Jacob d’Ancona (a real person or a fictional character)

Timeline of New Zealand & its human rights record

Doing a Google search on Murray Darroch

A collection of texts from the Holy Koran and the Holy Bible for each day of the month

Murray Darroch's Website

Murray has always lived in New Zealand. From 1968 until 1970 Murray attended the University of Canterbury in Christchurch where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree with his major being in history. Since 1971 he has lived in Wellington and for a number of years he worked as a public servant in various Government Departments. He is now retired.

Murray was a Christian for over 50 years, but he is now not a believer in that religion.

However Murray is still a theist — ie Murray believes God exists, and he also believes the religions of Judaism and Islam both best explain the oneness of God. To this end Murray was one of the people involved in two days of initial discussions at a public seminar that led to the establishment of the Wellington Abrahamic Council of Jews, Christians and Muslims.

Murray’s hope is that Judaism, Christianity and Islam will still each have a positive role to play in the world’s future. In terms of world history the three monotheistic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have been at the heart of Western civilisation and in particular the development of the western scientific tradition. So there is a lot at stake.

However Murray’s concern is, just as Christianity has entered into a state of long term decline which was triggered initially by the 16th century and 17th century European Wars of Religion between Catholics and Protestants, so too in the 21st century Islam and Judaism are now probably in the start of a long term decline.

The same may also apply to other world religions such as Buddhism and Hinduism as they also are now increasingly perceived as being inextricably linked with violence.

If this trajectory of decline of religion becomes established what does the future hold ?

Part of the answer may be found in a book by the US based German Jewish political philosopher Herbert Marcuse which was first published in 1964 under the title “One Dimensional Man”. What Marcuse predicted was a consumer driven totally capitalist controlled world where a minority of individuals dictate our perception of freedom by making us believe that happiness requires us to connect with one-another by buying more and more consumer goods, and more and more consumer services, and by us as being encouraged to ignore the waste and the environmental damage that all this causes.

Marcuse was attempting to analyse the situation as he observed it in both the US and Western Europe. But now from the perspective of the 21st century it seems his analysis now also holds true for China, Japan, India and almost all countries that are on our planet.

Add to that the increasing frequency of random spontaneous acts of killing by alienated individuals (both against themselves and other people) means our world’s future is grim.