My question is much broader than Israel Folou but it raises issues for our consideration. Why is Christian belief be so readily attacked willy-nilly in the media and society (includes social media)? - This is a philosophical question.
Australian society along with its relentless media now finds itself in something of an anxious state. The reason is that there are now laws associated with discrimination and racism. Therefore, does the media blast away at Christian belief because it is part of the main stream culture or is the media in effect, trying to detach Christianity from the main stream culture in that ‘the society’ the media portrays is secular?
As soon as anything critical is said about other religions, their belief systems and their world views, their ethnic backgrounds, their historic conflicts, their political positions, their historic theocracy-militarised culture: somehow "a great sensitivity" is engaged by the media, politicians and business.
The claim is that this same sensitivity is not offered to Christianity. This is the essence of the disharmony many Christians feel in Australia: there is no level playing field in these areas. The media and social media on the Israel Folou situation demonstrates this.
In a world of differing philosophies, religions and world views, it is never as simple as it sounds. In global politics 'oil' seems to be a major 'calling card' and this affects the way the West handles foreign affairs.
Moreover, the West ensures that those living within their borders who hold non-western philosophies, regardless of their religion or political world view, are guaranteed freedom of worship and political activism.
These are the hallmarks of the West. The media is ready and willing to support this.
'Soul Liberty' as opposed to 'Submission'
The tenant of Christian belief is to relish criticism, illustrate its variety through scholarship and service to others. It witnesses people coming to faith in Jesus Christ through their own decision making processes as the Spirit of the Lord touches their souls. In theological speak, this is 'soul liberty'.
It is very different to say, Islamic theological idea of 'submission'. One 'submits' to the will of Allah. The very essence of these two world views spells out why Christian belief can be so readily attacked willy-nilly by all and sundry as its 'soul liberty' spells freedom and freedom to be criticised and freedom to be laughed-at and freedom to have its scholarship critically challenged.
The theocratic world view, in this specific example of 'submission', demands a philosophy that the media, the politics and big business all equally 'submit' to the religion. 'Submission', is ultimately rejection, as no person can submit totally and unreservedly (Jesus said no man can fulfil the Law and we know this from our own experience of sin).
Moreover, 'submission' applies stringently to the media who dare not offer fearless analysis of the theocracy and its governance as the religion is indispensably party to it.
The reality in Australia
In Australia, the reality is that whether it is Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Cavenism, Drudism, Paganism or whatever, they get given a good run in the media. Australia is a fair-minded society which bases itself on the "power-of-the-pen" rather than that of the sword. 'Fair-minded' is a better concept that 'tolerance' as we have laws that define the limits of tolerance, such as road rules, neighbourhood by-laws, rules for business practise, and the like.
Christianity, the main stream of the Australian society, where church and state are separate, has no lawful preferences. Rather, as the main stream, it's given closer examination. There appears not to be a level playing field in reporting.
It is more than this though. It seems to apply at all levels of government where there is a soft approach to avoid any claim of discrimination or racism. A recent example is that of local suburban sporting facilities for school girls as reported by Radio National.
For two centuries school girls have got changed into their sporting attire and vice versa in 'Women' change room facilities. The team philosophy is 'one-for-all' and 'all-for-one'. There is now a push to cater for Muslim girls to have individual cubicles in every women's sport change room across the nation in order to exercise their religious 'modesty' requirements (although Church and State are separate).
Some see this as an example of an Islamisation of Australia by stealth, much the same issue as Australians are seeing 'Halal' (Islamic approved food - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halal) on their supermarket shelves and what was available being slowly but surely removed from sale. (The French are dealing with this issue as a 'civic matter' at the present time as they did with the issue of attire, and Sri Lanka now with dress code).
Again, it illustrates what is happening on the ground. But, for the good burgers of the suburbs to make an issue of such seemingly innocent changes immediately gets slammed by the media and the politicians as somehow being a racist and showing religious intolerance.
In reality, it's demanding that the way of every-day-life Australians have enjoyed for two hundred years, is being redirected to that of the philosophy of a minority whose essence is not freedom, but submission. Indeed, all this is so illustrated by the Israel Folou drama.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html
Dr Mark Tronson - a 4 min video
Chairman – Well-Being Australia
Baptist Minister 44 years
- 1984 - Australian cricket team chaplain 17 years (Ret)
- 2001 - Life After Cricket (18 years Ret)
- 2009 - Olympic Ministry Medal – presented by Carl Lewis
- 2019 - The Gutenberg - (ARPA Christian Media premier award)
Gutenberg video - 2min 14sec
Married to Delma for 44 years with 4 children and 5 grand children