People Must Accept Death. Is This Good Friday’s Great Lesson For The World Today?

All around the western world, the established way of living is threatened with collapse.

Such a collapse would not be directly caused by this virus which kills many mostly elderly people. (As we know the virus now.)

Social collapse is threatening us because of the human reaction of fear to that virus.

Human fear of death, especially agonizing death.

Unable to breathe. Like Jesus on the cross.

This understandable human fear has lead people en masse to act as if, by stopping working, they can stop the virus.

They cant. Not based on what we know now.

Viruses are part of life. We live with them. And sometimes die from them.

If people cannot accept a level of death which creates herd immunity, then the only method available to current human health care to stop a virus like this is an effective vaccine widely available. That usually takes years.

What would Jesus do?

I dont know.

What did Jesus do when faced with the prospect of death?

He accepted it.

At The Last Supper, no attempt was made by twelve people to detain Judas and prevent the betrayal which Jesus knew was coming. Jesus accepted his fate. He told Judas to do what Judas was meant to do.

Jesus carried his own Cross in agony with failing strength for as long as he could. He accepted his fate.

He accepted death.

How many people now show the courage and integrity of Republican Dan Patrick in Texas?

As a 62 year old man for whom contracting Corona-virus would mean a 3% risk of death, based on what we know now, I say this:

I want to work.

I want more people to return to work.

I fear that the western way of life cannot afford or survive months and months of so many people not working.

Governments cant afford the economic support people want under a harsh regime of so-called “social distancing”. (It is not social. It is anti-social.)

Economic collapse of The West means collapse of societies based, historically, on the values Jesus died for.

That is too big a risk to take.

Too high a price to pay.

Death is a part of our God-given life.

True passion for life demands that people learn from the passion of death.

It wasn’t easy for Jesus and it wont be easy for us.

Sometimes choosing life means choosing death.

Geoff Fox, Good Friday, 2020

 

 

MEN SEEK BALANCE

Jesus Christ said “….. the truth will set you free.”

Jesus was not the only very talented man born on Christmas Day.

Isaac Newton, born on Christmas Day in 1642, said ” What we know is a drop, what we don’t know is an ocean.” A circumspect genius.

Charlie Chaplin died on Xmas Day, 1977. He once said, “Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself.

In his first movie as a director Chaplin showed sympathy for the life of a deserted single mother and, through his clown persona, showed the glory of fathering which comes from the heart. I was a midwife for 31 years and, for me, The Kid is easily one of the greatest movies ever made.

Jesus was born to a single mother – engaged to Joseph but not yet married.

The immaculate conception didn’t need wedlock.

These three men are worth remembering on Christmas Day.

Jesus Christ: liberating honesty.

Isaac Newton: intellectual modesty from a genius.

Then the courage of a great clown and cultural icon finding true manliness in being a dad.

In the real world, men seek balance.

But, in The West, we dont always get it now.

Geoff Fox, Xmas Day, 2019, Terra Nullius

Christian Israel Folau’s Faith and Freedom Of Speech

Rugby Australia and the New South Wales Rugby Union have threatened to terminate the contract of a star player as a result of his passionate defense of conservative sexual morality in one meme.

This is the text of that meme from Christian footballer Israel Folau:

“WARNING

Drunks

Homosexuals

Adulterers

Liars

Fornicators

Thieves

Atheists

Idolaters

HELL

AWAITS YOU

REPENT !

ONLY JESUS SAVES”

These are very strong words. But much of the online response focusses on this meme as if the only thing in it is an attack on gay people.  Folau is also very hard on people with drinking problems AND on people who lead liberated sex lives AND on atheists AND on people who idolize things which Israel Folau doesn’t idolize.

I believe it is reasonable to say, as Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison has done this morning, that Folau’s words are “terribly insensitive.”

But I think Folau’s meme can also reasonably be described more positively. Is it a clarion call to oppose excessive drinking which ruins many lives? Does it uphold a traditional sexual morality which has long been foundational to most family life? Does the meme’s condemnation of theft deserve support? Is upholding belief in God something which a modern secularizing nation like Australia needs? (Faith in God has been part of the bedrock of western civilization for almost all of the two millennia preceding this one.)

If the focus shifts to more positive ways of describing Folau’s Christian moral passion, his meme raises issues worthy of discussion not kneejerk condemnation.

Conservative Christian Folau names 8 types of people he believes are bound for hell. You could say that 12.5 % of this meme is an attack on homosexuals. Yet Folau is now being attacked by some people online as if the only thing he has done is to condemn gay people. He names these eight groups of people because he wants all of them (in the terms of his belief system) to be “saved.” He wants what he believes is the best for them. Even if he is wrong and being unfair, at least part of what is in his heart is compassion and love.

To get a broader and fairer picture of what Folau believes, here are some more quotes from him from the Player’s Voice website where he is called a “founding contributor”:

“I used to believe I was defined by my actions on the footy field, but I see now that’s not true.”

“…… my faith is far more important to me than my career and always will be.”

“I will not compromise my faith in Jesus Christ, which is the cornerstone of every single thing in my life. People’s lives are not for me to judge. Only God can do that.”

“I have sinned many times in my life. I take responsibility for those sins and ask for forgiveness through repentance daily.”

“No man or woman is different from another – if you sin, which we all do, and do not repent and seek forgiveness, you will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

 “I believe when Jesus died on the cross for us, it gave us all the opportunity to accept and believe in Him if we wanted to. To enter the kingdom of Heaven, though, we must try our best to follow His teachings and, when we fall short, to seek His forgiveness.”

Are these the publicly expressed beliefs of a man we should condemn or of a man we should praise?

Bill Shorten’s response is to say, “There is no freedom to perpetuate hateful speech …….”  What right does a man aspiring to be Prime Minister of a western nation like Australia have to be so forgetful of our heritage that he suggests that passionate Christian morality is “hateful speech”? Two days before Holy Week.

A year ago, after Folau made another allegedly anti-gay comment online, one of his current bosses was quoted by New Zealand website newshub like this “The situation cooled after Rugby Australia’s CEO Raelene Castle said she was proud that he holds so strongly to his Christian beliefs.”

But a year later it looks likely that, for expressing his beliefs, his bosses will terminate his contract. The Rugby Australia Chief Executive yesterday released a joint statement with the New South Wales Rugby Union CEO with this conclusion: “In the absence of compelling mitigating factors, it is our intention to terminate his contract.”

Now, as a philosopher, I suggest that Rugby Australia (RA) and NSW Rugby Union consider the following principles for fairness as mitigating factors:

  1. Freedom Of Speech. Freedom of speech has to be robust for it to work. Sometimes that will be offensive and hurtful to some people. But robust freedom of speech is the foundation of genuine democracy. Being really good at a game is not a reason for taking away anyone’s fundamental civic rights.
  • 2. Freedom of Religion. Please look at the whole package of his religious beliefs before condemning Folau for one part of his beliefs as if that were the only thing he has said.
  • 3. Openness. It is better to discuss Folau’s beliefs and to include him in the discussion than to risk driving those beliefs underground by trying to ban their expression.
  • 4. Inclusivity. Excluding Folau from the sport in which he is a champion is the opposite of inclusivity.
  • 5. Consistency. A year ago the RA CEO praised Folau’s religious beliefs. Now part of one tweet gets Folau sacked? If RA were able to resolve a similar issue last year without punishment, why cant a lesser punishment, like a fine, be considered this year?
  • 6. Fairness and Public Health. Folau has taken a stand against the abuse of alcohol. Doesn’t that aspect of his meme deserve our support?

Is Israel Folau going to be metaphorically crucified as we enter the Holy Week of Easter because of his conservative moral passion in one meme? Or are we grown up enough in 2019 to discuss and try to consider everything that he has said?

Geoff Fox, Resident Of Maribyrnong

12th April, 2019