Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Kevin Donnelly from Australia: Christian values remain at heart of our culture


There’s no doubt the ABC when falsely accusing Christian men of being more prone to family violence is guilty of a cultural-left bias. And it’s not just the ABC that’s running a secular campaign against Christianity.

Read the Fairfax Press and the impression is that paedophilia mainly involves Catholic priests (ignored is that most children are abused by family or relatives), that Catholic schools don’t deserve government funding and that there’s no place for Christianity in public debates on issues such as abortion and euthanasia.

Academics such as historian Tony Taylor argue against including Judeo-Christianity in the school curriculum as it’s a “Cold War rhetorical fiction” employed by “the Christian right”.

In Victoria the Labor government has replaced religious instruction with its gender-free, anti-male Respectful Relationships program.

While secular critics are happy to undermine Christianity, especially Catholicism, what is ignored is Judeo-Christianity is central to Australia’s cultural, economic, moral and spiritual wellbeing and one of the foundation stones of Western civilisation.

As argued by English poet TS Eliot in Notes Towards The Definition of Culture, Christianity is central to Western cultures when deciding right and wrong, the common good and how we should live our lives.

Eliot even says “if Christianity goes, the whole of our culture goes”. More recently, the atheist Douglas Murray also argues about the importance of Christianity when he describes himself as a “cultural Christian”.

Murray made the point in a debate with another atheist, Richard Dawkins, that in banishing religion the danger is people end up with “meaningless lives in a meaningless universe”.

Given the rise of Islamic fundamentalism and the dramatic increase in Muslim migrants in Europe and England, Murray also argues it’s vital “left-wing liberal progressives” recognise they are living “in the wake of the Judaeo-Christian tradition”.

Evidence Eliot and Murray are correct includes the fact that concepts such as the sanctity of life, free will, being charitable to others and the separation between church and state are primarily Christian in origin.

Many of the most evil crimes against humanity have been committed by secular, godless ideologies such as fascism and communism. Hitler’s gas chambers, Mao’s starvation and torture of millions and Pol Pot’s killing fields highlight the danger of denying the significance of religion, especially Christianity.

It’s also important to recognise the benefits of Christianity to Australia’s economic and social wellbeing. Catholic and other faith-based schools teach 34 per cent of Australian students, saving Commonwealth, state and territory governments the billions of dollars needed if those students enrolled in government schools.

Christian schools, compared to most government schools, achieve stronger Year 12 results and are better at addressing bullying caused by racism, and parents see such schools as having more disciplined classrooms.

Christian-inspired or managed hospitals, philanthropic organisations and charities such as the Salvation Army, Catholic Health Australia, the Brotherhood of St Laurence and World Vision Australia are also integral part of Australia’s health and welfare system.

Instead of presenting a negative and one-sided picture, secular critics such as the ABC and the Fairfax Press should acknowledge the benefits of Christianity and its central place in the life of the nation.

Dr Kevin Donnelly is Senior Research Fellow at the Australian Catholic University. First published in The Daily Telegraph, Sydney.

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