Archæology

The assorted finds of Artefact Publishing

Fundamentally flawed

Rather than rant about Brian Tamaki and the Destiny Church, I’m going to.... Well, actually, let me say first that I’m not sure whether to credit Mr Tamaki with enough intelligence to be intellectually dishonest, or whether he’s simply a dangerous idiot. Having not been brought up a Christian, having never been a Christian, and not having read all of the Bible, I still know that Jesus is reported to have said “μὴ κρίνετε, ̔ίνα μὴ κριθῆτε” (“Judge not, that ye be not judged”, Matthew 7:1), and I know that interpretation of the Bible has been going on for as long as there has been a Bible, and God hasn’t declared a winner yet.

But there is a worse problem, for being more insidious, than fundamentalist wackos: according to a segment on Nightline last night, the principal of Wellington High School, Prue Kelly, said in response to the majority of students protesting the leasing of school buildings to Destiny Church that it was a business decision, and not the students’ concern. Excuse me, Ms Kelly, but you are running a school, not a business, and if your students are concerned about what is going on at school then you should be paying close attention to them. Your role is, first and foremost, to ensure the wellbeing and education of your students. It betrays a complete lack of sensitivity to consider that what happens on school property outside of school hours has no influence on those who use it during school hours, and to hold such a view makes you utterly unfit to act in any educational capacity.

Really, what is wrong with this woman? When teenagers are normally apathetic and uninterested, how can a protest on the part of so many of them be dismissed so brazenly? How can such a sign of budding political and social activity, the core of citizenship, be quashed rather than celebrated? How can money be given a higher place than the care of children? Well, from a look at their (really badly designed) website, money seems to be the primary concern of the administration of the school: at least three of the eight links on the home page (one of the links is broken) go to versions of the story trumpeting their winning of an export award, with no mention of a student anywhere. Time, I think, to write to Ms Kelly (prue.kelly@whs.school.nz).

Posted by jamie on August 24, 2004 09:18+12:00

Comments

i wonder, and hope that the agressive nature of the destiny march has turned more people away from their cause.

Posted by: sue on August 25, 2004 19:14+12:00

On a completely trivial note, I was delighted that for "destiny church brian tamaki wellington high school", google gave me Artefact at No. 1 spot; take out "high", and it's still number three. The voice of reason shines clear (excuse the mixed metaphor :).

Posted by: Jeremy on August 25, 2004 22:20+12:00

Hi there just a minor point for ya about the Jesus quote: (matthew 7:1) "judge not lest ye be judged" : i am happy to see so much biblical discussion generated by the destiny debate. Yet pulling verses out of context to justify moral relativism is not a consistent approach to biblical exegesis. The bible is full of moral judgements (eg romans ch.1). I believe the point jesus made, was that one should examine one's own standing before God before passing judgement upon others. I dont think this included warnings about the dangers of sin and its consequences. A critique on this basis (not judging) also involves making moral judgements, so is a little weak . . .

Posted by: robertp on October 6, 2004 21:24+13:00

Robert, the issue is not one of moral relativism per se. I can, with only a little difficulty, accept an absolute morality. However, holding or not holding such a belief does not bear directly on the matter of judging another based on that belief. See also my entry on God is good.

As for other judgements in the Bible, I will be more convinced by those which are reputedly the words of Jesus than those which are ascribed to Paul. There is also a real difference between saying that something is against a rule and judging another for breaking that rule. This was made particularly clear in the monastery, where the Vinaya imposes strict discipline and penalties for transgression, without entering into judgements. There is a world of difference between the behaviour of Buddhist monks in censuring another and the behaviour of the Destiny Church marchers. A large part of that difference is that the former are not acting out of fear or anger.

Posted by: Jamie on October 6, 2004 21:51+13:00