Aug 13 2013

August 2013 Newsletter

Published by under Newsletters

091011.SOFimageSea of Faith – Dunedin
Exploring Meaning in Life
Newsletter AUGUST 2013

Next Meeting

David Kitchingman

What can we learn from traditional societies?

Thursday, 22nd August

Highgate Church buildings,
Maori Hill
Tea and Coffee will be available
between 5.00 and 5.40 pm
Food will be available
$5 for as much as you want to eat plus rent
$2 if you come for the meeting only
Kitchen volunteers:
Marjorie and Bruce Spittle
The programme will start at 6 pm


We Start With…

A two minute period of silence.


From the Chair

Sir Lloyd Geering’s address on 1st August was a remarkable occasion. With nearly 30 members of Dunedin SoF, and over 30 visitors, we had a very good audience for this world-class thinker and presenter. Lloyd spoke for an hour on the widest range of history, theology, evolution, and scientific thought. He then explained his address was three chapters of his most recent book ‘From the Big Bang to God’ which I now have in front of me. It has eleven chapters, and is in three parts, from which you’ll see the breadth of the thinking he has developed over his 95 years:

  • The evolution of the physical universe
  • The evolution of the human thought world
  • The human situation

Sir Lloyd is hugely generous with his time, and we were very honoured to have had this opportunity to hear him. I’d like to thank all members at the meeting for their help in welcoming guests and assisting in making the meeting run smoothly.

If you wish to get in touch with me you can do so at
phone: 473 0031 mobile: 027 473 0031
Kind regards,
Gretchen Kivell

Last Meeting

It was a remarkably mild August evening for Dunedin that made turning out for 69 people to listen to New Zealand’s best known theologian all the more pleasant.
Lloyd was clearly very much at home amongst friends if one were to judge from the number of hugs and kisses exchanged, as well as the smiles and warm welcoming handshakes all around.
His message was as clear as a bell. We are all fairly well aware of the transition from polytheism to monotheism and the idea that “God is in charge” which can lead to a disconnect between humans and the natural world. A god which created everything and which regulates the earth, and all life on it fulfills the desire to have a “theory of everything” and takes substantial responsibility away from the humans that live on the earth.
Perhaps beginning with David Strauss, who argued against the divine nature of Jesus, continuing with Ludwig Feuerbach who argued that god was a projection of man’s inward nature, and developing in our lifetime with John Robinson’s “Honest to God” which again challenged our traditional image of God we arrive at a time when we realise that God is within us and that we act as God. We take a far more active interest in our weddings and funerals these days and so perhaps we are ready for the idea of “we are God”. We are tackling god-like decisions every day; in hospital operating rooms and science laboratories, as well as in war zones (and from further afield with drones) and so it is easy to appreciate that we have the well-being of the planet in our own hands.
Lloyd argued that the idea of God was great as it gave rise to modern science, but that idea needs to be revisited. It is not so much that God is dead, but the old IDEA of God which is dead.
It is up to US to mobilise and tackle the great problems facing the earth now:

  • The destruction of Mother Earth by placing great strains on her ecology: rapid population growth together with uneven distribution of the food supply, pollution of our land, rivers and oceans, changes in climate caused by humans and the ripping out of earth’s resources as if they were inexhaustible.
  • Militarism: including the existence of enough weapons to annihilate the earth’s population several times over, along with global terrorism, if not in the name of religion, then in the name of greedy warring political factions.
  • Global pandemics such as The Black Death and Spanish ‘flu in the past – SARS, AIDS, avian ‘flu.
  • Economic destitution caused by the aggregation of wealth and power into the hands of fewer countries and fewer people within them and the denial of democracy to ensure fairness.

If we fail, the earth will still be here, along with the bacteria and many insects and plants, but there may well be no human life as there is now. No use either in saying “bring it on, I’m going to a better life in the next world” – that’s a figment of our imagination too.

Next Meeting

David Kitchingman will be introducing the question:
“What can we learn from traditional societies, and particularly from traditional religions?”
His presentation will be a selective response to the publication this year of Jared Diamond’s The World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn From Traditional Societies?
Diamond, an American polymath professor, is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the influential million-copy-bestseller Guns, Germs and Steel, and Collapse, a number one international bestseller.
Diamond’s latest book draws heavily on his intimate association with New Guinea over nearly fifty years. David, having himself spent some time in New Guinea, has been impressed by the book’s broad scope and penetrating insights. The session will touch on varied topics, such as child-rearing and old age, and peace and war, but will focus more on what we might be able to learn from traditional religions, which, like so much else within traditional societies, “ruled” the world until virtually “yesterday”.


Newsletter Editor:
Alan Jackson
55 Evans Street
Ph: 473 6947

No responses yet

Trackback URI | Comments RSS

Leave a Reply