When China versus the USA, where are we?
Montevideo Maru wreck found after 80 years

There is no such thing as a Christian nation


TUMBY BAY - A couple of days ago there was an interesting comment by Pauline P Kama on Michael Kabuni’s article, ‘At its core, PNG is corrupt. Easter showed that’.

Pauline referred to elections and the way decent men and women are turned away from voting while “violent and lazy voters” are corralled by corrupt politicians to “maintain the chaos” and keep them in power.

It was her penultimate conclusion that struck me most: “There’s no such thing as a Christian country.”

A quick search of the internet revealed a plethora of opinion on this topic, from both Christians and non-Christians.

One thing that became clear is that many people believe that a declaration that a country is Christian, in the way that Papua New Guinea’s prime minister has done on numerous occasions, doesn’t make it true.

Furthermore, many people believe that just because the constitution of a country includes references to Christianity it doesn’t make it a Christian country.

Papua New Guinea’s constitution does not specifically recognise the country as Christian, even though most people claim to identify as Christian.

While reference is made to ‘Christian principles’ and the ‘guiding hand of God’ in the preamble of the constitution, that is not enough to officially make it a Christian nation.

According to the PNG National Research Institute, for a country to be officially recognised as a Christian state, it must both recognise Christianity as its official religion and have a state-owned church. This is not the case in Papua New Guinea.

If prime minister Marape wants Papua New Guinea to officially be a Christian country he would have to amend Section 45 of the constitution.

As Pauline intimates, just because people, including politicians, call themselves Christians doesn’t make it true.

How can you be Christian if you don’t act like a Christian and uphold its tenets?

Surely a nation can only be ‘Christian’ to the extent that its people are, in fact, real Christians.

Given the entirely avoidable impoverished condition of many of its ordinary people, it is hard to imagine that PNG is even close to being a Christian nation.

There are different kinds of Christianity.

In the USA, fundamentalist and Pentecostal Christianity helps drive racism, misogyny and gun violence.

That kind of Christianity is inspired by the brutality, misogyny, intolerance, death and destruction ascribed to a wrathful God in the Old Testament.

It is remarkably similar to what drives tribalism and warfare in Papua New Guinea.

In biblical terms it could be argued that this destructive and loathsome interpretation is representative of the beliefs of many Christians, including politicians, in some parts of PNG.

Pauline’s interpretation of Christianity is obviously a benevolent one, where goodness and tolerance prevail.

By saying that there is no such thing as a Christian country she means that there is no country in the world where these qualities are paramount.

In this sense one has to wonder what people like prime minister Marape really mean when they claim that PNG is a Christian country.

Is it a country driven by a violent and wrathful God or is it a country driven by a God of gentle principles and benevolence?

I’d suggest that if the latter were the case, PNG would be an entirely different country to what it is at the moment.

So who is this God in whom Papua New Guineans claim to believe?


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Paul Oates

Why are we such a terrible and destructive species?

The answer to that question might rest with what colour are your glass lenses? Blue or Rose? Is the glass half full or half empty?

Is the world thus or have we made it thus?

We are the same species that due to our evolved attributes, was able to become sentient and fly to the moon. We are also the same species who cannot do away with war.

The answer is historical. Either we learn from history or we are condemned to repeat the errors time after time.

The answer is in education but look who is setting the curriculum's and thereby subverting our young people or depriving them of a holistic education and a better awareness of human kind?

Yep! It's always those who seek personal gain and wealth as opposed to those who try to help others.

2000 years ago, a Roman General wrote "In order to have peace, prepare for war!"

Have we advanced from that succinct perception? Not one little bit. With all the best of intentions, we need to be practical about ourselves.

Lindsay F Bond

Christening a nation appears a notion and an intent. In some way, probably not objective and against many sundry objectors, it may assist the discussion to look at one endeavour titled 'Orthodox'.


A work of fiction it is not, no matter the beliefs of onlookers.

Real consequence comes from the founding principles, one of which is the opulence bestowed on the few by the many (the many being adherents more widely than clerics).

That intent of unification of a nation by use of a yet to be verified belief, is still in play, no matter the quantum of measures.

Philip Fitzpatrick

Even at an advanced age and through my comfortable and privileged lens, I still find it exceedingly difficult to rationalise the state in which humanity and our poor old world find themselves today.

The things that are currently wrong are just too numerous to enumerate but one thing is abundantly clear: humanity has caused nearly all of them.

The big question is why. What is the endgame? Are we really destined to destroy not only ourselves much of the material elements of the planet on which we live? And, if so, what is the point of it?

I fully realise that we and our planet occupy a very tiny and insignificant blip in the life of the universe, and that our eventual demise is a foregone conclusion.

One day the sun will burn itself out and die and any life that still exists will be gone with it.
But that is a long time hence.

In the meantime we seem to be hell bent on accelerating the process of destruction and turning our beautiful blue planet into a dustbowl that resembles Mars.

Early this morning I took my dog for our usual walk along the beach. It had rained overnight and the air was fresh and clean.

Apart from the sea birds too busy getting breakfast to notice us, we were the only ones there.

The calming influence of the beauty and peace of the place, as it is every morning, was something to overwhelm the senses.

I thought to myself: this is all that humanity really needs and should aspire to.

And to extrapolate from the words of Fr Garrett Roche, “Consider how we can all work together for the benefit of all humanity and all of nature” - no matter what our beliefs or our religion or lack of it.

Yet I know that in other places in the world, some of them not far away at all, humans are conspiring to kill, rob and destroy each other, not only for national and international glory but at a personal level too.

How is it that a human species with such potential for good has turned in on itself in such a bitter and destructive manner?

Why has our so-called superior brain power been subverted in such a savage and pointless way?

The symptoms have always been apparent to us; there is no excuse for not recognising them.

If you are a Christian they began with Cain and Abel and if you are a denizen of the modern world you can blame capitalism or communism and a whole basket of other isms.

We can trace Hinduism back to 2300 BC, Judaism to 600 BC, Buddhism 500 BC, Christianity 1st century AD, Islam 7th century AD and Sikhism 16th century AD.

But these religions (and the very many others that exist) are just symptoms of a greater cause and that cause is a truth veiled and mysterious.

For Cain and Abel, the cause was God’s favouritism, but that fable is hardly rational.

There is much more and that is the truth no one has identified.

Why are we such a terrible and destructive species?

It is question that troubles many of us.

Lindsay F Bond

G'day, or Good Morning, are greetings commonly heard in Australia.

Now, however, we are of an age where that greeting has been condensed to Morning.

Begs the question about whether we still need to use all three syllables of the noun 'gentlemen'.

Or 'gmn' as it may be usefully abbreviated.

Lindsay F Bond

Variously reported: "Whoever is not against you is for you."
Coming to consensus can offset squabbles and outrage within a nation.

Paul Oates

It seems to me that both Phil and Garry may actually be thinking along parallel lines. Who can say what is or should be defined as a belief in a spiritual deity?

While many have and will attempt to define their own view, nevertheless, the spirit and essence of the intent is the central factor that should be respected.

In this aspect, I believe both the aforesaid gentlemen are correct.

Garrett Roche

Phil Fitzpatrick asks: “So who is this God in whom Papua New Guineans claim to believe?”

An initial answer might be that the God they believe in is a God who desires that all people live just and loving lives, and is a God who at the same time desires that all people care for all humanity and all of nature.

And if someone states they do not believe in such a God, they can still be asked if they believe in the goal of striving that all people live just and loving lives while at the same time all people care for all humanity and all of nature.

In brief, there is the possibility that, while not being able to agree on the existence or non-existence of a supreme ‘power for goodness’, we may all be able to agree on fundamental goals for humanity and the world itself.

And work together to achieve those goals.

While the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, proclaimed by the United Nations in 1948, might not be perfect, it can indeed form the basis for a set of universal values.

This is not to deny the reality that some people who claim to believe in God, may try and exploit belief in God for unworthy ends.

Neither is it denied that genuine atheists may have a genuine commitment for the good of all humanity and nature.

In brief, in my opinion, the best response is to consider how we can all work together for the benefit of all humanity and all of nature.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)