THE BIBLE vs. THE NOBLE
(Investigator 128, 2009
intellectuals promoted the concept of "noble
savage" and Humanists used it to counter the Christian doctrine of
"noble savage" was an
idealized concept of uncivilized humans as
innately good until exposed to corrupting influences of civilization.
wrote in 1670:
Nature first made man…
wild in woods the
noble savage ran.
philosopher Rousseau (1712-1778) popularized the idea:
more gentle than he in his primitive state, when placed
by nature at an equal distance from the stupidity of brutes and the
pernicious good sense of civilized man.
natives as morally superior to Europeans,
thereby illegitimatizing their exploitation. Attributes of noble
savages included harmony with nature; generosity; innocence;
faithfulness; strength; resourcefulness; courage. The noble savage
became part of popular literature:
The character Friday in Robinson Crusoe (1719);
Cooper's The Last of the Mohicans (1826);
Poe's The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym
Winnetou in novels by Karl May.
settlers considered Aborigines noble savages.
Captain Tench who came with the First Fleet disagreed:
times…have I wished, that those European philosophers, whose
closet speculations exalt a state of nature above a state of
civilization, could survey the phantom, which their heated imaginations
have raised: possibly they might then learn, that a state of nature is,
of all others, least adapted to promote the happiness of a being,
capable of sublime research, and unending ratiocination: that a savage
roaming for prey amidst his native deserts, is a creature deformed by
all those passions, which afflict and degrade our nature, unsoftened by
the influence of religion, philosophy, and legal restriction: and that
the more men unite their talents, the more closely the bands of society
are drawn; and civilization advanced, inasmuch is human felicity
augmented, and man fitted for his unalienable station in the universe.
Aborigines, took some on overseas trips, and
adopted Aboriginal children. However, conflicting systems of justice,
conflict over land, and other problems eroded their noble savage image.
that South Australian Aborigines "form a
component of the prison population out of all proportion to their
numbers in the community". Aborigines numbered 0.75% of the population,
but comprised 25% of males in prisons in 1969 and 43% of females!
figures should have
raised the questions:
How are the children
What's happening in remote communities?
Children are Sacred (June, 2007) described
alcohol-fuelled sexual abuse of Aboriginal children in remote
Girls repeatedly raped and silenced with death
Pornography, marijuana and alcohol widely
trading sex for food, money and petrol (for
Homosexual gang-rape of boys;
"veil of silence" enforced by threats and fear;
of this ignored by police and courts.
were involved too
— truck-drivers and miners trading booze for
sex with children (often through parents as mediators).
mindlessly wrecked, windows smashed, walls kicked in,
mostly through vandalism as a result of drunken brawls. (Koch 2007,
flies are being syringed out of the ears of
Aboriginal children… (Barrass 2007)
to violence in remote communities becoming
Traditional cultural violence;
noble savage concept;
Official policies of cultural maintenance;
Guilt over the "stolen generation".
(2007) Louis Nowra tells of "boy-wife"
the 19th century: "Pederasty is a recognized custom among the Arunta
and has a name,
kwalanga… Commonly a man, who is fully initiated but not yet married,
takes a boy 10 or 12 years old, who lives with him for several years…"
writes also of
girls kidnapped by their prospective husband and
his friends and all the men having sex with her "as consummation of the
John Eyre in the
sadly ill treated by their husbands or friends, in
addition to the dreadful life of drudgery, and privation, and hardship
they always have to undergo; they are frequently beaten about the head
with waddles, in the most dreadful manner, or speared in the limbs for
the most trivial offences. (Pearson 2009)
stressful and short, cannibalism and
infanticide common, women disempowered, and boys were sexual partners
of men. Human deaths were blamed on malicious sorcery, leading to
recurring cycles of revenge and payback.
child-abuse of recent
decades, however, was absent. Hence other
factors exacerbated traditional violence.
"noble savage" image
continued in the 20th century in serious
discussion and also in fiction such as Tarzan, Brave Eagle
1955-56), The Gods Must Be Crazy, etc.
Aboriginal life sometimes gets romanticized:
world, in the technical sense of the sociologist Max
Weber. They discovered an intricate social order in which, through the
kinship structure, every human being had a precise and acknowledged
place. They discovered a world that was filled with economic purpose;
leavened by playfulness, joy and humour, soaked in magic, sorcery,
mystery and ritual; pregnant at every moment with deep and unquestioned
meaning. (Robert Manne, The Monthly, June 2007)
expressed itself as official respect for
indigenous culture, and in policies to preserve traditions — such as
Australia's "homeland policy".
introduced the policy of autonomous Aboriginal
homelands where Aboriginal identity remained uncorrupted by wider
society. They could hunt and follow their traditions and rituals while
retaining access to the resources of White Australia. The policy aped
Marxism by emphasizing communal ownership and rejecting the free market
"In the past generation, the broad aim of
governments and administrators
has been to create and strengthen indigenous communities and provide
them with basic services: medical, educational and residential.The
underlying view was that traditional culture could best survive in
these little societies."
of the Commonwealth and Reserve banks promoted
the plan, which was: "anti modernist taking as its model the pre-1788
society in which Rousseau's noble savage lived uncontaminated by an
invading culture." (The Weekend Australian May 26-27, 2007, p. 18)
Labor government of
1972 introduced unemployment benefits and
welfare to Aboriginal communities to ensure no Australians lived in
poverty: "But what happened…is that welfare began to entrench a
mentality in a country once noted for inspiring self-reliance… They
even had a name for it: sit-down money." (Ecenbarger 1996)
were subsidized and had rights without
obligations. The consequences were dependence, boredom, drunkenness,
gambling, child abuse, health problems, school absenteeism, and
violence. Remote communities received funds but "big men" handed out
jobs and "ghost positions" in return for favors. Work and enterprise
became disconnected from wealth, which came from corruption.
and children were
doubly disadvantaged because "traditional law"
denied them rights most Australians have, yet was allowed as a defense
in courts where it protected aggressors. One man convicted of "unlawful
sex" was sentenced to only 24 hours because he "was exercising his
traditional rights and the girl knew what was expected of her." (Wilson
the 1960s many
Aboriginal children, mostly of mixed parentage
with absconded fathers, were taken and raised in White society. Most
were teenagers put into apprenticeships. A minority were infants, whose
mothers couldn't adequately care for them.
generation" and calling it "racism" contributed
to non-intervention in remote communities.
White girls with
illegitimate babies often gave them for adoption
too. Without single-parent payments adoption was the child's best hope,
and freed mothers to finish their schooling.
Aborigines who received educations and became
teachers, nurses, and lawyers as capable as their White counterparts.
pressure mounted for a Government "apology" which
the Rudd Government delivered in 2008.
wider society ignored
remote-community crime or whitewashed it as
Aboriginal "culture". Ferrari (2007) reports: "Publishers in the 1980s
and 1990s sanitized Aboriginal history by censoring accounts of
violence, including sexual abuse and infanticide…so as not to upset
a health worker
handed Prime Minister John Howard a 10-page
summary of abuse near Weipa, and was pressured to quit her job.
writes: "Perhaps the
greatest farce of all is the cry that culture
is being maintained." (2007, December 29-30)
quotes an aboriginal
nurse: "Every abuser should be charged… It is
just bullshit to say anything like this is cultural. The truth is that
women in communities are too frightened to talk about it… I have
treated scores of young girls with STDs… I am frustrated that nothing
is being done to get the people responsible for the criminal activity
to answer for their deeds. They get away with it the first time, so
they repeat their conduct."
the release of Little
Children are Sacred the
issued its National Emergency Response legislation, targeting 73
that refused to
send their children to school would have the
cash part of their welfare reduced and replaced with vouchers. The wage
system in remote communities was replaced with "work for the dole" as
in mainstream society.
the federal Government voted against the UN's
2007 Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples because the
Declaration legitimized customary practices "not acceptable in the
modern world" and gave indigenous people "veto rights over legitimate
decisions of a democratically elected government." (Nason &
intervention. Health Minister Tony Abbott
opposed compulsory health checks and Professor George Rubin wanted
"consultation" and for doctors to refuse to examine children. (The
Weekend Australian, 30 June/July 1, 2007)
to the "stolen generation" came after
intervention started. Aboriginal activists called the intervention a
"modern-day stolen generation" and lobbied to get rescued kids returned
to their dysfunctional communities. Bolt (2008) writes: "By saying
sorry to 50,000 'stolen' children who didn't exist, Rudd has made it
harder to 'steal' thousands of children who very much do exist and
desperately need help."
Aboriginal children are in out-of-home care which:
"far outstrips the number that were taken in the
1920s and 1930s…" (The Weekend Australian, August 22-23, 2009, p. 1)
Amounts to "…between six and ten times as many
Aboriginal children in state care today than at the height of the
Stolen Generation era." (Overinton 2009)
leaders converged on Darwin to urge the Government
to end the intervention: "Concerns include…the "paternalistic and
racist" income management system, in which 50 per cent of welfare
payments are set aside so they cannot be spent on alcohol, drugs or
gambling." (The Advertiser, June 20, 2009, p. 26)
intervention: "Aboriginal leaders' involvement in
child sex abuse—and their role in
covering it up—will become the focus of the Australian Crime Commission
over the next year." (The Australian, June 22, 2009, p. 3)
H. Keeley in War
Before Civilization (1996) shows that
prehistoric war was common and ruthless. Paleolithic sites reveal mass
burials of people with evidence of violent death, injury by weapons,
and widespread cannibalism. American ecologist Bobbi S. Low analyzed
186 societies and concluded they did not consciously practice
conservation. Australian Aborigines and American Indians hunted many
big-game animals to extinction!
noble savage at
peace and in harmony with nature was a myth.
hypothesis contradicted Christian belief in
"original sin" which considers all humans morally inadequate:
and Greeks, are under the power of sin… There is no one
who is righteous, not even one… all have sinned and fall short of the
glory of God. (Romans 3)
justice or punishment don't become noble but
continue their evil patterns: "Because sentence against an evil deed is
not executed speedily, the human heart is fully set to do evil."
this when liars
continue lying, thieves continue thieving, drug
traffickers continue trafficking, etc.
justifies the wicked [e.g. condoning rape as "culture"] and one
who condemns the righteous [e.g. opposing the rescue of abused
children] are both alike an abomination to the Lord. (Proverbs 17:15)
don't deserve preservation merely because they're
ancient or cultural. People who condone abuse under the illusions of
"noble savage" or as cultural are an "abomination". Captain
Tench, and the nurse who said "They get away with it the first time, so
they repeat their conduct", reflected biblical wisdom.
above issues join
hundreds of others, detailed in Investigator
during 20 years, in which the Bible has proved reliable and humans
Barrass, T. The
Weekend Australian, July 21-22, 2007, p. 11.
Bolt, A. The Weekend
Australian, March 1-2, 2008, p. 31.
Ecenbarger, W. Reader's
Digest, December 1996, pp 19-24.
Ellingson, T. 2001 The
Myth of the Noble Savage, University of
Ferrari, J. The
Weekend Australian, July 7-8, 2007, p. 10.
Koch, T. The
Australian, December, 14, 2007, p. 1, 4.
Koch, T. The Weekend
Australian, December 29-30, 2007, p. 21.
Mitchell, R. et al 1973 First
Report, Sentencing and Corrections.
Nason, D. & Franklin,
M. The Weekend Australian, September
2007, p. 1.
Nowra, L. 2007 Bad
Dreaming, Pluto Press.
Overington, C. The
Australian, February 20, 2009, p. 3.
Pearson, C. The
Weekend Australian, June 13-14, 2009, p. 26.
Rintoul, S. The
Weekend Australian, December 15-16, 2007, p. 5.
Rothwell, N. The
Weekend Australian, April 15-16, 2006, p. 19;
16-17, 2007, pp 1, 4.
Willey, K. 1979 When
The Sky Fell Down, Collins.
The Bible investigated by comparing its statements with
opposing viewpoints on this website: