QED

Hippy Jesus vs Wrathful Jehovah

Israel Folau has been roundly condemned for his sermon suggesting that droughts and bushfires might be God’s punishment on Australia for its stance on same-sex marriage and abortion. The Prime Minister called Folau’s remarks “appallingly insensitive.” Why exactly are they insensitive? Is it insensitive per se to attribute blame?

Would it be insensitive to blame those who lit some of the fires or those who mismanaged fuel reduction in cooler months or simply the intrinsic vulnerability of Australia’s natural environment? It would be insensitive not to care about those in harm’s way or to blame them personally. But Folau didn’t do that. Let’s keep perspective.

First, he is entitled to his views and to express them. Second, he is a lay preacher in his church and blaming earthly woes on immoral behavior is hardly a novelty in the annals of Christian preaching. Countless preachers have trod that road. Were they all insensitive?

Too many people get uptight about too many things these days. Think about it; is it more or less insensitive that Folau attributes bushfires to God’s judgment or that a Greens Senator accuses the major parties of being “no better than a bunch of arsonists”? The answer is that neither are insensitive unless you are intent in seeing them that way. One is presumptuous, which I will come to, the other childishly idiotic.

Folau got into trouble in April for paraphrasing, accurately enough, a passage from 1 Corinthians. This is the passage which now, in these enlightened (or is it benighted) times, dare not be said out loud:

Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.

Of course, no one cares about damning the sexually immoral, or idolaters, or thieves, or adulterers, or drunkards, or swindlers, or slanderers. It is the men-having-sex-with-men bit that is apparently off limits. Fine, if you are so minded, get stuck into St Paul for writing the passage and Folau for passing it on. The messenger is fair game in the public square of free speech. But to take away his livelihood? Really! When did Australian society become so tolerant of the intolerant? And why isn’t the prime minister appalled about that?

Folau isn’t the problem here. The problem is the anti-Christian, woke, intersectional, censorious, cancel-culturing, age we live in. Maybe God will make us pay a price. Sorry, I don’t know what I was thinking there.

Let’s go to Folau’s latest faux pas.

When I am in my Anglican church on Sunday and there is a drought in Australia we pray for rain. We therefore believe that God can and does intervene. I suggest that this means we can’t rule out His intervention to punish transgressors and transgressions. Certainly, the God of the Old Testament meted out a deal of punishment for transgressing.

One letter that I read, and there were others like it, said this: “As a Christian, I would like to apologise for Israel Folau’s comments. When Jesus walked the Earth, he had compassion for everyone.” This is the actual Jesus from Matthew:  “And then I will declare to them, I never knew you, depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” And this is Jesus when sending out his disciples to preach: “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town. Truly I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgement than for that town.”

People understandably focus on the loving side of God but He isn’t a soft touch. Jesus refers to judgement and to Hell many times. In remembering that Jesus saved the adulteress woman from stoning we should not forget that he instructed her to sin no more.

Folau might believe he is being guided by the Holy Spirit in saying what he says. I don’t know and can’t speak to that. But I think he is on shaky ground, not only figuratively speaking but literally. The world we live on is not an inert piece of rock. Natural disasters of all kinds are common.

It is a very long bow to attribute this or that disaster to Divine retribution for this or that sin. Folau’s views are not at all appallingly insensitive. But they are, to my way of thinking, presumptuous, in so far as they portray knowledge of the unknowable mind of God beyond what He has revealed to us in scripture.

Being grounded doesn’t go astray. We surely know that we pay for our sins, down here at least, by the trouble they bring us. We are, on the whole, moral beings and acting against our nature brings us unhappiness, which often leaches over to those close to us. We don’t need to bring in bolts from heaven to suffer the wages of sin.

20 comments
  • Alistair

    As I see it this is the difference between Christian academics; the “scholastics” who believe that God acts in the world and the “nominalists” who believe He doesn’t. Folau appears to be a scholastic. It wasn’t illegal during the Inquisition – but apparently its illegal now! Burn Him?

  • rod.stuart

    If it is “insensitive” to suggest that the mysterious supernatural being we call God metes out punishment for non-compliance with His laws, why is it not then equally insensitive to suggest that the fires are the result of a fictitious supernatural figment of the imagination called “climate change”?
    In the religion of the Green Glob, the hatred of mankind and the desecration of the invisible, tasteless, colourless, harmless gas which responsible for sustaining all life on this blue green orb.

  • Andrew Campbell

    C.S. Lewis (‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’) ‘Ooh!’ said Susan, (to Mr. and Mrs. Beaver) ‘I’d thought he was a man. Is he–quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.’ ‘That you will, dearie, and no mistake,’ said Mrs. Beaver, ‘if there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else silly.’ ‘Then he isn’t safe?’ said Lucy. ‘Safe?’ said Mr. Beaver. ‘Don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you…’

  • Ian MacDougall

    “Israel Folau has been roundly condemned for his sermon suggesting that droughts and bushfires might be God’s punishment on Australia for its stance on same-sex marriage and abortion. The Prime Minister called Folau’s remarks ‘appallingly insensitive.’ Why exactly are they insensitive? Is it insensitive per se to attribute blame?”
    .
    As far as I am concerned, it is all grist to the mill. Folau can say what he likes, and so can the PM. As the old Chinese proverb has it: ‘Let the waters recede and the stones will emerge.’
    Though the God of Morrison’s happy-clappy church could get displeased with the proceedings, and could send down a thunderclap of His own, putting an end to the proceedings once and for all; and with one mighty smite. It has happened before.
    “24 Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven;
    25 And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.”
    Trouble is, Morrison clearly does not know his Bible. Too busy clapping, I suppose. I suspect a lot of it will be found to have been self-applause; when the waters recede…
    .
    https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+19&version=KJV

  • Doubting Thomas

    I am profoundly grateful to Israel Folau and to George Pell. Whether they are right or wrong, innocent or guilty, their travails have managed to smoke out of the cultural undergrowth some profoundly obnoxious human vermin who have hitherto been masquerading as respectable commentators. I can no longer see the likes of Louise Milligan, David Marr, Peter FitzSimons and a host of others in the media and the arts as anything other than the ignorant, intolerant and extremely bigoted nincompoops that they have proven themselves to be. A pox on them all.

  • Nezysquared

    God gave us creation, not religion.

  • Peter Sandery

    I agree whole-heartedly with Doubting Thomas except I would add the word “arrogant” to his description of David Marr et al.

  • T B LYNCH

    George Le Maitre, mathematician extraordinaire, and Catholic priest gave us Creation in 1927 with his discovery of the Big Bang. Einstein, believing the Universe to be Eternal and Unchanging [contrary to Genesis] told Le Maitre that he was a great mathematician but no physicist. In 1929 Hubble, with the largest telescope in the world, discovered observational proof of Le Maitres theory of the Big Bang. Whereupon Einstein, congratulated Le Maitre, admitted his prior false assumption, and told Le Maitre that he was indeed also a great physicist.
    Christ, the Second Person in the Blessed Trinity, came on Earth to give to those who received Him the power to become the sons of God; who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. [Gospel of St John].
    ,

  • T B LYNCH

    CO2 is not the Elixir of Life. Venus has 200,000 times as much CO2 as Earth and Venus is the local hell in the solar system.
    RUBISCO is the elixir of life. It is the commonest protein on Earth. It has been here for 3 billion years. It was designed on Earth, for Earth. It made Earth totally different from Venus. It made all the O2 on Earth. It made all the sugar on Earth. And yes, it even made all the coal on Earth. It’s indispensable feedstock is carbon dioxide. Rubisco likes a concentration of 5000 parts per million of CO2 = 0.5%. Enzyme chemists call this the Michaelis constant of the enzyme, a critical kinetic parameter. 0.5% is twelve times the current low level of 0.04%. It took 13% CO2 to just manage to melt snowball Earth, which was depleted of the real greenhouse gas = water vapor. CO2 is a truly weak warmer. So do your bit and keep breathing out a kilogram of CO2 every 24 hours.

  • rod.stuart

    That 96% CO2 atmosphere means that atmospheric pressure at the surface is similar to the pressure at 3000 feet below sea level on earth. That is the reason the surface of Venus is hot; not because of the “trapping heat’ nonsense. Like any other planet with an atmospheric pressure at the surface of more than about ten PSI, (including Earth) the surface temperature is due to its proximity to the sun and the dry lapse rate. The notion that a planet is like a greenhouse is absurd.

  • T B LYNCH

    On Earth, the wet adiabatic lapse rate of 2C/1000 feet applies all the way to 15,000 feet, Here the temperature is -15C; there is essentially no more water vapor above this altitude; this altitude thus becomes the black body altitude of Earth; here radiation is free to escape to space; therefore the surface temperature of Earth is +15C.
    On Venus the dry lapse rate of 3C/1000 feet applies all the way to 150,000 feet accounting for a surface temperature of 400C.

  • Ian MacDougall

    TBL:
    Please correct me if I am wrong, and I will take your word on the magic power of the protein rubisco. But then it would appear that rubisco has not been able to fix CO2 as fast as it is being produced by respiration of plants and animals, forest fires, volcanism, tree clearing, flatulent bovines, etc. CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is rising, as is sea level, and glaciers and ice sheets are melting. That is the trouble with starting from first principles instead of from reality. The Earth is warming, spelt W-A-R-M-I-N-G. That is, warming. Glaciers are melting, and sea-level is rising; and Venus shows very probably why.
    Ever since the work of Joseph Fourier (1824) and Svante Arrhenius (1898) the central theory of what lies behind it is heat-trapping by carbon dioxide. But because fossil carbon is industrially so important, a project to muddy the waters and spread as much confusion as possible on the subject began in earnest, funded by big money from the very same fossil carbon industry, whose barons appear to have one major aim in life: to get all the coal mined and petroleum pumped out asap, and converted into $$$$ for their own private discretionary expenditure.
    That incidentally, is why I am a non-renewable resource socialist (NRRS). I believe it best for all concerned if mineral deposits are all made public property (like say, the roads) with leases purchasable by mining companies.
    GMSL Rates
    CU: 3.3 ± 0.4 mm/yr
    AVISO: 3.3 ± 0.6 mm/yr
    CSIRO: 3.3 ± 0.4 mm/yr
    NASA GSFC: 3.2 ± 0.4 mm/yr
    NOAA: 3.2 ± 0.4 mm/yr (w/ GIA)

    http://sealevel.colorado.edu/
    Do the arithmetic. 3.3 ± 0.4 mm/yr (CSIRO) ~ 33mm/decade (= 3.3 cm/decade ~ 33 ± 4 cm/century ~ 330 cm/1,000 yrs: ie 3.3 metres/1,000 yrs
    ~ 33 metres/10,000 yrs. And that is without the great hunk of Antarctica’s Totten Glacier slowly but steadily sliding into the sea.
    As for the temperature of the CO2 atmosphere of Venus being down to pressure and adiabatic lapse rates (another snow job on your part, with homage to ‘Jo Nova’ and her denialist blog) a bit of fundamental physics is in order. I will say this as gently as possible, but pressure does not produce heat. If it did, not only would conservation of matter-energy be violated, we would have a perpetual motion machine. All that would be needed to heat a house in winter would be a few tanks of pressurised gas here and there, with heat flowing out of them forever and ever amen.
    What heats gas is change in pressure, which any cyclist experiences when pumping up a tyre. The heat present in V1, before pumping is after pumping all conserved into V2, and as V1 < V2 the temperature of V2 rises in accordance with the combined gas laws of Boyle and Charles. Pressure-volume work has been done on the air in the tyre. It is definitely not rocket science.
    Jo Nova and her little band of denialist acolytes would apparently have us believe that pressure creates heat. Consequently, the temperature at a depth of 1,000 m in the ocean (~100 atm) should be higher than at the surface, if not boiling hot.
    Instead, it is just above ( ~ 4C ) the freezing point of water.
    .
    https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/plugged-in/why-we-know-about-the-greenhouse-gas-effect/
    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2005/jun/30/climatechange.climatechangeenvironment2

  • Farel

    Psalm 107 covers it. Also, the solemn warning not to assume adverse events/acts of Divine Providence may be interpreted as particular judgments by the LORD Jesus Himself, in Luke 13:1-5. I think that those Scriptures would cover the topic, for any thoughtful Believer.

  • whitelaughter

    We have out of control bush fires due to incompetent state governments.
    Those state govts have been busily obsessing over encouraging sexual perversions and killing babies when they should have been discussing protecting their states.
    So it is hardly surprising that the fury is turned at Folau – while his statements may not meet the standards required by formal logic, they are basically on the money. And when voters wake up to that, the entrenched parties are going to feel pain.

  • T B LYNCH

    IMD:
    Earth has been warming since the end of the Little Ice Age 200 years ago – before the rise in CO2.
    Earth ceased warming 20 years ago – while CO2 rose faster than ever [in modern times].
    CO2 absorbs in the 16 micron band; H2O absorption band is six times wider.
    Absorption is governed by Beers Law which is logarithmic [the opposite of exponential].
    When dry air descends @ 30 degrees north or south, the pressure increases and so does the temperature.
    Ocean is a liquid and the gas laws do not apply; besides hot water floats on top of cold.
    All this is basic physics and history.
    I made the Scientific Breakthrough of the Year for 1996; you are way out of your depth.

  • Ian MacDougall

    TBL:
    “I made the Scientific Breakthrough of the Year for 1996; you are way out of your depth.”
    That is an argument by appeal to Authority. (In this case your own.) But while we’re on authority, I suggest you pass that information on to the 198 scientific organisations worldwide which endorse the AGW hypothesis, including the Royal Society, the AAAS and the CSIRO; and the UC sea-level group.
    .
    Do the arithmetic. 3.3 ± 0.4 mm/yr (CSIRO) ~ 330 cm/1,000 yrs: ie 3.3 metres/1,000 yrs .
    At that rate, SLR would have earned a mention by classical scholars world-wide (like Herodotus and the authors of the Old Testament.)
    No need to inform the coal industry though. Those tycoons reportedly knew all about AGW early on, and kept their peace.
    Funny, that.
    .
    http://www.opr.ca.gov/facts/list-of-scientific-organizations.html

  • T B LYNCH

    Even the Sun supplies an analogy. The internal temperature is 15,000,000C. The black body [surface] temperature is 6,000C. On Earth the gas/liquid interface temperature is +15C. On Earth, the Black body surface is @ 15,000 feet and here the temperature must be -15C.

  • T B LYNCH

    One year before I discovered the Cure for amoebic meningitis the worlds leading medical journal, the New England Journal of Medicine did a review and stated “Amoebic Meningitis is uniformly fatal and without hope of therapy”. I couldn’t care less if the whole world is wrong. Earth itself wont take any notice either.
    Einstein said it only takes one fact to destroy the most beautiful theory. Einstein himself made his greatest mistake in believing that the Universe was Eternal and Unchanging but he was set correct by Le Maitre and Hubble with the discovery and confirmation respectively of the Big Bang in 1927 and 1929.
    But there is more. In medical school I was taught that it was impossible to cure a virus. Later I was heavily involved in discovering, in my own laboratory, the Cure for HIV, by discovering the canonical 32 base pair deletion mutant, in the chemokine family of cellular receptors, as the result of screening my 4,000,000 patients for novel antigens. This was the Scientific Breakthrough of 1996, so determined by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Finally I have used Beers Law 100,000,000 times to measure the concentration of chemicals.

  • Ian MacDougall

    TBL:
    “Finally I have used Beers Law 100,000,000 times…”
    Bully for you. I on the other hand am just a simple farmer concerned about the current drought and its possible climatological origins.
    But I have come to the conclusion that this curate’s egg of a website is in the pocket of the coal industry. Because not only does it put up a continuous barrage of pro-coal-fired-power articles, it is also down on renewables. In other words, the powers-that-be here at QO who call the shots are not a bit interested in making the coal reserves last as long as possible. They want them converted into $$$$ in their own private accounts as soon as possible. And renewables are taking an increasing slice of their profits, with the sky as the limit.
    The list of articles here is extensive. But I am sure your favourite search engine is up to it. Just.
    Most AGW denialists are in my experience linked some way to the coal or mining industry. (You of course, may be an exception. Possibly too busy using Beers Law. Come to think of it, I could sink a tinny or two myself right now.)
    And to think, I only came here originally for the site’s poets. Then got distracted by the coal shills coming out of every crevice like spiders out of a wood heap. And the rest is history.

  • T B LYNCH

    Thank you. I spent all my professional life looking after sick farmers and miners, the solid citizens who support the capital city drones, who stop us mining our coal, damming our rivers, feeding our stock and burning off in winter..
    More CO2 will reduce your water requirements for sure.
    RUBISCO wont really do much about CO2 until it reaches its natural design level of 0.5%.
    I did measure CO2, O2 and CO hundreds of thousands of times.

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