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 apologise for any offence 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:
Although Dr. Macnab’s statements may have caused some short-term damage and hurt, long-term good can come from this. It’s good for us to be shocked out of our comfort zone and forced to re-examine our faith. It’s good for us to stop and ask what we believe and why? I find that my own faith always goes deeper and becomes stronger as a result of being examined afresh.
Also, we need to understand that there will always be those who attack the Christian faith. One of the more recent attacks on Christianity came from British sceptic Richard Dawkins and his book The God Delusion. Dawkins wrote the book to convert people to atheism. Right now Dawkins is running an advertising campaign in the UK under the slogan “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.” It 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. An acquaintance of mine who works with the Uniting Church has posted a response to this on the Facebook group associated with the campaign suggesting an alternative logo: “There probably is a God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.” Now that sounds like a good definition of real Christianity!