It seems odd that the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne publishes an article by an Anglican minister, but I guess it’s just the usual ecumenical - interfaith – he hates Them so we love him – any port in a storm deal. Catlicks and Prods join hands to fight the real enemy, Teh Atheists.
the sad atheists are those who do take the God question seriously. They know that the stakes are high and that without God it is notoriously difficult to make sense of the world or of human life or death or joy or pain or love-making or justice or even, at the philosophical end of the spectrum, of truth itself.
Do they? You sure about that?
I ask because it’s also notoriously difficult to make sense of the world with “God.” I claim it’s a good deal more difficult. Since god is generally defined as perfectly good, there is a huge difficulty in making sense of such an entity creating a world in which living organisms develop via natural selection. Natural selection is not the creation of a being who is “good” in any sense we can understand (which is, after all, the one we’re talking about).
Our minister was disappointed by the quality of the last GAC. No thinking, you see.
Where I hope for serious engagement with the issues of atheism and the nature of science, the convention is more like a Christian revival meeting: a rally for the faithful with abundant noise, laughter and loud affirmation. Only the songs and the interjected ‘amens’ are missing. In 2010 it was quickly clear that the gathering was not about debating issues of faith and (non-)belief nor to defend the assumption that science is the only source of truth. The overwhelming and simplistic dogma was that religious people are misguided and unwilling to accept the clear evidence of the natural sciences.
But then he doesn’t do any of that kind of thinking himself, in this piece. He just talks some waffle that’s basically a demand for more deference please.
We need to examine the implications of living in an increasingly secular society where a harmonious future will only be forged through mutual tolerance. Trust can be built, but only when beliefs and values are clear, and when all parties accept the limitations imposed by living in a multicultural democratic state. As Christians we ought to preach the Gospel in word and deed, we ought to persuade others, offering good reasons for our hope. But coercion and manipulation are ungodly and will bring disrepute to the Church and its Lord.
In other words, if we just preach and nag and pressure, but don’t actually kick or hit, please demonstrate mutual tolerance by shutting the fuck up about us, amen.