Centre for Public Christianity

Hitchens v Hitchens (again)

Peter Hitchens and Christopher Hitchens both have books hitting the shelves at the same time. I’ve posted on their famous disagreement before… Peter is a Christian journalist, his older brother Christopher is an atheist journalist. It’s almost providential really. That the perfect foil for one of new atheism’s most vocal advocates comes from the same genetic pool and has the same predisposition for communication.

Anyway, Hitchens’ (the younger) new book is reviewed in a piece from the Centre of Public Christianity, published in the Sydney Morning Herald. Here’s what Peter Hitchens has to say about the dangers of the rise of atheism.

“His experiences living and reporting from Russia and eastern Europe profoundly shaped his view of the world. Having lived in Moscow at the close of the Soviet era, and having witnessed other atheistic regimes in full flight, he refuses to accept his brother’s evasion of what he sees as an organic link between atheism and the most notorious modernist experiments of the 20th century.

It is this experience that appears to shape his concerns for society. He believes Christianity is under attack today because it remains the most coherent and potent obstacle to frightening and ruthless idealism: “The concepts of sin, of conscience, of eternal life, and of divine justice under an unalterable law are the ultimate defence against the utopian’s belief that ends justify means and that morality is relative. These concepts are safeguards against the worship of human power.”

Dead set legend?

I mentioned the ABC radio’s unique take on the stats released by the Centre for Public Christianity yesterday. Dan has helpfully shared a link to the ABC Radio transcript of the story I was listening to on the world today.

The reaction to the statistics has been somewhat amusing. On the one hand 55% of the “non born again” community don’t believe in the resurrection. Which should be comforting to atheists, Muslims and the liberal church.

The Uniting Church in New South Wales was one of the first organisations to put its own spin on the findings – claiming most of the 45% of (non “born again”) people who believe in the resurrection only believe it in a metaphorical sense.

Many Australians, although certainly not a majority, would see Jesus as metaphorically real, or his resurrection as metaphorically real, but would expect that the bones of Jesus would be found in Palestine.

And that’s my own position.

But I think that the resurrection of Jesus is principally about the continuing reality of Jesus of Nazareth in this world. – Ian Pearson from the Pitt Street Uniting Church…

Hmm, interesting take on things. You’ve got to wonder why this guy is still a “Christian” minister if this is what he thinks. If they found the bones of Jesus in Palestine I’d throw in the Christian towel. Immediately. If it’s all just a metaphor you’ve got to ask “why bother at all?” – Exactly the point Sydney Anglican Archbishop Peter Jensen raised…

If he just rose metaphorically, well, it’s Alice in Wonderland sort of stuff, and is not worth worrying about.

I wouldn’t be a Christian if I thought that. Just wouldn’t be worth the trouble.

But that’s not what the New Testament says; that’s not what the evidence says.

The evidence is really talking about a real resurrection from the dead.

The atheists on the other hand. Well. They still kind of miss the point of serving God if you believe in him – which many clearly still do… talk about imposing your value judgments on others…

The world needs to get away from this dependence on an imaginary super person in the sky, and start looking at the problems that we’re encountering in real terms – David Nichols, the president of the Atheist Foundation of Australia

Egg citing statistics

Research released by John Dickson’s Centre for Public Christianity has been given widespread media attention today.

The ABC radio’s idea of “objective” coverage was to give the Atheists a chance to use this as a platform to call for a secular society.

But it’s a pretty interesting statistic when it comes to reaching the “unwashed masses” – it seems almost half of the country’s non-Christians could be considered “low hanging fruit” – believing that Jesus rose from the dead.

This survey did not include those who define themselves as “born again” which possibly means it did include church going liberals, Catholics and others who tick the “Christian” box on the census.

Here’s the SMH story on the stats.

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