Wednesday, August 6, 2008

In the Middle of it with Maximus #1 - Religion, Is It Really the Great Bane of UC?

Well you always no that the CANTA editor is desperate when he asks a CD (and recently a party) reviewer to write a column…but thanks Matt I needed to keep up the writing!

Now before I launch into an obscene rant about crap I need to say a rather shameless plug - Friday 22nd of August at Bentleys Bar Echoic, Socks Off, Grafton Zoo and Millionaire Debrofski will be playing and for only $5!! W00t!

Ahem yeah but now that's outta the way time for to actually get back to writing something...

It seems the other week someone wrote in to CANTA complementing an article of mine but then the twat destroyed his integrity by launching into a rant about getting pissed off at punters around the campus trying to drag us kicking and screaming to their faith (predominantly Christian in orientation). Well first off, let's have a look at a few things that might make Canterbury Uni an easy place for religious fanatics to recruit people.
The first is that, unlike any other major city in New Zealand Christchurch was established with a very strong Christian base, hence the name. So it's surely a given that with the sheer amount of churches we have in this city that they're needing to be used instead of sitting there all pretty-like.
The second is that many aspects of our university were established based on Christian principles, the halls for example are testament to this: Bishop Julius (no shit) and the mighty Rochester and Rutherford (can you guess I stayed there?). However this does not mean that Christian theology will be rammed down your throat, quite the opposite in fact, while at R'n'R I only ever went to one compulsory chapel service in which we got told about the lamb of God and given a stone. At the time I was a bit confused by this for a few reasons, the first is for the simple fact that I was giggling to myself because Lamb of God is one of my favourite bands, the second is that I wasn't entirely convinced the usefulness or the meaning of a pebble in signifying Christianity. After spending a good week or so gurgling down Speights and JDs (this was Orientation after all) I finally found a use for it in the form of being a pet rock named Pete the Paperweight.
Though it is argued that in the last hundred years or so education has replaced religion as the basis for being cultured (thanks CULT 202!) and with New Zealand being such a multicultural society as well as our exposure to other cultures through the media and internet, it's not a great surprise that religion's begun to take a back seat in our generation.
The point I'm getting at, and I am believe me, is that religion has become so diluted in our culture that I have a bit of respect for those trying to recruit us to their faith, but really we have so many choices and so many ways to interpret the meanings of these faiths. For example, yesterday I was given a flier by someone outside the UCSA informing me that this week (I think) is Islam awareness week, after returning to my flat and putting it under Pete I began to think about how much crap Islam gets in the news. In Australia the 'wogs' are barely allowed to open up new mosques or Islamic schools in case they train up future t-words, in China they're portrayed as evil separatists (Taiwan has rivals!) and of course in America they're second-class citizens to the patriots and Jews. In fact I read somewhere lately that in once mighty England that the most popular religion is no longer Anglicanism (a type of Christianity to my red-neck compadres out there), but instead it's Islam.
So is Islam the new black? Will a new fashion trend soon emerge where women cover up their faces with burqas and guys grow beards? No, well maybe in winter for warmth.
I'm happy to see Islam being promoted in New Zealand, I'm also happy to see Christianity promoted on campus too, but not so much so when someone stands at the top of the library steps and begins preaching to the masses - you know who you are.
Finally I'll leave you all today with something the great Bill Hicks once said "What business is it of yours what I do, read, buy, see, say, think, who I fuck, what I take, into my body - as long as I do not harm another human being on this planet?"

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