Christianity & Environment & ...July 11 2004 at 9:18 AM
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|Mangi Nating |
Response to The place of women in modern PNG society
Like you, I was concerned that we may be holding up the discussion by our exchanges, but then I realized that people can make choices. They can choose to start another thread and discuss a topic and it isn’t our fault if they fail to make use of that choice. So nox bisi long ol narapela, if anyone wants to join in our discussion, it’s up to him or her, it’s a public forum after all.
I disagree, it makes one totally accountable. In fact, I envy Christians their faith, it must give them great peace of mind. In my world, there is no "God's will". You have to find the answer to everything yourself, or decide to let it pass.
Actually, it is not as easy as it sounds. True, you are promised peace of mind, because Christ said “my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you” but you also go through life’s struggles just like everyone else, and you are persecuted for your faith, either by mockers or by physical torture. As to accountability, if one does not believe in the existence of God, then morality is relative. In fact there is no binding law upon any man except that of the state, and the state’s law is arbitrary. Moreover recognition or adherence to the law is a matter of weighing up the cost/benefits of obeying the law. The ‘limits’ on decadence are arbitrary, for a Christian they are fixed. For example, a Christian believes that abortion is a sin, whereas a non-Christian will justify abortion. A Christian believes that in public office, he should be accountable firstly to God, to a non Christian, he should do whatever is most beneficial to himself and secondly whatever appears to be beneficial to society.
My view of Jesus, is that of the Jews. I have no argument with the fact of his existence. However, I take great issue with the notion that he was the son of God. He was a leader of his people, and the greatest that they have had so far. But I do not think he was as great a leader as Ghandi. By passive resistance, Ghandi also got rid of the invader out of his country. Something Jesus did not achieve. The Romans finally left, a few centuries later.
Well, at least we agree that Jesus Christ was a historical figure. Where we differ is the divinity of Christ. This depends upon whether or not we believe Christ was resurrected from the dead. I believe this, and believe Christ was crucified, died and then was resurrected on the third day. This sounds implausible and many people have come up with theories to explain the resurrection. None of them make any sense. I think the more one learns about the world, through philosophy and the study of natural phenomena (the physical sciences) the more convinced one is of the existence of things beyond our natural world. Take the issue of intelligent design. The more one considers this, the more incredible the claims of evolutionists become. No one in their right mind thinks the statues on Easter Island are a product of natural forces. There must have been intelligent design involved, so too with the incredibly complex human body & brain, and with the earth in general.
Democracy and Capitalism, are not automatically the best way for a developing country.
I have always thought the idea of ‘democracy’ as not the best possible arrangement. I think ideally a government should be composed of those who are best able to do the job. As to voting, universal suffrage dilutes the power of the individual vote, which might explain why most people don’t bother to vote. If there were some restrictions placed on who could stand for elections, perhaps we might improve the caliber of people in parliament. Say, minimum standards of education, public service records etc… This might create a form of aristocracy but it would certainly not be hereditary aristocracy, and I see no problem with having a government of the best able men/women. Dispela em sampela tingting tasol. I still think Democracy is a better system than Totalitarianism. We certainly don’t want to have a dictator, the only beneficial dictator that I’ve seen has been in the books (Lee Kuan Yew & Mahatir being two exceptions).
As to lack of time to pursue your own literary interests, I think most people face that. However if one were to throw out one’s T.V, it is amazing the amount of free-time that would be made available (I’m not talking about your case Ralph). I see a lot of people spend endless hours in front of the idiot-box watching such enlightening programs as Sally Jessie Raphael, Jerry Springer, (all the reality-TV shows) and these same people complain about a lack of time, not realizing that the idiot box that just fried a million brain cells is responsible for that lack of time.
For our legends and such, I’m hoping, God willing, to do it, even if it is in amateur form. I hope to record them down and then perhaps in time someone shall rewrite them in an acceptable form and publish them, so we have a record of our history on paper. I’m hoping that more people in the country will do this. I have a friend who did something similar so I’m hopeful it will catch on in the rest of the country.
Actually Ralph, employment opportunities are the best they have been for sometime in this country. The Government had a $3 (?) billion dollar surplus plus there is a shortage of skilled labor, which the Labor government hopes to remedy through immigration. There is also talk of ‘importing’ low-skill workers from the nearby pacific islands to fill some of the jobs.
“When tourists arrived at Jacksons, it really turned them off. I know it is a cultural thing,”
It is bad for tourism, but it is also bad for ordinary Papua New Guineans. You have to be careful not to step in that mess when you walk the footpaths. I’m sure it isn’t healthy to have people spit anywhere they see fit. Also, people spit from moving vehicles as well. This is certainly not cultural. It is the result of a lack of basic education about hygiene. Betelnut was not found in the Highlands of PNG until after the Europeans arrived. So one cannot say it is cultural. Many other people in the city have only come into contact with the nut just recently. You related your story about those co-workers anxious to see what your reactions would be with the betelnut. This is a problem with our people I think. They assume that if one is able to chew betelnut (especially a foreigner) then that automatically makes him acceptable. The same thing is done with politicians, people assume that if a politician can chew betelnut with the people in the streets than he is O.K with us, never mind what his policies are.
Concerning the impatience of the general populace, I think this is true of people all over the world. People discount the future heavily; whatever policy does not bear immediate results is deemed less worthy than something that is. This is why not everyone is so keen about plans to ‘save’ the environment, because the results are not evident immediately.
I feel the Christian attitude has much to do with the world's ecology problems. I can still remember the church teaching, that man was given dominion over the earth and the beasts of the field, to use as he saw fit.
Actually Ralph, I think this may be a misrepresentation of the Christian worldview. Man was given dominion, not to do as he saw fit but to “dress it and to keep it” Gen 2:15. Which means that he should look after it, not destroy it, which is what some nations are doing when they pollute the environment. I don’t think it is so much the love or lack of love of the environment as it is the love of money. The scriptures also have something to say about the love of money (“the love of money is the root of all evil”). So I would argue that it isn’t the worldview so much as it is the love of money which leads to environmental degradation. If you are going to get K10,000 for a 100 year old tree, regardless of your animistic beliefs, you are going to cut that tree down.
“Selective logging is OK, and if done properly can improve the forest.”
Yes, I really feel that we should be thinking about sustainable businesses and looking after our environment. Things like dynamiting reefs to get fish is not only dangerous, it means less fish in the future (again another result of excessive discounting of the future).
As to your Scottish heritage, you wouldn’t be related somewhere along the line to William Wallace now would you? the only famous Scot I know apart for Adam Smith & Immanuel Kant; (although, he became a German). And like I said earlier, I think these discussions are mutually beneficial (well they are beneficial to me at least).