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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria University College, Wellington N.Z. Vol. 20, No. 9. June 27, 1957

Individuals are Important

Individuals are Important

World's Inside Out

World's Inside Out

Once upon a time and a very bad time it was (so we are told) there was no such thing as society. But now there is. And man, having lived in both worlds, has been equipped for both: he is an individual and a social being. Christianity also has this twofold nature; without guidance for other side of life it would be incomplete.

The writer of "Christians Should Take "Their Coats Off" ("Salient". 13th June) has overlooked this completely. Like many others who are more interested in social reforms than in Christianity, he has quite forgotten about the role of the individual. We who are Christians cannot afford to forget it. But we cannot afford to forget the question either—what should Christians be doing?


As individuals, the fast consideration of Christians is the salvation of souls. Nothing is more important than that—not all the cars in Detroit nor all the rice in China—for "What shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?"

As members of society, what should Christians be doing? Christians should be exerting their influence for God in every sphere of life. The early Christians did this so effectively that they were accused of "turning the world upside down". It is, alas! an accusation that could not be levelled at Christians today. Yet the world still needs to be "turned upside down".

What are the relevant social issues for Christians in New Zealand today? These have all been ignored in B.'s article with one exception—the H-bomb. The H-bomb is all too relevant and Christians should be praying and working to help to make nuclear warfare an impossibility. But why choose South Africa? is South Africa the only country in the world where there is some kind of social injustice? Or have we no weeds in our own garden that we can afford to weed other people's? Look at them:

The White New Zealand policy—"We don't want this place overrun by niggers and Japs."

The much-vaunted standard of living—"No, we're not having any more children till we get the wall-to-wall carpel."

The excessive interest in sport to the detriment of other equally valuable things—"Gethsemane? Never heard of it and I thought I knew-all the big Springbok parks."

"I Got Rotten"

The level of social life—"Gee, it was a good party! I got rotten!"

The drinking habits—in the words of Bertrand Russell's Chinaman. "Me no drinkee for drinkee, me drinkee for drunkee."

The utilitarian attitude to culture—"How are you going to use your degree?"

The divorce rate—"Yes, we've done everything: bought the ring and the trousseau, sent out the invitations, booked for the honeymoon, and we went to see a lawyer about the divorce laws just in case. . ."

And when we've done something about these problems, there are other awkward questions that need asking. In economics—why should people in Asia and Africa starve while this country dumps food at sea? in politics—what can we do to help the peoples of Eastern Europe against Communism? in culture—if books or films or plays are offensive why don't we condemn them strenuously instead of burying our heads in the sands like ostriches? In education—why don't the basic facts of our birth gel their proper place in the curriculum? And what about juvenile delinquency?

It is possible that we shall make ourselves unpopular by plunging into action; it is possible that we might even suffer for it. What is certain is that the Church of God would once again become a living and effective force for good in the world.