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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Christianity - "Founded on Western Traditions of Reason"

I was listening to the ABC's (that's the Australian Broadcasting Corporation for all you Yanks!) AM program on the way to work yesterday morning. Political reporter Chris Uhlman was interviewing Tony Abbott, Federal Minister for Health, on the topic of religion and politics.

Key to the discussion was the issue of sparation of Church and State. While lots of interesting points were raised during the interview one comment stood out like warts on a pigs backside. While discussing the topic of chaplains in government highschools, the following comments were made:

"TONY ABBOTT: Well, I think religion has a very important role in society, but when people enter politics they do so motivated by civic values as much as by religious values. The beauty of Christian social teaching is that it's based on reason, not revelation and that's why I think that Christians certainly have much to contribute to our political process.

CHRIS UHLMANN: And wasn't that Pope Benedict's point, that Christianity is founded on the western tradition of reason, and Islam believes that faith transcends reason, and it's very difficult to have a conversation, much more difficult than people think, across those world views.

TONY ABBOTT: I think that's a very fair point.

To claim Christianity as having been founded on anything western at all is to completely misunderstand the historical Jesus; the true "foundation" of the Christian faith.

In the Jesus I never knew, Philip Yancey writes:
Alone, of all people in history, [Jesus] had the privilege of choosing where and when to be born, and he chose a pious Jeiwsh family living in a backwater protectorate of a pagan empire. I can no more understand Jesus apart from his Jewishness than I can understand Gandhi apart from his Indianness. I need to go back, way back, and picture Jesus as a first century Jew with a phylactery on his wrist and Palestinian dust on his sandals."

How far from our first century roots have we come when a supposedly learned and educated Aussie journo can publically claim Christianity as "founded" on "western traditions" and an equally learned and educated Aussie politician agree with him?

You can read the whole interview with Tony Abbott, here.

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