-in. On a campus. Against a women’s rights meeting. Did the ’60s really happen or did we fucking dream it? They gathered in the student square, an echo chamber. Sitting on soft pillows ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Much love to my loyal Ukrainian readership
    For some reasons, my post about the mystery message from inside the Downing Street bunker seemed to catch people's attention.  Quite a lot of hits from NZ (unsurprisingly) and the USA (a bit more puzzlingly, but hi there, USAians!!) and 76 views from the Ukraine.I've celebrated my Ukrainian readers in ...
    1 week ago
  • Another day of bonkers GNUmours (again, sorry)
    First, almost a score of Labour MPs seem to have sent a letter to the EU basically begging them to accept a deal - any deal - just so Britain can get the Heck on with Brexiting instead of being trapped in limbo:
    To avoid no deal, deliver on the ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour vs working class immigrants – again!
    by Phil Duncan In 2016 the National-led government suspended the Parent Visa Category, through which migrants were able to bring their parents into New Zealand.  Since then over 5,700 people have been in immigration limbo, stuck on the visa wait list. Labour is now bringing back the scheme.  Well, sort ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Speak Up for Women press statement: on Massey University and Feminism 2020
    The following was released yesterday (Tues, October 8) by the women’s liberation organisation Speak Up for Women. On 23 September Speak Up For Women announced that we would be holding an event at the Massey University Theaterette in Wellington. The event is called Feminism 2020. The intention of the event ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Farmers support dirty rivers
    The government is currently consulting on plans to improve freshwater quality. So naturally, farmers oppose it:South Taranaki farmers are preparing to fight proposed national freshwater changes that some fear will bankrupt them. The Government's proposed National Environment Standard on Freshwater Management, released in September, rated the Waingongoro River as one ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No-one cares about local government
    Yesterday was the last day for (reliably) posting your vote away in local body elections. Turnouts are mostly much lower than the equivalent time last year (Palmerston North is down 2.3%), and so naturally people are pushing their online-voting snake oil again. Because the online census worked so well, lets ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The political ghosts of eugenics may matter more than the genetic
    This essay, on the political legacy of the eugenics movement, by Kenan Malik was originally published in the Observer on 6 October 2019, under the headline ‘The spirit of eugenics is still with us, as immigrants know to their cost’. Birth control. Intelligence tests. Town planning. Immigration controls. It’s striking how ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • “Surplus” again
    Another year, and the government has announced another enormous government "surplus". And just like last year, its nothing of the sort. When we have people homeless and sick and hungry, when we have schools and hospitals still falling down, when we have underpaid public servants and infrastucture unmaintained or unbuilt, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Inside the Downing Street bunker
    James Forsyth at The Spectator (I know, I know) has tapped one of his contacts inside Number Ten for an insight into the Johnson administration's thinking and strategy.It is fascinating, unsettling and quite, quite mad.  Some key points:Negotiations have stalled and the Johnson administration are keen to blame the EU: ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Taking Control Of The Nation’s Story.
    Fatal Contact: With the arrival of captain James Cook in October 1769, the islands of what would become New Zealand ceased to be the preserve of Polynesian navigators and settlers and became a part of both the world’s map and the world’s history.THE MAORI NATIONALIST assault upon the historical meaning ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Are GNUs extinct?
    Another round of tactical talks about forming a Government of National Unity have come to nothing with the Liberal Democrats still refusing countenance putting Jeremy Corbyn into Downing Street:Opposition talks on Monday made little headway over when to try and vote down Boris Johnson's government and who might succeed him as ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour chickens out again
    When the government was elected, it promised to lead the way on electric vehicles, and specifically to make the government vehicle fleet emissions-free where-practicable by 2025.They lied:There are 15,473 vehicles in the government fleet and only 78 are electric. When the coalition Government came into power in late 2017, the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Transgender extremism, violence at work against feminist meeting at British Labour Party conference
    by Nick Rogers The debate around the meaning of sex and gender made an appearance at this year’s British Labour Party conference in Brighton. Women’s Place UK – an organisation that questions the demand that biological males who self-identify as woman should have access to women’s spaces, to all-women shortlists, ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Rebelling in Wellington
    Yesterday I went down to Wellington to participate in the Extinction Rebellion protest. Its part of the latest global wave of XR actions, with actions happening all over the world. Some of those protests are massively disruptive: in Canada, XR is blocking major bridges, stopping people from getting to work. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • ‘The Workshop’ – Report: Talking about Poverty and Welfare Reform: A Guide to Strategies that ...
    The Workshop is a charitable trust for public good. The Workshop undertake research to find ways of communicating that will build support for the solutions that work to solve complex social and environmental problems. See their Report on Talking about Poverty and Welfare Reform below. ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    2 weeks ago
  • Exclusive language
    What is language? We generally assume that it a facility unique to humans, allowing us to share what’s in and on our minds. We can tell of our plans, our past exploits, our knowledge. It also allows us to lie. And yet there are vast numbers of people we can’t ...
    SciBlogsBy Michael Corballis
    2 weeks ago
  • April 2018 – Submission to the NZ Govt Tax Working Group
    You can read our submission HERE ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    2 weeks ago

  • Methane reducing cattle feed one step closer
    The Government today announced its support for a project that could substantially reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions from cattle. The announcement was made as part of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor’s visit to Nelson’s Cawthron Aquaculture Park. The Cawthron Institute will receive $100,000 from the Government’s ...
    13 hours ago
  • Bill to refresh superannuation system passes first reading
    Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni has welcomed the first reading of the New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension Legislation Amendment Bill. “Every New Zealander has a stake in New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension,” says Carmel Sepuloni. “They are our most common form of social assistance – nearly 800,000 New ...
    15 hours ago
  • Government announces next steps in fight against measles
    Babies in Auckland aged six months and over can receive a free vaccination and children will all have access to vaccines, Associate Minister of Health Julie Anne Genter announced today at Papatoetoe High School.   The move comes as part of Government efforts to step up the fight against measles. ...
    16 hours ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs, Pacific Futures: Connections, Identity...
    ***Check against delivery*** Good morning. It is a pleasure to be here, and to have the honour of opening this important conference on behalf of the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs. Let us take the opportunity to acknowledge all the people who have helped make today possible, including our special ...
    17 hours ago
  • Police trial new response to high risk events
    Police Minister Stuart Nash says the safety of frontline officers and members of the public will be the focus of a new trial of specialist Police response teams in three of our largest urban centres. Police have this morning released details of an initiative to be trialled in Counties Manukau, ...
    17 hours ago
  • New awards celebrate fisheries sustainability
    The Minister of Fisheries is calling for entries for a new public award to celebrate innovation in our seafood sector. “I have established the Seafood Sustainability Awards to recognise and celebrate those throughout industry, tangata whenua and communities who demonstrate outstanding dedication and innovation towards the sustainability of New Zealand’s ...
    19 hours ago
  • More progress for women and we can do more
    Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter welcomes leaders in the private sector taking action on closing their gender pay gaps to ensure a fairer workplace for all New Zealanders. Ms Genter today launched a new report, Addressing the gender pay gap and driving women’s representation in senior leadership, from the Champions for ...
    23 hours ago
  • Proposals to curb environmental damage help our coasts and the oceans
    Government Ministers today welcomed the release of a marine environment report highlighting the four key issues affecting our oceans, estuaries and coastlines.  The release underlines the importance of government proposals to combat climate pollution, ensure clean freshwater, protect biodiversity, make land use more sustainable, and reduce waste and plastic.    Environment ...
    1 day ago
  • New mental health facility for Waikato
    The Government has approved funding for a new acute mental health facility for Waikato which will provide better care and support to people with mental health and addiction issues. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Health Minister Dr David Clark announced the $100 million project to replace the aging Henry Rongomau ...
    2 days ago
  • 500 new te reo Māori champions in our classrooms
    The Government is making progress on its goal to integrate te reo Māori into education by 2025, with over 500 teachers and support staff already graduating from Te Ahu o te Reo Māori,  Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis announced today. Kelvin Davis made the announcement at an awards ceremony in Waikanae today, for ...
    2 days ago
  • Minister James Shaw welcomes 2018 Census first release
    Statistics Minister James Shaw has welcomed the first release of 2018 Census data. The first release of data today, 23 September, includes key data on population, regional growth, the number of homes and the size of different ethnic groups in New Zealand. Data from the 2018 Census will support the ...
    2 days ago
  • Driving transparency, ethics and accountability in government use of algorithms
    Minister for Statistics James Shaw today announced a public consultation on a proposed algorithm charter for government agencies. The charter has been developed by the Government Chief Data Steward in response to growing calls for more transparency in government use of data. Computer algorithms – procedures or formulas for solving ...
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand and the Netherlands working together on climate change
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor, Climate Change Minister James Shaw and visiting Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte co-hosted a business roundtable in Auckland this morning focused on working together to address climate change.  “The Netherlands is an important partner for New Zealand. We share a strong agricultural history. Sustainable agribusiness and ...
    2 days ago
  • Protecting fairness for workers and businesses
    The Government is taking action to build an inclusive economy where more of us receive our fair share at work and businesses can compete on great products and services, not undercutting wages and conditions, Immigration and Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. Two consultations launched today seek feedback ...
    2 days ago
  • Indigenous Freshwater Fish Bill Passes
    The future for New Zealand’s threatened indigenous freshwater fish looks brighter with the passing of the Conservation (Indigenous Freshwater Fish) Amendment Bill in Parliament today said Minister of Conservation, Eugenie Sage. “Until now, our freshwater fish legislation has been 20 years out of date. We have lacked effective tools to ...
    2 days ago
  • Kiwis to take part in world’s biggest earthquake drill
    At 1.30pm tomorrow, hundreds of thousands of Kiwis will join about 65 million people around the globe in ShakeOut, the world’s biggest earthquake drill. The annual drill is to remind people of the right action to take during an earthquake which is to Drop, Cover, Hold, and to practise their ...
    3 days ago
  • Rising wages and low inflation supporting Kiwis
    Kiwis are benefiting from higher wage growth and low inflation under the Coalition Government. Stats NZ data out today shows the rise in the cost of living remains low, as annual Consumers Price Index (CPI) inflation fell to 1.5% in September from 1.7% in June. “The low inflation comes as ...
    3 days ago
  • NZ economy strong amid global headwinds
    New Zealand’s economic strength and resilience has been recognised in a major update on the state of the global economy. The IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook released overnight shows a reduced global growth forecast over the next two years as issues like the US-China trade war and Brexit take hold. ...
    3 days ago
  • Keeping New Zealanders safer with better counter-terrorism laws
    Justice Minister Andrew Little has today introduced a new Bill to prevent terrorism and support the de-radicalisation of New Zealanders returning from overseas. The Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill gives the New Zealand Police the ability to apply to the High Court to impose control orders on New Zealanders who ...
    3 days ago
  • Improved succession and dispute resolution core of Ture Whenua changes
    A Bill that proposes targeted changes to simplify the processes for Māori land owners when engaging with the Māori Land Court has had its First Reading today. “The approach taken by the Government is to ensure that the protection of Māori land remains a priority as we seek to improve ...
    3 days ago
  • Speech to CTU Biennial Conference
    Let me first thank all the new unionists and members in the room. There is nothing more important to improving people’s working lives than people making the decision to care, to get on board and help, to take up the reins and get involved. Congratulations to you. You bring the ...
    3 days ago
  • Minister ensures continued Whenuapai flight operations
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark has signed a certificate exempting the activity of engine testing at Whenuapai Airbase from the Resource Management Act 1991. The Act gives the Minister of Defence the power to exempt activities for the purposes of national security.  The certificate will mean the recent Environment Court ...
    3 days ago
  • NZ joins Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson has announced New Zealand will join the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action while attending APEC meetings in Chile. The objective of the 39 member Coalition is to share information and promote action to tackle climate change. It was formed in April this year, in ...
    3 days ago
  • Feedback Sought – Section 71 – Lyttelton Parking
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    4 days ago
  • Feedback Sought – Section 71 – Hagley Oval
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    4 days ago
  • CTU speech – DPM
    Ladies and gentlemen, NZCTU President Richard Wagstaff, members of respective unions – thank you for the invitation to speak to you today. This might be preaching to the choir, but the importance of trade unions in New Zealand’s historical arch is difficult to understate. And it is my belief that ...
    4 days ago
  • Police Association Annual Conference
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    4 days ago
  • New Zealand announces a further P-3 deployment in support of UN sanctions
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    4 days ago
  • New Zealand deeply concerned at developments in north-east Syria
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    4 days ago
  • Government on high alert for stink bugs
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    4 days ago
  • Better protections for students in halls of residence
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    4 days ago
  • New trapping guide for community and expert trappers alike
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    5 days ago
  • Widening Access to Contraceptives Welcomed
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    5 days ago
  • Major upgrade for Taranaki Base Hospital
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    6 days ago
  • Extra support for rural families
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    7 days ago
  • Howard Leaque Beekeeper programme graduation
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    1 week ago
  • Finance Minister to attend APEC meetings
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    1 week ago
  • Pacific languages are a source of strength, they ground us and build confidence
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    1 week ago
  • Major boost to support disabled people in sport and recreation
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    1 week ago
  • More prefab homes to be built as red tape cut
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    1 week ago