Rob Buckingham's Blog

The Atheist Gospel – Is it Good News?

One of last year’s biggest selling books was The God Delusion by prominent British atheist Richard Dawkins.  In the preface Professor Dawkins states his purpose – to convert religious people to atheism.

Well, he’s now promoting his atheist gospel again by endorsing an advertising campaign on London Buses declaring the slogan: "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life."  The slogan started as an aside comment from a comedian in response to a church campaign that pointed people to a website that indicated they’d be going to hell if they didn’t believe in God.  The comedian suggested a response to “assure people”, which was picked up by Richard Dawkins and has ultimately generated funding from the general public for about $50,000 in donations.

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Responding to Dr Macnab

In recent weeks there has been much controversy surrounding some comments made by cleric Francis McNab of St Michaels Uniting Church in Melbourne. Macnab wanted to start a new faith for the 21st century (as if we needed another one!) declaring that "The Ten Commandments were one of the most negative documents ever written.” Dr Macnab says “Abraham is probably a concoction, Moses was a mass murderer and Jesus Christ just a Jewish peasant who certainly was not God. In fact, there is no God…” Considerable attention was given to these claims by the media, and St Michaels were embarking on a $120,000 advertising campaign to promote this new faith.

The Uniting Church has responded quickly to this controversy by asking Dr Macnab to remove the billboards and apologize for any offense he has caused to Christians as well as those of other faiths. I greatly admire the Uniting Church’s responses which can be viewed on their website…

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Mucked Up Life

Melbourne has been shocked this week by the out of control antics of students from Xavier College.  Balaclava-clad students stormed the school; a student was injured in a game of murder ball. Letterboxes were damaged, a car was jumped on and residents surrounding the school were terrified.

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Got It? Give It! Get It?

With the world’s financial crisis continuing to bite hard I found it amazing to read a number of news stories this week that highlight the difference between the “haves” and the “have-nots.”

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Bandaids On Measles Spots

It’s now official – the tax hike on alcopops drinks has had no affect whatsoever on the level of binge drinking in Australia!  How surprising!  Sure, the sale of alcopops has decreased but Mr or Ms Drinktoomuch has now switched to mix-your-own drinks buying cheap spirits and fruit juices or sodas.

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Despite The Odds

The Olympic Games have come and gone for another four years – or have they?  Right now in Beijing 4,200 athletes from 148 countries are taking part in the 2008 Paralympics.  The Paralympics are a multi-sport event for athletes with physical, mental, and sensorial disabilities. This includes athletes with mobility disabilities, amputees, visually impaired athletes, and those with cerebral palsy.

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When Ministers Fall

From time to time we hear about a high profile Christian leader who hasn’t been living up to the high calling of their profession.  When details come out about inappropriate behaviour there are a number of emotions that we experience – shock, anger, disappointment, grief, bewilderment and so on.  All these emotions are justified and need to be worked through in a godly way.

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Olympic Effort

Our family has really enjoyed watching the Olympic Games.  It’s been inspiring to see the results of the amazing dedication and hard work of sportsmen and women from many nations of the world.  That’s what I always find staggering – the work, sacrifice, self-control, self-denial and training that goes on day after day for months and years leading up to an event such as this.  And then, in a matter of seconds or minutes the event is over and only one person – the best of the best – wins the ultimate prize: a gold medal.

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Children Are Born Believers

Finally, what I have believed and taught for years has been backed up by research – children are born believers!  Not that I personally needed the research to back up what I believe – the Word of God is sufficient for that – but it is nice to have some fuel for the fire!

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More Valuable Than Chickens?

Last week Christie and I watched with fascination an excellent program on TV hosted by Jamie Oliver. I’d heard about this controversial show and some of the feedback that had occurred when it was aired in the UK. On this program Jamie demonstrated how badly battery hens and chicks are treated in British egg farms. During one scene he showed how cute fluffy male chicks are deprived of oxygen and literally suffocated to death. As the camera panned around the audience many were in tears at the senseless horror they witnessed with their own eyes.

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More on the Environment

In my last blog I stated my concerns about Australia’s carbon emissions trading scheme and the impact it could have on our future economy. Before I make further comment on this let me clarify three things:

1. I believe God created planet earth (and the whole universe for that matter) and that He gave it to the human race with the instruction to care for it (see Genesis 2:15).
2. I believe we need to do everything we can to make sure this planet is the best home for future generations.
3. I believe we need to have a realistic view of what we as Australians can do to safeguard the future.

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Caring For Planet Earth – At What Cost?

I’m not one of those Christians who think we shouldn’t care for the environment because one day God’s going to make a new earth.  That’s like saying: “One day God’s going to give me a new body so why bother to give the one I’ve got right now the rest, exercise and good food it needs?”  We look after our bodies because we have to live with them right now – and that’s the same reason we should look after the earth!  (See  Genesis 2:15).

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Soft Bodies – Soft Heads

Australia has become the fattest nation in the world, with more than nine million adults now rated as obese or overweight, according to a new report: Australia's Future 'Fat Bomb' from Melbourne's Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute.  The report shows that Australians now outweigh Americans and face a future "fat bomb" that could cause a vast increase in sickness, premature deaths and place a huge burden on our health system.

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Funding For Independent Schools

There is an ongoing debate in politics as well as in the media about government funding of independent schools – and there have been a lot of misconceptions and distortion of facts.  In particular The Age has been running a campaign against funding for independent schools using phrases such as “a flawed funding model” and “generous funding to independent schools”.  In 2007, columnist Katherine Deveny put it more bluntly when she wrote “private schools should not receive funding.”

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Make It Up As You Go

Relativism!  It’s defined by Wikipedia as “the position that moral or ethical propositions do not reflect objective and/or universal moral truths, but instead make claims relative to social, cultural, historical or personal circumstances.”  Moral relativists hold that no universal standard exists by which to assess an ethical proposition's truth.  To put this in simpler words, relativism is a “make it up as you go” morality.

We hear of an increasing number of examples of relativism weekly.  Relativism says…

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Standing Up For What’s Right

The radio talkback waves have been crackling with strong debate this week over a Sydney art gallery’s display of photographs by controversial Melbourne artist Bill Henson.  The 20 photographs are of a naked girl and boy believed to be around the ages of 12 or 13.  These photos have been seized by Sydney police and charges are expected to be laid.

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