Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture


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State of the Nation

07 Mar 2019  |  Author: Peter Hooton  | Theme: Civil society and politics; Public theology and ethics

In October 1940, the German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer gave a chilling description of the consequences of succumbing to a Nazi view of the world. In such a world, he said, [t]here is no future and no past. There remains only the present moment rescued from nothingness and the desire to grasp the next moment. Already yesterday’s concerns are consigned to forgetfulness, and tomorrow’s are too far away to obligate us today. . . . Nothing is fixed, and nothing holds on. . . . Events of world-historical significance, along with the most terrible crimes, leave no trace behind in the forgetful soul. . . . What is quiet, lasting, and essential is discarded as worthless. . . . [T]he foundation of historical life—trust in all its forms—is destroyed. Because truth is not trusted, specious propaganda takes over. Because justice is not trusted, whatever is useful is declared to be just.

Two modest proposals towards doing politics differently

01 Mar 2019  |  Author: Douglas Hynd  | Theme: Public theology and ethics; Civil society and politics

Unraveling the symptoms and causes of the political dysfunction in Australia is not easy. Social media and the 24/7 news cycle are driving a fractured public discourse into narrowcasting echo chambers. Neoliberalism, after two decades of shaping public policy in Australia, has created a lobbying industry that is out of control, a deconstruction of the public and the communal in our social imagination, and the reduction of every dimension of life to an economic frame of reference. Public trust in the political process and democratic institutions is now at an all-time low.

Mediating Democracy's Demise: Journalism in a Post Truth Age

01 Mar 2019  |  Author: Paul Bongiorno  | Theme: Public theology and ethics; The Arts, Sciences and Culture

I have called this talk “Mediating Democracy’s Demise” because I believe the media in Australia has certainly contributed to the disillusionment felt by so many of our country men and women particularly the younger generations. It has done this by commodifying truth. It is not simply choosing sides between the left and the right, or Liberal and Labor, it is playing to identified demographics with attitudes and prejudices it judges will reap the most lucrative return. It is the echo chamber business model. We see it in our print, electronic and on line media. Its inspiration is the success of Murdoch’s pay TV channel in America. Fox News with its strident, indeed militant reactionary views pandering to an ageing white demographic, is the media mogul’s biggest money earner.

Roadside theology

10 Jan 2019  |  Author: Bill Leadbetter  | Theme: Public theology and ethics; Civil society and politics

In discussions of the role of religion in the public square, it is generally grand questions of conscience which take the focus of analysis. Mostly we discuss, indeed parse, such moral dilemmas as abortion, euthanasia, refugee policy, or crime and punishment. These are important, and fundamental ethical discussions about both who we are as a society, and who we are as Christians. Implicit in all of this discussion is the proposition that theology has something to say, and that what it has to say must apply both to such matters as these, but also to the less pressing but more mundane – indeed, the more immediately relevant.

One Political Bright Spot

04 Jan 2019  |  Author: Toni Hassan  | Theme: Civil society and politics; Leadership and institutions

There was at least one bright spot on Capital Hill before parliamentarians flew out of Canberra last week. It was the passing of Australia’s first federal law to address modern slavery in the things we buy. It was the passing of Australia’s first federal law to address modern slavery in the things we buy.


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