Chch earthquake sparks return to faith
Sun, 16 Dec 2012 6:31p.m.
By Ingrid Hipkiss
The Christchurch earthquake has triggered a return to religious faith. A new world-first study has proved that people are drawn to religion in a time of crisis, and bucks a 50-year trend of New Zealanders turning away from religion.
One Christchurch congregation was in full voice this morning, and the number singing God's praises there is growing.
“There's definite comfort and help in the word of God and the belief that when things happen to us they happen for a reason,” says church member Geoff Siave.
That's backed up by an Auckland and Victoria University study, which found that as the steeples fell in Christchurch, the number of people turning to religion rose.
“Over 26 churches fell,” says Victoria University religious studies lecturer Joseph Bulbulia. “We found that secular people were drawn to faith and that's a unique, interesting finding.”
There was a 3.4 percent increase in religious faith by those affected by the quake, which is not a huge number until you consider that for more than half a century New Zealanders have been turning away from religion at the rate of about 1 percent per year.
“The quake's just one of those things that just nudge people to think, ‘hey, what's life about?’” says pastor Alan Jameson.
“For me God is a really loving presence,” says church member Ruth Sharr. “So when you’re scared you return to that safe place.”
The study also asked people about their health and well-being pre- and post-quake. Religion didn't protect people from feeling worse, but those who had lost their faith suffered more.
“There's something about that combination of the earthquake and loss of faith that indicates a significant drop in subjective wellbeing,” says Mr Bulbulia.
The study will run for another 16 years, gauging New Zealanders' attitudes and values and how they respond to any future upheaval.
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19/12/2012 2:26:59 p.m.
@ Ian, well said.. we are always hearing religious people saying how smart they are, and yet they are all duped into believing something that is just ridiculous! if they were so smart they would realise that anything that requires "faith" is a load of rubbish
19/12/2012 11:29:03 a.m.
@ Steph, so you have all those brains yet for some reason you dont use them? If you are a student then you should be good at doing research, why dont you do some in to your crazy beliefs? trust me if you have half the intellect that you say you do then it wont take long to see that all religions are just myths
19/12/2012 12:13:33 a.m.
There are alot of doubting Thomas's here aren't there lol.
PHIL - What is common to one isn't common to another. Protection would only be asked for if the residents knew what was coming and the ability of humans to predict an earthquake is somewhat limited.
Prayer is answered.
All-powerful omnipotence exists.
One can take a 'leap-of-faith' without being delusional and also whilst awaiting evidence to support their tentative 'leap'.
Evidence will arrive due to God's supernatural power that you refer to.
Many highly intelligent and logical people with sound reason and judgement have become Christians.
"Religious Fantasy and Age of reason" - what a load of bollocks with all due respect.
After 5 years of reasoning God showed up for me through tangible, unquestionable, practicle events and patterns and I am an A student, analytic, logical and full of reason (it's why it took a 5 year analysis) absolutely was at an extremely great place in my life, I was not weak, I was confident I needed nothing.
I pray that God shows up for you this Christmas in Jesus's name, Amen :-)
May you each be blessed with clarity and certainty of God's reality this Christmas. Love from a friend.
17/12/2012 4:25:54 p.m.
@ Stefan, if it wasnt for tragedies and people being scared of there own mortality then there would be no religions, and I wouldnt say that religion is a crutch for the weak-spirited, it targets the weak-spirited and makes them crazy promises that it cant fulfill, and then turns that hope in to fear of what will happen if they dont abide! Religion is like a bully who promises to be nice as long as you do what he says, and if you dont he will beat you up for eternity
17/12/2012 11:23:53 a.m.
Doesn't this only prove that religion is a tool that can be utilized as a crutch for the weak-spirited? I mean if tragedy causes you to return to your faith instead of your belief in the Word of the Bible/God, you're not really a believer, are you?
If the earthquake were never to have occurred, you'd still be irreligious. That's a little absurd, i think. You don't just choose to go back because something bad happened.
17/12/2012 9:36:01 a.m.
This just goes to show how easily lead astray people can be when faced with their own mortality. All churches and Religions thrive on peoples fear and pain and its actually quite sad that people are willing to believe crazy lies just to make themselves feel better. I personally care if my beliefs are true and wether or not they make me feel better is put on the back burner. People keep saying that faith is a virtue, well its not, faith is gullability, and the only thing that requires faith is lies. All these people will soon see the error of their ways and will realise how stupid they have been before too long.
17/12/2012 8:01:57 a.m.
Science 101: Surveys don't "prove" anything, and causation can only be attributed via experimentation.
16/12/2012 11:25:08 p.m.
What a load of codswallop, maybe the churches are fuller because there's not many left standing.
16/12/2012 9:28:25 p.m.
If common sense and logic prevailed, the destruction of many churches of the various faiths suggests very strongly that there is no protection to be had. So much for all powerful omnipotence. When under stress, there can be a tendency to have difficulty thinking logically. Hence a move to delusion, if it comforts. Faith is a position taken in the absence of evidence, or in the presence of contrary evidence, so is delusional by definition and not something to be proud of. Earthquakes happen because of constant tectonic plate movement, not because of the actions of those who live on them.
Reasoning someone out of a delusional state is probably impossible when reason was not involved in the first place. So the churches gain a few, for a while arresting the decline of religious fantasy in a small area of the country. But the age of reason continues.
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