Category: Ethics


Painful Confusion

Pain and suffering is confusing. If God is powerful, then why can’t he make it stop? Is it because he doesn’t care? Or is it because he doesn’t even exist at all?

The problem of pain is hotly debated by theologians and philosophers. But the issue is most real and important when it directly affects our own lives.

John Dickson, in his short book ‘If I were God, I’d end all the Pain’ offers a survey of the solutions offered to this problem by the world’s main religions. One religion promises to help its followers desensitise themselves so they don’t feel pain. Another religion demands its followers submit themselves to God, come what may. Yet another attempts to solve the problem by completely removing God from the equation.

Yet, as Dickson compellingly argues, none of these solutions compete with the profound alternative offered in Christianity. God shows his power and compassion by becoming a human in the person Jesus Christ, and experiences pain as he suffers in death.

However, his death offered more than just a source of divine empathy, the ability for God to say “I know how you feel.” It provided a guaranteed long-term solution to the problem of pain. Jesus’ death provides the certainty of eternal life for those repent and believe in him–a life that offers the hope of a pain-free existence.

There is no simple solution to the problem of pain. But only Christianity promises present-comfort and future-relief from the God who loves us to death.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

You’ve got to feel sorry for NSW Opposition Leader, John Brogden with this latest controversy. He lets his hair down for one night, and now risks losing his job.

But when a person is a leader, they must expect to be judged more harshly. If some anonymous ‘drunk’ made the same racial comments then it might be ignored, but when a leader makes inappropriate comments, then it is right for them to be subject to public scrutiny and outrage.

This is especially true of Christian leaders. As James said in his letter, “Not many of you should presume to be leaders, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly” (James 3:1).

Christian teachers must be careful when letting their hair down, or having a night “off”. It is far too easy to bring the name of Jesus into disrepute.

Here is my letter to the editor in the Sydney Morning Herald:

“So sex is about mutual pleasure, unselfishness, desire, intimacy, consent and even romance (“Porn everywhere, what’s a child to think?”, Herald, May 21-22). If only our sexperts started promoting marriage as the proper place for sex, then our children might have a true chance to experience the intimacy so undermined by pornography.

Reverend Jodie McNeill Anglican Youthworks, Sydney”

Read it online at http://www.smh.com.au/text/articles/2005/05/22/1116700591106.html

Read the original article at http://www.smh.com.au/news/Opinion/Porn-everywhere/2005/05/20/1116533538023.html

The shame of abortion

I predict that by the end of this century our society will hang its head in shame at the slaughter of our unborn children from abortion. Like slavery and genocide, our children’s children will struggle to comprehend how a civilised society such as ours could have allowed such a crime against humanity.

In all of today’s major daily newspapers there is a sea of letters about abortion. It is a divisive issue, and not without reason.

On the one hand, there are those who claim that it is a woman’s choice, and that men have no right to preach morals. On the other hand, there are people like me who believe that the epidemic of 100,000 abortions per year is shocking evidence of an enormous social evil.

In response, I submitted this letter to the SMH, The Age and The Australian:

“I predict that by the end of this century our society will hang its head in shame at the slaughter of our unborn children from abortion. Like slavery and genocide, our children’s children will struggle to comprehend how a civilised society such as ours could have allowed such a crime against humanity.”

It’s hard hitting… but it’s how I feel. Furthermore, I know it is how God feels about the killing of his created children.

PS: Letter was published by The Australian on 4th November.

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