It Turns Out that Christian Attitudes to the Environment are Not So Christian

In 1967 a history professor from the University of California delivered a paper in which he argued the world’s environmental degradation had its roots in the Judeo-Christian notion of dominion. When the biblical text declared that humankind was to “rule” and “subdue” the earth it was mandating a view that creation exists to serve our…Continue Reading

Some suffering may be redemptive, but some is just plain senseless

“Why do you think God allowed you to get Parkinsons?” This question or some derivative of it is commonly put to me, or if not put to me directly, at least thought about. Behind it lies the assumption that there must be some divine purpose to everything that happens, including the bad. People want to…Continue Reading

Prophecies were made to be broken. Why restoration might be the last word.

The most horrific of all Christian doctrines is the doctrine of the eternal judgement, the declaration that vast numbers of humankind will experience eternal punishment at the hands of their Creator. In its most extreme form it imagines a house of horrors in which people experience excruciating torments that never end and for which there…Continue Reading

Aussie Jihadists, the KKK, and Bikie’s

“How can I know I’ll be safe when I’m walking down the street?” asked a young woman on last night’s Q and A program.  She was referring to radicalised Islamic young men who had had their passports cancelled in order to prevent them going to fight with ISIS.   Her question reflects the  anxiety in our…Continue Reading

Australia. How we bludge off the rest of the world

I opened the Australian newspaper today to read a vigorous defence of the government’s  policy of turning back  boats filled with asylum seekers.  Australia has not only succeeded in stemming the flow of people coming by boat to Australia, we have apparently also reduced the flow of refugees into Indonesia, and saved people from drowning…Continue Reading

Sometimes we don’t get to decide who comes to this country

This week Scott Morrison invoked John Howard’s famous dictum “We will decide who comes to this country and the manner in which they come.” We should decide whether to turn back boats filled with asylum seekers and we should decide who gets a visa granting them the right to enter and live in Australia. The…Continue Reading

The death of the wisdom of our youth

When I was growing up there were two pieces of wisdom frequently imparted to me: “the ends don’t justify the means” and “think about how you would feel if that were done to you”. These two pieces of ethical guidance were designed to help me act with clarity and correctness in difficult situations. The first piece…Continue Reading

That Strange Moment When A Stranger Offers Me Her Seat

It had to happen sometime. That moment when my physical impairment became sufficiently noticeable that complete strangers feel the need to offer me assistance. Last Sunday as my flight from Perth approached Sydney, a fifty-something woman across the aisle watched me struggle to put on the shoes I had earlier slipped off. When we landed…Continue Reading

A time to stand shoulder to shoulder with Australian Muslims

The great environmentalist David Suzuki has spoken of the shame he experienced when as a Canadian of Japanese descent, he and his family were incarcerated in their homeland during WWII. Being of Japanese heritage they were viewed with suspicion, so untrustworthy they had to be locked up. This experience was so damaging that Suzuki spent…Continue Reading