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Ian Harris has been writing the Faith and Reason column in the Otago Daily Times for more than 15 years.
What was the best birthday present you ever received, and why?
Breakfast in the revolving restaurant on Schilthorn in the Swiss Alps, with the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau framing the background as we revolved. (You can see it in the Jimmy Bond movie On Her Majesty's Secret Service). Awe-inspiring, leisurely, fine food, then a gondola down and Alpine walk back to base.
What smell do you find irresistible?
The aroma of cumin as I'm cooking nasi goreng (spiced fried rice). Always special, bringing back memories of my years of teaching in an Indonesian university.
What is your least favourite thing about humanity?
Its propensity for greed and overbreeding, both inimical to a healthy future for the planet and humanity itself.
What is one strong childhood memory?
The trenches dug outside primary classrooms in Levin, in case Japanese planes attacked in World War 2. And the blackouts, the tank-traps poised to block the road from Waitarere Beach, and the column of American tanks heading to the local racecourse.
What is your message?
Be open-minded about the positive role which good religion - that is religion as a life-enhancing human phenomenon - can play in the lives of individuals, communities and nations. (I'm not interested in bad religion.)