Essay: An Open Letter to a New Zealand atheist

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Will the New Zealand atheist start bowing and scraping to the religious like his agnostic Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern recently did?

New Zealand news website: "Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks during centenary celebrations at Rātana Church in November. She gifted her Bible to the movement, saying it was a symbol of her promise to lead be a government that was kind and compassionate."[1]

Et tu, Jacinda?

Dear New Zealand atheist,

Much of my material focused in the Irreligion in New Zealand article focused on demographic projections of leading scholars in this area and recent immigration/fertility trends as well in terms of the religious/irreligious in New Zealand (NZ). You seem hopelessly stuck in the past and foolishly clinging to notion that today's state of affairs is going to be tomorrow's state of affairs. The highly religious are definitely growing in NZ (evangelical Christians and Filipino/Muslim immigrants).

Second, NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is an agnostic who bowed to the religious voters with her Bible gift.[2] Viktor Orbán and other right-wing and/or religious politicians are not giving The God Delusion to atheist groups. The bowing and scraping is happening on your side of the aisle.

Jens Köhrsen), a professor for religion and economics at the Centre for Religion, Economy and Politics (ZRWP)[3], wrote:

[ Jürgen Habermas ] ...argues that a new age, the age of post-secularity, has begun. Previously vastly secularized societies, like the highly developed countries of Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, would experience a new awareness of religion and attribute a new public role to religion. From now on, religion would constitute a relevant dialogue partner in the public debates of these societies (Habermas, 2008). Moreover, Habermas presents a normative argument about public religion: he recommends that post-secular societies should facilitate religious contributions to the public sphere. Religious reasoning could contribute to public debates about the ethical values of contemporaneous and future societies. Habermas believes that modern societies might find some answers to the moral questions of our time by listening to religion in public debates (Habermas, 2001, 2005, 2006, 2008). A similar position to that of Habermas is proposed by Leclerc (2001) and French sociologist Willaime (2004a, 2004b, 2005[1995]: 76-78, 2008). Willaime observes that even the highly secularized public and political sphere of France is exhibiting a new, more open attitude towards religion. The hypersecularity of France would stimulate a restructuration process of religion. According to Willaime, religion can form an important resource for public debates and be engaged in the identity construction process of individuals and collectives.[4]

Again, I cite Professor Jens Köhrsen:

Willaime observes that even the highly secularized public and political sphere of France is exhibiting a new, more open attitude towards religion... Thomas Meyer posits that religion is becoming increasingly involved in the public and political sphere. He regards this process, in opposition to Habermas, Willaime and Leclerc, not as positive but as a potential threat to the secular foundations of the modern state. However, Meyers’ point of view does not seem to reflect the common position of public religion approaches. In general, scholars rather appear to welcome the supposed new presence of religion in Western Europe’s public sphere(s).[5]

Since World War II a majority of the most prominent and vocal defenders of the evolutionary position which employs methodological naturalism have been atheists and agnostics.[6] Charles Darwin was an agnostic and British evolutionist.

Even in Britain, the fountainhead of Darwinism, British teachers are bowing and scraping to Islamic creationist students.

The British newspaper The Telegraph reported in an article entitled Richard Dawkins: Muslim parents 'import creationism' into schools:

Prof Dawkins, a well-known atheist, also blamed the Government for accommodating religious views and allowing creationism to be taught in schools.

"Most devout Muslims are creationists so when you go to schools, there are a large number of children of Islamic parents who trot out what they have been taught," Prof Dawkins said in a Sunday newspaper interview.

"Teachers are bending over backwards to respect home prejudices that children have been brought up with. The Government could do more, but it doesn't want to because it is fanatical about multiculturalism and the need to respect the different traditions from which these children come."[7]

In 2009, The Guardian reported:

Mass migration has led to a rise in creationist beliefs across Europe, according to a British scientist.

Michael Reiss, who is a professor of education at the Institute of Education in London and an Anglican priest, said the evolution-creationism debate could no longer be thought of as something that happened elsewhere and that more and more people in the UK did not accept evolution.

Reiss told the Guardian that countries with a higher proportion of Muslims or fundamentalist Christians in their population were more likely to reject evolution. He added: "What the Turks believe today is what the Germans and British believe tomorrow. It is because of the mass movement of people between countries.

"These things can no longer be thought of as occurring in other countries. In London, where I work, there are increasingly quite large numbers of highly intelligent 16, 17 and 18-year-olds doing Advanced Level biology who do not accept evolution. That's either because they come from a fundamentalist Christian background or from Muslim backgrounds."[8]

Deny the world is becoming more religious and religious immigration is changing the Western World and lose all credibility (see: Desecularization and Global atheism statistics).

NZ consists of a number of islands, but in a world of: the resurgence of religion throughout much of the world; global communication; below replacement fertility rates in nonreligious/irreligious countries and immigration; it is not a matter of if NZ atheism/agnosticism populations will largely have their influence wither away in NZ, but when.

No nation is an island, my atheist friend. In world of globalization, NZ will become desecularized.

In fact, the process is already starting:

"Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks during centenary celebrations at Rātana Church in November. She gifted her Bible to the movement, saying it was a symbol of her promise to lead be a government that was kind and compassionate."[9]

Et tu, Jacinda?

For more information, please see: Postsecularism and New Zealand in the 21st century

See also

Notes

  1. Godless NZ? Not entirely - we're actually becoming a more Christian nation by Martin van Beynen, Dec 29, 2018, www.stuff.co.nz
  2. Godless NZ? Not entirely - we're actually becoming a more Christian nation by Martin van Beynen, Dec 29, 2018, www.stuff.co.nz
  3. Prof. Dr. Jens Köhrsen, University website faculty page
  4. How religious is the public sphere? – A critical stance on the debate about public religion and post-secularity, Draft Version, Jens Koehrsen (Köhrsen). Bielefeld Graduate School in History and Sociology, Germany. École des hautes études en sciences socials, France. Published in: Acta Sociologica 55 (3), S. 273-288.
  5. How religious is the public sphere? – A critical stance on the debate about public religion and post-secularity, Draft Version, Jens Koehrsen (Köhrsen). Bielefeld Graduate School in History and Sociology, Germany. École des hautes études en sciences socials, France. Published in: Acta Sociologica 55 (3), S. 273-288.
  6. Richard Dawkins: Muslim parents 'import creationism' into schools, The Telegraph
  7. Migration is spreading creationism across Europe, claims academic by Riazat Butt, religious affairs correspondent, Friday 13 November 2009 07.49 EST
  8. Godless NZ? Not entirely - we're actually becoming a more Christian nation by Martin van Beynen, Dec 29, 2018, www.stuff.co.nz