Sunday, January 16, 2011

Aboriginal religion: Seeing a few things clearly

New Zealand friend Steve Sparrow writes, in response to my recent post pleading for people to try to understand ancestor worship before trashing it - or, worse, coming up with a glib cockamamie “explanation,” which amounts to the same thing:
Hello Denyse, not a lot different to the basic beliefs of Maori here or First Nation Folk in your neck of the woods - I suspect.

I have a good friend & former teacher Fr Bern Ryan S.M. now 86 & still at the helm of an Aboriginal Mission he started up in Kempsey Australia nearly 20 years ago.

We keep in touch per phone & when he makes periodic visits across "The Ditch" to Christchurch.

Anyway, like many indigenous peoples the Australian native has been trampled flat through a European distaste for their (to our eyes) rather primitive culture.

Fr Ryan explained it this way. Originally the Aboriginal men were the priests who went away to secret places & communed with the spirits. Then along comes the Colonist (Fr Ryan says "we") who tells them their religion is crap and replaces it with social welfare, booze and drugs.

Why should we be surprised at the unhappy outcomes.
As a traditional Christian, I believe that humanity’s most ancient religions were misdirected to the extent that they worshipped the creation, not the Creator. But a sense of superiority is not, in itself a virtue, especially when knowing a better answer is not the result of much personal effort.


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