Rob Buckingham's Blog
Well, they’ve come and gone from what was described as the world’s biggest atheist conference. Author Melanie Phillips described it as 2,500 hardcore believers in the absence of religion [giving] a hero's welcome to the high priest of belief in unbelief, Richard Dawkins.
It’s interesting to me that Richard Dawkins, who has made a career out of telling everyone how much more tolerant the world would be if only religion were obliterated, demonstrated huge intolerance in some of his remarks. He referred to the Pope as a Nazi, and described Family First senator Steve Fielding as “more stupid than an earthworm.” Oh, I see, we are to be tolerant but only towards those who agree with us!Read More
The Global Atheist Convention is coming to Melbourne in March. The theme is “The Rise of Atheism” and amongst the long list of speakers is world-renowned author Richard Dawkins whose book The God Delusion has been an international best seller.
I read The God Delusion a year or two ago and Dawkins makes some very good points. However, his stated purpose in writing the book did not work on me – “If this book works as I intend, religious readers who open it will be atheists when they put it down” (Page 5). It didn’t work because I used to be an atheist and for the past 32 years, I have been a Christian. I feel that I have a certain qualification to compare the two and Christianity comes up trumps every time!Read More
Let’s just ignore the poor! Recently Sacred Heart Mission Chief Executive Michael Perusco asked Opposition Leader Tony Abbott whether a government under his direction would continue with the Rudd government's goal of halving homelessness by 2020. His answer was no.
In justifying his stance, Abbott quoted from the Gospel of Matthew: ''The poor will always be with us,'' and referred to the fact there is little a government can do for people who choose to be homeless.Read More
I usually like what the Shadow Finance Minister Barnaby Joyce has to say. I find him refreshingly different, honestand ready to speak out on issues that don’t always tow the party line.
I guess his comments last week about Australia’s foreign aid certainly fit that description. The only difference is that this time I find myself disagreeing with him in a big way. Speaking at the National Press Club in Canberra, Senator Joyce suggested that aid to the third world should instead be spent on reducing food costs in Australia.Read More
If God is all-powerful why doesn’t he stop evil and suffering in the world? This question is best answered by one of Jesus’ famous stories:
"The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. The owner's servants came to him and said, 'Sir, didn't you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?' 'An enemy did this,' he replied.The servants asked him, 'Do you want us to go and pull them up?' 'No,' he answered, 'because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.'"Read More
The problem of suffering is the subject of the most frequently raised question concerning the Christian faith: “If there’s a loving God why is there so much suffering in the world?”
Suffering is something that touches everyone. From large-scale events such as wars and natural disasters, to suffering on an individual level like bereavement, sickness, broken relationships, involuntary singleness, depression, loneliness, poverty, persecution, rejection, and disappointment. Suffering can come in an endless variety of forms and no human being is immune from it – not even Christians.Read More
Ever met a judgmental Christian? You probably have, there are plenty around – people who are ready to point out something that is wrong in someone else’s life, making the person feel put down, excluded, and marginalized. It baffles me as to why some people feel that they have a right to judge others when Jesus taught on several occasions “Do not judge” (Luke 6:37; Matthew 7:1). It doesn’t get any clearer than that does it?Read More
In the book Unchristian, David Kinnaman states:
“Many outsiders … believe Christians have a right (even an obligation) to pursue political involvement, but they disagree with our methods and our attitudes. They say we seem to be pursuing an agenda that benefits only ourselves; they assert that we expect too much out of politics; they question whether we are motivated by our economic status rather than faith perspectives when we support conservative politics; they claim we act and say things in an unchristian manner; they wonder whether Jesus would use political power as we do; and they are concerned that we overpower the voices of other groups.”Read More
It’s time for the church to face facts. The fact that many people’s perception of the church is that it's too sheltered, boring, unintelligent and out of touch with reality.
This perception has come because of an unnecessary and unbiblical separation of the church from the world. The perception is that the church is like a club that only certain people – good people – can join. How wrong this is.Read More
Christians are accused of being too focused on getting converts and likened to telemarketers according to research conducted by David Kinnaman for the Barna Foundation.
While it horrifies me to think that Christians are seen to pester, in response to this criticism I would say, “Yes, I am out to convert people to Jesus because I believe He is the way and the truth and the life, and no one comes to the Father except through Him” (See John 14:6).Read More
One reason for the “hypocrite” tag is the way in which the Christian message has been promoted and taught over the years – predominantly as a religion of rules and regulations that even Christians can’t live up to. People then measure us by our own standards – which we don’t fully keep – and then label us as hypocrites. Jesus spoke about this: “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.” (Matthew 23:2-3)Read More
“Why are there so many hypocrites in the church?” This is an often-heard question and impression that people outside the church have of Christians. So, what is a hypocrite?Read More
According to Melbourne’s Herald Sun newspaper (Saturday October 3) “Australians are in danger of succumbing to “compassion fatigue” with multiple disasters leaving charities in critical need.” The paper went on to quote UNICEF Australia spokesman Martin Thomas who said “there is certainly always a great danger of compassion fatigue … when we have seen disaster after disaster.”Read More
If I hear someone say one more time, “Well, we’ve just got to love the sinner and hate the sin” – I’m gonna scream! Christians quote this like it’s a Bible verse – right next to “God helps those who help themselves” and “cleanliness is next to godliness!” But where is it in the Bible? The Book of Hezekiah? Paul’s letter to the Deuteronomy’s? Each section of this statement is true – God does love sinners and hates sin. But here’s the problem, as a collective statement it’s not true.
The real problem with “Love the sinner; hate the sin” is that it is rarely meant. It is really just a Christian-sounding platitude aimed at people whose behaviour we really struggle with; people whose sin we really hate and people that, if we were brutally honest, we don’t really love. This statement just salves our conscience and makes us feel like we’re being Christian when we are really displaying unchristian attitudes towards others.
Hypocrisy. That’s when our words and our actions don’t match up. We’re all guilty of it and we find it in all sectors of society including the church. Some people even use it as an excuse not to join the church but they don’t follow their faulty logic to others walks of life. For instance, when the media show hypocrisy do we stop listening or watching?
One glaring example of media hypocrisy happened this week with Gordon Ramsey’s latest outburst against Channel Nine ACA Host Tracey Grimshaw. Before an audience of several thousand people at the Melbourne Good Food and Wine Show, following an interview with Grimshaw the previous day, Ramsay described her as "a lesbian".Read More
Recently a well-known Australian passed away. He was a good man most of the time – a man who grew an amazing business to become one of Australia’s wealthiest people. A man who gave generously to many worthy causes and made an incredible difference as a result.
But this good man, like the rest of us, also did some bad things – he cheated on his wife and was embroiled in some dodgy business practices.Read More
Here’s a humorous and powerful story from Florida where an atheist created a case against the upcoming Easter and Passover Holy days. He hired an attorney to bring a discrimination case against Christians, Jews and observances of their holy days. The argument was that it was unfair that atheists had no such recognized days.Read More
It never ceases to amaze me how religious non-religious people get in times of crisis. When the Black Saturday bush fires devastated lives and property many people asked the question: “Where is God in all this?” And, “If there’s a loving God why did he let this happen?” Even one Christian leader waded into this accusation by saying the bush fires were the result of God lifting His hand of protection off Victoria to punish our government’s evil decisions. Only problem with that is that innocent people, including Christians, lost their lives and property. That’s like punishing my 7 year old for something my 10 year old did wrong. But I digress…
Last week I posted my blog on the Bayside Church website as usual but, for the first time, I also posted it as a note on my Facebook page never thinking for one minute that my comments would stir up so much emotion.
One person in particular – a prominent American Evangelist – misunderstood my comments as being unsupportive of Israel. He said the Church has a Scriptural mandate to always be Pro-Israel and he cited Genesis 12:3 to support his view: “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse.”
New Years bring new things – good and bad. One of the not-so-good things so far in 2009 has been the escalating hostilities between Israel and Gaza; and not only has it divided the Middle East it has also divided the world. We’ve seen demonstrations in various nations – some opposing Israel with others showing their support. And there are good arguments both ways.Read More