Christianity in Brisbane
While putting the final touches on a recent sermon, I stumbled on some interesting facts:
- If you Google the phrase “Christianity in Brisbane” (including the quotes) you get one hit – a Brisbane-based Christian chat site (correct as of 27 March 2007).
- If you Google the phrase “Islam in Brisbane” (including the quotes) you will get 58 hits (correct as of 27 March 2007). Many of these hits link back to a booklet published by the Brisbane City Council called “Islam in Brisbane” and available for download from the BCC web site.
According to a letter from Lord Mayor Campbell Newman to me, the booklet was published “… to demystify this religion and through this, to lessen the chances of discriminatory or violent acts being perpetrated against Muslim people in Brisbane.” The letter went on to explain how to access information about other religions from the BCC web site:
“Enter ‘Islam in Brisbane’ into the search engine and scroll to the end of the page, or enter the following address:
As one could imagine, I was a little bemused at the thought of searching for ‘Islam in Brisbane’ to find information about other religions!
I therefore did some more investigating (tested 24 March 2007) and found:
- If you search for “Islam” on the BCC web site (using their own search function) you will get 14 hits. Most of these will lead you back to the “Islam in Brisbane” booklet or the page mentioned above.
- If you search for “Christianity” on the BCC web site, you get 36 hits. While it sounds better,
- 31 of these lead to demographic documents that classify people’s religion as either Christianity or non-Christian (hence the hit)
- 1 leads to an article about Sudanese immigrants
- 4 lead back to the “Islam in Brisbane” document
Even more alarming, the document talks about Muslims, Christians and Jews sharing “… a common religious heritage…” and goes on to say that, “All three faiths… worship the same God.” It leaves me wondering why the government is publishing doctrinal statements about what beliefs are held by any religions. I wonder which Christian (and Jewish) organisations they consulted before declaring the common God?
What do we do about this?
The obvious one is to write to the Lord Mayor, politely but firmly expressing your concerns about the matter and asking him to explain why the BCC is publishing errant doctrinal statements on behalf of the Christians in Brisbane.
But, there is something even more important:
- Be watchful and pray about these things, and other events we can see unfolding in Australia
- Love the other members of your church, and demonstrate this love in your actions and attitudes
- Offer hospitality to your fellow church members. Socialise with them and enjoy their company.
- Improve your talents/gifts and use them for the benefit of the other members of your church
(1 Peter 4:7-10 NIV) The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.
Above all, it is every Christian’s responsibility to demonstrate to others the reality of the love shown to them on the cross by Jesus Christ who, while they were still sinners, died in their place. This love should firstly be shown to other Christians, then to the rest of the world.