Sunday, October 22, 2017

Tony Abbott, the West, climate change, and the Bible.

The Guardian has published a short piece I wrote on Tony Abbott, climate change, and
his use of the Bible. What I originally submitted was pretty much exclusively focused on Abbott's speech to the  Global Warming Policy Foundation. Interestingly, a week had passed by the time I submitted the article to The Guardian, and got the response that since a week had passed it risked no longer being relevant. But rather than therefore knock it back, the editor invited me to expand the article to indicate the pattern of linking the Bible and the defence of Western culture in Abbott's writings. So, I did. Bravo to The Guardian for being willing to publish something that was theologically slightly technical. The article concludes thus:

Convinced that climate change is the new religion, Abbott argued in his London speech for “less theology”. Actually, Abbott himself needs more Christian theology if he’s going to quote the Bible. As a former seminary student, perhaps he could rekindle his own theological studies. He would discover that the Bible contains literature capable of calling every culture into question, not least “the west”. And he would be better informed for those occasions when he makes theological pronouncements from the various platforms he is given as a former PM.

5 comments:

Kim Fabricius said...

Great stuff.

Of course offering a theological critique of Bible-citing leaders with an ideologically-driven agenda is like shooting fish in a barrel -- except that these fish are creature-eating sharks. So an article well done. And, yes, good on the Guardian for publishing it.

Pamela said...

I've just read the article. Abbott is right (or at least I think he's right) about some things: euthanasia for example. He reads the Bible from his perspective which is what we all do. I read somewhere that the Bible actually reads us. I am no fan of his opinions about climate change and other important matters. Former PM's can contribute meaningfully to public discussions though. Sometimes the maxim about church and state being better separate can be appropriate, don't you think.

Jason Goroncy said...

A very good piece too. Well done Geoff, and well done too to the good folk at the G.

Geoff Thompson said...

Thanks for the feedback. I agree,Kim, that Abbott and his fellow crusaders are easy targets, but your image of 'creature-eating fish' captures nicely why the critique is necessary. This is especially so in Australia at the moment where so much of the theology that is in the public realm is mostly coming from quite unsophisticated opposition to Same Sex Marriage. I"m not sure, Pamela, of the connection you draw with the maxim of the separation of church and state.

Geoff

Fiona said...

Thank you for a measured, thoughtful and cogent piece: an encouraging example of public theology at its incisive, intellectually rigorous best. Heartening that the Guardian actively sought increased theological content...