SOFiA Newsletter 165 April 2023
Exploring Values, Meaning and SpiritualityImage of dover beach
From the Editor
Your editor reflects on the significance of Stonehenge.

The dimensions of Stonehenge are impressive. Its earliest form consisted of a wide circle of blue stones that were brought 233 km from West Wales. The main design appeared about 2500 BCE. The big sarsen stones each weigh about 25 tons and came from 32 km away. They needed to be shaped and the lintel stones needed a notch to fit them on top of the vertical stones. This required considerable engineering expertise and the coordinated, painstaking effort of many people. See more... 

Margaret Gywnn
Margaret Gwynn considers the profound implications of abandoning the assumption that the economy has to grow.  
I want to begin by considering our present economy. For the past 40 years, like many other Western countries, New Zealand has practised a neo-liberal economy. The economy is seen as perfect entity separate from society, government and the environment. Markets are efficient and should therefore be used for everything. Distribution of income is ignored, all unemployment is seen as voluntary and ethics are irrelevant. This theory refuses to discard any failures or take any responsibility for damage caused.

The result has been the biggest extractive industry the world has ever seen. Wealth is extracted from the economy and funnelled to the top 1% of the population. Natural resources are plundered, biodiversity plummets and the planet becomes dangerously unbalanced as we breach 4 of the nine planetary boundaries and threaten the rest.
See more…

 Frank Regan, head and shoulders photo
Our Wounded Body Politic
Frank Regan, the former editor of Renew, the magazine of Catholics for a Changing Church, shares his gloomy picture of the UK and the rest of the world.

This winter of 2022-23 has shaken our society and awakened us to a situation in which the lives and welfare of millions of our fellow citizens are seriously at risk. As one who professes to be a follower (not a worshipper) of Jesus of Nazareth, I hear constantly in my heart words of his which I consider to be his most beautiful: “I have come that you have life, and have it to the full” (Jn 10:10).

He did not come to found a new religion. He came to share our lives, to tell us that we are loved and together we can make life like a kingdom of peace, justice and joy (Romans 14:17). Today’s situation is in danger of being one of death in abundance, a low hallmark of what it is like to live between hope and despair today in the sixth largest economy on the planet.  See more…

Lauire Chisholm, Newsletter editor, Head and shoulders photo 
Morality from the Bottom Up
Your editor reflects on the work of primatologist Frans de Waal.
Morality has generally been regarded as the domain of philosophers and theologians. In other words, it is a rational endeavour and philosophers (and perhaps theologians) would therefore be the best at coming to correct conclusions about what is right and what is wrong. Morality is also thought to be a uniquely human construct, with animals assumed to simply follow their instincts.

Frans de Waal is a Dutch primatologist who provides a powerful challenge to the above assumptions. His life’s work has been studying the behaviour of primates and by extension, of humans also. He has published as least nine books, and the thoughts below derive from The Bonobo and the Atheist, published in 2013.  See more…

 Book eview cover: Becoming Pakeha
Book Review: Becoming Pakeha - a journey between two cultures by John Bluck
Reviewed by Ian Crumpton, a recently deceased longstanding SOFiA member and former chairman of the Christchurch group.

The main thesis of this book is as crystal clear as it is frightening: that human activity over the last century has rapidly increased the greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere to the point where we are on the verge of transforming the planet into a hothouse world, with massive species depletion, sea level rise and a host of related changes. All threatening the whole biosystem with unstoppable global warming. The difference between Jim Hansen and other “end of the world” prophets, is that he is a leading planetary scientist who has spent a lifetime studying these trends. His predictions are based, not on a misreading of some ancient religious text, but on hard science. And it all points in the same direction.  See more…

Zoom Meetings from the Melbourne SOFIA Group
The Melbourne SOFiA Group has monthly lecture/discussions, mostly at 4pm (NZ time) on Saturdays.

  Printable Version button             - * -  About SOFiA - * -



Quick links