Neil Darragh is an Auckland based priest, chaplain, author, editor, and the former principal of the Catholic Institute of Theology. In 2007 Darragh published a paper, Themes and Processes in New Zealand Theology, which discussed the state of theological reflection in New Zealand at the time. In this paper he categorises the four main paths that he envisions Kiwi theologians following in the future. These were the church, the ethno-cultural, the evangelical, and the secularist directions.
It will be the influence, and influences, of these secular theologians within the New Zealand theological community that this site, Christianity666.com, will investigate and highlight. Darragh defines their path as follows:
“The secularist project strives to move towards a post-Christian future that discards traditional forms of Christianity. A central feature is its deconstruction of ‘God’ as an entirely human construction. Its relationship to the larger society is harmonious with what it discerns to be an inevitable and desirable movement towards a more secular and more humanist society. It strongly resists the threats to personal freedom that are seen to emanate from religious and ethnic intolerance. More recently the humanist thrust of this project has broadened to include environmental concerns.”1
Several members of the Catholic Institute of Theology, of which Darragh was principal, were instrumental in setting up the University of Auckland School of Theology2 where I attended from 2012 until 2015. When I questioned the material taught in the third year theology classes in 2014, I was assured by Professor Elaine Wainwright, who headed the School, that the University was presenting scholarship from a secular viewpoint as UoA was a secular institution, and not a religious one. This was in line with the largest international universities. Her statement was confirmed after Elaine’s departure during discussions in 2015 with Dr Nick Thompson, who was at this time heading up the department after a major restructure within the School of Humanities.
So what difference does it make if theology is presented from a secular or a more faith based viewpoint?
I was under the impression that because a university had more access to resources than a smaller Bible College, that it would provide a more scientifically up to date approach. I’d assumed that this ‘science’ would include the latest archaeological discoveries, and a broader approach to faith based hermeneutics. After all, Christianity is an historically based faith, grounded in what it assumes is the truth of history. And Churches are often accused of having blinkers on when it comes to what they teach. The two major discrepancies between examining theology from a secular viewpoint my expectations were contained in their control of the way that hermeneutics were used, and their presentation of history. I’d expected a secular viewpoint to be less biased, and somewhat more, well, historically honest. But as was pointed out by the Archbishop of New Zealand during the Human Rights trial in 2013, what is taught and what is accepted by the Church is not always what is written in it’s canons, doctrines or formularies.3
These two differences, between my expectations and the reality of secular theology, can best be illustrated by two examples from the classroom setting.
To illustrate how the methodologies of interpretations were twisted beyond useful relevance, I will draw on classroom discussions from 2012-2014 in the classes of Helen Bergin. Employed in 2003, Bergin, a Roman Catholic nun, taught theology from a feminist perspective, which was the dominant perspective throughout the School.
I was to find out that feminist perspective is anything a woman wants it to be, as long as it reflects her feelings at the time. Women should have absolute freedom to live any way they wish, without any interference from men. Of course I questioned this at every opportunity, because the contradiction and hypocrisy was unbelievable! All women should be equal with men, but all men are not even equal with each other! Women should have full control over what they do with their bodies, abortion is ok if they want, prostitution is ok, after all it’s the oldest occupation in history! But isn’t it wrong to think of women as sex objects? Oh, that’s only man putting a label on something that is designed to be naturally beautiful and loving. What about the spread of diseases? Contraception stops that. No it doesn’t, it is only possible to stop a percentage of diseases and pregnancies, even if it works 100% as specified by the company.
And Bergin would contend that the mean and horrible God of the Old Testament isn’t for today. We’ve left those times behind. It was just a patriarchal interpretation that wanted to subjugate women. But what about Jesus being pronounced God on the basis of Old Testament prophecy? Oh I was just a man and these things are not relevant for feminist theology. Everyone knows Jesus is the example to follow. All religions acknowledge that. All religions are equal, all worship the same God, all are ending up in the same place. What about women forced to wear burkas then? If women want to then they can, nuns chose to wear habits. None of them are ever forced to wear them. Really? And you can’t possibly know what it’s like to be a woman. Everyone has the devine inside them, so should be free to flourish however they choose. Even the paedosexual? Men can’t possibly know what it’s like to be feminine and to write feminist theology. However, while men don’t know how to think like a woman, it’s no contradiction for 21st century women to be able to know how men think from 20-30 centuries ago?
According to feminist theology, women should be free to do whatever they want and sleep with anyone they want whenever they want because men do. But according to scripture men are not, and never were, free to do that!!! But men were allowed more than one wife in the Old Testament, look at Solomon! But haven’t you just said that the Old Testament examples are no longer for today? Didn’t Solomon lose his kingdom because of disobedience? Stop taking discussions off track Warren!
Women should have the freedom to have a family without being under a man’s control. But shouldn’t kids have fathers at home? No, that’s up to the mother, whatever is best for her is best for the children. Men are violent and some men have abused their kids and shouldn’t be fathers. Women shouldn’t have to put up with that. Lot’s of women manage perfectly OK without men telling them what to do. But what about a child’s ‘right’ to a father at home, isn’t that “equal rights” for men to be parents too? That’s no concern of feminism! A woman can have another woman as a co-parent if she wants. Two women can do a better job than a man anyway. But what about two homosexual men whose idea of love is based around sexual pleasure? Two men can do an equally good job if they want. Sexual diversity is wonderful, it would be a shame if there were only two genders! I wanted to question how a Catholic nun would know this, I thought they took vows of chastity and abstinence! Children should be freely encouraged to experiment sexually and see which genders they prefer, so they can make an educated choice of all of their options, and any sexual preference was valid. When I protested that we were not animals who follow whatever wild instincts we can, Bergin without hesitation replied, that we are their descendants, and it’s only natural. Her reply shows just what an influence Darwin’s Theory of Evolution has made on Christianity
Paedophilia is just a sexual preference. I will show the parallels between feminist theology and paedophilia in Theology of a paedophile, but Bergin’s point that all religions are the same is one point that had been raised by a repeat offending paedophile, and I wanted to test his line of reasoning. So in class I ask about foreigners marrying children. That’s terrible she says. But what about if it is their religion or culture? Oh it’s OK she says, because their women are capable of making up their own minds. It’s their culture, and western men shouldn’t interfere. But aren’t they still children? No, women know when their bodies are ready, they shouldn’t be restricted by men! Women know when their hormones tell them they are ready, and men cannot possibly know this. It’s different for every woman. Women should be free to experience every experience that they are capable of. Women should have unlimited choice. This somewhat explains New Zealand’s high teen pregnancy rate!
Ever the devil’s advocate, I ask if she then supports Roastbusters. No they are terrible, those boys should be [ … ]. BUT doesn’t Bergin know that that’s exactly what Roastbusters was? Young teen girls, following their hormones, without their fathers knowledge or permission, choosing in advance to apply via email to be sexed-up by young boys. These young girls freely chose to, and it’s impossible to convict the boys for doing anything wrong when they have video evidence that it was what the girls wanted!!! No doubt that these boys had grown up in a house where they witnessed women changing their minds the next day and calling rape, and took precautions to protect themselves from false rape allegations in both written and video forms. According to what we hear in class, the young girls should be allowed to experience getting drunk and having sex without their fathers stopping them. But Bergin cannot see that this is the sort of society that feminism creates.
And when I ask Bergin what she thought about the decline of NZ society, the teen pregnancies and youth suicides etcetera, she empathetically said that it’s such a shame, and that it’s really sad that there’s nothing we can do about it, because that’s just the way that society is going! How can this women be so blind?! It’s going that way because that is where she is leading it that way! More than once I asked those sitting beside me what drugs she was taking, because when I asked her, she just laughed the question off. This was basically sexual and societal anarchy!
Perhaps the greatest revelation to me came in the first week of a third year paper on Church, Worship and Sacraments. This revelation was that, according to feminist interpretations, as one cannot separate religion from politics, feminists therefore should work to seek to control Religion through political means. These women aim to control spiritual life via the government. Effectively the Church and State should be one. They are not wanting to do away with the Catholic Church as such, they are wanting to run it according to their sexual desires, in their image. Looking back, this is exactly what has happened here in New Zealand over the last 40 years, as will be detailed here.
Now the danger hidden within secular theology is that anything produced in this environment is not allowed to contradict this feminist theological viewpoint. Essays will not be approved, and if, as I attempted to several times, an essay is written from a heterosexual male point of view, marking is either refused, or it’s marked “0” for content. According to feminism, there is no such thing as absolute or universal truth for society, there is only opinion. And since everyone’s opinion is equally valid, anyone’s opinion is ultimately irrelevant. SO truth becomes a screaming match and the loudest voices win. It’s ironic with the multitude of sexual orientations/ genders / sexual preferences being equal (a concept that was originally propagated by feminist academia to dilute patriarchy) that being a woman now is equal to those who are paedosexual. After all, as they claim, according to this hermeneutic, love is both gender-blind and age-blind! All that counts is love!
Just as academics use various hermeneutics to justify their attempted changes of church doctrine and therefore practice, so too do they manipulate and misrepresent history to academically support their changes of doctrine. It is because of this manipulated history that many who start studying theology at an academic level leave the church or at least lose faith. A degree gives them a false sense of knowing the truth. The easiest example of this can be illustrated from a class with Professor Elaine Wainwright in her third year classes on the Book of Matthew.
The Feminist theological trend arose after the literary critics of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries determined, by their own self-verified scientific method, that the bible was not in fact written down from retold memories until the beginning of the fourth century AD. If I am to believe everything I am taught in class, the earliest church fathers were also back-written during this time simply as a way of backing up everything else. Apparently very few could write back then, although somehow they had very elaborate taxation systems, all apparently conducted by memory. Yet one morning in class I asked one of my somewhat infamous questions. We had just read something about the scribes and the Pharisees, so, in an effort to enquire more, I asked Elaine “What do Scribes do?” My theory was that the scene narrated before the crucifixion of Jesus would have contained a record of the most educated gathering in one place, and if anyone could write, it would have been them.
I’ll never forget Wainwright’s reply; Don’t be silly Warren, the Scribes and Pharisees were only political groups created after the fall of the Temple, around AD70… Queue the laughter from the rest of the class. One woman in the class started recrding the lectures after that, and caught Wainwright on tape later saying that if I had my way, everyone back then would have been writing! Apparently, the Book of Matthew was never intended to hold any historical material, as scribes were simply like oral tradition tape recorders who recited from memory all they heard. And yet something irked me. One of my pass-times was reading up on history and archaeology from the period. I remember reading about the theory of the political groups only being formed after AD70, but that theory had been dismissed last century soon after it arose. There was just too much literary evidence against it. A couple of weeks later, after questioning a visiting lecturer at another college, Richard Baukham, I approached Wainwright up in her office. The only way she would believe that scribes in a Roman court could write was if she could see the signed and dated evidence herself. Until that time, secular scholarship was free to make up any theory that fitted the evidence that they chose to allow into the discussion. This concept will be dealt with further here. It is somewhat ironic that Wainwright tells me that she sat at a desk next to the Catholic Professor who was in charge of DSS research back in ‘75 when she was working on her Doctorate. Between the desks were the boxes of scrolls that they were trying to cello-tape back together.
These secular academics believe that the Gospels were documents created by educated elites who desired to lead society with their own morals and values for their own purposes.
So why is what these two women teach important to the Church in New Zealand?
Because it was on the basis of this education that the Gay and Lesbian Anti-Discrimination Committee took the Anglican Church to court to force them to allow homosexuals into the priesthood, and future normalise the homosexual lifestyle to children. When the court asked what basis the star witness had for making his complaint, the Human Rights Commission accepted that his authority in matters religious lay in his degree in theology from the University of Auckland.
What is necessary to use is a hermeneutic that incorporates all necessary aspects of theology while being able to discard those driven purely on emotion divorced from reality. And a feminist may respond that to build up the historical background knowledge required would take too long and be beyond the reach of most people, so not everyone could make the time to bring themselves up to the necessary level to complete such a degree. Well, precisely! And today’s feminists have not even taken the time to check the foundations of what they have been taught, even though there is more than enough evidence condemning their predecessors. But the alternative, that everyone learns just enough to get a degree where they say whatever they want, and it is considered truth, is ridiculous. It totally devalues the point of having a degree at all. Oh YAY, everyone gets something for participation. But that something is meaningless. It just means that they can justify their arguments amongst a group of secularists that know no better.
This is how a homosexual, with multiple sexual partners while completing a secular degree in theology, can expect the Anglican Church to use him as a role model for New Zealand families to bring up their children. By academia creating new hermeneutics centred around cultural Marxist philosophy, and enforcing their use, and by only allowing the use of creative histories, Christianity is purged of both the divine and supernatural influences to become a tool for the corporate controlled government. This is purely cultural Marxism. Five years ago I started this degree after a couple of years in a prison ministry where I witnessed repeat offending paedophiles using the Bible to justify their behaviour. This website will go on to not only provide the finer detail of how they achieve this justification, but how the church accepted their interpretations through its adoption of secular theology.
1Neil Darragh, “Themes and Processes in New Zealand Theology,” University of Auckland, accessed May 21, 2015, http://researchspace.auckland.ac.nz/handle/2292/2267.
2Diane Strevens, Exploring Theology Together: A History of the Catholic Institute of Theology Auckland (Auckland: Accent Publications, 2012), 82-83.
3“Gay and Lesbian Clergy Anti-Discrimination Society Inc v Bishop of Auckland  NZHRRT 36.” New Zealand Ministry of Justice. Accessed May 2, 2014. http://www.justice.govt.nz/tribunals/ human- rights-review-tribunal/decisions-of-the-human-rights-review-tribunal/html-decisions-and- headnotes/2013/hra/2013-nzhrrt-36, 9-10.