In western societies we are to be tolerant of everything and everyone … except Christians and Christianity – in particular those of the conservative/evangelical variety.
This was brought home to me in last night’s edition of Q&A on the ABC. The archbishop of Sydney spoke graciously and reflectively on a host of issues including homosexuality, same sex marriage, asylum seekers, marriage vows and the like. However, when he put forward, what I would call, conservative evangelical values he was howled done by a number of the panelists.
Even when Peter Jensen simply posed a question along the lines of the life expectancy of gay versus straight men, he was told in a variety of ways that this was not an appropriate question. Questions for considered reflection have been found offensive. The issue isn’t whether we agree with archbishop Jensen or not but whether Christians are permitted to put forward views and ask questions that do not reflect the ethos of the majority.
This is just a taste of the intolerance that people of the Christian faith will increasingly encounter in times to come. We had better get used to it.
But it hides a bigger question: if we, adults, find the going increasingly tough, how well are our children prepared to stand up for their faith and to withstand the scorn of many around them?
Last night’s discussion reminded me that home, church and Christian school have a monumental task in training and preparing our children. That is, we need to give them strong Biblical foundations but also the where-with-all to defend the faith and articulate clearly, in a sceptical world, a Christian vision for humanity.
On many occasions in the Old Testament we are reminded that we are not just training our children but also preparing the groundwork for our children’s children. This is a serious task we are all called to put our faith, hearts and minds toward.
It is comforting to be reminded by the Apostle Paul:“For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.” 1 Cor 1:25